Snatching Fanny Again

Will the dashing Lieutenant Quintin Kennedy come up trumps by grabbing Fanny?

Poor Fanny Flower has become a prisoner of the French. She is locked upstairs in an abandoned cabin, and is fending off the advances of the lecherous Hugo de Nigot, who Lieutenant Clouzeau has, perhaps unwisely, left in charge of her guards.

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Tu As Dit Avoir Eu Mal a la Tete Hier!

But hope is at hand! The intrepid Lieutenant Quintin Kennedy is attempting her rescue, ably assisted by Captain Murray and the doughty highlanders of the 42nd Foot. Will the handsome Quinton save the day and come up trumps by grabbing Fanny? Or will Fanny succumb to the Gallic (and rather garlic) charms of young Hugo de Nigot? Read on . . .

Germans of the 60th Foot will ferry Lieutenants Kennedy and Mill with men of the 42nd and 44th Foot to the cabin, landing the rescuers at dawn.

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Canoe

The guards stand ready, stoically ignoring the sound of de Nigot’s increasingly desperate ejaculations coming from upstairs.

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The Guards Watching Fanny

Alarmed by de Nigot’s inflamed passions, Fanny climbs from an upstairs window and leaps to the ground, landing in an ungainly heap but unhurt and honour intact!

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Fanny Free!

Getting to her feet, Fanny hitches up her skirts and runs for it! De Nigot hauls up his breeches, dashes downstairs, and leads his men in  pursuit. The sight of the French on the river bank alarms the canoeists so that they decline to land. Fanny, however is showing an impressive turn of speed and heads for the sound of the bagpipes that herald Captain Murray’s arrival.

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Fanny Showing A Clean Pair of Heels

De Nigot, frenzied at the thought of Clouzeau’s wrath (and possibly by the sight of Fanny’s ankles as she runs) rushes in pursuit followed by his men. Unfortunately, Igor has failed to button his flies and, just as he catches up to the flagging Fanny, his breeches fall down, he tumbles and he is trampled by his men! Luckily for him, one of his quicker-thinking soldiers grabs Fanny’s skirt and she is recaptured. De Nigot recovers his dignity, carefully buttons his flies and wonders if he can regain the house before Clouzeau discovers anything has gone amiss.

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A New Headache

Kennedy has persuaded the German canoeists to land him downstream, near to where Murray has deployed his men into a rather imposing line.

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We Should Have Landed Over There!

Clouzeau has also arrived and is feeling rather outnumbered by the highlanders, who are just out of musket range. A force of Huron is slipping through the woods ready to aid their allies.

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Woodland Natives in their Native Woodlands

Enseigne Maudit’s skirmishers and some Huron snipe at the 42nd, who advance in two groups under their officers. A couple of men fall to the crackle of musketry, but the highlanders advance at a fair pace and Clouzeau begins to worry about his line of retreat being cut off. Kennedy covers Murray’s exposed flank with his handful of 44th light infantry.

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Murray Advances

De Nigot regains the cabin and sternly admonishes his men not to mention the escape attempt or the sordid state of his breeches. Upstairs, Fanny eyes the window again . . .

The Huron and French skirmishers continue their rather ineffectual sniping. Kennedy leads his men into the woods but they are surprised by the Huron Hawhendagerha and his braves who kill over half Kennedy’s small band with some close-range shooting.

Murray is equal to the situation and crisp orders see part of his line break off to deal with Hawhendagerha and Lieutenant Mill’s platoon surging forward to hammer Maudit’s skirmishers with close volleys, leaving Maudit himself stunned by a musket ball that grazed his temple. With Lieutenant Clouzeau unwilling to close to musket range against more than twice his numbers of highlanders and the skirmishers shaken, things look grim for the French.

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Hawhendagerha Discomfited
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Enseigne Maudit Even More Discomfited

Only De Nigot is laughing on the French side now.

With a yell, the lowlander Lieutenant Mill leads his men in a wild charge through the woods. The dazed Maudit has recovered enough to instruct his few remaining men to prove discretion the better part of valour; they, reluctant to leave their staggering officer, only just stay ahead of the screeching highlanders.

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Fuyez!

Lieutenant Clouzeau brings his men into musket range and prepares them to give a controlled volley.

Meanwhile Hawhendagerha’s little band are being whittled down as they fall back through the woods. For the second time in as many weeks, Hawhendagerha is wounded. The mighty chief bears many scars.

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And Then There Were Three

Lieutenant Kennedy adds to the pressure, directing the fire of his two remaining picked men.

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Pot the Chap in the Red Blanket.

At close range now, Murray and Mill hammer Clouzeau’s men. The Frenchmen may be handier with their muskets but simply don’t have the numbers to compete with the controlled volleys of the Scots.

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Mill Pours It Onto the French

The last of Hawhendagerha’s warriors falls and the chief himself is knocked out when a ball creases his scalp. Another scar . . .

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Got ‘im!

Murray’s men are taking casualties from the Huron in the wood but stolidly keep firing.

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Murray Also Pours It On.

The Rev. Dr. Ferguson can be seen in his wig and black coat, well to the fore, tending the wounded.

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Steady, Lads, Steady.

At this point, with his forces in increasing disarray and morale beginning to plummet, Clouzeau decides to withdraw. This leaves De Nigot in a quandary: he has the spirited Fanny at his mercy (and has the scratches and bruises to prove it) but his men are bolting from the house and the wail of the pipes is increasingly close. With a cry borne of frustrated lust and fury, he abandons Fanny and makes haste for safety, leaving her to be swept of her feet not by the dashing Kennedy but by the sober Murray who is first on the scene.

Fanny is freed and the brute Huron chief Hawhendagerha captured! A triumph for the British.

Details of the French and Huron force can be found here.

Details of the British are here.

Sons of the Mountains

He has gone on a swift sailing ship
With her tall sails raised up high on her
On a dark ocean, full of fish and foam . . .
– Callum Mac an Fleisdeir, A Song to Allan MacLean of Coll

Captain James Murray commanded Reid’s Company of the 42nd (Highland) Foot in 1757. Although at this time companies were named for their notional commanding officer, often another man commanded, and his company, named for him if he were major or captain, would be taken over temporarily by another; such were the tangled webs of nomenclature woven by the system of seniority in the British army of the time.

A full company is a bit too large a force for a normal game of Sharp Practice, but a half-company is a pleasing size for a game, allowing some additional supporting units without things getting out of hand. More pleasingly still, a half-company was a recognised tactical sub-unit and were often used independently, for instance, as garrisons or, more romantically, as raiding columns such as that commanded by Lieut. Quintin Kennedy of the 44th Foot, who took a half-company of the 42nd Foot deep into French-claimed lands in the summer of 1756.

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Lieut. Kennedy, 44th Foot

Happily there is an extant muster roll for Reid’s company, so the names and status of all the men are known. Now this muster roll is actually from 1758, but it provides enough historical flavour for my purposes, so I’m using it for my highland half-company in the Saindoux Campaign. The officers at least are the same, as the excellent second volume of Sons of the Mountains by Ian McCulloch reveals. Buy both volumes of this superb work here rather than paying over the odds from allegedly ‘specialist’ shops.

Capt. Murray himself will command this half-company, assisted by the junior of his two lieutenants, David Milne. Milne’s name is persistently spelt wrongly as ‘Mill’ or Mills’ in the rolls, a tradition with which I shall continue.

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Capt. Murray and Lieut. Mill

Two of the company’s four sergeants, McAndrews (or M’Andrews as he appears on the rolls, officers seem to have been Mc- but the other ranks were invariably M’-) and Watson. The sergeants of the 42nd were loathe to swap halberd for musket and it was not until directly ordered to in 1759 that they abandoned their fearsome badge of office in the field.

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Sergeants M’Andrews and Watson

The drummer, one of two in the company, is Alan Campbell and there is also a piper, Walter M’Intyre. Although it’s sometimes thought that pipers were always supernumerary and unofficial, in fact various highland battalions were allowed them, in varying numbers, as an official part of the battalion, and many were ‘on the footing of a Drum.’

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Drummer Campbell and Piper M’Intyre

A chaplain was available to the 42nd, and he may, from time to time, put in an appearance. Adam Ferguson was ever to be found ‘in the hottest of the fire, praying with the dying, attending to the wounded, and directing them to be carried to a place of safety.’

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Doctor Adam Ferguson

Forty-eight men make up the rank and file of the half-company. Two corporals, an unknown number of gentleman volunteers (there were always a large number of these in a highland battalion of the time, as more men sought commissions than were available and many of those opted to serve in the rank and file whilst messing with the officers, hoping to be nominated to fill any vacancy in the officer ranks) and of course the bulk being private soldiers, who nonetheless often regarded themselves as gentlemen in a highland regiment, often being the sons of tacksmen, the second rank of highland society after the clan chiefs.

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Sons of the Mountains

In Sharp Practice terms the force comprises 59 points:

  • Leader Status III (Capt. Murray)
  • Leader Status II (Lieut. Mill)
  • Leader Status I (Sergt. M’Andrews)
  • Leader Status I (Sergt. Watson)
  • Musician (Drummer Campbell)
  • ‘Holy Man’ (Piper M’Intyre)
  • Six Groups of 8 Highland Regiment of Foot Line

with another 16 to flesh it out provided by a Leader Status II (Lieut Quintin Kennedy) and one Group of 6 Regiment of Foot Skirmishers (chosen men of the 44th Foot). The single remaining point will allow the Rev. Dr. Ferguson to appear as a Physic.

The figures (except Lieut. Kennedy who is from Galloping Major) are by Redoubt Enterprises. They are rather nice models and there’s a decent number of poses available. The big downside is that unfortunately Redoubt aren’t very speedy at dispatch, neither are they especially good at answering emails or the phone, although they do sometimes pick up. To my mind they are the best models for highlanders in the earlier part of the war, although the North Star Military Figures highlanders look good, and are in more of ‘campaign dress’. I’d be tempted to use Redoubt for the Line and North Star for Skirmishers, perhaps.