Liscarroll:Scenario Development Wargame

The header picture is a recent view overlooking the walls of Liscarroll Castle with part of the battlefield in the distance (credit John Bedell ).

I have mentioned that I now plan to use Impetus:Baroque standard rules to do quick appreciations of the historic battles I plan to investigate before I play them out on a larger field using the extended house version of Baroque. Liscarroll is the first battle to use this procedure.

Liscarroll was fought on September 3rd, 1642, between the Munster army of the nascent Irish Confenderation commanded by General Garret Barry and an Anglo/Irish Ptotestant force lead by the Baron Inchiquin. The Irish army was substantially larger (a near three-to-on advantage in foot) but generally poorly armed and trained. Although smaller, Inchiquin’s was better armed and trained, comprised not only of the remnants of the old government garrisons in Munster and other locally raised Protestant forces but reinforced by regulars that had been recruited in England as a joint venture of King and Parliment in response to the 1641 rebellion. The forces were equal in horse both in numbers (about 500 per side) and quality (good) being comprised of landed gentry and men of position and their retainers. The historic result was a smashing victory for the English.

Here are links for the Baroque unit types and values for the Irish and for the Anglo/Irish, although for convenience I will refer to them as the “English”.

The Baroque battlefield minimum dimensions for 10mm are 120cm by 90cm for 500/700 point battles and 180cm x 120cm for a 800/1000 point battle. Since I use 80mm base width (2/3 of the recommended 120mm) the reduced field dimensions would be 80cm x 60cm and 120cm x 80cm respectively. My quarter battle surface dimension is 40″ x  30″ (roughly 100cm x 75cm) so using this reduced size for most of the development battles I will do by standard Baroque seems justified.

Liscarroll I:

Irish: two P&M (B), two militia P&M (C), two militia PK (C), two local militia WB (C), two retinue horse GA (B), one light gun and one heavy gun. Army VDT (demoralization value) is 19. Army CS (command structure) is poor. CO is Garret Barry (1) with three subordinates (each 1)

“English”: two P&M (B), two musketeer T (B), two retinue horse GA (B) and two light guns. Army VDT is 14. Army CS is average. CO is Lord Inchiquin (3) with one subordinate (2).

The battle opens with the Irish horse (top left) moving forward and charging the English horse which react by counter-charging. The Irish foot is holding in decent defensive positions but the English foot advances to musket range where they will have a considerable advantage in firepower against the pike heavy Irish. The Irish heavy gun beings firing but without effect:

Liscarroll_sbA1

The cavalry Melee’ on the English left has had mixed results. Lord Inchiquin’s squadron has taken substantial loses and was pushed back. Although not caught by the Irish pursuit, they were again caught by the ferocius Irish as they rallied. The second English squadron drove off the following Irish horse with heavy loss and are now trying to return to help Inchiquin. Some of the English foot is beginning to bring the Irish foot under fire and causing casualties. The Irish return fire is ragged. All the guns on both sides are now engaged but the results are not worth the expenditure of powder. The Irish, seeing the English plan to wear them down with fire power are advancing their pike blocks in the center:

Liscarroll_sbA2

In the actual battle Lord Inchiquin was captured during the horse melee on the left but was quickly recovered by English horse. In this fight, however, he was killed outright, followed by the destruction of the remaining English horse (pretty much a disaster!).

As the Irish horse regroups to now threaten the remnant of the English left, the Irish pike blocks engage the English center:

Liscarroll_sbA3

emboldened by the Irish pikes, General Barry orders his best foot regiments to move down the slight slope to attack the English right:

Liscarroll_sbA4

The guns continue to fire on both sides but cause little damage. The English have a heavy superiority in musketry and shread the Irish in both the center and on the English right. Although the Irish manage to come to melee’ at various points they are thrown back by the outnumbered English:

Liscarroll_sbA5

The Irish commander of horse has been reduced to incompetency (a particularly nice feature of Baroque) and is having trouble organizing his attack to roll-up the English flank. The Irish attacks continue to wear down the English foot but as the fighting continues both sides are becoming exhausted. In the  lower corner of the picture below the black (English) and white (Irish) counter indicates that the next army to lose a unit will probably break:

Liscarroll_sbA6

At the beginning of turn seven, the Irish horse commander, improbably, wins the intiative and charges into the flank of the English musketeers, who break. The battle is over, the Irish have won.

Liscarroll_sbA7

Impetus:Baroque is a very attractive rules set. I have mentioned before that the reaction rules allow the non-phasing player much opportunity for decision making and responding to what the active player is doing. This feature is not unique to Baroque but is very cleanly implemented. Additionally the sequence of which side and which element will become active next is less than predictable. This adds, even for a solo player, a good deal of drama and interest.

This game was lost by the English when gambling they could take out another Irish unit (several were on the edge of breaking) BEFORE the Irish could get their horse into the flank attack. An Improbable sequence of activations however changed the expected sequence of events and it was suddenly over.

Next I’m going to replay the same scenario but with the Irish In more compact formations (which may be a better approximation of what actually happened).

2 thoughts on “Liscarroll:Scenario Development Wargame

  1. As always, the post is well-researched and written. You can still ask your friends to play your game again. The more reluctant one has not said he won’t play again. It’s worth asking.

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