Jacobite Siege Artillery

The Jacobites conducted several sieges, but were hampered by the lack of suitable artillery.  This was partially solved by the landing of some heavier French guns in November 1745.  These comprised 2 x 8 pounders, 2 x 12 pounders and 2 x 16 pounders.  I decided to model these on my standard 18th Century ratio of one model per two real guns, so just one of each calibre.  I use different manufacturers models to portray guns of different calibres and mix up carriages and tubes (gun barrels) to suit as shown below:

Siege - 1

The gun on the left represents a French (Swedish) 4 pounder, modelled on an Airfix Napoleonic French carriage with a Hät Napoleonic Prussian Artillery barrel, as described in my previous post War of Austrian Succession French Artillery.

The other three guns are my new French supplied siege artillery.  The next gun from the left represents a French 8 Pounder and is modelled on a Hät Napoleonic Russian Artillery carriage with an Esci (or Italeri re-issue) Napoleonic British 9 Pounder barrel.  The next gun represents a French 12 pounder and is modelled on a Hät Napoleonic Prussian Artillery carriage with an Esci (or Italeri re-issue) Napoleonic French 8 Pounder barrel.  These barrels are actually larger and longer than the Esci British 9 Pounder barrels, which is why I use them as 12 pounders.  The last gun, on the right, represents a French 16 Pounder and is based on a Strelets Russian Artillery of Peter I model, using the barrel as supplied.

The last gun originally had rather small wheels so has been modified to replace these with wheels from an Esci (or Italeri re-issue) Napoleonic British gun.  I have no real use for these gun carriages, other than as spare gun barrels and wheels, since they are too large and I use Airfix Napoleonic British RHA (which are a better size) for all of my British Napoleonic block trail artillery carriages.   I do however use the Esci (or Italeri re-issue) Napoleonic French Carriages as British 18 pounders, as described in a previous post on Siege Artillery.   I have also slightly widened the wheelbase of the gun, by welding a piece of plastic onto either side of the axle where it met the carriage, thus pushing the wheels further out.  Here you can see a gun before and after conversion.

Siege - 2

I decided to model these three Jacobite Siege Artillery pieces in their standard French Artillery role, so that they could also be used in a future War of Austrian Succession set-up.  All of these calibres, 8, 12 and 16 Pounders were used by the French in the Battle of Fontenoy.

Because of the massive over-representation of 18th Century artillery (1:2 when my infantry and cavalry are 1:30), I keep the number of horses in the artillery trains to the minimum.  I have previously only used one horse to pull my 4 pounders but am now using two for my 8 pounders, three for my 12 pounders and four for my 16 pounders as shown below.

Siege - 3

The 8 and 12 pounder horses are in single draught and the 16 pounder is in double draught.  They are all converted from Hät Napoleonic French Limber models.  I have shortened the distance between the horses, to 40mm per horse, and also tightened up the distance to the limber, so that the overall length of the limbered bases is 140mm for 8 and 16 pounders (the latter being in double draught) and 180mm for 12 pounders.  The 16 pounder uses a standard Hät limber, but the limbers for the 8 & 12 pounders have been modified to give them double pole shafts.  The single draught limber bases are my standard width of 40mm, but I have had to make my double draught bases 50mm wide to allow for the walking driver. Here they are completed:

Siege - 4

My French artillery crews are normally converted from Strelets Russian Artillery of Peter I, but I had assigned all of the figures in those sets already by the time I planned this heavy and siege artillery.  These siege artillery figures are therefore converted from Strelets Swedish Infantry of Charles XII, which I have planned to use for all of my French infantry in the War of Austrian Succession, but had a few left over.  I have one man with a linstock and one with a ramrod per gun.  You can see these, converted but not yet painted, below.

Siege - 5

Here are the completed models.  I have assumed that the 8 pounder, on the left, would be used in a normal field artillery role.   The heavy and siege artillery was used in redoubts at Fontonoy, so I made some defensive positions, a bit simpler than my full Siege Works, and these are shown here.  They are from the Italeri Battlefield Accessory set, but with the bases extended to fit a 40mm x 50mm piece of card representing a wooden platform for each gun.

Siege - 6

As mentioned above, the French landed these heavy and siege guns at Montrose in November 1745.  The Jacobites transported them to Stirling using teams of bullocks from the Duke of Perth’s estate, so I decided to model some of these.  For bullocks I have used the little plastic bulls which used to come with bottles of Torre de Sangre (Bulls Blood) Spanish red wine.  I have over 70 of these, such sacrifices for my model soldiers, particularly since my wife does not drink red wine.  They are normally black, but these particular ones were gold to celebrate their 50th year of production.

Siege - 7

The bulls did not have bases, so I made some from spare sections of Airfix Napoleonic British RHA bases and welded the bulls onto these.  I used a pair of bullocks to draw the 8 and 12 pounders and four bullocks to draw the 16 pounder.

Siege - 8

The bullock limbers were scratch built from an Airfix French Napoleonic Artillery limber, wheels from the French guns from that same set and bits of sprue (Italeri) to make the shafts and yokes.  I made holes in the yokes with a map pin so that I could thread thin wire through to make a rope to hold the yoke in place.


The limber for the 16 pounder was made in the same way, but with two shafts and yokes.

Siege - 9

Here is the complete heavy and siege artillery train on the move, preceded by a company of the Duke of Perth’s Regiment.  They are accompanied by one French gunner and five Jacobite gunners.

Siege - 10

Here is a closer shot of the 16 pounder and its bullocks.

Siege - 11

Siege - 14


The lighter 8 pounders crossed the Forth at the Fords of Frew, just below Stirling Castle, and were used with great effect, forcing the surrender of the town of Stirling but not the Castle itself.  Here they are in that role.  The gun position of two gabions and a pair of sandbag walls is from the Esci Battlefield Accessories set, on a cork tile base.


The 16 pounders had a lot of problems on their march to Stirling.  One was so heavy that it sank the raft it was on when crossing the river Tay at Perth, and took a couple of days to be recovered.  Both the 12 and 16 pounders were too heavy to use the Fords of Frew, so had to be ferried across the Firth of Forth from the northern bank at Alloa to the southern bank.  Two Royal Navy brig-sloops tried to prevent this.  The Jacobites mounted a 6 pounder battery on the Northern bank at Alloa and 4 pounder battery on the Southern Bank at Elphinstone.  These fought a duel with the Royal Navy over 8th to 12th January 1746, ultimately driving them off.  There was also a British landing party of Royal Navy and 28th Foot (Blakeney’s Inniskillings) opposed by Camerons and Cromarties Jacobites.  This scenario would make an interesting wargame, and I have plans to create it, later this year.

Siege - 12


Once the 12 and 16 pounders arrived at Stirling they were placed under the direction of the Jacobite Chief Engineer, Mirabelle de Gordon.  I have modelled him based on a converted Strelets Swedish Infantry of Charles XII figure.




Siege - 13


Here is the completed figure in his French Engineer uniform.  Like all my Engineers he has a map or plan in his left hand, whilst pointing with his right.  Unfortunately  (and as a former Royal Engineer Officer it pains me to say so), he sited the siege guns incompetently on hard rock where they could not be dug in.




Siege - 15


Here are the 12 and 16 pounders in position.  However Mirabelle de Gordon told his gunners to open fire when only half of the guns were in place.  The British garrison returned the fire and destroyed the Jacobite battery.  Only the two 8 pounders survived and the siege of Stirling Castle was lifted.




The 8 Pounders were later used effectively, under the direction of Colonel James Grante, at the successful siege of Fort Augustus (Fort George in Inverness had already surrendered to the Jacobites without the need for a siege).  They then moved on to Fort William to besiege that, with Grante planning to systematically sap forward in a conventional siege works way.  Unfortunately Colonel Grante was injured, so Mirabelle de Gordon took over again, changed the plan and it failed.   The Jacobites called off the siege and abandoned their last heavy guns.

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