Red Napoleonic uniforms … and the Salic Law of Succession

Probably the most memorable thing about the uniform worn by the infantry of the British Army from its formation until the end of the nineteenth century was its red coats.

But during the Napoleonic period the British infantry were not unique in wearing red coats. I knew that besides the British it was worn by the Danes and the Swiss … and I also knew that the King’s German Legion wore almost identical uniforms to those worn by their equivalent units in the British Army. What I had forgotten until I re-read Blandford’s UNIFORMS OF WATERLOO IN COLOUR was that a significant Hanoverian contingent took part in the campaign … and that they wore British uniforms.

That set me thinking. Could I use some of my British Napoleonic wargames figures to represent Hanoverian units? My researches seem to indicate that this would be quite feasible as long as I am satisfied that the uniforms will not be 100% accurate.

Ideas of campaigns set in Northern Europe during the early 1820s where the forces of Prussia, Brunswick, Hanover, and the Netherlands vie with each other for control of the region immediately sprang to mind … but for the moment that is what they must remain, ideas.

The linked histories of Britain and Hanover lasted from 1714 – when the Elector of Hanover (Georg Ludwig) became George I of Great Britain – until 1837, when – according to the Salic Law of Succession – the new Queen of Victoria of Great Britain was unable to ascend to the throne of Hanover and her uncle – the Duke of Cumberland – became King Ernest Augustus I, Elector of Hanover.

If the Salic Law of Succession had not pertained in this instance, Victoria would have become Queen and Elector of Hanover … and the subsequent history of Germany might have been somewhat different.

An interesting ‘what if …’ to think about, eh?


10 Comments on “Red Napoleonic uniforms … and the Salic Law of Succession”

  1. David Crook says:

    Hi Bob,

    I have to say that this looks very intriguing – I often see these figures at boot sales so let me know if this would be of interest.

    All the best,


  2. David Crook,

    Thanks for the very kind offer.

    If you see any Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm-scale figures on sale for a reasonable price (£2.00 each for foot figures and £3.50 for cavalry), I would be very interested.

    All the best,


  3. David Crook says:

    Hi Bob,

    That will be another of my missions when next boot-saleing!

    All the best,


  4. David Crook,

    That is very kind of you.

    All the best,


  5. Sun of York says:

    That book has certainly inspired a lot of my Napoleonic wargaming uniform painting (along with the Funcken books and Martin Windrow & Gerry Embleton's Military Dress of the Peninsular War).

  6. johntheone says:

    I have the Del Prado figures and I think I have the whole series that where made.I use them as you for wargaming and have them mounted on individual bases. I have found that some are a bit different in scale escpecialy the ones made for the Hougmont defence but it does not distract from the use. Being a lazy painter I love pre painted figs

  7. Sun of York,

    I used to own the Funcken books, and they were an excellent reference source. I passed them on to someone who was really into the Napoleonic era many years ago … and I am only now regretting that.

    All the best,


  8. Johntheone,

    I think that the Del Prado figures have a unique appeal because of the variety of size of the figures, and they remind me of the time when one's collection was usually made up of units bought from a variety of different manufactures, all of whom made figures that were slightly different sizes.

    I find painting figures a bit of a chore, and would love to buy more painted figures.

    All the best,


  9. johntheone says:

    I subscibed to the series and got all but one of the issues which has a bit of the Hougmont Farm building still cant find it on Ebay but it may turn up one day

  10. Johntheone,

    I am sorry to say that I had all the parts of the building but passed them on to someone who wanted to use them for a diorama.

    Good luck with your search.

    All the best,


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