By Joseph Forster
I just got the new model for the Legendary English commander from Fire on the Frontier painted up and I wanted to share some pics and some history.
Benjamin Church had a long and impressive career leading colonial forces against both Native Americans and the French through King Philip’s War, King William’s War and even into Queen Anne’s War.
Grandson of a Mayflower passenger, Church was a die-hard New Englander! Born in 1639 in Plymouth, MA, Church rose to prominence in 1675 as he served as the primary military advisor to Governor Josiah Winslow during King Philip’s War. Attempting to defend a wide frontier with limited resources against the natives who knew the land and could move quickly was a losing proposition. Church encouraged and helped develop an aggressive strategy to use against the Wampanoag and Narragansetts that was extremely effective. Incorporating Christian natives into colonial units and learning fighting techniques and tactics from them made Church’s Rangers the most effective force against in the several wars against the natives during the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
Benjamin Church helped Governor Josiah Winslow lead the preemptive strike on the Narragansett village which was later known as The Great Swamp Fight (which you can play from the scenario section of Fire on the Frontier!) and his forces eventually found and killed King Philip in 1676.
Benjamin Church personally led 4 different expeditions against the Abenaki and French during the course of King William’s War (1688-1697). During a time when New England struggled to defend or strike back against the unpredictable French and Indian raids, Church provided the colonists with a few victories and raised morale.
In spite of being relatively old and heavy, Benjamin Church meticulously planned and personally led an early raid in Queen Anne’s War in 1704 in retaliation for the infamous raid on Deerfield.
Benjamin Church died in 1718. His grandson, Dr. Benjamin Church, participated in the American War of Independence as the first Surgeon General of the United States Army. Church’s tactical legacy lived on in units like Rogers Rangers and would heavily influence the tactics of the New England and later American military forces.
That’s some history. Let’s get a closer look at the mini.
This mini closely matches the style and feel of the Indian Fighter models which are a perfect representation of his rangers.
He is using a “commanding gesture” but still has a musket in his other hand which is accurate to his game stats.
This mini is (currently) produced in a 3D printed resin. It’s super detailed and crisp when compared to the metals but there are a few spots you can see print line layers if you look super closely.
I’m a little embarrassed of my paint job on this model after I took these pictures. That face is a little rough…. Close up shots are always humbling. But even at this magnification, the 3D print lines are not noticeable. Can’t say the same of my paint job.
The sword is nothing fancy but its actually modeled after Benjamin Church’s surviving sword!
Church’s new Legendary faction, Church’s Raiders, combines an improved English Militia unit with the Ruthless special rule. Ruthless is a solid rule, but when combined with the solid English Resolve numbers, Church’s Very Inspiring rule and the Tough rule which Indian Fighters already have, you have a very scary and zealous fighting force that just won’t quit!
Benjamin Church can lead a decent list of factions now:
- North American English Militia (NPBtL)
- New England Militia (FotF)
- North American English Militia (updated in FotF)
- Church’s Raiders
Church was as good at fighting alongside Indians as he was fighting against them. In fact he was probably good at fighting against them because he was good at fighting with them… In Blood & Plunder, Benjamin Church has the ability to bring natives as core units no matter what faction he’s leading!
In his memoirs (which I have not read yet but I have on order), one can glean a list of military principles that guided him:
- Planning each operation in advance, not leaving anything to chance.
- Ensuring that soldiers under his command were properly trained, fed, and equipped.
- Building alliances with potential allies (i.e. Native Americans), who may have been overlooked or mistrusted by other commanders.
- Not inflicting unnecessary damage or harm.
- Using stealth and surprise to tactical advantage.
- Understanding how a tactical operation fits in with strategic objectives.
- Leading by example and from the front.
- Maintaining communications with higher and lower echelons.
Planning was obviously important to Church. As a commander in Blood & Plunder, Church has the Superior Intelligence rule to represent this. Once per game, he can discard and redraw a hand of initiative cards without spending a Fortune Point.
Benjamin Church also has Mobile which gives all friendly units with his Command Range the Quick ability further increasing their ability to seize the initiative and take advantage of a weakened enemy.
His 3 Command Points and his huge 16″ Command Range make Benjamin Church a very impressive commander with lots of options and strengths, especially at a relatively low cost of 32 points!