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"Differences in Native American fighting "doctrine"" Topic

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629 hits since 13 May 2020
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Maggot13 May 2020 4:39 p.m. PST

Is there a good resource that describes any "doctrinal" differences in the way different western Native American tribes engaged in warfare? I'm under the un-learned opinion that most western tribes, outside of scale, engaged in warfare in pretty much the same manner: raids for plunder, revenge, glory, defense of lands or villages. Did the Apaches approach warfare, both "tactically" and "strategically" significantly differently than the Sioux or Crow? Tribes known for "tribal warfare characteristics?"

what are the best sources of Plains Wars figures, 15 or 25mm are okay.

RudyNelson13 May 2020 5:35 p.m. PST

I have to check my article on the west of the Mississippi nations.
More differences than you realize.
Apache tactics are spelled out in detail in the Osprey Apache Tactics Elite book. They were more on foot ambushes that are not shown on early 1900s cinema.
Comanches are discussed in an Osprey Warrior book. Comanche were a Texas nation but they travelled to Mexico and east to Kansas. One Kansas expedition, was halted by Pawnee using American Dragoon tactics.
A number of tribes lived in east Texas near the Gulf. They fought mainly on foot using longbows that could penetrate and kill buffalo.
One warlike group was the Navajo and Pueblo. They were experts in defense and resisted the Spanish and Apache for centuries.
You are right many differences in tactics among the tribes.
The Far West tribes also had a style.
I can send you articles from the Under One Sun series if desired. Both west and east of the Miss are available.

Henry Martini13 May 2020 6:19 p.m. PST

The great divide between the tactics of the desert/hills tribes and the plains tribes is a fundamental feature of 'Yellow Ribbon' rules. The two types play very differently under that system.

The finer differences between the martial cultures of individual plains tribes are central to an entire supplement for Chris Peers' 'A Good Day to Die' skirmish rules on Indian v Indian fighting. The idea was to give each tribe a distinctive flavour, but there was nothing in it that wasn't historically supportable.

Chris and his collaborator on that supplement the name of which escapes me contributed a number of detailed articles on the subject to Wargames Illustrated perhaps twenty or so years ago.

Tom Molon Supporting Member of TMP13 May 2020 6:25 p.m. PST

email me at about Plains Wars figures. I have a bunch of Foundry and Old Glory, if you're interested. Tom Molon

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP13 May 2020 6:25 p.m. PST


Here are some good general books. They were either Raiders or being raided.

Counting Coup and Cutting Horses: Intertribal Warfare on the Northern Plains, 1738-1889 Paperback November 1, 2010
by Anthony R. McGinnis

The whole series is good

The Kiowas (The Civilization of the American Indian Series, V. 63) Paperback March 1, 1984
by Mildred P. Mayhall (Author)

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History
S. C. Gwynne (Author)

Personal logo PaulCollins Supporting Member of TMP13 May 2020 7:35 p.m. PST

Henry, I think it was Tim Green who worked with Chris. I had the privilege of playing a couple of games with him and I remember him having what seemed like hundreds of Indians all authentically painted as distinct tribes.

Memento Mori13 May 2020 9:12 p.m. PST

Tactics vary according to terrain. So yes there will be differences. However there is always one constant don't get killed

Kevin C Supporting Member of TMP14 May 2020 5:43 a.m. PST

Another vote for checking out Empire of the Summer Moon. It's a great source for everything you wanted to know about the Comanche and it's a great read.

Russ Haynes15 May 2020 1:15 p.m. PST

The 15/18mm Plains Wars figures from Old Glory/Blue Moon are great! I have some of the US Army types for sale in the marketplace right now. Just never going to get to them.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2020 1:59 p.m. PST

The Tomahawk and the Flame, an Indian Wars variant for The Sword and Flame give some good, basic descriptions of the different fighting methods. It's actually full of well researched information, whether you use the rules or not. And it's free!

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