Wargaming Benburb: Scenarios and Setup

The header image is a London broadside published shortly after the Battle of Benburb. (O’Neill Country Historic Society)

The Orders of Battle and Scenario Guide can be found on the Benburb 1646 page.

The deployment of Owen Roe O’Neill’s (red) wing along with the small reserve (black) wing under Rory Maquire makes up the Irish left:

Benburb - Irish - Gen O'Niell & Maquire Wings

The very edge of the Benburb road as it crosses Drumflugh Hill can just be seen in the upper left corner. O’Neill is extremely weak in horse, but has deployed them forward to harass the enemy. He will rely on the considerable strength of his foot to carry the day. His best regiment (his own) is placed near the center and is seconded by Maquire’s powerful reserve (which has been made stronger by adding two hundred more musketeers that had been employed as skirmishers).

Sir Phelim O’Neill, the army’s second in command (and ably assisted by Col. Robert Farrell) is placed on the Irish right (blue) wing and the remainder of the horse (now commanded by Miles O’Reily) forms the extreme left (white) wing:

Benburb - Irish - Phelim O'Niell & O'Reily Wings

Sir Phelim has placed his largest regiment, Macdonald’s, to the left center to add its weight to Owen Roe’s two powerful regiments. O’Reily’s lancers would have been part of Brien O’Neill’s brigade of horse, unfortunately Col. O’Neill did not return with the horse from his foray to the north. This leaves Miles O’Reily, perhaps the Irish folk hero known as “The Slasher” (“Bold Miles the Slasher” in the Benburb song), to command the remnant.

Across the field from Owen Roe’s left (and apparently coming up along the road) is the Anglo/Irish reserve (black) wing commanded by Lord Montgomery of Ardes. Among other things he is responsible for the security of the baggage train (and the road west, should that prove neccessary). Sir James Montgomery’s newly recruited foot was severely mauled at Ballaghkillgevill earlier in the day and is placed as a flank guard to the baggage train. Lord Montgomery has placed his own foot regiment across the road in front of the baggage train where it will await events. The substantial force of horse will likely be told off to attack and seize the road crossing of the Wet Hollow:

Benburb - Protestant - Montgomery Wing

Lord Blaney commands the rest of the Anglo/Irish force (the blue wing) and as Captain of Artillery also has responsibility for the Protestant army’s gun batteries deployed on a prominence above the Wet Hollow. Blaney has positioned his own foot regiment above the guns and holds Lord Clanboy’s in reserve:

Benburb - Protestant - Blaney Wing

The strength of the Protestant army are the five Scottish foot regiments deployed to the left of Blaney and comprising the left center (red) wing under the direct control of the army’s commanding general, Sir Robert Monro. Although a capable force, the Earl of Glencairn’s foot was also roughly handled at Ballaghkillgevill and is placed to the rear to act in the defense if required:

Benburb - Protestant - Gen Monro Wing

On the Protestant left, Col George Monro is just arriving on the scene after his victory over Brien O’Neill. As the Army’s overall commander of horse, he will take control of the far left (white) wing. His three regiments represent the most powerful mounted force on the field (although the Lisnegarvy lancers are thought to be a bit shaky):

Benburb - Protestant - Geo Monro Wing

Many techniques are used in solo play but the most important, to me at least, is double mindedness – to hold two divergent thoughts while trying to keep them independent of each other. My known bias is always toward the side that won and I try hard to repeat. That said out of shear stubbornness, I try equally hard for the other side. Tricky.

The initial thoughts for how the game will begin:

Owen Roe (Irish): With very little horse the historic right swing to seal the enemy’s left flank looks undoable. He will now rapidly attack the center with as much weight as possible while refusing the flanks. If possible he will prevent the enemy seizure of the road crossing BUT without giving up flank security.

Robert Monro (Protestants): attack BOTH of the enemy’s flanks while holding the center at the line of the Wet Hollow. To whichever flank attack is immediately successful, he will send as much weight as possible.

2 thoughts on “Wargaming Benburb: Scenarios and Setup

  1. I have great faith in your ability to see both sides independently. I had to smile at your description of the challenge. Enjoy the game!


  2. Thanks! 😀

    Studying parables (sacred or secular) involves the same sort of double mindedness (at least). Double mindedness does not necessary mean opposing views but holding simultaneous frames of reference.

    OK that’s my stab at philosophy for 2017 😄


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