Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics


East Indies Troops

West Indies Troops

The Indian Brigade

Uniforms

Bibliography


The Dutch Indian Brigade

By Geert van Uythoven

On 13th August 1814, the former Batavian/Dutch colonies were given back to the Dutch government by the Treaty of London. At 18th August the strength for the troops to be sent to the colonies was established at:

Troops Designated for the East Indies

General staff

A European line infantry regiment of two battalions, each of two flanker and four fusilier companies. This regiment would receive the number 5, because all the Dutch units were numbered consecutively.

Six native line infantry battalions, each with two flanker companies consisting of Europeans and four native fusilier-companies. These battalions would receive the numbers 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24.

Two native garrison battalions, each of six companies. These battalions would receive the numbers 25 and 26.

A cavalry regiment with three squadrons each of two companies. Two squadrons would be European, 1 squadron native. This regiment would be composed of hussars, receiving number 7.

An artillery battalion of ten companies. One company would be horse artillery, two companies would be native. This battalion would receive number 5.

A battalion of pioneers, with a company of European engineers and four companies native pioneers.

Troops Designated for the West Indies

General staff

Two European jäger battalions. These battalions would receive numbers 10 and 11.

A European artillery battalion of three companies. This battalion would receive number 6.

In the native companies and squadrons all cadre would be European. The units would receive no colours.

As was to be expected, finding the men for these units was difficult. For example, on 22 February, an agreement was made with Count Bentinck, sovereign of Inn und Kniphausen, to take into Dutch service an infantry battalion consisting of two flanker and four fusilier companies, who were destined for the East Indies.

Because of this problem, at the outbreak of war in 1815 the troops were still in the Netherlands, and were promptly incorporated in the so called Indian Brigade.

The Indian Brigade

Commander-in-Chief: Lieutenant-General C.H.W. Anthing

Chief-staff: General-Major H.M. de Cock

Adjutants: Captain J.P. Anthing

Captain J.R.A. Clignett

1st Class Lieutenant-volunteer C.P.J. Elout

Adjoint: Captain A.Th. Raaff

East Indian Regiment Number 5 (General-Major G.M. Busman, Chief-Staff Major van Deelen), consisting of the 1st Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel B. Bischoff) and the 2nd Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel F. Stoecker).

1st Battalion Flankers, composed of the flanker companies of Battalions number 19 and 20 (total strength four companies) (2nd Class Colonel W. Schenck).

Battalion West Indian Jagers Number 10 (Colonel H.W. Rancke).

Battalion West Indian Jagers Number 11 (Lieutenant-Colonel F. Knotzer).

Foot Battery Number 3 (8 x 6pounder guns)(Captain C.J. Riesz).

Train (1st Class Lieutenant H.B. Deijermans)

On 12 June 1815 the strength of these units was:

Officers

Enlisted

Horses

East-Indian Regiment Number 5

55

1,486

21

1st Battalion Flankers

29

507

16

West Indian Jägers Number 10

30

674

8

West Indian Jägers Number 11

33

685

6

Foot Battery Number 3 (8 guns)

6

114

6

TrainTrain

11

109

203

Total:

154

3,575

260

Uniform of the Indian Brigade

A. East Indian Regiment Number 5 and the 1st Battalion Flankers

Short dark blue coat with light blue lapels closed till the middle. Lapels with seven horizontal rows of yellow loops and piped red. Collar light blue with red piping and two rows of yellow loops. Cuffs light blue, also with yellow loops. Shoulder straps light blue piped red. Pocket flaps piped red and with three rows of yellow loops. Yellow buttons with the regimental or battalion number. Turnbacks light blue with red piping. Dark grey breeches, worn over the gaiters. Gaiters and shoes black. Black French shako with brass shako plate (a crowned 'W'), orange cockade, yellow loop and button, and brass chin scales. White pompon with light blue top. Yellow linen pack with white straps. White belts, black cartridge box. Greatcoat dark grey. No infantry sabre. Fusiliers with a musket and a bayonet, flankers were armed with rifles. White musket-slings. Flankers had blue wings with yellow fringe.

Officers wore a long coat, and all loops were gold. They also wore a shako. Drummers, pipers and buglers had the same uniform, with light blue swallownests and yellow bullions. They were armed with sabres.

B. West Indian jäger

Short dark green coat with lapels closed with 7 yellow buttons, piped yellow. Yellow collar piped green. Cuffs, cuff-flaps and turnbacks yellow. Epaulettes green fringed yellow and a yellow horn embroidered for corporals and jägers; NCO's fringed gold and a gold horn embroidered. Dark grey breeches, black shoes. Black French shako with brass shako plate (hunting horn with in it the letter 'W', above it a crown), orange cockade without loop and yellow button. Jagers had a green pompon, flankers a green pompon with yellow top and yellow shako cords. light brown leather pack with black straps. Black belts, black cartridge box. Armed with a rifle and a sword bayonet. Also short infantry sabres were issued. Black musket-slings.

Officers wore the same uniform, only of a better quality. On the turnbacks a gold embroidered hunting horn. Gold epaulettes. Black boots. Shako with a gold edge on the peak, gold shako plate and gold chin scales. Orange cockade with gold loop and button, gold shako cords. Orange sash across the body. Armed with a sword. About the musicians nothing is known. Probably the same uniform with only minor distinctions as swallow-nests.

C. Foot Battery Number 3 and Train.

The artillery uniform as for the East Indian infantry, with the following changes: Red collar, shoulder straps, turnbacks and cuffs. Collar, cuffs and turnbacks piped dark blue. Yellow buttons with two crossed gun barrels on them. Dark grey breeches. On the shako a red pompon with black top. White belts. Officers had a long coat with gold loop. Further the same as for infantry.

The Waterloo Campaign

The Indian Brigade saw no action during the battles of Quatre-Bras and Waterloo, being part of Prince Fredericks troops at Halle. However, during the advance on Paris they took part in the blockade of Quesnoy. On 24 June, the Indian Brigade started digging trenches, but without proper tools and the help of sappers progress was slow. During the night of 26 - 27 June the city was bombarded, at the same time, the Battalion West-Indian Jägers Number 11 advanced to the fortress in skirmishing order and fired during the whole night at the French gunners manning the guns on the walls. Netherlands losses as a result of this night's fighting were four killed and ten wounded. As a result of this bombardment, on 28 June Quesnoy capitulated. Quesnoy was garrisoned by the 2nd Battalion of the East Indian Regiment Number 5.

The remainder of the Indian Brigade marched to Valenciennes to blockade this fortress, and to observe Condé. In the morning of 1 July, 200 French troops left Condé to cut the southern dike along the river Scheldt. They were attacked by the Netherlands outposts, 40 men of the West Indian Jägers Number 10 and some dragoons of the Regiment Dragonders Number 5, commanded by Captain Matile. The French were driven back with three dead and some wounded, while two French were taken prisoner. The Netherlands troops received no losses. At the same time, another French detachment tried to take some cattle near Fresnes, but this was also prevented by some jägers. Valenciennes was bombarded, and skirmishes between patrols took place, until on 26 July when hostilities came to an end.

On 10 July King William of Orange informed Wellington that he would like to send the Indian Brigade to their original destination, the East and West Indies. This was laid down in a Royal Decree of 9 August 1815. As a result, Wellington fixed their departure date as 16 August. Arriving in the Netherlands, the Colonial Brigade was taken out of the mobile army on 6 September. During October and November, the units left for their various destinations.

Bibliography

Bas, F. de Prins Frederik der Nederlanden en zijn tijd III, IV (Schiedam 1903-1904)

Bas, F. de & t'Serclaes de Wommersom, Comte J. La Campagne de 1815 aux Pays-Bas, d'après les rapports officiels Néerlandais I-III (Bruxelles 1908-1909)

Raa, F.J.G. ten De uniformen van de Nederlandsche Zee- en Landmacht hier te lande en in de koloniën ('s Gravenhage 1900)

Wüppermann, W.E.A., gen-maj De vorming van het Nederlandsche leger na de omwenteling van 1813 en het aandeel van dat leger aan den veldtocht van 1815 (Breda 1900)

 

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