Dia`s Naomh Andrea! The Battle of Mulroy (1688) with FK&P

The header picture shows Lachlan Macintosh with his retinue, the clan levies on his right hand. Dia’s Naomi Andrea, is “God’s Saint Andrew”, the MacDonald battlecry that day reported by MacKay.

Background posts for the Battle of Mulroy.

Turn One and Two

As the early turns are for maneuvering and collection of forces, there is not much action to document. MacDonald of Glencoe has joined Keppoch on the ridge and Mackenzie of Suddie’s regulars have made an impressive four forward moves in the first turn with the now traditional failure to activate in the second. Getting the rest of the Mackintosh line moving has been a trial.

Mulroy_end2

Mulroy: The situation at the end of turn two. Mackenzie of Suddie is moving his men rapidly forward aimed at the enemy left flank.

Turn Three and Four

No additional reinforcements have yet arrived to support MacDonald, so Coll maintains his small army in line, just below the crest of Maol Ruadh.

The Captain of Chattan has gotten his powerful brigade into a line of attack while Lachlan has led his Macintosh retinue forward to secure the right flank of the Clan Chattan line. The levies follow behind Macintosh a good distance behind the retinue (apparently reluctant to fully commit themselves to the enterprise).

Mackenzie, still aggressively moving his men forward, has taking up a position in a cluster of rocks on the lower slope of Maol Ruadh. From here he has opened an irritating (if not very effective) fire on the MacDonalds, apparently hoping they would respond by moving down slope.

Mulroy_end4

Mulroy: The situation at the end of turn four.

 

Mulroy_turn4_HIC fires

Mackenzie brings Keppoch under long range fire hoping to gall him into coming down off the higher ground.

Turn Five and Six

The Camerons of Lochiel have now joined Coll MacDonald’s slowly increasing army as the Makintosh forces continues their slow advance, sorting out their attack line as they go.

Mulroy_turn5_HIC fires

Mackenzie’s Highland Independent Company continues its fire, expending ammunition to no good effect it seems since the MacDonald’s have as yet refused to come down The hill to engage.

In turn six, with the Camerons now in position, Coll leads the men of Keppoch toward the government troops on the Mackintosh right.

Both the Captain of Chattan and Lachlan Mackintosh himself now finally have their best warriors in position to attack the outnumbered MacDonalds (Glengarry has yet to arrive).

Mulroy_end6

Mulroy: The situation at the end of turn six. The Mackintosh and Clan Chattan forces are preparing to attack.

Turn Seven

While a great deal of taunting and some random shooting went on with bows and muskets, no appreciable damage was done. The turn did see further positional maneuvering but this was often diminished by the vagaries of chance.

Mulroy_end7

Mulroy: The situation at the end of turn seven. The fighting is about to begin in earnest.

At this point in the game I took an interlude for evaluation and further testing of the rules extensions I had applied to the Highlanders. This resulted in further editing (and hopefully improvement) which I’ll outline in the future – d_guy.

Turn Eight

The Camerons launched a hail of arrows at the MacGilvarys but to no effect. The MacGilvary archers, dodging amongst the rain of arrows, launched their own flights with equal disappointment.

Daring all, Lachlan led the Mackintoshes through a gap in the MacDonald line in an attempt to gain the upslope advantage. He was, however, only partial successful, thwarted by the steepening slope to his front. The Chattan levies close up manfully to protect bold Lachlan’s flank.

Finally, with howls of delight and rage, the Keppoch MacDonalds, led by the chief himself, fell on the government troops of Captain Mackenzie. They were, however, miraculously repelled but not without much fierce fighting.

Bouman MacDonald swung his lethal club at Private Donald MacBane’s head who managed to duck under the stoke and disembowel the giant half-wit with his bayonet! Tullich MacDonald then caught MacBane under the chin with the edge of his target, breaking his jaw, disintegrating several teeth and generally knocking him senseless. As Tullich prepared the coup d’grace with his back sword, Capt Mackenzie dropped Tullich with a well aimed pistol shot between the eyes.

Where does this detailed description of the fighting at a very personal level come from (other than too many readings of The Iliad)? There are three “gallant gentlemen” attached to the units in this particular melee. At the moment the rules do not seem to prevent more than one being attached to a unit nor do they prevent all of them being expended in a single melee turn. They may be expended to re-draw a missed to-hit card. As I assign them names (historical or otherwise), the story essentially writes itself. -d_guy

The Glencoe MacDonalds charged down into the Shaws and were also repelled. Clan Donald has by now pretty much shot its bolt with little gain.

And where, pray tell, are the Glengarry MacDonalds?!

Mulroy_end8

Mulroy: The situation at the end of turn eight. Despite the aggressive MacDonald attacks, Lachlan Mackintosh has split their line.

Turn Nine

The Camerons were now overcome by indecision and did nothing. Further down the slope, the MacGilverys were equally disinclined to climb up toward them.

Clan Shaw, having previously repelled the attack of the men of Glencoe, charge uphill and routed them! The Shaws immediately went in pursuit. Lachlan’s Mackintoshes managed now also to gain the higher ground, the Chattan levies right behind them. Davidson and Macbean stood on the flat to act as a reserve.

The Chattan reserve is purposely held back from the beginning of the upward slope to avoid giving any MacDonalds breaking through the uphill advantage. -d_guy

While Keppoch regrouped on the higher slope, Mackenzie again brought them under a somewhat ineffective musket fire. Not unexpectedly Coll MacDonald led the Keppoch men in another charge, this time breaking the government contingent. Captain Mackenzie departed with them as well with the Keppoch MacDonalds in hot pursuit.

Still no Glengarry.

Mulroy_end9

Mulroy: The situation at the end of turn 9. The MacDonalds are in an increasingly desperate position. It the upper left hand corner, the Glengarry MacDonalds are in an apparent conversation about the best way to climb the hill

Turn Ten

The MacDonalds are now in a perilous situation. With Coll in hot pursuit, he and his Keppoch men with soon be off Maol Ruadh. If the Mackintosh force holds all sixteen boxes of the mountain for a turn, they will automatically win!

Seeing the danger, Sigobair MacMartin successfully (and wisely) pulls the Camerons back to the high ridge to make a last stand.

The Captain of Chattan attempted to rally the Shaws from their pursuit of the Glencoe MacDonalds, but failed. He is quickly running out of time to bring them to heel. The MacGilverys continued to be circumspect in advancing.

At this moment, the Glengarry MacDonalds showed up. Lachlan twice charged them but to little effect. Finally he ordered up the Chattan levies to add weight to Mackintosh attacks.

Mulroy-inturn10

Supported by the Clan Chattan levies, Lachlan Mackintosh leads an all out assault on the newly arrived MacDonalds of Glengarry

Seeing their chance, Glengarry charged the Chattan levies severely disrupting them. Although raw, ill-equipped and having little interest in being there, they hung on by a slender thread. The thread quickly broke, however, when the Glengarry men charged a second time, breaking the levies. Glengarry now joins the MacDonalds of Keppoch in an all out pursuit.

As Col MacDonald moves further from the base of the mountain, he attempted to rally his hot-blooded Keppoch warriors but to no avail.

Mulroy_end10

Mulroy: The situation at the end of turn 10. Both sides are getting so dispersed that command and control penalties are beginning to crop up

Turn Eleven

The Captain of Chattan gave up on trying to get the Shaws to reign in their pursuit and joined MacGilvarys.

Coll continued to try to gain control of the Keppoch MacDonalds but with out success. We now have all the MacDonalds abandoning their position on Maol Ruadh given over to the single-minded pursuit of their enemies and the Shaws about to run right past the last enemy unit on the crest and follow the fleeing MacDonalds of Glencoe down the northern side of the mountain.

There were several failures in activation, the most devastating being the immediate failure of the Davidsons to activate, ending the turn for the Captain of Chattan’s Brigade.  It was as well that the Captain had abandoned the Shaws to regain complete command and control of his forces. As it turns out, however, an officer may NOT leave a unit while it is in pursuit mode so The Captain of Chattan made an illegal move which is now rectified. Since the Davidsons drew an ace, the fact that they had just come into command and control range, their captain’s illegal move was made moot.  -d_guy

Mulroy_end11

Mulroy: the situation at the end of turn eleven. Units off in pursuit (indicated by the red and white stripped arrowheads) are rapidly disorganizing both armies.

Turn Twelve

Despite the yells and admonishment of SOME of their officers, the MacDonalds persisted in the pursuit, moving them further away from any chance of holding Maol Ruadh.

I will detail in a future post the rule extensions I’ve put in for the Highlanders (all of which – I believe – are well within the framework of the FK&P draft rules and capture their spirit). The Highlanders use the same pursuit rules as “Swedish” horse (but a one box move rather than two). It is difficult (correctly so I think) to rally from pursuit. -d_guy

The Shaws, The Captain of Chattan with them, exited down the North slope still in close pursuit of the MacDonalds.

The rules provide that if a unit exits the board while in pursuit, the pursuit ends and  it may return on the following turn (or after) giving a sufficient activation draw. -d_guy

Lachlan led his Mackintosh retinue up to the crest and had them turn to take the Camerons in their flank.

The Chattan reserve then began to advance up the mountain while the MacGilverys moved into position just below the Camerons.

Sgiobair MacMartin, a capable and experienced officer, seeing that he was in a position to be defeated in detail, led the Camerons in charging down upon the MacGilvarys inflicting heavy casualties (although they managed to hold their ground). MacMartin then coolly pivoted his men to meet the likely Mackintosh charge on an even footing, leaving to chance that the steep slope and disarray of the MacGilvarys would guard his now exposed flank.

Mulroy_inturn12-the Camerons

The Camerons prepare for their last stand

Turn Thirteen

Once the Shaws left the ridge, their ardor for the pursuit cooled and the Chattan Captain was able to bring them back under control and lead them back to the battle, positioning them behind the Mackintoshes.

The vastly weakened Macgilvarys made a difficult attack up the steep slope into the flank of the Camerons hoping to weaken them for the assault that Mackintoshes were preparing. MacMartin had calculated correctly and the Camerons repelled the attack. The fresh Davidsons and MacBeans began rapidly ascending the mountain to add their weight to the assault

The gambit by the MacGilverys was not as foolhardy as it seemed. Once they managed to activate, the rules provide a force multiplier (2x) for a flank attack (and with no risk of receiving hits back). With their normal two to-hit cards plus a bonus card for their as yet unexpended Dash, they got SIX to-hit cards (which all failed!) -d_guy

The Mackintoshes charged the Camerons leading to an inconsequential back-and-forth tussle. The Camerons in their turn returned the favor and, although pushed back, created horrendous damage among the Mackintoshes.

The MacDonalds persisted in their mad, and increasingly ridiculous, pursuit.

Turns Fourteen and Fifteen

While it is not overly difficult for a routed unit to come back into play (once) the MacDonalds of Glencoe could not manage it. Apparently they had decided instead to return to the Pap to nurse their injuries (so to speak).

The Mackintosh and Chattan forces began maneuvering to get their seriously damaged units out of the way so their fresh units could come up and finish the Camerons. After briefly gathering themselves the Camerons again, moving quite rapidly, charged the exhausted Mackintoshes and broke them. Lachlan lost an ear and received a deep gash in the shoulder, both from the same broadsword stroke, but managed to take shelter with the badly damaged MacGilverys.

The Camerons, now insane with man-killing lust, pursued their ancient enemies and MacMartin led them directly into the flank of the newly returned Shaws (who had not yet had time to come into better order. The Shaws then joined the exodus (although the Chattan Captain managed to escape by the skin of his teeth to the MacGilverys).

There was, however, a problem with this last bit.

Game End

The game actually ended with a Mackintosh victory, but it was a near run thing. I’ll confess now that I intentionally fudged a bit in the last move described above by allowing the Camerons to maintain their facing after their destruction of the Clan Mackintosh retinue (and the wounding of their Commanding General, Lachlan Mackintosh). Had Lachlan been killed the MacDonalds would have won (quiet handily) on points.

The rules, however, specify that after the winner of melee’ occupies the loser’s position they immediately go into pursuit (if that is their characteristic) AND TURN TO FACE THE ENEMY BASELINE as is represented in the picture below:

Mulroy_turnEnd

The Camerons (marked with a Pursuit arrow), having routed the Mackintoshes, now turns to enter pursuit mode. The pursuit arrow should actually be in the opposite direction.

I wanted to see if it was possible to continue the attack and win on points. Because of a very nice, ladder-climbing activation sequence (helped by MacMartin causing the original activation card, a nine, to be redrawn, obtaining a three) they were able to charge the Shaws with considerable advantage:

Mulroy_turnAlt_End

Although they easily routed the Shaws, They missed victory by a single point! Had they killed the Chattan Captain (or captured him because of a lack of escape route) they would have gained the necessary point.

As they had to turn (toward the enemy baseline, opposite of the direction shown in the picture), they would soon start running down the mountain toward Keppoch House. I assumed they would follow the same path as the MacDonalds and abandon the mountain altogether.

It seemed prudent to award the victory to the Mackintosh and Chattan Coalition and end a hard fought game here.

Notes

I was pleased with the continued testing of For King and Parliament and this opportunity to add and test a few of my own adaptation for Highlanders. I did some on-the-fly changes during the game and after KF&P is on the market, I’ll post up exactly what my final mods are. Having a set of the rules in hand will make the mods much more intelligible to the reader.

To add a bit more play balance I plan to change the Mulroy scenario to allow the MacDonalds a win if they recapture Keppoch House. This will really stretch the decision making (not to mention the Command and Control) for both sides.

This battle could be easily shortened by putting the Chattan/Macintosh army near the base of the hill (it took six turns to accomplish this). Highlanders have a slight activation penalty for any action in the standard rules and having to move them in some sort of battle order a goodly distance quickly points out some of the difficulties in commanding highland armies.

I like the pursuit mode and find that one always has to keep in mind where units are likely to end up if they win a melee. I thought it was well conceived when I used “Swedish” horse in the Lessie’s Moor game and think it adds an interesting imponderable to Highlanders. Without it the battle would obviously have looked entirely different with a total slugfest playing out on the slopes of Maol Ruadh.

There are so many thing to try now my head swims. I have mentioned the Auldearn Problem before and but had not come up with a satisfying approach. A glimmer of a solution may lay in the FK&P optional rules already extant. It will be somewhat more  abstract than I had planned but much more simple if it works. To this end I believe i’ll revisit Tippermuir. In addition to seeing how thing work toward solving the Auldearn Problem, I can exercise my own Highlander mods against a more conventional army.

Of course at the moment I am WAY behind in painting, so it might be a couple weeks before I can start preparing a Tippermuir replay.

 

5 thoughts on “Dia`s Naomh Andrea! The Battle of Mulroy (1688) with FK&P

  1. There just aren’t enough hours in the day, are there? I appreciate the documentation and description to make it more comprehensible to someone who doesn’t play the games. Keep enjoying your retirement!

    Like

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