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"US Cavalry and Apaches?" Topic

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Fonzie21 Jun 2013 2:55 a.m. PST

I have been watching A LOT of old US cavalry and Indians movies lately while I assemble zillions of plastic figures for MMPS. I get goose bumps lol whenever they sound the charge in those movies so I'm totally in the mood to start gaming some cavalry versus Indians games. I like Apaches best but I'm open to anything. I'm going for the classic Hollywood cavalry look, you know the yellow scarfs, yellow striped pants and wide hats.

What would the size and composition of a typical cavalry troop be and what are the best value for money 28mm figures to represent that Hollywood style that I'm after? Same for the Indians, who has the best value for money plains Indians or Apaches?

I know I know, Google is my friend and I could look for that info myself but why re-invent the hot water when we have specialists here on TMPS? :-)

Thanks in advance.


RudyNelson21 Jun 2013 4:24 a.m. PST

Due to depleted units due to isolated outpost or campaign duty, the average for a cavalry troop in one source was 20 to 30 men.

Many if not most wagon trains were escorted by infantry platoons and not cavalry troops.

two of the more active cavalry regiments were the 9th (Real Cav) and 10 (ready Forward) Cavalry, so have some Negro troops too. (I was in both units in the Army and reading their history at the museum for interesting.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2013 5:06 a.m. PST

Artisan makes a small line, Foundry has a nice range of Apaches and Old Glory will probably give you the best bang for your buck.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2013 5:54 a.m. PST

If I was to do the Plains Wars again I'd go with Foundry Indians; I think they are particularly well researched and sculpted. Again, OG will give you the most figures for your money.

I think troop sizes from 2 to four dozen are reasonable. Desertation rates were high and sickness was prevalent.

Rudy also makes a good point about infantry being used to escort wagons and to guard lines of supply and communication.

A field force might consist of two troops from one regiment, a single troop from another regiment and a company of infantry.

Fonzie21 Jun 2013 6:26 a.m. PST

Thanks gentlemen. I had a look at Old Glory and Foundry and I agree, the Foundry Indians look great but I'm not blown away by the US cavalry of either of these 2 brands. Besides that, it's gonna cost a small fortune to get a sizable force of Indians on the table and with a new baby just months away I cannot afford that.

Maybe I should consider smaller scales. Are there any good 15, 18 or 20mm US cavalry and plains Indians on the market? This is really not my area of expertise so I'm grateful for any advice or pointers that you can give me.



Timmo uk21 Jun 2013 6:35 a.m. PST

I know Minifigs 15mm aren't to everyone's taste but I have read that their US cavalry and Indian ranges are really very good. They also do cowboys and animals that will give some more interest and perhaps figures for conversion and variation. Have a look here for inspiration (link below). I've often thought of doing the period myself:


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2013 6:38 a.m. PST

Take a look at the OG/Blue Moon 18mm range. It is a nice range and you get 40% off with the OG army card.

Peter Pig also has a range worth looking at.

There are also options in 1/72 plastic if you want to go that route for the plains.

Tom Reed Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2013 7:32 a.m. PST

The old Glory stuff is pretty nice, and they have a 15/18mm Old West line with a train.

RudyNelson21 Jun 2013 7:53 a.m. PST

London Warroom and Frontier make 25mm Apaches. I do not know where the London Warroom moulds are. The Frontier may be back in production soon. I got 4 30 count bags of Apaches in the inventory that I picked up last weekend. They also have Plains Indians in both 15mm and 25mm.

Stone Mountian used to do 15mm in their Campaign range.

RudyNelson21 Jun 2013 8:00 a.m. PST

Exert from my article 'Our Place Under the Sun" on the military history of American native Nations.

APACHE. The largest of the Nations but subdivided into several major groups. All spoke dialects of the Athabascan language which is very common in the northwestern part of America. Sometimes regarded as alien late-comers to the region Specific information is located under the group name including: Lipan. Chiricahua, Mescalaro, Jicarilla, Western and Kiowa. The Spanish paid them a bounty for slaves which encouraged raids on the Navajo and Pueblo.

CHIRICAHUA APACHE. Located in SW New Mexico and Eastern Arizona. The most nomadic, except for the Kiowa Apache, of the Apache and the most warlike. Their nomadic nature put them in conflict with all of their neighbors. They fought bitter campaigns with the Spanish, Mexicans and later the Americans. Their name was sometimes used to refer to any hostile Apache in the region. Famous leaders included Mangas Coloradas, Cochise, Victorio and Geronimo. Their defeat in 1886 is regarded as the official end of the American-Indian Wars.

HOPI. Located on the three main mesas in the area of NE Arizona and considered Pueblo in culture. Spoke a Uto-Aztecan dialect (some say Shoshonee). Their main enemy was the Navajo and Utes. After the 1680 revolt, they were at odds with the Spanish for decades.

JICARILLA APACHE. Located mainly in northern New Mexico. Fought the Spanish and Mexicans from 1500s to the 1840s. Fought the Americans from 1847 until 1855. Enemies with the Comanches during the 1700s and 1800s.

KERAS. The common language identifier for a group of Pueblo tribes on the Rio Grande valley of New Mexico but later migrated to the south. Some of the tribes included the Cochiti, Zia and Acoma. They took part in the Pueblo War of 1680 against the Spanish.

KIOWA APACHE. Located in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandle regions. Aka as Plains Apaches due to their nomadic horse culture and close relationship with the Comanches .

LIPAN APACHE. Located in Southern Texas around the Upper Red River then later the Pecos River and the San Antonio area. Originally the dominant of the Apache groups during the 1500-1600s. Fought and dominated the Caddo tribes of eastern Texas until the Caddo were given firearms by the French. Often attacked Spanish expeditions out of Mexico. The enemy which diminished their power was the Comanche.

MESCALARO APACHE. Located in Western Texas and SE New Mexico. Despite various conflicts with Spanish and Mexican governments, they did maintain some peace with them until the treaties were nullified by the USA in 1847. The nullification resulted in several serious skirmishes with American settlers and troops until defeated with Navajo allies in 1863. A large warparty joined with Victorio's band for most of his raiding ventures.

NAVAJO. Located in NW New Mexico and NE Arizona. Spoke dialects of the Athabascan language and were considered part of the Apache nation by their neighbors. Adopted a more sedentary culture than their Apache relatives. Often at war with their Pueblo neighbors. Early Navajo armies could muster between 30,000 and 200,000 warriors. They also waged several campaigns against the Spanish and later Mexican armies. After 1847 several conflicts with the USA occurred until an American scorched earth policy forced their capitulation. A description of a warrior is armed with lance and bow, wearing buckskin pants, solid colored shirts and carrying black shields with stripes (blue-white, gray-white, blue-dark red-white).

OJO CALIENTE APACHE. This branch of the Eastern Chiricahua Apaches is an example of how confusing research about nomadic tribes can be. They are well known as the tribe led by Nana and Victorio. They were known at the time by several names based on their current location. Some of these include Warm Springs Apache, Gila, Gilenos, Mimbres, Mimbrenos, and the Coppermine Apaches. They frequently attacked Mexicans, Americans, Navajo, Pueblo and other Apache tribes. Geronimo's Chiricahua tribe contributed numerous scouts to the US Army in order to hunt Victorio's band. The main group with Victorio were killed in Mexico in 1880.

PUEBLO. Located in Central New Mexico. Mainly a sedentary nation whose people were concentrated in permanent well constructed towns. Included the linguistic groups of Tanoan, Keresan, Zuni and Hopi.

WESTERN APACHE. Located in SE Arizona between the San Pedro and Verde Rivers. Isolated but did have conflicts with neighbors. Serious conflicts with the Spanish after 1765 but they tended to be successful in preventing Spanish settlements in their land. After 1847, several conflicts occurred with American settlers and troops which ended 1872 with reservation life.

ZUNI. Located in West-central New Mexico. Spoke a distinct dialect and considered part of the Pueblo culture group. Attacked by Coronado in 1540 but was most often at war with the Navajo and Apache neighbors. Used clubs , knives and shields of yucca fiber/cotton cord.

SJDonovan21 Jun 2013 9:17 a.m. PST

If you do decide to go the 15mm route the following website might prove useful: link

It includes photos of Freikorps, Irregular, Minifigs and Peter Pig figures.

coopman21 Jun 2013 3:24 p.m. PST

I would think that the terrain for Apache battles would be a real challenge, due to its roughness. They did not march down to the plains to do battle with the enemy.

coopman21 Jun 2013 3:24 p.m. PST

What movies have you been watching, Fonzie?

RudyNelson21 Jun 2013 5:10 p.m. PST

I do have a list of Apache -American battles. As coopman indicates, rarely did Apaches fight in the open. Seldom did they ride around the circled wagons.

They were experts at the use of terrain. they fought mainly on foot with horse nearby. One trick they used was to dig firing pits around the open ambush area, camoflauge them and fire from them.

SamNaz21 Jun 2013 5:20 p.m. PST

Rudy, what's the source for this:

"One trick they used was to dig firing pits around the open ambush area, camoflauge them and fire from them."

Fonzie21 Jun 2013 6:06 p.m. PST

Thanks again gentlemen for all your very useful information.

I will go with the 15/18mm Blue Moon figures. They look good and they won't break the bank. When you have a pregnant wife with raging hormones you need to thread lightly and stay under the radar if you know what I mean! :-)

I like Apaches best but yes, terrain and their fighting style will be a challenge so I will go with plains Indians, wagon trains and mounted cavalry charges instead. :-)

I saw all the classics again coopman, too many to sum up but there was one I never saw before. It stars ex-pres Reagan as a confederate captain in charge of the best dressed and cleanest looking rebel cavalry I ever saw helping out his brother (colonel in the US cavalry) and a small town against Indians. I think it was called "cavalry".

Thanks again, I'll show pics when I am there. :-)


RudyNelson21 Jun 2013 7:36 p.m. PST

A few of the books used in the article.
It has been over 13 years since I wrote the article, so I cannot recall which book was the exact source. though it was mentioned in two sources. one was a pro-native nation source that focused on debuking old Hollywood weaterns.

Odie B. Faulk. "Crimson Desert". Oxford University Press, 1974.
Franklin Folsom. "Red Power on the Rio Grande". Follett Publishing, Chicago, 1973. Covers the Publeo Revolt of 1680.
Jason Hook & Martin Pegler. "To Live And Die in the West". Osprey Press, London, 1999.
Joseph Stout, Jr. "Apache Lightning". Oxford University Press, 1974.
Ron Watson. "Indians of the Mesa Verde". Mesa Verde Museum, 1961.
Barton Wright. "Publeo Shields". Northland Press, 1976.

Atomic Floozy21 Jun 2013 8:32 p.m. PST

The use of rifle pits for ambush or camp defense wasn't limited to the Apache. Mari Sandoz in her book Cheyenne Autumn gives accounts where the women helped dig the rifle pits & of one woman in particular who joined the men in firing from the pits. I have read from a couple of other authors on the Indian's ability to throw together quick field works, though I'd have to dig through my library to find the exact sources.


coopman22 Jun 2013 8:40 a.m. PST

Here's another good Apache-related book that I have in my collection:

jdginaz22 Jun 2013 1:28 p.m. PST

A couple of things about the Apaches, Those band of the Southwest,Mescalaro, Chirichua, Ojo Caleinte, Western, Tonto, White Mountain and San Carlos etc. were not part of the horse culture and rarely if ever fought on horseback. To them the horse was mainly transport and maybe a meal.

Also most fights would rarely involve more than around a dozen or so warriors

Nasty Canasta Inactive Member24 Jun 2013 6:01 a.m. PST

The bigger battles (80-100+ warriors) occurred with Cochise and Mangas Colorados prior to the reservation period from 1862-1872. A lull occurred with the Chiricahuas from 1872-1876. After Cochise's death, Geronimo came to the fore (1876-1886) but his fights included only a couple of dozen as "jdginaz" states, and they were mainly Apaches bolting from their reservation at San Carlos.

Apaches shunned battle with larger well-armed forces unless an ambush was VERY well planned out. Cieneguilla in New Mexico is good (1854?), Apache Pass (1862), and there was a neat skirmish with the 5th Cavalry in April 1874 just north of present-day Globe, AZ on a branch of the Gila.

Nasty Canasta Inactive Member24 Jun 2013 6:03 a.m. PST

Additionally I would go with the Foundry figures. Old Glory are neat, but there are far too many pistol-wielding fellows. If you are forced to fight with a pistol, your plan has gone terribly awry.

The Shadow27 Jun 2013 7:43 p.m. PST

>>I saw all the classics again coopman, too many to sum up but there was one I never saw before. It stars ex-pres Reagan as a confederate captain in charge of the best dressed and cleanest looking rebel cavalry I ever saw helping out his brother (colonel in the US cavalry) and a small town against Indians. I think it was called "cavalry".<<

The original title is "The Last Outpost", but it was re-released with the title changed to "Cavalry Charge".

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