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"Colour of Hesse-Cassel/Hesse-Hanau artillery 1776-1783" Topic

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Supercilius Maximus07 Apr 2015 3:16 a.m. PST

Does anyone have a definitive answer to this question:

What colour(s) were the carriages and tools of the Hesse-Cassel and Hesse-Hanau artillery painted in the years 1776-1783?

I have sources suggesting white with red trim, or possibly light/medium blue, for the Hesse-Cassel guns (the former being more persuasive than the latter), which I think were brought over to America from Europe and hence were more likely to be in the "usual" colours.

However, I have nothing definitive for the Hesse Hanau company (under Pausch), which was supplied with a variety of British and French tubes (from the Quebec arsenal) and locally-made carriages.

Can anyone help? (I have cross-posted to the 18C and SYW boards in the hope that some of the mid-18C experts can help on this).

Virginia Tory07 Apr 2015 3:30 a.m. PST

I thought you'd know the answer to this one!

I admit, I just paint the German guns the same as RA pieces. May not be correct, though.

de Ligne07 Apr 2015 3:34 a.m. PST

1) During the SYW carriages were white with red metalwork.
2) When Frederick II succeeded his father William VIII in 1760 he Prussianized an army that already looked quite Prussian. This would have involved a change of the artillery carriages from white to medium blue but I'm pretty sure this took place after the end of the SYW.
3) By the AWI they would be using medium blue carriages with black ironwork.
4) The split between Hesse-Kassel and Hanau is purely notional as per the 'Assekurationsakte' and it's because Frederick had become a catholic.
These two small states then re-fused in 1785 when Frederick died and his son assumed the landgraviate. I doubt Hanau had a different colourscheme so I think you would be entirely safe in using the Kassel colour scheme.

epturner Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2015 4:08 a.m. PST

What Virginia Tory said!

It must be obscure if Super Max is asking for help…



Sobieski07 Apr 2015 4:50 a.m. PST

White with red would look distinctive, at least. :)

Supercilius Maximus07 Apr 2015 5:26 a.m. PST

Yes, I was hoping white-and-red would be the answer; however, it does look like medium blue it is. Damn, damn, damn……

PVT64107 Apr 2015 6:15 a.m. PST

Per Pausch's journal the Hesse Hanau guns were white and red trimmed. However when I asked Eric Scheider, the Historian at Saratoga Battlefied(I live about 30 minutes away) He concurred, but stated that their guns were placed in storage in Canada and that they brought British guns with them on the Burgoyne campaign.

de Ligne07 Apr 2015 6:21 a.m. PST

Indeed if you wanted white/red guns I was going to suggest that you could consider Hanau for this as they did not re-merge with Kassel until 1785 giving you a small window when, tecnically, their military establishment is separate from the bigger Kassel establishment.PVT641's comment on this is very illuminating.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2015 6:29 a.m. PST

I believe Eric Schnitzer is the park historian at Saratoga.

Sharpe5207 Apr 2015 7:34 a.m. PST

According to Uniforms of AWI published by Lorenz Books Hesse Cassel guns were painted medium blue with black iron works.
Hope it helps:-)

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2015 9:00 a.m. PST

I think the question really is – what guns did they use in the AWI?

7th Va Cavalry07 Apr 2015 9:31 a.m. PST

Doesn't Schnitzer also run the kennel on Hogan's Heroes?

Sharpe5207 Apr 2015 9:48 a.m. PST

In the book I mentioned previously, they say 4 pounder guns were used.

Winston Smith07 Apr 2015 9:51 a.m. PST

I have read here that Hesse Hanau artillerists in Burgoyne's campaign took French guns captured at Quebec in 1759, mounted on British carriages.
I hope that confused the matter. grin
So your fancy white and red gun carriages were probably not used in the AWI.

jurgenation Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2015 12:47 p.m. PST

They had French 4pdrs on british carriages. Which is also stated in Pausch.s diary.

PVT64108 Apr 2015 5:44 a.m. PST

Yes, Eric Schnitzer.

RNSulentic12 Apr 2015 3:13 p.m. PST

I was recently looking at the painting of Washington by Peale in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and I think the Hessian gun he's leaning on is painted white.

Rawdon27 Apr 2015 12:30 p.m. PST

Per the contract, the Hessians did NOT bring guns with them and drew guns from the British park of artillery.

Having said that, it is not impossible, though unlikely, that they might have repainted the guns in their own colors. Who knows? One of the great things about the AWI is that very few color schemes are demonstrably, provably impossible (improbable, yes; impossible, usually not).

There are numerous sources stating that all the Hessian guns were 4-pounders and were deployed, per Prussian practice, as battalion guns.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP27 Apr 2015 1:17 p.m. PST

If this one the gun is grey


Winston Smith27 Apr 2015 1:46 p.m. PST

That's Hesse Cassel. Not Hesse Hanau.

Supercilius Maximus27 Apr 2015 10:29 p.m. PST

@ Rawdon,

I'm pretty sure the HC contingent brought guns with them, as the British did not use 4-pdrs.

@ historygamer,

The portrait is problematic it could be either:
(a) an accurate depiction of a Hessian gun with faded "white" paintwork (which I think least likely);
(b) artistic licence, rather like the inaccurate red British colour on the ground behind GW; or
(c) the artist relying on recollections of British gun carriages, which were actually that colour, from his own military service.

My scepticism regarding (a) comes from the absence of any red on the carriage (eg the spokes of the wheels).

Tricorne197128 Apr 2015 6:33 a.m. PST

People seem to be talking past each other? The tubes were French 4pdr's on light British carraiges. Plenty of lead grey paint to go around.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP28 Apr 2015 6:59 a.m. PST

I believe I was looking at this portrait in the DeWitt gallery at Colonial Williamsburg the other day. The gun carriage I was looking at was definitely gray.

What I found interesting about this portrait is that his breeches are a different color than his waistcoat, his boot tops are black, and the points on his cuffs.

Interesting too that the American generals went with two epaulets (Washington bought his just before going to Congress in 1775) while British generals only wore one epualet during this period.

Also, I think the mounted guys in the background are wearing round hats. They may be the mounted Philadelphia Associators there acting as his escort during this campaign.

Supercilius Maximus28 Apr 2015 8:41 a.m. PST

People seem to be talking past each other? The tubes were French 4pdr's on light British carriages. Plenty of lead grey paint to go around.

The Hesse Hanau artillery got these (and later lost them in the Saratoga campaign). It's the Hesse Cassel guns captured at Trenton that are under discussion – these were Swedish-style 4-pdrs that they brought over with them.

Tricorne197128 Apr 2015 8:57 a.m. PST

Sorry. I was responding to wrong question.
As to the H-K Artillery, there is a lone example in "Hessian Army Museum", Germany of the 4pdr on a "rotting" carriage with the faint outlines of a candy-striped red/white coloring. I took a bad photo when I led a SYW tour there several years ago.
I believe the guns captures at Trenton were the subject of some CMH research. I need to check this.

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