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Battle of Minden, 1 August 1759 (Germany)

Battle of Minden, 1 August 1759 (Germany)

Battle of Minden, 1 August 1759 (Germany)

The battle of Minden took place during the Seven years War four miles north west of Minden in Westphalia Germany. Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick commanded the Allied Army made up of troops from Britain, Hanover, Hess and Prussia. Marshal the Marquis Louis de Contades commanded the French Army. The Allied objective was to reopen its communications with Hanover. An ambiguously worded command sent six British and three Hanoverian infantry battalions against the French cavalry while still in 'Line' formation a move that should have spelt disaster. Despite thisfoolhardy move, the discipline and courage of the infantry repelled three French cavalry charges and smashed the French infantry in the centre of Contades formation. The six British infantry units involved celebrate this victory as a battle honour and on 'Minden day' each year, they were The Suffolk Regt, The Royal Hampshire Regt, The Lancashire Fusiliers, The Royal Welch Fusiliers, The King's own Yorkshire Light infantry, and the King's own Scottish Borderers. A charge by the British cavalry would have turned the French defeat into a rout but it's commander Lord George Sackville refused to obey three separate orders to attack. He was later court marshalled and dismissed from Army service but then went on to be Secretary of State for America and contributed to the British defeat in the colonies.

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Minden, Battle of

MINDEN, BATTLE OF. 1 August 1759. Britain sent an expeditionary force to the continent in August 1758 as part of an Anglo-Hanoverian-Prussian army to defend George II's beloved electorate of Hanover against France. The decisive action took place a year later on the plain outside the Westphalian fortress of Minden, for which the battle was named. Six British infantry battalions, three of which had been part of the column at Fontenoy fourteen years earlier, advanced by mistake from the allied center toward the French lines. Although exposed on three sides, this force—reinforced by three Hanoverian battalions and supported by the superb allied field artillery—shattered more than fifty squadrons of French cavalry and thirty-one battalions of French infantry sent against it in a display of controlled fire discipline (rolling volleys by platoons) of which there were few peers in the eighteenth century. With a gaping hole torn in their center, the French retreated and never menaced Hanover again for the remainder of the war. Controversy swirled around the battle because the senior British officer present, George Sackville (later George Germain), was alleged to have disobeyed the orders of the army commander, Ferdinand, duke of Brunswick, to bring his right wing cavalry to the timely support of the advancing infantry. A cloud hung over Sackville for the rest of his life, including during his service as principal architect of the military response to the American rebellion. Many other veterans of the battle also played prominent roles in the war of American independence. Among those who distinguished themselves at Minden were William Phillips (commander of the artillery), Friedrich von Riedesel, Charles Grey, and Hugh Percy. The father of the marquis de Lafayette was killed leading the Touraine Regiment, which subsequently took part in the Yorktown Campaign.


Minden Day is celebrated by:

  • 12 (Minden) Battery, 12 Regiment (Royal Artillery)
  • 32 (Minden) Battery,
  • 16 Regiment Royal Artillery
  • The Royal Scots Borderers
  • 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland
  • The Royal Anglian Regiment, successor to the 12th Regiment of FootHQ Company
  • 3rd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment (Army Reserve)
  • The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, successor the 20th Regiment of FootThe Royal Welsh, successors to the 23rd Regiment of Foot
  • 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
  • 5th Battalion The Rifles
  • 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
  • The Rifles Regiment as successors of The Light Infantry, successors to the 51st Regiment of Foot
  • The North Saskatchewan Regiment (Reserve Canadian Army), successors to the Saskatoon Light Infantry, in honour of a regimental twinning with a British Army Regiment. The N.Sask.R. wears the white rose.

Bulford Kiwi: 100 Years Of Monument Commemorated


Battle of Minden, 1 August 1759 (Germany) - History

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The fighting in Europe during the Seven Years War hung in the balance. After initial successes the Austro-French forces had been driven back across the Rhine. With the opposing sides reinforcing their armies, the campaign of 1759 was going to prove decisive.

Britain and her German allies met the French at Minden in Germany. Due to a misunderstanding of orders the British infantry actually attacked and dispersed the French cavalry. That action is still commemorated on 1 August each year with the wearing of roses by the infantry and artillery regiments whose predecessors picked flowers and put them in their coats as they passed through German gardens on the way to the battle.

By contrast Lord Sackville, who commanded the British cavalry, was accused of ignoring orders to charge the retreating French which could have turned defeat into rout. He was court-martialled and cashiered.

The victory at Minden was just one in a number of British successes that years against French forces and overseas territories across the globe. This led to 1759 being described by the British as the Annus Mirabilis &ndash the year of miracles.

A pivotal engagement within the complexity of the Seven Years’ War, the Battle of Minden occurred on August 1, 1759 and was instrumental in establishing the British infantry as one of the most heavily armed and aggressive in the world. One of many British victories of that year was described at the time as ‘Annus Mirabilis of 1759’, which translated as a ‘year of miracles or wonders’. The war had not begun well for the British and the threat of a French invasion loomed large in 1759 but ended with a string of victories against our old foe across the Channel.
Stuart Reid’s very well-researched book takes time to leads us towards the battle beginning with a chapter on Hastenbeck and the Fall of Cumberland Ferdinand of Brunswick and the King’s Enemies The British Army Goes Buccaneering Highe Germanie Spring 1759 Approach March The Battle of Minden and Afterwards. An excellent spread of appendices cover a variety of subjects from orders to casualties and testimonies and accounts.

Military Modelling Magazine

Minden was one of the British victories in the 'Annus Mirabilis (year of victories) of 1759. Thanks to the author and publisher for bringing to light a non-Frederickian history of the Seven years War.

Read the full review here.

A Wargamers Needful Things

The victory at Minden was just one in a number of British successes that year against French forces and overseas territories across the globe. This led to 1759 being described by the British as the Annus Mirabilis – the year of miracles.

Pennant, Forces Pension Society

The victory at Minden was just one in a number of British successes that year against French forces and overseas territories across the globe. This led to 1759 being described by the British as the Annus Mirabilis - the year of miracles.

Mr Reid describes this to perfection in this excellent study of the Seven Year's War's most unlikely victory.

Classic Arms & Militaria, December/January 2017 - reviewed by Bill Harriman

Stuart Reid was born in Aberdeen in 1954 into a family with a tradition of service in the Army stretching back through the Battle of Mons to Culloden and beyond. He is the author of numerous military history publications and has written extensively upon Scottish military history during the seventeenth century Civil War and the Jacobite period.


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Battle of Minden

Throughout the Seven Years War, 1759 which was heralded as the ‘Year of Victories’ Britain, Prussia and Portugal were allied against France, Austria, Russia, Sweden and Poland.

Following a French victory at Bergen in Germany in April 1759, the French Army of 60,000 troops commanded by Marshal Duc Louis de Contades advanced northwards towards Hannover. In an attempt to block this, the Prussian general, Marshal Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, resolved to hold the town of Minden astride the road to Hannover and across the river Weser. His army included six British regiments of foot, the 12th, 20th, 23rd, 25th, 51st and the 37th (later to become The Hampshire Regiment).

As the French pushed on against Ferdinand’s forces, he knew that a battle was inevitable, even with his 45,000 men to the French’s 60,000, and began to move towards Minden. So, he made his way to just below Minden and left 10,000 men under the command of General Wangenheim. The 37th were under the command of General Waldegrave. Ferdinand’s plan was to tempt the French from their strong position, by placing Wangenheim’s Battalions in a place called Todtenhausen, which was half a mile below Minden. The plan worked and in the early hours of August 1 the French began to advance.

Waldegrave’s battalions were in the front line with the 37th in the centre, headed by its Commanding Officer, Lt Col A.D. Oughton.

Facing them was the mass of French cavalry squadrons. The British cavalry had not yet arrived to support the attack and the battalion numbers were low compared to the enemy. However, with the odds stacked against them, an advance was made towards the French, which would have been a great surprise to the French cavalry as they had never witnessed an unsupported infantry advance against squadrons of cavalry. The battalions suffered heavy fire the two battalions on either flank of the 37th sustained heavier losses and injuries than the 37th who were less exposed. The advance continued, and the French could do nothing but charge them. The enemy swiftly moved towards the infantry, who waited until the horseman were less than ten paces away before firing.

This fire had devastating effect on the French cavalry, who then tried to retreat swiftly, with a few remaining but were driven back by the bayonet. More French horsemen began to hurl themselves at Waldegrave’s damaged forces, but even in their wounded state they managed to stand strong and beat back the French cavalry again. The French infantry were then sent in to attack and Waldegrave’s Battalions stood fast and showed another strong front, as this was a manoeuvre unexpected for troops that were already engaged in combat.

From here the fight lasted around ten minutes, the superiority of British musketry and fire discipline showing through, resulting in many being killed and the rest retreating.

But the British infantry’s troubles were still not over their next targets were the Grenadiers of France, described as ‘fine and terrible fellows’. The infantry managed to beat them back to a distance, but their fire could not reach them, so another advance was made and the Grenadiers quickly ran away.

At this point more fresh Cavalry were advancing so the Artillery bought out the 12 pounders’

“They remained undiscovered until the enemy came, almost within pistol shot and were going to gallop down sword in hand among the poor mangled regiments we clapt our matches to the ten guns and gave them such a salute as they little expected: for we mowed them down like standing corn.” A description from the Artillery Officer
The astounding achievements from this battle were down to the highest state of coolness, courage and military discipline ever displayed. For these acts Minden was placed on the Colours of the Regiment, making it a most prized battle honour.

The Minden Rose obtained its title from the Battle of Minden.
As the Regiment’s returned from the battle soldiers picked roses and placed them in their hats in memory of their fellow infantry men who had fallen in battle. It is now customary for the Regiment to wear a small red rose behind the Cap Badge in the headdress, every year on the 1st August, to commemorate Minden Day.


The Battle of Minden 1759: The Miraculous Victory of the Seven Years War

"The Miraculous Victory" ? How could I resist with a title like this? Was this some Rorke&aposs Drift-like epic on the mid 18th century I didn&apost know anything about? I quickly parted with my sterling during a recent visit to Foyles.

A readable book with a maddening lack of maps to help follow the narrative. One will learn something of the continental war waged between King George II&aposs Hanoverian allies (with a smallish British land contingent) against the French during the Seven "The Miraculous Victory" ? How could I resist with a title like this? Was this some Rorke's Drift-like epic on the mid 18th century I didn't know anything about? I quickly parted with my sterling during a recent visit to Foyles.

A readable book with a maddening lack of maps to help follow the narrative. One will learn something of the continental war waged between King George II's Hanoverian allies (with a smallish British land contingent) against the French during the Seven Years War.

Definitely a book for the specialist (although, as I said, it was readable). Chock-o-block with appendices including the full list of uniform colors of every unit (an homage to tabletop wargaming?). Thrill to the transcript of the inquiry into the alleged disgraceful performance of the British commander and his mishandling of the cavalry. Read yet another account of bungled British raids on France in an attempt to distract the French from invading.

And that "miraculous victory"? Well, at Minden, the British advanced, the French attacked, slaughter ensued, and the French withdrew. Hanover saved! It is all over in a handful of pages and you almost don't even realize it has even happened. The actual battle of Minden doesn't occur until late in the book as the story is really about the period 1757-59.

You can tell it is a specialist book as the book jacket blurbs all come from actual battle participants.

Read this to enhance your curiosity about wars of the Enlightenment told from a point of view other than Prussia or Austria. And be sure to have some other reference with better maps (unless you are au fait with central German geography/ town placement or the immediate environs of St. Malo) - Suggestion : His Britannic Majesty's Army In Germany During the Seven Year's War . more


The Battle of Minden

A plan showing the Battle of Minden, an important engagement in the Seven Years War. An Anglo-German force under Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick faced the French under the Marquis de Contades, the Marshal of France. The French army took Minden in July, and Ferdinand was determined to lure them out to fight. As they marched to the battleground, many of the English soldiers picked red roses from the nearby fields and wore them into battle. The French came to meet the allied forces on 1 August, and were attacked by Ferdinand before they had finished crossing the River Weser. Due to miscommunication, two of the English infantry brigades attacked the body of the French army without any support. In a panic, the British artillery commander, Captain William Phillips, forced his troops forward to help, a highly unusual move. As they approached the French, the British infantry then remained in line rather than forming the traditional square, holding off three successive waves of cavalry and destroying the formation of the French. This attack of infantry on cavalry ​ “ is the first recorded incident of this kind in military history”. It was a striking victory for the Anglo-German forces, although both sides sustained heavy losses, and was part of the ​ ‘ Year of Victories’ which saw Britain win multiple battles against the French. The result of the battle was well received in Britain, and six British regiments incorporated the red rose or another reference to Minden into their tradition.

The use of overlays on maps, particularly battle plans, is recorded on manuscript maps in Britain as early as the sixteenth century. Their use on printed maps, however, was pioneered by Major General William Roy (1726–1790), a military cartographer. The use of overlays was born from a need to show multiple events on one sheet, particularly suited to recording military campaigns, and provoked a rash of mapmakers using the same technique. Roy produced a plan of the Battle of Minden (published in the Hague and London), and the present example is probably a derivative: a plan showing the latest victory in Europe using the latest cartographic techniques.

Although largely forgotten now, the Battle of Minden has inspired a curious tradition: an anonymous donor sends six red roses every year, one for each of the ​ “ Minden Regiments”, to the British Consulate in Chicago.


Battle of Minden

The Battle of Minden was a battle fought on August 1, 1759 during the Seven Years' War. A Prussian-Hanoverian-British army under Prince Ferdinand of 42,500 men fought a French army of 54,000 men.

Contades placed his artillery in the center protected only by the cavalry. His infantry were placed on either flank, an exception to the norm of the era in which the cavalry were usually placed on the flanks and the infantry in the centre.

The battle began on the French right flank, where Marshal de Broglie, who commanded the reserve, began an assault on the allied left. In the centre, due to a misunderstanding of orders, a brigade of British infantry, supported by the Hanoverian Guards, actually advanced to attack the French cavalry. Decimated by French shot and canister, these stalwart infantry actually succeeded in driving off repeated French cavalry charges and inflicted serious casualties on Contades' horsemen.

Supported by the well-served British and Hanoverian artillery, the entire allied line eventually advanced against the French army and sent it fleeing from the field. The only French troops capable of mounting any significant resistance were those of Broglie, who formed a fighting rear guard.

This crowning victory for the allies was only marred by the conduct of Sir George Sackville, Ferdinand's cavalry commander. Sackville ignored repeated positive orders to bring up his troopers and charge the enemy until it was too late to make a difference. For his conduct at the battle he was later tried by court martial and declared ". unfit to serve His Majesty in any capacity whatsoever."

Prince Ferdinand's army had nevertheless won the day, suffering 2,800 fatalities the French lost between 10,000 and 11,000 men.

The father of the Marquis de La Fayette was killed in this battle. Marshal de Contades was subsequently relieved of his command and replaced by the Duc de Broglie, mentioned above, who had commanded the reserve on the French right flank.

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Tinted line engraving, artist unknown, published by Carrington Bowles, 1759 (c).

Minden, in Germany, was one of the greatest Allied victories of the Seven Years War (1756-1763). After a series of minor successes, a French army about 44,000 strong confronted an Anglo-Hanoverian force of about 37,000.

Owing to a misunderstanding, the Allied infantry attacked prematurely, in the face of devastating French artillery fire, losing one-third of its men in the process. Despite these losses, the Allied battalions routed the French cavalry which opposed them. This feat prompted the French commander, Marshal Contades, to remark, 'I never thought to see a single line of infantry break through three lines of cavalry ranked in order of battle, and tumble them to ruin.'

However, when the Allied cavalry was ordered to charge to complete the victory, its commander, Lord George Sackville, refused to give the order to advance, and the opportunity was wasted.

The battle lasted about five hours. The French lost about 7-10,000 men, the Allies about 3,000, mostly amongst their attacking infantry. British regiments which participated in the attack still celebrate 'Minden Day' in honour of their predecessors' achievements.


'The Vikings' Return Home To Commemorate Minden Day

1st Batallion The Royal Anglian Regiment received operational medals on the 260th anniversary of 'The Battle of the Roses'.

The 260th anniversary of The Battle of Minden has been marked by 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment in London, as it was welcomed home from operations abroad.

'The Vikings' marched through Royal Artillery Barracks, recognising their heritage, before the Duke of Gloucester rewarded them for recent service in South Sudan and Afghanistan.

Minden Day: What Is It And Why Is It Commemorated?

Minden Day recognises the events of 1 August 1759, when 41,000 allied troops, including 10,000 British, defeated 51,000 French and Saxon soldiers in north-west Germany, while wearing roses plucked from hedgerows.

The Vikings' predecessors, the 12th Foot, were one of the six victorious regiments. Now, wearing roses in headdresses as part of an annual tradition, the battalion was welcomed home by families.

Commanding Officer of the Royal Anglian Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Phill Moxey, said: "What’s important about Minden Day is that it’s a fantastic demonstration of the values and the courage and the loyalty of the British infantrymen – the very basic soldiering skills that were celebrated then and are still celebrated today."

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More recent battalion activity, including Advisor Force Protection in Kabul and United Nations peacekeeping in South Sudan, was recognised by campaign medals presented by the Duke of Gloucester.

Lance Corporal Luke Petchui was part of the protecting force for the engineers providing aid for refugees in South Sudan. Upon his return home, he told Forces News:

“It was very good - knowing you’re helping and seeing the development of another country."

Standing by in their numbers were the military families, many seeing their loved ones for the first time in half a year.

Platoon Commander, Captain Toby Reed, emphasised the role they play: "We’re very much a family regiment and a family battalion.

"It’s a chance to thank the soldiers for the hard work that they’ve done…but also to thank the families and the loved ones here, who support us – especially when we’re away, that’s when you feel it the most."

The regiment will be reunited with loved ones for six weeks before it prepares for its next challenge.


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