Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Battle of Kilburn, 10 December 1745

(or: what if Charles Stuart had not turned back at Derby)


In "Fight for a Throne, (p231ff), Duffy gives fascinating details and map showing the troops, and alternatives available, to the Jacobite and Hanoverian forces should the “Highland” army move to take London. The most likely routes were an easterly route through Waltham Cross/Tottenham Cross, and a westerly one down Watling Street - the Roman road through Edgware & Kilburn. The Hanoverian forces were encamped at Finchley to be able to react to either avenue of attack, and King George himself was ready to lead his army.


Most of the Jacobite force are with Charles Stuart, who has taken the westerly route, and have reached Kilburn - only a few miles from a panicking City of London. The King has drawn up his forces there in a good defensive line, with flanks well-protected by dense forest. He must defeat this invading force, and then hurry across to support the militia defending the eastern route against a smaller lowland force.

The clock is ticking for both armies …. will the King be able to defeat the Jacobites in time to halt the eastern threat? Will Charles Stuart be able to defeat the King, and avoid being caught by the Cumberland’s pursuing, but lumbering, army? 

The Game
The game was presented at Skelp in Forfar on 14 October 2018, as the game presented by the Falkirk and District Wargames Club. I used my figures (mostly Front Rank) and terrain, and, for rules, Piquet Field of Battle 2.  Described here was the first of two occasions when it was gamed, with David Knight taking charge of the troops under Charles Edward, and John Ewing and myself each taking commands of King George II.

The view from the Hanoverian side, positioning right-centre troops to threaten the flank of the highlanders, who would be attacking the Hanoverian right and centre,
 and an early advance of both armies on the Hanoverian right
 The Jacobites held back the highland charge, letting their left wing get fully engaged, and attacking that centre-right flanking Hanoverian unit, with the red coated French Regulars (Irish Piquets) charging through the light woods by the road to attempt to clear it away.  with only limited success
The Jacobite left wing attack did not fare so well .. as shown by the absence of their troops in the proximity of the guns there ..
 However the Jacobites came charging in on their right
and a general firefight ensued in the centre, as the reserves of both sides are drawn in 

In the centre, the Jacobites break through, routing some Government units

Then the Jacobites turn a Maneuver card, followed by a Melee card
 which is of great use to a victorious Highland unit who can then melee with a Hanoverian unit in the flank, 
 .. with great success, now leaving the artillery exposed ..
But what of the Highlanders on the right wing? Their charge never got going .. not least because their commander was killed as he led the charge, and the units showed a distinct reluctance to melee with the Hanoverian cavalry 
but it was all rather academic with that loss in the centre, and shortly afterwards the Hanoverians left the field, having failed a Major Morale test.

The second game had 2 players a side, and turned out to be a different, but equally convincing win for the Jacobites - the Highlanders on the right wing this time causing most of the damage. However, in his attempt to get the Highlanders in the centre moving, Charles Edward Stuart was mortally wounded, but the damage had been done to the Government forces. The players and spectators then engaged in an wide and interesting discussion about what now happens as Charles Stuart is dead ..would the Jacobites troops would go home?  ... or just loot London first ..  and then go home?

Postscript: David Knight sent me the following game photo under the heading "Threateningly Poised"  :-)

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Battle of Falkirk Muir (17 January 1746) @ Historicon 2018

Historicon Preliminary Events List Entry

After turning back from Derby - for want of either any significant support from English Jacobites or a French invasion - the Jacobite Army returned to Scotland and besieged Stirling Castle. Lieutenant General Henry Hawley led a relief force from Edinburgh, encamping at Falkirk, from where he showed no signs of moving. The Jacobite army of 8,000 then approached Falkirk, surprising the 7,000 Hanoverians, who had to form up hurriedly, the wind driving the sleet in their faces The last of our three 1745 Jacobite battles - fought in a storm of wind with torrential rain/sleet/snow (or "just another day in Scotland") 

Rules: Piquet Field of Battle 2

Figures: Front Rank Miniatures

The Layout

The game begins with the Highlanders on the right flank under Lord George Murray threatening to outflank the hurriedly-forming Hanoverian troops. His highland command is faced with 3 regiments of dragoons of dubious quality. Lowlanders make a rear line ...

The Pretender is leading Jacobite Cavalry and Irish Piquets onto the field beside a deep and difficult ravine.

The Hanoverians had mostly managed to get into line, with a unit of Glasgow militia well in the rear of the cavalry. Unfortunately, the artillery is mired by the ravine, and another unit of militia is helping to drag the guns over the boggy moor....

The Game

The Hanoverians are first to take the initiative and get a Move card, which the cavalry successfully uses to charge the approaching highlanders ..

The effect was not as planned .. two of the units routed from the MacDonalds' fire, and the third was badly damaged by their opportunity fire, but at least engaged in melee, and pushed the their opposing Jacobite unit back in some disorder

On this same Move card, the Hanoverians made general move forward, 

and get a great roll to un-mire the guns

Moving routers as the first action on the next Hanoverian Move card took the 2 cavalry units towards the rear. One of these units was heading straight for the Glasgow Militia, through whom they continued their routing, and, as in the actual battle, the Glasgow Militia fired at their oncoming allies, 

and in this case completed their destruction

The Jacobites in the centre and left move up to engage with the first Hanoverian line

Meanwhile, the Hanoverian cavalry commander is found to be a casualty of the abortive charge, leaving the Hanoverian left flank exposed except for the unit of Glasgow Militia, (whose commander, I suppose, could be renamed Joshua McChamberlain) ..

As the Lowlanders come up, the Pretender enters the field with the Irish Piquets and Jacobite cavalry

More combat in the centre as the Hanoverian left wing starts to feel the pressure .. and the un-mired guns fail to move on the next 3 Move cards!!

 A Hanoverian commander is a casualty

The rather tardy highlanders on the right wing eventually engage with the Glasgow Militia

and suffer at the hands of the Glasgow boys 

 while the main engagement becomes intense

The Jacobites draw an "Uncontrolled Charge" card, mandating all Highlanders to move 8" and if possible go into melee ..

which precipitated a collapse of the Hanoverian left 

The Glasgow Militia were still holding, dealing with 2 Highlander units (one of which seems to have been charging at the spectators (as apparently happened in the actual battle)), but Army Morale Points were disappearing fast,

and the Hanoverians soon failed an Army Morale Test, so leaving the Jacobites victorious.

Battle of Inverurie (23 December 1745) @ Historicon 2018

Historicon Preliminary Events List Entry

The key port of Aberdeen was in Jacobite hands, Duncan Forbes of Culloden and Lord Loudon gathered a small force of Hanoverian highlanders, led by the Skye chief, Macleod of Macleod, with Munros, Grants & Mackenzies. These forces converged at the royal burgh of Inverurie, on the main road to Aberdeen, only to be surprised late in the day by Lord Lewis Gordon, with a mixture of troops - his own regiment, impressed men, and some recently-landed French regulars - Irish Piquets. The second of our three 1745 Jacobite battles - between Hanoverian Highlanders and Jacobite Lowlanders!. 

Rules: Piquet Field of Battle 2

Figures: Front Rank Miniatures

The Layout

The Participants

The Jacobite gamers: Patrick, Erik and Jim. 

The Hanoverian gamers: Michelle and Scott

The Game

The Grants, Mackenzies and Munros (the "Mainland Highlanders") are in Inverurie ...

and the MacLeods are having a clan gathering just outside the town. The famous piper Donald Ban MacCrimmon is with the MacLeods, and in the game, his presence with a unit increased its resilience and close fighting capability

The Highlanders have been told that a Jacobite force is coming along the main highway from Aberdeen led by the Gordons, 

and followed by a largish command of local Inverurie militia ...

Local informants also indicate the presence of a flanking movement along the bye-ways on the other side of the Don, with recently-landed French regulars in the form of Irish Piquets, at the head of a few Angus militia

As the game begins, this news stirs the Highlanders to action, the MacLeods moving to intercept this flanking force

and the Mainland Highlanders move quickly to content the ford over he Don

but the Gordons reach the ford and deploy in the woods

Meanwhile the Irish Piquets lead the Angus volunteers across the ford by a (motte and) bailey mound,

The Macleods hurry towards them around the around the town cemetery, so the Piquets deploy onto that high ground

 and the following units conform to the Piquet's position

A vigorous firefight causes casualties on both sides. The MacLeods are pushed back, with some routing

but with a timely Leadership card and good dice rolling, the routing is halted

Now remember the Inverurie militia that was reported to be coming along the main road from Aberdeen behind the Gordons? Well the informants were incorrect; it turns out they were part of the flanking movement following the Irish Piquets along the bye-ways ,,,

.. the realisation of which gave confidence to the Mainland Highlanders to cross the ford

and engage the Gordons, some of whom were still in march column .. 

The Highlanders break through

and have 2 units attacking one such column in the rear and flank ..

but fail to destroy it, only managing to push it back out of the woods

Meanwhile, the Irish Piquets and Angus militia are off the high ground and contesting the cemetery

and the following Inverurie force .. er .. fails to move. Clearly the "impressment" of these forces is causing them to drag their feet ..

but another Move card for the Highlanders .. and still no movement ffrom the Inverurians. 

The battle rages in two completely isolated parts .. around the cemetery and in the woods across the Don

Now the Inverurie militia actually get across the ford, but still not near the action. The Piquets and Angus forces press again ..

and finally take the cemetery .. without the Inverurian's help

And even with the balanced fighting in the woods,

the Highlander's Army Morale Points were at zero, and the command soon failed an Army Morale test, so they dispersed, leaving the Jacobites victorious, as in the actual battle.

A typically exciting game throughout, as highlighted by a quote from Erik (who was in command of the reluctant Inverurie Militia): "I never fired a shot but I had the most fun I ever had playing a game!"