Tally Ho!

Saturday 20 August 2016

Montrose camapign - week 11

Battle of Ross and Cromarty - Montrose Wins

After a short break over the summer we resumed the Montrose ECW campaign. Following a recent run of success Montrose was now well ahead with Scotland very close to falling entirely to the Royalist forces. This would therefore be the final battle of the campaign should Montrose win.

The Scenario

Once again this was straightforward pitched battle with both sides seeking to inflict maximum damage on their opponents - the winner being the first to rout 50% of the enemy. The victory markers in the village each counted as 1 routed unit.

Covenanter Forces8* Foot (1 * Vets)
1 * Field artillery
5 * Horse (2.5 regts)
1 * Forlorn Hope (Vets)

Montrose Forces
3 * Vet Foot (Irish)
5 * Gordon Foot (3 Raw)
3 * Highlanders
1 * Field artillery
4 * Horse (2 regts)
1 * Light gun

The Battle

The two sides adopted slightly different plans on this occasion. The Covenanters launched a general assault on their right and centre but refused their left as they found their cavalry facing foot. Montrose went for something closer to the Bulls Horns with Horse attacking on the left and Highlanders and Gordon foot on the right,
Stuart the Elder points-out his attacking foot. Montrose horse in the distance

Lowlanders and highlanders attack
On Montrose right his Raw lowland foot made good progress against the Covenanter horse but the highlanders were repulsed by the Veteran Forlorn Hope holding the village. In the centre the Covenanter foot advanced steadily in two lines - this looked a strong position as Irish Brigade was thinly spread with no reserves. The Wargames gods are fickle though, and for the second battle in a row the Irish Brigades shooting was deadly, quickly destroying the first rank of attackers.

Highlanders make slow progress in the village

Covenanter foot under heavy fire

Over on Montrose left the Horse made good progress against their outnumbered opponents and were able to push them  back, threatening the flank of the Covenanters. In the centre the slaughter continued with the Irish brigade routing several units of the enemy foot for little apparent damage.

Montrose Horse dominates the field

Still no progress for the Highlanders

Covenanter foot quits the field
In a slightly bizarre, but understandable, mix-up the Covenanter lancers on their left launched an unsupported frontal charge on the Gordon Foot. It turned-out the blue bonnets had led them to believe they were Highlanders. Needless to say it did not go well for the Horse. 

With the centre crumbling, and the flanks in trouble, we reached the point where 50% of the Covenanters had routed. So a third straight win for Montrose.
View of the field

The Verdict

This victory meant that Montrose had taken a decisive lead and was 9-5 ahead in territories held. By common agreement we felt that Scotland had fallen to the Royalists and so in  June 1645 the Covenanters sued for peace.
So all-in-all a strong showing for Montrose and it was nice to play a campaign through to conclusion over a period of about 4 months. Some reflections from my perspective:

1. The games looked great and with the addition of Stuart the Elders troops we were able to field some large armies which added to the spectacle.

2. Our various tweaks to the rules worked pretty well, with large battles (15'ish units a side) fought to conclusion within 3 hours every week.

3. The simple campaign system provided some benefits to winning but obviously limited strategic scope. With both sides attacking and perhaps the territory rewards known in advance this aspect could have been enhanced.

4. Creating overlaps was the key to success as this enabled you to rapidly create unsustainable damage on the enemy. Montrose seemed to manage this more often than the Covenanters. Cavalry combats were too slow and bloody though, so in-effect they cancelled each other out and even the winners were unable to take any further part in the game.  


  1. Satisfying to see a campaign through to a proper conclusion as so often they can fizzle out. Some good looking games too - I look forward to seeing more!

  2. I've bought some more to paint-up as English Royalists, so the plan is to do another campaign with more "classic" opponents next time

  3. The Covenanters obviously spent too much time on their inees praying and praising the Lord and witch burning to think of military subtleties.
    Their main tactic as the blogger sayeth, was to line up oppisite the enemt and bang away in hope. Then, for the last game they listened to the weasel words of Mobtrose hinself and formed in a double line which halved the frontage and exposed them to more firepower. Moreover, for watever reason they let Montrose have the town and so were ooyflanked as they advanced past it to attack. Trusting doubtless in the righteousness of their cause the Covenanters delivered themselves up to the Royalists who duly slaughtered them. A spirit of fairness forces us to say that in the first round of firing Montrose' Irish did have stunning luck which was important as, from that moment, their front line was down on missile effect for the rest of the game. One does wonder if, in the seventeenth century, luck played much part in missile casualties? As both sides were firing many muskets surely the results would tend to average if the number of muskets were the same. Of course there is always the wargamer's pist rationalisation...at that monent the Covenanters must have cme across a ditch or had a squall of rain dampen their matches, orva pkatoon or two did not get the order to fire.

  4. Is it just me or do the natural typos that occur from using the ipad soft keyboard make it sound even more olde English ;-)