The Battle for Britain 1693 The fighting begins...

Kirke's arrival at Santa Marta  - The Creole Regiment was already in position

Of course I have already blogged briefly on the topic of our 1693 Battle for Britain adventures but not really given any detailed insight into the battles. The reason was simple. I had a mass of data to sift through and organize and my time between the beginning of April (when we did it) and now has been filled with tiresome travel, work, Warfare Miniatures technical stuff and getting WTK to a stage where Clarence could do something with it.

The forward position - English officers marshal their Creole soldiers

Now that I am sitting in 45+ centigrade (well not sitting in it actually.. sitting as far indoors as possible away from it), I have had time to write the narrative and process the stats. The weekend was missing several important characters - Berwick in Rome, Tollemache in the trenches somewhere in Flanders, Marlborough at King Louis pleasure in Versailles, Sarsfield back in Ireland, Wauchope mad in a monastery.

The Santa Marta table before the arrival of both forces. Looking from the south west

Notwithstanding the absence of these glitterati, there were plenty of characters left to create the necessary mayhem. There were five battles in total; A dour Scots affair which saw Dundee breaking up a conventicle in Lanarkshire, an encounter battle between Lord Galmoy's Flying Column and General Mackay's Northern Williamites, a raid on Jamaica by Dutch and Huguenots, a large battle between the Jacobite Irish and Mackay in Yorkshire and finally a full blown battle to throw the English out of Jamaica.

The Dutch NGWIC troops approach through the jungle - Clarence made the flags especially

Obviously we have lots to share on based on the outputs from this weekend but lets start with something completely different.

Here are some extracts from the narrative which explain why Piercy Kirke found himself Governor of Jamaica and having to defend a Spanish slaving post in the centre of the island with English-Creoles against invading Huguenot and Dutch West India Company troops.

The Dutch had to cross the crocodile infested river which really slowed them down

Piercy Kirke, having survived two proximate attempts on his life had been packed off as Governor of Jamaica by King James just after the turn of the year. Kirke, a dexterous and combative man despite his years had drowned one assailant in a quart of boiling coffee whilst braining two others with a hot skillet during what was to become known as the Oxford Coffee Break.

I will do a feature on the organization of my Creole companies - 1:5 model to man ratio this represents 60 men

Moving on to supposedly quieter circumstances the General found himself tied to a bed which was promptly set ablaze during the Frolic at Faggots. The two wenches accused of this dalliance gone wrong waited tables at the Faggot’s Inn, Finchley but were never traced. Kirke insisted that whilst availing himself of some well-earned rest he dosed off only to be awakened by smoke. 

The Huguenots companies press into Santa Marta with Dutch racing away on the left

Finding himself lashed to the bed he used his battlefield voice to raise the alarm and was freed by a stable boy. The general was sorely blistered and remained in danger of his life for two weeks having suffered excruciatingly in the nether regions of his body. Kirke’s dispatch to the Tropics prompted the King to be persuaded by advisers such as Sarsfield and Hamilton to have the rascal kept eye upon. 

Kirke rode inland accompanied only by his servant and Sheldon to take command of a few companies of Creole infantry from the garrison regiment of Colonel Hylton bolstered by some 40 English grenadiers lately arrived from Port Royal. This officer lay sick with ague and his native troops were scattered in outposts across the island. Kirke’s arrival was indeed timely. 

The Dutch captured the redoubt in the foreground but then came under flanking fire

Within two hours of taking command at Santa Marta advanced parties of both de Ruvigny’s and Hamilton’s forces began emerging from the jungle. The latter were somewhat hampered by having to cross a deep stream inhabited by numerous and aggressive crocodiles. At least five men are known to have been taken by the beasts as recorded in the journal of Captain Collaert of the NGWIC.

The Dutch made modest progress over running an outpost but presented no real threat to the position. De Ruvigny’s motley command however succeeded in penetrating Santa Marta and setting some of the huts on fire. A group of diminutive natives stormed the front-line barricades and the situation appeared parlous until a troop of mounted plantation workers charged into the fray and disrupted the Huguenot attack.

Kirke directs the defence against a rabid tribe of diminutive natives and Huguenot Privateers

One company under Captain Samuel Tyler had every one of its 54 men killed or wounded. The English composed themselves and the attackers withdrew back into the bush to lick their wounds. Kirke reported 120 men killed wounded or missing during the action. He grudgingly praised the intervention of Squire Tregarren and his workers likening their charge to that of ‘Berber blackbeards giving chase to Tangier’s English whores’.

Creoles defend English colonial possessions loyally and bravely.

Losses amongst the Williamite forces are difficult to determine as the French did not record native casualties. Estimates place combined Dutch and French losses near 200. Despite his success Kirke abandoned Santa Marta at dusk and fell back on Spanish Town. 

The journey to the Caribbean opened so many doors for us and we had great fun with the whole native tribes dimension. This was a company level action using BLB3 WTK and worked very well.