Looking down from the Commonwealth gun positions on Arthur’s Seat, The header photo shows their foot beginning a methodical advance toward the Scottish positions.
A couple of housekeeping notes: I am following Peter Page’s scenario as closely a possible but I have, of necessity, an extra column of boxes on the southern edge of the board. It is not part of the playing area. The trees, sheep, geese and added vegetation are only for show and do not affect game play.
The English plan is straight forward, punch through the Scots defenders and secure the approach to Leith. Lambert, confident that his experienced Commonwealth army can easily push aside the newly raised and generally untried Scots, he leads his horse and foot forward. His confidence is further bolstered by the knowledge that the Lord General while be along shortly with his powerful brigade of horse to pursue the remnants into the Forth.
<All the following photos may be enlarged by clicking>
Thoughts on the Game (for the few readers interested in such things!😄)
The scenario seems fairly well balanced. The opposing armies are about the same size but the Commonwealth is much superior in experience. The Scots have the advantage of fighting in defensive positions and, while the foot is mostly raw and untried, they have a three to two advantage in numbers. The Scots horse are of better quality than the foot although holding no numerical advantage over the English. They are all lance armed, however, which gives them initial hitting power equal to the Commonwealth horse.
Adding melee weapons (AKS markers in the Celtic Fringe proposed rule extension) to one of the Scottish foot regiments in each brigade obviously is an advantage to the Scots. Peter made an adjustment to the proposed rule but one supported by history. I like that he made the two AKS (in this case halberdiers) a brigade resource. I added them to the extreme flank regiments, the General of Artilley’s on the left of Innes’ brigade and to Campbell of Lawer’s on the right of Lawer’s brigade. This, incidentally, makes Lawer’s veteran foot the most powerful foot unit on the board. Using the AKS to bleed off an unsaved hit allowed each regiment to be very effective, destroying between them (with some help) three Commonwealth foot regiments. This is likely too powerful an effect. In the original proposed rules there is a trade off in lowering unit size to accommodate the melee weapons (AKS) marker. Still, I commend Peter for giving this a try!
As Peter has pointed out making the steep slope squares of Arthur’s Seat passable only to Forlorn Hopes makes them a “side show” to the main event. For the Scots, it provides a near impassable anchor for their right flank (a pretty good simulation of the defenses Alexander Leslie, Lord Leven quickly put in place to defend Edinburgh in the actual campaign). Actually using the limited forces allowed in the area is greatly discouraged by the command structures of both armies (as Peter intended, I think). If I replay this again with my own more granular tactical rules I’ll have the guns and supporting forces each in their own brigade (with a couple additional skirmish musketeers pieces added in). I might also add the two AKS to the Scots brigade.
Speaking of the command structure, the Scots have another advantage, five field officers to the English three. Both sides have two commanded cavalry brigades but all the Commonwealth infantry where in a single brigade. This magnified the effects of a failed activation. An interesting variant would be to promote Monck to Major General of foot with each two battalion regiment becoming a brigade. Monck would command one and a Colonel the other. Having an “unassigned” Commanding General (David Leslie) also imparts some advantage to the Scots.
There is some leeway in the Scottish deployment and I confess I made an error in following the scenario setup. Innes and Leven’s Brigade should have been deployed about three boxes further to the east (toward Southmains). This error allowed the Scots to “steal” a move on the English. Given the subsequent problem the Commonwealth had in activating their brigades this error was probably minimized. Had I been playing an actual opponent, I am sure the English player would have vociferously objected to the Scots deployment. 😀
Deciding where Cromwell should enter the field is a critical decision. To me it seemed clear that coming up the Berwick road was the clear choice. The ground is very open and there is generally (the position of Leven’s weak cavalry brigade not withstanding) a clear shot at the Scots’ left flank. It would be interesting to randomize the entry point.
Many thanks to Peter for this very playable scenario and to Paul as well for the AAR’s (and pics) they provided of the play throughs in New Zealand.
Likely I will now move back to looking at Alford (1645) but MAY first play out a mini-scenario of the above to resolve the fighting on the slopes of Arthur’s Seat.