“…he saw the enemy up on a large extended plain…” The Deployments at Tippermuir (1644)

The quote is from Wishart in Memoirs of the most renown James Graham, marquis of Montrose describing Montrose encountering the Covenanter army defending Perth near a village called Tippermuir.

Since last doing Tippermuir, Ordinance Survey has added 3D aerial (as well as fly through) to their online offerings. While still not like being there it is very helpful. I have eliminated the woods and ruined cottages I used the last time since there is insufficient evidence for either.

The battlefield, running from west to east in the photo below, is an open plain with only a few terrain features of any significance. There is a slight upslope to the north and south but insufficient to require modeling. Lamberkine Ridge runs along the southern edge with a slight prominence near the center (also marked as Lamberkine Ridge) which juts a bit to the north. Burghmuir Hill (the name I give it for lack of precise information) runs along much of the eastern edge and the Covenanter right and most of the center is deployed upon it. Most of Scott’s left flank is deployed on the rising northern slope of Lamberkein Ridge. All slopes are gentle.

Tipp-Deployment 1

Montrose’s army is in the foreground (west) in single line. Irish skirmishers are deployed in front of O’Cahan’s in the same box. The Covenanters are deployed across the plain in a double line. They are placed in the usual “checkerboard” formation with horse on both wings.

Old Gallows Road (parts of which are still extant) runs from west to east across Burghmuir Hill and hence into Perth City (aka St. Johnstoun). The village of Tippermuir is some what north and west of the battlefield.

Tipp-Deployment 1b-center

The view from the center of the Irish Brigade showing much of the Covenanter army deployed about a kilometer to the east. The ground rising to the north and east is Burghmuir Hill.

Tipp-Deployment 2-UT

Looking down at Lord Elcho’s Brigade (pale blue dots) on the Covenanter right and the Forfarshire Brigade (green dots) to Elcho’s left. The apparent flock of sheep are Untried markers.

Tipp-Deployment 2-Limbered

Looking down at Tullibardine’s Brigade (sky blue dots) which comprises the Covenanter center on Burghmuir Hill. He also commands the Dundee Brigade (white dots) to his left and the Forfarshire Brigade (green dots) to his right. The light gun markers with the two lead battalions also have wheel markers to indicate that they are limbered.

While the “checker board” formation is standard for the period, one game decision to be made was in which line to position the better units (generally the first battalion of each regiment). I initially decided that I would put the weaker battalions first (to blunt the enemy attack) but finally decided to put the best first (which again would be usual) since quickly losing the first line would give up to many victory points too quickly).

Tipp-Deployment 2-Straddle-Left

A view looking down at Lord Kilpont’s Brigade (hot pink dots) on the Royalist left. They are using the optional FK&P rule of straddling boxes, to cover more ground (and simulate Montrose’s extended wings in the historic battle). Each unit also has Attached Bows (my local rule).

Tipp-Deployment 1b-left

A view from Lord Kilpont’s Brigade showing the Covenanter positions on Burghmuir Hill. Note Lord Elcho’s cavalry brigade on the Covenanter extreme right.

Tipp-Deployment 2-Straddle-Right

A view looking down at Montrose’s Brigade (red dots) on the Royalist right which, like Kilpont’s, are using the straddle rule.

Tipp-Deployment 1a-Lamberkine

A view from Montrose’s position showing the rising ground projecting from Lamberkein Ridge to their front. The Covenanter left under Sir James Scott can be seen in the distance.

In the last game I did, Barley Valley, I had elements that added both fog of war (variable location, force makeup and strength, as well as initial operational responses) and friction (random order of brigade activations). There is no fog of war added to Tippermuir, both sides were conventionally deployed and in full sight of one another. The random brigade activation (shown in the cards below) does add friction and to complicate the matter further, an “End Turn” card is added to the deck. This last may prove to be more friction than I want. 😀


I plan to begin play tomorrow to coincide with the official presentation of For King and Parliament at Salute.

9 thoughts on ““…he saw the enemy up on a large extended plain…” The Deployments at Tippermuir (1644)

  1. Some cracking shots of the table and figures. Enjoy your game tomorrow and I’m in the lucky position of seeing the games at Salute tomorrow. Sadly I won’t have time to play the game as I’m helping out on another game, ‘The Pikemen’s Lament’ rules set in the Great Northern War.


  2. Looking great, Bill. I will watch progress with interest, because I have to get my own Scots on the table after Salute, and this battle seems a perfect candidate. We are all set up for tomorrow, and looking forward to it!


    • Thanks, Andrew! (At least I think it is Andrew, WordPress keeps messing around with identifying commenters). As I write this presumably you and Simon are in full cry at Salute. I suspect that yours will will be popular demonstrations. Good luck!


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