1st Dutch Carabiniers (Nap. Cavalry Project Regt #35)

KAMAR of Germany supply a great range of 1:72 scale figures including their own range of figures ranging from the Viking era to WWII. They also stock other manufacturers including Phersu’s ancients and Stenfalk’s magnificent animal range, to name but two. From KAMAR, I ordered this small group of four 1815 Dutch Carabiniers in metal, thinking, that despite their small number, they might make for a pleasing and unusual addition to the Nappy Cavalry Project.

These figures are supposed to depict the Dutch Carabiniers dating specifically from 1815, referring to their part in the 100 Days campaign and the battle of Waterloo. They were part of Tripp’s Heavy Cavalry Brigade at Waterloo which consisted of three regiments from the Netherlands:

  • 1st Dutch Carabiniers (pink facings and red turnbacks)
  • 2nd Belgian Carabiniers (red facings)
  • 3rd Dutch Carabiniers (yellow facings)

I’ve elected to represent the 1st regiment which wore the unusual pink facings. Across the internet, it appears that there is some confusion over the headdress worn by these Dutch Carabiniers during the Waterloo campaign. It seems that most sources depict both the 1st and 3rd Dutch Carabiniers wearing bicornes whilst their Belgian comrades in the 2nd Belgian Carabiniers wore steel dragoon helmets.

Beautifully painted steel-helmeted Belgian Carabiniers by Kaiser Bill

In my copy of the ever-reliable The Waterloo Companion, however, Mark Adkin actually has the 1st Dutch Carabiniers wearing the steel helmet and this is further depicted in one the book’s plates.

From the Waterloo Companion; Belgian and Dutch Carabinier left and right respectively.

Eventually, I discovered a comment from a blogger which might offer an explanation for all the confusion. This blogger suggests that;

“…the uniform with the bicorne and long tailed and lapeled coat was prescribed by the Souvereign Order of 31st December 1813. The regulations of 9 January 1815 ordered a short tailed single breasted coatee and the Belgian (steel) helmet. They were to be fully implemented on 1st May 1816. So both regiments went to war in 1815 in the old uniforms.”

So, it’s probable that KAMAR’s figures are suitable for Waterloo. Incidentally, the Italian manufacturer, Waterloo 1815, have produced a set of 6 metal / resin Belgian Carabiniers with steel helmets and which would compliment my Dutchmen very nicely. Well, I suppose I might consider a purchase…

There’s plenty of colour to paint in this regiment; pink, blue, red and white and you may also notice that these troops wear an orange cockade in their bicornes, in recognition of the Dutch Royal House. I think the most pleasing aspects of the figures is their relaxed state, swords drawn but otherwise passive with their standing horses nonetheless looking pleasingly animated and alive.

To conclude, some pictures of my first metal figures in the 1:72 scale Napoleonic Cavalry Project, followed by a brief regimental biography:

Regimental Biography: The 1st Dutch Carabiniers and Waterloo

During the Waterloo Campaign, the 1st Dutch Carabiniers were part of the Dutch Heavy Cavalry Brigade under Maj-General Tripp. The regiment numbered 446 sabres across 3 squadrons and in command was Lt-Col Coenegracht.

They were initially held in reserve behind Wellington’s centre. However, after the Household Brigade had been badly mauled in their epic counter-charge against the main French infantry assault, Tripp’s heavy cavalry became the only intact heavy cavalry formation left to Wellington. Consequently, they were heavily engaged against the French Cavalry for the remainder of the afternoon.

Richard Knötel’s 1890 illustration of a 1st Dutch Carabinier (in helmet – to add to the confusion…)

The Dutch Carabiniers initially counter-charged the French Cuirassiers which had been pursuing the remnants of the Household Brigade. A fierce melee ensued until the French were forced to withdraw.

As the battle continued, the 1st Dutch Carabiniers were called upon to counterattack on a number of occasions costing them 102 casualties (25% of the regiment) including a number of their senior officers including Lt.Col. Coenegracht himself, who was mortally wounded.

A flavour of the exhausting and bloody nature of the fighting experienced by the 1st Dutch Carabiniers at Waterloo can be gleaned from this quote by Maj-General Jonkheer (respectfully reproduced from the brilliant General Picton blog):

“After resting in this position, I noticed enemy’s cuirassiers which were advancing to charge the English squares. I saw a perfect moment to charge the enemy and ordered the 1st Regiment of Carabiniers attack the enemy as they were disordered around the squares. After the charge there were numerous enemies dead and wounded left on the ground. At the moment when the 1st Regiment rallied, the enemy sent in a second charge, in this action there were more than one French cuirassier regiment. These were equally repulsed by the 2nd and 3rd Regiment, many cuirassiers were left in our hands.”

5th Belgian Light Dragoons (Nappy Cavalry Project Set #17)

Well, after some weeks developing these figures (alongside the 4th Dutch LD), It’s nice to see them finally see the light of day. I do like these uniforms with their unfussy green double-breasted jacket. These early HaT figures are a little stiffly posed, as I’ve said before, but with the application of paint, they are reasonably impressive. This set came with the option of adding a rolled greatcoat tied over their shoulder. Initially, I was keen to add them to this regiment but I found that one of the poses restricted its addition and so I left them out as I wasn’t sure it would ultimately work all that well.

Enough said. It’s the 17th regiment in my Nappy Cavalry Project, so you know the drill by now; bring on with the photos and biography!

Biography: 5th Belgian Light Dragoons [Netherlands]

At first glance, the 5th Belgian Light Dragoons, in their green uniforms, look a little like French chasseurs a cheval and indeed this would cause some real problems for the regiment during the Waterloo campaign. In the Anglo-allied army, the 5th were brigaded with the Dutch 6th Hussars in van Merlen’s 2nd Light Brigade.

At Quatre Bras, the regiment charged at a vital moment to cover the withdrawal of Dutch-Belgian infantry and in so doing took very heavy casualties, losing 170. This was its first encounter with what were, prior to Napoleon’s abdication, their former allies. Indeed, Merlen their brigade commander had been an adversary of the British in Spain, fighting for the French. Furthermore, a Lieutenant Dubois of the 5th had a father who was a French general.

It was whilst engaged in a prolonged melee with the 6th Chassuers a Cheval at Quatre Bras that the French and Belgian cavalry called out to each other. The French cavalry indicated by their downturned sabres their peaceful intentions, encouraging the Belgians to rejoin the French colours. Merlen’s bellicose response was to launch a charge at them! Unfortunately, the regiment then suffered further by being shot at by British troops whilst retiring (their green uniforms looking much like the enemy’s). Similar confusion occured later, Highlanders stood to arms when a returning Belgian dragoon vedette answered a challenge in French!

Although mauled, the regiment still fought at Waterloo, now down to only 271 sabres. In particular, it counterattacked the French cavalry penetrating between the Allied squares. Van Merlen was unfortunately killed and the 5th Dragoons lost 157, but the regiment had performed magnificently.


4th Dutch Light Dragoons (Nappy Cavalry Project #16)

If I thought that the Nappy Cavalry project was going to end in 2015, I was wrong; I just can’t stop painting Napoleonic cavalry! For the past few weeks I’ve been working on two boxes of HaT Dutch-Belgian Light Dragoons, making for a total of 24 figures split evenly between the 4th Dutch and the 5th Belgian Light Dragoon regiments.

This set comes with a separate head for the officers (who wore a differently shaped shako to the other ranks). Attaching this head meant moving dangerously into “conversion” territory, something which I usually shy away from. Nevertheless, I had a go. After decapitating an ordinary trooper, I soon realised that I might need to ‘pin’ the new head on. Following some trial an error with a hot needle, I finally succeeded in forcing the pin into the figures neck and head. It’s not what I’d call a professional conversion, but I think it looks okay and at least the head is less likely to fall off.

The 4th Dutch Light Dragoons look a lot like hussars with all that braiding on their jackets, though they have no pelisse over their shoulders. HaT’s figures aren’t the most detailed or crisply sculpted, and the poses on this old set aren’t particularly dynamic. Yet, there’s still something quite pleasing about the figures now that the paints on and the varnish is dry.

Here are some pics (and a brief regimental history) of the finished 4th Dutch regiment, I’ll be posting images of the 5th Belgian version very soon!


Biography: 4th Dutch Light Dragoons during the Waterloo Campaign.

During the Waterloo campaign, the 4th Dutch Light Dragoons formed a part of the 1st Netherlands Light Cavalry Brigade alongside the 8th Belgian Hussars (part of the Netherlands Cavalry Division under Lt-General Baron de Collaert). As with nearly all the Anglo-Allied light dragoons, they wore blue coats and this might have helped them avoid any significant ‘friendly fire’ incidents as afflicted the 5th Belgian Light Dragoons in green coats.

Having four squadrons of 647sabres, it was the largest light dragoon regiment in the entire Anglo-allied army. They were initially deployed towards the centre rear of the line. Their brigade commander, Major-General Baron de Ghigny had previously faught for the French, gaining considerable experience under the French colours during the Napoleonic wars. Nevertheless, under his leadership, the 4th LD would prove themselves redoutable opponents to Napoleon on the 18th June 1815.

As the afternoon developed, the 4th were to find themselves increasingly heavily engaged against the French cavalry. Initially, they advanced against French lancers to assist in the withdrawal of the Union Brigade. Later in the afternoon, they continued to counterattack repeated incursions of French cavalry which penetrated between the infantry squares. Their commander, Lt-Col Renno was wounded and the regiment suffered around 38% casualties.