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Sheriffmuir, 1715

I ran a wargame of Sheriffmuir, the deciding battle of the Jacobite 1715 rising, using my home grown rules "Va T'en Ecosse". Lots of plastic soldiers on display, not just Strelets Jacobites. A full account can be read here:

Re: Sheriffmuir, 1715

Super, Graham! A very good-looking game.

I've had a quick scan through the photos and will read the write-up properly later, but I am impressed by the overall 'look' of the game. Plenty of space so the units are not too crowded, and the smoke indicators for units firing look good when seen from above....what those 18th Century Generals might have paid for a drone with a live camera mounted on it: could have changed the course of history!

I think I spotted a good variety of figures here as well, including some venerable old Airfix conversions.

And my definite approval for anyone who still writes their own rules. I grew up in the world of Donald Featherstone and Charles Grant, and writing your own rules was part and parcel of the wargaming hobby when I first got into it. Well done indeed!

Re: Sheriffmuir, 1715

The smoke performs a real function in the game, as regular units get a first volley benefit, and highlanders chuck theirs away if they fire when charging. If they've got smoke I know there's no bonus left for regulars, and highla ders can't fire anymore!

Correct, there are a lot of Airfix chaps in there as well as newer figures. Units have to have a gap of half a unit width to allow friendly unit interpenetration so they can retire through support lunes safely.

I have always written and developed or modified rules since Primary School. Modern self publishing and DTP tools mean I can write them and publish them now to a high quality standard.

Re: Sheriffmuir, 1715

Very nice wargame and an interesting setting! Didn't even know about this one before! So thanks for enhancing my knowledge of English/Scottish history!

By the way: Do you have an order of battle for Sheriffmuir?

Re: Sheriffmuir, 1715

The '15 is less well known than the '45 and was probably the one with the best chance of success, if only James the Old Pretender had got his act together (BTW it also has a song about it written by Genesis on the "Wind and Wuthering" album).

The best orbat is in Jonathan Oates "Crucible of the Jacobite '15". The game was based on Stuart Reid's from "Sheriffmuir 1715", so when I play it again there'll be some slight changes.

The Jacobites have about 8,000 infantry, more or less, in 15-17 "Regiments" ranging from 300 - 700. For the game I rendered this as 9 Highland Regiments and 6 Lowland. Cavalry was about 800, most of which was on the right in 3 or 4 squadrons. They had some artillery, but no powder or shot.

Government forces numbered just under 3,000 foot in 9 Regiments. As I keep units the same size for game resolution purposes I cut this to 6. They had 800 cavalry in 6 squadrons, with three on either wing. For artillery they had 6 x 3 pounders, but they didn't feature in the battle.

Re: Sheriffmuir, 1715

Thanks for the info. Given the frequent uprisings of the Scots and their connection to France I wonder why there never were as many Scottish emigre troops abroad as there were Irish?
Do you know which regiments participated on the English side at Sheriffmuir?

Re: Sheriffmuir, 1715

Well, you have fallen into a common misconception there. The Jacobite risings aren't strictly Scots v English. There were Scots on both sides of the argument, and English Jacobites too. Some Scots ended up in French service - such as the Duke of Berwick - but the religious aspect that motivated some of the Irish wasn't so clearly present (although again, that isn't that clear either). The British Army swept up a lot of Scots into its ranks as entire regiments.

Whatever you may think from what is being said now, the Union of England and Scotland was a voluntary union, and many Scots did very well out of it. Ireland was more of an Anglo-Scottish conquest (oh yes, the Scots were avid colonisers of Ireland), so there's more to be annoyed about. Having said that, many Catholic Irish made a fine career out of serving His Britannic Majesty.

The BRITISH (not English) Regiments, lead by The Duke of Argyle (a SCOT), were called, at the time:


Cavalry (all Dragoons):
Portmore's (later the Scots Greys)

If you are interested, I can recommend Oates' book. It is very thorough.

Re: Sheriffmuir, 1715

Many thanks again, Graham! I'm aware that religion certainly wasn't as much an issue with the Scots as with the Irish and loyalties were more divided, nevertheless the question remains. I know of a number of prominent Scottish emigres or their descendants (first and foremost of course Berwick or Étienne Macdonald, Marshall of France or Barclay de Tolly), but it seems emigration was limited to some nobles rather than whole thousands of soldiers and serving in foreign armies was - at least for nobles - not uncommon in that period (viz. Prince Eugene and others).

Then, I came upon a strange "order of battle" for Sheriffmuir
and the names of the units listed there sound at least in part very Dutch (Welderen, Zoutland etc.). I know there were Dutch troops at the Boyne, so perhaps ...? Or they got it wrong on their website, who knows?

Re: Sheriffmuir, 1715

The name on that is wrong. The document clearly says "In Scotland" not "At Sheriffmuir". Dutch, and if memory serves, Swiss, troops were recruited by the British Government as the British Army had been massively downsized when involvement in the War of Spanish Succession ceased. The giveaway, as well, is that it lists Cadogan, who didn't got to Scotland until after the battle.

As for Scots/Irish mercenaries overseas as opposed to Scots aristocrats and descendants, the situation was very different. The Jacobite Risings were about a split in the ruling classes. If you lost out, then you fled to France (if you were a Catholic) or to the Netherlands (if you were a Protestant), a fine tradition going back to the start of the Reformation.

Re: Sheriffmuir, 1715

I have reported the citation error to the National Gallery for Scotland.

Re: Sheriffmuir, 1715

Great! Thanks for clearing that up! Nobody can argue the educational value of our hobby! 😄