I’ve blogged about the Highland Charge before and so it was with keen interest that I read David Stevenson’s case that the tactic was invented by Alasdair Mac Colla Mac Donald. Stevenson is author of Highland Warrior, a biography of Alasdair, and of Scottish Covenanters and Irish Confederates.
I’ve had a look at his evidence on my blog. If it’s of interest to you do drop by for a read.
“All of which suggests that the tactic was an innovation and one that might well lie with Alasdair Mac Colla of Clan Donald.”
An innovation born of necessity? When your opponents have muskets and you do not the only option is to close as quickly as possible or be shot to pieces. When it worked it could be very effective – Killiecrankie.
It certainly wasn’t effective at Culloden.
Musket armed Highlanders in foreign wars don’t appear to have used the tactic.
Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.
We are explicitly told that Alasdair’s men had muskets.
The Highlanders in European foreign wars indeed don’t seem to have used the tactic which is interesting. In the early period they were not equipped for it. Later on many of them like the Irish are pressed men and presumably used the tactics required by their new armies.
At Plains of Abraham (Quebec) in 1759, the 78th Highland regiment broke the French attack with musketry volleys (them and the rest of the British army, of course), then threw down their muskets and charged the French with their broadswords. They chased the French some distance, but got into trouble when they ran into some unbroken French reserves. Never take a sword to a gun fight.