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Author Topic: The Army of Hindustan  (Read 798 times)

Offline sukhe_bator

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The Army of Hindustan
« on: September 19, 2019, 10:52:48 AM »
So after many years of working in the 'big scale', my mind is turning back to my 15mm Army of Hindustan, and recreating some of the seminal battles of De Boigne and Perron's brigades, culminating in the bloody battles at Assaye etc. After some initial trials with DB*, I'm looking to expand my range by including their adversaries in the various internecine struggles leading up to the 2nd Anglo-Maratha war. Part of the appeal is the colourful regional variations in dress and appearance. However, the dearth of accurate sources for the various combatants makes figure selection problematic. They are variously referred to by their regional origins or fighting capabilities, but only rarely what they actually may have looked like. Even the dress and equipment of the Maratha brigades is a matter of some debate which I have attempted to address by fielding campoos in different uniforms. I want to steer away from using ubiquitous Afghans as the go-to proxies, except as 'actual' bands of Afghan allied or mercenary cavalry.
Ideally I would want a rule set that allows for formation changes amongst the regulars such as De Boigne's hollow square at Lalsot, and has a representation of the field artillery that proved so decisive but does not require shedloads of figures for the opposing forces. Unlike Assaye where it is possible to circumvent the vast hosts of irregular cavalry, it is formations of these that make up a significant portion of Afghan, Rajput and Moghul forces that opposed Mahadji Scindhia's bid for Maratha supremacy. Any suggestions from others who have attempted this theatre would be gratefully received. :)
Warriors dreams, summer grasses, all that remains

Offline Baron von Wreckedoften

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Re: The Army of Hindustan
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2019, 03:32:54 PM »
Hi,

I looked into this some years ago when Dixon/Two Dragons brought out their "British in India" range.  I never got around to assembling an Indian force, but did have the following idea for reproducing a "horde" without the bank-breaking (and mojo-demolishing) task of actually buying and painting all those figures.  My thought was that irregular hordes, be they foot or horse, would be deeper than they were wide (ie columnar); so you start with a basic width - say, 10 figures for foot and 5 for horse (I think these were the pack sizes they came in, rather than any scientific model).  You then produce a base of 3-4 ranks, either 10 or 5 figures wide and irregularly positioned; the last one or two ranks can have a few figures replaced with tufts of cotton wool to represent dust being kicked up by the leading figures.  You then produce a second base which has 3-4 ranks of figures, but with only the two outside files represented, the central "hole" being filled with a dust cloud.  If you wish you can add a third base, similar to the second.  From above, it looks like this (F = foot figure, O = dust cloud):-

Front of unit
______________
F F F F F F F F F F
F F F F F F F F F F - first base
F F F O O O F F F
F F O OO O O F F
F O O O O O O F
F O O O O O O F - second (and subsequent) base(s)
F O O O O O O F
F O O O O O O F

Does this solve your problem?

Offline sukhe_bator

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Re: The Army of Hindustan
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2019, 04:42:00 PM »
The dust cloud idea is an intriguing and ingenious notion... I will give it serious thought.
Right now I'm looking to represent the troop types mentioned in accounts. I'm trying to field sufficient varied troops to make it interesting but trying to avoid amassing an unwieldy amount to paint!
To do this I am browsing the 15mm catalogues for suitable figures. Recreating the Rathors and Rajput cavalry is an interesting proposition. Beyond simply assembling a miscellaneous force of moghul cavalry and painting them predominantly yellow, I am looking to try and vary headgear. I'd like to recreate the long quilted jackets and backward sloping turbans that seem to predominate illustrations of the light cavalry. I'm looking at Qajar Persians as a potential source, and searching for all sorts of turbaned heads that may be substituted. I've already swapped around the S India flattened turbans from the Tipu regulars and retasked Peter Pig muslim heads with pointed caps and turbans. A fresco in Lashkar, Gwalior depicts what is believed to be Maratha regulars in pill box caps, so I've converted Minifigs EIC sepoys accordingly (the red coated troops in my pics)...

Offline Leapsnbounds

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Re: The Army of Hindustan
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2019, 11:46:59 PM »
 I have been gaming and collecting in this period for a number of years though I'm afraid that the scale I use is a bit large (The Redoubt Wellington in India Range). I have added a large number of Reaper Pirates, and thieves as Mercenaries along with some of the Alternate Armies Elves for French Advisors.  I have been looking to add a French Battalion or two from the Army of the Orient, but have not had too much success with finding the right figures in that scale.  I'm a little OCD when it comes to figure scale.  If you know of any 1799 French in the Redoubt scale let me know.  (yes, I know its a shameless plug) I like the idea of the dust clouds, I've got to try that.  I also have my native Troops in deep formations, more columns that line.  For the French trained Native Princely Armies,  I usually arrange them in Columns at least the depth is bigger than the with though they are a lot smaller than the native hordes.  For the British and H.E.I.C. as well as any British organized forces or influence are mostly linear.  I don't know if this is accurate but it makes it interesting as I unearth more information on the period.  Hope this is of some use.

Offline ragbones

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Re: The Army of Hindustan
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2019, 01:22:51 AM »
That’s a beautiful looking army. 
Hail to the King, baby.

Offline sukhe_bator

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Re: The Army of Hindustan
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2019, 08:32:50 AM »
Leapsnbounds - a common mistake is to think of the French-trained Indian regulars in terms of Revolutionary French tactics - deeps columns etc. to compensate for a lack of battle experience. In actual fact De Boigne and Perron et al. relied on more linear tactics emphasising firepower with battalion artillery distributed along the line - far closer in fact to the British tactics of the period than the British would themselves have admitted and been comfortable with. De Boigne's first brigade was built around his experiences in the EIC 6th Native Infantry and the Governor's bodyguard using his down time to learn British military practice and Dundas's military manuals. This means that Perron's later encounter at Assaye was far more of a slog between comparable forces, with the Marathas having more artillery than the British and employing French artillery tactics using both grape and case to devastating effect.
ragbones - thanks. My force is based around the Maratha forces at Assaye. Pohlmann's 1st Brigade was the most senior having been created by De Boigne 20 years previously. De Boigne adopted the white cross of the House of Savoy as the Brigade flag with Mahadji Sindhia's saffron flag - with presumably battalion variations as a 'king's colour'. The tricoleur flag units are later battalions created under the more overt French influence of the 'French Army of Hindustan'. I have used various uniform styles to reflect the different origins and longevity of the various brigades with battalion colours adding minor differences. The troops at the rear in dark blue with red turbans represent the 4 bttns from the Begum's forces. Not shown are three more battalions in blue regimentals known to have been in use. I am also looking to recreate plausible forces for Holkar and the Rajputs of Jaipur and Jodhpur.

Offline sukhe_bator

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Re: The Army of Hindustan
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2019, 03:20:08 PM »
I made an interesting discovery today. Among the alliance of troops on the Rajput side fighting De Boigne's brigade at the battle of Patan in 1790 was a group of 5,000 sadhus. Religious mendicants against muskets and cannon - who'd have thought it. A fellow 15mmer has had some success converting naked Pictish warriors into these die-hard warriors which I shall try and emulate. This will be an interesting challenge in 15mm... http://youdonotknowthenorth.blogspot.com/2019/05/armed-sadhus-15mm-conversions.html

Online OB

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Re: The Army of Hindustan
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2019, 04:29:51 PM »
Since I did those conversions I've come across some naked Picts at Essex Miniatures (CPA7 Caledonian & Pictish: Fanatics) they might work for your Sadhus.  If I'd been aware of them earlier I would have used them for added variety.  Good luck with the conversions.

Offline Baron von Wreckedoften

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Re: The Army of Hindustan
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2019, 10:28:47 PM »
The dust cloud idea is an intriguing and ingenious notion... I will give it serious thought.

The other advantage is that it masks how big the unit actually is from your opponent (and, if you like those sorts of surprises, from yourself as well - you can dice for strength when it enters melee, call it the Wreckedoften Option!).

Offline Peterem

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Re: The Army of Hindustan
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2019, 01:26:42 PM »
Sadhus were a feature of Maratha armies as well, facing Wellesley at Argaum as makeshift cavalry. Something like the Sikh Akalis I suppose.

I know you're looking for 15mm, but in 28mm Indus do a pack of armed Sadhus; a good painting reference at least:

http://indusminiatures.mybigcommerce.com/indian-religious-men-6-pack/

Using naked Picts for variety is a great idea in any scale though, as
1) Wargamers often have a surplus of them
2) they get you out of sculpting green stuff dhotis

Peter


Offline Deflatermouse

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Re: The Army of Hindustan
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2019, 01:38:42 PM »
Museum Miniatures has Nude Male Hordes.
Unarmed but wild flowing hair, and flailing limbs. Very useful.

https://www.museumminiatures.co.uk/nude-male-hordes.html

I've put up a picture of one of mine with with my Maori's WIP.
He's second left at front.

Offline Leapsnbounds

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Re: The Army of Hindustan
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2019, 10:20:55 PM »
Sukhe_Bator,

 Thanks for the information.  I am always looking for more information on the period. This has been my "go to"post to get ideas.  Rebasing will be easy.  I will keep a couple of the columns so that the Napoleonic players that wander in won't feel they are out of their water.

Offline sukhe_bator

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Re: The Army of Hindustan
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2019, 10:22:28 AM »
Since I did those conversions I've come across some naked Picts at Essex Miniatures (CPA7 Caledonian & Pictish: Fanatics) they might work for your Sadhus.  If I'd been aware of them earlier I would have used them for added variety.  Good luck with the conversions.
OB - I've already committed to the Picts you used. I'm looking forward to trying my hand at them. However, since their deployment was far more widespread than I'd understood based on this fascinating article online...
Bhattacharya, Ananda. “DASANAMI SANNYASIS AS ASCETICS, BANIYAS AND SOLDIERS.” Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, vol. 93, 2012, pp. 229–261. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/26491237.
I will probably end up adding the Essex miniatures Picts to the mix as well. My experience of Essex is that their figure metal lends itself more to conversion.
Peterem - Thanks for the Indus Minis reference... I have some familiarity in my work with Indian parrying weapons, staff weapons etc. so I may have a stab (pun intended) at modelling some.
The same source mentions 5,000 Naga matchlockmen. I'm not sure if these are more Sadhus, since the Naga constituted a major portion of the fighting ascetics, or whether they had an altogether different tribal look. If so it will be another interesting look to source, particularly in 15mm!

Offline sukhe_bator

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Re: The Army of Hindustan
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2019, 11:00:49 AM »
Since I did those conversions I've come across some naked Picts at Essex Miniatures (CPA7 Caledonian & Pictish: Fanatics) they might work for your Sadhus.
I like the look of these, and I can probably also do something with the naked Pictish archers (CPA9) which I could morph into bamboo self bows. The nearest semi-naked warrior with a firearm I have seen are the Essex Zulus OC52. I think you'd have to be a certain kinda guy to go into battle with a length of smouldering match and numerous firearm accessories and not a lot else?!!!

Offline pallard

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Re: The Army of Hindustan
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2019, 12:05:14 PM »
Have you seen the new Museum Z line of Indians and the hord figures? These marvels would maybe find their place into your project.