The campaigns of 1793-95 saw the first significant British contribution to the war against Revolutionary France, during unsuccessful attempts to defend the Austrian Netherlands and then the Dutch Republic. However in order to be able to field a worthwhile army the British government had to hire a large number of German troops, which came from five main German states. This book is split into two parts, with the first looking at the recruitment of those contingents, the campaign itself, and the German troops contribution to the allied campaign, while the second part examines the five contingents in detail, looking at their numbers, officers, organisation, uniforms etc.
Part I looks at the campaigns themselves, which began with a coalition of British, Austrian, Prussian, German and Dutch troops planning to invade France and ended with the French occupation of the Austrian Netherlands and the Dutch Republic, and the British and German forces retreating into Germany before dispersing to their respective homes. The British contingent was commanded by the Duke of York, but with constant interference from London, and one theme of the book is how the limited British and German troops available to him were moved around to cope with the changing plans. I found the details of how these units were recruited to be of most interest, looking at the diplomatic negotiations involved, the limited terms and conditions under which each contingent operated, and how the British government interpreted them. There always seems to have been something of a clash here, with the German princes wanting their troops to be kept close enough for their actions to help protect their homelands from the French, while the British government had ambitious plans for operations all around the world.
I must admit the second part of the book feels like an expanded Osprey volume, with lots of details about uniform colours, regimental colours etc, along with information about their organisation, including the senior officers, how the units were structured, and a brief summary of their contribution to the campaign. This does contain information not presented in part I, as not all of the German units were used on the front line, and helps bring the more scattered material in part one together.
This is quite a specialist book – if you are interested in this campaign, or the British use of German auxiliaries then it will be of great interest.
Part I: The Campaigns in the Low Countries
1 - Making up the Numbers
2 - Early Successes
3 - The Army of Observation
4 - More Troops, but for What?
5 - High Hopes for 1794
6 - Defending the United Provinces
7 - Back in Germany and the Return Home
8 - Was it Worth it?
Part II: The German Contingents
9 - Hanover
10 - Hesse Cassel
11 - Baden
12 - Hesse Darmstadt
13 - Brunswick
I - Preliminary Articles between Great Britain and Hanover, 4 March 1793
II - Subsidy Treaty between Great Britain and Hesse Cassel, 10 April 1793
III - Subsidy Treaty between Great Britain and Brunswick, 8 November 1794
IV - German Armies in the Early 1790s
V - Infantry Tactics
VI - Orders of Battle and Effective Strength of the German Contingents
VII - Sources on Uniforms
Author: Paul Demet