Saturday, August 4, 2018

Tim's Jacobite Wars at Historicon 2018: Prestopans, Inverurie, and Falkirk Muir

    As noted previously, my friend Tim Couper flew direct in to Stewart airport in Newburgh NY from Edinburgh, and stayed with us until we departed Wednesday AM for Lancaster and Historicon 2018. Having moved from London to the wilds of Scotland a few years earlier, Tim has been on a Scots theme the past year, and furiously painted a substantial collection of 28 mm Front rank figures, which he brought with him from the UK and ran three battles from the Jacobite Wars. These are perhaps even better chronicled on Tim's own blog, "Fog of War..." - just follow the links. I have included some of my of each of the events, along with my own "impartial" narrative. Each one of these games was really a hoot - full of drama and action!

Battle of Prestonpans (21 September 1745)

The first of three 1745 Jacobite War engagements at Historicon. Prestonpans was the first major conflict of the war. The Jacobites had taken Edinburgh city. General John Cope, with 2,300 men, determined to engage the poorly-armed Jacobite army, composed of 2,500 highlanders and lowlanders, in what was the 1st significant battle of the Rebellion. The armies maneuvered in an open area some way east of city and battle commenced. So, will Johnny Cope? or will the Highlanders all get kilt? This game will provide a good opportunity for those unfamiliar with these well established rules to join in a straightforward, and tense, battle. 

Set up from the Jacobite lines.

Jacobites -that was a lot of Tartan to paint, Tim!

The Battle is ready to comm

The long red line of the Hanoverians.

Hanoverioan cavalry faces down some highlanders.

Jacobites attack the flanks of the Hanoverian line, whilst trying to avoid the centre!

Amazingly, it seems to be working!

I only caught bits of this game, as i was busily storing things from my Campaign game, but it looked hard fought from start to finish!

Battle of Inverurie (23 December 1745)

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!. 

Clan meeting before the action starts; the piper played a famous role in the battle explained on Tim;'s blog. 

A (?) peaceful village...

One column approaches their gathering from along a byway, lead by some Irish (red coats).

While their intelligence says the main body is marching up the principal highway.

Tartan and more tartan!

Tim and I were happy to welcome Michelle and her husband Gabriel back to Historicon. We first met them at Historicon 2010 in Valley forge, truly a delightful couple!

Ach, I'll seize the high ground, and you'll hold the low ground...

and I'll cross the ford afore ye!

A brisk fire fight under way.

The clans repulsed... for now!

What foul treachery be this?  Why Angus, you flea bitten sheep thief, the main body be not coming by the highway, but over moor and field. Curdle me Haggis!

This leaves the (now) secondary column of attackers short of manpower. 

The best defense is a good offense...

Except when it fails!

Combat at the Ford; Michelle's clansmen will ultimately prevail!

The rest of the main column hurries to catch up.

Michelle's boys push across the Ford.

The main body attacks the sheep  enclosure... er, cemetary.  

The Jacobites try to contain the clan "bridgehead" across the river Don. 

Local militia still approaching the battle the main column is fighting. 

Getting nearer...

The clansmen break through at the Ford. 

After initial reverses, the clan rallies in the fight with the Jacobite main body. It's all about the sheep, after all!

The next day a great many bodies of friend and foe will be found floating in the Don, I fear.

Plenty of fight still left in the main body of the Jacobites. 

Here comes the Militia!

The clans have destroyed the smaller column!

Battle of Falkirk Muir (17 January 1746)

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") 

Opening moves

The impressive looking (but not very good!) Hanoverian cavalry advance.

Their charge was crushed by Highlander volleys.

The opposing centres close.

Recreating a historical event, the Glasgow Militia mistakenly fire upon the routing friendly cavalry!

The Hanoverian left wing commander goes down. These troops were played by Terry from Denver... who also lost his commander ion my Battle of Talavera game the night before!

Action in the centre - the Hanoverian center is in danger of being flanked by mobs of clansmen. 

The sole remaining unit of Hanoverian cavalry makes a second charge... it does not end well!

Watch yer flanks... and yer sheep!

Uh - oh!

Volleys traded. 

The meager Jacobite cavalry draws nigh...

The Hanoverians have freed their artillery from the deep mud alongside the ravine, but it is still slow going trying to drag them into position!

Yet another Hanoverian leader is hit!

Both sides take losses in another exchange of fire!

Highlanders doing what they do best - charging!

 Heavy fighting by both sider.

 Overview of the field...

The Jacobites turn a special card...  at the right time!


Have at 'em, boys!

 Routed Hanoverians running for their lives!

Highland dancing on the Hanoverian Left.

Overview of the centre. 

The sole unit of Glasgow Militia manages to hold off the flank moves of the Highlanders. Maybe it was the way Terry kept trying to distract them... with sheep!

A lot of routing Hanoverians!

Action at the edge of the Ravine.

Oops!  Out of Morale points, old sod?   A pity that!
The Hanoverians are an Army Morale Card away from breaking, as they start paying points to the Jacobites!

The Hanoverians are in danger of being enveloped.

Still trying to bring up those bloody guns!

The Hanoverian flank is looking very vulnerable; shortly after the army broke on an Army Morale check, handing victory to the Jacobites and the Pretender! 

As I said earlier, each of these games was a huge amount of fun, even just assisting the players and GM. great job, Tim! We both felt that this was one of the most fun Historicons we have been involved in, even with the less than stellar condition of the Host. I already have my hotel reservation for next July at the Lancaster Marriott!


  1. Great fun looking games,lots of tartan,I guess I have to buckle down for my Montrose army but I'm not looking forward to it so well done to Tim for all that Tartan!
    Best Iain

    1. These games were just a huge amount of fun. Of course, in part that was due to the positive attitude of the players, which is always a huge factor. I completely understand about the Tartan and the Montrose army; I just painted the Gordon Highlanders 2 months ago, and have the Black Watch to complete and haven't looked at them since then, even though they are half done!

  2. Tim and I put on Inverurie yesterday at the Claymore show in Edinburgh. Good fun again. It was styled as 'Previously seen at Historicn'!

    1. I especially liked that scenario, with the special piper rule and the mis-direction. Hopefully there were some actual players!

  3. It's not a period I know much about, but I can certainly appreciated the figures and the scenarios looked fun. It all looks great.

    1. It is a conflict I knew little about as well, aside perhaps from some distorted background from "The Outlander"! :-)

      All three games were a treat; Tim hit a home run with these. H
      Hmmm, what's that in Cricket terms?

    2. That would be a "six", although the Scots are not that big on cricket!

    3. Tim is certainly not a Scott by birth. However if Brexit doesn't go well and Scotland were to bite to leave the UK, such distinctions could become interesting!

  4. The games look like a great time. My wife has been bitten by "The Outlander" bug as well so I have been considering painting a few things from the time period.
    Also your caveat to the old adage "The best defense is a good offense" just got added to my repertoire . Too funny.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Tim did a great job with all three games - one each on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.