Friday, March 13, 2009

Hessen-Kassel Jäger

Okay, don't want to tantalise you (and myself) any longer: Hereby I proudly present my version of the Hessen-Kassel Jäger in British service.

The Jäger (litterally: huntsmen) were originally formed from actual hunters and woodsmen as units of skirmishing marksmen, able to fight in open order and on broken ground. As such the Jäger corps were regarded as elite troops, and became quite common among German principalities after the Seven Years' War. Of special fame are the "Hessian Jaegers" due to their employment by the British in the American War of Independence. Actually there were several Jäger Korps, 'lend' from several German (not only Hessian) princes. Best known are the "Greencoats" from the landgraviate of Hessen-Kassel, since one of their captains, Johann Ewald (1744-1813), wrote a personal account of the warfare in Amercia.

Also the Perrys portrayed Ewald as a captain in their "Hesse-Kassel Jaeger command" blister, readily identifiable by his eyepatch (Ewald lost an eye in a duel in 1770). I think it's one of the most characterful miniatures Alan has ever designed!

Accordingly, I painted the soldiers as members of the 1st company (white/red pompons). The green waistcoats made of wool were part of their 'official' uniform, and were worn mainly - and understandably - in cold weather. 'Summer dress' had a lighter waistcoat of buff or off-white colour.

Most of the miniatures are modelled wearing rather irregular (gaiter) trousers. Officially the Hessen-Kassel Jäger were equipped with (off-)white breeches, stockings and gaiters. Mounted Jäger substituted boots for the gaiters. (Here's my source.) So only the Ewald figure is clad 'by the book'. I painted some of the men's trousers with stripes. Admittedly, I have no evidence for that fashion among the Jäger other than an illustration by G. Embleton in R. May's "The British Army in North America"; and it's not even very likely. So, please take it as artistic license. ;)

All Jäger units were equipped with rifled guns, enabling them to take aimed shots. There were attempts to introduce such weapons (and according fighting techniques) to the British army as well. However, these trials were abandoned shortly after the American war, not to rise again until the Napoleonic Wars.
By talking to an experienced shooter I've been told that I painted the aiming figures with the wrong (the right) eye closed. Anyway, I don't want to alter that now, because I'm happy with my total inexperience in wielding guns.

Now I feel the strong need to paint a unit of the line again - too many elite troops around so far. Though, I've to admit, it's a great relief having to paint only two miniatures per base. To date I'm not sure what AWI stuff will be next - but if you have any suggestions or wishes, you're welcome to post them here.


Secundus said...

Lovely work again. I have been thinking about your eye painting techniqueand I might give that a go. Thanks for the tip.

Anonymous said...

Great Work Tilmann!

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

..they are outstanding - the Ewald figure in particular is lovely... well done - don't care which unit is next, anyone will do! :o))

Giles said...

Very, very nice!!

Bets wishes


Militia Light Dragoon said...

I have hessian ancestry from Kassel that emigrated after the Prussian annexation of 1866. I have often wondered if I have an ancestor that fought over here in the states. It would be quite a find on top of my American patriots. I would like to get in touch with you!

Militia Light Dragoon said...

I found your guides to the Jaegers which is most appreciated. I am going to try it on my perry hessians.


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