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Grenadiers were one of the flank companies of most regiments. Most only had a single company. The Guards had three. As you can see there were exceptions. The other flank company was the light infantry. Both forces when going into battle would often be brigaded with other Grenadier or Light Infantry companies to maximize their effectiveness. As a flank company they drew from the battalion companies. They would not pick just anyone. They would pick the best and the brightest to be in their company. They were the highlight of the regiment.
The Grenadiers tended to be the most tactically smart soldiers in a regiment. For this they were rewarded the place of honor when in marching formation, the right side. The grenadiers also had a special duty, the colour ceremony. In the colour ceremony they would guard the colours(flags) of their regiment. They were also known as the color escort.
The Grenadiers original job was to hurl lead grenades packed with gunpowder to weaken the enemies lines. The mitre cap of the Seven Years' War, and the later bearskin cap was a direct result of this. It allowed them to throw a grenade overhand while not knocking off their hat. It would meet punishment if their hat fell off.
The grenadier was a dangerous position during the Seven Years' War (not saying it wasn't dangerous during the American Revolution), but it was common to have a grenade go off to soon and blow off a limb, or even kill someone. In the American Revolution the grenade was not considered an essential asset to the war. It caused needless injuries and death, so the age of the grenade would end for the time being.
In the American Revolution the Grenadiers retained their spot in formation. They kept the name of Grenadier as a more formal and respectful name, but the grenade would not be used. The hat was a more or less ceremonial item and the match case, once used to light the grenades, had the slow match removed and was now a ceremonial piece meant to symbolize a Grenadier. The Grenadiers also would be quite tall registering in at six feet or taller. This was a force to be reckoned with. Imagine that you were 5'4", the average height of a man in colonial times, attacked by a six foot tall soldier with a foot tall mitre cap adorning his head. It is a scare tactic if noting else.
The size of the company was 38 private men, 3 Corporals, 2 Sergeants, 2 Lieutenants, and 1 Captain. In addition the company was given 4 Drummers and 2 fifers. This and the light infantry company were the only two companies kept at full strength constantly drawing from the Battalion companies. If you would like to join the Grenadier company please e-mail Corporal Shane Clark or Captain Amsterdam
H.M. 10th Regiment of Foot Grenadier Company. .
H.M. 10th Regiment of Foot marches through the streets of Andover led by Major O'Shaugnessy and the Grenadier company.
( picture courtesy of Joan Slaughter)
H.M. Tenth Rgt. Of Foot form up for inspection at Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York.
The Grenadier company at Bennington 2001
from left to right (Corporal Shane Clark, Pte. Gary Brennan, Pte. David Kinghorn)
(Back Line, right, Sam McIntire.)
The Grenadier company marches off to the battle of Bennington
Pte. Sam McIntire(right) takes the Kings Shilling from Corp. Shane Clark(left) and Major O'Shaugnessy(Front)
Grenadiers in dress uniform.
Front line from left to right, Jerry Robbins, Cpl. Shane Clarke, Pte. William DiGuiseppee, Pte. Brett Rock.
Back line (visible) from left to right Pte. Dave Kinghorn, Pte. Gary Brennan, Pte. John Nesti.
The Grenadier company fires into the rebel lines at White Plains.
The Grenadiers in Quebec, Quebec, Canada.
(More Photos to come, be patient.)