Wednesday, July 31, 2013

In the Shadows of History: Battle of Newtown, 31st July 1689. Part Three

Scenario Construction
The scenario offers some excellent wargaming potential. The troops on both sides will be overwhelmingly classed as inexperienced. The force sizes are small and the battlefield is not typical.
I have created a basic scenario with three additional options. All are listed below;

  1. The battle fought as per history
  2. The return of the routed Jacobite Horse later in the battle
  3. The battle fought with both forces at full strength from the outset
  4. The cavalry clash fought separately and having an influence on the troops available for the subsequent main engagement.
Jacobite Foot attacking (unit now somewhere in Oklahoma!)
To provide additional variety, the scenario can be played either as a regimental sized action or as a company level engagement. I use Beneath the Lily Banners for both levels of game but 1644 is a rule set which also suits the game type well. Any rules which you are comfortable with will fit but I strongly recommend you follow the scenario specific guidelines later in the article to prevent a very quick and one sided experience. If BLB is used at regimental level then the game will be rather small and over in a couple of hours. The rules however allow small actions like this to be fought at company level. In this case the game would be quite large and may take four to five hours. I have listed the orbats for both scales of game. These can be adapted for any rule set you prefer.

Figure to Man Ratios
Beneath the Lily Banners uses a 1:35 figure to man ratio at regimental level. In the rules I suggest an alternative of 1:5 for company level actions but for this scenario I would recommend 1:10 be taken as the norm. This is mainly due to historical evidence pointing towards oversized troops, squadrons and regiments being present at the battle. It thus makes the rule mechanisms easy to transpose. In the larger scale action a 6 figure cavalry squadron would equate to 210 men. This ties in nicely with Sapherson’s estimate of largish dragoon troops numbering 60-70 all ranks. Three troops being the standard subdivision of a squadron at this time makes the arithmetic quite neat. At the company level the 6 figure wargaming cavalry squadron would be the equivalent of 60 men which is close to the oversize troop structure mentioned in sources.

Foot regiments in BLB are normally composed of three 6 figure stands. In the large action figure to man ratio this would equate to 630 men – considerably lower than the 920 man regiments we are assuming to be present at Newtown but typical of field  battalion strengths throughout the Wars of 1688-1697. One way round this is to ignore the anomaly! A second is to give the Jacobites all five foot regiments named in the website orbat source I mention at the end of the section on Notes on the Jacobite Force later in the article.  Another way would be to form two twelve man (two 2 x 6 figure stands) commanded shot units and attach them to the Jacobite army. This takes care of the cumulative 870 ‘surplus headcount’ across the three large foot regiments. The Protestant Army I have dealt with differently as I believe enough corroborative evidence exists to allow them three foot regiments of average strength for the period and theatre. In gaming terms that means three BLB infantry battalions each of three 6 figure stands, the central stand being armed with pike.

With regard to infantry strengths in the company level scenario, an infantry company was composed in theory of 70 men. In Ireland at that time between one in six and one in two men could have a pike dependent on how well or poorly equipped the unit was.  Using the 1:10 figure to man ratio previously suggested infantry companies would muster a meagre 7 figures. Not only would this be very brittle and difficult to manage in gaming terms but it would look unattractive on the table. I recommend the following solution. Combine the companies in each battalion into sub divisions of three companies. Each subdivision of three companies will be represented by three figure bases each of six figures. The companies can be assumed to have massed their pikes in the centre and placed a wing of shot either side in the standard way a pike and shot unit would deploy. Four of these subdivisions would make a regiment and can operate semi independently on the table. The final ‘company’ should be musket armed (one six figure stand) and be attached to the Colonel or operate independently. Effectively a battalion of figures under the normal BLB organisation becomes three companies for the company level game. The orbat is laid out using this logic. With 1644 the units can simply be constructed using the appropriate number of figures.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Paint your Wagon

David O'Brien - It has never ceased to amaze me how few war gamers actually use limbers, caissons, wagons etc; in their war games.  Their excuses have usually been:-

1                     I don’t have time to paint these models.  

I can understand if you are just starting out on a new army.  I used to feel like this until I started painting my Napoleonic Russian army and quickly started getting bored painting unit after unit which all looked the same so to break up the monotony I started working on a limber or caisson or supply wagon vignette and thoroughly enjoyed working on these so what started out as a chore I started to treat myself once I had finished a new regiment.

2                     I can’t afford to buy these models.

 Again I can understand if they were short of money  but when you look at their armies there are brigade after brigade of troops and battery after battery of artillery. At this stage in their army’s production they probably can’t afford to buy all the models they would need to match their army but if they had followed my example above they would have covered the situation.

3                     I don’t like to use them because they take up too much space.

This is the one excuse I hear most of the time and if you are fighting with large armies on a small table they will take up a lot of space but this is what happened in real life and if you want to try your best to create historical problems that military commanders faced then you really need to have these models in your force.  I even had to take extreme measures in a game with a friend when he removed all the limbers and caisson that I had bought and painted from my army that he was using, because they were getting in his way. You should have seen the look on his face in the next game move when I informed him when he wanted to fire his artillery he couldn’t because all their ammunition had been taken off the battlefield. He quickly got my reasons and we are still friends all these years later.

Is there a way to still use these models without the huge expense and lots of painting?, there is if you war game using Donnybrook rules written by Clarence Harrison.  These rules are written for small skirmish level actions in the period 1660 to 1740’s and the most a faction can have is one artillery piece. Every artillery piece needs a limber to allow it to move and a small wagon to carry the powder and shot as well as all the tools needed to fire the gun.

Apart from using these models for manning your gun are there any other uses for these models?
The answer has to be yes, as these games are all skirmish actions and scenario driven your limbered gun model could now be an objective marker which has to be defended by one side and captured by the other side.

Likewise a number of wagons could represent a convoy that needs to be escorted through enemy territory or could be carrying contraband goods if your force are a Smuggler faction which needs to escape the clutches of the Excise faction.
Your wagon can even become a character in your force as Outlaw and Rapparee factions can have a ‘Fence’  which carries gun powder and any troops from the faction can reload if within 3” of the fence without waiting for the reload card to come up.

I’m sure you can come up with many other scenario ideas that would allow you to use your models in many other games. All the limbers, guns and wagons used in these photos are all from the lovely range from Warfare Miniatures but other companies such Dixon Miniatures, Front Rank, Wargames Foundry and many others all produce a variety of models that would fit in nicely with your games.

Friday, July 26, 2013

FEATURED REGIMENT: Den Kongelige Livgarde til Fods

Clarence Harrison - The Danish Royal Life Guards or Den Kongelige Livgarde til Fods is the first unit of Warfare Miniatures I painted when I kicked off my 1690 project in December 2011 and it is still one of my favorites from the collection. Sadly, NONE of my units have yet seen action on the field, but I intend to record their battle honors when they do!

The Danish Foot Guards regiment was raised in 1658 as the personal guard for King Frederick III during a time of political upheaval in Denmark. War with Sweden revealed the aristocratic rule of the hereditary landowners to be incompetent and corrupt. Kings could not take the throne without signing a charter agreeing to limited sovereign power. The defense of Copenhagen required more authority be granted to the king - and lessened the power of the aristocracy. The defeat of Sweden gave Frederick III the full support of his citizens and led to the restoration of the hereditary monarchy in 1660. The elite Foot Guard, loyal only to the king, ensured that none of Frederick III's political enemies thought to oppose the new absolute power of the throne.

August 15, 1689 King Charles V signed a treaty with King William III to provide 7000 Danish troops to the Grand Alliance. They took an oath of loyalty to William III and would serve for the remainder of the war unless Denmark was attacked, in which case the Danish units would return home (and any aggressor would also be an enemy of the Netherlands and England). They fought in every major battle in Ireland and Flanders, normally in the front lines where the action was most fierce. The colonel of the Royal Life Guards, Ferdinand Wilhelm Herzog zu Wurttemberg-Neustadt (remember him?) was chosen by King Charles V to lead the Danish expeditionary force in Ireland.

In Kjeld Hald Galster's book Danish Troops in the Williamite Army in Ireland, he always refers to the regiment as the Royal Life Guard. This made me curious so I looked at the official website for the modern version of regiment and in the history section it shows this:

1658-1684  Kongens Livregiment/Regiment de Garde til Fods
1684-1867  Den Kongelige Livgarde til Fods

Most of the sources we've had until recently always referred to the regiment Garden til Fods at the Battle of the Boyne, but it looks like Mr Galaster's title is the correct one for Ireland and the rest of the Nine Year War. One of the most fun things about this period is continually finding out new information on these armies (Mr Galaster's brief description of the Battle of the Boyne also has a slightly different brigade structure than I've seen elsewhere for the first line of Williamites to ford the river so I look forward to digging into that)!

The Battle of the Boyne was the game Barry and I put on at Historicon 2010 (seen above - models painted by Barry Hilton) and the Royal Life Guards were one of the units on the table. I have since learned that the flag seen in this photo would have been carried in Flanders, but not in Ireland since the Order of the Elephant emblem depicted on the flag was not established until 1693... Again, the stuff we learn...

Here is my finished unit, sporting the official Quindia Studios version of the earlier flag (thanks, Dan Schorr). This is the version carried in the Skanian Wars and we are not certain it would have still been in use in 1690, but it seems a good guess. The 1693 versions of the Danish flags will be available from Warfare Miniatures later this year...

The coats were painted with Foundry Boneyard A and highlighted with Foundry Boneyard B. The cuffs, waistcoat, and breeches were painted with Vallejo Red (70926), Flat Red (70957), and final highlights of Scarlet (817). I should point out that the grenadiers probably did not have fur caps in Ireland. It would be more accurate to field them in cloth caps or simply floppy hats like the rest of the unit... Something else I learned after the fact, but they look cool so I'm keeping 'em now! Of course they are based for Beneath the Lily Banners!

While they have yet to take the field (I am furiously trying to build up enough models for a game), I will record their actions on the table in the same way Barry has.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Apostle Equipped Infantry

The apostle equipped infantry from Warfare Miniatures are now available in three different types of battalion pack variant:

  1. At the Ready - 3 different types of models each with the possibility of 8 head variants + sergeants, officers, drummer and pilkemen
  2. Firing Line- 5 different types of models each with the possibility of 8 head variants + sergeants, officers, drummer and pilkemen
  3. Under Pressure- 3 different types of models each with the possibility of 8 head variants + sergeants, officers, casualty with drum and pikemen
The photo above is a battalion of Scots Militia 'Under Pressure'. The unit was painted by Barry Hilton and sports flags from Quindia Studios.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In the Shadows of History: Battle of Newtown, 31st July 1689. Part Two - A scenario from the Jacobite War in Ireland

Historical Background
Barry Hilton - In March 1689 James II landed in Ireland to continue the long struggle to regain his lost throne. There was no Williamite field army on the island but of course several Protestant enclaves had already crystallised as points of resistance. Derry is by far the most well known of these in modern times. It was laid siege by an enthusiastic but ill equipped Jacobite Army one month after the Stuart King landed and was to remain so for over three months. By 28th July 1689 the situation was critical and if the siege had continued the city would most probably have fallen within a matter of days.  This would have provided an enormous fillip to the cause of James II but as it turned out, the morale boost fell to the Williamites as the city was re-supplied on July 28th and the siege lifted finally on the 31st. In summary, much military activity was going on at sea and on land across the north of Ireland in the summer of 1689. It was undertaken by several sub commands of both sides who were working theoretically in concert but often in practice were not.

Jacobite Foot retreat towards Newtown
Another important location of Williamite resistance was the town of Enniskillen in County Fermanagh. The garrison here quickly formed into regiments and began actively mounting raids on the Jacobite lines of communication. The Jacobite general Justin McCarthy the newly promoted Viscount Montcashel was sent by the Earl of Tyrconnel with a small ‘flying camp’(sic) consisting of four thousands of horse, foot and dragoons (some sources say 5,000) to capture Crum Castle about 16 miles from Enniskillen. The reduction of the castle would have made the taking of Enniskillen easier but Montcashel found his command wanting in terms of artillery and the position of the castle made it difficult to capture. After some bloody frontal assaults and close quarter fighting he gave up and headed north-west in the direction of Enniskillen.

The Jacobite plans were known to the enemy probably through espionage and treachery and the garrison of Enniskillen had already sallied forth under the competent English officers Wolseley and Berry to attack their potential besiegers. It is thought this Williamite force numbered some three thousands of foot and horse and so initially was inferior in size to that of Montcashel.  On the march, the bulk of Montcashel’s horse and dragoons were operating as a vanguard under Brigadier Anthony Hamilton. Hamilton’s command was until recently independent and had just amalgamated with that of Montcashel. Both leading elements unexpectedly collided on the road at a place called Lisnaskea (some sources say Hamilton was lured into an ambush following an initial success) and began to engage. Montcashel with the main body of Jacobites was still some way distant. Hamilton after a brief fight gave an order which he later maintained was ‘wheel left’ but which was delivered by Captain Lavallin as ‘to the left about’. The former order would have resulted in the Jacobite horse retiring upon their main body, the actual order resulted in the cavalry turning tail and leaving the field with the brigadier! This military blunder resulted in the hapless Montcashel now finding himself outnumbered and having to take rapid measures to avert disaster. The Jacobites retired through Newtown burning it to deny cover to their pursuers. The distance between Lisnaskea and Newtown is between five and six miles. Assuming that the main Jacobite body was between the two settlements at the time of the cavalry clash is fairly safe as subsequently Montcashel is described as retreating through the latter. Just how far behind his cavalry vanguard he was, is impossible to determine. The retreat may however have taken a couple of hours. Neither the time of day nor prevailing weather is mentioned specifically in any of the accounts.

The men of Enniskillen advance to victory!
Montcashel then apparently took position on some high ground to the south of the village. One source describes him placing his body of troops on a pass(sic) which traversed a morass. On one flank beyond the morass lay a wooded area although which flank is not clear. He placed two or three light guns across the road blocking the causeway and braced the guns with a troop of Horse behind. On either flank he placed his Foot. His force was now perhaps composed of 2,500 – 2,900 men (sources say that after his cavalry was chased off Jacobite numbers were inferior to the Protestant forces).   The Williamites came on, taking some casualties but halted on the far side of the morass.  One source says Wolseley sent forward his horse, forced the causeway, captured the guns and compelled the Jacobites to flee after a single hasty volley. Another says he sent some of his infantry around the Jacobite flank and through the woods. These appeared unexpectedly, and the shock caused the Jacobite force to turn tail and run. Yet another says that infantry crossed the morass, took out the guns thus allowing the cavalry to cross by the causeway. John Kinross in his book makes no mention of Lisnaskea and has Hamilton’s dragoons driving Berry and the Protestant vanguard back on Wolseley. The Jacobites take up position but the Protestants attack first with infantry, killing the gunners and at this point the Jacobite dragoons turn tail and flee leaving Montcashel to pick up the pieces. Despite this title being quite obviously a specialist study of the campaigns of 1689-91 the description of the action at Newton seems the least well researched and is at odds with almost every other source. What is not in dispute is that Montcashel was wounded and captured. Afterwards both Brigadier Hamilton and Captain Lavallin (the officer who had transmitted the order to the vanguard) were brought to trial. The brigadier was acquitted but the captain was put to death still protesting that he had delivered the order exactly as requested. One source states casualties on both sides were light. Whilst another puts Protestant loses at 70 killed and wounded and the Jacobites at 1,400 (equating to as many as 50% of the total combatants) lost in a bloody pursuit along with all drums and colours!

As a footnote, I discovered that the settlement of Newtownbutler was until the year 1715 known simply as Newtown. The butler was added after Theophilus Butler was created Baron of the area in 1715. The battle should therefore be known as the battle of Newtown.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Join the League of Augsburg

Please, Sir! I just need a few more days to finish the blog post!
Clarence Harrison - The blog is off to a great start and we have lots of great articles coming up, but in the spirit of alliance that was the League of Augsburg, we would like to invite you to participate! We are now accepting submissions for guest authors to add articles of their own. This could be a snippet of history, an article on painting or collecting models, building terrain, a scenario or after action report, a FEATURED REGIMENT, info on uniforms, flags, or equipment, or simply some nice photos of models or units.

Unfortunately as this is mainly a labor of love on our part, we can't provide compensation other than the promotion of your personal blogs or other projects you may be involved in.

This is awesome! How do I get involved?
Send a brief outline of your submission to to make sure we don't already have a similar article on the schedule (the same subject of a Featured Regiment for example). I just don't want someone putting lots of effort into a project only to find out we can't use it. If you have an epic idea along the lines of one of Barry's series, we can publish the piece in installments. Don't panic if you don't hear back right away... I will try to check the email account every day, but I might not always be able to respond the same day.

I'd like to submit an article, but I don't have photos.
No problem... We probably do. We borrow from each other already and we can most likely find something to go with your idea, create maps, etc. Just mention that when you send your outline.

Do I have to use BLB, Donnybrook, or Warfare Miniatures?
Not at all. Obviously Beneath the Lily Banners and Donnybrook are our chosen rules, but if you run games with Black Powder, 1644, or something else it's fine to include references to them. Likewise we have an interest in promoting Warfare Miniatures, but our own collections and articles feature models from other manufacturers. The only restriction on submissions is that the period fall within the late 17th/early 18th century... If you have any doubts we will sort them out in the outline process.

Once the outline is approved, will I have a deadline?
No. We don't work to deadlines and neither do you. Assuming we approve the outline, I will make a note of the submission, but your article will not be scheduled for the rotation until it's finished... No pressure from this end.

I'm not a great writer.
Yeah, neither am I. Submit a photo spread and we'll work out the text to go with it. Articles may be subject to editing as well, though anything major will be discussed with the author first. 

So that's it! If you simply want to submit a one off article or a more ambitious series of posts, your efforts will be welcome. We want the LoA blog to grow into a resource for the period, both for history and wargaming, and having the help of the community will go a long way toward achieving that goal (and won't have to just listen to us spout off all the time).


Friday, July 19, 2013

FEATURED REGIMENT: Mackay's Regiment of Foot

Barry Hilton - Welcome to a new regular feature! We thought it would be useful to start featuring regiments from our collections and providing a little background as to why we chose to paint and use them.
My personal need to record the deeds of my little metal men is somewhat inexplicable and to an extent slightly worrying. After all, they are only inanimate pieces of lead alloy dressed up in pigment and glued onto pieces of wood. So, why do these little warriors deserve to receive a history in the same way as the real men they represent?
Perhaps it is the love we put into choosing, cleaning, priming, painting, varnishing and basing them for self and friends to admire. Maybe it’s the pride and the agony of seeing them march across the table carrying our own high hopes of victory only to be dashed again on club night or when the lads come round for a game. Maybe it’s the memory of what was going on in your life when you painted them; triumph, tragedy, loneliness, illness, joy or anger. You may recall the movie or radio show that was on in the background when you sat with brush in hand. They may have been born during deep winter or high summer, or whilst you were on holiday or travelling with work (one of my most common memories). I remember once sitting in Lufthansa’s University in the middle of the Odenwald near Heidelberg during a stifling August, hand painting Thirty Years War flags for the Augsburg Regiment and wondering whether they had ever campaigned on the plain which stretched out in full view below my bedroom.  Perhaps it is the emotion evoked when researching the history of the real men our tiny soldiers are in the image of.
Whatever the reason we love to talk and remember about deeds of renown. For years I recorded every action that my League of Augsburg units fought in. Each unit had its own section in which I noted the scenario, their position in the line, their opponents, battle performance, whether the achieved anything, captured or lost colours, casualties and whether I considered the performance worthy of distinction. I even sketched the trophies each took (if any). No small job considering that in a big battle I might be making as many as 30 entries in my diary at a time.
I stopped it several years ago but still have the massive telephone directory type ring folders I made. It’s nice to flick through occasionally and remember. So, to kick us off here is the very first unit for the period I ever painted. You’ll see many more as the weeks roll by….
Mackay’s Regiment of Foot
Apparently formed in 1595. By the 1680s they were serving in the Dutch Army as part of the Scots Brigade. By 1688 they were under the command of Sir Hugh Mackay of Scourie, a very experienced Highlander who had served the French and Imperialists. Mackay led them at Killiecrankie in 1689. They fought in Flanders and were at Steenkirke (where Mackay fell) and Landen. After Steenkirke they were commanded by Aeneas Mackay until 1697 when they became Murray’s.
 Painting Them Originally
I first painted this regiment in 1992 when I got into the period. I used Dixon miniatures. I dressed them in a mid-dark red at the time using the black undercoat method. They were originally based on a 20mm per model frontage, 4 models per base, 16 models in total. Pikes (2 or 3 I can’t remember) were integral with the central stands. They had a single cotton hand painted flag of 40 x 40mm which was a yellow St Andrews cross on a red field. It long ago disappeared by being converted into the standard of Regiment Jyske and sold. 
Painting Them Again!
As my period interest flourished I bought Foundry models and decided to do Mackay’s again from scratch. I did a 36 model unit using Foundry models with Essex grenadiers and a couple of head conversions around about 1995 or ‘96. I decided on a much more vivid red for this incarnation and put a lot of character into the faces particularly. This large unit picked up a couple of 1st prizes in painting competitions (The Durham show around 1996 is one I recall as was a Scottish show perhaps Claymore or Kirriemuir).
Several Children From a Single Parent
The unit was too large for normal gaming use so I broke them up. The core stayed as the ‘New Mackays’ with excess models moving into a reformed Ramsay’s with others moving to a reformed Montcashel’s (obviously switching sides!). Cuff and breeches colour changes were made during transfers. By now I was rebasing in what was to become the standard BLB frontage and Mackay’s  found themselves on 4 stands, 6 models per stand (except the animated pike stand of 5 models). In this form they fought most of their actions and appeared in a variety of publications including BLB and Wargames Illustrated.
Pikemen - A white cuff job moved these into Ramsays!
Another Comeback
They were rebased for a fourth time in 2011 when I wanted to give my ‘platoon firing’ Foot a more open formation to distinguish them on the table. The frontage was opened up to 20mm again and base depth reduced from the standard 60mm to 50mm.
Glorious Service
In total they have fought 65 recorded actions receiving seven distinctions. Their average battle losses are 30%. They have captured the colours of: Gordon's and O'Gara's regiments. They have lost their own colours four times. Their finest hour was capturing the colours of O'Gara's Regiment on the banks of the Shannon 1691. Their darkest hour was losing their nerve crossing the Boyne in a 1690 refight whilst under fire from the Irish Footguards. They panicked two friendly brigades into retreat. They have fought in their original Scots-Dutch Brigade line up with Balfour's and Ramsay's 12 times including Killiecrankie and Neerwinden stretching as far back as 1993. This service record covers the period of Old Mackay’s and New Mackay’s. Sir Hugh has been captured twice by the French!  They have fought in perhaps another 20-25 actions which were not recorded and have guised as Saxons and Russians during GNW battles! I think I have had my money's worth from these veteran Scots.

The Brigade Deployed for Battle
Old Soldiers Never Die!
In 1995 the Old Mackay’s were given a different paint job (a much more scarlet- red). A few new models were added, some of which were Essex officers. They were given a natty red hat trim and generally spruced up. They became Regiment Waldek-Pyrmont of the Dutch Army and continue to serve!  They will themselves feature later on the blog.

Mackay’s Regiment of Foot. Scots in Dutch pay. Painted by Barry Hilton

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

In the Shadows of History: Battle of Newtown, 31st July 1689. Part One

Barry Hilton - This scenario is based around a little known incident which in historical terms has been understandably eclipsed by the concurrent relief of the siege of Derry. In wargaming terms it lurks deep in the shadows beyond the battles at The Boyne and Aughrim.

It is particularly interesting because of its size and the nature of the encounter which could be described as a running battle. I have chosen to compile a brief historical background to place the scenario in context. My sources for this were A Jacobite Narrative of the War in Ireland (a project from the history department of University College, Cork), The Popular History of England (Charles Knight, 1859), the recent Osprey title The Battle of the Boyne, Alan Sapherson’s William III at War in Scotland & Ireland and a variety of military and historical websites.

Although broadly in agreement these sources do conflict markedly on detail not only in the sequence of events on the day but in the number and composition of the troops involved. Rather than see this as a problem I have looked on it as an opportunity for flexibility in terms of the Orders of Battle I offer for the scenarios. I was working to a very tight deadline to finish this article and had originally intended to bang it out in short order as a brief two page wargaming guideline but the research element drew me deeper and deeper into the subject and proved to be a very rewarding exercise in itself.

As at the time of writing I have been unable to find any single body of text which draws together the various elements contained herein or which attempts to analyse from a military perspective, some of the anomalies in unit organisation. To that end, the article may be able to claim some original thought and research which adds to a deeper understanding of the battle.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bridge at Tufik

David O'Brien - This is a scenario for Donnybrook and although I have set this around the area of Tangiers in the 1689's it could easily be transported to Spain, Italy, Belgium, Bavaria or Ireland. The rules are not yet available (though they will be soon), but you could easily run this with any skirmish set.

Following on from the recent attacks on Fort Henrietta and destruction of the walls by Moorish artillery the Governor, Colonel Percy Kirke has decided to launch a surprise attack against the bridge across the gorge at the village of Tufik. Having counter attacked and destroyed the Moorish artillery outside the walls of Henrietta the main route for any new guns has to cross over that bridge otherwise it involves a huge diversion of many weeks marching. The destruction of the bridge would be a major headache for the Moors and would also undermine the influence of Ismail Ibn Sharif the Sultan of Fez so a small volunteer force has been dispatched overnight to surprise the guards and blow the bridge.

For the attacking force William O'Brien 2nd Earl of Inchiquin recently retired from the Tangiers regiment has offered to lead a force of the best men from all the garrison of Tangiers. For my four units I have chosen some grenadiers from the Tangiers regiment, another group of grenadiers from the King's regiment and an elite musket unit and pike unit from the Tangiers regiment. Captain Hilton, Ensign Harrison and sergeants Talbot and Donohoe have all volunteered to join the expedition. This force can be made up of any troops you have to hand but I would suggest that you make them all elite or grenadiers.

The bridge is lightly guarded as it is so far behind Moorish lines that it is assumed it can't be attacked so only one unit of drilled spearmen are on guard supported by a recruit unit of peasants armed with improvised weapons. Not far away is a cavalry camp of recruit cavalry so it should be expected that help will arrive from that side but will they be in time? There are a few special rules just for this scenario that don't appear in Donnybrook...
  • The first ruling is that as the attack takes place in the dead of night the infantry guards are in bed and should be marked in which houses they are asleep in, only 2 guards can be placed anywhere the defender wants.
  • The attacking player should then place his troops at any point he wishes on the table edge  as it is assumed that local guides have shown them hidden paths.
  • The defenders cannot react until they have been warned by a shout from the sentries and likewise no cavalry reinforcement cards can be added to the deck until after the alarm has been raised.
  • At the beginning of each move both players roll a d6 and the highest controls the sentries, he rolls another d6 to see how far each one moves and the controlling player can move them anywhere they want, they then roll a direction dice and this is the direction the sentry is now looking.
  • Every move after the first and before rolling for sentries a player should roll a d6 and on a 1 then an unarmed civilian will appear from a randomly selected building which is why they are numbered.
  • Any civilians and sentries are now controlled by the highest rolling player as normal.
  • If any of the attackers contact a sentry or civilian they will automatically be killed but there is a chance that they let out a muffled yell or the scuffle is heard, roll a d6 and on a 1 the sleeping guards are alerted.
  • Visibility is only 6" on the first move and will increase by 2" at the beginning of every move.
  • I have assumed that all attacking units will have enough powder to blow the bridge but if you want to make things more difficult for yourself then you could just nominate which unit you want to carry the powder. It will take the attackers one move of doing nothing else to place the charges and the bridge will blow at the end of the turn unless the defender can roll a 1 on a d6. The attacker can make as many attempts as they want to blow the bridge.
  • Even though the cavalry would be too far away to hear a sentry call out their cards should be added into the deck of cards as soon as the guard are alerted. Each cavalry should dice to see which path they enter the table from.

I would love to hear from others that fight this scenario to see how they have gotten on and if they have changed to area of operation.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Reading List

This started as the bibliography for Barry's article and extends beyond the Glorious Revolution period but we are certain that the listed books will save interested gamers a huge amount of frustrating research time. Use the comments section below to add more!

  • Åberg & Göransson Karoliner. The Age of Charles XII – Only available in Swedish.

  • Barthorp, Michael. Marlborough’s Army 1702-11. Osprey Publishing (1994)

  • Chandler, David. The Art Of Warfare In The Age Of Marlborough. Da Capo Press (2001)
  • Chandler, David. Sedgemoor, 1685: From Monmouth’s Invasion to The Bloody Assizes. Spellmount Publishers Ltd (1999)
  • Chandler, David. Marlborough as a military commander. Batsford (1973)
  • Chandler, David. Atlas of Military Strategy 1618-1878. Arms & Armour Press
  • Chandler, David. Blenheim Preparation, The English Army on the March to the Danube. Spellmount (2004)
  • Childs, John. The British Army Of William III: 1689-1702. Manchester University Press (1990)
  • Childs, John. The Army Of James II And The Glorious Revolution. Manchester University Press(1980)
  • Childs, John. The Nine Years War And The British Army: 1688-97. Manchester University Press(1991)
  • Childs, John. The Williamite Wars In Ireland. Hambledon Continuum (2007)
  • Condray, P. The Portuguese Army During the War of Spanish Succession (1704-1715). Editions Brokaw(1992)

  • Dalton, Charles. The Scots Army 1661-1688. Greenhill Books (1989)
  • Deane, John Marshall. A Journal of Marlborough's Campaigns During the War of the Spanish Succession. Society Army Historical Research (1984)
  • Doherty, Richard. The Siege of Derry 1689. Spellmount (2008)

  • Ede-Borrett, S. The Army Of James II – Uniforms And Organisation. Partizan Press
  • Ellis, Peter Berresford. The Boyne Water. The Blackstaff Press (1976)
  • Englund, Peter. The Battle That Shook Europe: Poltava And The Birth Of The Russian Empire. IB Tauris & Co Ltd. (2002)

  • Falkner, James. Great And Glorious Days: The Duke Of Marlborough’s Battles 1704-09
  • Falkner, James. Ramillies-1706 The Year Of Miracles. Pen & Sword Books 2006
  • Francis, David. First Peninsular War, 1702-1713. St.Martin's (1975)
  • Funcken, L & F. The Lace Wars Volume 1
  • Funcken, L & F. The Lace Wars Volume 2

  • Gallster, Kjeld Hald. Danish Troops in the Williamite Army in Ireland, 1689-91. Four Courts Press (2012)
  • Garbett RN, Capt H. Irish Infantry Regiments In The Service Of France 1690-1791. Partizan Press
  • Grant, C. S. The Armies And Uniforms Of Marlborough’s Wars: Part One. Partizan Press
  • Grant, C. S. The Armies And Uniforms Of Marlborough’s Wars: Part Two. Partizan Press
  • Grant , C. S From Pike to Shot: Armies & Battles of Western Europe 1685-1720. Wargames Research Group
  • Green, D. Blenheim. Collins (1974)

  • Hoglund & Salnas. Great Northern War 1700-1721: Colours & Uniforms(1). Swedish
  • Hoglund & Salnas. Great Northern War 1700-1721: Colours & Uniforms(2). Russian
  • Hugill, J.A.C. No Peace Without Spain. Kensal Press (1991)

  • Kamen H. War of the Succession in Spain 1700-15. Weidenfeld(1969).
  • Kinross, John. The Boyne and Aughrim, The War of the Two Kings. Windrush Press (1997)
  • Konstam, Angus. Peter the Great’s Army (1)- Infantry. Osprey Publishing (1993)
  • Konstam, Angus. Peter the Great’s Army (2)- Cavalry. Osprey Publishing (1995)
  • Konstam, Angus. Poltava 1709-Russia Comes Of Age. Osprey Publishing (1994)
  • Kuhn, August. Ferenc Rakoczi II & his Kuruzzenarmee 1704-1711. Editions Brockaw (1990)

  • Lenihan, Padraig. 1690 -Battle Of The Boyne. Tempus Publishing (2003)
  • Leslie, NB. The Succession of Colonels of the British Army from 1660 to the present day. Society for Army Historical Research. Special Publication No11 (1974)
  • Lynn, John A. The French Wars: 1667-1714 The Sun King At War. Osprey Publishing (2002)

  • Moore, Anthony. The Army of Brandenburg Prussia 1685-1715. Gosling Press (1992)
  • McNally, Michael. Battle Of The Boyne 1690: The Irish Campaign For The English Crown. Osprey Publishing (2005)
  • McNally, Michael. The Battle of Aughrim. The History Press (2009)

  • Nosworthy, Brent. Anatomy Of Victory: Battle Tactics 1689-1763. Hippocrene Books Inc. (1990)

  • Reid, Stuart. Killiecrankie 1689: The First Jacobite Rising. Partizan Press
  • Reid, Stuart. The Last Scots Army 1661-1714. Partizan Press
  • Reid, Stuart. I Met the Devil & Dundee: The Battle of Killiecrankie 1689. Partizan Press

  • Sapherson, C. A. Armies Of Spain: 1701-1715. Partizan Press
  • Sapherson, C. A. Forces Of The Swedish Crown 1688-1721. Partizan Press
  • Sapherson, C. A. Marlburian Armies 1701-1721. Partizan Press
  • Sapherson, C. A. The British Army Of William III. Partizan Press
  • Sapherson, C. A. The Danish Army: 1699-1715. Partizan Press
  • Sapherson, C. A. The Dutch Army Of William III. Partizan Press
  • Sapherson, C. A. The French Cavalry 1688-1715. Partizan Press
  • Sapherson, C. A. The Imperial Cavalry 1691-1714. Partizan Press
  • Sapherson, C. A. The Imperial Infantry 1691-1714. Partizan Press
  • Sapherson, C. A. William III At War 1689-1691. Partizan Press
  • Scott, Christopher. The Armies & Uniforms of the Monmouth Rebellion. Partizan Press (2008)
  • Sheane, Michael. The Great Siege, The Siege of Londonderry 1689. Stockwell (2002)
  • Stanford, I. Marlborough Goes to War: 1704. Pike & Shot Society (2001)

  • Tincey, John. Armies Of The Sedgemoor Campaign. Partizan Press
  • Tincey, John. Blenheim 1704 - The Duke Of Marlborough’s Masterpiece. Osprey Publishing (2004)
  • Tincey, John. The British Army 1660-1704. Osprey Publishing (1994)
  • Trevor , Meriol. The Shadow of a Crown: Life story of James II/VII. Constable (1988)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Everyone Loves a Simple Story - Part Four

Of Dice and Men…

Barry Hilton - Standing armies were a relatively new concept and some countries such as France and Holland had by the 1680s, much more practice than others. The British Army’s performance under William III is not particularly noteworthy despite the fact that individual regiments often performed tenaciously. It is also important to recognize that from 1688 to 1697 and again during the War of the Spanish Succession, the British Army did not take the field as a distinct entity but worked mostly as part of a larger Allied army dominated by Dutch troops, senior officers and doctrine. The British had to win the respect of their Dutch Allies and this happened but slowly. Although many famous British regiments were present at Steinkerke (1692) and Neerwinden (1693), the first battle honour carried by any unit in the modern army is Namur (1695) largely because this was their first notable victory. The gritty behaviour of the British infantry particularly, at these three battles did much to create a positive impression with their continental partners. Ever the arch - political pragmatist Willem’s somewhat negative view of officers and men did not extend to his attitude concerning English money which helped enormously in his war with France. Up until the Act of Union in 1707 both kingdoms maintained separate armies. The Scottish Army, although modest was a distinct entity and so talk of a British Army before that date is inaccurate. To further complicate matters Scottish regiments existed on both the English and Dutch establishments before and after 1707. The professionalism of the Dutch, Danish and Swiss troops of the period is well documented. Louis XIV’s large Maison du Roi (Household) is conspicuous throughout and recorded as a formidable battlefield force deployed in a far more active role than Napoleon’s Imperial Guard. A major bonus of collecting wargames armies of this era is the absolutely stunning spectra of uniform colour and flag design. It is a riot of colour and amazing fusion of geometric and heraldic designs.

Tabletop Gaming
Part of the reason I was asked to pen this piece is I have been studying, writing about and gaming the period fairly continuously for 21 years. During that time I have happily used different sets of rules and gamed in different scales. Contemporary rule sets such as Black Powder will, I am certain, give enjoyable games. I have used adapted ECW rules such as 1644 very successfully with minor modifications. WRG 1420-1700 cover the period. I started with the WHC Marlburian rules adapted by a friend for the period 1688-1697 and enjoyed those very much for several years. Dozens of games steered me towards developing my own rules which appeared in 2008 as Beneath the Lily Banners. Games are essentially linear and the movement rates make infantry cumbersome but to get a real feeling of the period you must get the proportion of Foot and Horse correct in your force. A ratio of 2:1 is perfect. This gives cavalry enormous significance and creates huge swirling melees all over the table. Without these proportions properly dealt with the games will be dull, the cavalry an insignificant irritant and the infantry fire fights predictable.

I have alluded to many scenarios from the smallest to the largest in the text so far but part of the joy of this period is continually uncovering new information about units, uniforms, actions and organization. Wargaming is a hobby which allows us to flit from project to project and this stimulates and keeps the enthusiasm bubbling over. I am as prone to this syndrome as every other gamer but I must confess that I have never at any time completely dropped my interest in this amazing period of political change and military awakening.

Monday, July 8, 2013


Clarence Harrison - Donnybrook is a set of skirmish rules for 1660-1760 due out later this summer. The impetus to create the game came from a conversation I had with Barry last year. We were discussing the various projects we had in the works and talking strategy for increasing our market presence (mostly BS-ing actually but didn't that sound professional?), when I mentioned that I thought we really needed a way to introduce new players to the period and a skirmish level game seemed like the perfect vehicle. The model seems to have been very successful in other periods, so why not in ours? Players could collect and paint a very reasonable number of models (Warfare Miniatures would be perfect for this) and get gaming straight away. Barry readily agreed and then asked if I had something we could use...

As it turns out, I actually did. I have been using my own rules for skirmish battles for a decade and have used them with everything from Warhammer Fantasy models to late 19th century Colonial Africa. I laid out the basics of the game for Barry on the phone and he said, " Sounds great... Get writing!"

First of all, my contribution to our partnership thus far has been limited to making the books look good... Layouts, artwork, photos. I have helped with game design in small measures (and mercilessly flogged the skirmisher rules in Republic to Empire from a paragraph to a full chapter) and provided feedback on mechanisms, but my actual writing has been limited to introductions and a short essay on painting in BLB2. I've done plenty of writing in other genres, but never really attempted to write wargames rules for actual publication. My skirmish rules were on one side of a single sheet of paper because that was one of the parameters I set when I designed them. I had a lot of writing to do!

Ok, to be fair, after "Get writing!" Barry added "Let me know what you need from me.", but I left that out initially because the first thing that went through my head was "Cr@p! He wants me to write it!" Barry is a published author many times over so being handed the reins felt a little surreal. In the end it wasn't as bad as I had imagined. The rules are solid, having been played many times over the years, and most of my work was taking the brief sentences I used to define an action for myself and make them clear to a wider audience. Barry and Dave O'Brien ran numerous games without the benefit of having me at the table and this proved invaluable as weaknesses were quickly exposed - normally in my explanations, not the rules themselves. Their games also helped to find the missing elements needed to take the rules from a generic set and ground Donnybrook firmly in the period.

The basic game of Donnybrook requires a force of four units of 3-12 models each, depending on their quality, and one character who represents the the player. Games are played on a 4x4' table. You can add additional units and additional characters as you like, as long as both sides use the same conventions, though you'll need a larger table as you increase the numbers! The game uses a card driven turn system, with a deck containing one card for each character and each unit on the table, one reload card (black powder weapons were notoriously slow to reload once fired), and one turn over card (reshuffle the deck... Yes, this means that not every model gets to act every turn!). When a character or unit card is drawn, they take a full turn - rally (if necessary), move, shoot, and melee. When their turn is finished, another card is drawn from the deck. There are several variations to the card system to allow you to tailor the action to the style of game you prefer.

Actions are resolved by throwing a die and comparing it to a target number to determine success or failure - shooting, for instance, requires a 6 or better to hit. Donnybrook uses those funny dice more commonly found in role playing games and the type of die you throw is determined by the quality of the model... d6 for recruits, d8 for trained soldiers and warriors, and d10 for elite troops. There are a short list of modifiers as well, but such things have been kept to an absolute minimum to speed play.

The rules are simple enough, but the heart of the game are the factions. These are 'army' lists designed to guide your force selection and add loads of period flavor. I worked out a rough format for the Army faction (the regular government troops of the age) and made few brief notes for other faction and character ideas and dropped the mess into Barry's lap to utilize his 20+ years of experience in the period. The results are fantastic. Besides marching government troops into battle, you can choose mobs of armed peasants, murderous brigands, religious fanatics, sinister cultists, ferocious highlanders, or tribal natives. Each faction is painted with a broad brush to allow the player to come up with his own narrative. For instance, an Outlaw force might be dashing highwaymen, desperate deserters, common brigands, wily smugglers, or swashbuckling pirates! 

While you can play the game perfectly well with a handful of units, Donnybrook is ultimately designed to be a character driven game. Once you have the basics of the rules in hand you will want to start adding these optional models. Each faction has a number of unique character models that allow you to enhance the performance of your units, hinder your foes, or grant a number of other special abilities to you force. Giving these characters names or even designing a backstory will add to the narrative element of your games...

We are nearing the book's completion. The main part of the book is finished and awaiting the final photos. There are a couple of chapters to write, but they should be done in short order. With our creative team consisting only of two very busy people, we don't try to set deadlines, but it is my hope to send the book off to the printer soon. Of course as we know more, we will post the news here!

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Duke of Wurttemberg - Part Four

Clarence Harrison - So here he is, ready to lead the Danish brigade...

A couple more notes. I don't normally paint eyes on 28mm historical models. It's not because I can't - I just feel like the effect is more realistic leaving the darkest flesh tone. You can't see the detail of a person's eyes from a distance in real life, so they shouldn't stand out on the model from across the table! On the subject of eyes, you can't normally see the whites of a horse's eyes unless it is terrified. Certainly a rearing model or one careening into combat might count, but I normally just add a grey highlight to the black, especially with one standing politely and looking at whatever his master is pointing at...

Hopefully this series was of some use to you. Maybe some of the other guys will be inspired to chime in with their own painting tips...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Everyone Loves a Simple Story - Part Three

The Armies

Barry Hilton - During the Glorious Revolution period infantry were known as Foot. They were organized into companies varying in strength from 50 to 100 men. Several companies formed a battalion. Some regiments had a single battalion whilst others had several. Early in the period pikemen were still present in some numbers within each battalion in a ratio of around 1:5 with musketeers. Some evidence suggests that as late as 1704 the English had some units equipped with pikes in a ratio of 1:2 with musketeers. This was more to do with money than tactics and pikes would have been present in insufficient numbers to have affected army level tactical doctrine. Muskets were expensive, pikes were not. As time progressed, most armies phased out the pike. Regiments in several European armies fielded more than one battalion. This was very uncommon in the British and Dutch armies except in Guard units. There was epic level fraud committed by unit commanders because regiments were normally raised, funded and administered by their colonels. Monies were granted by Treasuries for maintenance and of course it would be in the interest of some avaricious and unscrupulous colonel to inflate his muster role by a significant percentage and pocket the difference. Recently I came across some information about a certain officer called Mr Harbord whose ‘troop of Horse’ appeared to be the guard for the Williamite army payroll in Ireland during the campaigns 1689-1691. It seems he may have appropriated the equivalent of £40,000,000 in modern money and got away with it! Move over Ronnie Biggs for the Great Wagon Trayne Robbers!

Foot almost universally operated in close order and their tactics were simple and linear. Movement was very slow compared with later periods. As training and drill were rudimentary and the line predominant, Foot tended to approach each other at a rate between 20 and 60 paces per minute. Prescribed rates were faster but the absence of cadenced march (movement to the beat of drums) and the constant need to dress the lines slowed everything down. The impact of evolving fire control doctrines amongst the different protagonists is the subject of continuing debate. Almost universally in the period units deployed in formations of up to 6 ranks. The favoured firing method was to discharge muskets by rank. As time progressed this was perceived by some armies as less efficient. It is interesting that France, the strongest military power of the age persisted with the older ways throughout the period. This should cast at least some doubt over the perceived efficacy of the alternatives. The French put more faith in the use of the bayonet than some of their opponents. The much discussed ‘platoon firing’ method (a favourite wargaming pet of Marlborough’s many fans) is thought to have been perfected by the Dutch and English during the War of the Spanish Succession. Its effect was considered more deadly than the systems used by other nations. Its basis was a continuous rippling fire delivered by different groups discharging in sequence but from varying positions in the battalion line. It required thorough training and competent officer control. Often battalions using this doctrine deployed in fewer ranks and thus longer thinner lines.

During this period cavalry were collectively known as Horse. This term covers the traditional sword and pistol armed cavalry of most armies. Some nations retained breast and back armour and occasionally lobster tail helmets. Certain regiments were equipped with a breastplate only. The vast majority however were dressed much as the Foot in a knee length coloured coat, broad brimmed hat with the addition of heavy riding boots. The French fielded only one or two regiments of cuirassiers at did the Dutch. The English after the 1680’s did not field cuirassiers. Often in Germanic armies all cavalry with the exception of mounted dragoons were cuirassiers (Kürassier). The French cavalry of the line were known as chevau-léger (light horse). In the 17th century this was a distinction in name only. It dated back to medieval times when lighter armoured sergeants were equipped differently to the heavily armoured gens d’armes (men at arms) they were tasked with supporting. Horse were expensive to arm and maintain but between 1660 and 1721 were numerous on the battlefield and often constituted up to one third of an army’s total strength. The basic organizational element was a ‘troop’ comprising of between 30 and 90 men. Several troops would make up a squadron and usually, several squadrons would make up a regiment. English regiments were small and would sometimes muster no more than 200 men. In contrast, Austrian cuirassier regiments often fielded 6 to 8 squadrons. 

The tactics used by Horse varied between armies. They also went through phases of development and popularity dependant on which commanders were in charge at any given time. Those trained to charge at a rate between fast trot and gallop tended to use their swords as the primary offensive weapon. These would have higher momentum on contact. French 1679-1698, English & Dutch 1700 – 1715 and Jacobite Horse 1689-1691 were likely to have operated in this fashion although often it was down to the individual whim of the colonel how a regiment conducted itself in battle. Horse trained to advance at a slow trot almost to contact at which point they would discharge pistols constituted the balance. They would then close with the sword or other hand weapons. Through 1688-1697 English, Dutch, Danish and German Horse are likely to have operated this way and French from 1700 to1715.

The role of dragoons was evolving during the period. Theoretically they were mounted infantry who rode forward and dismounted to fight. Often they would take and hold a position until reinforcements arrived. Increasingly they were being used in the mounted combat role. Often possessed of inferior horses and frequently not trained in the cavalry tactics of the day, they could for a limited time, stand up and be counted against Horse. When fighting mounted they formed in squadrons along the same principles as Horse. On foot they formed in battalions like the infantry.

This period saw the use of grenadier battalions which were ad hoc formations drawn from the grenadier companies of various units. Each infantry battalion usually possessed a grenadier company. In theory, these men were the biggest and bravest and consequently received the most dangerous jobs such as assaulting prepared defences. They would lob or bowl underarm their sputtering, fused granadoes (grenades) kept in a large pouch slung over the shoulder or attached to a waist belt, then charge forward. Many were equipped with hand hatchets to chop down defence works. Units of grenadiers would be extremely colourful because of the wide variety of coat and facing colours which appeared in each composite unit.

This period saw the beginnings of professional artillery corps which would come to dominate the battlefields of the world from the late 18th century onwards. At this stage however the fledgling formations were limited in their scope by extremely heavy guns which were not served with an efficient support network. A few professional technicians directed operations and utilized a large quantity of untrained strong-backs to do the manual work. Artillery was not fully militarized and so its use was somewhat restricted.

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