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'WE ARE ACCUSTOMED TO DO OUR DUTY'. GERMAN AUXILIARIES WITH THE BRITISH ARMY 1793-95

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Helion & Company August 2018 Hardback 234mm x 156mm 264 pages 14 colour plates, 10 b/w maps, 6 b/w ills, 26 tables

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"Britain was totally unprepared for war with France in 1793 and relied on German auxiliaries to supplement her own meagre resources to pursue her strategy in the Low Countries and beyond. The contingents were drawn from the smaller German states, whose armies still followed the rigid linear tactics of Frederick the Great. They therefore had to adapt to deal with the new threat posed by the mass French armies, with a greater emphasis on light troops and more flexible tactics.

Although the German troops formed a major part of the Allied army in the Low Countries, there has been no detailed English-language account of their role. Their story is told here for the first time, based on extensive research in British and German archives, together with contemporary accounts and 19th Century German sources.

Previously unpublished information is given on the process of negotiating the treaties with the German princes, the organisation of the troops taken into British pay, and their experience on campaign, focussing on the key events for the various contingents. Their varied and colourful uniforms are also described and illustrated from contemporary sources.

The German auxiliaries fought bravely, often against overwhelming odds, and the failure of the campaigns owes more to disunity among the allies and the muddled and unrealistic policies of the British government than any shortcomings of the troops on the ground."

Additional Information

Author Paul Demet
Publisher Helion and Company
ISBN 9781912174966
Date of Publication August 2018
Edition -
Binding Hardback
Book Size 234mm x 156mm
Number of pages 264 pages
Images 14 colour plates, 10 b/w maps, 6 b/w ills, 26 tables
Language English text
SKU HEL0888

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  1. A mine of information! review by Colin on 04/10/2018

    The book covers the significant contribution played by German auxiliaries to supplement Britain's army in the Low Countries during the War of the 1st Coalition. The first part of the book covers the campaigns in the Low Countries from 1793-95, including the highs and lows of the campaign culminating in the retreat back into Germany.

    Part two is going to be very useful to any warmers or collectors who fancies including some of these units in their Allied army for fighting the French in Flanders. Troops were recruited from Hanover, Hesse Cassel, Baden, Hesse Darmstadt and Brunswick, and the composition of the various contingents is covered in detail, including for each unit its organisation, uniforms and where appropriate its flags. I've always been aware that, rather obviously, Hanover provided troops to the British, given that George III was the Elector of Hanover, but it is interesting to read about the terms upon which this arrangement was made. The same applies to the other armies, and the Subsidy Treaties between Britain and Hesse Cassel and Brunswick are included.

    The book contains many lovely contemporary colour uniform plates as well as black and white illustrations and a number of useful maps and diagrams. It has been extensively and exhaustively researched from both English and German language sources including previously unpublished materiel and contains a helpful bibliography for any more serious scholars out there.

    In short, an excellent book and well worth the money, especially for people with an interest in the War of the First Coalition. For me this is the best book so far in Helion's From Reason to Revolution 1721-1815 series.

  2. Helion again brings us a book of fine detail on a neglected subject review by King on 06/09/2018

    German auxiliaries, often lumped under the one term 'Hessians', pop up a lot in so many campaigns. This book, using the example of a war against Revolutionary France sheds light on how they a country would arrange to take them on, how they fought, and the benefits and pitfuls of using them.

    Detailing the forces of a number of German states, lots of information about uniforms is included (along with contemporary images) as well as the text of the treaties that each operated under.

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