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Author Topic: Battle of Benburb in slow motion  (Read 1899 times)
d_Guy
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« on: 14 June 2017, 08:35:45 PM »

Benburb 1646. The Ulster army of the Irish Confederation under Owen Roe O'Neill vs. the combined Protestant forces of Lord Montgomery's Anglo/Irish army and the Scottish Covenanter Army in Ireland under Sir Robert Monro.

This is by far the largest wargame I have tried to document with nearly 6000 engaged on each side. I call it slow motion since it takes me days to play and document one of these things.

I use the Baroque rules system with minimum modification. The command (I frequently say wing) activation  is randomized to provide a great deal of interest for solo play. I also have various objectives (each side with its own set) which provide variable victory points and other possible effects. Again this is done to enhance solo play.

Miles "The Slasher" O'Reily's small command of Irish lancers activated first and, contrary to my original careful planning about securing the right flank, saw an opportunity to easily seize an objective, threw off all caution, and stormed across the small stream dividing the two armies:

Of course seizing is one thing, holding is quite another.

The centers of both armies activated and began advancing toward each other, Pike points glittering in the late afternoon sun. Owen Roe ordered his left wing horse (commanded by his son Henry) to advance toward the road crossing of the stream (a Protestant objective) to be in position to react should the Protestants attempt to seize it. They were met by concentrated fire from Lord Blaney's light gun batteries and the battle was formally under way:

Although disorganized, to their credit they stood fast.

There was further maneuvering and positioning by the main bodies but it was the Protestant horse on both wings (greatly outnumbering their Irish counterparts) that struck hard and decisively:

On the Irish left, Lord Montgomery's Horse attempted to take the crossing and were met by O'Neill's Horse reacting with an opportunity charge. The ensuing melee' ended badly for the Irish forcing them to retreat with casualties. They were hotly pursued by the Anglo/Irish horse, who caught them and gave them another mauling. The Irish again retreated (nearly off the board) but this time the Anglo/Irish horse failed to catch them with the second pursuit.

The above illustrates some of the best features of Baroque, the reaction and pursuit mechanisms.

The stream crossing now cleared, Sir Robert Adair, following behind Montgomery's, captured the prize for the Protestants. He is in turn followed by Protestant Foot.

At the end of the first turn the Irish are already having a bad day. As poorly as things are going on the Irish left, the situation on the right is not much better. Monro's heavy horse charged O'Reily's impetuous lancers who failed their countercharge reaction. First the Scots fired an effective pistol volley then hit the Irish with impressive force:

The lancers were driven back with heavy loses and the Scots showed remarkable restraint in not pursuing into the teeth of the Irish foot.

In the first turn the Protestants have already gained a third of the points they need for victory! The Irish are now faced with having both of their flanks threatened with no effective cavalry force left on the table. The Irish reserve under Rory Maguire has pivoted his foot to deal with the dire threat on the left. Owen Roe, however, is left with the choice of trying to withdraw his foot (who are well advanced) or trying to break through the Protestant center. The next activation sequence will probably help him with the decision.
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mad lemmey
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« Reply #1 on: 14 June 2017, 08:49:08 PM »

Great report
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paulr
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« Reply #2 on: 14 June 2017, 10:41:08 PM »

An interesting report, looking forward to the next turn Smiley
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DFlynSqrl
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« Reply #3 on: 14 June 2017, 10:47:26 PM »

Nice report!  That really looks great.
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Steve J
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« Reply #4 on: 15 June 2017, 08:11:26 AM »

Great report and look forward to more updates.
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Westmarcher
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« Reply #5 on: 15 June 2017, 09:55:30 AM »

Nicely presented. Looking forward to the next instalment.  Thumbs up
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Leman
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« Reply #6 on: 15 June 2017, 11:45:02 AM »

Great report; I particularly like the look of the woodland and marshy ground.
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d_Guy
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« Reply #7 on: 15 June 2017, 02:32:55 PM »

Thanks folks!
Leman,  the marsh pieces come from Wargamers Terrain.

Slow motion play gives you plenty of time to think. I can cut off the Anglo/Irish horse and prevent them taking the higher point objective (the road exit toward Benburb) but that will tie up two foot regiments. Need to get what's left of the Irish horse off the board so as not to give away even more points if they are destroyed. That will six Protestant horse with no counter force.

Yes - I'm basically playing the Irish and, as in most of my solo endeavors,  my opponent usually beats me.
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d_Guy
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« Reply #8 on: 20 June 2017, 08:40:17 PM »

Since the last report, things changed from the usual leisurely stroll I expected, to a high speed, unmitigated disaster for the Irish (and me). I have never had a solo wargame go so utterly wrong. Worse, it had less to do with the brilliant fellow across the table than the unrelenting number of poor assessments and decisions ( most of the latter in my initial deployment) that I managed to make. My Opponent simply exploited every mistake (and the dice tower delivered unevenly).

Things were already going badly on the Irish left but they soon got worse.

The Anglo/Irish horse destroyed the remainder of the O'Neill's cavalry and secured the second objective, while tying up two foot regiments that Owen Roe badly needed for the assault in the center. He, however, pushed ahead and met a most spirited defensive from Lord Blaney's foot and guns

With no more horse at hand, Sir Phelim O'Neill still managed to stabilized the Irish right (near Killnagrue Bog at the top of the picture below) but two more Irish foot regiments had to be committed to this endeavor:


This now left Owen Roe not with the expected five (and possibly six) regiments for the assault, but only three. In the end it was not enough. The Irish foot, struggling across the stream, were shot to pieces:

The game ended abruptly when the Protestants exceeded the thirty victory point goal (the Irish only had six) and this before their left wing cavalry even had a chance to move.

The full battle report is here:
https://inredcoatragsattired.com/2017/06/20/wargaming-benburb-how-it-played-out/

I'm writing a post about what went wrong and will post an abstract here to close this unhappy game. Wink
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toxicpixie
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« Reply #9 on: 20 June 2017, 09:15:59 PM »

Yeah, that ended pretty quick for slo-mo Cheesy
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d_Guy
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« Reply #10 on: 21 June 2017, 02:08:37 PM »

Yup - no one more surprised than me. The proximate cause of the disaster was my total lack of experience with cavalry. Every game, published and practice, that I've done with Baroque so far has had limited horse. Well disciplined horse (Batting Eyelashes can be fast and devastating out on the wings if there is no counter balance. Should have known this - won't forget again!
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Westmarcher
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« Reply #11 on: 21 June 2017, 06:45:50 PM »

 Applause Thumbs up
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Leman
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« Reply #12 on: 21 June 2017, 07:15:45 PM »

Looked really well done though.
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Poggle
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« Reply #13 on: 22 June 2017, 03:43:51 AM »

Very nicely done!  Smiley
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d_Guy
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« Reply #14 on: 22 June 2017, 01:49:51 PM »

Thanks again, gentlemen. My wife is happy to have here table Bach (for awhile).
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