*Note that we do know how to spell Forty-Two. “The Gallant Forty Twa” is a traditional Scottish song associated with the 42nd Foot regiment.
Of all the regiments of the British Army, perhaps none are so internationally renowned as the famous (or infamous) Highland regiments. With their signature kilts and bonnets granting them an outlandish appearance, and marching to the eerie wail of the bagpipes, the Highlanders have earned a fearsome reputation stretching back through the centuries.
Three kilted regiments fought under Wellington at Waterloo and during the preceding Hundred Days campaign – the 79th Cameron, 92nd Gordon, and the legendary 42nd – the “Black Watch”. With the new plastic set (now in stores), you can now field these fearsome soldiers in Epic Battles scale! The set gives you all three of Wellington’s Highland regiments, along with a detachment of the famed 95th riflemen, three fantastic Scottish senior officers, and a battery of 5.5″ howitzers – the perfect “hard core” for any British army!
As part of Picton’s 5th Corps, the 42nd, 79th, and 92nd took part in both the Battle of Waterloo and the preceding Battle of Quatre Bras. At Quatre Bras, an oft-overlooked but crucial engagement, the 42nd were severely mauled by French lancers, losing almost half their number in a single day, along with their commanding officer, Sir Robert Macara. Meanwhile, the 92nd were forced to take cover in a ditch by furious artillery fire, before being personally directed by Wellington to take a French-occupied house. This was performed at bayonet point, sending the French fleeing from the field, but not before the 92nd’s commanding officer was severely wounded. This action illustrates the fierce spirit of the Highland regiments, as well as the willingness of their officers to lead from the front – qualities which any Black Powder general will find a great asset to their plans!
Deployed on the reverse slope for the early part of the Battle of Waterloo, the Highlanders nevertheless played a crucial role in driving back the advancing French columns with disciplined volleys of point-blank musketry – in some cases firing at ranges as low as 30 yards – preventing Bonaparte from taking advantage of the gap in Wellington’s line left by the routing Dutch infantry. When the allied heavy cavalry made their famous charge under Uxbridge, some Highlanders joined in, apparently grabbing hold of cavalrymen’s stirrups to keep up!
Finally, in the afternoon, the Highlanders formed squares to repulse Ney’s mass cavalry attacks – this caused enormous destruction to the French cavalry, but left the Scotsmen vulnerable to Napoleon’s vaunted artillery. Enduring a hellish storm of shot and shell that inflicted great casualties, even the fighting spirit of the Highlanders began to waver. Seeing this, Piper MacKay of the 79th left the dubious safety of the square, and began playing his pipes to encourage the men. Miraculously, he survived! With the arrival of the Prussians and the defeat of Napoleon, the Highlanders were finally able to retire and rest, having played no small part in possibly the most famous British military triumph.
For the wargamer and painter, these models are a delight to work with, and bring these hard men to life with exceptional detail. Along with the Greenjackets, they make this new box a must-have for any British general in need of some serious muscle for their line, or for those seeking to faithfully recreate Wellington’s army. Disciplined in defence, ferocious on the attack, and wonderfully characterful, this set is the perfect foil for the French Imperial Guard, giving you some of the very finest infantry the British could muster to command. Also included are their wonderfully characterful senior officers, whose unique aesthetic marks them out as the beloved leaders of the Highland regiments.
Skirmishing 95th Rifles
In addition to the Highlanders, the legendary 95th Rifles (of which three battalions fought at Waterloo) bring their elite skirmishing prowess to the table. Comfortably the best shots on the field, their withering fire and excellent mobility make them a serious handful for French generals on the tabletop, and I can personally attest to their efficacy in defense against far superior numbers.
Royal Artillery Howitzer Battery
Finally, the battery of 5.5″ howitzers provides lethal indirect fire support, raining down havoc upon the enemy lines from safely behind their own troops. Under a wise general (and with a little dice luck!), these can prove to be a devastating impediment to an enemy’s plans, breaking up tightly-packed infantry formations with ease.
Take up your musket, let the pipers play, and march for Waterloo. Let Bonaparte tremble – the Highlanders have arrived!
What’s Next for Epic Battles: Waterloo?
The Highlanders and accompanying release, the French Old/Middle Guard, are far from the last troops to grace Epic scale Waterloo battlefields. There’s a rather important and sizeable element missing, which we urgently need to rectify: