Deployment for The Battle of Mulroy: Setting Up For FK&P

The header picture is a view from above the MacDonald position on the crest of Maol Ruadh looking toward the Mackintoshes deployed along the River Spean.

The armies I have assembled are completely conjectural. We know the names of some of the clans that showed up (on both sides) and that Mackenzie of Suddie’s unit was placed on the right flank of the Mackintosh force. For the rest of the details I simply had fun with them.  Since Mackintosh must remove Macdonald from Maol Ruadh, I have set their force near the 1500 maximum. I am hard pressed, however, to figure out why some sources have the figure set this high.

I plan to refight the battle using the newest draft of For King and Parliament but with some minor extensions to see how they might work. The use of Attached Shot and Dash with Highlanders, as well as their pursuit mode, is not part of the FK&P draft rules (but certainly well within the framework). As we saw at Inverlochy, the base rules work fine, I simply love to tinker with things.😀

Mulroy Orders of Battle


The Order of Battle for the MacDonalds at Mulroy (when fully assembled). A correction to note 3 above, Lochiel was actually in Edinburgh not London. The “1X” under ammo indicates that the unit may fire its normal gunpowder weapons only once during the game (per FK&P base rules) <click to enlarge>

Those Highlander units indicated as “retinue” (in both armies)  are made up of retainers (whose livelihood was generally in the pursuit of arms), members of the chief’s and other cadet households and various friends and close associates. To these are added some (or many) of the best men in the clan levy (all other fit and capable men in the local kinship group).  In times of need the entire clan levy could be turned out.


The MacDonalds. The three units not on Maol Ruadh are in a “reserve”area that is not part of the playing surface.

One of the Highlander units on the Mackintosh side is designated as “levy”.  The distinction here is rather arbitrary and done for my own wargaming purposes to make the Highlander units more variable and get a better (in my mind at least) simulation of a clan array drawn up for battle. These “levy” units should always be “brigaded” with at least one (usually closely associated) “retinue” unit.

Visually a retinue unit is comprised of four, four-man pieces: a warrior command piece (includes flag and piper), two warrior pieces, and a levy piece. It is usually classed as “seasoned”. Alternatively it may have, beside the command, only one additional warrior piece and two levy pieces. This last would usually be set as “raw”(but not normally “untried”).


The Order of Battle for the Macintosh led Clan Chattan Confederation at Mulroy

The “levy” unit, Clan Chattan Levies, contain mostly Mackintoshes but some of the better (and likely closely inter-related) men from the clan levies in the Confederation. They would be very inexperienced and not particularly well armed. Visually they are represented with six, four man pieces: a warrior/command piece and five levy pieces. They are normally set as “raw” and with one or two “untried” markers.

How do I decide how to set up a Highlander unit? As much as possible I base the setup on actual historic performance in a given battle, but clearly much is left to the imagination. Usually we know the overall performance of a specific side in a battle and the unit by unit details have to be inferred.


The Macintoshes with the Highland Independent Company on the far right at the River Roy <click to enlarge>

Some sources have indicated that perhaps as many as half the Mackintosh force were government soldiers, but I have found no sourcing for this. Captain Mackenzie of Suddie’s Independent Highland Company is the only government unit I have so far found to be present. While in garrison (Inverlochy) they would have numbered no more than one hundred or so, all ranks. I am portraying them as a Forlorn Hope (although the above picture has them labeled as retinue) in the FK&P system. This suits thier size and their role as a policing force. As the only unit on the board able to fire beyond short range, it will be interesting to see how they end up being used.


Historically, Mulroy was a rather bloody battle so the Mackintosh may take 50% casualties before breaking and the MacDonalds, who are defending their homeland, 60%!

I am again using a 3’x4’ setup but placing the baselines on the long axis to give greater travel distance for Mackintosh. His entire army is on the board deployed along the north bank of the River Spean. MacDonald is only partially deployed, having to wait for his allies to answer the call (which will be done by card draw).

To win, Mackintosh must destroy what ever MacDonald force is on Maol Ruadh (all sixteen elevated squares). If this is achieved before the battle ends on casualties, it is a decisive victory for Mackintosh and the game is over.

He does have the problem of getting his forces maneuvered into the best order for making the up slope attack and doing it as quickly as possible before MacDonald’s full force is assembled.

The following clarification note should have been included in the above: The rough ground containing rocks counts as actual rough ground and not broken as per rules. They do not block LOS or provide cover.

Each side has three brigade draw cards. The third card (the red lozenge) in the MacDonald set allows an attempt in each turn to bring on reserves using the following scheme:

Draw a card from the regular activation deck.
If a spade – no reinforcement this turn
If a heart – Camerons arrive (or if present – no reinforcement this turn)
If a club – MacDonalds of Glencoe arrive (or if present – no reinforcement this turn)
If a diamond – MacDonalds of Glengarry arrive (or if present – no reinforcement this

The unit enters on any of the top row of squares of Maol Ruadh (but not in an enemy zone of control). They may not, however, attempt activation until their brigade is next made active. If all reinforcements have arrived, the red lozenge card still remains in deck and, if drawn, is ignored and the next card is immediately drawn.

In the best case scenario, all of MacDonald’s army will be assembled by turn four. The possibility of a longer wait is certainly in the cards, however! 😀