So finally getting back to actually wargaming after being diverted to getting all (well almost all) of my figure bases “dressed up” with shrubs and flock.
Since Fyvie was less a pitched battle than a sustained skirmish it is somewhat more difficult to determine the actual Order of Battle (and subsequent deployment) than many of Montrose’s other battles. This has led to further experimentation on how to represent the collection of rather diverse forces employed on both sides in Montrose’s campaign (and more broadly, across the entire Celtic Fringe). The core foot units are almost always conventional musket&pike units (look at virtually every army list provided by the myriad of rules systems available) but with widely varying training and experience. Substantial portions of the Fringe armies, however, are often composed of local trained militia (fencibles in Scotland), hastily assembled and indifferently armed levies, clan retinues and their levies, and other ad hoc assemblages.
I have made bunches of combat pieces (bases) armed and organized in several different ways with even the conventional musket&pike pieces having varying numbers of the two principal weapons. I would like to find a rules set that effectively covers Celtic Fringe warfare but have not yet done so. This, therefore, adds the further complication of doing my own rules with all the experimentation and blind alleys that entails.
One area of experimentation is with how to present the Order of Battle. The current spreadsheet format contains most of the information needed for fighting a specific battle BUT still requires looking up (and calculating!) a bunch of data for both ranged and close combat. This is complicated by the number of different combat pieces (bases) that can be used to assemble units. The header picture is a failed attempt at a new presentation. I like that it shows the actual pieces but it is difficult to tell what is what from the overhead view, plus it is ridiculously tedious to produce!
I am now back to developing a spreadsheet format that will present ALL the information I need for a battle, that can be more quickly assembled, and printed easily (unlike the photo approach). I will post up the new format on the Order of Battle pages when it is completed.
To get a handle on Fyvie, I am using several of the primary sources, Wishart, Ruthven, and Spalding (the latter two possibly present) and several secondary sources (all of which, to some degree or the other, rely on the same primary sources mentioned).
I have also studied two wargame scenarios for the Battle of Fyvie, Robert Giglio’s in the excellent Partizan Press ECW scenario series and Robert Markham’s in the 3W ECW boardgame series. Both designers have dealt with the problems of wargaming the extended series of skirmishes by creating the possibility of a quicker set-piece battle and I’ve decided to do the same.
I have taken some license in the order of battles for both sides, the most extreme is having Campbell of Lawers foot present at Fyvie. While they had certainly marched with Argyll’s army, he evidently had placed them to protect Inverness should Montrose turn in that direction. Based on the sources, however, it is difficult to come up with the numbers that were present with Argyll. Giglio has Argyll’s regular regiment of foot present, Markham goes with Lawers and Reid suggests Forbes.
For Fyvie to succeed as a wargame I am going along with Markham and will have both Lothian’s and Lawers’ present. Both of these regiments had served in the Scots Ulster army and have campaign (if not combat) experience. That Argyll seems to have intended to have Lawers available for an encounter with Montrose will have to suffice.
On the Royalist side, both Reid and Stevenson believe that Colonel Manus O’Cahan had not yet returned from Dublin and it was Lt. Colonel Donoghue O’Cahan that lead the regiment at Fyvie. I represent this regiment as all musketeers. There are still several hundred Irish troops to be accounted for so the rest will be used to make up Laghtnan’s foot – a musket and pike regiment.
I am now going to finish the Order of Battle scheme and then set up the board for Fyvie (and see if I can closely reproduce the one I set up over two months ago!)