vrijdag 13 november 2009

Vaandels van het Staatse Leger I ~ The colours of the States' Army I

In oktober 1972 (zevende jaargang, nummer 4) verscheen in de kwartaalperiodiek van de vereniging Mars et Historia een artikel van kolonel Bottema, over vaandels van het Staatse Leger. Voor zover ik weet, is dit een van de eerste artikelen die over de vaandels zijn geschreven, en zeker één van de eerste artikelen in het Nederlands over de periode 1600-1700.

Het tweede artikel verscheen in de kwartaalperiodiek van oktober 1973, achtste jaargang nummer 4, waarbij abusievelijk als auteur de heer J.K.M. (!) Bottema wordt vermeld.

Een goede reden om dit artikel weer eens onder de aandacht te brengen en als vergelijkingsmateriaal te gebruiken voor latere werken. Afbeeldingen van de meeste vaandels zijn nu ook op de site van het Legermuseum te vinden, al is dat wat lastig zoeken. Er zijn ook verschillen met het Legermuseum aan te wijzen, zoals met betrekking tot de vaandels Aylva en Schwartzenberg. Het is jammer dat we de heer Bottema niet meer om zijn commentaar kunnen vragen.

Met toestemming van de redactie en bestuur van Mars et Historia plaats ik een engelse vertaling van dit artikel op dit weblog. Ik heb ook enige noten toegevoegd, in eerste instantie voor mijzelf, maar ook voor degenen die buiten de militaire terminologie staan. Mijn dank gaat uit naar de heer J.A.C. Bartels van Mars et Histora voor de toestemming, en Ralpheus van het WarsofLouisQuatorze weblog, en Mats Elzinga voor de hulp bij het vertalen. Het originele artikel is natuurlijk op de website van H&M te vinden, onder ‘kwartaalperiodiek’.


In October 1972, (year seven, nr 4) in the quarterly magazine of the Society Mars et Historia, an article by Colonel Bottema was published on colours of the States’Army. As far as I know this is one of the first articles on this subject, and certainly one of the first in Dutch on the 1600-1700 period.

A second article appeared in the magazine of October 1973, year 8 number 4, in which erroneously J.K.M. (!) Bottema is credited as the author.

A good reason to bring this article under the attention of a greater audience and to use it as a reference for other articles and books. Most of the pictures mentioned can now be found on the website of the Dutch Army Museum, although a bit difficult to find. Do note the differences with the Army museum on the flags of Aylva and Schwartzenberg. How unfortunate it is, we can’t discuss these points with mr Bottema.

The editors and board of Mars et Historia, kindly gave permission to translate this article in English. I have added several notes (the numbers you see in ther text), initially for my own use, but maybe of use to the reader not quite used to military terminology or this period of time. Unfortunatly the numbers don't show up quite as well as on my word processor.

I’d like to thank mr J.A.C. Bartels of Mars et Historia, and Ralpheus of the WarsofLouisQuatorze weblog and Mats Elzinga for helping me to translate the article. The original article - and lots more- can be found on the website of Mars et Historia.

Colours1 of the Staatsche Leger 2, by J.K.H.L. Bottema3

Little is known on this subject and publications are even rarer. The archives of the Rijk4 and the Provinces are sources that are not fully researched.

My sources were:

1. ‘De legervlaggen uit den aanvang van de 80-jarige oorlog’, by Mr. J.P.W.A. Smit
2. ‘Het Staatsche Leger’4, Ten Raa en de Bas (in which other sources are mentioned like the Royal House Archives)
3. Drawings made by Hoynck van Papendrecht, owned by the Dutch Army Museum and copied from ‘Triomphes du Roi Louis le Grand5’.

Following this summary of flags of the States’ army, the Military History Section of the General Staff in The Hague has in its collection a brochure about the flags of the Batavian Republic6, 1795-1806.

Those of the Kingdom of Holland7, are depicted and commentated on in ‘Drapeaux et Etendards des troupes allies sous le ier Empire, Planche 4, L’ Infanterie de Hollande 1806-1810’, published by Plumet.

The flags and standards of the Kingdom of the Netherlands are dealt with by H. Ringoir, Captain of the Jagers, a publication issued by the Military History Section.


Historical insignias are characteristic of the army colours .
The white cross of St. Louis, the radiating sun, and the Lily Banner for the French, the St-Andrews cross to the English, the flying eagle and - later- the Iron Cross to the Prussians, the Holy Virgin to the Austrians, and also to the Spanish. The orange colour was only prescribed as a colour for banners, since the establishment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In the period before that, that colour was only reserved to guard- and ‘lijf’ regiments like Oranje Friesland. In the beginning of the eighty years war8 the colour orange is depicted many times, as a representation of the Prince’s 9 livery: orange, white and blue.

As a Dutch army banner characteristic, the design is of more importance than the colour. In the early days of the States’ army: horizontal sloping stripes, a band or squares.

Later on, all banners carried the weapon of the Generaliteit10, or of the Province they were paid by11 or they used the Prince’s cipher.

Often the flags of the States’ army depicted so-called ‘flames’.
Captions or mottoes can be found on the oldest banners, like ’Rather Turkish than Popish’; later colours showed allegorical pictures like the All-seeing-eye (Regiment Kinschot), the Phoenix (Regiment d’Yvoy 1709), or the Armoured arm with sword.
Between them, regiments further distinguished themselves by the colour of the banner. When Prince William III reserved the orange colour for his guard and ‘lijf’ regiments exclusively, the States of Friesland ordered that their regiments should carry banners with a blue colour.

In all regiments, white was the colour of the colonel’s company, later that of the colonel’s flag. The regiments (battalions) had a second banner of the same design, but of a different colour.

Description of the flags.

The oldest flag of our army, is the flag that was carried in the company (in Dutch: ‘vendel’) of captain Hoboken, of the Bervoet regiment, around 1580. The banner showed fifteen horizontal stripes, coloured white, blue and orange which was repeated again and again. The colours were, as mentioned above, of the Prince’s livery, but the sequence orange, white blue was not set yet. (Figure 1). The next flag (figure 2) was also held in the company of captain Hoboken. It is a transitional banner, showing an oblique cross.

As the Spaniards used an oblique cross in their banners, this cross was not used in our army, so it might be that this is a transformed Spanish flag. The base colour was yellow. The stripes around the edges on the outside are of a checkered blue/red pattern. The cross-arm from left-above to right under was green with a blue edge, and the other one upper-right to left under orange with a blue edge (these colours make it a Prince’s banner). In the four yellow triangles, three red flames can be seen, starting at the edge.

The banner in figure 3 was flown in the regiment of Olivier van den Tempel, lord of Corbeek, a regiment in pay of Zeeland, commanded by someone from Brabant, from a place near Leuven. This might explain the yellow lion of the Generaliteit and the black background in the middle of the flag, an insignia typical of Brabant.
The eight blocks of this banner around this central focus point can be described as followed:
1. Three horizontal stripes in the colours orange, white and blue
2. A checkered pattern 5 blocks wide and 4 blocks deep in the colours blue, white, orange , blue, white on the first row and on the second orange, blue, white, orange blue etc.
3. Three horizontal stripes in the colours white, black, orange
4. Sixteen blocks in four rows, with in the first row the colours blue, white, orange, blue second row orange, blue white etc.
5. Sixteen blocks in four rows, with in the first row the colours blue, orange, white, blue second row white, blue, orange etc.
6. Three horizontal stripes from top to bottom coloured: orange, black white
7. A checkered pattern, 5 blocks wide and 4 blocks deep in the colours blue, orange , white, blue, orange on the first row and on the second one: white, blue, orange, white, blue etc
8. Three horizontal stripes in the colours blue, white orange.

The next banner is one of the many ‘with a so called band’. These rather simple type of flags consisted sometimes of a white cloth with a band from top-left to right-below in a blue colour, or an orange flag with a blue band, the band sometimes illustrated with half-moons or with the earlier described inscription, sometimes with a more exalted text like: ‘Si deus pro nobis quis contra nos’12.

The flag depicted in figure 4, was carried by the regiment of Charles de Levin, lord of Famars, and is a white flag with a border and band with flames on it in blue and orange. (1580).
The next three illustrations (5,6,7) belong to Frisian regiments, from around the year 1620, all of them descendants of regiment Rennenberg (1577), the oldest predecessor of the present day regiment Johan Willem Friso.

Figure 5 depicts a blue banner, on the flagpole side orange and white triangles, in the left upper side the Frisian lion weapon, surrounded by a yellow laurel.

Figure 6 a blue flag with a very broad border on three sides of the flag. The border consists of red and yellow triangles enclosing white diamonds.
In the center on the blue field the inscription: NEC TEMERE NEC TIMIDE13

Figure 7 a normal Frisian regimental flag, blue with large yellow flames starting from the corners, and small yellow flames regularly positioned across the flag. In the upper left corner the Frisian provincial weapon in a laurel, all in yellow.
The regiment Nassau-Friesland, later Orange-Friesland, flown around 1680, had a banner depicted in Figure 8.

It consisted of 17 horizontal stripes, alternately blue and yellow. In the middle in a laurel, the crowned weapon shield of Nassau in yellow, with the yellow standing lion and the yellow blocks on a blue field.

Figure 9 gives a representation of the flags of the Frisian regiments of Aylva and Schwartzenberg, both flags dated around 1674.
The regiment Aylva, a descendant of the regiment Rennenberg 1577, and predecessor of the present day regiment Johan Willem Friso (1st Regiment Infanrty), flew this flag in a blue colour, covered with twisting rays from the centre in white. The white centerpiece is set within a silver laurel, with a silver emblem on top of the laurel and within the laurel. In the left upper corner the Frisian weapon in blue and yellow.

Regiment Schwartzenberg, predecessor of the 4th Infantry Regiment, had the same flag but in red. The rest of the flag was like the Aylva one, but instead of gold, silver was used. Both regiments took part in the battle of Seneffe, 1675.

Figure 10 gives a representation of the flag of the Losecaet regiment, a patron regiment of the 6th Infantry Regiment, a regiment from Groningen that participated at the battle of Fleurus in 1690 (see ‘Ons Leger, year 55, no 10). The flag was of the colour green and had in the upper left corner the weapon of Groningen. (A weapon shield divided in four parts, with on the upper left and lowers right a double headed eagle with a white green14 shield, the eagle on a yellow background. The upper right and lower left quarter part, show the design and colour of the Frisian flag, blue and white oblong bands with the red leaves of the white lily15.

Figure 11 shows the regimental flag of the Regiment Guard on Foot of his Excellency, therefore the Guard of William III before he was made king of England (1688). This regiment is the founding regiment of the present day Garde-Grenadiers and can date their lineage to the year 1572, the year in which the States offered the regiment to the Prince of Orange16.
The flag was yellow and decorated with gold and was carried till the year 1672. In that year the flags of the guard’s regiments became orange.
Notable emblems on the flag are: the crowned ‘W’, the stylized rapier in the corners, laurels and orange apples, all of them in gold.
In the middle a blue band with the inscription HONY SOIT QUI MALY PENSE17, the motto of the Order of the Garter, and this motto was carried in the guard regiments up to 1795. Inside the motto the red cross on a white field. The last great battle in which this banner was carried was SENEFFE , 1674.

The next flag belongs to the regiment of Hendrik Casimir of Nassau, a Frisian regiment which was always led by the Frisian stadholder, but in later years more and more elements from this regiment were added to the Oranje Gelderland regiment. This regiment fought at Fleurus (1690) and carried the flag represented in Figure 12.

On the flag the decorations are in gold, except for the lining of the crown, which are light red, the sunrays are yellow with red flames and the crosses are lined in black. The name cypher of the Prince, Hendrik Casimir, Prince, Nassau is on the flag as well.

The colour depicted in Figure 13 belongs to the Hollandish Regiment Fagel, founded in 1673 during the French invasion, but was later combined with other regiments and is the founding regiment of the Limburg Jagers (2nd Regiment Infantry). Named Regiment Fagel, it fought at several battles with distinction, amongst them the famous battle of Ekeren, something few regiments can boast on.
The red flag shows in the middle the Seven Arrows of the Union18 in yellow, held together by a blue knot, all on a red background, lined with a blue border with in yellow the following motto: Concordia res parvae crescunt, ‘unity is strength’. The motto of the Republic initially was CONCORDIA RES PARVAE CRESCUNT, DISCORDIA MAXIMA DILABUNTER. The second part of this motto was quietly discarded in the light of the continuing quarreling in the republic. In the center four times the crowned cipher of the Prince, this time with an R19 added, as he was king of England now. All in yellow, the lining of the crown is deep red; the lining of the band of the crown is ermine, all surrounded with yellow (gold) laurels and with eight white flames starting in the corner and the middle of the sides of the flag.

The next flag, depicted in Figure 14, represents the Guelders regiment Beynheim, the founding regiment of the Oranje-Gelderland regiment (5 R.I. 20).

This flag was carried with the assault on Schellenberg (1704) during Marlborough’s campaign on the Danube. Only two regiments can claim the honour of participating in that campaign. The flag is the Colonel’s flag, therefore in white. In the centre, two crossed swords in natural colours with yellow hilts. Underneath the text in black: DURIS DURE FRANGO, ‘I break with steel’.

The motives were surrounded with golden laurels, from which eight red lined rays originate, and in the left hand corner the weapon of Guelders: a halved shield with on the left hand side a yellow standing lion on a blue background, and on the right hand side a red standing lion on a white background. In the other corners of the flag golden laurels.

Regiment van Pallandt was founded as regiment Aquila in 1665 and is the predecessor of the Jagers, later the Garde Jagers. It was a Utrecht regiment that fought at MALPLAQUET, 1709. The flag is one of the rare black flags and shows an armoured arm, coming from a cloud, all in grey, hand and sword in natural colours.
Under the emblem a blue band or ribbon, with the motto in yellow PRO ARIS ET FOCES, for altar and hearth. The picture is surrounded by a golden laurel, with a blue knot at the underside. From the four corners black, yellow lined flames originate.
In the left upper side the crowned Utrecht weapon in red and white, with the red lion on yellow in two quarters of the shield, the white cross on red in the other two quarters. Figure 15.

Figure 16 shows the white Colonel’s flag of the Hollandish regiment d’Yvoy, a regiment founded in 1672 under the famous21 Colonel Pain et Vin, later under the command of general Wijnand van Goor, who fell at Schellenberg (1704) after which the regiment was commissioned to the Quartermaster general, Frederik Thomas van Hangest Genlis, spoken as Ivoy, with whom the regiment took part in the major battles of the Wars of the Spanish Succession, including MALPLAQUET 1709, the bloodiest battle of the 18th century and the siege of Le Quesnoy in 1712. The regiment is one of the founding regiments of the Limburger Jagers (2 R.I.).
The flag shows the weapon shield of Holland, a red standing lion on a yellow field with a crown and lions as shieldbarers, all in yellow.
Underneath a blue ribbon with the inscription VIOLATE DEO CONFIDENTE, be watchful and trust in God. The picture is surrounded by a golden laurel.


The drawings are schematics.

Flag nr 4 had round corners and the side opposite of the flag pole. Also the size of the flags were different and are not mentioned by me. When naming the colours, I did not use the terminology used in heraldics like sabre, keel, silver for white etc.
I hope this first meeting with our old banners stimulates the interest in these old field signs.

To the Traditioncomittee, the Armymuseum, the Section Military History and the Infantryregiments with their own museum there is still a lot to be explored, which can offer a useful contribution to the moral of our troops.

1) In dutch vexillology there is a difference between a ‘Vlag’ or ‘Flag’, a term being only used for the national flag and ‘vaandel’, or ‘regimental, ship’s or religious colour’.
2) The military affairs of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands were the responsibility of the Estates General, in Dutch the ‘Staten Generaal’. The land army therefore was known as the States’ Army, or in Dutch ‘Het Staats(ch)e Leger’ .
3) Colonel J.K.M. Bottema (1913-1997) was -next to his distinguished military career teacher at the Dutch Royal Military Academy. This article was published the same time as Jean Belaubre and de Wilde were working on their books. I don’t know if there was any form of collaboration between them and it is very interesting to compare their research.
4) ‘Rijk’ is an abbreviation of the word ’ Koninkrijk’, kingdom. The Rijksarchief is thus the national archive, not to be confused with the archive of HM the Queen.
5) Het ‘Staatsche Leger’ is an unfinished series of books about the armies in the Low Countries from 1568 to 1795. The last volume, Vol VIII was finished by J. Wijn and deals with the War of the Spanish Succession.
6) ‘Les triomphes de Louis XIV’ is a series of plates of captured colours during the reign of King Louis XIV. A copy of these plates can be found in the French National Library. French historian Jean Belaubre re-issued the plates with his commentaries, which is one of the most important sources for colours in this period. The pictures are more detailed than in this article. Also the Dutch Army museum has a copy of the plates made by military painter Hoynck van Papendrecht. Do bear in mind that Mars at Historia was at that time a b/w magazine and copying equipment non-available.
7) The Batavian Republic lasted from 1795 to 1801 and was succeeded by the Batavian Commonwealth.
8) The Kingdom of Holland under King Louis Napoleon lasted from 1806 to 1810.
9) 1568 to 1648
10) William ‘The Silent’ of Orange (1533-1584)
11) The ‘Generaliteit’ refers again to the Estates General, the government body dealing with military matters.
12) The States’ finances are a subject of its own. Basically the cost of the troops were divided between the Provinces (‘Repartition’), with the Province of Holland paying up most. Provinces and Stadholders wrestled about commissions of the troops, promotions and government contracts.
13) ‘If God is with us, who can be against us’, Romans 8:31
14) ‘Neither reckless nor afraid’. It is now one of the motto’s of the Dutch Air Assault Brigade.
15) Actually, this is a description of the weapon shield of the City of Groningen, which is a green centered band on a white shield.
16) In Frisian ‘Pompeblêden’
17) William the Silent.
18) ‘Shame upon him who thinks evil upon it’
19) Several Provinces in the Low Countries formed the Union of Utrecht, as a defensive league against the Spanish. It is one of the starting points of the Dutch revolt.
20) R stands for Rex, king (Latin).
21) R.I. stands for Regiment Infantry
22) Colonel Paint et Vin was executed for cowardice in 1673 on direct orders of William III who overruled his lighter court marshal verdict.

© Mars et Historia, & Rampjaar.blogspot.com (translation)

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