Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Culloden -The Refight

 Well returned from Partizan absolutely shattered after a most enjoyable weekend. The show was extremely busy and I shall do another post on the show itself, the weekend in general etc. This post shall focus on the game.

As mentioned earlier I used Charles Grants rules with hopefully suitable tweaks which I shall briefly mention below.

In 2014 when the group of A Military Gentlemen gathered at Kelham Hall to refight Ligny and Quatre Bras 18th Century style I worked with Charles to adapt his rules for smaller units 24-30 figures. The primary change being that Officer casualties were recorded rather than having the individual figures. 

I also use 2/3 scale for movement and ranges.

So for this game the main changes were as follows


Firing - no first volley and no close range. The range is split in half and deductions for Medium and long apply. 

When charging into contact they can fire needing a 6 to score a hit, muskets discarded and no longer available.

Melee - first round of combat +2 ( this makes the impact very powerful ( maybe too much!) but casualties inflicted and received by musket fire count towards working out first round of melee ( so it’s important the Government troops get that volley).


No first volley and again no close range deduction. ( I find it’s a simple way to reflect poorer training, fire discipline etc) melee as normal.

The only other change I made on the morning was to bring a little uncertainty into the Highlanders stepping off so I just threw a d6 for each clan on a 6 they set off +1 was added if they’d been subjected to artillery fire and a further +1 if adjacent clan had stepped off, it seemed to work and produced some interesting results. 

So onto the game my son and I decided that we’d pretty much follow the orders from the real battle so the Jacobites weren’t allowed to occupy the enclosure etc. ( we are going to refight this again with freedom of orders) 

The British opened the game with an opening barrage, largely ineffective although the two small mortars caused a couple of casualties and they were to be an irritation all day. The Government militia began to move up to the enclosure and Hawley and his cavalry began to follow.
Starting from right to left I began to roll to see if any of the Clans were stung into action, The Atholl men and the Cameron’s stood still but the Fraser’s, Chattan and Maclean all suddenly lurched forward and on the Jacobite left the Macdonald’s of Keppoch and Clanranald also stepped off leaving the Macdonalds of Glengarry stationary by Culloden park. The Jacobite artillery returned fire with no effect except for the French Gunners in the park who caused a casualty on The Royal regiment.

Bounds 2 and 3 saw all the remaining clans with the exception of Atholl, Cameron and MacDonald step off towards the British lines Prince Charles dispatched a messenger to to both flanks to determine what the issue was. British artillery continued to be largely ineffective except one 3pounder and the two mortars destroyed one of the Jacobite guns in the centre.

Bound 4 saw the Cameron’s step off but still the Atholl men and Macdonald’s declined to advance despite the shouting from the Prince’s ADC’s, the Macdonald’s of Keppoch had slowed as they were now making their way through the boggy ground.
The Government troops still held their fire waiting to use the first fire bonus to good effect ( hopefully) 
The Government 3pounders were starting to take effect on the advancing Highlanders in particular a number of clans were losing Officers in the advance but their morale was holding.
Bound 5 actually saw the Atholl men move off, despite increasing casualties the Highlanders forward momentum was seeing them on then in bound 6 all hell broke

Pulteney’s regiment had moved from the third line to extend the British line and cover the flank from the advancing MacDonalds of Keppoch.
The MacDonalds of Clanranald and the Chisholm’s struck  the Royal regiment despite a fairly effective first volley after two rounds of combat the Royal regiment broke!
The Maclean’s had struck Cholmondeley’s regiment who’s first volley on the clan closing was destructive taking down their leader and many a man, despite a bloody round of combat the regiment held and the following rebound Maclean broke.
This situation was repeated along the line with, in the majority of cases the Highlanders causing casualties on impact but receiving significant casualties from musketry on closing and the combats were going to two or three rounds of bloody combat.

Pulteney and Cholmondeley fired destructive volleys into Clanranald and Chisholm, who had stalled after breaking the Royal regiment. Being small clans the casualties broke them and it was now that the Macdonald’s of Glengarry decided to advance! 

Three clans had fallen below 50% and dispersed, The Royal regiment had fled following my sons abysmal dice throwing when called to rally.

At this stage the majority of the clans that had attacked the centre of the British line had been repulsed, although Cumberland had been forced to move the second line regiments forward because of the casualties the front line had received.

The Atholl men were now about to close on Barrels regiment and the Cameron’s were ready to charge Munro.
Barrels regiment fired their first volley and disaster struck a flurry of 1’s and 2’s resulted in only 4 casualties being inflicted. However the Argyl militia secure behind the wall inflicted another 4 from their flanking fire.
The melee was a different matter and despite the highlanders receiving a +2 to their dice rolls the Government troops consistently rolled high and despite losing 6 men they held.

The Cameron’s attack on Munro was a different matter as they charged home Munro’s volley inflicted 9 casualties including the Clan chieftain the Cameron’s impact was devastating they killed the Colonel and inflicted 13 casualties 

Barrel’s  and Munro’s regiments held and another round of combat was fought, neither Barrel’s men or the Atholl men appeared to be in the mood to fight with only a couple of casualties being inflicted but again the Argyll militia inflicted another 4 casualties into the rear of the clan and they broke to the rear. The Cameron’s however broke Munro’s men and followed through the gap in the line although their pursuit was not sufficient for them to catch the fleeing troops.

The last stand of the Cameron’s was now about to take place they found themselves behind the Government front Lina faced by three full strength British regiments and a 3 pounder hastily wheeled to fire on their flank. Three crashing volleys and a round of canister destroyed the clan with less then 40% of the clan left they turned and fled.

Hawley now arrived on the Jacobite right flank with his dragoons although the Royal Ecosse and Lord Lewis Gordon’s foot supported by Fritz James cavalry had faced off to meet them.
We called time at this point, the Clan Chattan had managed to rally, the MacDonald’s of Glengarry were unscathed but all the remaining front line units were broken. 

Perhaps historically the front line units received a significant number of ‘Officer casualties’ which proved to be their downfall once casualties started to mount whereas my son only lost one officer ( he managed to make the saving throws) 

We found it a most enjoyable game - the battle lasted 12 turns so around an hour, as with most games casualties were higher than reality the Government front line in particular felt the pain - with the exception of the Fusiliers all the remaining first line regiments were just above 50% strength. 

It’s certainly worth a replay keeping the deployment but allowing the players to do as they see fit.

I shall do another post on the show and my thoughts


John Ray said...

Wonderful looking game with great miniatures.

I am sure you enjoyed seeing one of your hobby dreams on the table.


Tiberian general said...

Excellent post Graham and a wonderful looking games, loads of 18th century eye candy.


'Lee. said...

Spectacular game Graham as I knew it would be! The terrain is a great representation of moorland and the troops look wonderful in those large units.

Carlo said...

Wonderful looking game Graham and to okay it with your son even better. The figures and terrain is sensational and your report was very good indeed. Very well done Graham and I’m sure it crested some buzz at the show.

ronniec said...

Wonderful stuff! Great report and marvellous photos. And thanks for the rule amendments.

rross said...

A very nice looking game that sounded historical-ish - although maybe the charging clans were a bit too effective? I guess as wargamers (and/or Scots!) we like to give the Hielandmen a chance of an upset - which in reality they never had at Culloden. As John says, it must have been a great joy to see your plans to get Culloden on the table realised - we played it as a game over twenty years ago, I even wore a kilt for the occasion! We also had a historical result though - clansmen blown off the field like chaff!

Graham C said...

Thanks gents,
Whilst a fairly limited game in what can be done it was indeed a pleasure to see it come to fruition.
Balance is always a problem but there has to be ( in my opinion ) unpredictability hence in Charles’ rules volley fire is 1d6 per 6 figures firing with a minus2,3 or 4 for close, medium long range. First volley is one less so a first volley at close range could potentially cause 25 casualties! So can you hold your nerve, my son mainly let loose at medium range.
The melee is one v one and perhaps the +2 on impact should have been a +1 but if I did that I may keep the +1 in the second round.

A lot of people did spend a lot of time talking about figures, fur etc. not many photos have appeared on blog reports which is a little disappointing but a barren moor with armies lined up hasn’t much to offer photogenically compared to most of the other games. But it was great to play and great to spend time with my son

Colin Ashton said...

it was a tremendous looking game Graham. The figures are stunning.

Chris Gregg said...

Who cares if it's just an open moorland, you put on a superb show. Very well done indeed Sir! Thank you for the insight into the rules and amendments. It makes me think, I can't see anywhere what size your mat is? But I know Guy would love to put his collection with yours and you could stage a larger version (maybe 40-60 figure units on my 12 x 6 if you'd care to bring the armies to the Cotswolds for a weekend next year.
Thank you for so many great photos and the enthralling battle account....poor Camerons.... but brave!
Chris G

Graham C said...

Thanks for the kind words, your blog post is excellent but I can’t post a comment!!
Many thanks the mat is 9’x5’ the Jacobite frontage between the Park and the enclosure was just over a thousand yards..

Chris Gregg said...

Graham, I'm happy to make up something extra that is compatible if you want to broaden the scope or up the figure scale nearer to Grant-sized units. I daresay Guy's Highlanders can blend well and I think he has many of the same British regiments.

The Jolly Broom Man said...

Classy in every sense…and more work to put on than many of us imagine im sure. Great write up and super pictures.

guy said...

Superb looking game Graham and a cracking game report. I was especially interested to read about the rules. I look forward to part 2.


Stryker said...

Spectacular so worth all the effort - well done!

StuartInsch said...

Always nice seeing your figures in action Graham.

Aly Morrison said...

A great looking game Graham…
It was certainly an enjoyable and busy day…I am sorry to not have had a chance to chat…
Hopefully next time…

All the best. Aly

Independentwargamesgroup said...

Well you did it Graham. Its always a great feeling when a battle you wanted to fight comes to fruition. Perhaps another couple of refights? and then a book?

Ray Rousell said...

It was a fab looking game Graham. The figures looked brilliant and I did like the grass tabletop.

Doug said...

Given I am aiming to use Sharp Practice, I haven't the same numbers, but your game is inspirational, ands a very appealing looking game. It's a shame I won't get to see it 'in the flesh'.