Monday, September 30, 2013

The Controversy of Defeat - The Collapse of the Jacobite Left Wing at the Battle of Aughrim, July 12th, 1691 - Part One

Michael McNally - Given Ireland’s political history it has, over the intervening centuries, become the norm when discussing the Williamite War, to cite the Siege of Derry and the Battle of the Boyne – in 1689 and 1690 respectively – as being the turning points of the war. But these assertions are based on the political considerations of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and fail to take into account the military side of the conflict, after all it could be argued that the importance of the Siege of Derry lies not in the defence of the city itself but rather in the fact that it was here that King James II set forward his proposals to simply blockade Derry whilst sending the cream of his army to Scotland in order to unite with the forces of James Graham, Viscount Dundee, and thus create a ‘second front’ which would have lain England open to invasion and compromised the unstable Williamite government. 
The Williamite Army Marches to War! From the collection of Barry Hilton
It was unclear exactly how the army would have been transported to Scotland but the invasion was not to be, as Tyrconnel and the Irish magnates refused to countenance the transfer of so many troops overseas whilst positions such as Derry remained in enemy hands. Throughout the war there were many engagements which, in the short term at least, exercised an effect on the prosecution of the war – the ‘Break of Dromore’, the Battle of Newtownbutler and the Ballyneety Raid to cite just a few examples, but irrespective of any partisanship there is only one engagement during the entire war that can be viewed as being truly decisive. There is only one battle that can be said to point directly to the end of the conflict; only one battle upon whose outcome rested the future prosecution of the war, a battle that was fought on the outskirts of the small Galway village of Aughrim on the afternoon of Sunday 12th July1691. 
 

In terms of the numbers of troops involved and the number of casualties suffered by the combatants, Aughrim will always remain the largest and by far the bloodiest battle in Irish history and given how the battle ended it will also always remain one of the most controversial of such, with the spectre of a perceived act of treachery by a number of senior Irish officers hanging eternally over the history of the battle.


The purpose of this discussion is to examine the Battle of Aughrim and if at all possible to ascertain as to whether the Jacobite defeat can indeed be ascribed to avarice and treachery or – however tragic – is simply the result of fate and the fortunes of war. To do this, however, we need to first examine the conduct of the war itself and to review the position of both armies at the beginning of the 1691 campaigning season and we will do that in the next installment. 

We would like to thank Michael McNally for contributing to the League of Augsburg blog as a guest author. Most of our readers will recognize Mike as the author of Osprey's The Battle of the Boyne 1690: The Irish Campaign for the English Crown and The Battle of Aughrim 1691. Mike has other Osprey titles in other periods as well, but will have another title in the League of Augsburg period next year in October 2014... Ramilies 1706: Marlborough's Tactical Masterpiece from Osprey Publishing. All text in The Controversy of Defeat series is Copyright 2013 Michael McNally and used with kind permission. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Royal Scots - The Senior Regiment - The First Century

By Bob Black. Bob was formerly editor of Toy Soldier & Model Figure magazine. The following piece was written for the Regiment magazine which folded before the article saw the light of day. I am not sure whether Bob wrote the article himself or it was a piece from another author. It is an extract from a longer contribution on the Royal Scots. Although some new research has come to light which may contradict the piece on a detail or two the general thrust is excellent and a welcome reflection on an extremely distinguished regiment hugely prominent in our period.

The illustrations come from various sources including my own collection as of course, Dumbarton's  are a prominent member! So, here we have The Royal Scots.....
Dixons, Old Glory and Essex models

The story of the Royal Scots  is emblazoned on their Colours, from that first Battle Honour Defence of Tangier 1662-80 to the Gothic Line and Kohima during the Second World War. But the story carried on the Colours is not only of the Regiment but also of the British Army  itself. From the War of the Leauge of Ausburg through the  Spanish Succession and the wars fought under Corporal John, to the SevenYears War and Napoleon. From the Maratha and Pindari Wars through Burma to the Crimean – China South and the Great War, all are here on the Colours of the Royal Scots. But it began on the Continent.

The Origins
The Scots have always been a warlike people and their services as soldiers have long been sought. The 9th century King Charles of France was said to have a bodyguard of Scots, and the Scots fought in the Eighth Crusade. But the “auld alliance” of 1295 saw more Scots taking service with French. At the end of the Hundred Years Wars the Scots formed the Archer Guard, the bodyguard of the King of France.

Old Glory Orkney's painted by BH

The Royal Scots take their seniority from a Warrant of 1633 but its history starts before that, in the Scots regiments that fought during the Thirty Years War.  The Thirty Years War started in Bohemia and here a Scottish regiment was raised by Sir Andrew Gray to fight for the Elector Palatine Frederick V. Defeated at the Battle of the White Mountain the regiment retired to Holland where it fought against the Spanish. In 1623 Sir Andrew handed over command to another Scot who had commanded a company in Bohemia.  Sir John Hepburn from Athelstaneford in East Lothian took the regiment into service with Gustavus Adolphus.

The Green Brigade
For the next seven years the regiment fought with Adolphus. When Sweden entered the Thirty Years War Hepburn's regiment, Mackay’s Regiment, Lumsden’s musketeers and Stargate’s regiment –all Scots- joined together to form the Green Brigade. Hepburn commanded this Scottish Brigade.

This unit became famous throughout Europe. Hepburn led from the front taking his place in the battle. When his regiment stormed the Guben gate of Frankfort-on-the-Oder it was Hepburn himself, with Lumsden of Invergellie, who placed the petards (bombs) against the gateway. 

The Scots suffered badly during the Thirty Years Wars and many regiments were reduced to company strength. In 1633 these were formed into the Régiment d’Hébron which became a corps of the French Army commanded by the chief of the Green brigade Sir John Hepburn. The French  had corrupted Sir John’s name and the regiment became known as the Régiment d’Hébron

In the same year a Royal Warrant was issued by the Scottish Privy Council authorising Sir John to raise a regiment for service with the French.

In 1661 the restored English king Charles II asked Louis XIV to return the regiment temporarily and the regiment, now known as Régiment de Douglas, came back to England. However Parliament was worried about the inclusion of the regiment in the army and the following year the regiment returned to France. 

This is the first time there is a record of the regiment wearing red coats. They were lined white, and the coat was worn over a white shirt. The breeches were white or light grey.


It was 1673 that the regiment took its place on the permanent English establishment and by virtual of its Royal Warrant of 1633 claimed seniority. 

During its service in France it billeted one night with the Régiment Picardy, the senior French Regiment. Picardy claimed they were so old they were on duty the night of the Crucifixion. A Scots Officer replied that had his regiment been on duty that night they would not have fallen asleep and allowed Christ’s body to be taken from the tomb. From then to this day - over three and a half  centuries - they have been known as Pontius Pilate’s Bodyguard.

Dumbarton’s Drums they sound so bonnie
As they remind me o my Johnnie

The regiment had changed names when Sir John Hepburn was killed at the siege of Saverne and the Colonelcy passed to Lord James Douglas. Another Douglas, Lord George the Earl of Dumbarton commanded in  1675 when  as Dumbarton’s ’ Regiment , the Scots returned from French service for the final time. The “Scotch march” became Dumbarton’s Drums, the favourite quick-step of the regiment.


In 1680 the regiment went to Tangier on the North African coast. Tangier had come to Charles II as part of Catherine of Braganza’s dowry. But it was a liability and a drain on the Royal purse, with over two million pounds being spent on defences in  the 1660s. The Moors proved a difficult and dangerous foe and Dumbarton’s Regiment joined the garrison of Tangiers in some desperate fighting. In September a major sortie was made to drive of the 15,000 Moors besieging Tangiers. Writing in the following year(1681) John Ross said “The Scots charged first, if there was any time at all between the charging: for like fire and lightning, they all went on at once”.

The Moors could not stand against the pikes and muskets of the Royal Scots and the other British regiments and fell back. The Scots took the Standard of Muley Ismael, the Emperor of Morocco and Africa, whilst the Guards and the Marines took four other Standards and cannon.

For political reasons Tangiers was given up in 1683 but it became the first Battle Honour for the British Army, still carried on the Royal Scots Colours. In 1684  they became the Royal Regiment of Foot renamed the Royal Scots (1st Foot).


A Royal Traitor
In 1685 they fought a different foe. Charles II had died, leaving his brother James II to become  King. Charles illegitimate son the Duke of Monmouth declared himself the rightful heir and raised his own Standard in the West Country. This King’s son had led a British army against the Dutch, fought with the Royal Scots and John Churchill who was to gain greater fame as the Duke of Marlborough. Now he found himself leading a rebel army against the Royals and the other units of James’ small army. 

The senior regiment takes the place of honour on the battlefield, the right of the line, and the Royal Scots took their rightful place at the Battle of Sedgemoor. The King’s Foot Guard (now the Grenadier Guards) and the Coldstream Guards both yielded precedence to them. The Battle of Sedgemoor fought on July 16 1685 (old Style July 6 ) ended the Dukes hopes for his father’s crown. His untrained supporters, mainly peasants from the local area many with only the tools of their trade for weapons, were cut to pieces by the King’s army. 

But although his nephew was dead James’ throne was far from secure. He was a devout Catholic and unpopular with the British people.


In 1688 the British people asked the Protestant Prince William of Orange to replace James II as their King. The bulk of the army went over to William, but Dumbarton remained loyal to James. He wished to attack William  even if it meant doing so alone. But James chose flight and Dumbarton followed his King into exile. The great European soldier Schomberg was given Colonelcy of the regiment, but the Royals remained loyal to their King. They marched northwards to Scotland but were overtaken and surrounded by cavalry. King William is said to have been touched by “the firm loyalty and attachment evinced by the Royal Regiment to their former Sovereign when he was forsaken by almost every other person”. A few ringleaders suffered mild punishments. The more important result from this incident was the passing of the Mutiny Act, the forerunner of the Army Act.

The regiment was represented at the Battle of the Boyne (1690) by its Colonel, the Duke of Schomberg. James had fled to Ireland and formed a army there; William had led his own army to meet and defeat James. James’ forces were in a good defensive position at the Boyne River, and William sent his army forward to force a crossing, and then destroy the Irish. Hard pushed by Irish soldiers at the Boyne Schomberg rallied William’s army. As a senior office he had not expected to fight and was not wearing armour. He was killed even as he checked the Irish advance.


Steinkirk
The regiment once again passed to a Douglas, this time Sir Robert. William took the British army back to the continent to fight against the French. At the Battle of Steinkirk (Steenkerke) in 1692 the French not only defeated the English Army but a party of them captured one of the Colours of the Regiment, but only after some fierce fighting. The Royals had driven four French battalions successively from behind a series of hedges. In a counter attack the French captured one of the Scots Colours. Sir Robert Douglas saw the party taking their prize to the rear and dashed through a hedge and singlehandedly attacked the French. He cut down the French officer with his sword, recapturing the Colour, but on his way back to his regiment he was shot down. With the last of strength he threw the Colour back over the hedge to his men and fell back dead. 
One eyewitness to this action was Capt George Carleton. In his memoirs he wrote “
I remember one particular action of Sir Robert Douglas, that I should think myself to blame should I omit: seeing his colours on the other side of the hedge, in the hands of the enemy, he leaped over, slew the officer that had them, and then threw them over the hedge to his company; redeeming his colours at the expense of his life. Thus the Scotch commander improved upon the Roman general; for the brave Posthumius cast his standard in the middle of the enemy for his soldiers to retrieve, but Douglas retrieved his from the middle of the enemy, without any assistance, and cast it back to his soldiers to retain, after he had so bravely to rescued it out of the hands of the enemy.”

The last important engagement of the war for the Scots was the siege of Namur. As Orkney’s Regiment – named for their new commander the first Earl of Orkney - they took a short rest at the end of the century; perhaps to get themselves ready for the War of the Spanish Succession starting in the following year.


Noticeable Incidents
As the Regiment returned to France for the last time they were seen by that most famous of all diarists Samuel Pepys. “here in the streets  did hear the Scotch march beat by the drums before the soldiers, which is very odde … They are far more terrible to these people of the country towns than the Dutch themselves.”
This is also the first time the regiment’s uniform is recorded. They wore red coats lined white. They wore a collarless white shirt with a white stock or scarf, and white or light grey breeches. They wore the broad brimmed hat of the period – made originally of beaver skins but copied for the other ranks in cheaper felt.
In 1684  they became the Royal Regiment of  Foot  which entitled them to wear blue facings, as other Royal regiments. For some reason they do not appear to have changed facings until the time of Queen Anne.


Monmouth
The Duke of Monmouth had fought with the Royal Scots. When he studied the terrain from the tower of Bridgewater Church he recognised the regiment. He said “I know these men will fight. If I had them, I would not doubt of success”. He was quite right – they fought and Monmouth, a King’s son and former hero, was executed as a traitor.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

“Par la bouche de mes canons” QUEBEC 1690. Part 3

Orders of Battle and Unit Composition
The New Englanders
Phip’s had 2,300 militiamen in seven battalions. A simple division gives an average of roughly 330 men per battalion. This figure is roughly half the size of an actual regular army battalion’s strength during the period. It may be safe to assume that colonial militia units were severely under strength for a variety of reasons. As this was not a Royal or State initiated campaign then perhaps enforcement of service terms may have been rather less stringent than a national war situation. If the militia followed the traditional infantry structure then these 330 man units would be subdivided into 13 companies. Company strength would then be a meagre 25 men.
It has been stated that the New England militia were organised on the Trained Band system. This would mean a ratio of two muskets to one pike. Units could then be composed of two wings of muskets and a central group of pikemen.
Massachusetts men. The French may have looked different.

The French
Chartrand mentions Frontenac reinforcing the St Charles River defences with three battalions of regulars. If one assumes that he was prepared to commit all of his regulars to this forward defence then each battalion could be roughly 300 men strong. This is however a big assumption. An experienced soldier like Frontenac would be unlikely to leave the important job of garrisoning the city to militia and it would be a logical conclusion that he would have distributed regulars to other key points of his defence. A figure of 300 French per battalion is in my opinion too generous. If Frontenac held back one third of his regulars in reserve or distributed across other locations then his three battalions at the St Charles may have been  150 -200 men in strength. The use of the word ‘battalion’ is misleading and may refer to a tactical formation as opposed to indicating strength. There are no mentions of the French deploying pikes in Canada. This means that all of their regulars and militia would be armed with muskets. Whether all of their Indian allies had muskets is a moot point. All of the above information forces some decisions in terms of organisation for the scenarios.

Monday, September 23, 2013

BATTLE PHOTO FEATURE: WALCOURT 1689

Dutch Dragoons advance against the French

Barry Hilton - I took a car journey to Walcourt about 7 years ago and was very surprised by the terrain in the area. Walcourt is near Charleroi in south Belgium and the approach from the north was through a deep gorge as far as I can remember. I couldn't reconcile the terrain with things I had read about the battle. The town is built on a slope climbing out of the gorge towards a plateau to the south of the town. This is where I believe the action took place.

Dutch and French infantry clash near the church

Here are some pictures of the Walcourt game we displayed at Partizan in 2010 or 2011(can't quite remember when). The game also featured heavily in Warlord's Pike & Shot supplement to Black Powder. We ran it again at John Stallard's house and I took plenty of shots some of which we present here for your pleasure.


Our game was representational and not a truly accurate recreation of the battle. For those unfamiliar with Walcourt it stands out as the only Allied victory in Flanders of any significance until Namur fell in 1695. British infantry distinguished itself in an evolving battle which had several distinct phases.


Almost all of the units are from my own collection as at this phase in the LoA development Bob, Dave, Adrian and others were just beginning to turn out significant numbers of figures. There are a mix of Dixon, Foundry, Essex, Reiver and a few Stratagem models with Warfare Miniatures regiments beginning to creep in here and there.



I was very pleased with the way these shots came out. They are only 'posed' to a minimal extent and most were take during the actual game at John's house or at Partizan in the grimly and dimly lit main hall of the Kelham venue.




Friday, September 20, 2013

FEATURED REGIMENT: Montcashel's Regiment

Barry Hilton - When I began playing in the Grand Alliance period and heard about the 'Wild Geese' I was captivated by the story. I had never made the connection between the title of the movie starring Moore, Harris and Burton and the fabled exploits of Ireland's exiled soldiers in the service of France. That was in spite of the fact that Moore's character is called Shaun Fynn and Harris being of course, an Irishman!
My friend of the time had Regiment Claire in his collection so I chose Montcashel's. Justin McCarthy, Lord Montcashel can be read about elsewhere in the blog (you'll find him featured prominently in the series  In the shadow of history). Active early in the war in Ireland, Montcashel's Regiment were one of the battalions exchanged into the service of France in return for seven French battalions shipped to Ireland to brace the Jacobite Army. Their real story is that of the Irish Brigade in French service who fought with distinction and in one form or another were present in Napoleon's Army over 100 years later. The Wild Geese who flew away from home never to return to Ireland.
I first painted the regiment in 1992. They were one of the few units composed mainly of Foundry models which I had at that time. I rebased and gave them new colours sometime around 1996 during the collection's major overhaul. During that refresh I made their coats much more vivid red and brightened the green of their facings. This was around the time when I switched from 40mm square flags to 50mm square. The flags on this version of the regiment I was particularly pleased with as they illustrate well the 'free hand on cotton' method which I developed over many years of practice and regrettably have little time to pursue these days.
Their service record in my collection is impressive. They fought 64 actions achieving eight distinctions. Their average battle losses  were a heavy duty 31%. The fighting Irish captured the colours of Kirke's Lambs on one notable day and they lost their own colours  three times in their career.
Their finest hour came in a refight of the battle which never was from the War of the Spanish Succession: Overjise 1703. We fought this game in Burnley in 1994. The Irish Brigade saved the French right flank from an attack by 4,000 grenadiers which appeared through the woods after a risky enveloping manoeuvre.

Their darkest hour was an ignominious surrender at Kilbride (my home town in Scotland) during a  fictitious scenario set in 1689. They gave up without a fight to Lennox's Regiment of Horse, a volunteer unit.
Regrettably during a 2010 reorganization of my collection I broke up Montcashel's Regiment, cannibalising parts to fill gaps in other formations. I still have most of the models now recruited into a less distinguishable Jacobite infantry formation which has made several appearances in League of Augsburg weekend games.
I painted the regiment again for Julian Blakeney Edwards. This iteration used Old Glory models and was dressed in tricornes for the WSS period. I think Julian has since sold them on. They were completed around 2003-2004.
  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

“Par la bouche de mes canons” QUEBEC 1690 . Part 2

Barry Hilton - The territories in Canada grew in importance to France over the time between first being claimed by Cartier in 1534 and the early 1620s. During this period several efforts to colonize foundered but ever increasing demands for furs from Europe thrust the difficult outpost to prominence as a gateway to potential riches for whoever owned it. Repeated attempts at settlement gradually made inroads and by the early 17th century stone fortifications were in place and the fundamentals of military and economic permanency established around what was by then being called Quebec.  It was temporarily lost by Champlain to English privateers in 1629 but returned through treaty to the French in 1632. The French were easily the most active Europeans in North America during the 16th and 17th centuries exploring and ‘claiming’ vast swathes of   land the size of Europe with less than 500 native Frenchmen insitu. There is nothing like ambition! Other Europeans were not idle during this period but the Swedes, Dutch and English had restricted their efforts to the north eastern seaboard. A process of consolidation took place between the 1630s and the 1670s with the English by far being the most energetic and it seems, prolific of the three other powers. The Dutch eclipsed the Swedes and the English the Dutch. Having been in North America in one form or another since the 1530s the French had managed to amass about 14,000 settlers by 1688 whilst the English starting almost 100 years later had accrued  a truly mind boggling 250,000 by the same date!

New England Militia - poorly armed to deal with stealth raids

English awareness of French empire building coupled with a jealousy regarding the volume of trade riches the French were ripping out of the interior fuelled hostility in the main English colonies of Massachusetts and Virginia. Perfidious Albion (at it even then) persuaded the Iroquois to conduct brutal raids around the much smaller French settlement of Montreal and war was declared in 1689 in parallel with the events in Europe. The Iroquois’ savagery so appaulled the French that vengeance had to be exacted on the real villains; The English. All of this activity coincided with the arrival in Canada of  Le Comte Frontenac for his second term as Governor General. Frontenac was a big man in all senses of the word. He was noble and of ancient lineage, an accomplished soldier, haughty in temperament but brave and symbolic of the kind of remarkable men who would carve out empires in a wilderness. He immediately sought the counsel of his professional officer corps and efficiently organised revenge on France’s traditional enemy.

In early 1690 three expertly planned raids were successfully undertaken. Schenectady,(modern New York State) was hit  in January, Salmon Falls, (modern New Hampshire) in March and Sasco, (modern Maine) in May. Each attack was noteworthy for its thoroughness and brutality. The French military has assembled mixed forces of French professional soldiers, volunteer militiamen and Indian allies led by Canadian officers. The three separate raiding forces operated in the ‘Canadian style’ a mixed form of warfare incorporating Indian wood craft with European discipline. Characteristics of this style were stealth, surprise, ambush and savagery on contact in other words a sort of 17th century Shock and Awe.

This was all too much for the New Englanders. Something had to be done. Money was raised entirely by the colony of Massachusetts via a paper bond scheme funded in futures those being, the booty that would be liberated from the enemy when Quebec fell. The expedition would travel by sea and the objective would be the destruction or capture or surrender or all of these, of French Canada. The obvious leader of the venture was the famous or some might say notorious Sir William Phips, a native of Massachusetts who had initially made his name as a privateer in the Caribbean. He salvaged treasure from wrecked Spanish galleons amongst other things and had recently taken the surrender of the French colonies in Nova Scotia at that time known as Acadia. The deported inhabitants ended up in Louisiana as the ancestors of the Acadians or Cajuns without a shot being fired! His reputation was stellar although his military credentials were perhaps suspect but as we all know when the bandwagon starts to roll it’s a brave mad who’ll stand in the way. So, Phips got the job and the planning began in earnest.

For those of you like me interested in King William III’s European wars against Louis XIV, all of the above was going on around the time of the siege of Derry and the preparations for the Battle of the Boyne. Requests for regular troops from England were flatly turned down by William who cited the far more significant (well it was for him as he might get booted out of England and lose the throne) threat posed by James II’s Jacobite Army in Ireland. The colonists had to go it alone, a portent of thing to come. Consequently Phips land contingent was formed from 2,300 colonists organised into seven battalions named for their commanding majors; Quincy, Phillips, Hutchinson, Henchman, Appleton, Gedney and Saltonstall. All of these men were volunteers or drafted militia and in the main were from the Massachusetts colony. A few companies came from New York and the Plymouth Plantation which at that time was not part of Massachusetts. Six brass cannon manned by the Honourable Artillery of Boston accompanied the Foot. A small contingent of Indian scouts under Lt Thomas Swift was attached aping the French use of Native Americans. Overall command of the army was given to Lt General (Parkman cites Major) John Walley of Massachusetts. It is understood that the training and operating practices of the New Englanders was modeled on the Trained Bande principle and they would have therefore behaved in the same fashion as contemporary European infantry. This was in complete contrast to the tactics already demonstrated by the French during their raids of early 1690.
Phip’s fleet of thirty four ships left Boston on August 19th which is late to begin a campaign in this period and theatre. His flag was carried by a 44 gunner the Six Friends. Including sailors the entire expedition comprised somewhere around 3,500 men, the largest military foray in North American history until the middle of the 18th century. Without maps it took the New Englanders till October 16th to reach Quebec. Phip’s first act upon arrival was to deliver a missive to the garrison demanding surrender within the hour! This impudence from English pirates so enraged Frontenac that he is said to have uttered the immortal and rather splendid “I will answer him (Phips) through the mouth of my cannons!” (par la bouche de mes canons) 


This unexpected retort fazed the New Englanders who resorted to an ineffectual naval bombardment for a couple of days whilst they tried to work out what to do. Storming this natural fortress, reinforced with excellent military engineering was not part of the original plan hatched in Boston. Quebec contained a formidable garrison of 900 colonial regulars (Compagnies Franches de la Marine). These men, under Navy control were trained not only in the European style but are also thought to have been organised into field battalions for offensive tactics in the Canadian terrain. A small castle guard and Governor’s bodyguard combined, provided a further 50 regulars. To supplement this excellent core 1,100 Canadian militia were also present. These men did not operate in the style of their New England adversaries but when mustered spent their time on shooting practice and woodland warfare tactics in the style of the Native Americans they lived beside. With perhaps 100 Indian allies present the French force totalled some 2,000- 2,200 men.

Faced with extremely limited options Phip’s chose to put 1,200 men ashore on 18th October in an attempt to come upon the city from the landward side. The north eastern approach had been identified as the weakest. A point called La Canardiere on the Beauport shore, east of the St Charles River was where unopposed, John Walley landed his men. Walley had to get his little army across firstly the Beauport River and then the St Charles River before he could attack the enemy defences guarding the city approaches. Frontenac had lined the banks of the St Charles with earthworks and was poised to reinforce the position with three battalions of his regulars. In advance of this location he placed militiamen and Indian marksmen led by regular officers. These advanced picquets immediately began to harass the close order New England battalions forming up before entering the woods. This one sided cat and mouse affair continued for two days.

To cover his land manoeuvres Phip’s had moved the fleet inshore to provide a bombardment of Quebec. The garrison responded so effectively with counter battery fire that many ships were damaged, Phip’s flagship was allegedly dismasted and troops from the garrison paddled out in canoes and scooped his personal standard from the river as trophy. Nothing was going the New Englander’s way.

On the 20th Walley decided to force a crossing of the St Charles and storm the earthworks beyond. They formed up in the European style and advanced into the hungry muskets of the woodsmen and Indians. Despite bringing up half a dozen brass cannon they could not force their way into the woods and eventually retreated to their boats on the evening of the 21st abandoning most of their guns. It is thought up to 15% of Walley’s force was lost in the abortive attacks whilst French loses were no more than 60 killed or wounded. Phip’s fleet ignominiously sailed for home on the 23rd experiencing many more hardships and loses on the way. So ended the first Anglo Saxon attempt to seize French Canada.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Other Partizan 1st September 2013 An LoA perspective

September's Partizan saw a larger than normal gathering of the clans at our traditional watering hole of the Dovecote on the A46. Thirteen of us had a rather boozy supper with relentless teasing of various victims orchestrated chiefly by David Imrie I think!  Once he's got you in his sights he shows no mercy! We all went off to the show at 0815 reinforced by one of Harry's hearty breakfasts. We had a busy set up with Toggy, Ade and Dave doing the table and Gerry, Gwen and I doing the Warfare trade stand adjacent to it.

The LoA scenario was an Ireland 1691 affair on Ade's terrain with DOB, Gerry, Ade and Dave performing the honours at the table whilst I hoisted the Warfare banner with Gwen.The show appeared quieter from the get- go than May but as usual, the buzz was strong and of course we get to meet so many friends and acquaintances there.  The LoA Amigos were kept very busy during the day talking to old friends and new period enthusiasts. Although our game was not strictly speaking a historical refight it was a credible encounter battle with Williamites and Jacobites fighting over a river crossing. What struck me was how many of the Warfare Miniatures on the table were not painted by me. Bob and Dave particularly had between them about 500 models. Most of the flags were also from Quindia's super range.

Warfare trade was steady all day and although slightly down on May it was a good overall outcome for us. We'd taken delivery that very morning of the new Gardes Francaises pikemen and the Dragoons in fur caps. We did fairly brisk trade in both. The GF command masters drew loads of attention and after the show they went directly to the casters for mastering. They should be commercially available this month. Shows appear to be a good place for flag sales and we managed to sell out of a few codes.

At the shows we carry a limited stock of Ebor battalion packs. Ironically, the trader next door to us was the only other at the event carrying Ebor!

I can't comment too much on the show itself as I got away from the trade stand twice and both of those journeys were calls of nature! I had five minutes with Nick Eyre at his very attractive 1670 table and we discussed some collaborative ideas. It was great to see the 'Old Team' of Maclean - Maxwell - Cummings back together if only briefly. It just struck me when I saw them that these three patriotic Englishmen have very Scottish names! I had a quick word with Mark Allen (He has a lot to answer for as it was his articles that first got me hooked on the period), Dave Andrews and Aly Morrison and the star of our blog Dan 'no autographs please' Faulconbridge. His interview piece here is the most popular post on the blog so far.  As an aside, we'll have interviews with Henry Hyde(Editor of MW) and Nick Eyre (Proprietor of North Star) coming up over the coming weeks too.

My blogging about Partizan was delayed by a week as after the show I immediately had to drive to Heathrow and head out to Croatia for a week of work. Just back last night so here is the (late) news.
PS: Have you noticed in the pictures Gerry is always reading? But what?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Beneath the Lily Banners in 15mm

Ray Rousell - Back in 2010 my pal Richard suggested a joint painting project, he quite fancied the Nine Years War. Now here’s where I have to admit to knowing absolutely nothing about this great period sandwiched between the more well-known English Civil Wars and the Wars of the Spanish Succession. So a quick look online and in my pal Posties book “From Pike to Shot” and I was hooked. Richard fancied painting up the French, so my obvious choice was the English and Allies.

The problem now was what figures? What scale? and what rules?

We did consider using 6mm and 25mm but decided against both, (Of course if Warfare minis where out at the time we would have used them!!! ) So it fell back to my favourite scale, 15mm. There were several ranges out at the time including Donnington, Hallmark and Essex. We chose Essex in the end mainly for the price, which has crept up quite considerably recently. Today you can buy 2, 18 figure infantry units with pikes for just under £20, with a few spare figures left over.

One of my favourite units. Leslie’s Foot, still using William Clifton’s old flags! These are all from Essex Miniatures

So there is an alternative if either you can’t afford 25mm figures, can’t or don’t like to paint 25’s or like many gamers haven’t got the space for a decent sized tabletop to use 25’s on. As for the rules we chose BLB first edition but soon switched to the 2nd when they were released soon after we bought our figures.

We weren’t too sure how to scale down the movement charts for 15mm, you can just change the inches to cm as suggested, but after a few tests we thought the rules work perfectly as they are, using the 25mm scales for movement and ranges. It didn’t seem to notice at all that you were using the 25mm ranges for 15mm.

Essex Dutch Horse

Once again we toyed with ideas for scaling down the base sizes and in the end settled for 35mm x 30 for infantry, 40x40 for Horse and Dragoons and 30x 40 for all artillery, using 2 actual figures on the base for Battalion guns, 3 for heavies and 4 for Positional guns. All the figures were stuck to the 30x40 bases for ease.

I don’t see why you couldn’t do the same thing for 10mm or even 6mm. There are some great looking figures for these two scales as well nowadays, Pendraken and Baucus to name two make some great looking figures.

10mm models for the League of Augsburg period from Pendraken

Another great reason to go for the smaller scale figure is that if like me you’re a bit of a leadhead you can have bigger battles!! Much bigger battles!!! I’ve already got far too many units but will I ever stop? Probably not!

Editor - We would like to welcome Ray Rousell as one of our guest authors. Ray is the proprietor of a hugely successful blog called Don't throw a 1 and a partner in Battleaxe Painting Service. He has a huge collection of 15mm units for the League of Augsburg period and his blog is a great resource if you are looking for flags or uniform information, especially for the Battle of the Boyne for which he has amassed all of the units that fought around Oldbridge!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Blenheim Project - Ferguson's Brigade

Ray King - This brigade was the third line of Lord Cutt's troops, but were the 2nd brigade to assault the village of Blenheim.
Ferguson's Regiment of Foot "The Cameronians" 
Lt.Colonel Commanding Alex Livingstone (Wounded in Action).
Raised in 1689 and in 1751 renamed the 26th Foot Regiment.
Their 1704 campaign establishment was 40 officers & 692 men.
Painted by LoA forum member 'Me Paints Good".

The Earl of Derby's Regiment of Foot 
Lt.Colonel Commanding Hans Hamilton (Wounded in Action)
Raised in 1688 and in 1751 renamed the 16th Regiment of Foot.
Their 1704 campaign establishment was 31 officers & 687 men.
Painted by Bob Lorton. 

Hamilton's Regiment of Foot 
Lt.Colonel Commanding Robert Stern.
Raised in 1684 and in 1751 renamed the 18th Regiment of Foot "The Royal Irish"
Their 1704 campaign establishment was 36 officers & 591 men.
Painted by Bob Lorton. 

Orkney's Regiment of Foot (2nd Battalion) 
Major Commanding Andrew Hamilton.
Raised in 1633 and in 1751 renamed the 1st Royal Scots Regiment of Foot.
Their 1704 campaign establishment was 37 officers & 813 men.
Painted by Bob Lorton.

1st Regiment of Foot Guards (1st Battalion) 
Lt.Colonel Commanding Henry Withers.
Raised in 1661 and their 1704 campaign establishment was 36 officers & 770 men.
Painted by LoA forum member 'Me Paints Good'.

 You can find more about the Blenheim project on the Fighting Talk Forum. For a quick way to see all of Ray's collection, type 'Blenheim' in the search bar at the top of the page! 





Friday, September 13, 2013

FEATURED REGIMENT: Regiment Languedoc


Barry Hilton - I absolutely adored painting the Copplestone designed figures offered by Dixon. The first French regiment I ever completed were these garcons. I recall the logic of choosing Regiment Languedoc at the time. I was still experimenting with the period, painting and basing styles thus picked a unit which was not too well known so that if I made any mistakes they would not blow the quality of my star battalion and put me off building more! I wonder if anyone else applies that somewhat risk averse approach. Almost like saving the best bit of your dinner till then end.

Languedoc were painted in 1992 and originally had 16 models, four per base. They were finished exactly in the same style as Mackay's, Prinds Georg, Montcashel's, Sjaellandske, Skaraborg and Ramsay's all of which were in my first batch of completed units. I later rebased them in BLB style, brightened up their uniforms, gave them new (larger) colours and changed their scarlet neck cloths to white. At the same time I added in several more models.

Of course in many respects they are unsuitable for French Grand Alliance period infantry. I know that now, 20 years on. Wrong coat cut, apostles when they probably should have flintlock and bag, grenadiers with fur hats, no ribbons. They have however, served both King Louis XIV and myself very well.


They have fought recorded 56 actions during which they achieved eight distinctions. Their average battle losses are 17.3%. Their own colours have been lost four times. Their finest table top hour came when they were the first French unit into Neerwinden (1693). They raised their battalion drappeaux on the clock tower to signify victory to Le Roi Soliel. They chased the Cameronians through the town on that particular occasion! Having fought this battle so many times and finally getting a French win was very sweet. The game was a mega affair in 1996 with about 4,000 figures.Also in the same year they stood before a village and were wiped out in a fire fight without a deterioration in their morale status! They once captured a heavy gun battery.


Their darkest hour came with a humiliating surrender without a fight at Branxton Hill in a 1689 scenario based around the Glorious Revolution. I recall the entire French contingent of a Jacobite force was cut off at the foot of Branxton Hill (The site of the Battle of Flodden in 1513) and compelled to lay down their arms to the enemy.

They are my oldest native French unit, real veterans and now due for retirement as the Warfare Miniatures French models begin to appear in the collection.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

100 Followers Lottery

Clarence Harrison - We're not there yet, but in honor of reaching 100 followers my lovely wife will throw percentile dice to generate a number from 1-100. I will count through the followers list as it appears here on the site and the lucky winner gets a very rare (I don't think Barry even has one) first edition copy of Beneath the Lily Banners!

This is the first book Barry and I worked on together. Even if you have the second edition this is a great addition. if only for all of the photos. If you haven't signed up do it now... there's no prize until we reach 100!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

“Par la bouche de mes canons” QUEBEC 1690: Part 1

Barry Hilton - The inspiration for this piece was an article written by Rene Chartrand in 1999 but which I read for the first time in 2008 when some nice chap posted a link to it on the League of Augsburg forum. Occasionally we all happen on something that captures our imagination disproportionately and Mr Chartrand’s work did that for me. I was familiar with some of his output via the Osprey title The Army of Louis XIV (MAA 203) but was unaware that he had written on the subject of what has become known for posterity as King William’s War in the English speaking world. This is yet another name for the hostilities which took place on the North American continent during the Nine Years War 1688-1697. The relationship between these two conflicts finds a strong parallel in that of The Seven Years War and the so called French & Indian Wars. 

French defenders of Quebec

What I found so intriguing was that the New Englanders had actually mounted a seaborne invasion of the Canadas led by a colourful adventurer named Sir William Phips. The objective was the taking of the City of Quebec from the French. All of this was done without the help of London, the King, the Army or the English Treasury. Being contemporary with a period of European history in which I have a deep and long lasting interest I was excited by a new angle that being, the operation of conventional or semi conventional pike and musket armed troops in the thick forests of Canada. Not only did this galvanise me into doing some further and very rewarding research of my own it also provided me with an opportunity to create some interesting and extremely off beat scenarios for Beneath the Lily Banners.

This piece begins with a brief summary of the historical events on which the scenario is built. My sources for this are Mr Chartrand’s article and the book Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV by Francis Parkman written some 100 years ago. I don’t know if RC used this book as a primary source for his own writing or whether his information was gathered independently by I must acknowledge both sources as very helpful and in the main relatively un-contradictory. I have not quoted either text directly but rather paraphrased and added some of my own opinion in this first section.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The League of Augsburg is 20 Years Old


Barry Hilton - I realized by accident the other day it is 20 years since I started using the name League of Augsburg. The LoA is currently in a very vibrant phase of existence. We have a super squad supporting our efforts in the UK and our US Chapter is alive and kicking through Clarence and Bob Miller’s Le Roi Soliel. For something that started as a one off flag of convenience name to prevent anonymity at a small show, the old duster has worn quite well.

The chap who offered the name participated in a solitary show game and contributed not a single model yet his casual suggestion outlasted him by 19 years. I have seen him occasionally at events in Scotland and he is still perhaps blissfully unaware that it was his idea. Mr Anon was an infrequent member of an extended gaming circle during 1992-93 but quickly fell by the wayside mainly as he seemed to have little interest in doing anything more than talking about games. Ironically, the name is not what I personally would have chosen. It seemed a bit pretentious at the time and has only sat comfortably with me through familiarity of use. I however had no alternative to hand and for the sake of a scribbled piece of paper to mark our table space at a small show, it seemed churlish to object.
So, with a shrug and a ‘whatever’ the name by which my wargaming efforts have been identified for 20 years was born without any input from me! It was actually adopted by hosting clubs to badge our gaming efforts before we officially used it as a moniker. Our utilization of the title was conditioned by others’ use. When requesting tables at shows I would simply say ‘put us down as League of Augsburg like last year’.
The League of Augsburg is neither a club nor a society. It has no rules, no membership list, no fees and no meeting place. It is about as intangible and anarchic as is possible for something which has physical presence and requires organization. Originally I worked with one other like-minded individual on projects relating to the 1685-1697 period and the name was completely fit for purpose.
David Imrie joined us after a couple of years and we branched into the Crimean War, Dark Ages and Thirty Years War.  A couple of guys tagged along for the ride occasionally but we quickly saw they were about what they could squeeze out for themselves by way of trade discounts and reputation. They got bulleted pretty sharpish. This was a highly productive phase with broad consensus on what we were doing and why. For reasons best known to himself, my original partner pulled out with no notice around the turn of the century and I was in my first solo phase by about 2002.

I began a long and intense engagement with World War2 in various scales. I exhibited many games during this period often with David. There was a bit of a revival of the three way collaboration in the early 2000s with some further WW2 and Renaissance but that died out quite quickly when the third leg of the tripod once again unreliably dropped off with no warning. For about four years between 2006 -2010, League of Augsburg was a totally solo project. It was during that time that I put on a wide variety of games with occasional input from some friends. I have displayed WW2, Napoleonic and Grand Alliance period projects during that second solo phase. For me, this was the most satisfying and productive period up until that point as no compromise was necessary and I could pretty much do what I wanted. During this time I upped the level of engagement with magazines particularly Wargames Illustrated.

Collaboration with people like Clarence Harrison, Adrian Howe and a growing friendship with Dave O’Brien through our mutual participation in the League of Gentlemen Wargamers has led to the modern incarnation of the League of Augsburg. Over the last three years or so the LoA has become much closer to an entity than it has ever been in the past. The threads connecting it all together are The Fighting Talk Forum, participation at shows, Warfare Miniatures, Quindia Studios, Wordtwister Publishing, The League of Gentlemen Wargamers and finally the LoA Weekend Game extravaganzas and One- Dayers run by Bob, Ade and I.
The modern LoA has a very collegiate feel with a multi-talented bunch of close and more loosely associated friends. Clarence, Bob Talbot, Dave O’Brien and Adrian Howe form the hard core of what we produce these days with Gerry Donohoe more recently being very prominent. David Imrie has many of his own projects running but is still to my mind an Augsburger! Clibanarium is sculptor in residence and we have a wide circle of friends and gaming buddies who regularly attend events run under the banner.
I had not intended to write this piece but the more I thought of the journey and reflected on how many times over the years people have actually asked the question ‘what exactly is the League of Augsburg’ or ‘can I join the League of Augsburg’ it seemed relevant. No one can join because there is nothing to join. On the other hand, everyone can join because LoA is all about promoting wargaming in a particular way. It is engaged with the public, visual and requires a ‘muck in’ sort of attitude.
This blog, which is open to anyone with an interest to contribute to is a perfect illustration of the LoA; Put something in and you’ll get something out!

So starts the next 20 years………… 

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