The idea of painting the RDL came about thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Mark S in the US, who contacted me early this year with an offer of some Der Kriegspieler Russians which were surplus to his requirements. All Mark asked in return was that I cover the postage.
The RDL was raised in Russia in 1812 by the exiled Graf Peter of Oldenburg at the instigation of the Tsar Alexander I. Its ranks were filled with German prisoners and deserters taken during Napoleon's invasion of Russia. It eventually rose to a strength of 10,000 men and included cavalry and artillery units as well as eight battalions of infantry. Its early adherents hoped that it would be the revolutionary vanguard of an all-German uprising against Napoleon. Its paymasters, however, were British, and Britain wanted it to form the backbone of the new Hanoverian army that was raised in North Germany in 1813.
It is not known if flags were ever issued to the infantry of the Legion but it is known that one was proposed for them by Ernst Friedrich Graf von Münster, an influential Hanoverian member of the British cabinet. Münster proposed St George as the central motif, accompanied by an inscription calling on all and sundry to join in the downfall of the "Dragon". Other sources mention that St George was to be surrounded by oak leaves.
It was a logical proposal. St George already appeared on the Russian imperial coat of arms, and the white horse would also appeal to Hanover. The colour scheme, however, is entirely my own invention, although with inspiration taken from other Russian flags and the arms of the Moscow Governorate, which also features St George and oak leaves intertwined by a scroll.
The figure I've converted to carry the colour is a Der Kriegspieler from Set # 55: Russian Line Infantry 1812, At Ready. He is painted to represent a soldier of the 1st Brigade of the infantry of the legion, which had red facings. The 1st Brigade would eventually be absorbed into the Prussian Army as the 30th Infantry Regiment and it would fight in this guise during the 100 Days. One can be sure, however, that the Prussian authorities would have ditched the flag!
The last variant I've used, pictured left, is the charging Russian line infantry officer from DK set # 57: Russian Line Infantry 1812, Command.
My thanks, once again, to Mark.