Welcome to Wargames Foundry!
Cart 0

Guide to Uniforms of the 2nd China War 1859-60

by John French

This was a campaign in Northern China by the British and French to force the Chinese Emperor to grant trade concessions which had been exacted from the Chinese during the Opium War of 1839-42.  They attacked the Taku Forts (twice) on Peiho River.  After capturing them they marched the remaining 80 miles to Peking.

Chinese forces will be the same as the Imperial units described in the Taiping Rebellion 1851-66 section.

Any French Infantry required can be found in our Crimean War range.  They had no cavalry with them apart from a few Algerian spahis who were the general’s escort.

French Seamen

French Sailors: Hat and neck cloth black, dark blue jacket & white trousers.  Collar light blue with 3 white lines around edges.

1860s Royal Artillery

British Artillery: Air-pipe helmets otherwise blue uniform with red facings and yellow piping.


British Cavalry: 1st King’s Dragoon Guards: White helmets, red tunics with dark blue facings & yellow piping and knots on sleeves.  Trousers blue with yellow stripe.


1860s British InfantryBritish Infantry: Regiments involved in 1860 included 1st (Royal Scots), 2nd (Queen’s Royal) Regt. (both blue facings); 3rd (The Buffs), 31st (East Surrey) (both buff facings); 44th (Essex), 67th (Hampshire), 99th (Wiltshire) (all yellow facings).  Also present 60th Rifles & Royal Marine Light Infantry.  Supporting these were the Royal Engineers, Royal Artillery, Army Hospital Corps & Military Train.  British Regiments of Foot wore their normal ‘home service’ kit of red tunics with appropriate facings, the only concession to the heat being white forage caps with covers and curtains (neck cloths) or airpipe helmets.  Sometimes white hot weather trousers replaced the home service dark blue.


British sailors: Headgear - sennet straw hats, sometimes with neckcloth, also peaked forage caps and sun helmets with covers and curtains for officers.  Sailors had short blue jackets and white trousers.  Jean collars were blue with 3 white stripes.  Officers had a blue frock coat and gilt buttons and lace and white trousers.

British Sailors

Indian Cavalry: Probyn’s Horse.  Slate turban, red cummerbund, dark blue-grey tunic, white breeches.  Some officers also shown in dark trousers which would seem to match the tunic colour.

Fane’s Horse.  Red turban and cummerbund, grey tunic, blue breeches, black boots.  Saddlecloth blue with 2 red lines around edge.


Indian Infantry: Use British Officers. Ludihana Sikhs wore red tunics faced green.  The 8th Punjabis drab, faced green; 15th drab faced chocolate; drab faced red.


CooliesCanton Coolie Corps: Dressed all in blue.  White patch on tunic gave unit details.  Coolie hat had letters ‘C.C.C.’ in black on a white band.  With a little adaptation they could be used as general carriers.


Click here for our range of 28mm figures suitable for the 2nd China War sculpted by Michael and Alan Perry