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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Saturday 26 November 2016

Killiecrankie 1689

A short autumn break in Perthshire was an opportunity to visit a battle site I haven't been to for a number of years, Killiecrankie.

The Glorious Revolution of 1688 wasn't accepted by many in Britain, including most of the Highland clans, who remained loyal to the Stuarts. Most Lowland Scots supported William and Mary and followed the English Parliament in supporting him as King. This predates the Treaty of Union, so Scotland had its own monarchy and institutions. 

The Jacobites rallied around John Graham, Viscount 'Bonny' Dundee, who joined Lochiel, Chief of Clan Cameron, who was raising the clans. Dundee was pursued by General Mackay, who commanded a government force of around 3,500. Dundee gathered those clans who had arrived at the muster, some 2,400 men, and blocked Mackay's advance at the Pass of Killiecrankie, just north of Pitlochry.

The two forces exchanged fire and then Dundee ordered a charge. When the lines met, the government troops were "swept away by the furious onset of the Camerons". The advance and charge was masked, leaving the redcoats with insufficient time to fix their plug bayonets. Mackay's force fled, suffering some 2000 casualties. 

However, around one-third of the Jacobite force was killed, including Dundee. The Jacobite advance continued until it was stopped by government forces at the Battle of Dunkeld. After which the rebellion dissolved. 

The position of troops on the battlefield today is difficult to identify. There are two modern roads and railway that now go through the pass. However, there is a visitor centre, open in summer months and a path down to the 'Soldiers Leap', where a redcoat is said to have leapt over a ravine to escape from chasing Highlanders. 

And finally, some 28mm figures from the period, from my collection.

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