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Quiz about The Black Brunswickers
Quiz about The Black Brunswickers

The Black Brunswickers Trivia Quiz


Formed in 1809, this volunteer force from the tiny German state of Brunswick fought in three seperate campaigns ending with their contribution to the Battle of Waterloo. How much do you know about them?

A multiple-choice quiz by spaceowl. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
spaceowl
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
348,610
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
197
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Question 1 of 10
1. Who was responsible for raising the Brunswick Corps in 1809? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Why did Friedrich Wilhelm choose black as the uniform colour for the majority of his men? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. What was the fate of the Brunswickers in the 1809 campaign? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. After reorganisation, the Black Corps were sent to join Wellington's army in Spain. Which Division were they attached to? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. What military failing did the Black Brunswickers get a bad reputation for in the Peninsular War? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Friedrich Wilhelm returned to his throne in 1814, but within a year was back at war again with his reorganised army after Bonaparte's escape from Elba. Which famous British poet and rake namechecked the Duke in his poem 'The Eve of Waterloo'? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Where was the Black Corps' first encounter with the French in the 1815 Campaign? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. How did Duke Friedrich Wilhelm die on 16th June at the Battle of Quatre Bras? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. At which famous spot on the Battlefield of Waterloo did the Brunswick Leibgarde, Avantgarde and 1st Light Battalion serve along with British troops on June 18th 1815? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. The glamour of the Black Brunswicker uniform inspired this member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood to use it as a subject for an 1860 painting. Who was the artist? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Who was responsible for raising the Brunswick Corps in 1809?

Answer: Duke Friedrich Wilhelm

The Black Corps was raised by the Duke of Brunswick, Friedrich Wilhelm, who in 1809 was in exile in Austria. Austria did supply uniforms and equipment, and a subsudy from the British government financed it, but the idea for the Corps was The Duke of Brunswick's own.
Prussia, reeling from the defeat of 1806, took no part in the war of 1809.
2. Why did Friedrich Wilhelm choose black as the uniform colour for the majority of his men?

Answer: It was a gesture of mourning for his father

Friedrich Wilhelm's father, Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, had been a high-ranking general in the Prussian Army when he was killed at the Battle of Auerstädt in 1806. The occupation of his duchy by the French made his son flee to Austria where he waited for a chance to hit back at them. When Austria declared war on France, he returned to his own lands and raised the Black Corps, clothing them in black uniforms in mourning for his father.

Black cloth was actually quite expensive before the discovery of chemical dyes, and the troops of the pre-1806 Brunswick army had been indistinguishable from Prussian soldiers in blue coats with yellow facings. The black uniforms do, admittedly, look extremely cool - especially those of the Hussar Regiment.
3. What was the fate of the Brunswickers in the 1809 campaign?

Answer: Fought through Germany and were picked up by the Royal Navy and taken to England

The Brunswickers, although a force of less than 2000 men (three infantry battalions, one sharpshooter company, a hussar regiment and a battery of cannons) fought north through Saxony after the Austrian surrender, defeating several times their number of French allies and finally being evacuated from the small port of Elsfleth on the River Weser by the Royal Navy.

They were moved to Heligoland Island, then to the Isle of Wight where they were reorganised and re-equipped.
4. After reorganisation, the Black Corps were sent to join Wellington's army in Spain. Which Division were they attached to?

Answer: 7th Division

Although organised as a single battalion of light infantry, they were attached to a brigade of British 7th Division - 'Stopford's Mongrels', as they were known, a name the division earned through its multinational makeup and raffish reputation. In the Peninsular War, they served under Brigadier Von Alten, a Hanoverian officer, alongside the British 85th (Bucks Volunteers) Light Infantry and the Chasseurs Britanniques, a fellow exile unit composed at least intially from French Royalists.
5. What military failing did the Black Brunswickers get a bad reputation for in the Peninsular War?

Answer: Desertion

The Black Corps were a long way from Brunswick - which was in enemy hands anyway. So, when they started taking casualties in battle they had to be less than fussy where they got their new recruits from. Danes, Spaniards, Germans who had deserted from the French and even Croats were found on the Brunswickers' nominal rolls, and desertion from their ranks was high, as with the Chasseurs Britanniques, which seemed to serve as a revolving door to get French prisoners of war back to their old army. Desertion was only a problem off the battlefield, however, as in both units in battle a hard core of experienced NCOs kept discipline, with the result that both units of exiles gave a decent account of themselves in combat.

The Brunswickers were no more guilty of the other crimes than any British unit of that more brutal time, although, along with my local regiment, the 68th (Durham) Light Infantry, the Brunswickers were accused at one time of eating the 95th Rifles' mascot, a dog called 'Rifle'. As they used to say when I was in the army, 'if you can't take a joke you shouldn't have joined up'.
6. Friedrich Wilhelm returned to his throne in 1814, but within a year was back at war again with his reorganised army after Bonaparte's escape from Elba. Which famous British poet and rake namechecked the Duke in his poem 'The Eve of Waterloo'?

Answer: Byron

Old 'Mad, bad and dangerous to know' himself. As he put it:

'Within a windowed niche of that high hall
Sat Brunswick's fated chieftain; he did hear
That sound the first amidst the festival,
And caught its tone with death's prophetic ear;
And when they smiled because he deemed it near,
His heart more truly knew that peal too well
Which stretched his father on a bloody bier,
And roused the vengeance blood alone could quell;
He rushed into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell.'
- 'The Eve of Waterloo' by Robert, Lord Byron

Brunswick's Army was bigger now, though still clad in black. In her diary Lady de Lancey described them as 'a mournful sight, resembling a huge walking hearse'! The Duke was at the Duchess of Richmond's famous ball on the evening before the French were spotted north of Charleroi, and was amongst the first commanders to get his units on the road.
7. Where was the Black Corps' first encounter with the French in the 1815 Campaign?

Answer: Quatre Bras

The entire Brunswick Army fought at Quatre Bras, the first time since 1809 they had all fought together. The Army was now up to eight infantry battalions (one of them the Duke's lifeguard), a hussar regiment, a squadron of lancers and two batteries of artillery, the strongest force that the tiny state had ever put into the field.

It was, however, very inexperienced, the average age of a Brunswick soldier being seventeen, with only a very small cadre of experienced men to hold it together. For an utterly inexperienced army, the Brunswickers didn't do too badly, although at least two infantry battalions broke and ran at one point during the day.

At the close of Quatre Bras, they had lost 584 officers and men, including the gallant Duke Friedrich Wilhelm.
8. How did Duke Friedrich Wilhelm die on 16th June at the Battle of Quatre Bras?

Answer: Shot in the torso while trying to rally his troops

The Duke, realising how brittle his young army was, led from the front in a very 'hands on' manner, walking along the ranks smoking a pipe as they readied for combat, leading an unsuccessful charge by the Uhlan (lancer) Squadron and personally rallying battalions when they broke.

It was while he was doing this in the early evening that a shot pierced his hand and penetrated into his liver. He died of blood loss in minutes and was carried from the field. A large marble monument now marks the place on the Brussels-Charleroi Road where he fell.
9. At which famous spot on the Battlefield of Waterloo did the Brunswick Leibgarde, Avantgarde and 1st Light Battalion serve along with British troops on June 18th 1815?

Answer: Hougoumont Chateau

Now under the nominal leadership of Oberst Olfermanns, the Colonel of the Leibgarde Battalion, the Brunswickers were split into three parts; the two guard battalions and a light battalion at Hougoumont, the Uhlans and Hussars with the other allied cavalry and the remainder of the army in reserve in the second line. Against British commanders' expectations, the Hougoumont detachment served as steadily as any veteran British unit on the day, and were favourably remembered afterwards.
10. The glamour of the Black Brunswicker uniform inspired this member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood to use it as a subject for an 1860 painting. Who was the artist?

Answer: Millais

John Everett Millais (1829-1896) was so enamoured with the black hussar uniform that he used it in his painting 'The Black Brunswicker' which shows a Hussar officer enjoying a last embrace from his sweetheart before he departs for battle. Although rather sentimental for modern taste, it is still a powerful scene, the black of the hussar figure contrasting strongly with the pearl-grey of his companion.

It is usually stated that the scene depicts the couple's leave-taking from the Duchess of Richmond's Ball on the night before Quatre Bras.

Although by then forty-five years before, the dark glamour of the Brunswickers' uniforms could still draw the eye.
Source: Author spaceowl

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor bloomsby before going online.
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