“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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