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Hanseatic Legion in Hamburg (1813 - 1814)

Hanseatische Legion

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: hamburg | hanseatic legion | cross(hanseatic) | castle | key | inescutcheon |
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[Hanseatic Legion HH: 2nd infantry battalion] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider, 9 Jan 2009 See also:

Historical introduction

After Hamburg, Bremen and Lübeck had been incorporated into France, new ideas arose among German people. One of these was the country’s unification. French occupation was seen as the biggest obstacle and therefore the Germans made up their minds, it was the most important thing to end that occupation. The governments however were allied with France or had surrendered. So also arose an idea of armed masses or a people’s army. Especially in Hamburg Mettlerkamp established the citizen’s guard (Hamburger Bürger Garde), which was the predecessor of later Hamburg citizen’s militia. This guard had only one purpose, to free Hamburg.

There also were other volunteers taking part of war against Napoleon. The organized themselves as Hanseatic Legion. There existed mixed troops of all the three cities but also units, consisting exclusively of citizens of just one city. To avoid repressive French actions the legion was fighting under command of undefeated Russia. In that time the Hanseatic cross was established in order to be used upon the legion’s banners.
According to [neu39a], p.44 the mixed troops used white flags either with a red Hanseatic cross or signs consisting of elements from the coats of arms of the three cities.

2nd infantry battalion

Description of flag:
It was a white flag of ratio 5:7 (ratio was also common for former Hamburg military flags). In the centre was a red Hanseatic cross. Above the cross was a golden embowed inscription. “Gott mit uns”(=God with us). The flag had a golden border at three of four edges.
Note: The cross and the inscription as well were also used on later infantry flags of Hamburg citizen’s militia.
Source: Neubecker 1939, p.45
Klaus-Michael Schneider,9 Jan 2009

1st infantry battalion (mixed unit/reverse)

[Hanseatic Legion HH: 1st infantry battalion (reverse)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider,9 Jan 2009

Description of flag:
It was a white flag of ratio 5:7. In the centre was a masoned castle with three towers and an open gate with portcullis in natural colour, i.e. brownish, (symbolizing Hamburg) above a shield divided per fess into white and red, fimbriated golden(symbolizing Lübeck), superimposed by a bendy golden key (symbolizing Bremen). Above the whole was a golden embowed inscription. “Gott mit uns”(=God with us). The flag had a golden border at three of four edges.
Source: Neubecker 1939, p.45
Klaus-Michael Schneider,  9 Jan 2009


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