Saturday, August 12, 2017

Project QUEBEC: 3/60th Foot - Part 1

I think it was Mark Twain who said if your job is to eat two frogs then you should eat the largest one first. He was of course referring to getting onerous tasks out of the way and in part this is the philosophy I apply to my Quebec battle project inasmuch as I have concentrated largely on the biggest units first. Just as well considering I haven't lifted a finger for this undertaking in a few years. Well I'm back to it and this next lot will be the next biggest unit in Wolfe's army - the 3/60th foot.

HISTORY
The 60th Foot or Royal American Regiment was originally designated the 62nd Foot to be raised under warrant of the crown in December 1755. By July 1756 one battalion had been raised and the whole regiment would achieve a strength of four battalions.

A few peculiarities mark the creation of the 60th foot. It was designed to be four battalions strong and a foreign or largely Germanic unit taken from German subjects from the European continent, settled 'Germans' in the Americas and Swiss. This was not a completely popular idea, politically. Typical of the times, entry was restricted to protestants. In fact, a good many (over half) of the rank and file were Irishmen and other British recruits by design. American and European responses did not meet recruitment expectations in spite of land grants (presumably in America) so the regiment was more British than was originally anticipated. Enlistment into the regiment was for a three year term and limited to service in America.

Headquartered in Philadelphia with the training camp in Pennsylvania moving also to Philadelphia by the time the 3rd battalion was raised and ready for training.

Whilst not specifically 'light troops' the 1st and 2nd battalions appear to have been raised and trained as line troops capable of 'forest fighting'. Light troops at this time were not battalion sized units capable of fighting in linear formations in the open ground continental warfare. No such distinction is mentioned for the 3rd battalion but it may be assumed that it was similarly capable given it's sister battalions and assignment on the Plains of Abraham. This capability appears to centre around the training of their light company to flank, scout and skirmish and the general manner in which the battalions operated in the wilderness and negotiated forest territory on the march. In essence, the 60th regiment seem most likely to have been what became termed 'light battalions' by the later Napoleonic wars.

Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel John Young, the 3/60th first saw action in 1757 and was divided between garrisoning forts Edward and William-Henry during the famous siege, surrender and subsequent Indian attacks and 'massacre' across which it maintained order, fighting efficiency and sustained 80 casualties. It was reinforced to a strength of 986 all ranks. It spent the rest of 1757-8 training in Halifax.

Under Young the 3rd battalion departed Boston on 23 April 1758. Along with it's sister battalion, the 2/60th the 3rd battalion saw action at the assault on Louisburg where the 3/60th lost 17 men killed and 43 wounded for its first battle honour.


Later departing for the invasion at Quebec, elements from either or both battalions were deployed at the action at Montmorency Falls the following year just prior to being involved in the abortive action at Beauport.

At Montmorency Falls the regiment earnt the sobriquet Celer et Audex (Swift and Bold) - the regimental motto. They lost over 100 men in an ill co-ordinated action which Wolfe blamed on the grenadiers whilst praising the 60th who conducted an orderly fighting retreat under orders.

At the Plains of Abraham, therefore, the 3/60th battalion was a proven, experienced body of steady, reliable troops capable of engaging in both types of warfare characteristic of the North American theater of operations. It remained part of Murray's brigade but there are divergent accounts of it's positioning at the commencement of battle. It may have been in position on the oblique left flank to enagage the skirmishers delivering flanking fire before deploying later in the action to block Bougainville's reinforcements to the rear. Alternatively, it may have guarded the boats and the top of the escarpment and protected the rear. Perhaps elements of the battalion covered both but all agree they ended up to the rear to repel Bougainville.

DEPICTION
Due to the role of the 3/60th at the Plains of Abraham, I am depicting this battalion in platoon firing mode as if they are exchanging fire with the Canadian skirmishers at the start of hostilities. This unit is 51 figures strong made up mainly of Redoubt and some Blue Moon figures (one line officer, a casualty and two grenadiers firing).

As my 3/60th foot are newly raised and thus have not campaigned in the wilderness. Consequently, they will not be in improvised campaign dress as sometimes depicted for the 1&2/60th but will retain their line infantry appearance with full tricorne headwear and regulation equipment. The only sense of relief I have about this particular unit is that the 60th Royal Americans wore plain coasts without lace - well the rank and file at least.

PREPPING
There wasn't much preparation involved with the Redoubt figures but I do prefer to cut down the sergeants' halberds and replace the malleable white metal shafts with steel cut wire. It's a bit of fiddling about but I wont have to worry about then being straight in future. You need to drill out their hands (similar to Old Glory castings) and drill out a receiving hole at the base if you want to vary the positions from the preset holes. I have allocated three sergeants to this mob - one grenadier and two line.
I had too few standing officer poses and an extra sergeant or two so I've promoted one of them. He can either represent a literally field promoted sergeant or an officer who has misplaced his sash and gorget on the climb up from the landing earlier that day. If that sounds a bit self serving and lazy of me for not green-stuffing both then so be it. I can't recall where I got the sword from but it might be from a Front Rank set. Of course it's not just a matter of fixing his hand with a sword. Remember to cut away the hilt from his casting also.
I thought to mix in a few Blue Moon figures including two shooting grenadiers which I love. I do love the Redoubt line infantry figures for their rank and file above all but their grenadiers can't match these blokes. BUT, as the Blue Moon figures come in a curious collection as a job-lot I'm just scattering them through my army to add some colour. I have removed the bayonet to match the Redoubt sculpts. They have very little flash or mold lines.
Well, I had better get undercoating and on with it. See you on the other side.

2 comments:

  1. Great historical background for the 60th. I do like the grenadier mitres on the Blue Moon figures - very nicely detailed GR. I had some Foundry figures, but the mitre design wasn't as detailed IIRC. BTW, nice conversion work on the command figs; maybe you could add some Green Stuff for the sash and gorget? Nicely done in any case.

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  2. Thanks Dean. I don't know even yet if you will shame me into adding a sash or not. My partner has come to visit me over a fortnight and I've not lifted a brush in a week. I may get a chance to green-stuff that sash after all. We shall see.

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