Monday, January 23, 2017

The Erbprinz

For my second Challenge submission this week I have a single mounted figure representing Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Hereditary Prince of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Prince of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel.   Normally the history books for the Seven Years War refer to him as the Erbprinz, which is both shorter and a wicked cool German term.  The figure is taken from a Perry AWI pack of Hessian Commanders, this one cast as Baron Riedesel, the Brunswick general captured at Saratoga.

The man himself, c 1760 in the uniform of the Brunswick Lieb Infantry Regiment

The intricacies of the Brunswick Duchies and their intermarriage with their cousins the Electors of Hanover (and Kings of the United Kingdom)  would make grown men weep and wish for a stats lesson from Miles.  However, essentially the Duke of Brunswick (the Erbprinz's dad) joined the Allies and provided a contingent of solid infantry plus a cavalry men and light troops.  More importantly Brunswick contributed generals to the cause.  The Allied CinC (well after Cumberland got fired) was the Erbprinz' uncle Ferdinand, Prince of Brunswick-Lüneburg who was a Prussian Field Marshall on loan from Freddy the Great.  Ferdinand asked the Erbprinz to act as a General in the army when he took command in 1758.

The Erbprinz was only 23 in 1758 and 28 at the end of the war.  He was known as a good subordinate who was often given indecent independent and important commands.  He also became an expert in the Kleine Krieg, which means I get to field him as a high level officer in my Sharp Practice Games.  The Riedesel figure was very nicely cast and posed and had the right youthful look to be the Erbprinz, a real contrast from the Stirn figure as use as the Hanoverian Engineer Von Drumpf. 

After the Seven Years War, he became the Duke of Brunswick and served as a Prussian Field Marshall.  Yes he was THAT Duke of Brunswick.  He was on the losing end of one of Cressey's Decrisive Battles, Valmy in 1793.  However, Valmy was tactically a draw and he was hampered by the political intrigues and inertia in the Allied, not to mention dysentry in the rank and file.  He was mortally wounded on the field of Auerstadt in 1806, when he commanded the Prussian army.  You may also know of his son, the Black Duke who served with Wellington and died at Quatre Bras in 1815, or his daughter Princess Caroline of Brunswick, who married the Prince Regent and was part of one of the better Royal Scandals.  Another daughter livid a life out of a Regency Bodice Ripper.

However, let's not remember him for the bad events later in life, but as a young energetic and capable young officer.  Let's also not forget that he was seen as an benevolent and enlighten prince who was in support of the initial goals of the French Revolution.  Or that he offered safe haven after the Revolution to a former enemy de Castries who fought him at Kloster Kamp in 1760.

I tried a group shot of all 19 Highlanders plus the Erbprinz but it's not a good shot.


  1. He is a handsome specimen in 28mm. Of course, the highlanders aren't too shabby either.

    Best Regards,


  2. I've been enjoying your 18thC entries in this year's AHPC, Peter. You have a very strong force for Sharpe Practice or some such game here. I like the Erbprinz, but what is he reading in that period illustration? It looks damned saucy!

    1. Thanks Mike. I'm not sure what he's reading, but it's definitely got illustrations.

  3. I have this guy too! Wonderful figure and paints up very well.

    1. It's a very good pack of three that has lots of uses. Cheers, Jonathon.