Iron Duke Miniatures

Iron Duke Miniatures

'eDamn the heat and the flies! 

 

THE ORANGE RIVER RANGE
Southern Africa in the 1840s & 1850s. 

[See the Catalogue Page for the IDM Price List].

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OR 1  British Infantry, skirmish line in action, coatees, peaked Kilmarnocks, regulation crossbelt equipment, blanket packs, P1842 percussion muskets. (8 figs).

[Particularly suited for the 43rd (The Monmouthshire) Regiment (Light Infantry). Note that the 43rd removed the light infantry wings from its coatees at this time. Line regiments in South Africa similarly removed their shoulder straps when taking the field. The 43rd LI also fought against the amaXhosa in the Eastern Cape during the 8th Cape Frontier War. 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, including the Boma Pass ambush and the Battle of Sandile's Kop. 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 Orange River Rebellion of 1848, but, that one area of uncertainty aside, the figures would otherwise be suitable for Boomplaats ].

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 would have been armed with  rifles, including a few breech-loaders, such as the Snider-Enfield. 

[Above and below]: OR 2 Mounted Basotho Set I: "Chief Molapo's Band."  (6 riders and horses). Not yet available. 

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. 

[Above and below]: OR 3 Mounted Basotho Set II : "Chief Jobo's' Band."  (Mission Christians). (6 riders and horses). Not yet available. 


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]. 

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Basotho Shields


As may be readily 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!  

OR 4 to 7. Reserved to future Basotho Codes, (both mounted and dismounted).