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"Blue blood"
Blue Guard


Every respectable blue-blooded nobleman needs a personal bodyguard or kind of private army. In addition, the blue color was always one of the national symbols of the Netherlands along the orange. These were the reasons why William III of Orange created "de Blauwe Garde" or the Blue Guard (their official designation was "Infantry Regiment number 4 Nassau-Saarbrucken").

From 1688 to 1699 the regiment served in England as personal guard to William. At the time of their arrival in England they numbered 2000 men and took over the duties of guarding the St. James's Palace. It was during this period when the Blue Guard distinguished itself especially at the Battle of the Boyne in which they led the attack at the main ford of the river, the regiment forced its way across the river with firepower and drove back the Jacobite infantry. However, the Williamite infantry were pinned down at this point when the enemy cavalry counter-attacked. The Williamite troops managed to capture the village of Oldbridge and made stand there trying to hold off successive cavalry attacks with disciplined volley fire, but were scattered and driven into the river, with the exception of the Blue Guards. The Blue Guard managed to hold its ground until the Williamite cavalry crossed the river and helped them to drive off the Jacobite cavalry. For the rest of the Nine Years' War the regiment also served at the Battle of Steenkerque, Battle of Landen and the Siege of Namur.

Groep-blauwegarde

Modern reenactors portraying the Blue Guard

After William's death in 1702, the regiment returned to the Netherlands and took major role in the War of the Spanish Succession. During this war, the Blue Guard was part of the Allied armies under the command of the English general John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough. They greatly distinguished themselves at the Battle of Ramillies, under the command of Colonel Wertmüller, where they captured two French held villages on the Allied left flank. At 13:00 supported by their two field guns they came forward to seize the hamlet of Franquenée. The small Swiss garrison in the village was shaken by the sudden onslaught and were forced to retreat to the village of Taviers, which was an important position for the French forces. However, the retreating Swiss hardly had the chance of regrouping with their comrades in Taviers as the Blue Guards renewed their attack. The fighting amongst the alleys and cottages soon deteriorated into a fierce bayonet and clubbing melee, but the Dutch soon prevailed thanks to their superiority in firepower. The accomplished French officer, Colonel de la Colonie, standing on the plain nearby remembered – "this village was the opening of the engagement, and the fighting there was almost as murderous as the rest of the battle put together." By about 15:00 the Swiss had been pushed out of the village into the marshes beyond. They also fought bravely and suffered heavy losses at the Battle of Malplaquet. The Blue Guard was also present at the Battle of Blenheim and the Battle of Oudenarde.

The Dutch army was among the strongest and most innovative armies in the early XVIII century. It created the platoon fire tactic, which was key in the successful performance of the Blue Guard, however, they fell into obscurity after that period.

Model

William's Blue Guard Regiment

Blue Guard uniforms in 1688 and 1705

The in game model of the Blue Guard is based on the post-William's death uniform (after William III's death in 1702, the regiment changed to blue coats with red cuffs and lining and white stockings (per Wagner) or red stockings per the current reenactment group) worn by the Dutch Blue Guard during the War of the Spanish Succession. They are armed with the generic in game flintlock musket model which in this case most likely depicts a 1650-1720 Dutch musket.

Sources

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