Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics


History and Organisation of the Dutch 8th Militia Battalion: the Uniforms

By Marco Bijl

 

With the uniforms of the Dutch army and the militia in particular many mistakes are made in history. These mistakes are copied endlessly in other books, even up to today. It seems that nobody took the effort to read the original documents, issued by the Dutch government in 1815.After some years of research the final conclusion is given below.

Flank companies looked the same except that the white plumes were tipped red and they had shoulder rolls (sometimes called wings), of blue with white stripes. Starting in January 1815, the plume had a green tip, according to official regulations, but it seems that not many batallions were using the green tipped plumes. Instead of this, many wore non-regulation items like green plumes, green epaulettes with orange piping or simply colored shoulder straps. The real picture was probably a mixture of all this because at the end of 1815 an official army order says "that all non-regulation uniform items with the flank companies should be abandoned and only official items are now allowed".

In later years, around 1819, the flank companies were issued officially with white plumes topped green and complete white wings. Some state that flank compagnies carry jager-horns for signalling, but officialy they carry drums, just like the rest of the troops.

The officer in the picture wears the wrong epaulette. Luitenants and kapiteins wore only one epaulette, but these were without any gold stripes. The 3rd figure from the left is a sergeant and the figure on the right is a korporaal (the orange color around the chevron was not official). What looks like red pompons are in fact orange cocades.


The swallow wings with the drummer are correctly in colour; base colour should be the same as the colar, the piping should be in the button colour; that is orange with white piping (for line units; white with gold piping, for Jagers; yellow with gold piping).
The orange piping in the middle of the jacket, behind the buttons, in non-regulation.
The drum with the drummer should have red-white-blue triangles instead of only blue (see equipment page).


Uniform Plate is curtesy of Alexis Cabaret http://www.mont-saint-jean.com/

The Dutch and Belgian army had the following ranks between 1813-1815:

Generaal, Luitenant-generaal, Generaal-majoor, Colonel. Luitenant-colonel, Majoor, Kapitein, 1e Luitenant, 2e Luitenant, Adjudant, Sergeant-majoor, Sergeant & Fourier, Korporaal, Soldaat.

At the end of 1815, early 1816 the rank of 2nd Colonel was added, for commanders of the 'afdelingen'. Soldaat 1e Klasse was added only years later.In early 1814 there was a rank called 'onder adjudant (deputy adjudant)' but that rank was soon abandoned (before 1815).

The epaulettes were either silver of gold, depending on the colour of the uniform buttons. Colours of buttons were dependent on the type of unit. Line infantry had gold, militia white. The stripes and stars on the epaulettes were of the other colour. For example: a silver epaulette had gold stripes or colours. Below all colours are given for the militia. For line units the colours are reversed. Chevrons for NCOs followed the same rules. Militia were white and silver. Line units were yellow and gold. All officers of the mobile (active) army would wear the Orange sash. There was no difference in the uniform of a 1st and 2nd luitenant.

Korporaals were also indicated by a short sword with a white leather stripe on which they had one small orange tassel. Sergeants, fouriers and Sergeant-Majoors had the same equipment, but only with a silver stripe.

In the cavalry and horse artillery, the ranks had different titles, as was usual with these units:

Kapitein = Ritmeester
Sergeant-Majoor = Opper wachtmeester.
Sergeant = Wachtmeester.

And with the artilly:
Sergeant-Majoor = Bombardier majoor.
Sergeant = Bombardier.

The following information is from the Recueil Militair; 9-1-1815 order number 53 (page 61, part 1).

These ranks were:



Korporaal:

2 white chevrons on lower arms (both arms) of 24 streep in width and
180 streep from the cuffs (210 on kapot/ grey winter coat). One 'streep' is one millimetre.


Sergeant:

1 silver chevron on low arms (both arms) of 24 streep in width and
180 streep from the cuffs (210 on kapot/ grey winter coat). One 'streep' is one millimetre.


Fourier:

1 silver chevron on upper arms (both arms) of 24 streep in width
and 30 streep above elbow. One 'streep' is one millimetre.


Sergeant Majoor:

2 silver chevrons on low arms (both arms) of 24 streep in width and
180 streep from the cuffs (210 on kapot/ grey winter coat). One 'streep' is one millimetre.


Adjudant:

1 silver epaulette(light model) on left shoulder.Officer sword without any tassels.


2de Luitenant:

1 silver epaulette(light model) on right shoulder.
Sword with silver tassels. Dark blue Horse shabraque with gold gallon of
26 streep in width on the edge.


1st Luitenant:

1 silver epaulette(light model) on right shoulder.
Sword with silver tassels. Dark blue Horse shabraque with gold gallon of
26 streep in width on the edge.


Kapitein:

1 silver epaulette(heavy model) on right shoulder.
Sword with silver tassels. Dark blue horse shabraque with gold gallon of
40 streep in width on the edge.


Majoor:

2 silver epaulettes (light model) with 2 small gold stripes on both shoulders.
Sword with silver tassels. Dark blue horse shabraque with gold gallon of
55 streep in width on the edge.


Luitenant Colonel:

2 silver epaulettes (light model) with 1 wide gold stripe on both shoulders.
Sword with silver tassels. Dark blue horse shabraque with gold gallon of
55 streep in width on the edge.


Colonel:

2 silver epaulettes (heavy model) on both shoulders. Sword with
silver tassels. Dark blue horse shabraque with gold gallon of
55 streep in width on the edge.


Generaal Majoor:

2 silver epaulettes (heavy model) with two 6 point gold stars on both shoulders. Sword with
silver tassels. With wide gold gallons on color and cuffs, 60 streep in width. Dark blue Horse
shabraque with two gold gallons. The first, outside gallon, 22 streep in width. The second 60
streep in width. Between the two; 20 streep.


Luitenant Generaal:

2 silver epaulettes (heavy model) with three 6 point gold stars on both shoulders. Sword with
silver tassels. With wide gold gallons on color and cuffs, 60 streep in width. Dark blue Horse
shabraque with two gold gallons. The first, outside gallon, 22 streep in width. The second 60
streep in width. Between the two; 20 streep.


Generaal:

2 silver epaulettes (heavy model) with four 6 point gold stars on both shoulders. Sword with
silver tassels. With wide gold gallons on color and cuffs, 60 streep in width. Dark blue Horse
shabraque with two gold gallons. The first, outside gallon, 22 streep in width. The second 60
streep in width. Between the two; 20 streep.





 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: June 2008

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