Did the Hessians Get Benefits?

One fascinating aspect of the war in Libya is Qaddafi’s extensive use of mercenaries.  (A story today, for example, says that he just hired several hundred from Mali).

This leads me to wonder what mercenary contracts look like.  Are there bonuses?  What happens if you get captured?  If there is a breach, do you have a remedy?  If so, from whom?  Is it at will employment or for a fixed term?  Since mercenary troops have been around for centuries, this could a really interesting article (assuming that somebody hasn’t already written it).

You may also like...

5 Responses

  1. James says:

    I can’t tell you too much about mercenary contracts, but I can give you some information on your titular question. Mercenaries don’t get statutory benefits in the American system (instead the Blackwater types get paid vastly more than the average solider). The English didn’t generally pay benefits to mercenaries in the Eighteenth Century — only pensions to English officers and disability benefits to wounded English soldiers. As for one particular Prussian, Baron von Steuben volunteered to serve without pay during the Revolution, but later sued the American government for benefits after the war.

    I cant’ tell you anything on the contract aspect of your question, but if you want to examine the background history of veteran benefits, you can check out my recently published history of veterans benefits in America: The Splendid Isolation Revisited: Lessons from the History of Veterans Benefits Before Judicial Review. SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1598344.

    Hope that helps.

  2. Kent says:

    I would not want to be around when the Wisconsin Mercenaries Union pickets the capitol for collective bargaining rights…you think public employees are scary when they’re angry?

  3. A.J. Sutter says:

    Exactly as Kent points out — the remedy for breach is self-help.

  4. Yes, the Hessians did get benefits. In fact, they were offered benefits to not fight in the war. This history is well-documented by myself and Rodney Atwood.

  5. Miriam Cherry says:

    I believe that Jennifer Martin is writing a series of articles on contracting w/mercenaries (used to fend off pirates, for example).