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Batle of Dettingen


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Battle of Dettingen 1743.

  • Dettingen
    • In the long list of valorous deed performed by British Infantry the stubborn fight in the trap at Dettingen stands out.  Well-fed troops have often done much, but when Englishmen, Scotsmen and Irishmen are fighting, not only for their King, but for their dinner, they have, in the words of Carlyle, "the depths of potential rage almost unquenchable".  The war of the Spanish succession found England helping Maria Theresa against France and Spain, but, more important still, fighting for the Colonial Empire to be, that "half the world industrial", then locked up under the seal of bigotry and oppression.  Frederick of Prussia had joined the two Continental Powers, and so it fell out that in 1743 an English army under Lord Stair, with George II and his son, afterwards to be known as "The Culloden Butcher" was encamped at Aschaffenburg, in Central Germany.  Opposed to this body of 16,000 British and 24,000 Hessians and Hanoverians, were 70,000 French under the Marshal de Noailles.  Outmanoeuvred and provisionless, it became necessary to Stair to fall back on Hanau, his depot.  Agincourt was repeated.  A body of 25,000 of the enemy was drawn across the Maine between Dettingen and Hanau, under the command of the nephew of De Noailles, the fire-eating De Grammont.  De Noailles had planned that De Grammont should await the British as they struggled desparingly through the morass and the stream, between him and them, and that those who escaped a withering cross-fire should be destroyed to a man.  No generalship seemed more certain in its reckoning.  With blind, unthinking courage George and his men advanced on what appeared assured destruction.  The sight of a King and his army delivered into his hands was, however, too much for De Grammont, surrounded by firebrands as impetuous as himself.  He could not wait, and bustled from his fastness through the stream and across the swamp that should have been so impassable to his foe.  The British, too, continued their forward movement, and presently there was the shock of battle.  First the light squadrons of the British cavalry met the heavier enemy, and fell back on their own infantry still doggedly plodding on.  Not until this sturdy wall of men was within sixty paces of the French did they open fire.  On they went, mowing down the foe, and the De Grammont hurled his whole force of cavalry at them.  The first files were ridden over, but, opening their ranks, the British raked the doomed horsemen through and across.  Finally, as a last resort, De Grammont commanded the French Guards to make a flank attack.  But, panic stricken, they flung their arms away and rushed madly into the river.  6,000 of the French were killed or wounded and De Noailles' hopes shattered.  In the fight George's horse bolted and dismounted him, whereupon the brave King said he would remain on foot and trust his legs not to run away with him.  Wolfe, as a young subaltern of sixteem, was present at this fight.

The Scots Greys during the Battle of Dettingen

Their next tour of active service came in 1742, when they were ordered abroad. George II was assisting Austria against Bavaria, France and Prussia. Lord Stair upon whom the mantle of Marlborough had certainly not descended, managed to get himself shut up in a regular trap. The army was closed in on nearly every side in a narrow valley, a sort of gut between the river Maine and the hills, cut off from forage and supplies of all sorts by the French Marshal, Noailles. It was at this critical juncture that George himself, with his son the Duke of Cumberland, who was soon to gain unenviable notoriety as the "Butcher of Culloden", joined his army. Nothing could be done except to retreat to Hanau, in order to join hands with the Hanovarians and Hessians who were there. Accordingly the army moved away, silently and stealthily. But the French received notice of the movement, and a large force was drawn up directly in their path, with orders to engage the English until the main body of the French could cross the river and fall upon them. The French tactics were simple - tremendous volleys musketry fire followed by cavalry charges. The Greys, now wearing the high-pointed grenadier caps, supported the infantry for a time, but chafing at their restraint, the colonel, James Campbell, a splendid leader let them loose at the enemy. Uttering a tremendous yell, the Greys charged like a whirlwind, and so admirably was the distance calculated, that they fell at just the right moment upon the French and Prussian armour-clad horsemen, whom they hurled back and chased to the very rear of their line. The blood of officers and men alike was at fever heat. Nothing could withstand their onslaught. With renewed impetus they dashed at the French Household mailed warriors, utterly swept them off the field, and captured their standard - a magnificent affair, made of white damask, richly embroidered with gold and silver - and the field of Dettingen was won. The most amazing circumstance in connection with the prominent part which the regiment took in the battle was the extremely slight casualty list. One officer and a few troopers were wounded, and only four horses were killed, and two wounded.

Excerpt from the Navy and Army Illustrated January 15th 1897 by G F Bacon

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King George II Knighting Trooper Brown After the Battle of Dettingen by J P Beadle.


King George II Knighting Trooper Brown After the Battle of Dettingen by J P Beadle.

Private Thomas Brown of the 3rd kings own regiment of Dragoons, is knighted by King George the II, (The last reigning British Monarch to be at a Battle) Brown had recaptured the regimental guidon from the French during the battle
Item Code : DHM0322King George II Knighting Trooper Brown After the Battle of Dettingen by J P Beadle. - Editions Available
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The Charge of the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons at Tolnay by William Barnes Wollen.
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Battle of Dettingen by John Wootton.


Battle of Dettingen by John Wootton.

Depicting King George II overlooking the Battle of Dettingen. He was the last British monarch to be at a battle.
Item Code : VAR0208Battle of Dettingen by John Wootton. - Editions Available
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Charge of the Third Dragoons, Battle of Dettingen by Harry Payne.


Charge of the Third Dragoons, Battle of Dettingen by Harry Payne.

Item Code : VAR0607Charge of the Third Dragoons, Battle of Dettingen by Harry Payne. - Editions Available
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ANTIQUE
CHROMOLITHOGRAPH
Original chromolithograph plate published by Raphael Tuck and Sons, 1915.
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Battle of Dettingen, 1743 by Henry Dupray. (P)


Battle of Dettingen, 1743 by Henry Dupray. (P)

Item Code : HD0007Battle of Dettingen, 1743 by Henry Dupray. (P) - Editions Available
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Original antique print c.1890, mounted on card at the time.
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