Saturday, February 5, 2011

San Maurician perfidy in the Scottish highlands

Ardoberg Enquirer Special Report on the recent disturbance in Caledonia

Mope sent a message from Dunbar

sayin' 'Dougie, meet me if you dare

I'll learn you the Art of War

if you meet me in the mornin'

Using money and supplies sent by the King of San Maurice, 'Red Dougie' MacArdo, Chief of Clan Haggis and unrepentant Jacobite once again raised the Standard of the King Across the Water. It was the intention of the San Maurician Monarch to make trouble for the British close to home to prevent them from intervening in his upcoming war with Ardoberg-Holstein. Of course, MacArdo goes off at the drop of a blue bonnet anyway, so King Louis Phillipe might have saved his money.

The Jacobite army descended on the lowlands and started rounding up other people's sheep and cows until the government troops garrisoned in the area to prevent such behavior marched forth to confront them. On the coastal plain near Herringtown the two armies met. The Government troops consisted of the Regiments of Guise (6th), Lee (44th), Murray (46th), Lascelle (47th) and a battery of 3 pounder guns under Sir John Mope. These regiments were among those left behind when the best British troops were sent to the wars on the Continent. The Jacobite army included the clan regiments of Appin, Corrie, Lochiel and Haggis. Mope deployed the regiments of Murray and Guise on his left flank north of Kipper Hill and those of Lee and Lascelle and the artillery south of that hill. MacArdo, never one to give a sucker an even break, sent Clans Appin, Corrie and Lochiel against the isolated Government left while holding back Clan Haggis in front of the Government right flank.

Murray's redcoats started marching to their right while Guise's regiment formed line to meet the fast moving highlanders that descended on their position. The highlanders raised a cheer and charged. Guise's raw troops dropped their muskets and ran. Some got away, while others were cut down by the fleet footed highlanders. Murray formed his regiment in line anchored on the western end of Kipper Hill and fired a damaging first volley into the flank of the pursuing Jacobites. The Appin and Corrie clans turned on Murray, causing his men to break and run. Meanwhile Lochiel's men moved back around the East end of Kipper Hill to support Clan Haggis against the advancing Government troops on that side.

Mope was getting nervous. He had two fresh regiments and the artillery still in hand. He sent Lascelle's Regiment to hold the area between the East end of Kipper Hill and Scrub Hill while he directed Lee's Regiment and the artillery against the rampant (but bloodied and tiring) Appin and Corrie clans. Murray's shattered Regiment rallied briefly and fired a weak volley into Appin before being overrun and dispersed. The artillery took a toll on the Corrie clansmen and were, in turn, overrun.

The Government line was now bent into an L shape. As Lochiel and Haggis advanced on Lascelle's line the redcoats poured a withering first volley into into them. They shouted their Highland warcry and charged with the claymore. This time the British stood and received the charge. They fought gallantly, but they were no match for the highlanders at close quarters and, finally, the survivors broke and ran. On the other side of the L Lee's Regiment had fired a heavy first volley into the Corrie clan at close range and broke them.

Lee's troops, while unscathed, were the only formation still intact on the British side. Three of the four clan regiments were still in the fight, although all of them were battered. Lochiel and Haggis advanced on Lee from the East and Appin came on from the West. Lee formed his men to face Appin and broke the brave but exhausted highlanders with musketry. As Lochiel and Haggis closed in Lee coolly faced his line about and fired. Lochiel's regiment could take no more and broke. The Haggis clan, sadly reduced, came on through the smoke and crashed into the Government line. The redcoats stood and traded bayonet thrusts with the swinging claymores of their foes. The highlanders fought like heroes but they were now too few and at last they broke. General Mope held the field, but his army and reputation were both in tatters. During the long march home the highlanders were already composing funny songs at his expense. Colonel Lee's future was assured by his skilful handling of his Regiment, and he is no longer invited to dine at Mope's table.

This battle was fought using Charles Grant rules, modified (because Grant would want us to) for the Jacobite Rebellions. The modified rules are named "It's a Kilt! If it was a dress I'd be wearing underpants!", or IKIIWDIBWU for short. The battle was staged mainly to give Mike of San Maurice, who took the part of Red Dougie, a chance to use his repetoire of funny Northwest European accents, puns and kilt jokes.