Monday, August 26, 2013

Wee Bazza's BIG Boyne Quiz: How much do you really know?

Barry Hilton - The bi-partizan subculture has blighted Scottish society for too long and reduced a fascinating period of British history to an atavistic war between two (or is it four?) football teams. So, in an attempt to engage my countrymen in a challenge to their preconceptions, I ran this bit of fun as a hand-out when demonstrating the Battle of the Boyne wargame at a Scottish show a few years ago.

The response was very positive and I am still alive so, infer what you will from that little tale!

River Boyne where the Dutch crossed. Copyright B.Hilton 2013

Test your knowledge.. Just how much do you really know about the infamous Battle of the Boyne 1690? No cheating! Don’t scroll down below the second photo until you’ve answered all of your questions!

  1. What was the precise date of the Battle of the Boyne and where is the site?
  2. What relation was William III to his rival for the throne James VII & II?
  3. Why did Willem of Orange, Stadhouder of Holland really want to be King of England?
  4. Which Empire was William III’s most powerful ally in his wars against France?
  5. What nationality were the assault troops at Oldbridge (the main crossing point at the battle)?
  6. How many Protestant regiments fought against William III in Ireland?
  7. Were there Catholic troops in William’s army?
  8. How big were the armies the faced each other at the Boyne and what were the estimated casualties for both sides?
Russian Roulette at a Glasgow wargame show?

  1. July 1st 1690. The alteration of Gregorian to Julian calendars seems to have confused people. The site is in the Republic of Ireland less than 2 miles west of Drogheda.
  2. He was James VII(II)’s son in law and nephew. William was married to James’s daughter Mary.
  3. Mainly he wanted to get his hands on the English Treasury and Army to fund and reinforce his important territorial wars against his real enemy Louis XIV of France.
  4. The Catholic Habsburg or Holy Roman Empire.
  5. Dutch – The Blew Guards or Gard te Voet. Followed by French Protestants (Huguenots) followed then by Danish infantry. English and Irish regiments played a supporting role and engaged later in the battle.
  6. Several regiments were under the command of Protestant nobility and gentry who remained loyal to their King.. James VII (II). There were undoubtedly Protestant in the Jacobite Army.
  7. Yes. The Dutch were relatively speaking, religiously tolerant and Catholics served in William’s Army.
  8. William’s approx: 35,000 with estimated 500 casualties. James’s approx: 20,000 with 1,500 estimated casualties. So, in the grand scheme relatively light casualties particularly when compared with Aughrim in 1691.
Some Easy Conversions
Terrain used to restage the Boyne at Oldbridge


  1. 8ish/8, couldn't remember the exact number who fought, was nephew by marriage then?

  2. One out of eight, what else;-) Easy to tell that this isn't my kind of warfare

  3. William was the son of James's sister Mary. Thus son in law. He was also married to James's daughter Mary, thus father in law. What a crew!
    Never mind Gunter if it had been a quiz on the Saxons you would have walked it!

  4. Doh, what I clearly meant to say but didn't say clearly was.. the first connection was NEPHEW (phew) and the second son in law.. age I think

  5. Pssst.. Boss... Aughrim was in....

  6. see what happens when you rush!!!...:)

  7. Dont really know much about this battle/era, but Im going to have a small lookie, to see why so few casualties from what I thought was a large major battle "shrug" what do you expect from someone in the southern lands

  8. Dave, that was the whole idea of the quiz.. not serious history but a teaser to engage the casual browser. The battle is much misunderstood and was in many ways more a symbolic indicator of attitude on both sides that of military success. Aughrim was much more of a heavyweight action -a stand up fight between two deployed armies determined to win or die.


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