Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Royal Horse Guards (The Blues)

    The origins of this regiment date back to the English Civil War. Sir Arthur Hasselrig raised a unit of Cuirassiers (Lobsters) in 1650, at the order of Oliver Cromwell. The unit had dark blue coats. Somewhat surprisingly, the unit survived the Restoration of King Charles II in 1660, albeit with new, Royalist officers. Because it was officially organized as a Royalist unit after the antecedents of the Lifeguards, it is second in seniority to them in the British Army. It saw action at Sedgemoor (1685) and the Battle of the Boyne (1690).

    The regiment saw action during the War of the Austrian succession, fighting at Dettingen (1743), and Fontenoy (1745), where it was the only cavalry regiment to be "mentioned is dispatches". During the Seven Years War it was under the command of the Marquis of Granby, and was present at Minden (1759) but saw no combat, and fought at Warburg (1762) and Wihelmstahl (1762). During the French Revolutionary Wars, the Horse Guards fought near Cambrai (the battle honor was  Le Cateau, but later changed to Beaumont after the 1914 battle of the same name happened).

The Horse Guards, aka "The Blues".  They are unique among British heavy cavalry in wearing blue coats, which date back to English Civil War as related above. 

Buff breeches were worn for Full Dress wear, as seen above. The Horse Guards had long been a favorite regiment of King George II, but was not officially made part of the Royal Household cavalry until 1813; at that time Wellington was named as its Colonel.  Along with the 1st and 2nd Lifeguards, it fought in the Peninsula in 1813 - 1814, fighting at Vittoria in 1813. It saw action at Waterloo as part of the Household cavalry brigade, and wound up in the lead of their famous charge that day.

Buff belts were another distinguishing feature of the uniform of the Horse Guards. The red stripe down the middle of the belt is formed by a crimson "flask cord". 

The Horse Guards were evidently never issued the horse tail pattern helmets, but started out with helmets as seen here in 1812. A GMB flag for the Regiment is on the way, so we'll get another peek at them once they are so equipped, along with the other three regiment of British cavalry I've painted to date (and quite a few more to come)!

Once again, these Old Glory 25/28 mm figures come in bags of 10, so I have painted the extra 2 figures as Officers. 

They have the service wear saddle blankets, and grey pants with a double stripe of scarlet edged in gold down the outer seams.

While the men have plain black sabretaches, they are wearing the officers dress version with red backing asnd a gold star emblem upon it. 

These chaps will probably see use as Brigade commanders or staff officers. 

More of "The Queens cavalry", about the modern day Horse and Life Guards


  1. Peter, is this a new unit off from your painting desk or a Regimental History from an already existing regiment?

    This regiment originates from Arthur Haselrig's Lobsters? Fascinating! This unit is on the muster roll of my ECW collection.

    1. It is the latest unit off the painting desk, Jon; just awaiting their fancy GMB flags for the final touch (and maybe some better pictures taken outdoors).

      Hasseling's Lobsters are in my own ECW collection, painted about 40 years ago:

      and I noted the (odd) connection of the regiment to the later RHG there as well!

    2. Haselrig's cuirassiers are probably in MOST ECW collections!

    3. As the only definite units of Lobsters/EHC in the ECW, and we wargamers being what we are, doubtless true, Jon!

  2. Nice work Peter, and I enjoyed The Queens cavalry. One thing I found quite interesting was that the batch of recruits which included one from Holland, and the top of the class was a New Zealander.