Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bloody Aughrim July 12, 1691 - refought by the LoA Part 8 - Battle Report main course

Barry continues with the After action report from an epic re-fight of The Battle of Aughrim...

We had a break of about three weeks before we were all able to muster for the second part of our Aughrim refight. So far we'd played about 16 turns and gamed for around 7 hours. The game had gone very much in the direction of the real battle. Probing attacks by the Williamites being successful only to a limited extent. There were lots of disorganized retreats from Jacobite fire, much disorder amidst the terrain and some notable routs - Erle's, Coldstream Guards and Hanmer's with Hamilton's Regiment totally destroyed. The Jacobites had suffered badly on their right with three dragoon regiments taking the brunt of it whilst on their left Tyrconnel's cavalry had been obliterated when Bath's stood their ground. The two Footguard battalions had suffered cruelly from the Williamite heavy guns despite one of them blowing up! Honours were about even. We'll finish it today we thought... little could we know....................

Grace's Regiment break Brandenburg near Bloody Hollow 
At the close of the previous day's action one other notable event had be the stopping of a Dutch attack just north of Bloody Hollow. An inexperienced battalion commanded by Colonel Grace had routed the Dutch battalion Brandenburg which set in chain a ripple through the entire Dutch brigade which stuttered and halted.


The battle now moved into a phase which was dominated by cavalry charges. These occurred on both flanks and were mainly a feature of a furious Jacobite defence. Dave was getting increasingly concerned at me 'burning' valuable assets but I must say I was having a whale of a time charging everything and anything that came close to the left and left centre of our position.

A charge too far - Galmoy's come unstuck against Brewer's
When Galmoy's Regiment regrouped after its triumph against Hamilton's it went in again, this time against Brewer's. The English Foot stood firm and shrugged off the challenge leaving Galmoy's a spent force. No sooner had this attack been dealt with than the 1st Squadron of Abercorn's crashed into Brewer's who this time, crumbled and were cut down to a man losing their colours in the process.

Purcell's (left) charge Bath's, Galmoy's (right) head for Brewer's
The relentless cavalry attacks continued against the static English line. Nicholas Purcell's Regiment thumped into Bath's but failed to break them and fell back shattered. This particular English battalion had been the subject of much attention including an abortive advance by the 2nd Battalion of the Jacobite Foot Guards however, they finally came unstuck when a third cavalry charge bore down on them, this time from Lord Kilmallock's Regiment. The stout men of Bath's could take no more and broke in panic long before the cavalry reach them.

Kilmallock's Regiment take over and prove to be hard men!
By now the Jacobites had committed almost all of their left wing Horse but with some considerable success. The final charge of this phase was again made by Kilmallock's Regiment which smashed into and destroyed Stuaert's Regiment.

Stuaert's  infantry are trampled down by Kilmallock's Regiment
All the while these desperate struggles continued the massed body of Williamite Horse remained motionless beyond the Melehan with one exception. Oxford's attempted to force the Causeway for a second time. This attempt routed a depleted squadron of Abercorn's but without infantry support the English Horse retired back across the Causeway when they came under fire from Butler's men in the ruins of Aughrim Castle.

The Jacobite centre is still solid on Kilcommodan Hill
The Williamite infantry had been much disrupted by these charges, routs, retreats and reforms. Mackay's experienced brigade had panicked on seeing several front line battalions head east and itself routed only to be rallied in the nick of time before disappearing from the field.

The Danes pile on the pressure around Bloody Hollow
In the centre and on the Williamite right the battle had developed into an intensive series of fire fights. The morass protecting the southern slopes of Kilcommodan and the road across the Tristuan Stream via Attibrassil bridge presented a frustrating and disruptive obstacle to the Huguenots, Danes and Dutch. Limited passage across the bridge was dearly bought. Both regiments of Dutch Guard cavalry were lost in the fight with the hard won ground paid for by the Gard te Paard being won back in a counter attack by O'Brien's Regiment of Horse (commanded by Dave O'Brien!).

Close the wound! O'Brien's stop the Gard te Paard at Attibrassil
The Huguenots were sharply repulsed at Bloody Hollow and took several turns to rally and re approach further south at Attibrassil. The Danish regiments of Prinds Frederick, Jyske and Foot Guards ground their way into the morass with the former getting across only to be thrown back by cannon and musketry. The cavalry action on this flank involved half squadron charges across the area around the bridge and were characterized by restricted ground and no room to manoeuvre unlike the race track scenario afforded on the northern flank to the left wing Horse.

The bridge in Jacobite hands once more
We looked at our watches. It was after 7.30 pm. Gwen had made a very toothsome Thai curry and we were hungry. We'd played another 6 hours or so and it was clear that the game was far from over. What do we do? Another try on another day? We all agreed that there was every chance the battle could go either way. At this point the Jacobites had covered themselves in glory with trophies and famous cavalry charges galore. They were however, badly burned. The left wing cavalry was down to about 4 operational squadrons facing 12 enemy squadrons. In the centre the Williamites were in disarray but still had significant superiority in numbers particularly heavy artillery. On the southern flank the action was claustrophobic and focused on two or three tight little points of entry into the Jacobite positions. All to play for it seemed.

The Danish Foot Guards can take no more. Bring up the Horse!
Dave was  worried that I had shot my bolt too soon and predicted the enemy would breakthrough between Aughrim and Kilcommodan Hill. I saw it differently. I figured that sector although potentially vulnerable was not the weakest point in our line. I felt the pressure point was on the southern flank of Kilcommodan on the knuckle developing around the Bloody Hollow. My prediction was that any breakthrough would happen there.

Centre in tatters. View from Urraghry Hill west. The Williamites in disarray
I sensed some frustration from the Williamite commanders Bob and Gerry. They knew it would be tough but I think had never expected it to be THIS tough! Join us for part 3. An absolutely stunning climax to the battle which went to the very last cast of the die.

3 comments:

  1. Breathtaking account. Green with envy. Paul

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Paul! The whole affair spawned thousands of words from my side. This series is in 16 parts! After the battle report we have the casualty reports, the heroes and villains of both armies, the commanders reflections etc. I have also used the battle experience as the basis of a two part article for WI based on an alternative history 1691. This gives wargamers some nice juicy options for post Aughrim gaming.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great battle report on what was obviously a really close hardfought game. Too often games aren't that close so when they are, they stay in the memory.

    Joseph

    ReplyDelete

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