Thursday, 12 July 2012

The Battle of Prestonpans 1745 - Another Scenario for Maurice

Following on from my previous posts, I finally got round to sorting out a Maurice scenario for Prestonpans, the first Jacobite victory of the '45 rising.

My basic idea is to test whether the
Maurice rules can effectively deal with highlanders without the need for additional house rules.   We were pleasantly surprised that our Culloden scenario replicated the historical outcome but now it was time to see if the Jacobites could actually win a battle.

Researching the orders of battle was a bit more challenging than for Culloden.  Firstly because the battle is less well known and documented but primarily because most readily available sources seem to vary quite a bit on the clans and regiments who were there.  Most, however, agree on the numbers involved (pretty equal with the Jacobites being slightly outnumbered) and, in the end, I again plumped for the order of battle from Stuart Reid's superb Like Hungry Wolves as I've previously been impressed by his research, reference to primary sources and analytical approach to the battle of Culloden.

Another problem was rating the troops involved as the battle involved very little actual fighting ... the highlanders charged and the Government troops ran away!  However, it is well known that the Government regiments (both horse and foot) were not well-drilled and the Jacobite army at this point consisted completely of ill-equipped and ill-disciplined 
highlanders so I felt it was appropriate to rate everyone as Conscript Regulars.  I made one exception for Lord Ardshiel's Stewarts of Appin as they were recognised as more disciplined within the Jacobite ranks and so I rated them as Trained Regular.  The government guns that were present were insufficiently manned to start with and, in the event, the few remaining crew and civilian drivers deserted them, leaving two officers to man 10 pieces!   To allow for the possibility that the brave officers could compel their gunners to stand, I represented the guns with a single stand of Artillery but hobbled it with the Stationary Batteries rule to represent the lack of civilian drivers to move the guns.

As in the Culloden scenario, the Jacobites have the En Masse and a la Baionnette! National Advantages, but this time the unfortunate Government troops get nothing.

Government Army

C in C: General Sir John Cope

3 x Conscript Regular Cavalry 
8 x Conscript Regular Infantry 
1 x Artillery
Army Morale: 12

Jacobite Army

C in C: Prince Charles Edward Stuart

10 x Conscript Regular Infantry
1 x Trained Regular Infantry
Army Morale: 11

The Jacobite player starts with 8 cards and the Government player with 4.  The Jacobite player has the first turn.

The armies are both quite small for a Maurice game but this should make for a more decisive battle, which seems fitting for Prestonpans.  In common with the Culloden scenario, there is no objective - the army who breaks first has lost, if night falls before this the battle is a draw.

Initial deployment is as below.   The Jacobites are in blue and the Government in red.  The board is 48 x 48 Base Widths.

Incidentally, while I was doing some research online, I came across a link for the Battle of Prestonpans Trust Schools Visits Programme featuring the following photo:

Using wargaming as an 
educational tool - brilliant idea!  No prizes for guessing who's side they're on!

Look out for the Prestonpans battle report tomorrow.

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