The Friends of General Haig are a Worcester-based wargames group of enthusiastic and friendly folk who are fond of a massed battle historical game. They are no stranger to our Open Days, and quite often put on a demonstration game featuring a battle of renown (like the Battle of Auldearn from 2021). For this year’s event they tackled the decisive clash of the Jacobite Uprising – the Battle of Culloden (April 1746), using Black Powder.

What follows is a gallery of the battle, but first a little background…

The Jacobite Uprising

The bloody seeds that blossomed into the Jacobite Rising of 1745 were sown in the later part of the 17th century. After an Act of Parliament excluded dozens of Catholics from the line of succession, the balance of power in the British Isles shifted from the last members of the Stuart family to the German-born Hanoverians.

Supporters of the Stuart pretenders became known as Jacobites, derived from the Latin form of James – Jacobus. The Jacobite cause drew many to its banners, from disaffected English Protestants to fearsome Highland clansmen. These men were all united by their dislike of the new foreign-born monarch and opposition to the Acts of Union in 1707, which merged the Kingdoms of England and Scotland into a separate entity.

Almost a generation later, Bonnie Prince Charlie remained determined to put his father on the English throne and uphold the divine right of kings. After Charles raised the royal standard in August, the Jacobite army numbered some 2,000 men and advanced on Edinburgh which fell after a swift siege. Shortly after, the Jacobites fought their first pitched battle against the Government forces at Prestonpans, routing them with a single dramatic charge!

The Jacobites swept over the border without resistance on November 8th 1745, overwhelming the disastrously understrength garrison at Carlisle a week later before striking south. Reaching Manchester on November 28th, the Jacobites took on new recruits and continued on to Derby, but with no sign of the English Jacobites rising, and much-needed equipment and reinforcements landed at Montrose, the Jacobites retreated northward, to carry out a lengthy but ultimately unsuccessful siege of Stirling Castle. With bitter weather restricting military action the army retreated to Inverness to wait it out whilst the opposing Duke of Cumberland’s Government Army reached Aberdeen.

With a Royal Navy blockade restricting supply lines, and Cumberland’s army encroaching on their position, Charles decided to fight a decisive battle and make a stand at Culloden – 16th April 1746. The Jacobites had previously achieved success in battle with single decisive charges, but Cumberland’s better-trained, better-equipped and well-positioned troops soon put paid to such a tactic, routing the Jacobites and crushing the uprising.

The Demonstration Game

The following text and a selection of the below photos were taken from the Friends of General Haig Blog, with their permission.

Some of the Friends made the trip up to Nottingham to put on Culloden, 1746, at Warlord Games’ annual Open Day.

The Friends arrived bright and early and were soon getting the game set up with some stalwart help from the Warlord team. The weather was great which was much appreciated seeing as we were in a large marquee / tent set in front of the Warlord site.

The game used Pete Brown’s collection of 28mm miniatures that he has built up over many years, and was run as a participation game for visitors to the open day.

We managed to play through the game four times over the day and had two victories for the Duke of Cumberland and his Government force, and two victories for the Bonnie Prince and his Jacobite force. The historical battle is very difficult for the Jacobites to win outright, so the victory conditions were set so that the Jacobites had to break through the Government front line and engage the second line to achieve a victory. This meant that they had achieved more than they managed in the actual battle.

All of the participants played with good humour and generosity of spirit. The Friends thoroughly enjoyed their times as coaches, and very much hope that everyone who played got a taste for Black Powder, and the thrill of the ‘big game’.

We got to meet lots of pals from the hobby community while we were there, including the team from Modelling For Advantage. You can see Pete and Andy being interviewed by the Restless Kaiser above.

Many thanks to the whole Warlord team for hosting such a splendid event, and an extra special thank you to John Stallard for the biscuits! We are all looking forward to our next visit to Nottingham.

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