“Vorwärts!” – Some Prussian Units for Waterloo

As discussed here, we decided in 2015 to refight the Battle of Waterloo as part of the Bicentennial commemorations.  However, we still needed to paint ‘a few’ units (in reality a surprisingly large number of units…).  Thankfully, I already had a lot of Prussians painted, so really did only need to paint a few more…

Above:  My first priority was a new Marshal Blücher figure.

Above:  I was fairly well supplied with Prussian regular cavalry, but the 5th (Brandenburg) Dragoon Regiment was required.

Above:  In addition to the regular Dragoons, I needed some ‘Landwehr’ (i.e. Militia) cavalry and the 1st Kurmärk Landwehr Cavalry Regiment fitted the bill.  Most sources agree on the uniform coat being a typical blue Prussian ‘Litewka’ coat, with brass buttons, poppy-red collar and cuff-piping for the province of Brandenburg (Kurmärk is part of Brandenburg), plus white shoulder-straps indicating the 1st regiment from that province.  However, sources disagree on the style of headgear and colour of lance-pennant and I opted for one of the recorded desriptions, namely British-supplied stovepipe shakos with white lace and black plumes, with red-over-white lance-pennants.

Above: The 12th (2nd Brandenburg) Infantry Regiment (often referred to as simply the ‘Brandenburg Regiment’) was a regular (i.e. pre-1815) infantry regiment.  However, as the most junior regular infantry regiment, this regiment was frequently at the back of the queue when it came to uniform and equipment and looked more like a Reserve Infantry Regiment in terms of dress.

In theory, the regiment should have been dressed in standard Prussian blue coats, with collars and cuffs in poppy-red (the colour of Brandenburg) and red shoulders-straps (red being the strap-colour for the 2nd regiment of a province – white being 1st, red being 2nd, yellow being 3rd and light blue being 4th).  However, only the officers and ‘cadre’ of the regiment wore this regulation uniform (as shown on the officer and drummer above).  Evidence does suggest that the regiment’s 2nd Battalion had been fully issued with regulation uniform by Waterloo, though the majority of the men were still wearing dark grey ‘ersatz’ uniforms with poppy-red collar patches as the only regimental distinction.  Headgear was the standard Prussian shako, though not all men were issued the standard black oilskin waterproof shako-cover.

The 12th Infantry Regiment was not issued colours until after Waterloo.

Above:  The Prussian 10th Reserve Infantry Regiment was formed in 1813 from the Reserve Battalions of the 1st Silesian Infantry Regiment. While the regimental cadre wore the parent regiment’s regulation uniform (yellow facings, white shoulder-straps & silver buttons), the reservists wore ‘slop’ clothing with yellow collar-patches and yellow hat-bands. The regiment’s 1st battalion wore uniforms in the typical ‘slop’ light grey, though the 2nd battalion had uniforms dyed dark blue and the 3rd battalion had uniforms dyed a dark grey (‘almost black’). I’ve already got plenty of Prussian reservists in light grey, so I thought I’d opt for the blue 2nd battalion’s uniform to represent this regiment.

In 1815 the 10th Reserve Infantry Regiment became the 22nd (1st Rhenish) Infantry Regiment and in March of that year began receiving new regulation line infantry uniforms with crab red facings (being the provincial colour for Rhenish regiments) & white shoulder-straps (indicating the 1st regiment from that province). However, the issue of new uniforms was not complete before their departure to Belgium and it is recorded that the men in old uniforms stood on the flanks of each battalion.

 The regiment carried no flags until after Waterloo

Above:  The Elbe Infantry Regiment was originally raised in April 1813 by a certain Oberstleutnant Von Reuss, from defecting enemy units – primarily the Guards and Chevauxlegers of the Kingdom of Westphalia.  Initially known as the ‘Auslander-Bataillon Von Reuss’ it rapidly expanded during the summer Armistice of 1813 to three battalions and was re-titled in July 1813 as the ‘Elbe-Infanterie-Regiment’.  Although it was organised, equipped and regarded as a Line infantry regiment, it was curiously not given a number in the line infantry regiment sequence (possibly because of its ‘foreign’ origins?).

However, that changed in 1815 (probably due to the re-absorption of Westphalia into Prussia), when the remnants of the regiment formed the core of the new Royal Prussian 26th (1st Magdeburg) Infantry Regiment. The former regiment’s reserve battalion was incorporated into the new 27th Infantry Regiment.

Uniforms were of the same style as those of the regular line infantry, with poppy red collars and turnbacks, white shoulder-straps and bright blue cuffs with red piping and dark blue cuff-flaps. Buttons were brass/gold.  The regiment did not carry colours until after Waterloo.  They were apparently given ‘new style’ uniforms with crab red facings and white shoulder-straps in 1815, but it isn’t clear if anyone received them prior to Waterloo.

Note that I completely forgot to add the red cuff-piping and blue cuff-flaps and as with the Brandenburgers, I gave them white (instead of red leather) musket-slings. They must have been supplied from old Westphalian stocks… 😉

This unit takes the record for my longest start-to-finish project, as they were undercoated in July 1994 and were finished almost 21 years later… 🙂

This entry was posted in 15mm Figures, Napoleon's Battles (Rules), Napoleonic Prussian Army, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units. Bookmark the permalink.

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