Sunday, July 17, 2011

This weeks game.....VBCW Stirling Bridge

This weeks game at the SESWC was a VBCW game - a refight of Stirling Bridge 1297 shifted to 1938. It was a follow up to a previous game we played which was a VBCW refight of Sheriffmuir 1715.

The game is part of a project by Colin Jack to refight historic Scottish battles in the VBCW era. The concept here and at Sheriffmuir is that these battles are part of a very late Jacobite rebellion led by the then 1930’s Jacobite pretender Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria.

The game was fought down a 8ft by 6ft table using the Triumph and Tragedy rules. The Jacobite army was advancing into the loop of land formed by the River Forth leading to the road and rail bridges across the river at Stirling. This is the reverse of the direction of the English attack in 1297.

Ray Neal, Hugh Wilson and Colin Jack commanded the Jacobite army. Dale Smith from Kirriemuir Wargames Club and I commanded the Government forces. I designed the scenario whilst Colin and Dale provided the troops.
View towards Stirling

GOVERNMENT BRIEFING - Brigadier Rex Arthur
Following the draw at Sheriffmuir you have withdrawn south to take up defensive positions south of the Forth at your main depot at Stirling. You have been joined by a TA engineer unit. Your plan is to use your local knowledge of the terrain and newly operational artillery from the RA barracks to destroy the enemy. The rebel force comprises Highland and Bavarian militia with some BUF cavalry. In total their force is you know larger than yours but mostly untrained. Regrettably Colonel Bartram of the Scottish Horse based at Dunkeld has thrown in his unit's lot with the rebels.

Regular Infantry (10) Elite
Regular Infantry (10) Elite
Regular Cavalry (10) Elite
Regular HMG (5) Elite
Territorial Infantry (10) Trained
Territorial Engineers(10) Trained
Regular Cavalry (10) Trained
Territorial HMG (5) Trained
Regular Artillery (5) Elite

Units are deployed to the south of the river. They can be dug-in if they wish. The also have observers on the high ground to the south (off table) and can see any troops moving in the open to the north of the river.

Mg and artillery units can be deployed dug-in in concealed of the east and west sides of the table north of where the river crosses the table i.e. they are on the southern bank of the loop of land. Assume they are 12” from the edge of the table.

The bridges have been mined for controlled demolition by the TA engineers. These can be attempted to be exploded at any point even after the enemy has been crossing the bridges.

The Scottish Horse heavily reduced by artillery and Mg fire
REBEL BRIEFING - Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria
You landed at Inverness from a small coastal freighter but were disappointed that the highland rebellion was on such a small scale, far less than you had been led to expect. Nevertheless, Inverness and Perth were taken without resistance and no government troops attempted to engage your forces before the action of the Muir. Your army has gradually increased in size as volunteers have joined the rebellion but unfortunately most remain of poor quality. The only reliable troops are your own Bavarian bodyguard, a unit of BUF cavalry raised in the north-east and the Scottish Horse under Col Bartram who joined after your success at the Muir. The Scots militia while numerous have only enthusiasm and a certain élan to disguise their rawness. Your objective is to cross the Forth at Stirling and to gain control of the central belt.

Bavarian Bodyguard (10) Trained
Clanranald's Militia (16) Raw +1 in close combat
Glengarry's Militia (16) Raw +1 in close combat
Seaforth's Militia (16) Raw +1 in close combat
Atholl's Militia (16) Raw +1 in close combat
Fraser's Militia (16) Raw +1 in close combat
McLeod's Militia (16) Raw +1 in close combat
Lowland Militia (16) Raw
Gordon's Horse (10) Raw
BUF Cavalry (9) Trained
The Scottish Horse (10) Trained

All units enter along either road A or B from turn ONE. Two units can enter per road per turn in an order determined by the players. Troops enter in column so each stand after the first has it move reduced by the length of the column.

Government advantage - artillery!

How the game played
The government side deployed their troops in the houses of Stirling south of the river with one machine gun deployed of table on the right covering the railway track. They held back an infantry unit and both cavalry units as a reserve in cover in the town.

Prince Rupprecht in his command vehicle - Jacobites only heavy equipment
The Jacobites were forced to advance on in columns and came under long range artillery and MG fire which stopped their initial units. Several units fled early on but they eventually got their forces deployed into line and advanced steadily on the bridges and did bring the Government forces under rifle fire. Their high point was when one unit of cavalry managed to cross the railway bridge - they were then charged by a government cavalry unit and both broke in the melee. Other than this their brave advance had little effect - their rifle fire only caused 2 casualties on the Government side whilst their troops withered under the heavy fire. The main disappointment on the Government side was with their engineers who’s repeated attempts to blow the bridges all failed.

Rebels reach the road bridge

It was never going to be an easy task for the Jacobites - they had numerous raw units who easily fell victim to the MG and artillery fire of the government side. If we were to play this game again I would add some armoured support and artillery into the Jacobite forces.


  1. Very cool game. Love the photos.

  2. AS usual Colin is to be commended for his fantastic pulp games and unusual scenarios, Jacobites in the 1930's - hmmmmmmmmmmmm perhaps Jacobites in the Napoleonic wars? Scotland instead of Ireland? To many Scottish boys dying for King George? Food for thought? Cheers Colin and Bill for making my time so enjoyable in Scotland. - David Cooper