In the header picture Montrose stands with O’Cahan’s musketeers in the refused center of his defensive position at Auldearn.
I have been experimenting with several things while playing through the Auldearn Set Piece battle scenario a couple of times over the last few weeks. When Montrose has his entire force in position awaiting the Covenanter assault it proves to be a very difficult task for the government forces to win against the Royalists.
The game is not without interest but the nature of the ground makes it tricky for the Covenanters to concentrate their forces and punch through the Royalist defenses at any point. The fighting was across the whole front (as you would expect in a set piece battle of the period) and both dash and ammo got pretty well exhausted in the early stages which ended up blunting the later attacks. What I did see more of, since the lines were rather more fixed, was the Covenanters pulling back severely disorganized units to rally them and then have another go. These lulls, which may have occurred in the historic battle as well, also gave the Royalists an opportunity to reorganize as well. Other than extending the battle it was probably a wash.
Some of the events from both play-throughs are shown below:
There is always a danger of overrating the Gordon horse but I think I have it right. Based on supposed numbers I could probably have added two additional squadrons (perhaps making them regular Scottish cavalry or, more interestingly, lancers). My read, however, is that Lord Gordon took only his very best men, divided them with his brother Aboyne, and then operated like Prince Rupert at Edgehill.
In the set-piece scenario, Castle Hill (occupied by MacDonnell’s musketeers – yellow flag – above) is a particularly effective bastion that is a thorn in the side of both the Covenanter left and center.
This particular scenario was useful in that it gave me plenty of opportunity to play around with some of my rule-extension ideas but in the end it provided a scenario that was less than satisfying to wargame. On the other hand, given the ease by which the Royalists could hold the ground (and had they chosen to, then rout the Covenanters), prehaps it is closer to the truth than the other scenarios.
I have in the works a plan to put together a number of FK&P historic scenarios which will mean going back and tweaking several that I have already done. I will then need to finish exploring and writing up several more.