Monday, 27 July 2009

Militia of New France

It's interesting the response to the new Galloping Major Miliciens. A lot of people have said 'what are they' - it's not a surprising response - they don't have the profile of Rogers Rangers and therefore aren't really in the consciousness of wargamers or reenactors...why is this? Maybe it's because they are Militia - that usually means low grade troops though in the case of New France Militia only the best were selected for expeditions against the enemy - the rest were used for carrying materiel and supporting the supply lines. It might be because the artists that depict the French and Indian wars tend to focus on other types of troops - you have people like Gerry Embleton and Gary Zaboly illustrating British troops - you have a wealth of romantic artists depicting Woodland Indians but on the whole very few people are interested in showing an obscure unit like Canadian Militia. And so it goes. There is no market so noone tries the subject - it isn't part of the mythology and therefore no one knows. It could be the fault of the early Osprey for Montcalm's Army. Nowhere near as well illustrated as Wolfe's Army it featured some fairly erroneous depictions of Coureurs de bois and Miliciens...both pretty wide of the mark.
Anyway I'm glad Galloping Major went the less obvious route. They could have played safe and done Rogers Rangers but we'd still have no Miliciens in summer kit. They are to be thanked for that. As for artists - Francis Back (colour pic) is well versed in the Canadian Militiamen and Jeff Lebo (b&w pic)- both Canadians - their stuff is excellent - other than that there's not much out there.
I'm going to try and dig out some old articles on Miliciens and start a bit of a theme.

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