Monday, May 30, 2011

De Bussy's Volunteers

In addition to the regular and Company troops there were also  a number of volunteer units in French Service.

De Bussy's army in the Deccan comprised such volunteers. Initially there were three companies recruited, mostly Germans, but soon there was a fourth company composed of Swiss and British deserters.

Crusader officer, Front Rank Foot

There are no identified contemporary illustrations of the uniforms. A contemporary account refers to blue &white striped gaiters.Lucien Rousselot (1900-1992)  reconstructed the uniform with button up frock coat and either fur grenadier hats or stocking caps.

A picture of an unidentified soldier, identified in the sources as from either 1760 or 1866, may be one of de Bussy's Volunteers. He wears a red cutaway coat with aiguilettes, more modern in style. He also wears a cap with a white fur crest and  a feather hackle on the left.  I went with something close to Rousselot's description as no figure came close to the other description!

The 1760/1866 sketch

To complicate the matter, the Volunteer Companies underwent two, if not three uniform changes between April 1751 and June 1753!! I went with the latest description I could find, with green cuffs (even though they appear blue in these photos!) 

Rousselot's reconstruction
The real issue with this unit was working out the flag.The flag is conjectural. As I wanted something to stand out on the table and to be different from the Company flag I had de Bussy's coat of arms placed on it. Since then I have, I think, found a reference to the correct flag. I intend to post that up soon.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Lorraine Regiment

Now this is the only French unit that didn't cause me some grief researching...  : )  There were three battalions. The first remained in Europe and the second and third sailed for India in March 1757. They didn't arrive until April 1758.

The two battalions took part in the siege of Madras in 1759, fought at  Wandiwash in January 1760 and helped to defend Pondicherry in 1760 where they surrendered to the British. They were repatriated to France in 1761.

Figures are by Crusader Miniatures.

Figures based for Might & Reason, or Volley & Bayonet. However, Blackpowder looks promising as well.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

The 39th Regiment of Foote - Aldercron's Regiment

Here is the first British regiment posted to the blog (or at least I think it is). It was also the first of the King's Regiments to be posted in India.

Another unit I need to finish the basing of...

The regiment was raised in Ireland in 1702 by Colonel Coote. It officially became the 39th Foot on 1 July 1751. On 14 March 1752 Lt-Gen Aldercron became its commanding officer and it is variously referred to by both titles. In 1754 the first three companies arrived in India with another two companies sailing in 1756.

Green facings, white lace.

Most famously, they fought under Clive at Plassey on 23 June 1757, although had been involved in a number of other battles, such as the storming on Hoogly and the unsuccessful attack on Nellore earlier that year. They also served as marines upon Admiral Watson's vessels in December 1756 in the retaking of Calcutta.

The Regiment was ordered to return to England in 1758, although most of the men volunteered to serve in the Bengal European Regiment.

Foot figures by Crusader Miniatures, mounted officer by Foundry. Painted by Peter as usual.


Volunteers of the Bourbon Militia

Also in the service of the French East Indies Company were the Volunteers of the Bourbon Militia. The unit was named after the island that they were recruited, the Ile Bourbon, modern Reunion.

The Volunteers served at Pondicherry where they are described as wearing red coats, vests and trousers with gold hat lace and possibly black cuffs.

Again, I have decided that they can carry the Company colours, although they may only have been company size and not a full battalion.


French East Indies Battalion

Here is the first of the French East Indies Regiments. Some others will be posted up shortly.

Basing is yet to be completed....
Like the HEIC, the French Company recruited its own forces for service in India.

Foot figures by Front Rank. Mounted officer by Old Glory

The uniform initially comprised blue coat and breeches, red cuffs, lapels and vests. The Company then regulated that the uniform was to be white coats with blue cuffs and vests. However, it was well documented that the white coats quickly dirtied in the Indian climate. As a result it would appear that the blue uniform was retained for service there. Hat lace was white - even units that normally did not have white lace seem to have used it whilst on overseas service.

The hardest thing was finding information about the colours carried. After a lot of hunting I found a description of the Company flags used in painting the above. The Colonel's Colour is the usual white flag used by French regiments.

The blue cloth was gingham, a lightweight material better suited for the Indian climate. Some gingham could also have white stripes or checks. There is also reference to gingham cloth being highly prized as booty...

Painted by Peter. Unfinished basing by me...


Friday, May 27, 2011

French Marines, Sailors and an Engineer

Here are pics of some Frenchies -  Marines, sailors and European mercenary engineers.

The Marines are Crusader Miniatures with a Conquest Miniatures officer. I was suprised to find that the Conquest figures were closer to true 25mm.

French sailors- a mix of Foundry and Conquest Miniatures. The two ranges mix much better.

European engineers in Indian service. The figure with outstretched arm is either inviting his colleague to look through the telescope or saying "well, if you think you can do better..."  Basing needs to be finished with grass etc. Figures are Crusader Austrians, if I remember correctly.

And the map...

Historically, the French marines and sailors didn't perform too well in India  : )  All painted by Peter (except the cannon which I did) and based by me.

Now on Twitter

I have taken the plunge and I am now on Twitter. However, I can't work out how to put the Twitter widget on the blog!  You can find me under GolcondaMinis (only 1 tweet at the moment so not worth reading!)

I am expecting to use Twitter to announce special deals etc, but that will be a little way off yet.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mauritius - On the Spice Route 1598-1810

Cover - all the personalities are identified on the back dustcover

I am always on the look out for books, maps and pictures that I intend to use in that campaign based in India. I have collected a great deal of good stuff - One day it may actually happen  :  )     Here is another book I picked up recently, with that in mind, about Mauritius (or as it was known to the French De L'Isle De France).

During the Seven Years War the island was the source of volunteers to serve in India. The Cambresis regiment was also stationed there.

One of the maps - early 18th century - In Dutch

The book is an easy read and contains a lot of information I haven't found elsewhere very easily (or at all). I have even resorted to Lonely Planet guides in the past. This book is much better! The section on French Governors is excellent.

Street in Pondicherry from the book.

Illustration wise there was very little that I hadn't seen elsewhere (having said that I hadn't seen the above picture of Pondicherry before). Again, however, it is concentrated in the one book which is good. There are, however, some nice maps that would be useful in a campaign.

The book was first published in 2010 by Editions Didier Millet of Singapore. The author is Denis Piat, a Mauritian, who collects antiquarian maps and books relating to Mauritius, Reunion, Madagascar and Pondicherry.

ps - there are even TWO pictures of Dodos!!  : )

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A New Book

I received a copy of Illustrating India in the post today. It is published by Oxford University Press (Delhi) in 2010.

The book, by Jennifer Howes, is about Colin MacKenzie, first Surveyor General of India who collected a large number of manuscripts and drawings whilst in India, Java and Sri Lanka. There are over 1700 drawings by MacKenzie in the British Library alone. Drawing was a popular pastime for soldiers in India duing the 18th and 19th centuries.

Mackenzie c 1816 by Thomas Hickey

Little is known about MacKenzie before he went to India. He was born on the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. He departed for India in 1783, aged 29, after enlisting in the Seaforth Highlanders. He soon transferred to the Madras army as an engineer. His two largest pieces of work were the survey of the lands of the Nizam of Hyderabad (between 1792 & 1798) and the Mysore survey (1799 - 1810). He served at the siege of Pondicherry (1793), throughout the Fourth Mysore War and supervised the siege works at Srirangapattnam in 1799.He also commanded the British forces in the Java campaign against the French in 1811/12 (now there is another obscure war worth looking at!!)

There are a large number of black and white pictures in the book and 42 colour plates over 24 pages. I was expecting a few more coloured pictures, but that isn't really an issue.

The book isn't cheap at US$100 plus postage. Some online vendors are selling it at close to $300! It pays to shop around. The quality is great- much better than any other book I have seen come out of India. There are spots in the preface where the print seems to vary in darkness, but this isn't distracting and it doesn't seem to carry on to the main body.

There are some nice pictures, some military but overwhelmingly not. There is a very nice coloured picture of the standards of the Nizam which I had not seen before, together with peons, sepoys and some native horse.

MacKenzie died aged 69, worn out from his service in India and whilst sailing down the Hughli river to the Bay of Bengal for its therapeutic air. His melancholy is clearly reflected in a number of letters written by him.He was torn between his work in India and returning to Scotland, made all the harder by his lack of finances and a young bride who had never lived outside of Asia.

The author is Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, Asia Pacific and Africa Collections at the British Library.

A big thumbs up from me (but more colour would be nice!)


Friday, May 20, 2011

Mysorean Metals

Hot on the heels of the Bengali sepoys are the Mysoreans. Sculpted as per usual by Ian Mountain. Cast up by Eureka. Again on sale now from Eureka!!

Love those moustaches! And I should have cleaned the flash off the figure on the right

Again I only received the sepoys and not the command figures from Eureka. The rest of the range can be seen here.

The figures measure 28mm foot to eye
I should have cleaned the flash off the musket!

I think these have come out extremely well. Can't wait for the command to arrive.

The Mysorean and Bengali sepoys

Sepoys and the Rajput officer again by Ian Mountain

Comparison shot with a Perry Carlist Wars British Legion figure
As usual, the bad photos are by me!!!!


Bengali Metals

Here are the first of the Bengali sepoys, sculpted by Ian Mountain for the Golconda Rising Miniatures range. Cast by Eureka and now available if anyone is interested!

The command figures have been cast, but I didn't receive any! What's the story, Nic??  : ) Here is a link to the other figures.

The figures in the photo above seem quite large when positioned next to the ruler. They actually measure 28mm to the eyes. Seems to be a bit of parallax error going on!

Bengali and Mysorean sepoy next to a Perry Carlist War British Legion figure

Sepoys and the Rajput Commander figure also sculpted by Ian.

Mahrana Pratap Comic Art

Cruising around I stumbled on this blog by Mayur Mistry an artist/ illustrator in Mumbai.

What stuck me was the Mahrana Pratap comic that he is illustrating. It looks great and, better still, the arms, armour and flags are historically accurate! Here is the link to my earlier blog post on Pratap's horse Chetak.

Here are some pictures from his blog...

Love this!!

My favourite!

Looking forward to seeing the completed work.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Metals back from Eureka

I received the first of the Mysorean and Bengali Sepoys in metal today. i will post pictures up later tonight.

These have come out very nicely!!!!


Sunday, May 1, 2011

India's Helen of Troy?

The story of  Baz Bahadur and Roopmati is one in the style of Helen of Troy.

Baz Bahadur was the last independent Muslim ruler of Mandu . Whilst out hunting he stumbled across a group of Hindu girls, one of whom, Roopmati, charmed him by her beauty and her singing. Infatuated with Roopmati, he pleaded that she return with him to his capital. Roopmati agreed.

Baz Badahur & Roopmati

Baz Bahadur, due to his infatuation, neglected affairs of state and allowed his army to deteriorate (oh, no - we know what's coming don't we?!).

Fall of Mandu - Roopmati looks on from the city walls

 In 1561, the Great Moghul's army, lead by Adham Khan attacked Mandu, defeating Baz Bahadur in the battle of Sarangpur on 29 March, 1561. The main reason given for the attack by the ballads was Adham Khan's love of Roopmati.Roopmati died after swallowing a poison tipped diamond when told of the fall of Mandu. Baz Bahadur fled, later to enter the service of the Great Moghul.

I am sure there is a lesson, or two, in there somewhere!

And here is a clip from the 1957 (or '59) Bollywood version of the story. It goes for nearly 10 minutes. At the 8minute 50 second mark there are some nice pictures, in colour, of Mandu Fort.

I have taken the video from youtube and my thanks to Mastkalandr for uploading it.