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Maroons of the Caribbean

The last couple of blog posts might lead you to believe that my painting output had slowed somewhat. In fact I have been steadily working through a number of projects, one of which has been to expand my Caribbean contingent. I mentioned that I am reading the book ‘Death before Glory’ a history of the British soldier in the West Indies 1793 – 1815. The number of nations and protagonists involved in this theatre of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars could keep me busy painting for years to come, not to mention the vast amount of material for wargaming scenarios with regard to both the terrain and the people involved. It certainly is an eye opener with regard to our own history and that of other nations.

My Maroon band stealthily make their way through the forest!

My Maroon band stealthily make their way through the forest!

One group involved in the struggle were the Maroons. I use the word ‘group’ very loosely. In reality they were a number of disparate communities made up of runaway or freed slaves that had formed their own free communities in the wild interiors of the various Caribbean islands. In fact, there were and still are, Maroon Communities throughout the Caribbean, some parts of South and Central America and even in the USA. They were formidable warriors and expert at using the terrain to their advantage. The Maroons of Jamaica fought against the British and held the might of the British Army at bay for sometime.

Jean Kina leads his band to attack!

Jean Kina leads his band to attack!

As well as fighting against the British, they also fought alongside them on Saint Domingue ( Now Haiti). One leader, Jean Kina, led a substantial force of freed or runaway black slaves that fought for the British and was involved in number of engagements with the French. So it was clear to me that I needed to add a unit of Maroons to my collection and of course the obvious choice was the figures from the Trent Miniatures range. I have still to finish the bases of my figures. I intend to add more plants and give them more cover to hide behind! But for now the unit is ready for use. I have been blathering on about using the Muskets and Tomahawk’s rules to game in this region and whilst it is still on the agenda ( as it has for the last couple of years) the new Sharp Practice rules look as they  may be much easier to adapt. I also think that they may give more flavour to the troops and Characters involved – who knows, I may be able to use a bit of Voodoo. Napoleonic Zombies…now there is a thought!

Voodoo wouldn't want to mess with this guy!

Voodoo wouldn’t want to mess with this guy!

I would very much recommend that if you are interested in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars that you research the conflict in the Caribbean. There is a wealth of material and scope for skirmish games, the history is fascinating and the characters involved may be more familiar than you expect. There is nowhere near enough time or space in a blog post to give you an idea just how much was going on out there. There were very few big set piece battles as was seen in Europe but my goodness, there were some fearsome sieges, amphibious assaults, guerrilla fighting and ambushes. The fighting seemed to be non stop across the Islands as first one side held ascendancy and then the other , with both succumbing to a terrible toll due to Yellow Fever and Malaria.

For now though, I have my Maroon Unit, next on the painting table, for this army, Cuban hunting dogs…



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