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"Russo-German legion, 1815." Topic

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02maddog12 Aug 2006 8:18 a.m. PST


Can anyone confirm the colours of the artillery hardware (guns and limbers) used at Wavre, 1815, by the Russo-German legion batteries? The sources I've found all provide details of uniforms but I can't find a single reference to the artillery pieces themselves.

Also, is anyone able to confirm whether or not the Russo-German legion Jagers actually fought at Waterloo or not? Mark Adkin in "The Waterloo Companion" has this unit attached to the Prussian 5th Infantry Brigade (under Von Tippelskirch) but I have not managed to find this confirmed anywhere else.

donlowry12 Aug 2006 9:23 p.m. PST

Good question, about the gun colors. I'd also like to know.

Skeptic13 Aug 2006 4:31 a.m. PST

I don't know. However, I do remember from when I used to be interested in Napoleonics that, by 1815, many of the Russo-German Legion's units had been renumbered as Prussian reserve units, even though they retained most or all of their previous uniforms.

Thus, your best bet would be to find out what they were renumbered as, and then look for those units in your OOB.



Christer13 Aug 2006 6:31 a.m. PST

Just had a look in one of my older sources, and found the Russo-German Legion renumbered to the 30th Inf Reg/9th Brigade, 31st Inf Reg/12th Brigade and 8th Ulan Regiment/Reserve Cav – all of them in the III Corps under Theilmann. Not sure the above is the complete list, but I do know III Corps fought at Waterloo.

Regarding the Jägers, I have a "5. Westphalian Landwehr Reg. (Feldjäger company) listed in my (danish) source as being part of the 5. Brigade under Pirch/Tippelkirch. Could this be them? – If so, my source states them as being at Waterloo.

Hope this helps.

Best regards,

RABeery13 Aug 2006 11:08 a.m. PST

It appears the artillery became the 18th and 19th horse batteries. Most Regiments had their own jager companies.

The batteries were in III corps. If their were jagers, they would be with their regiments.

The Legion had to be brought up to strength with replacements wearing Prussian blue for the Waterloo campaign.

I'd paint the guns the Russian color, but they could be Prussian, or British, or even captured French guns.

02maddog13 Aug 2006 12:29 p.m. PST

Thanks for your comments, guys.

Good point well made RABeery. My brain was over-heating with the Russian or Prussian question but to consider British "or even captured French guns" as well! Blimey!

And Christer, I'll look into the 5 Westphalian landwehr Reg. as well.


donlowry13 Aug 2006 2:43 p.m. PST

and what color were Russian guns?

RABeery13 Aug 2006 5:43 p.m. PST

I didn't know what color they were so I carefuly avoided that. Napoleon's Battles says apple green.

Oliver14 Aug 2006 8:20 a.m. PST

For the 1815 campaign, the former Jäger bataillon of the Russo-German Legion was renamed "Feldjäger-Kompanie" and, being assigned to the 5th brigade, took an active part in the battle of Ligny. At the outset of the campaign, it was only about 80 men strong, if I remember it correctly.

The volunteer Jäger company attached to the 5th Westphalian Landwehr infantry regiment is a different unit.

RudyNelson15 Aug 2006 3:01 p.m. PST

While the RGL had Russian caliber guns, I get the impression from several books that they exchanged them fro Prussian caliber and model guns after they became part of the Prussian army.

By 1815, this seems certainly to be the case and the gun carriages would have been Prussian blue and not Russian green in 1815.

Oliver15 Aug 2006 10:49 p.m. PST

On 1st May 1815, both batteries were taken in Prussia service, and during the 1815 campaign, both batteries still had Russian guns. Their reserve ammunition was carried by Park-Kolonne No. 19 (also formerly Russo-German Legion) which had 12 ammunition waggons and was still organised according to Russian etat.

At Ligny, horse battery No. 19 lost two unicorns and 3 cannon to French Chasseurs (ā Cheval?). At Wavre they got 2 cannon an at Namur 4 cannon attached from horse battery no. 18.

Source: The work by the General Staff on Prussian artillery 1808-1816, Berlin 1909.

I dont have any info on the colour of the gun carriages.

donlowry16 Aug 2006 1:39 p.m. PST

Well, if they still had Russian guns, they probably were still painted in the Russian color. So what color were Russian guns? (apple green?)

02maddog23 Aug 2006 3:59 a.m. PST

Thanks OLIVER, I'm now convinced that the Russo-German Legion were still using Russian artillery pieces at Wavre, 1815, and, that being the case, they were still probably painted in Russian colours (unless anyone has absolute conclusive proof to the contrary?).

Osprey's "Artillery Equipment of the Napoleonic Wars" suggests that the Russian colour scheme was apple-green woodwork with polished metal carriage fittings (p.16) and also provides colour plates.

grenadier corporal25 Aug 2006 1:00 a.m. PST

To add to the confusion: the woodwork could have been repainted (as was frequently necessary)to the Prussian light blue …
I remember the Waterloo reenactment 1995 – there I saw a gun carriage in green belonging to the guys representig the unit formed from the former RGL.

Patrice Vittesse Fezian27 Aug 2006 12:10 p.m. PST

also the russo-german legion hussars were renamed as the 8th uhlans for anyone whom wants to know

unknown member18 Oct 2006 3:22 p.m. PST

I would favour the idea of re-painting the guns light blue for Prussians, I'm sure even they did not want to get shot at by the British or thier own side, it must be remembered that the French too had Green colour for thier guns..

Bertrand19 Oct 2006 1:30 a.m. PST

Gentlemen, From the above discussion, you have convinced me that the RGL were equiped with Russian guns/unicorns during the 1815 campaign. That being the case, I would suppose that those guns were probably still mounted on the original Russian carriges. (Russian gun carriages were distinctive in that they had a very long trail compared to other countries.) Therefore, to represent this unit I would recommend painting a Russian gun model in Prussian blue/grey colors. It may not be 100% historical, but it would be an impressive unit to put on the game table. Regards, Bertrand.

donlowry19 Oct 2006 5:49 p.m. PST

Could the color of the gun carriages really be distinguished at range? I recall Wellington saying that you couldn't distinguish the colors of uniforms at any reasonable range (i.e. unless closer to them than was safe) and that he usually went by the shape of the headgear.

unknown member20 Oct 2006 6:09 p.m. PST

donlowry I'm sure you are right but thinking as a humble soldier, the prospect of getting shot at by your own side for the sake of a little pot of paint doesn't really bear an argument!

02maddog27 Oct 2006 8:24 a.m. PST

Thankyou Bertrand. My original posting was intended to establish the colour from a "100% historical" point of view so I'm tending to lean towards the idea that the pieces were still in the original Russian colour.

Greenfingers, Russian apple green was a completely different colour to French "green", the latter being a mixture of black and yellow paint (2,500 grammes of yellow ochre to 30 grammes black), so I don't think that this has much bearing on the issue. I do think the point that donlowry makes is more pertinent – if not the headress then certainly the overall impression of colour of a unit when viewed from distance (taking into account uniforms, carriages, limbers etc). Leastways, I'm not going to argue with Wellington.

unknown member31 Oct 2006 8:05 a.m. PST

hey buddy, looks like you were never a soldier.

I am fully aware of the different colours i've painted enough of these over the years. I was just applying some soldiers common sence.

Consider this……

"Officer shoot at the enemy thier guns are green". "No no sir thier guns are a shade of green made from mixing ochre with black, we have a unit in our army that has old russian guns which are Apple green".

I very much doubt this! Try this conversation:-

"Shoot at the enemy"… "What colour are thier guns?".. "Green" "yes sir"

Most soldiers even officers were not able to recognize the differences, and at distance what chance do you have? Personally I doubt very much If the Artillerists would have taken too long to reconsider re-painting thier guns Blue! The only problem being to find a pot of paint.

ratisbin31 Oct 2006 10:15 a.m. PST

The Legion was totally equipped with Russian uniforms and weapons which the wore and used during the Waterloo campaign. They certainly had Russian artillery pieces. The paint job is unknown but I would favor Russian apple green.

good gaming

Bob Coggins

unknown member01 Nov 2006 2:52 a.m. PST

I would suggest Russian green as they can then be used for 1812-14 games in their authentic colours which were probably used in 1815 anyway! The friendly fire debate would only be an issue if they operated independantly of other Prussian batteries anyway.

02maddog01 Nov 2006 10:24 a.m. PST

Greenfingers,thanks for the patronizing posting. For your information, I was born into a naval family and brought up on ships and naval bases. My sister went into the Royal Navy whilst my brother went into the army. I couldn't decide, so ended up doing both (including N.I tours). Is that enough pedigree for you?

"…looks like I was never a soldier"? What this has to do with my original question, God only knows. Thanks for really hacking me off.

02maddog01 Nov 2006 10:43 a.m. PST

Greenfingers, apologies for the last posting, I got annoyed.

nvrsaynvr01 Nov 2006 4:22 p.m. PST

The Russians painted their artillery equipement dark green.

"Apple green" is a misnomer that has somehow gotten into English sources and is constantly repeated.


von Scharnhorst04 Nov 2006 12:38 p.m. PST

Is that a russet, a Granny Smith, or a new Zealand apple green?

unknown member06 Nov 2006 11:43 a.m. PST


Appology accepted, as long as you accept mine. having re read it, it does sound patronising. I did say 'looks like'

I Was only trying to offer an 'alternative' view. If it helps I'm also easily convinced by the alternative of leaving them in the original green.

02maddog07 Nov 2006 1:31 p.m. PST


and your opinion is a valid as anyone elses here, thanks for offering it. It is appreciated.

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