Sunday, 8 October 2017

1st Battalion KGL

This is my second square from Du Plat's KGL Brigade.  I've previously mentioned that it is Ompeda's brigade that draws most of the attention, but research into Du Plat's Brigade reveals the critical part it played in the battle.

While attention on Hougoumont tends to focus on the fighting for the chateau itself, it is clear that Wellington became increasingly concerned that Reille's Corps would bypass the actual buildings and use the park to threaten his right flank.  In a sense this reinforced his belief throughout the whole campaign that he would be outflanked from the west - which is why he put Chasse's division in Braine and keep Prince Frederick's Corps at Halle.

But as the battle developed it was not a broad outflanking manoeuvre that developed, but an infiltration of the park by swarms of French skirmishers with artillery.

This explains why Wellington repeatedly ordered troops into the Hougoumont area to support the original Foot Guards Light Companies in the chateau - the Brunswick Avant Garde, the Leib Battalion, 1st Light Infantry, Nassau Grenadiers, more Foot Guards and Kielmansegge's Feldjagers. 

But even this does not seem to have been enough, so Du Plat's KGL Brigade and Hugh Halkett's Hanoverians (contradicting the usual reverse slope tactic) were ordered onto the forward slope to plug the gap between the British line and the end of the Hougoumont park.
It is also clear that Du Plat chose to group the four light companies of the brigade in a single composite battalion.  Not to be confused with the two green coated light battalions of the KGL, these red coated light infantry were also armed with Baker rifles and formed a square of their own, suffering tremendous casualties from French artillery and skirmish fire.  The other battalions stood a little back, but still in a very exposed position where they too took extensive casualties.

I like this image of two KGL veterans drawn from life

Light company and centre company officers

Flank companies
Original coat

Coat tail details

My square shows 1st Battalion The King's German Legion in that forward position.  They are temporarily placed on a piece of teddy bear fur to give a sense of the crops, but don't be distracted by the obvious join.

The front view

Most the figures are Revell and Esci with some metal figures of varying types

Grenadier Company

The officer is a 20:20 figures by Vandrad, a short lived company that also produced RSM figures in the early 90s.

The Light company is still with the battalion, before being detached to form a composite rifle battalion

The Drum Major is an Esci Zulu Wars officer conversion

Yes, those lips again - sorry!

Comparing notes
Some Hinton Hunt among the Revell.

The corner of one KGL square was blown away by artillery.


  1. Impressive and gorgeous square, good luck to the French cavalry!

  2. Thanks Phil, it's my 21st British unit so they should indeed present a challenge to the French cavalry!

  3. Thanks WM, I love your new Prussians by the way - once I get round to my Prussians, plagiarism will be the sincerest form of flattery! My next task is Papelotte farm which I'm half way through building.

  4. A really impressive unit and nice to see the odd Hinton Hunt in there! I was fortunate enough to visit Waterloo this year and stay in the self-catering apartment in the restored Hugoumont. The one thing that really struck me was just how isolated the position was from the main ridge. Troops on the forward slope must have felt very exposed indeed!

  5. Hello Stryker, many thanks for your comment. Yes, I've been to Hougoumont too and I agree it does sit in an exposed position. In a way, the reduced size of the grounds now accentuates that exposure, but I think that the gardens, orchards and woods of Hougoumont acted as the perfect way to get at Wellington's right flank which is why he dedicated so much resource to plugging the gap.