View Full Version : A battle probably forgotten by most...

martin schulz
08-10-2009, 09:35 AM
In the Battle of Minden, an Allied Anglo-German army under Prince Ferdinand defeated a French army under the Marquis de Contades on 1 August 1759 during the Seven Years' War.


The battle began on the French right flank, where Marshal de Broglie, who commanded the reserve, began an artillery duel against 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, they drove off repeated French cavalry charges with musket fire and inflicted serious casualties on the French 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 de Broglie, who formed a fighting rear guard.


Prince Ferdinand's army suffered 2,800 fatalities; the French lost between 10,000 and 11,000 men.

Ferdinand's cavalry commander, Sir George Sackville, was accused of ignoring repeated orders to bring up his troopers and charge the enemy until it was too late to make a difference. In order to clear his name he requested a court martial, but the evidence against him was substantial and the court martial declared him "...unfit to serve His Majesty in any capacity whatsoever." Sackville would later reappear as Lord George Germain and bear a major portion of the blame for the American Revolution.

The father of the General Lafayette was killed in this battle.

Marshal de Contades was subsequently relieved of his command and replaced by the Duc de Broglie.


08-10-2009, 09:41 AM
Probably forgotten by most?

What about all those Seven Years' War re-enactors!?!
Schlacht bei Minden is the party scene of the summer. Rock on for the 150th anniversary!! ;)

martin schulz
08-10-2009, 09:45 AM
Probably forgotten by most?

What about all those Seven Years' War re-enactors!?!
Schlacht bei Minden is the party scene of the summer. Rock on for the 150th anniversary!! ;)

Well War re-enactments are not really popular here. I knew about this battle, which is a nice example for classic warfare, because Minden is not far away and I have been there very often.

I thought that probably nobody will know about this decisive battle. Sorry rbgarr!

martin schulz
08-10-2009, 10:04 AM
Lord Sackville is probably the most "noted" personality in the battle

George Germain, 1st Viscount Sackville PC (26 January 1716 – 26 August 1785), known as Lord George Sackville until 1770 and as Lord George Germain from 1770 to 1782, was a British soldier and politician who was Secretary of State for America in Lord North's cabinet during the American Revolution. His ministry received much of the blame for Britain's loss of her American colonies. His issuance of detailed instructions in military matters, coupled with his failure to understand either the geography of the colonies or the determination of the colonists, may justify this conclusion. He had two careers. His military career had some distinction, but ended with a court martial. His political career ended with the North ministry after the loss of the American colonies.

Military career

In the Battle of Minden on 1 August 1759, British/Hanoverian infantry of the center made an ill advised advance on the French cavalry/artillery in that sector. They apparently went in without orders. Their attacking line formation even repulsed repeated French cavalry charges by holding until the last moment then firing a massive volley when the charge came within ten yards. As the disrupted French began to fall back on Minden, Ferdinand called for a British cavalry charge to complete the victory, but Sackville withheld permission for their advance. Ferdinand sent his order several times, but Sackville was estranged from Lord Granby, the force commander. He continued to withhold permission for Granby to gain glory through an attack, and the allies lost the opportunity for a decisive victory or a rout. For this action, he was cashiered and sent home.

Sackville refused to accept responsibility for refusing to obey orders. Back in England, he demanded a court martial, and made it a large enough issue that he obtained his demand in 1760. The court found him guilty, and imposed one of the strangest and strongest verdicts ever rendered against a general officer. The court's verdict not only upheld his discharge, but ruled that he was "...unfit to serve his Majesty in any military capacity whatsoever", then ordered that their verdict be read to and entered in the orderly book of every regiment in the Army. The king had his name struck from the Privy Council rolls.

Political career

Sackville had been a Member of Parliament at intervals since 1741. He had served terms in both the Dublin and the Westminster bodies, sometimes simultaneously, but had not taken sides in political wrangles. As George III took the throne, he began his political rehabilitation. There did not seem to be negative repercussions to the European stalemate of the Seven Year's War. The victories over the French within the colonial empire provided a chance for events of the war to be forgotten. The difficulty of repaying the debts incurred to fight the war caused a period of unstable ministries and shifting political alliances. In 1763, King George quietly returned him to the rolls of the Privy Council. He increasing lined up as a supporter of Lord North and, in 1769, he made this alliance formal. Then, in 1769, Lady Elizabeth Germain died without natural heirs, and left her estates to him. This not only improved his finances, it also gave him the chance to take that name formally. After 1770, he was known as Lord George Germain.

On 10 November, 1775, Germain was appointed Secretary of State for the American Department. At that time, North's cabinet had three secretaries of state; one each for Europe (the Northern Department), America, and the rest of the world (the Southern Department). Besides international relations, these secretaries were responsible for a great deal of Colonial administration and for military operations within their area. This made Germain the primary minister responsible for suppressing the revolt in the colonies. He promoted or relieved Generals, took care of provisions and supplies, and became involved with the strategic planning of the war. His general approach was based on his idea that "...the rabble ... ought not trouble themselves with politics and government, which they do not understand." and that "...these country clowns cannot whip us."

08-10-2009, 10:05 AM
I agree that probably nobody knew about it. Looks like grim battle terrain in the print.

08-10-2009, 11:04 AM
If there were southern Confederates around then, They would NEVER forget!!!:D

Andrew Craig-Bennett
08-10-2009, 11:09 AM
Ah, yes, the Seven Years War, aka Britain and Prussia V Everybody Else, in which Britain gained an empire ...and Frederick the Great gained a reputation.

I've often thought that Prussia got a raw deal. Frederick seems to have thought so, too.

Osborne Russell
08-11-2009, 02:49 PM
If there were southern Confederates around then, They would NEVER forget!!!:D

Because, curiously, there would be huge numbers of northern Confederates to remind them.

Osborne Russell
08-11-2009, 02:51 PM
Isn't this one of the Britain/France wars, a series, one of which, or a chapter of which, was fought in North America, to defend English colonies, and the scalps of English colonists?

08-11-2009, 03:28 PM
Called the French and Indian War around here. 'The Last of the Mohicans' and all that. We actually had a big battle in this war here in Mobile, where the Brits attacked and took Fort Conde and turned it into Fort Charlotte. I can only imagine how miserable they all were. Heck, the French were probably glad to have lost (Mobile is where Walter Reed and Col. Gorgas came to test their malaria vaccine)! As I recall the British held Mobile and Fort Charlotte until a Spanish fleet sailed from New Orleans and kicked them out during the American Revolution.

Mickey Lake

08-11-2009, 04:26 PM
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/30412 :D