The Battle of Emsdorf
War: Seven Years War
Date: 14th July 1760
Place: Central West Germany in modern Hessia
21st and 15th Light Dragoons
Six battalions of Hanoverian and Hessian infantry, some irregular cavalry under Luckner, jägers and the newly raised British 15th Light Dragoons. The French units were five battalions of the Royal Bavière and the Anhalt regiments, German mercenaries, and a regiment of hussars, which at that time
would have been recruited from Hungary.
The Erbprinz of Hesse-Kassel against Marechal de Camp Glaubitz.
Size of the armies: The two forces were roughly the same size at around 3,000 men.
Uniforms, arms and equipment
All regular European soldiers of this time fought in a knee length uniform coat, turned back at the skirt, cuffs and lapels to reveal a distinctive regimental lining colour. Headgear was a black tricorne hat with a lace brim, except for grenadiers who wore a tall mitre cap. The uniform was white for
the majority of French regiments but the foreign infantry regiments in the French service wore red coats or, as in the case of the German regiments at Emsdorf, dark blue. The troops of Hesse-Darmstadt followed the Prussian tradition and wore blue. The British and Hanoverians wore red. The light dragoon regiments were a departure for the British army, wearing a standard red dragoon uniform coat,
but with a novel Roman-style crested leather skull cap.
Winner: Resoundingly the Erbprinz’s force.
The 15th Light Dragoons: later the 15th King’s Royal Hussars, then the 15th/19th King’s Royal Hussars and now the Light Dragoons. The 15th had only recently been formed and had seen no action as a regiment. Its colonel was Augustus Elliott, subsequently to gain a considerable reputation as the governor of
Gibraltar during the siege in the American War of Independence. Many of the recruits to the 15th are said to have been tailors who were on strike when the regiment was being raised.
Prince Ferdinand’s army with 66,000 men was seriously threatened in North West German by the Duc de Broglie’s army of the Rhine with 130,000 men. Broglie threatened to envelope Ferdinand’s right flank and to cut him off from Westphalia. Rather than fall back across the Diemel, Ferdinand decided to raid Broglie’s rear
depot at Marberg in the hope that this would force Broglie to withdraw to cover his line of communication.