The brushstrokes of history: Nassau troops iconic appearance at Waterloo

Beyond the strategic manoeuvres and tactical brilliance lies a visual tapestry of colours, a unique sartorial chapter that adds a vivid dimension to the narrative. Salva Rosselló, a fellow gamer and figure painter breaks down his recommended palette for the uniforms worn by the Nassau troops during those fateful days in 1815.

Salva Rosselló

2/19/20244 min read

A brief history of the Nassau regiments

In June 1808, After the merger of the two counties of Nassau, they were reorganised with the French system of one company of grenadiers, one of voltigeurs and four of line, regrouping into two infantry regiments, the 1st Regiment with two battalions and 2nd with one battalion.

The 2nd Nassau Infantry Regiment fought in Spain from 1808 with the French until June 1813 when it switched to the British side. The 1st Nassau Infantry Regiment was sent to Catalonia in early 1810 and in 1813 disarmed and interned in a prison camp after the desertion of the 2nd regiment.

Until 1813, the uniform scheme was green coat and gray pants. From 1813 onwards, the Nassau uniform is green coat and green pants.

As the 1st Infantry Regiment was imprisoned in the French camps, the new 3rd Regiment was created, and the 2nd Regiment was reinforced with 2 battalions each.

Until 1813 Nassau had a regiment of Chasseurs a Cheval, which in 1807 was divided to organize two squadrons of Chasseurs. The 2nd squadron was sent to Spain in November 1808, where it served against the guerrillas. It was joined by the 1st squadron in November 1813. This Regiment was also disarmed and interned in December 1813.

The Prince of Orange recruited in his German territories the Orange-Nassau infantry regiment and two companies of Jaegers, having at his services the 2nd Nassau Infantry Regiment after its return from Spain.

The Nassau regiments of infantry were reorganized prior to the Belgian campaign and settled into the two line regiments and one militia battalion.

Considered as light infantry battalions, they each consisted of one company of grenadiers, one of line and four of jaegers, often referred to as Voltigeurs in English and French language texts.

Waterloo, June 15, 16 & 18

The 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Nassau Regiment fought the French during their advance from the afternoon of the 15th until 5am on the 16th in the Bossu Forest at Quatre Bras. Their fierce resistance with the help of some Prussian Silesian Hussars who were separated from their regiment, made the French think that there was a far superior force in front of them. This made General Ney hesitate and he rested his troops, giving the Allies time to reinforce their positions.

The two regiments and the militia battalion fought and took part in the victorious advance of the allies at the end of the battle of Waterloo on the 18th June 1815.

As a curiosity, around 3 o'clock in the afternoon the 2nd regiment took off the pale ochre covering of the Shako because it was easy to see by the French artillerymen who had advanced their positions.

Note: Although other makes give the Nassau troops British shoulder rolls, this is not correct as they were only issued just before entering Paris. It is here that contemporary artists paint them with this new insignia. Campaign Game Miniatures has the correct uniform miniatures from 1808 to 1815 at Waterloo.

Painting scheme for Nassau troops at Waterloo

Base colours used in the uniform scheme of the Nassau at Waterloo 1815.

Figures are washed and cleaned up initially, then a black primer is applied.

  • Skin: Medium Flesh (Model Color 860 - 021).

  • Hair: Chocolate Brown (Color Model Color 872 - 149).

  • Troop pants/trousers and coat: Dark olive green (Color of model 968 - 083).

  • Command trousers/pants: Basalt gray (Model 869 - 162).

  • Commander's gloves: Silver gray (Model Color 883 - 152).

  • Cuffs, shoulder rolls, collars, shako, cartridge pouch, saber and bayonet sheaths: Black (Model Color 950 - 169).

  • Metals: Bronze (Color Model 998 - 175).

  • Yellow Shako plume 1st Company: Sunny Yellow (Set Color 006).

  • White Shako plume 2nd Company: Wall Gray (Set Color 049).

  • Blue Shako plume 3rd Company: Medium Blue (Set Color 963 - 057).

  • Black Shako plume 4th Company: Black (Set Color 950 - 196).

  • Green Shako Plume for Voltigeurs: Black Green (Color Model 980 - 100).

  • Red Shako plume for Grenadiers: Matte Red (Color Model 957 - 031).

  • Officer's Sash: Matte Red (Model Color 957 - 031).

  • Filigree trouser piping for command: Black (Model Color 950 - 169).

  • Filigrees trouser piping for troops: Golden yellow (Color Model 948 - 016).

  • 1st Regiment Shako cover: - Dark gray (Color Model 994 - 166).

  • 2nd Regiment Shako cover: Light sand (Model Color 837 - 007).

  • Shako Cockade 1st Regiment: Black (Model Color 950 - 169).

  • Shako Cockade 2nd Regiment: - Orange (Model Color 956 - 025).Backpack: Insect Brown (Set Color 043).

  • Blanket: Basalt Gray (Model Color 869 - 162).

  • Backpack Straps: Red Leather (Model Color 818 - 136).

  • Cross Body belts: Sand Yellow (Model Color 916 - 009).

  • Wooden Musket: Matt Earth (Model Color 983 - 143), although we can also use mahogany tone

  • Metal of Musket: Oiled steel (Model Color 865 - 177).

By Salva Rosselló – Pincel y Masilla
Taken from the Campaign Game Miniature website: