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'eDamn the heat and the flies! 

Iron Duke Miniatures

THE ORANGE RIVER RANGE

Southern Africa in the 1840s & 1850s. 

Lieutenant-General the Hon. George Cathcart at the Battle of Berea (20 Dec. 1852).

(Painted by MS). 

Intended Scope of Range: 

Tribes: Basotho: mounted, skirmishing dismounted, horeholders. Barolong. Eventually some amaXhosa. 

Clans at Zwartkoppies & Viervort: Griquas/Newlanders/Korana.

Boers at Zwartkoppies, Boomplaats & Viervort: mounted, skirmishing dismounted, artillery.

British at Zwartkoppies, Boomplaats & Berea: 7th Dragoon Guards. 12th Royal Lancers. Cape Mounted Rifles: mounted, skirmishing dismounted, horseholders. 43rd (The Monmouthshire) Regiment (Light Infantry), 45th (The Nottinghamshire) Regiment, 73rd Regiment, 1st Bn the Rifle Brigade, 74th (Highland) Regiment. 91st (The Argyllshire) Regiment. Royal Artillery 6-pounders, 12-pde  howitzers, 12-pdr rocket tubes.  


But please be patient: this is necessarily a 5-year schedule!! We'll make all the haste that we can. 

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OR 1 British Line or Light Infantry, skirmish line, coatees, peaked Kilmarnocks, regulation crossbelt equipment, blanket packs, P1842 percussion muskets. (8 figs). (£14.00).

Particularly suited for the 43rd (The Monmouthshire) Regiment (Light Infantry) in Southern Africa in 1852. Note that the 43rd removed the light infantry wings from its coatees at this time. Many of the line regiments in South Africa similarly removed their shoulder straps when taking the field. The 43rd LI fought against the amaXhosa in the Eastern Cape during the second year of the 8th Cape Frontier War and against the Basotho at the Battle of Berea. The regiment was unusual, amongst all the others involved in the 8th CFW, in adhering so strictly to regulation equipment. Other units soon adopted locally made waistbelts, with belly-box pouches and slip on bayonet frogs, enabling the regulation bayonet belt (the right-shoulder crossbelt) to be dropped. That said the 6th (The Royal 1st Warwickshire) Regiment and the 91st (The Argyllshire) Regiment are likely to have looked much like the 43rd in the early actions of the 8th CFW. We do not know for sure whether or not the 45th and 91st Regiments wore peaks on their Kilmarnocks at the Battle of Boomplaats, during the Pretorius Rebellion of 1848 in the Orange River Sovereignty, but, that one area of uncertainty aside, the figures would otherwise be suitable for Boomplaats. We have a parallel code, OR 11, (scroll down), in which the figures do not have peaks on their Kilmarnocks and their wool-tufted shoulder straps are still in place. 

OR 1B British Line or Light Infantry, skirmish line, coatees, peaked Kilmarnocks, regulation crossbelt equipment, blanket packs, P1842 percussion muskets. (8 figs). (£14.00).

This is a set of headswap conversions from Code OR 1, intended simply to add a little more facial variety to larger units: in essence those figures that were bearded in OR 1 are clean-shaven in this set and vice versa. Also we've added a second 'at the ready' pose, in lieu of the figure standing and biting a cartridge open, which is too distinctive to repeat too often in the sort of units that we like at IDM. 

UTILITY OF OUR BASOTHO FIGURES

Our Basotho figures are suitable for the period 1840-1880, including 'Major Warden's War', (1851) the Battle of Berea (1852), the conflicts with the Orange Free State in the 1850s and 60s and the 'Gun War' (1880). Note, however, that by the time of the Gun War at the tail-end of the bracket, a much higher proportion of warriors would have been wearing hats and European clothing, and that some few of them would have been armed with rifles, including breech-loaders like the Snider-Enfield.  

BASOTHO CODES

[Above]: OR 2 Mounted Basotho Set I: "Chief Molapo's Band." (6 riders and horses). (£25.00).

Molapo ‘Jeremiah’ Moshoeshoe, (1814–1880), aged 37 at the Battle of Berea (20 December 1852), was the second son of Chief Moshoeshoe’s First House. At the Battle of Viervoet, during 'Major Warden's War' of July 1851, Molapo had commanded one of three Basotho cavalry divisions. At Berea he again commanded a major mounted formation, embracing both Basotho warriors and an allied Bataung contingent led by the sons of Chief Molitsane. Conventionally said to be 700 strong, my own research leads me to believe that Molapo's division was almost certainly twice that size. Evidently a commander possessed of real 'cavalry dash', Molapo surprised Lt-Col George Napier's cavalry 'brigade', (it was only 2 squadrons strong), as it was retiring from Berea Mountain with 4,000 captured cattle. The rearguard half-troop, under the supervision of Maj. William Tottenham, the acting CO of the 12th Lancers, was very badly mauled in a chaotic withdrawal from the mountain. Tottenham himself played a genuinely heroic role in the retreat and was fortunate enough to survive. Subsequently Molapo had some of his warriors dress up in the jackets and white forage caps of the dead lancers. Carrying captured lances and formed up like cavalrymen, the impostors rode towards Colonel William Eyre's infantry column, on another part of the plateau. Eyre mistook them for General Cathcart's escort and rode towards them, accompanied by his headquarters staff officers and the handful of lancers that had been assigned to his column. Eyre was obliged to defend himself with his revolver but was able to gallop to safety. His DAQMG, (effectively his chief of staff), Captain Walter Faunce, 73rd Regt., was less fortunate. Reportedly a poor horseman, Faunce was hemmed in, taken prisoner and clubbed to death some short while later. After fighting Eyre's infantry for a couple of hours, Molapo led his people down from Berea to participate in the climax of the battle around Pelea's Kraal in the Phutiatsana (or Little Caledon) river valley, opposite Moshoeshoe's mountain-top stronghold at Thaba Bosiu. 

OR 3 Mounted Basotho Set II : "Chief Jobo's' Band." (Mission Christians). (6 riders and horses). (£25.00).

Job or "Jobo", properly known as Lelosa, was a younger half-brother to the Basotho paramount, Chief Moshoshoe. Back in the 1830s Eugene Casalis of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society (PEMS) befriended Moshoeshoe and was granted permission to establish a mission at the foot of the Thaba Bosiu. mountain-top stronghold. Lelosa converted to Christianity in 1841 and was still a senior member of Casalis's congregation in December 1852, when General Cathcart and his army drew nigh. There were French missions scattered all across Moshoeshoe's realm but none of them had more than a few score converts. The missionaries were typically accompanied by wives and children - Mrs Casalis was known to the Basotho as 'Ma Eugene' - so that consequently the converts were prevailed upon to wear European style clothes around the missions. Jobo took the Ten Commandments to heart and on the basis of 'Thou shalt not kill' faced a bona fide struggle with his conscience in advance of the Battle of Berea. In the end he took up arms and participated in the fighting. Not only did he participate, but he played a leadership role, displayed great courage and provided an inspirational example to those around him. The morning after the battle Moshoeshoe’s sons sang their uncle’s praises in the presence of the paramount. “Job was not afraid because he is a Christian,” Moshoeshoe remarked in response. Although Casalis rose high in Moshoeshoe's counsels, becoming both a friend and confidante, and effectively acting as his foreign secretary in his dealings with the British and the boere, it was expedient that the paramount adhered to the majority view amongst his people. As a result Casalis was never able to pull off his great ambition of converting the paramount himself. Moshoeshoe's aged father, Mokhachane, inevitably a great traditionalist, detested the idea of Christianity and was hostile to the French presence. Importantly PEMS policy was to side with the British in the Cape, for fear of the the threat that boer republican rule posed to Africans, so that the temporary breakdown in Anglo-Basotho relations over the period 1851-2 was in no way attributable to the French influence in 'Lesutu' [today Lesotho]. 

OR 4 Mounted Basotho Set III: 'Traditional Warriors'. (8 riders only). (£14.00).

What you see in the photo above is exactly what you get in OR 4. This set of 8 horsemen, with optional shields and, in two cases weapons too, is intended to allow you to bulk out your Basotho army with warriors in less idiosyncratic poses and modes of dress. They are figures representing the average generality of Moshoeshoe's army, if you will, concentrated into one code so that you don't have to repeat buy the more characterful figures in other codes. Obviously there are no horses in this set. To mount them you would need to buy separately two of our 4-horse code THEM 1, which can be viewed at the THEM Range drop-down page of the website. When mounted they look like the illustrative photos next below.

ILLUSTRATIVE: One set of OR 4 'Traditional Warriors' mounted on two sets of THEM 1 horses. 

OR 5 Mounted Basotho Set IV. 'Later Basotho'....[albeit they don't have to be later!]. (6 riders and 6 horses). (£25.00).

In this set we've provided a group of warriors, two thirds of them in traditional straw hats, that would more particularly suit Moshoeshoe's wars with the Orange Free State in the 1850s and 1860s. They could also be used for the Gun War of 1880, albeit they are still armed with the same 'roer' flintlocks with which they fought the British, local boere and other tribes in the days of the Orange River Sovereignty, i.e. up to 1853. There is no reason, accordingly, why they could not be used to represent warriors from the earlier period equally as well. To generate a good sized mounted army you would wish to mix your purchases across our several codes, by increasing the proportion of men in hats and European style clothing the later the year you are aiming for. Such an approach will obviously govern the overall 'look' of your army; a more traditionally African look earlier, with a bit more European style clobber around later. This set enables you to better target your shopping according to need. See also OR 9 'The Griquas'....[and others].

OR 6 Mounted Basotho Set V. ‘More Traditional Warriors.’ (6 riders and horses). 

Three of the horses have shields slung on their flanks and there are three loose shields to be fixed to the warriors (or not) as you think best.

OR 7 Reserved. 

OR 8 Lt-Gen. the Hon. George Cathcart and officers. (5 figures, 4 horses). (£18.75).

The personality figure at the far right of the frame is based very directly on a lithograph of General Cathcart and his staff at the Battle of Berea. The lithograph was based in its turn on an oil painting by Thomas Goodrich who had been present at Berea as a lieutenant in the Cape Mounted Rifles (CMR).

     In the foreground is an infantry officer on foot, clad in a red shell jacket. If you are painting him for the 43rd Light Infantry, the top of his cap is green, but for other regiments and the staff it would be dark blue. The hatband is black for line and light infantry alike. His waistbelt and sword slings are black, but his revolver holster would be a privately purchased item, more than likely in brown leather. In the infantry sword scabbards were black leather with gilt fittings, but in the cavalry they were steel. The mounted officer beside the infantry officer shielding his eyes could be a field officer (major or lieutenant-colonel) of infantry, or alternatively a staff officer in any rank from captain upwards. The frock coats are all dark blue. Staff officers' forage caps had a gold lace hatband and a gold edged peak. To the right a staff officer rides up beside the general, who is wearing an unusual forage cap for an officer, in that it has no peak. In the 1830s Cathcart had been the commanding officer of the King's Dragoon Guards and it may be that he chose to wear an antiquated pattern of regimental forage cap.

     At the rear is Lt Gough, 12th Lancers, whose troop provided General Cathcart's escort at the Battle of Berea. He is wearing a light cavalry officers' undress jacket, in dark blue, with matching overalls. The overalls had a broad yellow stripe down the seam. The body of the jacket is trimmed in gold lace, as are the red collar and cuffs. In undress the officers crossbelt was in plain white leather, with a black pouch. The officers with revolver holsters would not be suitable for any date prior to 1851, a big year for the revolver, when Colt and Deane & Adams both exhibited their wares at the Great Exhibition.  

OR 9 'The Griquas'...[and others]. (6 horses and riders). (£25.00).

In this set we've assembled a set of figures intended to represent the Griquas and other C19th Southern African multi-racial clans, such as the Bergenaars, Newlanders and Korana, all of which emigrated north from Cape Colony through the 1820s and 1830s, albeit they had been preceded by vanguard parties considerably earlier than that. Before Mzilikazi and the amaNdebele (Matabele) were driven north of the Limpopo (i.e. into modern-day Zimbabwe), by boer commandos proceeding along the northern axis of the Great Trek into the region that later became known as the Transvaal, (i.e. across the Vaal River as it were), they had not infrequently been accosted by large commandos of Korana and others, who raided into Ndebele territory mainly to seize livestock.

     These several clans all fought from horseback, somewhat after the fashion of the 'pony and musket' tactics of the boere, or at least they preferred to do so when there were sufficient animals available to go round. All of the clans at issue tended to co-opt men of Sotho-Tswana stock into their commandos/raiding parties. This is a supremely flexible set of figures, in that there is no good reason why each figure, individually, could not also be used to portray a Basotho warrior, although certainly you need to jump one way or the other in painting them to be historically authentic, since skin pigmentation amongst Sotho-Tswana peoples would obviously tend to be darker in the average generality than was the case within the multi-racial clans, who were variously of mixed Khoekhoe, European and even Malay extraction, the last due to the long-running slaving activities of the Dutch East India Company (or VOC) in the Far East.

     The flexibility of the figures does not end there. They could also be used to represent the African and Khoekhoe agterryers ('after riders') who provided an important element of most boer commandos, (notwithstanding their contribution, even their very presence, was often downplayed or erased in propagandized versions of Afrikaaner history). Equally these figures could be used as mounted Mfengu, (or 'Fingoes'), who fought as allies of the British in the Cape Frontier Wars; or as so-called 'Hottentot' auxiliaries levied to serve under British arms on the Eastern frontier. In the 8th CFW of 1850-3 a not insignificant proportion of the multi-racial population of Albany, in the Eastern Cape, rebelled against the British and fought alongside the amaNgqika Xhosa.      

OR 10 British Infantry, skirmish line in action, officers and headdress variants. (5 figs). (£8.75). 

Used with OR 1 and OR 1B the figures are particularly suited for the 43rd (The Monmouthshire) Regiment (Light Infantry) in 1852. Refer to the notes accompanying OR 1 for other potential uses. Note that the ramming figure does not have the same head as his counterparts in codes OR 1 and OR 1B.

OR 11 British Line Infantry, skirmish line, centre company coatees, Kilmarnocks (no peak), regulation crossbelt equipment, blanket

packs, P1842 percussion muskets. Set I. (8 figs). (£14.00).

Particularly suited for the 91st (The Argyllshire) Regiment in Southern Africa 1845-1851, including the the Zwartkoppies Campaign (1845); the opening of the 7th CFW (Battle of Burnshill, Defence of Fort Peddie); the Pretorius Rebellion of 1848 in the Orange River Sovereignty (Battle of Boomplaats); and the first few months of the 8th CFW ('Christmas Day Massacre', Battle of Sandile's Kop, Defence of Fort Beaufort, Defence of Fort Hare). Flank company figures will be released shortly and can be viewed on the workbench page.  Suits other regiments besides. Date Range 1844-1855.

OR 12 British Line Infantry, skirmish line in action, flank company coatees, Kilmarnocks (no peak), regulation crossbelt equipment, blanket packs, P1842 percussion muskets. (8 figs).

Use with OR 11. Date range 1844-1855.

OR 13 Mounted British Staff Officers in forage caps and frockcoats. (2 riders, 2 horses).

Suitable for 1849 onwards. [South Africa, 2nd Anglo-Sikh War, Crimea, Mutiny, China 1860].

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Basotho Shields

As can be inferred from the code illustrations above, the Basotho had acquired great quantities of firearms by 1852. These were usually either Brown Bess trade muskets or, more typically, the heavier calibre 'roer', (as the boere called them), a more antiquated Dutch made flintlock typically dating from the mid-to late 1700s. These they used as a primary weapon, whilst continuing to carry their traditional weapons, namely throwing assegais, winged shields and clubs or battle axes. Everything but the shield comes as part of the casting. All of the figures that have a quiver of assegais come supplied with a loose shield. Not all warriors carried a shield, so it's up to you who gets one and who doesn't. They will superglue into place neatly, as illustrated below, if you position them in the recess hard against the quiver, to one side or the other as makes best sense to you. The shields were made of stiffened cowhide, so that there was nothing much to prevent the wings warping. Thus the extremities can legitimately be bent around round a bit, where that helps to get a firmer grip in the superglue. But take it easy: when you set about bending little metal castings there is always a limit beyond which it is not safe to go! Unlike the Zulu, the Basotho did not use shield colours in a regimented fashion, so you would want a random mixture of colours in your wargames units. For inspiration as to colours and patterns of cowhide try googling 'Nguni cows'.