Benburb: Battle of the Nephews

This previous post outlines the current situation.

The scenario is here


d_guy: The view below is south toward the approaching Irish under Brien O’Niell (nephew of Owen Roe). In the foreground is the van of the Protestant Coleraine force commanded by George Monro (nephew of Sir Robert). The Protestants have dragoons in the woods to the right and in the ruined monastery in the center left. Munro leads a unit of gallopers behind the ruins.


The rest of the views will be from the Irish side looking north.

Turn One

Irish Commander: Let’s get this done! Trotters straight to the ruins and bring the Prods under fire. Gallopers hold and mirror their horse, don’t let them engage our dismounted dragoons. The rest, ignore their lads in the hedge and concentrate on the ruins! Hammer ’em!

Protestant Commander: Ok, looks like the Boggies are going to ignore the hedge and go straight for the ruins. Let’s make an anvil for them! You lot in the hedge, move behind the ruins to be a reserve. Horse be aware of a possible end run by their horse. Do not let them get to our lads in the open! But, if you get an open look at their dismounted dragoons – take it!


d_Guy: uh – have I made this too hard for the Irish?

Turn Two

Irish Commander: Trotters, keep firing until you are out of shot, then hit their horse! Dang! Our lead dragoons are out of powder and shot already! Second line move through them and continue to pour fire on the ruins. Gallopers, flank protect our Trotters, we need their fire power! We have to break these guys in the ruins!

Protestant Commander: Horse, pull back a bit, continue to look for an opening, but above all protect our reserve. Lead Dragoons keep up the fire on the Boggies! Well done! They are dropping like flies!


Turn Three

Irish Commander: Now’s your time Gallopers! Pin their horse! Keep up the fire, boys! Yes! Broke them! But not a pittance of powder or shot left.

Protestant Commander: Reserve dragoons, into the breech and keep up the fire. They can’t stand much longer! Well done lads, there falling back! Rear dragoons, regroup and close up on the ruins. Horse, push the Papists back!

Turn Four

Irish Commander: Rear dragoons, through your brothers in front and attack the devils in the ruins! Trotters, wheel left and around the hedges, take the heretics in the rear! Much depends on you, gallopers!  Finish their horse!! No time for rest rear dragoons, move up to the right and prepare to attack again.

Protestant Commander: Dragoons – hold the ruins! Horse – you must attack again and protect the rear dragoons’ flank!

d_Guy: things are becoming critical for the Irish. Both their dragoon units have twelve hits with only two each to give. The Protestant counter attack on the Irish gallopers did not drive them back and the Protestant horse is now doomed. 

Turn Five

Irish Commander: It is essential that the horse get to their reserve dragoons or we are done!!

d_Guy: George Monro was wounded when his gallopers were seen off but managed to join the dragoons in the ruined Monastery.

Protestant Commander: Rear dragoons, back, pivot, fire on the gallopers! Front dragoons – you are the  anvil – you can win this for the right religion!!

d_Guy: the Protestant dragoons not only hold the ruins but rout the first Irish wave of attackers. Worse, Brien O’Neill was killed in the volley that crushed his gallopers. A volley that expended the Protestant reserve dragoons’ last powder and shot.

Turn Six

Irish Commander (2nd): For St. Brendan and St. Bridget – Forward!!!

d_Guy: the Irish Trotters are now well out of command range and fail their command and control test (badly!)

Photo 6-A

Protestant Commander:  reserve pivot to the rear and prepare to receive the remaining papist horse! Dragoons, bold lads, one more hard push and the day is ours!

Huzzah! Broke them by G_d!!

d_Guy: the Irish trotters are completely unscathed and have now been joined by the Irish second in command. They should be able to easily destroy the Irish reserve dragoons (already with twelve hits). It will take two turns to do this, leaving two turns to the end of the scenario. They will then be faced with an insurmountable obstacle – Protestant dragoons still hold the ruins and the trotters may not finish a turn in a built up area (which they would have to do, since with out powder or shot, they must enter to melee’!) Game – set – match – George Monro and his Protestant Coleraine force.

This means at the Benburb Wargame, Brien O’Neill never arrives, but George Monro does – bringing another unit of horse. This will mean that Owen Roe O’Niell will face a one to five disadvantage in horse rather than the historic one to two. This game also points out the historic wisdom of Brien O’Niell giving up the idea of a concerted attack on the ruins in favor of “riding to the sound of the guns” at Benburb. 

By design the Irish have an edge in fire-power but since they quickly ran out of powder and shot (and the Protestants didn’t) the advantage was lost. Still it provided a lively game and now makes an Irish victory at Ballaghkillgevill all but essential to Irish fortunes at Benburb.