Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Scots March South - the Battle of Louthburn

Astonishingly I have been able to play a second game in my OHW campaign (very) loosely set in the late 1640s in the Scottish and English Borders.

Sir Vernon Cottar, flushed with victory at the Battle of Dundoon and reinforced by more regular forces, has pressed south beyond Hadrian's Wall to reinforce Scotland's petitions that Charles is King of Scotland as well as England and to remind those po-faced Puritans that a glass or two of whisky never did anyone any harm.

Scenario 7 - Flank Attack (2)

The initial set up for the battle is shown below.  I decided that the Scots, as the victors in the previous battle, should have the choice of which side to take.  The wily Cottar chose Blue (what else?) and set up a force to the front of the Parliamentarians while moving his main force onto the English left flank.  The Parliamentarian Lord Lieutenant of the Northern Marches, Lord Thomas, had placed his strengthened forces on the large central hill, confident of blocking the Scottish advance south but unaware of the army massing on his left flank.

The Parliamentarian Army ensconced on the hill, facing the smaller Scottish force to its front, unaware of the Scottish threat on the left
The Scots began by pressing home their advantage on the English left flank, their cavalry crashing into the Parliamentarian reiters on the hill, while their own reiters manoeuvred into the rear of the English position looking to wear them down with firepower.  The Scottish infantry also advanced on all fronts, again with the aim of shooting down the Parliamentarian forces.  And the firing was particularly effective with the added bonus of none of the Scots running out of shot or powder in this first turn (ie none rolled a 1 or 2). 

The English react, trying to manoeuvre to engage the enemy while maintaining their advantage on the hill
Lord Thomas was nothing if not a trier.  He quickly spun his reiters and cavalry to face the threat to his rear while trying to disentangle his infantry on the hill to face their Scottish counterparts.  His troops started to return fire while also facing off the Scottish cavalry charge.

As the game progressed the Scots continued to wear down the English through their firepower until the ammunition began to run out (clearly supply chain issues back to Edinburgh!).  The English cavalry on the right wing charged off the hill to engage the Scottish reiters in the rear, beating them off over a couple of turns.
The Scots close in on the Parliamentarian position
Some sharp shooting by the remaining English infantry regiment followed by an equally sharp push of pike saw off the flanking Scottish infantry, as the remaining Scottish infantry closed in from the front.  Eventually sheer weight of numbers told and the Parliamentary foot soldiers quit the field.  But was it all over for Lord Thomas? No!  He rallied his remaining troops, one of which was a unit of reiters on the hill top who clearly had had a good thing going with the quartermaster as they never ran out of the ammunition and continued to blow holes in the Scots.

In the end it came down to the last Scottish infantry regiment squaring up to the last English regiment of reiters, facing down the inevitable barrage of carbine and pistol fire and knocking the English horse off the hill.

This is another OHW scenario which went right down to the wire.  In this case I thought the Scots had it won but the better English position on the hill meant it was finely balanced.  If the Scots had run out of shot and powder earlier things would have been much tougher before they had closed on the hill.  I'm not entirely convinced these rules are particularly historically accurate but they do result in a quick, close and enjoyable game.

Next time: Static Defence

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