Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Filling out the Orbat for Jones/Alvaredo Herero War Scenarios

Since Dr. Roy Jones posted the Order of Battle for the upcoming Herero War scenario and rulebook, I've been sizing up my lead pile and examining were I am in good shape, and where I lack enough figures, or even suitable options to represent them, to complete the German and Herero forces.  Since posting what I had gathered so far for German Troops and their Allies and their Herero adversaries, I've added some additional figures and equipment, including some from new sources.  Nevertheless, the fact remains that I have serious gaps to fill in a number of areas if I want to do every scenario in the book with 25mm / 28mm figures that can represent this period authentically and do it with a minimum of duplication.

Mounted Officers:  Jones and Alvaredo call for mounted figures to represent three senior German commanders and two senior Herero commanders.  There is very little in the currently available lines of known manufacturers to meet these specifications. The Honourable Lead Boilersuit Company once produced mounted officers for this period but this line has been discontinued. Matchlock Miniatures, which seems to include some of the Falcon Line, makes a mounted officer and it arrived today but regrettably wearing a helmet so perhaps I will need to find him a different head.  As for Falcon, I fear that this company may no longer be active, as its website is static and unresponsive and its email is out of service.  Perhaps someone who knows the owner can shed further light on the matter.  That would be a shame, because it seems that Falcon had German Mounted Command figures in its 25mm German Southwest Africa line that would do nicely. 

Quite frankly, I would be willing to settle for mounted officers in slouch hats cocked on the right, or even WWI German officers on horseback wearing field caps.  I bit the bullet and spent $25 on the Great Powers High Command set in 25mm from Old Glory's Colonial Boxer Rebellion  range.  It features six officer figures on horseback, the last of which wears a German Southwester hat.  I may be able to paint or convert one or two of the others, but for now can only count on this one, leaving me one more to locate to complete my needs.

Redoubt Enterprises BWBC01
As for the Herero leader a beardless Boer may be the answer (and with all due respect to my progressive minded Afrikaner friends, I appreciate the irony of making an indigenous African out of a Boer).   For this figure I could use any from the three figure mounted boer set from Black Tree Design's Boer War range, but I really like the mounted boer officer waving forward from Redoubt, who is painted in such a way on the website that he even looks African.  I will probably get several mounted boer figures without beards from both of these companies, and will use the rest as Herero cavalry: (see below).  Another option would be to convert the wonderful mounted figure of King Lubengula offered by North Star Africa and adding a wide brimmed hat with epoxy.

Empress Miniatures ZWB43
Herero Cavalry:  I need three full sections (24 figures) of Herero horsemen. Unlike some of the figures on foot who can be wearing loincloths or partial European clothing, mounted African figures for this period should not be wearing traditional regalia.  This rules out mounted Zulu or Matabele figures from other ranges.  I have one mounted Edendale Native horseman from Redoubt's Zulu range, three Native Horse from Foundry's Zulu range and four Native Horse from Empress' Miniatures Anglo Zulu War figures.  These last required removal of the spears in their shoulder quivers but are otherwise excellent and I plan to add another 4 from this range.  Still, that would only give me half the horsemen I require, so the rest are likely to be beardless Boers as mentioned above.

Seebataillon gunners: 
I believe that the Maschinenkanone called for in the Scenario book was served by German marines.  There were also marine machine gunners during the war, but I am told they are not included in the Scenario book for playability reasons.  The latter can be purchased from Pulp Miniatures, but while there are a number of great options for the Krupp "Pom-Pom gun (37mm Maschinenkanone M97) in this scale, there are no German marines scultpted specifically to serve it.  Possibly one or two of the Pulp Figures from the Maxim gun set could do so, but this will require further investigation.

Landungskorps Revolverkanone gunners:  I have the cone mounted Hotchkiss gun from HLBS now to represent the ones removed from the SMS "Habitcht" for service with the naval landing party.  As I have purchased more Naval machine gun sets than I require from Brigade Games (German) and Redoubt (Austrian), I should be able to borrow from these to serve the revolverkanone.

More Schutztruppe in slouch hats:  With Askari, Pulp and Tiger the main options for Schutztruppe that are suitable for this period, and a sprinkling of Brigade Games figures wearing puttees that are not issued in SWA, I am still in need of more Schutztruppe officers and men to complete the foot commanders and eight infantry sections I require.  I will certainly need to duplicate sets, and these are likely to be Askaris or Pulp, but whenever I find another option I jump on it. 

One such surprising find is from Old Glory in its 25mm Spanish American War range.  Here you can get the Spanish "Fantasy" Pack, featuring a German Maxim machine gun crew and adviser.  Not only is the two man gun crew a decent alternative to the 2 figure machine gun sections offered by Pulp, but the remaining two figures are officer types and can be used at need to command Schutztruppe infantry.

Herero Shock Troops:  Thirty-two are needed.  Falcon once made these, I believe wearing captured Seebataillon and/or Schutztruppe uniforms.  Alternatives include Brigade Games Schutztruppe in Slouch Hats and Askari's current Herero offering.

Native Auxiliaries:  The same figures identified for Herero Shock Troops could be used for these,
Courtesy of German Colonial Uniforms website
Courtesy of German Colonial Uniforms Website
but would need to be painted so as to avoid confusion with Herero fighters in German uniforms and I'm not sure an imperial armband or hatband would do that clearly at this scale.  I need 24 Witboois and 16 Rehoboth Bastards in sections with one officer and seven men on foot.  

My solution for the Bastards is to convert Copplestone's Zanzibar Askaris from its Darkest Africa range by turning their fez headgear into feld hats and giving them shoes fashioned with epoxy putty.  This should make them appear very much like the 1905 historic image at right. 

As for the Witbooi contingent, I will keep them in civilian clothes with white hats and imperial armbands as well as some braided hat cords, and may well chose to use beardless civilians or Boers for this purpose. 

I could use white officers with these native troops, though they had their own Kapteins and Veldkornets as well.  Leutnant Müller von Berneck commanded the Witboois in Abteilung Müller during the Hamakari campaign, while Oberleutnant Böttlinhad the Bastards in Major von Estorff's section.  While there is no scenario that currently calls for the other group of Native troops that served with the Germans at this time - the Bethany (!Aman) contingent - these were under Lt. Thilo von Trotha at Waterberg and this officer and close relative of the commanding General was later killed during failed negotiations with his former soldiers and allies in 1905 during the Nama war.

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