A good while ago I undertook a project for the French and Indian Wars – a favourite subject. This resulted in me acquiring the better part of 80 or so very nicely painted Woodland Indians, amongst other troops – this is an ongoing project as it is an area of continued interest. The figures were commissioned to be painted and were all from the Redoubt Miniatures range. At that time the Redoubt range was the most complete and continuing expanding range for skirmish level games based on the French and Indian War – despite misgivings about their heroic size, Redoubt it was and it still holds its own to this day IMHO.
Since that time which is well over 10 years ago there has been a number of other American Indian ranges appearing on the scene. This was led by the excellent figures from Conquest Games which have now been acquired by Warlord Games. There are other ranges, like the Indians in the Perry AWI range, and a few others. Most of these figures have tended toward the ‘standard’ 28mm size, the Perry figures being the best representation of that scale, with perhaps Galloping Major miniatures being the exception. For the most part however, my Indians were ‘done’ using the Redoubt range.
Unfortunately for me to a certain degree, the larger 28mm figures of the Redoubt Miniatures range, which was all the vogue at that time, has kind of been replaced by a return to a more proportioned smaller figure. Regardless, I do have a large collection and all beautifully painted.… so I’m committed to using those figures. Funnily enough the later Redoubt Miniatures figures for the regulars were actually a smaller and slighter sculpt which I think reflected the return back towards a ‘standard’ 28mm figure.
Whilst doing some related investigation into (my) local frontier conflict I happened upon comparisons with King Philip’s War, a ‘small’ but important conflict in American history. Given I had such a large collection of very nicely painted Woodland Indians and terrain to go with them it seemed like a very easy fit to simply add 60 to 80 1670s New Englander figures and I would have a whole new period using the same miniatures. Whilst there are certainly specific differences I’m not going to get too hung up on that as my American Woodland Indians pretty much will cover for the late 17th and 18th century.
If I wanted to I could very easily add some new American Indians from Brigade Games King Philip’s War line though these will likely be a touch smaller. Painted the same way I’m sure they would mix in without issue so this provides us with a further ten variants specific to the period, plus five ‘Praying Indians’; so if further reinforcements are required these look good…very handy.
With the Redoubt Indians being slightly oversized the hunt is on to find a suitable range of figures that will work for the settler colonists of New England at the time of King Philip’s War c.1675. This period is not as well covered as the later and much more popular French and Indian Wars period c.1755. Their appearance is certainly different and having looked online at a number of possible uses for various ranges of figures to represent these troops the choices are not as easy as one might think.
My main driver is compatibility of size with the larger Indian troops from the Redoubt Miniatures range. Whilst I could just entirely ignore the figure size issue that’s not an ideal outcome for me as I like the figures to be generally well proportioned to one another. I found a useful page on TMP that touched on the ranges of figures likely to be used. The figures in the pic in the thread (below) give a good comparative size representation of each manufacturer.
I’ve also got a comparison shot of a Front Rank WSS figure I have and two of my Redoubt Indians. The heft of the FR figure actually means they size up quite well and I believe the Brigade Games KPW range fits well with Front Rank…so that’s good news.
So I’ve been doing a bit of digging online to see what other people have done in relation to figures to represent the New England Colonists. A range of opinions from 30 years war Germans through to the War of the Grand Alliance figures seems to be what people go for.
I started a thread on the lead adventure forum which has elicited a number of very useful comments. Looking online at images from the period of civilian attire of the puritans of the 1670s you can get a pretty good idea of what the colonists look like. It’s important to remember that there were no uniforms and the colonist simply fought in their civilian clothes.
When when looking at clothing it’s also important to look at the armament of the troops. This is quite possibly the most critical element in getting the look right. A number of 30 years war type figures are perfectly reasonable for 1670s. The main issue is in regards to the use of the matchlock musket versus the flintlock musket. The whole issue surrounding the use of weapons is an interesting subject itself. Suffice to say from my research the vast bulk of the united colony military companies should be equipped with a flintlock musket, at least from 1676.
There is an interesting discussion on weapons in the colony found here. As you can see it wasn’t as simple as just one weapon type but for our purposes the bulk of troops would’ve had some form of flintlock weapon during some period of the war however the preponderance of other weapon types opens up an opportunity to depict troops in a number of ways. In addition, where supply of firearms was a problem for town and settlement defence, the pike was still known to be used. So it’s not unreasonable in some scenarios to have town militia with some pike, matchlock or snaphaunce muskets and flintlock muskets as well…quite a spread.
For the most part any punitive expedition of the type the colonists regularly undertook against the indian tribes would be reasonably well equipped with flintlock muskets and that’s generally the look that I think I will be going for and is most correct. The impact of all this is then to decide what ‘look’ to go for and what figures to use.
Troops armed with matchlock muskets, snaphaunce, wheel lock, or English lock musket could or did use the bandolier, commonly known as the ’12 apostles’, carried over the shoulder. This has a very distinctive classic look for the 30 Years War and the English Civil War period predating King Philip War’s by about 30 years. These weapons were in use however as the above linked page shows so having troops with this early period look is not incorrect, though the shift to powder horns and ammunition pouches with pre measured cartridges became common place with the advent of flintlock weapons. A very good example of these types of figures and ones that would be very suitable that are relatively recent sculpts come from Bohemian Troops.
This figure range is sculpted by Paul Hicks who also sculpted the Brigade Games King Philip’s War range. Needless to say these two would go together very well and complement one another as they are superlative sculpts for both King Philip’s War and the earlier 30 Years War period.
By the way, the Front Rank figure painted in the above pic next to the two redoubt Indians was by the owner of the Bohemian Troops, Emil Horky. He’s a superb painter and I think you can tell by the figures on his website that they are just wonderful. Unable to resist, here are a couple of examples from his webblog.
There were still militia using the matchlock musket at the very beginning of King Phillip’s War but there was a relatively quick transition to the flintlock musket due to the significant limitations of the matchlock musket firing mechanism in indian frontier warfare. To what extent and by which forces is not entirely known so a little latitude is possible when depicting your forces. We’ll touch on weapons, tactics, etc in the next post. As a very rough rule, it would not be unreasonable to field some forces in 1675 with matchlock muskets and mostly flintlocks in 1676 – as a very rough guide.
So what this leaves us with is the question how should our troops look?
To create variety and to a degree use a little bit of ‘gamer’s licence’, I’d like to get in as many troop types as possible to mix things up. So to that end I’ve identified the sort of forces that I’d want to put together and how they’d look as follows;
Punitive Raiding Force: this would be composed of combined troops from multiple companies from the different colonies. This would mean almost all our troops should be flintlock musket armed, unless a very early war scenario, and thus the best figures to use would be the three Brigade Games KPW Pilgrim packs with a unit or two of the Bohemian Troops 30YW range. This gives us 15 variants from BG which when mixed in with a few specialist officer figures gives plenty of variation. This’ll enable us to create unique units with a good mix of figures.
If we combine the BG KPW Mounted Militia troops we more or less have all the troops we need and all from the hand of the same sculptor in the same style. If we wish to add allied or friendly Indians we can use the BG KPW range or more likely for me, a judicious use of my existing Redoubt Indian Wars figure with an emphasis on musket armed and more well dressed troops reflecting colonist influence in their appearance.
Farm or Town Local Defence Force: this is where we can create a bit more variation. As our taste takes us, we can reflect a well armed town militia using our BG KPW figures, no other figures required. Alternatively, we can add in a mix of some matchlock musket armed troops by using the 30YW figures which will be a perfect match with the BG KPW figures to create a more diversely equipped force. There is a lot of multi pose variation in the Bohemian Troops miniatures so this will work well in a skirmish game.
We can also use some of the same figures with pike to give us a definite ‘pike and shot’ feel to our forces, these troops representing men unable to acquire arms and thus formed into pike units. It would not be unreasonable to add in helmeted troops wearing Spanish conquistador helmet types for a more traditional 17th century heavily equipped feel to our forces. If we then sprinkle in some civilians armed with various old firearms and/or hand weapons we can create a lot of varied troops in a scenario where a settlement is under attack by Indian forces.
Irregular Ranger Force: this reflects a force made up primarily of praying indians and command element colonists such as those formed by Benjamin Church. This is very much the kind of force the French developed from their north american experience by combining Indians with coureur des bois to form highly effective irregular forces. A ratio of 2/3 Indians to 1/3 colonist would be a good proportion.
This can achieved by using the woodland Indians and BG KPW figures or some Redoubt Indians that are painted to reflect colonists gone ‘indian’. This might be a good case for getting a selection of Redoubt FIW Indians or Ranger types and doing a few head swaps to get that late 17th century floppy hat look to give the whole unit a nice cohesive look.
Mounted Dragoon Force: given the low level skirmish nature of the conflict and the not uncommon use of mounted troops, a Dragoon force, mounted or dismounted, is perfectly reasonable to field. Figures for these troops dismounted could be the BG KPW minis or using suitable 30YW or English Civil War types, preferably with firelocks ie no slung bandolier with the 12 apostles.
Other suitable figures might be select figures from the Front Rank late 17th century range. This has a number of figures in it that will work well IMO and suitably painted in more austere colors they will convey the Puritan clothing style quite well. Remember, not everyone in New England was ‘hard core’ puritan and as the population expanded newer and varied clothing styles appeared.
Privateer Force: this represents the few ‘companies’ of Privateers that found employment during the war. These were less than scrupulous individuals reflecting their mercenary view of the world, pirates that they were. This force could easily be made up of mid to late 17th century pirate types, though perhaps in slightly more clothes than usual. They allow for a good degree of figure use from all sorts of manufacturers depending on how you wish to portray your privateers. They certainly are a different force than your typical colony militia.
Some of my Indians…
The following pics are of the Redoubt Enterprises Woodland Indian figures. As mentioned, the figures were a commission paint job and lovely they are too. The painter really nailed the unique warrior look of these braves.
In the next post we’ll touch on my thoughts on specific tactics of the period and some organisational aspects as well.
King Philip’s War chronology
To get a sense of the type of activity that was happening during the King Philip’s war, as it’s generally not that well known, I’ve used this chronology found from a very good website that is worth investigating. The chronology is put here for convenience. You can get a stack of books that give good detail on the conflict here. There are some excellent titles which really allow you to burrow down into quite a good bit of detail on the military aspects of the period.
Native American tribes of the New England region, 1675.
June 19, 1675 – Plymouth Governor Josiah Winslow’s house attacked
June 20, 1675 – Swansea looted by Pokanoket men and several homes are looted and destroyed, displacing some of the English settlers.
June 21 -22, 1675 – Plymouth Governor Josiah Winslow ordered 200 men to be raised, and Boston prepares for diplomatic negotiations with Nipmuc, Narraganset, Niantic and King Philip.
June 23, 1675 – Boy shoots Pokanoket man, and the war begins
June 24, 1675 – Pokanokets attack and kill nine Swansea settlers
June 26, 1675 – Captain Savage heads to Boston to inform Governor Leverett of the war. In response, several Massachusetts Bay Companies are mustered at Boston and sent to Swansea.
June 27, 1675 – Taunton is attacked
June 29, 1675 – Captain Mathew Fuller and an armed company of men wish to negotiate with Weetamoe, and are attacked when landing in Pocasset territory.
June 30, 1675 – Old Rehoboth is attacked
June 30 – July 1, 1675 – English soldiers under Major Thomas Savage move into Pokanoket peninsula. During this time King Philip’s forces escape across Mount Hope Bay into Pocasset territory and are joined with Weetamoe’s Pocasset forces.
July 9, 1675 – Middleboro and Dartmouth are destroyed
July 1675 – Narragansetts “harass” Providence settlers
July 14, 1675 – Nipmuc Indians attack Mendon
July 19, 1675 – Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth Colony forces storm Pocasset Swamp
July 28, 1675 – Captain Hutchinson of Massachusetts Bay is on a diplomatic mission to Nipmuc; he seeks to secure Nipmuc allegiance.
July 29, 1675 – King Philip’s force cross the Taunton River, and he abandons civilians who were later surrendered to Plymouth Colony and were largely sold into slavery.
July 30, 1675 – Connecticut Colony Indian forces under Oneco arrive from Boston in Old Rehoboth
August 1-2, 1675 – First Battle of Nipsachuck
August 2, 1675 – “Wheeler’s Surprise” – Captain Hutchinson’s diplomatic party is ambushed by Muttawmp’s forces on way to meet Nipmuc sachems.
August 2-3, 1675 – Muttawmp attacks Brookfield
August 5, 1675 – King Philip arrives at Menameset Fort
August 22, 1675 – Monoco attacks Lancaster
August 25, 1675 – Massachusetts Bay troops engage Norwottock Indians at Hopewell Swamp
August 30, 1675 – Springfield is raided by Nipmuc
September 1, 1675 – Deerfield and Hadley are attacked
September 4, 1675 – Captain Beers and 36 soldiers are ambushed. These men are sent to evacuate Squakeag and nearly all killed. The town is not evacuated until September 6th when Major Treat and Connecticut forces arrive.
September 5, 1675 – Androscoggin Indians raid trading post at Pejebscot Falls, Maine
September 9, 1675 – Penobscot Indians shot at Casco Bay, Maine
September 12, 1675 – Home in Falmouth, Maine is attacked and six English are killed in action
September 18, 1675 – Battle of Bloody Brook – Captain Lathrop and his men are ambushed by Muttawmp on their way to evacuate Deerfield and nearly all are killed.
September 26, 1675 – Mill and buildings aredestroyed south of Springfield
September 1675 – Attacks continue throughout Maine, and by the end of September over 12 English are killed around Sasco
October 1675 – Attacks continue throughout Maine, approximately another dozen English are killed
October 4, 1675 – 300 English forces march north to Hadley for expedition, leaving Springfield defenseless
October 5, 1675 – Nipmuc and Agawam forces attack Springfield and 300 homes are destroyed
October 19, 1675 – English defense of Hatfield – first English semblance of victory
November 1676 – English demobilize; Native forces go to Menameset for winter quarters
December 19, 1675 – Great Swamp Fight
December 1675 – King Philip at Schagticoke attacked by Mohawk
January 27, 1676 – Pawtuxet, Rhode Island is destroyed
February 1, 1676 – Framingham garrison is assaulted by the Nipmuc
February 1676 – Hunger March – English army of 1,400 chased Narragansett resulting in many skirmishes but no major battle, wasting English energy and provisions.
February 10, 1676 – Lancaster is attacked and much of the town is destroyed
February 10, 1676 – Weymouth is attacked
February 21, 1676 – Medfield attacked – 300 Nipmuc and Narragansett warriors engage 100 English resulting in 18 English killed and others captured
March 2, 9, 13, 1676 – Groton is attacked and abandoned
March 12, 1676 – Clark’s Garrison south of Plymouth is attacked and 11 settlers are killed in action
March 14, 1676 – Northampton is attacked and Natives are driven back by Major Treat’s Connecticut forces
March 16, 1676 – Warwick is destroyed
March 26, 1676 – English killed and captured at Longmeadow.
March 26, 1676 – Marlboro is attacked and barns and homes are destroyed
March 26, 1676 – Capt. Pierce’s Company are ambushed and destroyed near present day Central Falls
March 28, 1676 – Canochet’s Narragansetts attack Old Rehoboth – destroying 42 homes, 21 barns, town corn mills and a sawmill
March 29, 1676 – Canochet’s Narragansetts destroy Providence
April 3, 1676 – Canochet iscaptured by Connecticut forces at Cumberland, and is executed in Stonington, Connecticut
April 9, 1676 – Bridgewater is attacked
April 15, 1676 – Chelmsford is destroyed
April 17, 1676 – Marlboro is destroyed, and the English are sent to pursue and overtake the party that night
April 21, 1676 – Sudbury Battle – 500 Native warriors attack Sudbury and the town is burnt leaving 74 English killed in action
May 1676 – New York Governor Andros opens region to New England Native refugees
May 8, 1676 – Bridgewater is attacked by Tispaquin
May 11, 1676 – Halifax, Massachusetts is destroyed
May 18-19, 1676 – Battle of Great Falls / Wissantinnewag-Peskeompskut – Captain Turner and 150 English attack the Indian camp “Tuner’s Falls’” resulting in approximately 200 Natives and 38 English killed.
May 20, 1676 –Scituate is attacked
May 30, 1676 – Hatfield is attacked in retaliation for the Peskeompskut and seven English are killed
June 1-30, 1676 – United Colonies offensive – 500 Massachusetts Bay troops under Major Henchman march towards Hadley attacking Native camps along the way. June 12th Hadley is defended by Connecticut Colony troops.
June 27, 1676 – Connecticut Colony send Major Tallcott to range with 300 English soldiers and an unknown number of Native allies
July 1, 1676 – Major Tallcott’s Connecticut Allied Force arrive at Nipsachuck and attack Narragansetts killing 171 Natives along with Quaiapen, Ninigret’s sister.
July 3, 1676 – Warwick Massacre – 80 Narragansett surrender at Warwick and are attacked and massacred by Major Talcott’s Connecticut Colony troops.
July 15, 1676 – Attack on Taunton is repulsed
July 15, 1676 – Ninigrit and Niantics formally sign peace treaty with Massachusetts Bay
July 25, 1676 – Narragansett under Pumham are defeated near Dedham.
July 25, 1676 – Shoshonin and 180 Nipmuc surrender in Boston
August 12, 1676 – King Philip is intercepted at Mount Hope and killed by Alderman
August 15, 1676 – Major Talcott’s Connecticut forces kill 35, and capture 20 near Great Barrington
August 28, 1676 – Anawan and followers are captured near Squannakonk Swamp, Rehoboth