The Sausagemen of the Inglorious '45

So, just in case you haven't quite figured it out quite yet, I abso-bloomin'-lutely love rules by the Too Fat Lardies.  Sharp Practice has been a firm favourite for many years. But as the good friends I game with don't normally game historics, it falls to myself to introduce them to the fun of TFL games. So, over the last few years as limited income allowed, I've been gradually building up forces for A LOT of different periods. Needless to say, most haven't been completed yet. Really wish they had been, but alas, no.

Well, all that's about to change. As you can read in one of my recent posts, I had the privilege of being a part of Virtual Lard 3 on 3rd October. During that weekend, I found myself blethering with Doug about ITLSU and TotW (that's If the Lord Spares Us and Triumph of the Will if those consonant clusters didn't mean anything to you.) And we discovered a kindred experience: collecting two armies so you can introduce others to the joys of Lard. Incidentally, I also picked him up wrong when he talked about his armies and Oz. I thought we were on the other side of the world to each other. You can imagine my surprise and delight when I learned he was just down the road an hour or so from myself!

Then something exciting happened. Instead of working on two opposed armies, we decided to work on a project together. And as we went through the list of possibilities, we settled on the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, which, as you may or may not know, culminated in the battle of Drummossie Moor, or Culloden as it is more commonly known, on 16th April 1746. 

Doug decided to drive himself mad with the plaid by taking on Bonnie Prince Charlie, and I decided to drive myself slightly less mad with the plaid by concentrating on Cumberland's Men. 

And because I've got some models on order, and I'm eagerly awaiting their arrival, I can't show you much progress so far. But I can concentrate on some myth busting about the '45, which had some seriously inglorious consequences, matched only by the amount of inglorious and erroneous nationalistic Prebble-induced twaddle. 

Let me explain...

It's a battle between the Stuarts and Hanoverians...?
Nope. Not even close. It wasn't some doomed attempt to retake the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland they had lost because James VII and II did a runner when Orange Bill came a calling. Their main motivation was the opposition to the Union of 1707 (celebrated by the erection of a mile long street in my home town of Aberdeen). This union of parliaments just over a century after the Union of Crowns led to the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain on 1st May 1707. 

In 1715, some 22,000 fought for the Jacobites, but by the time of the 1745 rebellion about 11-12,000 Scots were still prepared to take up arms. The big upward shift in Jacobite support in 1715 came as a result of widespread opposition to the Union of 1707. Jacobite recruitment stressed this.

So, it's the defeat of Scottish Nationalism then...?
Not in the modern sense of nationalism, it wasn't. Whilst the Stuarts wanted to be restored to the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland, and be based in London, but the Britain they and their supporters conceived was very different from the one that developed in the 18th century. Instead, there would have been a more confederal multi-kingdom monarchy, with capitals and parliaments in Edinburgh and Dublin (Dublin still had a parliament at this time, of course).

A Stuart Scotland would probably have been ‘independent’ and have had its own army, but would likely not have had much room to pursue a separate foreign policy from London. In this sense, it would have been in a position close to that enjoyed by the British Empire’s dominions, such as Canada and Australia, in the 19th century.

In the 18th century Scots in general were typically depicted wearing the kilt in political cartoons and satires. So initially Culloden was seen as a victory over all “rebellious Scots” as the National Anthem puts it, in a verse now no longer sung...

But it was a battle between Catholics and Protestants, right..?
Statistically, the most likely recruit for the Jacobite army came from the north east of Scotland and an adherent of the Scottish Episcopal Church.  Episcopalians supported the Stuarts because they believed that if they were restored, Presbyterianism would be disestablished in Scotland. Most of the Highlanders who fought for the Stuarts were Episcopalian too.  Although there were a number of Catholics, these were a minority of the army, and that minority becomes more stark when the Scottish and Irish troops in the French service are excluded.

Okay then, but this was definitely a battle between a modern army and a more archaic Highland force, right..?
Well, only if you want to ignore the facts, because if you call the Jacobites a ‘Highland army’ you're playing into Prebble and modern day politics and not the actual composition of the Jacobite army.  

Simple fact is, the Jacobite army at Culloden was organised along regimental lines. These regiments were named after their commanders as was still the case in the British army at the time. The Jacobite army was drilled with a mixture of French and British tactics and they had a large amount of artillery compared with Montrose a century before. Transport difficulties, not archaic army structure was to blame for much of its absence at Culloden.  

The battle of Culloden had to be fought because the Jacobite army needed to protect Inverness, its last major supply depot. As it was, supplies were low. Charles’s army was too large and too conventionally organised to fight a guerilla war, and would have broken up if this had been attempted. And with many units from the Scottish Lowlands, we simply can't call Charles Edward Stuart's army a Clan army. And let's not forget the French, Irish and English soldiers involved in the Jacobite cause, including a soap boiler from Herefordshire.

Some of the most effective units at Culloden were not Highland ones.  The Forfarshire Regiment held its shape and retired in good order; most of the men made it home safely to Angus.  And some of the bravest actions of the battle were carried out by Lord Lewis Gordon’s brigade from Aberdeen and Banff, Lord John Drummond’s Royal Scots in the French service and Viscount Strathallan’s Perthshire Horse.

Oh, and Charles' army received their orders in English. Not The Gaelic.

Let's talk about weapons for a moment. Because for so long, the conflict has been presented as the inevitable victory of modern Britain over backward Scotland. However, the Jacobite army at Culloden was heavily armed with French and Spanish muskets, as well as captured British ‘Brown Bess’ Land Pattern muskets.  The diameter of the musket ball is slightly smaller in the French and Spanish guns, so it is easy to tell these apart (Brown Bess was 19mm with a 17.5mm ball and French/Spanish patterns were 17.5mm with a 16.5mm ball).  

It appears that the Jacobites fired many rounds at close quarters with the British front line with one British officer having six musket balls through his coat alone. They hoped to dislodge the British from flanking positions, and likewise to slow down the British cavalry advance in the final stages of the battle. Because British cavalry and dragoons typically used swords rather than guns as they attacked, the battle can be more accurately described as a victory for British swords over Jacobite muskets than the other way round.

So, in the coming weeks and months I look forward to sharing my progress with my Cumberland army (The Sausagemen of the title) for Sharp Practice and the Inglorious rebellion of 1745! And please pop over to Doug's Blog to see his progress as well!

As always, thanks for stopping by!


  1. Now pretty much all of that i didn't know even though o have visited the postage stamp battlefield of Culloden. Very interesting, Stu, i look forward to seeing how this develops. Will you be taking your "project" to Deep Fried Lard in 2021?

    1. Jim Bob, thank you most kindly. You know what, it never even crossed my mind to consider taking the game to Deep Fried Lard. Dunno if I'd consider myself of such calibre to run a game. But if Doug is agreeable to this, and Derek has no objections, I'm sure we could make that happen!

  2. I will watch your progress with interest as I am early into my own journey with Sharp Practice and the 45.

    1. Thank you Roger. I shall do the same with yours!

  3. Family tradition relates 'we' came second at Culloden. But in many ways the final battle was not representative of the Jacobite war effort. I have a range of books, of which Prebble is good on the documentary evidence for the aftermath. Reid great on the actual military campaign, and some of the fatal disagreements of the Jacobite command. 'Like Hungry Wolves' is an excellent primer.

    It's hard for us now to comprehend, but to the average Englishman, Sassenach or Lowlander - the clansmen were savages, who couldn't speak the King's English, lived a life of uncivilised depravity and were both an object of fear and scorn. Cartoons and newspapers of the day depicted slaughter, misery and cruelty inflicted by the Scottish hordes, much as newspapers of later years the vile Boche bayoneting Belgian babies and Iraqi Republican Guards tipping Kuwaiti babies out of ventilators.

    Having conditioned their troops to consider the clans as less than human, the atrocities post Culloden are hardly surprising.

    But wargaming the '45, Culloden is atypical, with plenty of small skirmishes and other battles to be gamed.

  4. Oh - and yes.. I would be up for Deep Fried Lard... I even have a Z plan Scottish Castle in preparation to add to the terrain ;)

    1. Well, if Derek is in agreement, I'd be honoured to run a game at DFL with you! And yes, your Z Plan Scottish Castle looks amazing! My order of models was being processed today at Flags of War, so hopefully I'll be able to start painting soon. We have a lot of fun work ahead of us Doug, and I'm delighted to be on the journey with you.


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