Saturday, May 28, 2011

18th Hussars or "The Drogheda Cossacks"

The whole of the regiment, Colonel, Trumpeter and three squadrons at the gallop
(as always, click to embiggen)

The 18th Hussars was one of five regiments of light cavalry raised in 1759 and was known as the Drogheda Light Horse after their Colonel, Charles Moore, Earl of Drogheda. The regiments was clothed as hussars from 1807 and were bound for Portugal the following year. They fought with Moore in Spain and having been involved in several sharp skirmishes; they were to shoot their mounts at Corunna. Allan Mallinson describes their predicament with feeling in Rumours of War.

A squadron, traditionally in Charge! terms, eight men and an officer

Astute observers, however, will notice that this squadron is a man short. Some of my hussars have disappeared during the move or more likely have been misfiled in other boxes. At least that's what Mrs Kinch says - I presume they've gone in search of drink.

The slightly smaller squadron suits C&C: Napoleonics though as they fit more easily in a hex and on the five inch steel plates I use as bases.

More Hussars
Painting as always by Mark Bevis
(click to embiggen)

The figures I've used for the 18th are a mixture of Esci Lord Cardigan's 11th Hussars and Italeri British Light Dragoons, though the two sets are closely related. The 11th Hussars set is obviously for the Crimea, but one of the advantages of there being little change in British cavalry fashions between the Peninsula and the Crimea is well, there was very little change. They seemed to fit the pictures of the 18th that I'm familiar with, the only lapse that I can see is their lack of plumes. But they do have pelisses and as far as I'm concerned, the pelisse maketh the man.

Lt. Colonel Henry Murray
accompanied by his trusty bugler, O'Connor

The 18th cannot be described to have had a particularly good Peninsula, in fact they were known as "The Drogheda Cossacks" because of their devotion to looting. I feel that this is a little unfair as I do not believe that they were untypical in this. Their main mistake was breaking the 11th commandment, "Thou shalt not get caught."

They had done very creditable service at the battle of Vittoria and it was towards the end of the battle that several troopers of the 18th were caught by Lord Wellington drunk and looting in the streets of the town. A trooper of the 18th, Corporal Fox, took Marshall Jourdan's baton - but didn't care much for the shaft, just unscrewing the gold caps. It was later reassembled and presented to the Prince Regent. Wellington was scathing, "...the 18th Hussars are a disgrace to the name of soldier, in action as well as elsewhere.."

This was more than a little harsh, as the majority of the regiment were still engaged in the pursuit. They soldiered on until Napoleon's abdication, but they were to get only one battle honour for their service in Spain; Peninsula. They picked up another at Waterloo and Colonel Murray was later to be one of Sibornes correspondents.

The regiment in review
(click to embiggen)

...and in no kind of formation and the officers aren't at the right of the line. What was I thinking?
These fellows make up three British Light Cavalry units in my Command & Colours: Napoleonics army or one Charge! regiment. Now that they are photographed, I'll have to add them to metal bases. At the moment, I'm toying with the idea of adding name tags at the back, but that's a post for another day.

*All details shamelessly nicked from Mike Chappel's "Wellington's Peninsula Regiments: The Irish" from Osprey.


  1. Very dashing! Now please excuse me while I go lock up my little plastic women and the Rum casks.

  2. If I recall correctly the Esci Lord Cardigan set were used as the jumping off point for their Napoleonic light dragoon set.

  3. Nicely done!
    i think I'll have a lie down and good cry...