Monday, June 26, 2006

The Battle of Culloden

This brings us back to bonnie Prince Charles. To recap - Charles sends missives to the Highland chiefs (while he's in Europe) saying that he is the rightful king of Scotland. He will come to Scotland to turn out the English and will bring with him so many thousand soldiers from France. The letter travels between the clans and they decide this is their best shot so they invite him over. Charlie shows up on their shores with a couple of mates and no soldiers... But he's so charming that they believe him when he says his troops will be over later. So they kiss goodbye to their wives and kids and start a war against the English that will carry them South down into England.
The King of England does a runner and tells his nephew (or whoever it was) to deal with the Scots once and for all. Now the Scots didn't actually want London. They just wanted Scotland back and having marched for months without a break, with no sign of the promised soldiers and having realized that Charlie was crap when it came to military tactics... they told him that he was welcome to govern Scotland from Scotland but sod the English, they were off home.

What the Scots didn't realize was that the English army had been rallied and were being vehemently pursued by someone who took parting words very seriously. While they were thinking about seeing their families again, the English were thinking about blood.

The final stand was the Battle of Culloden fields. For some reason the Scots were so knackered that they let Charlie and his Irish (!!) advisor do the battle planning. Firstly, the site was crap. It was a level plain covered with heather and bracken. This is really, really shite to try and run through [we know, we tried!] and went completely against normal Highland tactics which were to stand on a hill, get themselves worked up and then charge down screaming and brandishing axes (thus gaining a height and speed advantage).

Secondly, Charles discovered that the English commander's birthday was that night and deemed that celebrations would leave the men in a drunken stupor. So he told his men that they would attack the English camp during the night. Out they marched... and marched.... and marched.... Charles got them hopelessly lost and when dawn broke they were miles from the engagement field, exhausted, unfed etc...

It was a slaughter. The English won a complete victory and then proceeded to clear the Highlands, ban Scottish language, tartan, bagpipes, haggis etc...


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