The House of Orange and the Re-establishment of the Dutch Army, 1810-1814

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This chapter examines the reorganisation of the Dutch army in 1810–1814. The history of the Dutch army of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era is well known. After the Dutch defeat by Revolutionary France in what has become known as the War of the First Coalition, a rejuvenated Batavian Republic re-entered the Revolutionary wars as a French ally. This marked a beginning of a steady realignment of Dutch geopolitical interests with those of France and a close co-operation with the French armed forces. For example, in 1806–1809 the Dutch army participated in Napoleon’s campaigns in northern Germany, and in 1808 the Dutch dispatched a contingent to assist Napoleon in pacifying Spain. The Dutch army also played a key role in defending the France’s exposed northern flank, most notably in 1799, when an Anglo-Russian force landed at Den Helder, and in 1809, when the British attempted an invasion through Zeeland. The year 1810 is a watershed in Dutch military history. On 9 July 1810, the Kingdom of Holland was annexed to France and the Dutch army was integrated into Napoleon’s Grande Armée. From this date, there was no longer an independent Dutch army. Instead, there were only a handful of regiments of the Grande Armée with a Dutch pedigree. As part of the Grande Armée, the Dutch regiments participated in the Russian Campaign of 1812, where they suffered considerable casualties. However, it was not until the retreat from Russia that the Dutch regiments were ostensibly destroyed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArmies and Enemies of Napoleon, 1789-1815
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 2021 Helion and Company ’From Reason to Revolution’ Conference
Place of PublicationWarwick
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

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