Sunday, 29 June 2014

Designing is hard work!

Emerging scenario for Kilsyth 1645

My Venture Fair rules will cover five of the battles from the the brilliant campaign fought by Montrose during 1644-45. The battles were:

Tibbermore 1 September 1644
Aberdeen 13 September 1644
Inverlochy 2 February 1645
Auldearn 9 May 1645
Alford 2 July 1645
Kilsyth 15 August 1645
Philliphaugh 13 September 1645

I don't intend to cover Inverlochy, largely because this was a simple and ruthless massacre with little real interest for a wargames scenario. Also, Philiphaugh isn't on my list. Basically a surprise assault by the Covenanters destroyed Montrose's forces in short order with a resulting nasty massacre of prisoners and civilians. Again, not really good material for a wargame.

I'm not approaching this in any order but have done enough work on Tibbermore and Aberdeen to begin play testing. I've been using Stuart Reid's Auldearn 1645 as my main source. Aberdeen was straightforward but Tibbermore was problematic and I ended up rethinking it significantly. Ironic really as this is the only one of the battles fields I'm personally familiar with.

So I started on Kilsyth the other night not knowing what I would find when I reviewed my earlier draft. Lets not forget I drafted these scenarios out several years ago using the same sources.

So, some days later, I think I have finally got  grip on the battle. Here is my sketch:

Thanks again to DoW and their map editor for M44
The right hand of the map is North. Montrose was between the Covenanter forces and Glasgow and Baillie, their commander, took his forces to find Montrose. He followed the road just off the left hand side of the map towards Glasgow. Montrose had drawn up in position yellow 1, possibly to ambush Baillie as he moved along the road (position blue 1).

Baillie spotted the ambush and took his troops off the road towards the north, using the local hills to hide his movement. However, when the Covenanters eventually moved out of cover through positions blue 2, Montrose reacted to being outflanked by moving his troops towards positions yellow 2. 

The Covenanter commanded shot under a Col. Haldane, decided to have a go at the Royalists and moved into a group of cottages and enclosures known as Auchinvalley, precipitating contact with the Royalist Highland units. This engagement prevented Baillie prolonging his line towards the north so he used his cavalry to seek to outflank the Royalist line (blue 3). Royalist cavalry moving across the rear of their line (second yellow 2 position) from the original positions dealt with this threat. 

Weight of numbers and experience told as the Royalists broke the Covenanter centre and the Royalist right wing destroyed Baillie's left flank.  

I have really enjoyed learning about this battle and think I have now got enough of an idea to make a worthwhile scenario. Interestingly, I only made progress once I turned the map round by 90 degrees, then things began to make sense. Possibly a life lesson there!

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