Military History |
British Orders of Battle During the Peninsular War
Posted 17 Oct 2008
This covers all the British and their auxiliary troops serving in the Peninsular including:
The regimental list below is those that served in the Peninsular (Haythornthwaite, 1995; Sapherson, 1991). I have only put references if they disagree. The number of battalions comes from Sapherson (1991).
|Foot Guards Regiment||Name||Type||Btn||Remarks|
|Line / Foot Regiment||Name||Type||Btn||Remarks|
|3rd||East Kent, Buffs||Line||2|
|10th||North Lincolnshire||Line||2||Sapherson (1991) says served in the Peninsular.|
Bedfordshire until 1809
|23rd||Royal Welsh Fusiliers||Fusiliers||2|
|37th||North Hampshire||Line||1||Raised a 2nd Bn in 1811|
|43rd||Monmouthshire Light Infantry||Light||2|
|51st||2nd Yorkshire Light Infantry||Light||1|
|52nd||Oxfordshire Light Infantry||Light||2|
|5/60th||Royal American||Rifle||1||The 60th Royal American regiment had 6 battalions (Sapherson, 1991). Only the rifle armed battalion, 5/60th, served in the Peninsular. The rest of the regiment was in garrison in the West Indies.|
|67th||South Hampshire||Line||2||Sapherson (1991) says served in the Peninsular.|
|68th||Durham Light Infantry||Light||1|
|71st||Highland Light Infantry||Light||2|
|82nd||Prince of Wales's Volunteers||Line||2|
|84th||York and Lancaster||Line||2||Haythornthwaite (1995) says served in the Peninsular.|
|85th||Bucks Volunteers Light Infantry||Light||1|
|87th||Prince of Wales's Own Irish||Line||2|
|89th||Line||2||Haythornthwaite (1995) says served in the Peninsular.|
|90th||Perth Volunteers||Line||2||Sapherson (1991) says served in the Peninsular.|
|King's German Legion Line Battalions||Line||8||All light companies carried rifles (Sapherson, 1991).|
|King's German Legion Light Battalions||Light||2|
|De Roll's||Line||The light company carried rifles (Haythornthwaite, 1995).|
The British Guards Infantry battalions where larger than the line battalions, and as such could field more light infantry companies than the line units could (Partridge & Oliver, 1998).
British Infantry regiments had one or more battalions (Partridge & Oliver, 1998). The first battalion of the regiment was the senior and was usually sent on active service first. The second battalion, if any, acted as the depot from which the first battalion drew fit and trained men. Because of this system the first battalion was more likely to be up to strength (about 1,000 men) and the second battalion much reduced (about 600).
British Line Infantry battalions had 10 companies including eight centre companies (or battalion companies), one grenadier company and one light company (Partridge & Oliver, 1998). The grenadier company formed up on the right and the light company on the left.
British Light Infantry battalions also had 10 companies, but did not have specialist flank companies (Partridge & Oliver, 1998).
The 95th Rifles (Haythornthwaite, 1995).
The 5/60th Royal Americans (Haythornthwaite, 1995; Rafferty, 1988a, Sapherson, 1991).
The Rifle company of De Roll's Regiment (Haythornthwaite, 1995; Sapherson, 1991).
7th Royal Fusiliers and 23rd Royal Welsh Fusiliers served in the Peninsular (Haythornthwaite, 1995; Sapherson, 1991).
According to Haythornthwaite (1995) the 42nd, 79th and 92nd Foot wore Highland uniform in the Peninsular.
Kings German Legion
The Kings German Legion (KGL) was formed from Hanoverian citizens during 1803-1806, King George III being the Elector of Hanover (Haythornthwaite, 1995). Ultimately it comprised eight infantry and two light infantry battalions, five cavalry regiments, and horse and foot artillery. The legionnaires were amongst the finest troops in the British Army.
The 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Line served in the Peninsular (Haythornthwaite, 1995). The 5th Line was nicknamed "the Fighting Battalion" by the British. Each battalion included a half-company of sharpshooters in addition to the light company. Either these sharpshooters or the light company were equipped with rifles (Sapherson, 1991).
The two Light Battalions were equipped with rifles (Haythornthwaite, 1995).
In 1813 the Dragoons were converted to Light Dragoons and the Light Dragoons to Hussars (Haythornthwaite, 1995). Having said that, Schaumann (1999) who was a Hanoverian war commissary in the Peninsular consistently refers to the light cavalry as Hussars, even in the early period.
De Roll's Regiment
De Roll's, Dillon's, and De Watteville's Regiments were the remains of those French and Swiss troops which refused to serve the French after the Revolution, and Sapherson (1991) describes them as French Royalist. De Roll's Regiment was predominantly Swiss in origin and were considered superior to the KGL (Haythornthwaite, 1995). Weak in numbers this regiment had to recruit from French deserters. Three companies were sometimes brigaded with men from Dillon's Regiment as the Roll Dillon Provisional Battalion. De Roll's rifle company also formed part of a combined light infantry battalion.
De Roll's, Dillon's, and De Watteville's Regiments were the remains of those French and Swiss troops which refused to serve the French after the Revolution, and Sapherson (1991) describes them as French Royalist. Haythornthwaite (1995) suggests Dillon's Regiment was another Swiss unit - certainly it operated with the Swiss De Roll Regiment. Like De Roll's, Dillon's was considered superior to the KGL. Weak in numbers this regiment had to recruit from French deserters. At times three companies of de Roll's regiment and five of Dillon's were combined into a provisional battalion called "Roll Dillon's".
De Watteville's Regiment
De Roll's, Dillon's, and De Watteville's Regiments were the remains of those French and Swiss troops which refused to serve the French after the Revolution, and Sapherson (1991) describes them as French Royalist. Weak in numbers this regiment had to recruit from French deserters.
Originally formed in 1801 from French émigrés overtime it was kept up to strength by prisoners of war, deserters, and other nationals (Italians, Poles, Swiss) (Haythornthwaite, 1995). This mix led to high desertion rates, so much so the unit was never used on outpost duty. None-the-less the unit was considered of good quality, largely because of the French royalist officers.
Calabrian Free Corps / Calabrian Light Infantry and Rifles
The Calabrian Free Corps was a two battalion unit (shrinking to one) raised by Sir John Stuart in Sicily. It had British officers and Calabrians in all other ranks. It was also known as the Calabrian Light Infantry and Rifles, reflecting its split between these two types of troops.
Anglo-Italian Levy / Italian Legion
I assume what Gates (1986) calls the "Anglo-Italian Levy" is what Haythornthwaite (1995) call the "Italian Legion" as both are Italian and both served in the Eastern army, and there is nobody else in that force with a similar description. The Italian Legion was a 2 battalion unit formed form Italian prisoners in England. Austrians commanded the first regiment and other foreigners in Sicilian service the 2nd.
3rd 'Estero' Sicilian Infantry Regiment
The 3rd 'Estero' Sicilian Infantry Regiment was a regular unit of two battalions (Sapherson, 1991).
Sicilian Grenadier Battalion
Sapherson (1991) notes that the Sicilian Grenadier Battalion - who also fought with the Eastern Army - would have had the same uniform as the Grenadiers from the Estero Regiment.
Foreign Recruit Battalion
British Cavalry usually had fours squadrons, each of two troops (Partridge & Oliver, 1998). Only three squadrons took the field and the fourth was kept at home as a training depot. Regiments numbers at most 500 men.
The Brunswick-Oels Hussars had 200-250 men formed into 2 squadrons (Sapherson, 1991). They, along with 12 companies of infantry, were raised in 1809 for Austrian service from German, Croat, Danish, Dutch, Italian and Polish prisoners of war. The Brunswickers almost immediately transferred to British service. Only the Hussars served in the Eastern army in Spain.
1st Sicilian Light Dragoons
Funcken, L. and F. (1973). The Napoleonic Wars (Part II). London: Ward Lock.
Haythornthwaite, P. (1995). Uniforms of the Peninsular Wars 1807 - 1814. London: Arms and Armour Press.
Kannik, P. (1968). Military Uniforms in Colour. London: Blandford.
Rafferty, J. (1988a). Painting Guide to Napoleonics (Part One): British Infantry. Active Service Press.
Rafferty, J. (1988b). Painting Guide to Napoleonics (Part Two): British Cavalry. Active Service Press.
Rafferty, J. (1989a). Painting Guide to Napoleonics (Part Nine): French & British Artillery. Active Service Press.
Sapherson, C. A. (1991). Peninsular Armies 1808 - 1814. Leeds, UK: Raider Books.
Schaumann, A. (1999). On the road with Wellington: The diary of a war commissary. Greenhill Books.