KGL Organisation during the Waterloo campaign

Moderators: Laffe, Vis Bellica, DCRBrown

Post Reply
General Slade
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:11 am

KGL Organisation during the Waterloo campaign

Post by General Slade »

Can anyone help me with the organisation of KGL battalions during the Waterloo campaign? Apparently, at the start of the campaign, they switched from being formed of ten companies of sixty men to being made up of six companies of one hundred men, with the surplus officers and NCOs transferring to the Hanoverian landwehr. This suggests that the proportion of men in the flank companies also increased from a fifth of the men in a ten company battalion to one third of the men in a six company battalion. Does anyone know if this is what actually happened in practice? Were men from the centre companies turned into grenadiers and light infantry?

Basically, what I am asking is, do I need to paint up more lights and grenadiers for my KGL battalions?
Cmcleod2022
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun May 29, 2022 5:59 am

Re: KGL Organisation during the Waterloo campaign

Post by Cmcleod2022 »

Far as I know it was done. Wellington's Orders and Beamish's History of the K.G.L. mentions it. The units were quite under-strength and as you say had to be re-organized to accommodate the stronger Flank Cos.
General Slade
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:11 am

Re: KGL Organisation during the Waterloo campaign

Post by General Slade »

Thanks Cmcleod2022,

I hadn't heard of Beamish's history of the KGL but I have bought it on Kindle and had a look through it. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any reference to the reorganization but I may just have missed it. I will see if I can track down Wellington's orders on the subject.
User avatar
BaronVonWreckedoften
Posts: 988
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:28 am

Re: KGL Organisation during the Waterloo campaign

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften »

Typical KGL battalion strength at the start of the Waterloo campaign was around 400 all ranks for Ompteda's brigade and 450 for Platt's (this is from memory, so you might want to check one of the more detailed orbats).

The British Army as a whole had "previous" for a reduction from ten companies to six. Towards the end of the American War of Independence, due to shortages of manpower (and the approaching end of the war) all infantry battalions except the Foot Guards, were reduced to just six companies and, at the time, this was intended to be a permanent move.
No plan survives first contact with the dice.
General Slade
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:11 am

Re: KGL Organisation during the Waterloo campaign

Post by General Slade »

Thanks Baron,

I guess then the answer to my question may be that whilst the proportion of men in the flank companies did increase I actually don't need to paint more of them. Instead, I need to paint fewer centre company guys because the battalions were that much smaller in the first place.
User avatar
BaronVonWreckedoften
Posts: 988
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:28 am

Re: KGL Organisation during the Waterloo campaign

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften »

Average company strength in Ompteda's brigade was around 65, and 75 for the companies in Platt's brigade; however, you might need to do some more reading/research to see if the flank companies were "boosted". The immediate post-Peninsula company strength would have been 60-70, so I suspect that the numbers pretty much sorted themselves out; they might even have left the flank companies a little "light" in order to avoid retraining and reuniforming a small number of men to add to them. Bear in mind, also, that adding more men to the light companies of the Line regiments would have required someone receiving a rifle, separate ammunition, and specialist training, due to one of the two platoons being rifle-armed.

I suspect that we have been having this exact same conversation on another forum!
No plan survives first contact with the dice.
General Slade
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:11 am

Re: KGL Organisation during the Waterloo campaign

Post by General Slade »

BaronVonWreckedoften wrote: Thu Jun 02, 2022 4:30 pm I suspect that we have been having this exact same conversation on another forum!
Indeed we have baron!

My feeling is that unless I find something definitive on the subject I will leave the number of men in the flank companies the same as it was prior to reorganisation (i.e. 60-70 men) and work on the basis that the original eight centre companies were turned into four centre companies each with twice as many men as before (i.e. they started a 8 x 60-70 and end up as 4 x 120-140).

This does of course mean that in practice, my 6 company KGL battalions won't look any different from my under-strength 10 company British battalions. But at least I will know why they don't!

Thanks again for your help baron.
Cmcleod2022
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun May 29, 2022 5:59 am

Re: KGL Organisation during the Waterloo campaign

Post by Cmcleod2022 »

Following is a link to Wellington's General Orders. See p. 397 for the re-org. of the KGL.
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dl ... 5/mode/2up
Unfortunately it doesn't say much about how it was to be done or numbers involved.
" ... 6 cos ... and the rank and file to be distributed among these companies."
Cmcleod2022
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun May 29, 2022 5:59 am

Re: KGL Organisation during the Waterloo campaign

Post by Cmcleod2022 »

General Slade

Beamish mentions the KGL re-org in the note on p. 323

Also there a few other Hanoverian Histories around on-line that may have more info.
Search for books by Sichart or Schwertfeger on the KGL and Hanoverian Army - both in german.
I haven't managed to translate much to know what info is in them. :(
General Slade
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2021 8:11 am

Re: KGL Organisation during the Waterloo campaign

Post by General Slade »

Thanks Cmcleod2022

Apologies for not getting back to you sooner. I had missed your posts. Unfortunately my German is non-existent but if you do uncover anything please do let me know.
Post Reply