“Long Live The House of Orange!” – Netherlands Troops at Waterloo

In my last article, I showed off the British and KGL units I had to paint for our Waterloo Bicentennial game in 2015.  However, I had an even greater deficiency in Netherlands troops!  However, from my involvement in organising a Waterloo mega-game at the National Army Museum in 2000, I did have a pair of fairly ropey Netherlands Light Dragoon Regiments by Old Glory Miniatures, as well as the Orange-Nassau Regiment (converted from AB Figures Saxon infantry), a Dutch Militia Regiment (converted from AB Figures Portuguese infantry) and the 1st & 2nd Nassau Regiments (converted from AB Figures French Light Infantry).

When we started this project, AB Figures still did not produce any specific figures for the Army of the United Netherlands, so I was looking to convert some more units.  However, at that very moment, AB Figures produced a raft of new models, allowing us to complete the army!  🙂  Since 2015, AB have added even more units to the range, including the Nassau regiments and the Dutch and Belgian light cavalry, though sadly they weren’t available for our Bicentennial game.

Above: The Prince of Orange; commanding general of the Army of the United Netherlands and General Officer Commanding the Allied I Corps.

Above: I’ve rotated the model here to show the Prince’s Chief of Staff, General Constant Rebeque.

Above:  I’ve rotated the model again to highlight the staff officer passing a packet of orders to a galloper from the Corps of Guides.

Above:   The 2nd Netherlands Division, commanded by Lieutenant General Henri-Georges de Perponcher-Sedlnitzsky was spread across a very wide and precarious frontage in front of the Allied left flank at Waterloo. They have been unjustly maligned in virtually all subsequent British accounts of the battle, but recent research is thankfully restoring their reputation.  It should of course be remembered that this division performed superbly two days before Waterloo at Quatre-Bras, where it was instrumental in delaying Marshal Ney’s advance.

Bijlandt’s Brigade (pictured here on the left) has been especially singled out for criticism, as it was positioned in an extremely exposed position in front of the main line and came in for particular attention from the French artillery during the opening phases of the battle and being rapidly broken by the fire.  The Orange-Nassau Regiment (centre) and the 2nd Nassau Regiment (pictured on the right) together formed Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar’s Brigade and were spread among the hedgerows, gullies and walled farms (Papelotte, La Haye, Smohain and Frichermont) on the Allied left flank.

Note that when I painted the Orange-Nassau Regiment in 2000, the ONLY source I had for the uniform was this 19th Century print (right), which shows orange facings and red turnbacks.  However, more modern research describes the facings as red (bah!).

Above: The 7th (Belgian) Line Infantry Regiment.  All Netherlands Line Infantry Regiments wore a standard uniform of dark blue with white facings.  The Belgians were distinguished by having the Portuguese/British-style false-fronted shako, with cords and plumes coloured by company – white for the Centre Companies, red for the Grenadier Company and green for the Light Company.  The Grenadier and Light Companies had blue & white striped ‘rolls’ on the shoulders.

I painted this unit to represent Bijlandt’s Brigade, which consisted of the 7th (Belgian) Line Infantry, 27th (Dutch) Light Infantry, 5th (Dutch) Militia and 7th (Dutch) Militia Regiments.

Note that the flag is anachronistic and although ‘1815 Pattern’ (by GMB Flags) was actually issued AFTER the Battle of Waterloo… These flags matched the facing colour – white for line infantry, yellow for light infantry and orange for militia.  At least some regiments did carry some sort of unofficial flag as a battlefield marker, but only one was recorded.

Above: The 3rd Netherlands Division, commanded by Lieutenant General David-Hendrik Chassé, was initially stationed on the extreme right-rear flank of the Allied Army, covering the river crossings at Braine l’Alleud.  With his centre in danger of collapse, Wellington brought this division in to reinforce the point at which the Imperial Guard were attacking and Chassé’s men were therefore instrumental (along with the British Guards and 52nd Light Infantry) in stopping and then pursuing the defeated Imperial Guard.

The division consisted of two brigades; Detmers’ and D’Aubremé’s.  However, there were considerable numbers of Dutch Militia present in both brigades, so I’ve separated these out as a separate ‘brigade’ in game terms.

Above: The 12th (Dutch) Line Infantry Regiment.  This unit represents D’Aubremé’s Brigade, which in full consisted of the 3rd (Belgian), 12th (Dutch) and 13th (Dutch) Line Infantry, the 36th (Belgian) Light Infantry and the 3rd & 10th (Dutch) Militia Regiments.

The uniform for the Dutch Line Infantry was exactly the same as that for the Belgian Line Infantry, except that they wore an Austrian-style shako, with front and rear peaks and no cords.  The short woollen hackles were white, tipped with red or green for the Grenadier and Light Companies respectively.

Above:  The 35th (Belgian) Light Infantry Regiment.  This regiment represents Detmers’ Brigade, which in full consisted of this regiment, plus the 2nd (Dutch) Line Infantry and the 4th, 6th, 17th and 19th (Dutch) Militia Regiments.

The uniforms of all Light Infantry Regiments were identical, whether Dutch or Belgian, being green with yellow facings and Austrian-style shakos with green hackles.  The two flank companies had green & yellow striped shoulder-rolls and yellow tips to their hackles.

Above: The Netherlands Cavalry Division, commanded by Lieutenant General Baron J A de Colläert, formed part of Lord Uxbridge’s Cavalry Reserve Corps.  Pictured on the left are the 5th (Belgian) Light Dragoons, resplendent in their yellow-faced green coats and distinctive green shakos.  This regiment represents Van Merlen’s 2nd Light Cavalry Brigade, which in reality also included the 6th (Dutch) Hussars.

Pictured on the right are the 4th (Dutch) Light Dragoons, representing Baron de Ghigny’s 1st Light Cavalry Brigade, which in reality also included the 8th (Belgian) Hussars.  When I painted this unit, there was simply no information whatsoever on what the front of the jacket looked like, so I painted them with lapels, in the same style as the 5th Light Dragoons.  However, modern research shows that these should actually be hussar-style dolmans… Bah… AB Figures now produce suitable models, so I will eventually replace both the light cavalry brigades with better figures.

In the centre is Trip’s Heavy Cavalry Brigade (detailed below).

Above: The 2nd (Belgian) Carabiniers formed part of Trip’s Heavy Cavalry Brigade, which also included the 1st (Dutch) & 3rd (Dutch) Carabiniers.

Above:  Only the 2nd (Belgian) Carabinier Regiment wore the magnificent crested helmets shown here; the two Dutch regiments wore the same style of uniform, but were still wearing old-fashioned cocked hats.

Above:  A rear view of the 2nd Carabiniers.  The similarity to French Cuirassiers is very apparent and many of the officers and men had indeed been ‘French’ Cuirassiers until the previous year!  However, they didn’t wear cuirasses and instead wore rolled cloaks en bandolier as protection against sword-cuts (indeed, at least one French Cuirassier Regiment was also dressed in this fashion in 1815, making the similarity even closer).

Above:  Instead of a specific general officer figure, I’ve used a Dutch Carabiner officer figure to represent General Trip.  He is dressed in the pink facings of the 3rd Carabiniers.  The 1st Carabiniers had yellow facings.  Both the 1st and 3rd Carabiniers wore white-plumed cocked hats.

Above:  Netherlands Horse Artillery open fire on the enemy.  There were two full horse batteries – Bijleveld’s Battery was assigned to 2nd Division, while Krahmer de Bichin’s Battery was assigned to 3rd Division.  The Cavalry Division has two half-batteries: Petter’s and Van Pitius’.  All were equipped with ex-French 6pdrs.

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10 Responses to “Long Live The House of Orange!” – Netherlands Troops at Waterloo

  1. David Molony says:

    Beautifully done. What is your latest thinking about facing colours for the militia regiments? All the contemporary/near contemporary prints I have seen (like yours) show facings in a sort of vermilion orange not red, or at best a faded red.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      I can’t say that I’ve looked at the exact shade of orange, but yes, orange seems to have been the facing colour for the Militia regiments. Same goes for the Orange-Nassau Regiment, but every these days seems to paint them with red facings and I have no idea why…

  2. Ruud says:


    This is true art! Unbelievable you did this with 15 mm figures. I am planning to paint Dutch 1815 Line Infantery 1/32 miniatures in Bijlants Brigade (the book picture you included). As I have seen you take the painting ultimately serious, can you please help me with the color codes. What kind and brand of paint did you use?

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Dankjewel Ruud! 🙂

      I’m ‘Old School’ when it comes to paint – I still use Humbrol Enamels when all the ‘cool kids’ have switched to acrylics such as Vallejo. I start with a thinned undercoat of matt black (Humbrol 33 – roughly 50/50 turps to paint). The coats have a base coat of Humbrol 104 Oxford Blue and then a highlight of Humbrol 25 Blue. The trousers and blanket-rolls are Humbrol 27 Sea Grey and then I mix in a little white for the highlight. The straps etc are Humbrol 64 Light Grey base coat and then Humbrol 34 White to highlight (and a second dab of white to intensify highlights). Facings are Humbrol 60 Scarlet base coat with a little Humbrol 99 Lemon mixed in for the highlight. The flesh-tones are the only three-stage process: Basecoat of Humbrol 62 Leather, then highlight with Humbrol 61 Flesh and mix white with flesh for a final highlight on nose, nostrils, cheeks, ears and chin. Humbrol 98 Chocolate for the hair. Humbrol 160 German Camouflage Red Brown for the musket and pack. Metallics are by Liquid Leaf. Final spray matt varnish by Montana.

      I think that’s all of it! 🙂

  3. Malcolm Stearman says:

    Just found your blog. Useful info on the 28th Orange-Nassau uniform. The only sources I have show them in standard Nassau uniform, which I was suspicious of as their number and name suggested they must be a proper Netherlands regiment. Do you have anything on Hanoverian standards? I’m creating low-cost Waterloo armies by adapting the print-out flat figures on the Junior General website and I need illustrations of standards that I can copy and paste. I’ve found some on Google but I think they’re copyrighted.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Hi Malcolm, yes, they were definitely a ‘Dutch’ regiment in blue uniform. The argument is generally over the colour of the facings – red or orange. I’m personally of the opinion that it should be orange and there are a number of 19th Century prints that show it as orange (with red tail-turnbacks). A portrait of Prince Bernard of Saxe-Weimar (colonel of the regiment) also shows him in orange facings. I think the current fad for red facings comes from the relevant Osprey book by Ronald Pawly, which depicts the regiment in red facings, but when you read the text it says orange! I think that was a mistake on the part of the artist which wasn’t then corrected.

      Re Hanoverian standards, they definitely seem to have carried standards, but they were of an unofficial pattern and evidence is sparse. Those that are known tend to date from 1813 rather than 1815, but were probably still carried in 1815. You can see some of mine in the Waterloo game reports:

      Field Battalion Hoya (1813) – Prussian Landwehr-style black, fringed flag with a oak-wreathed upright sword (all in white) on one side and on the other side a white iron cross with the inscription ‘MIT GOTT FURS VATERLAND’. Blue staff.

      Field Battalion Calenberg (1813) – white fringed flag, with a wreath on both sides (half oak, half laurel). The obverse wreath contained the inscription ‘KEHRT-HEIMMIT-SIEG-GEKROENET’ and the reverse wreath had the inscription ‘ZIEHT AUS ZUM EDLEN-KAMPF’.

      Kielmannsegge’s Feld-Jager Corps (1813) – black flag with large German hunting horn, suspended by looped cord (like the British Rifles badge without crown), ‘1813‘ above in large, slanted numerals and the inscription ‘KIELMANSEGGE’SCHES FELDJAGER CORPS’ below. All details in white.

      Unknown unit (1815) – white fringed flag with red disc on both sides. The obverse disc bore the white running horse of Hanover (facing the fly) with a sprig of laurel below the disc and the inscription ‘QUO FAS ET GLORIA DUCUNT’ embroidered around the outside of the disc. On the reverse the disc bore the crowned royal cypher GR III and a patterned embroidered edge.

      Landwehr Battalion Gifhorn (1815 – possibly post-Waterloo) – yellow fringed flag with oak tree in natural colours, superimposed with a silver running horse (facing the fly) and crown. Inscription below with the last word being ‘GIFHORN’ (possibly the regimental title ‘LANDWEHR-BATAILLON GIFHORN’?). Blue staff.

      I hope that helps? 🙂

      • jemima_fawr says:

        Thanks Ruud! 🙂

        That’s always one of my favourite sites, but I don’t think they’ve got any Hanoverian flags on there. They also go with red facings for the Orange-Nassau Regt and again, I’d love to know what the evidence is for them having red facings.

  4. Paul J Bennett says:

    Hello Jemima Fawr,
    Love reading your blog on the Netherlands troops at Waterloo together with the painting tips and photographs. Re: your detail on the Carabiniers and at least one French cuirassier regiment that didn’t wear cuirasses at Waterloo. Emir Bukhari in Osprey Men-at-Arms ‘Napoleon’s Marshals’ states that it was the 1st Cuirassiers (red facings) whilst Mark Adkin in ‘The Waterloo Companion’ states that it was the 11th Cuirassiers (pink facings). As both these individuals are highly respected military authors, do you think it’s possible that these two cuirassier regiments fought the Waterloo campaign without cuirasses? The French army was very hastily organised and some equipment and items of uniform were definitely lacking.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your kind comments, although my painting tips usually consist of me listing what I did wrong… 🙂

      A few authors refer to the 11th Cuirassiers not wearing them. Not sure about the 1st, though as you say, given the incredibly rapid mobilisation of the army, it’s not all that surprising. A heck of a lot of rapidly-raised cuirassiers in 1813 also headed east without being fully equipped.

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