I proudly introduce a British cavalry regiment: the 13th Light Dragoons!
Yes, I’ve finally completed the third offering in my 2015 Napoleonic cavalry project. They’ve been a good few weeks in development because I got distracted by the wonderful Chasseurs a Cheval.
It’s another Italeri offering, and the sculpted figures are of their usual very high standard. They don’t quite have the elegance of the French hussars but have real energy and character, nonetheless. Like the Chasseurs a Cheval, the figures ‘didn’t fit perfectly’ on the horses, but generous glue application just about did the trick. Light dragoons before 1812 wore a dark blue, braided, dolman jacket and a leather Tarleton helmet with a bearskin crest. After the uniform changes of 1812, all light dragoons wore dark blue jackets with short tails and a bell-topped shako, as depicted in these figures.
I’ve previously written a detailed post on the history of the 13th Light Dragoons so, aside from the now usual regimental ‘biography’ below, more detail on the regiment can be found there.
Bring on the photos and “Drive them back, 13th!”
Biography: 13th Light Dragoons (Great Britain)
Formed in 1715 initially as heavy dragoons, the regiment was led by Colonel Richard Munden. They took part in the suppression of the 1745 rebellion and the battle of Prestonpans. After time in Ireland, they were redesignated Light Dragoons and served in the Caribbean before being recalled as the threat of French invasion grew.
Sent to the Peninsular in 1810, their campaign started with the capture of a party of French Dragoons at Ladoera. At Campo Mayor in 1811, the 13th LD famously charged and routed a significantly superior French cavalry force. Despite their very great success, the Duke of Wellington received a inadequate report of the action and severely reprimanded the 13th (calling them “a rabble”!) for their excessive pursuit. He seems to have eventually relented and recognised his error some time afterwards. They faught many actions in the campaign, especially the battles of Busaco, Albuhera, Orthez and Vittoria, prior to the invasion of France and battle of Toulouse.
At Waterloo, they numbered 455 sabres and formed part of Grant’s 5th Cavalry Brigade having been detached from the 7th. The 13th LD was commanded by by Lt-Colonel Boyse (who replaced Lt-Colonel Patrick Doherty – ill in Brussels with ‘West Indies fever’). Boyse was wounded in the battle and also replaced by a Major Lawrence.
Initially the regiment saw little action at Waterloo, but eventually were involved in repeated counter-attacks against the French Cavalry attacking the Allied squares. Their final and successful charge of the day was directed against the wavering French Imperial Guard. Lord Hill (and not Wellington as I indicated in an earlier post…) ordered the charge with the words – “Drive them back, 13th!”
In total, the 13th Light Dragoons at Waterloo suffered 111 casualties (24%), mostly incurred in their repeated actions against the French cavalry.
Battle Honours: Albuhera, Vittoria, Orthes, Toulouse, Peninsula and Waterloo.