Wednesday, 13 October 2010

40’s in your 40’s, Wargaming in 40mm.6

Found this is in a file on my laptop, I wrote this way back in the early years, this was going to be part of the introduction for the re-written "Rebellion in the Colonies" rules by Peter Helm, he once asked if I would be interested and that was a very long time ago!!



The Infantry was made up of field regiments or battalions comprising of ten companies consisting of roughly forty to fifty men, each company was then divided into platoons.There were eight companies of "HAT" men,one of "GRENADIERS" and one of "LIGHT INFANTRY".If we take a look at the break down of a company we find its strength at peacetime as 1 Captain,2 Leiutenants,2 Sergeants,3 Corperals,1 Drummer and 38 Privates, the company was then divided into two platoons per company.

When on active service(at war) some battalions actually fielded companies at a strength of 1 Captain,2 Lieutenants,3 Sergeants,3 Corperals,2 Drummers,2 Fifers and 56 Privates, but we should remember thet there was a shortage of manpower for this unpopular war.What we know from returns show us that most battalions were never fielded at full strength owing to the lack of recruits, there fore they mustered between 300-400 men.

Some Regiments were brought upto full compliment when other Regiments were transfered home as this was mainly done on paper (look up the term "paper strength" for Regimental claims for money and equipment) the returning men were offered enlistment in other regiments unless being despatched elsewhere.

Some regiments infact fielded two battalions,like that of the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment (THE BLACK WATCH) and the 71st Highlanders (FRASERS), returns show the 71st even had a third battalion, there seems to be a high rate of enlistment in Scotland, this was due to the impoverish state of the country after the rebellion of 1745.

Most regiments had infact two other companies billeted at home for recruiting, it seems that when ordered to depart for overseas duty some of these companies marched with their regiments. Evidence shows that some regiments had a field strength exeeding the ten company (about 400 strong) battalion, during the "1777 SARATOGA CAMPAIGN" the army under General John Burgoyne had with him atleast two regiments with a listed paper strength of around 530.

THE GRENADIER COMPANY: were the elite hand picked and stoutest men of the Regiment. The Grenadier would have been in the army for quiet some years, they were placed on the right flank of the regiment this being an honoury position.Their duties had changed over the years, infact they know longer carried any grenades the only accroutement worn was the match case, but they still wore the mark of distinction which was the Hanger and now the headress of the Bearskin. The company provided a shock force at company or when paraded as a composite Grenadier Battalion, this was unpopular as it was felt that the Regiment suffered without its best men..

THE CENTER COMPANIES: (HAT MEN) made up the mainstay of the battalion, their were upto eight companies. The men of these companies carried out all the general duties of the battalion, it would be they who would carry the war home to those rebellious colonists.

In the early stages of the war we could question their ability unlike the flank companies, but as was proved when "GENERAL WIILIAM HOWE" unleashed his newly trained army upon New York in 1776 they seemed unstoppable. All enlisted men were trained using the 1764 Manual of Arms, each man was expected to be of good bearing and adapt within the exercise at arms.

THE LIGHT INFANTRY COMPANY: this element of the British army was still relativly young, it was only added to the establishment in 1771. During the French Indian War or Seven Year War it was felt that a loose organisation of infantry was required, especially in the American colonies, of these "GAGES and HOWES" light battalions were formed.

The light company would be positioned on the left flank of their regiment and part of their duties would be to protect the battalion in a skirmish line while they changed formation. They would also act as an advance or rear gaurd as well as the eyes and ears of their parent regiment given these rolls the company would have to consist of men who were agile and able to act independently of the regimental chain of command.

As we can see the standing trend of the period was to detach the various Light companies into composite Light Battalions these would be the same strength as a normal battalion and again used en-masse as the Light Company.

CAVALRY: was only represented by the 16th & 17th Light Dragoons from the British establishment,but during the war other mounted units were formed from loyalists units, such as "TARLETONS LEGION" & "THE QUEENS RANGERS".

The 17th arrived in Boston before Bunker hill, but without horses, General Gage the British commander had to procure mounts or use them as light infantry.

A light dragoon regiment consisted of headqaurters staff and six troops of about fifty men a total of about three hundred and twenty men.One thing we must remember that during the "Rebellion" the 16th &17th mostly served in detached units, both Regiments did infact march with "HOWE" to Philidelphia in the summer of 1777 as they were present at the battle of "BRANDYWINE".

THE BOARD OF ORDANANCE : consisted of the Royal Artillery it was made up of four battalions, at the outbreak of hostilities the fourth battalion were already serving in America and suffered the brunt of what was really to become an infantry war.

Infantry regiments were typically accompanied by two light "BATTALION GUNS" crewed by men of the Royal Artillery, the light guns were of 1 1/2 to 3 pounders.

As for most engagements during the war battalion pieces were deployed in support of infantry in batteries of roughly three to four guns.Ordanance varied in calibre,there were guns of various sizes, most heavy guns were used for sieges or deployed in fortifications.

1 comment:

Tony said...

It is very likely that I will not be attending Reading later this month. I hope that you have a great time and pester Dave with more modelling wants!

See you soon.