Hey, Johnnie Cope, are you Waking Yet?: Battle of Prestonpans (1745 AD)
Fast Play Rules for Students

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By Matt Fritz

Historical Background: In 1745 Bonnie Prince Charles arrived in Scotland to try and claim the throne of England for the Stuarts. He hoped to overthrow the Hanoverian King, George II. Some of the Scottish clans joined his cause. At Prestonpans near Edinburgh the highlanders caught the English army by surprise. The poorly trained and ill-prepared English were no match for the Highlanders. Charles won a famous victory, and began planning for the invasion of England.

Battle Report: This battle has not yet been playtested.


The Miniatures: Strelets makes 1/72 plastic miniatures for this time period. For the British you could use figures from Mars' set of Saxon Troops for the War of Spanish Succession. Mounted commander were based individually, all figures were mounted two per stand. The cavalry were mounted on a 1.5" square base. Mounted commanders, infantry, and artillery crews were mounted on bases 1.5" wide by .75" deep. Here are some paper soldiers you can print and use.

Formations: Cavalry and Infantry are six bases in a double rank line. The dragoons of both sides fought with swords from the saddle, rather than as mounted infantry, and for that reason they are treated as cavalry.

English Army (all units 6 bases)

Sir John Cope (overall commander)
7 units Infantry (Murray's, Lascelles's, Guise's, Lee's)
2 cannons

Commander: Col. James Gardiner
4 units Cavalry (Hamilton's, Whitney's, Gardiner's)

Jacobites (all units 6 bases)

Prince Charles (overall commander)

Left Wing:
Commander: Lord George Murray
5 units Infantry (Mcgregors, Stuarts, Camerons)

Right Wing:
Commander: Duke of Perth
4 units Infantry (Macdonalds)

Commander: Duke of Nairn
5 units Infantry Atholls, Robertsons, Macdonalds, Maclachlans)

The Board: A 7.5 X 5 foot table was used. The battlefield included some walled enclosures which must be marked on the battlefield.

Deployment: Both sides deploy as indicated in the diagram and order of battle. No unit should be closer than 18" from the enemy.

Sequence of Play:
1. English Move
2. English Shoot
3. Jacobites Move
4. Jacobites Shoot
5. Charge
6. Melee

Movement: All cavalry and commanders move 12". Infantry move 6". Cannons can not move. Units cannot move closer than 1" to the enemy except when charging.

Shooting: Infantry can shoot 12". Units may only shoot at enemy targets in front of them. If the wish to shoot at a target to the side they are only allowed to fire with two bases. They may not fire to the rear at all. Roll 1D6 per base and remove one enemy base for each 6 rolled. If any unit in a formation is in range then all the bases in the formation may fire. Cannons have unlimited range and roll 3D6 per cannon, hitting on a 6's. Cannons cannot fire between friendly units unless they have at least a 3" gap, they may not fire over units. Once a unit has fought a round of melee they may not shoot, or be shot at, until the melee is finished (note this means that both sides can shoot at each other during the turn that the units move into contact, but not on subsequent turns if the melee continues past the first round). It takes three hits on the same turn to eliminate a cannon.

Charge: Units may charge the enemy only if they can reach an enemy unit with their charge move. Cannons may not charge. Infantry can charge 6", cavalry can charge 12". Both sides make their charges at the same time. If it matters, the Jacobites charge first. When a unit charges it is moved into contact with the enemy unit.

Fire Discipline: The English could inflict heavy losses on the charging Jacobites if they could hold their fire until the enemy was in close range. However the units at this battle were inexperienced and poorly trained. When an English infantry unit is charged it must roll one die to see if they will be allowed to fire again at the chargers before resolving melee. Add 3 to the die roll. If the modified roll is less than the number of bases in the unit it can fire at the charging unit at close range (hit on 5-6) before melee. If the modified die roll is equal to the number of bases in the unit the unit can fire at the chargers at normal range (hit on 6) before melee. If the modified die roll is greater than the number of bases in the unit the unit may not fire, proceed to melee. Cannons can not fire at chargers before melee (except during their normal shoot phase of course).

Melee: Enemy units that come into contact after a charge are locked in melee. All bases in a formation participate in the melee (unless hit on the flank or rear, see below). Roll 1D6 for each base and commander in the melee. Both sides should roll at the same time. Infantry units hit on a roll of 6. Jacobites hit on a roll of 4-6 if they charged during the turn, and hit on a 6 if they didn't charge this turn. Cavalry hits on a 5 or 6. Commanders involved in a melee always hit on a roll of 4, 5, or 6. Remove one enemy base for every hit rolled. Cannons do not fight in melee. If they are contacted by a charge they are eliminated without a fight. If both sides still have bases remaining they remain locked in melee and cannot move or shoot. The survivors will fight again in the next melee phase. If a unit is fighting a melee with more than one enemy unit each base still only gets to roll once, they don't get to roll to hit each enemy unit. The commander can choose to divide his hits against the enemy units in any way he chooses.

Flank and Rear Attacks: If a unit is charged on its flank or rear it's ability to fight back is limited on the first turn of melee. A unit charged on the flank can fight back with only two bases. A unit charged in the rear can not fight back at all. On the following turns the unit can change facing and fight with all its surviving bases.

Removing Casualties: When a unit is reduced to a single base this last base is automatically removed.

Commanders: Commanders are represented by single mounted figures. They may join a unit during movement or charges to help them in melee. A unit with a commander attached rolls an extra die in melee and the commander hits on a 4, 5, or 6. Commanders participating in a melee can become casualties. Roll 1D6 after the melee rolls, he is a casualty on a roll of 6. If a commander is attached to a unit that is completely eliminated by enemy fire roll one die, if the roll is a 6 the commander is eliminated. These are the only ways that a commander can be eliminated; they may not be shot or attacked in melee if they are not with a regular unit.


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Move Charge
Cavalry, Commanders 12" 12"
Infantry 6" 6"
Cannons -- --

Range To Hit
Infantry 12" 6
Cannons (roll 3 dice) Unlimited 6

To Hit
Infantry 6
Jacobites after charge 4-6
Commanders 4-6
Cavalry 5-6