Assault Parties

As a Saturday treat, here's an extra post. I have got an unadulterated assault party, somewhere. These are 'extras'.

Today for your delectation I present some dismounted harquebusiers, and a couple of petards. These were the result of a good rummage* in my spares box.

The figures are a grenade thrower and petard party, which are straight from the assault party pack; the harquebusiers are an officer with a hat and pistol from The Mill minigame  #2 'the petard party', and the harquebusier with a sword is an officer from the foot command advancing pack. The single figures have had headswaps.

Foot command advancing officer on the left, The Mill gamette officer on the right

So why have I have been making harquebusiers on foot I hear both of my regular readers ask?

Parliament's assault party

The Royalist assault party - the officer with pistol holds his pistol arm at a slightly different angle, it got bent when I was taking his original head off, and I was a bit scared of trying to bend it back

We know that cavalry were used in storming parties at Basing House, Chester, York, Newark, Gloucester, and Bristol due to contemporaneous references. These references do not categorically state that they were on foot. However, when they are described as fighting in trenches and assaulting up earthworks we have to assume that they were, as this is no terrain for a horse. The existing ditches and embankments at the Queen’s Sconce in Newark, for example, are just about walkable on foot - very definitely no place for a horse (I’d like to think that horses would have more sense than to even venture there). There is one contemporaneous reference to harquebusiers which specifically mentions them dismounting and fighting on foot at the Storming of Leicester.

I have seen a reference to troopers with many pistols (presumably tucked down boots and sashes), swords and carbines – but I cannot remember where (it was a secondary source paraphrasing an original source).

The Time Team dig at Basing House found a very high proportion of pistol balls in their excavation trenches, which one would presume indicates harquebusiers were heavily involved in the assault (the landscape they were digging was a building so horses pretty unlikely to be present). We know that before the final assault at Basing, Cromwell had reinforced the besiegers with a large number of regiments of horse (proportionately more horse than foot).

For a little pictorial inspiration the Osprey Elite ‘Soldiers of the ECW (2) Cavalry’ Plate J shows a dismounted cavalryman with a pouch full of grenades, and a pistol down each boot “cavalrymen often took part in the final assault of the siege, firstly to justify their share in the plunder, but also because of their higher morale and better armour”. He has shorter boots on, not thigh high cavalry boots, which would make sense if you have even seen video of the Household Cavalry trying to walk in their ceremonial uniforms!

Osprey Fortress ‘English Civil War Fortification 1642-51’ has an illustration of the Siege of Basing House with a number of dismounted harquebusiers discernible.

Maggs’s ‘English Civil War Sieges Rules and Scenarios for Wargamers’ refers to Rupert’s horse using grenades when they stormed Bristol. An intact grenade was found at Adwalton Moor – inside the hollow grenade was iron fragments, so clearly a shrapnel weapon.  Buff coats and armour would have been of benefit in close fighting with grenades being thrown, and shrapnel flying.

* you can't beat a good rummage.

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  1. Excellent! Inspiring stuff. Might just have to see what I can find suitable in 10mm. Petardiers I have but the other foot are not in suitable ‘storming’ poses. Some conversions will be necessary.

    1. Thanks, and good luck with your conversions

  2. I love em! I have some in 28mm I plan on painting up here in the next month or so.

    1. Thanks. So much quicker painting them without their horses too

  3. A great set of references. I have always loved the idea of using dismounted cavalry like this and great to read about it.

    1. I saw some 28mm harquebusiers on foot and thought that they looked nice, decided to find out if harquebusiers on foot really was a 'thing' or just a figure sculptor's fancy. It really was a 'thing' (as I suspected), so had to have some.


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