Inverlochy: The War Game

I completed the wargame nearly a month ago but life, travel, and other hobby obsessions conspired to keep me from setting down the battle report. The sequence of posts leading up to this game can be found here: Inverlochy

Inverlochy is included in Rober Giglio’s collection of ECW historic game scenarios (Volume 4) and I have found a couple of examples on the Internet:  Battle and Brew and Wargame Amateur.

There is also a site dedicated to wargaming Inverlochy, Back to Inverlochy, which made an excellent beginning and has a thoughtful analysis on the Orders of Battle for such a wargame. Unfortunately no further posts have been made.

My own Orders of Battle and scenario notes may be found here.

The game is played using Impetus:Baroque with a few house rule modifications. Additional information about how I use this rules system can be found here.

The Covenanter army is on the top (West) and the Royalist on the bottom (East) in something approximating the historic deployment:

inverlochy-general-view-of-the-table

Inverlochy Wargame (0): Initial positions (Montrose at lower right)

Starting with this battle report I have decided to start putting captions on the pictures to act as an “executive summary”.

TURN ONE:

By scenario the Royalists had a free move with the Covenanters able to react but having no active moves themselves. This is a huge advantage and given to simulate the initiative held by Montrose’s forces.

The Right wing (MacColla) makes a quick (2 move) advance, followed by the Horse (Ogilve) swinging around the right wing in a quick (2 move) advance.

In the Center the clan warbands (Glengary, Clanranald, and Keppoch) make an oblique shift to the right, with reserve line (Inchbrackie and MacDonnell) coming straight forward.

the Left Wing (O’Cahan) begins a slow advance forward toward the Covenanter right to pin it in place.

The Covenanter frame guns are in range and while one fails to react the other scores a hit on Laghtnan’s and disorders them:

inverlochy-move-1

Inverlochy wargame (1): the Royalist shift the weight of the attack to the Covenanter left to sever communication with the castle garrison.

TURN TWO
The Royalist horse continued their swing around the Covenanter right flank.

The Covenanter left wing advanced and fired at Laghtnan’s which, although failing their defensive fire, recieved no hits.
MacColla’s Life Guard did get defensive fire but scored no hits while receiving two hits from Cockburn’s regulars causing them to become disordered.

The Royalist Right wing then activated. MacColla’s rallied, fired a salvo at Cockburn’s and charged. Cockburn’s got their defensive fire, scoring a hit and again disordered MacColla’s. In the resulting melee’, Cockburn’s took a casualty, was disordered and pushed back. MacColla’s pursued and re-engaged Cockburn’s. After several melee’/pursuit cycles Cockburn’s finally broke.

This is an excellent feature of Baroque, which allows a successful attacker to maintain initiative and fully exploit a melee’ win. The full import of the impetus bonus is also demonstrated. Although available only in the first melee’ in the progression, it was this Impetus bonus that gave MacColla’s a significant advantage at first contact.

A disadvantage for the winner in such a pursuit cycle, however, is getting pretty well separated from the rest of the army, as was now the case with MacColla’s (although Ogilvie’s horse was rapidly coming up in support).

The other Royalist unit on the right (Laghtnan’s) failed to rally but got a charge bonus and contacts Campbell of Lochnell’s. The Campbells failed to react for a counter charge and took two casualties from Laghtnan’s salvo. The Campbells managed to hold their position, however, fighting Laghtnan’s to a standstill.

Meanwhile on the Royalist left, O’Cahan’s advanced and fired on Rouge’s (which failed it’s opportunity fire). Although taking three hits, Rouge’s recieved no casualties but were disordered.

Clan Maclean then charged Campbell of Glencaddel (which failed to counter charge). Although disordered by their double move and firing off an ineffective salvo, Clan Maclean, with their impressive impetus bonus, inflicted four hits (and four casualties!) on the Campbells. Glencaddel pulled back but were again caught by the onrushing MacCleans and destroyed.

The action then shifted to the Royalist Center where Clan Donald   (MacDonalds of Glengarry, Clanranald and Keppoch) continued thier rapid advance toward the hated Argyll’s foot. All chose to hold thier fire to conserve thier first fire bonus for the actual charge. The Argyll’s defensive fire was not very effective but one of the frame guns scored two casualties against Clanranald. While now in position to charge, all three of the Clan Donald warbands were disordered.

Montrose then brought the second line of the center (MacDonnell’s and Inchbrackie’s) forward:

inverlochy-move-2

Inverlochy wargame (2): the Royalists are now turning the Covenanter left and Clan MacClean has broken through on the Campbell right.

The Covenanter Right was next to activate and Rouge’s fired at O’Cahans which reacted by returning fire. For the first time in the campaign O’Cahan’s met Covenanter regulars that volleyed as well as them. O’Cahan’s received two casualties while inflicting not a single hit on Rouge’s.

In the Covenanter Center, Argyll’s fierce volleys annaliated   Clanranald, but both frame guns completely missed.

The Captain of Dunstaffnage, commanding the levies of the Campbell reserve, alarmed by the disintegrating left wing and the MacClean breakthrough on the right, ordered Campbell of Parbreck to begin wheeling left. He then led the Auchenbreck and Innerea levies farther to the rear in an attempt to stabilize the defense.

TURN 3

With both Covenanter wings beginning to collapse the Royalists pressed the attack.

As in the historic battle much now depended on Argyll’s two foot battalions holding the center. Inchbrackie’s and Macdonnel’s came up rapidly and the latter managed to disorder Argyll’s left with volley fire. Although Glengarry  failed to rally (firing ineffectually at Argyll’s), Keppoch rallied and overran the frame gun on the left flank of Argyll’s.

The Royalist horse wheeled to the right in preparation for charging home against the Covenanter left. As they maneuvered they took a casualty from the castle garrison and became disordered.

On the Royalist right the melee’ between Laghtnan’s and the Campbells of Lochnell countinued with no resolution. Apparently they are now standing a yard apart and hurling insults at one another! Deep behind the Covenanter left Alisdair MacColla finally forces his Life Guard to rally.

Manus O’Cahan, seeing his own regiment stymied, joined the MacCleans on the Royalist left which then wheeled toward Argyll’s right flank. O’Cahan’s rallied and fired at Rouge’s, followed by an immediate pull back to regroup.  Rouge’s failed to give defensive fire but recieved no hits from O’Cahan’s ragged volley:

inverlochy-move-3

Inverlochy wargame (3): as Argyll’s continues to hold the center the Covenanters try despartly to stabilize a secondary defensive line against the Royalist attacks on thier flanks.

With Campbell of Parbreck positioned to hold the left flank, the Auchinbreck and Innerea levies wheeled right to meet the Royalist onslaught.

On the Covenanter left Lochnell is finally exhausted and is pushed back, then overrun by Laghtnan’s near exhausted musketeers. Rouge’s had little choice on the right but to rapidly pull back to secure the right flank of the Campbell levies. As they depart they fired at the MacCleans but did little damage.

In the heavily embattled Covenanter center the Campbells continue to hold fast. Their remaining frame gun inflicted an astounding three casualties on Inchbrackie’s. The two battalions of Argyll’s foot continued to exchange fire with the remnants of Clan Donald and and MacDonnell’s Irish musketeers. As casualties mounted on both sides Glengarry and Argyll’s left became exhausted.

At this point (end of turn three) the Covenanter army is only two points from breaking!

TURN FOUR

The Royalist Center activated first and MacDonnell’s declared a charge (with salvo) at Argyll’s left flank. Argyll’s defensive fire was not effective and the MacDonnell salvo inflicted two casualties which caused Argyll’s left to break.
Game Over!!!

inverlochy-move-4

Inverlochy wargame (4): MacDonnell’s salvo as they charge breaks Argyll’s left and ends the battle.

AFTER ACTION

I was very pleased with how this played out. The Royalists won quickly in the historic battle with the Covenanter center holding out the longest and this is what happened in the game. The “tuning” I did to the units seemed also to give a closer approximation of historic results which is what I am trying to do. The fun in this type of gaming, for me, is to see if (when playing the historic losing side) you can do somewhat better than reality.

This is the first battle that I have done where the meager artillery available actually did a credible job. It is difficult to find examples from the period where the guns were decisive and they were far from decisive here, just doing spectacularly better then usual. I think the Baroque rules have guns about right.

Incidently, I am now working on a new basing system that will allow me to use Baroque without my house rules but simply as written. I will still, of course, continue to tinker a bit with the army lists.