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The Battle of Falkirk, 1746


The Jacobite Rebellion, Honours of War, 28mm

This weekend I was down in a hotel near Warwick, taking part in AMG 2017. This was a wargaming weekend organised on John Ray’s forum A Military Gentleman, open to people who bought his book of the same name. Essentially it was a weekend of mainly 18th century wargaming, played with a bunch of like-minded wargamers in a fancy hotel. What’s not to like? This game was the first of three I played in 30 hours – interspersed with bouts of eating, drinking and sleeping. It was organised by Graham Cumming of Crann Tara Miniatures, and used his figures. It was very loosely based on the Battle of Falkirk, played out on a lovely-looking table, and in our battle Ally and I faced off the Jacobites, played by Steve, Guy and Will.When the battle began the Jacobites had their full army on the table, while we only had a few detachments. A small brigade under Wade garrisoned Falkirk in the centre of our line, while Cope’s infantry brigade entered the right corner of the table on Turn 1. On my side all I had was a couple of squadrons of Hamilton’s dragoons and some supporting galloper guns, and they were still in their camp! What probably saved me was Will’s die rolling. His two Highland brigades refused to advance on the first turn, and that gave me a chance to saddle up and retire. I got out just in time, and my dragoons formed up closer to Falkirk, supported by the light guns.Over on the right Ally’s brigade was trying to extend itself along the Jacobite left flank, but here again a couple of unlucky movement rolls left the British regulars floundering around near their table edge. When they finally got moving the Highlanders were attacking Falkirk, and another big chunk of them were massing to attack Cope’s command. What kept them at bay for a couple of key turns was a gun battery to the right of the town, which not only destroyed one Highland unit with canister fire, but it forced two more to retire, licking their wounds.That wasn’t enough to save Falkirk though. The town fell to a determined Highland charge, and the two garrisoning units were forced to flee. They put up a reasonable fight though, at least for a turn or two, and that bought us some more crucial time – enough for our reinforcements to start appearing. General Hawley led them onto the table on our far left, beyond my dragoons, and this pretty much halted Wills’ advance. Back in the centre Elcho’s Horse charged a squadron of my dragoons, and both units were wiped out . We both had reserves though, and Hamilton’s second squadron charged the Prince’s Lifeguards, forcing them to retire. That particular little cavalry . action probably saved my centre – and turned the tide of the battle.Will wasn’t finished though. In one place I charged him before he could charge me, but on my far left another part of the Atholl Brigade charged into my end regiment – Battereau’s, which broke and ran. On the far right of Hawley’s line though, Ligonier’s Foot charged and routed Clan Fraser. Other Highland units were chopped up by heavy British fire, and soon the rebels were withdrawing. To reinforce this turn of events, the last of my reinforcements appeared, on the far left corner of the table. One of these was a small brigade of foot, which added to the fire being thrown at the withdrawing Highlanders. the other was a two squadron dragoon regiment, which deployed next to Hamilton’s Dragoons, and began advancing on what remained of the Jacobite cavalry.Back over on the British left – on the far side of Jacobite-held Falkirk – Ally’s troops were being hard-pressed. Still, he was holding on, despite having sucked in over half of the rebel army. My infantry was far too far away to intervene, so all I could offer was an all-out cavalry charge. Fortunately for us though, this strange battle had seen the Jacobites break left and right, and so nothing remained in the centre, save for a small garrison in Falkirk and their horse. So, my cavalry began advancing on the enemy, harassed by a captured gun in Falkirk. That though, is where we had to stop the game. Graham diplomatically called it a draw, but I think we really had the Jacobites on the ropes!The rules we used were Honours of War, which seemed to work quite well, especially after Graham had tweaked them a little, to make them fit the slightly earlier period. Yes, I know the tag links these to my Seven Years War games, and purists will complain, but I don’t have a page for the 1745 Rebellion, and I probably never will. It was a fun little game – and an excellent way to spend a morning.

 

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6 Responses “The Battle of Falkirk, 1746”

  1. 21st June 2017 at 9:11 pm

    Diplomatic? Me Never:)
    Glad you enjoyed my Alternative Falkirk and the report is first class.

    • 21st June 2017 at 10:16 pm

      Thanks for running it, old boy.
      As for the AAR, I write for a living, so penning it is a dawdle… and excellent activity displacement!

  2. 22nd June 2017 at 7:34 am

    Sounds like great fun Angus.

  3. 19th July 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Some additional/tweaked rules for this period are available at the HoW website. See the ‘Jacobite Rebellions’ thread.

    • 20th July 2017 at 10:03 am

      Thanks for that Keith. I’m staying away from the ’45 myself, as I can’t face painting all that tartan. Fortunately though, I have chums who’ve bitten the bullet, and I can always get my fix from them!

  4. Will Harley
    21st July 2017 at 8:57 pm

    Cheers Angus a wonderful game report, it was a pleasure to game against you. It was great to catch up with you sadly the weekend went by far to fast. Roll on next year.

    Will H

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