So, as it is the 18th June and the 197th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo I thought I'd post another (unfinished) battalion. This time the 57th Regiment of Foot.
The regiment started out as the 59th Regiment of Foot raised in Gloucester in 1755. After the disbandment of the 50th Regiment of Foot and the 51st Regiment of Foot in 1756, it became the 57th Regiment of Foot. The regiment took part in the American Revolutionary War (Siege of Charlestown, SC May 1776, New York Campaign 1776, Halifax Sept. 1783). In 1782, it was given a county connection, becoming the "57th (The West Middlesex) Regiment of Foot."
The 57th Regiment earned their nickname of "The Die Hards" after their participation in the Battle of Albuera, one of the bloodiest battles of the Peninsular War, fought on the 16 May 1811. The commanding officer of the 57th, Colonel Inglis, was struck down by a charge of canister shot which hit him in the neck and left breast. He refused to be carried to the rear for treatment, but lay in front of his men calling on them to hold their position and when the fight reached its fiercest cried, "Die hard the 57th, die hard!".
The casualties of the 57th were 422 out of the 570 men in the ranks and 20 out of the 30 officers. The Allied commander of the Anglo-Portuguese force Field Marshal Beresford wrote in his dispatch, "our dead, particularly the 57th Regiment, were lying as they fought in the ranks, every wound in front". Even after this savage fight and such appalling casualties, the regiment were eager to advance with the remainder but Beresford called out, "Stop, stop the 57th, it would be a sin to let them go on!"
The remaining men and officers were joined with survivors from other regiments to form a provisional battalion but in August 1811 a fresh draft of recruits allowed the battalion to be reformed as an independent unit. The battalion continued to serve in the Peninsula and France until the end of the war in 1814. The regiment missed Waterloo (having been sent to Canada) but served in the Army of Occupation from August 1815 for two years.
Battle Honours 1789-1881
As you can see (apologies for the poor focus) I actually managed to write "57" in white on some of the packs - frankly, if it was in focus you would be able to see how poor my efforts in this regard were. I only marked a few of the packs in this way before giving up on the plan - I now see that you can get decals of this kind of thing for 28mm figures, and if someone were to do it for 15mm figures I'd give it a shot.
I'm redoing the two standard bearers after my new puppy, Archie, got to one of them and chewed it to bits. Naturally he was given a flogging that wouldn't have disgraced a member of the 57th (their nickname before the "Die Hards" was "The Steelbacks" because of their reputation for flogging when based at Gibralter in 1800).