Yorkshire Blues

I was just re-reading Christopher Duffy’s excellent “Fight for a Throne – The Jacobite ’45 Reconsidered”, and realised that there was one small unit of the British Army at the Battle of Falkirk which I had not modelled.  This was a company of the Yorkshire Blues, which I have now created.

Stuart Reid, in his Osprey “Cumberland’s Culloden Army” states that the Yorkshire Blues were formed at York in September 1745 at a strength of four companies, each of 70 rank and file.  One of the officers, Captain William Thornton formed an Independent Company but I am not sure whether this counted as one of the four, or was a fifth one.  Either way, I am sure that it would have had the same authorised strength as the other companies. Thornton’s Company was the only one to join Hawley’s Army during the Falkirk Campaign and acted as an escort to the artillery.

To model this at my 1:30 figure ratio, I decided to do so as two figures.  Units were never overstrength, and most were considerably understrength.  I decided to use RedBox British Infantry for the figures.  I had four unallocated figures, but they were not in suitable poses, since most were firing.

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I solved this by converting two firing figures to holding their muskets at a high port, which to me looks much better as an artillery guard.  Here are figures before and after conversion, achieved by cutting the musket free, repositioning the right arm and welding the musket back into its new position.

 

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Stuart Reid’s Osprey states that the original Yorkshire Blues companies wore blue coats with red facings, however he goes on to say that Captain Thornton arranged for his company to have blue coats, with buff facings and buff waistcoats.  I therefore painted them as that, and also with buff breeches.  Here they are.

 

 

Finally here is the complete artillery train at the Battle of Falkirk, led by the Yorkshire Blues, with the Artillery Commander, Captain Cunningham, directly behind them.  He is an IMEX AWI British Artillery Officer.

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Some accounts state that the artillery was a mixture of pieces of various calibres, but Christopher Duffy’s latest research, as described in his “Fight for a Throne – The Jacobite ’45 Reconsidered”, states that the Falkirk artillery train comprised 10 x 3 pounders and 3 or 4 x Coehorn Mortars.

I use a 1:2 ratio for my 18th Century guns, since they were often deployed in pairs.  To overcome this massive over-representation I have used the absolute minimum number of train horses, which for these small calibres is one horse per gun.  The train horses are all Airfix French Napoleonic Artillery and their walking drivers are converted Airfix AWI British or American figures.  I have shown 5 model guns and 2 model Coehorn Mortars.   The 3 pounder guns are IMEX AWI American Artillery and the Coehorn mortars are scratch built with beds from Wills (now Peco) model railway parcels and barrels from cut down Hät Napoleonic Prussian howitzers.  The Mortar Carts are scratch built, and I will produce a separate blog on how I modelled these.

The artillery has the same number of crewmen as real pieces, so I have a 2 man crew following each piece.  Most of the artillery crews at Falkirk were Royal Navy, so I have shown a total of one RA Gunner and 9 x RN Gunners for the 3 pounders followed by a total of one RA Gunner and 3 x RN Gunners for the Coehorn Mortars.

Finally the rear of the column is completed by two ammunition carts, one with boxes of cannon balls or mortar shells and one with barrels of gunpowder.  These carts are identical to those for the mortars and are interchangeable with them.

At the Battle of Falkirk the artillery train was bogged down in the mud at the foot of the hill and never came into action.  Most of the train drivers, and all of the RN and RA gunners, including Captain Cunningham, fled as the Jacobites charged.  One of the young train drivers managed to save three guns, but the rest were captured by the Jacobites and the 3 pounders were used by them at Culloden.  Cunningham was court martialled and cashiered (dismissed in disgrace).

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