It is June 18th and in tribute to the holiest of days for the Napoleonic fan [ ironically, as it the anniversary of the start of his final political defeat ] it is usual for the wargamer to show his Napoleon model or complete a re-game of the battle or some such. However, I thought I would show some of the ‘unknowns” of the battle : the Dutch-Belgian Cavalry.
|My Dutch-Belgian Waterloo contingent|
Now any casual Napoleonic military historian knows of the heroic charges of the French horsemen led by Ney to confront the Allied infantry in square; or the charge of the Scots Greys immortalized by a dramatic painting by Lady Butler.
But, but, but there were a whole lotta other cavalry at the battle - or at least that is what the orders of battle show us. What about them? Well, for starters, the winners get to write the history as the saying goes and the Duke of Wellington, being the winner - OK, then, on the winning side - made damned sure the British were the winners. Oh sure, the Prussians many have helped but calling the battle “La Belle Alliance”as suggested by Blucher? Certainly not, when a nice English sounding town name of Waterloo was only a few miles away. However fully a quarter of his army was German, and he did not even mentioned the numbers of Dutch and Belgian soldiers he offered to the gristmill of combat. It is to those unsung which I offer photos of their cavalry units I made from plastic. [ mainly 28mm Perry, but some on Fireforge medieval horses and details from various components ]
|The 3rd (Dutch) Carabiniers|
The 3rd (Dutch) Carabineers were in Tripp’s Heavy Cavalry Brigade and while many illustrators have suggested they wore a rather impractical large bicorne headdress, Dutch historians suggest they might well have had the the elegant metallic helmet often shown with the more popular 2nd Regiment.
|The 2nd (Belgian) Carabiniers|
Next up are the 4th (Dutch) Light Dragoons of Ghigny’s Brigade
|4th (Dutch) Light Dragoons|
Anyway, they are a handsome lot and pretty on the table.
Lastly we have the 5th (Belgian) Light Dragoons who are recorded in combat at Quartre-Bras earlier in the campaign against the very similarly attired French 6th Chasseurs also in green and yellow. Reforming from that combat - or retiring or retreating or routing - all depending upon the narration given, were unfortunately fired upon by friendlies due to the uniform resemblance. But we know they fought as did probably all the other Dutch-Belgian units and they certainly will in my future Waterloo tabletop battles.