Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Monday, 19 July 2021

Simple '45 Revisited - Falkirk

Whilst I am in a Jacobite Rebellion type of mood, I decided to re-fight Falkirk again, using the Simple Rules for the '45 by Stephen Simpson, published in Wargames Illustrated 134.  The details of my first refight are here.  This is all in aid of seeing if my reactions to the rules are the same the second time around!

 Just for clarity, I will re-produce the order of battle information below:

Order of Battle:
The Jacobite Army: 6 units of Highlanders, 4 units of Infantry (Lowlanders/Foreigners)
The Government Army: 8 units of Infantry (5 of which are poor), 2 units of Dragoons (both of which are poor)

The battlefield contained a ravine and an area of boggy ground which was impassable in any kind of formation.  As befitting the simplicity of the rules, they are both simply forbidden to both sides.

The Set-Up:

Jacobites to the Left, Government troops to the Right

The Jacobite Army.  I used the more active looking warriors to represent the Highlander units the more static poses represent Lowlanders.

Another view.

And from behind the front line of Government troops.

And the government forces.  The government Dragoons are on the Left of the line (right), with a couple of regiments still marching up (top-centre, led by mounted officers)

The Battle:

It is a big battle of the Jacobite Rebellions - what are the Highlanders going to do except charge?!?

Only joking -  in this battle it is the Government Dragoons that try and get stuck in first.

A combination of good Highlander shooting and brittle cavalry morale turns the latter's bold charge into a headlong rout!

General Hawley hurriedly tries to get his reserves into position to stop the Government line being outflanked and rolled up.

He doesn't 'quite' manage it: the Government Left is now thrown back en potence. Not ideal, but not disastrous either.  His columns have both been deployed now as a reserve for the second line right).

The main lines clash!  The Government troops try a volley and bayonet response - their shooting is reasonably effective and a large number of the clansmen go down.  Broadly the Government Right and Centre charged home, and the Government left did not...

The Government battalion on the 'pivot' of the line routs under heavy fire from the Highlander (bottom-left); one of the Government battalions on the centre-right shares the same fate (centre)

A slightly wider view.

The Government Army's line is looking distinctly ragged, but it is just about holding on...

The  second line of Government Foot comes into action, routing some of the Highlanders with fast and accurate musketry.

However, the isolated Government Foot battalion in the centre gives way under the renewed onslaught of the Highlanders.

The Government Left is looking weak and the Highlanders charge home once more...

However, the Jacobite Left is also disintegrating under converging heavy musket fire

While the heroic, isolated Government Foot battalion on the Left has proved to be unafraid to mix it at close quarters with the Highlanders - another Highland regiment routs (centre-left)

The Jacobites second line comes into action to renew the attack on the Right (bottom right) whilst stabilizing the situation on their Left (top)

Against this renewed onslaught, the Government Foot on the Left can take no more and run! (centre)

The Jacobite Lowlanders move up to musketry range on the Left to win by musket fire what claymores have been unable to

The Highlanders try to advance, but receive more heavy fire (centre-right); the Jacobites begin their wheel around the flank (bottom)

It can surely only be a matter of time now before the superior Jacobite forces still on the field are made to tell...

The musketry exchange continues, with the Government soldiers beginning to fall in ever larger numbers

With no real hope of victory, the remaining Government Foot withdraws in good order (top-right)

Game Notes: A good game this, as the situation is much more balanced than at Prestonpans and Culloden.  The uselessness of the Government Dragoons in several of these battles again comes to the fore!  The scenario rules demand that the Dragoons charge as soon as they are able but even if they weren't made to, then given the historical deployment no other course of action makes much sense.  The rules continue to play very fast (you can memorize them after a game or two) although they are a bit underwritten when it gets to the stage of manoeuvring, as I may have mentioned previously.  They produce quite similar outcomes to the Callan 'Savage Way of Fighting' rules, although they are much quicker and easier to learn.  Like many simple rules it is all about outcome rather than process, so you don't really get to know why in particular a Government Foot regiment got swept away, you just know that it did.  I think that you could use these rules to re-fight the entire '45 campaign in a day, without too much trouble.  So contrasting the two is very much a contrast in 1990s design thinking with 1980s design thinking.

Just in case anyone knows, is the author (Stephen Simpson) still involved in wargaming?  He seemed to be quite a prolific writer in the late 1990s.

Figures by Baccus 6mm.


  1. Good stuff! The dragoons seemed even worse than I imagined.

    1. I need to do Sherrifmuir, or Preston maybe, to show off these Dragoons in a better light (I may wait until I have the genuine C18 article to hand...)

  2. Another interesting Jacobite fight and the Government Dragoons really are pretty poor!

    1. They have been fairly poor in this recent run of battles, for sure...