OHW Scenario Nine – 1649

After thinking through a few things I decided I wanted to do one more test game before moving on to various OHW applications to campaigns. Specifically I wanted to see how Towns worked and see Highlanders in action.

I Selected Scenario Nine (Double Delay) since it was the first scenario in the collection with a town. Neil Thomas notes that he based it on Wavre (1815), the superfluous victory by Grouchy over the Prussians that arguably cost Napoleon victory at Waterloo.

I continue the semi-fiction of the last game, the Irish Coalition advance on Dublin, then in the hands of the newly formed English Commonwealth. This time, the Confederation army deployed at Benburb not withstanding, I was able to piece together an Irish Catholic force out of the remnants and a few other odds and ends. The Irish Foot carries the standard of the Irish Confederation. I also reflagged the New Model Army foot and they now carry the Commonwealth flag (The Naval ensign actually).

I used the usual random draws for the force makeups and got Highlanders for the Irish on the first try (I would have re-rolled had I not). The Highlanders will represent the “Red Shanks” that fought for the Confederation at various times.

I have also standardized the way the 10mm bases look on the table (much in the way many rules sets use a single base for each unit with the figures arranged in as specific form to imply their function)

the rule modifications that I use for OHW – Pike and Shot, created a dichotomy in the Swordsmen category, something akin to the Skirmisher category (styled “Dragoons”) and actual Swordsmen (styled “Highlanders”). Depending on time or place, either may be available to one or both sides.

The Dragoon category (which may be called other things depending on the scenario) is standardized on this form (5″ x 1.5″ base):


The Highlander category, I decided, needed  a base of greater depth (5″x 2.5″) to give a warband like look. It is now standardized (although piece placement may vary slightly) as:


The Horse remains on a 5″ x 2.5″ movement stand and now use different configurations to represent the two possible sub-configurations, Trotter and Galloper:


I should note that the two sub-categories are more game constructs than what was actually going on with the way cavalry fought and how their tactics rapidly changed. Using both (particularly if the type is randomly selected when only one horse unit is present) adds yet another consideration to the tactics the player will use.

The premise of the scenario is that the Commonwealth and Coalition are fighting a major battle somewhere to the Northeast of this location. Both sides here wish to join that battle while also preventing or delaying the other side from doing so.


OHW Scenario 9 battle board. North is at the top of the picture. For the sake of having names we  will call the town Rathfarham on the River Dodder. The Dodder is crossable only at the ford or the Rathfarnham bridge.

The Commonwealth deploys first anywhere north of the river and during the game may never move south of the river. The Coalition force enters anywhere along the southern edge (foreground below) and has first move in each turn.


The Commonwealth dragoons are placed in the woods to cover the ford and the horse brigade in the center may deploy either right or left as need be. The foot brigade deploys to support the garrison of Rathfarnham. The garrison, a single foot regiment, is placed in the center of town to control the bridge crossing.

To win the Commonwealth must withdraw three units off the board via the road to the north. This withdraw must also meet a specific schedule: a unit by the end of turn 4, another by the end of turn 8, and the last by the end of turn 12. If this schedule is not maintained the battle is lost and the game immediately ends. The Commonwealth must ALSO prevent the Coalition victory conditions in order to gain the victory.


The Coalition divides to force both crossings as quickly as possible. To the right Coalition foot storm the bridge and fire upon the Commonwealth garrison. Supported by two regiments of foot firing across tthe river and into the woods, the Red Shanks stream across the ford. The Coalition horse is drawn up behind the Highlanders.

To win, the Coalition must capture the town of Rathfarnham and move two of its units off the board using the road exit to the north. They may also win by preventing  the Commonwealth’s exit schedule.


After an exchange of volleys, heavy fighting flows across the central square of Rathfarnham


At the ford the Red Shanks have crossed the river under intense fire and charged into the wood to drive out the Commonwealth dragoons.

The Battle proceeds rapidly with no quarter sought or given.


To meet the withdraw schedule the Commonwealth slowly begins to send units north to join the large battle being fought at Rathmines near Dublin. After inflicting heavy losses on the Irish, and with their flanks being turned, the garrison unit abandons Rathfarnham. The Coalition, having routed part of the Commonwealth horse, now controls the center and advances toward the last of the enemy horse on the hill overlooking the Dublin Road. Bitter fighting continues in the woods.


Seeing an opening, the Irish horse dashed through a gap in the Commonwealth’s rapidly diminishing defenses to join the fight at Rathmines.


Rathfarnham now secure in Irish hands, the right wing of the Coalition foot presses forward to prevent further Commonwealth withdrawal. With heavy fighting occurring on the hilltop, the remnants of the Dragoons, having seen off the Red Shanks in the woods, maneuver toward the road.


In the last scene of consequence in the battle, the dragoons prepare to exit the board. While they will meet the Commonwealth withdrawal schedule, the Coalition captured Rathfarnham and managed to get their required two units off to the north before the fifteenth turn. An Irish Coalition tactical victory.

This is a quite fun scenario to play and presents many difficult decisions for either side in how to deploy and best use forces to achieve some very specific and interrelated goals. The game was fast, playing out in just under an hour and completing on turn fourteen. While it was a clear tactical victory for the Irish they were unable to prevent the Commonwealth withdrawing substantial forces which would join with those of the Commonwealth general, Michael Jones, who, historically, inflicted a serious tactical and strategic defeat on the Marquis of Ormond’s Coalition Army at The Battle of Rathmines.

As to my two goals of seeing how Towns and Highlanders worked, both were satisfactory. The Town provides a useful defensive area that somewhat magnifies the force of the defender in the initial melee’. I use the common practice of moving buildings around to allow units to be placed within the town in reasonable ways. If move stands are not used even this would not be necessary.

The Highlanders are fast movers and fight well. They, however, had the task of driving a dragoon unit out of Woods, which like Towns, enhance the defense. The Highlanders rolled in combat as badly as any unit I have ever employed, uniformly ones and twos in every melee’ round. For this reason they were, improbably, defeated by the Commonwealth dragoons. Still, they show potential.

A brief note on rule interpretation. I gave up-slope advantage in only the first melee’ round. Also, once both contesting units are within the Wood or Town, EACH receives the defense bonus in melee’. This makes Wood and Town important defensive positions which are difficult to clear by melee’.

I will undoubtedly revisit this and the previous “Road to Dublin” scenario when I stage the larger scale Battle of Rathmines over at my main blog (probably in 2018 given my current pace).

2 thoughts on “OHW Scenario Nine – 1649

  1. Looks like a fun game. I guess the Highlanders were just not angry enough that day. I like how you’ve done your terrain for these games.


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