On parade! 17th century Dutch crew

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Continuing my sporadic series of On Parade! postings, we come to my so-called Pirate collection – not all of whom are actually pirates! So let’s start with my newest Blood and Plunder faction, the Dutch. As per normal, click on the pictures to enlarge them. 

According to the Blood and Plunder rule book, the French were the first to singe the Spanish beard in the New World, the English were to set the beard aflame, but it was the Dutch who truly scourge the whiskered Spaniard from head to toe. Few indeed hated the Spanish as did the Dutch, as with a vengeance they followed their ‘Sea Beggar’ ancestors.

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The 28mm figures that make up my Dutch force are all from Firelock Games. They are certainly beautifully sculpted, and really capture the look of the era.

To the right of the above picture are my two commanders. The flamboyant genetleman in yellow is a generic Dutch captain, whom I have painted to resemble Lieutenant Willem van Ruytenburch in Rembrandt’s famous Night Watch painting.

The figure in black is Piet Heyn, the ‘Delftshaven Terror of the Deep’. His most famous triumph was the capture of the Spanish Treasure Fleet in 1628, but that was simply just an exclamation mark to his long successful career.

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Militie: The Dutch militia in the Caribbean and South America were largely a product of the Dutch West India Company. Enterprising settlers from the Netherlands made up just over half of the Dutch colonial militia. These citizens of the Republic fought shoulder to shoulder with the other national groups that augment their ranks, using traditional European tactics.

I based the green uniforms on the recent movie about Admiral de Ruyter, though I’ve no idea what they based their research on!

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‘Zeelieden’ and ‘Enter Ploeg’: Progeny of the North Sea and heirs of the ‘Sea Beggars’, the Dutch sailors of the seventeenth century were uniquely equipped to be masters of the sea and sail. A great deal of romance is attached to mariners in the culture of the Netherlands. They are regarded as champions of Dutch liberty and the promise of empire. 

Some of this group are members of the ‘Enter Ploeg’. Victory in naval combat often rests on the most harrowing part of the engagement: a successful boarding action. Only the most battle-tested crew are trusted to transgress the gunwales of an enemy vessel and claim a foothold. Amidst a hail of musket fire, the boarding party thrusts headlong into hostile territory, breaching bulkheads with boarding axes and clearing decks with grenadoes and blunderbusses, breaking enemy defences and making way for the rest of their crew.

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Kapers: The term sailor and soldier are interchangeable for Dutch privateers. Naval success for the Netherlands depends on every mariner being a master seaman and proficient in their martial skills. Even merchant sailors need to be ready to bear arms if their captain decides to turn privateer once he unloads his cargo.

In my next On Parade! article I will look at the French, and later my generic pirates.

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