Auldearn ~ 9 May 1645

Started by paulr, 05 May 2024, 07:46:47 AM

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Our local club, Hutt Miniature Wargames Club, held their annual convention ValleyCon last weekend. As usual we put on a couple of demonstration games. On Saturday we played the Aludearn scenario from our book, Montrose – To win or lose it all, that was published by To the Strongest earlier this year. We used the For King & Parliament rules by To the Strongest with our Celtic Fringe extra rules. Almost all the figures are 10mm Pendraken. On the Sunday we tested a scenario for our upcoming Irish book, more on that in a following battle report.

This scenario sees the Covenanters under Sir John Hurry with Sir Mungo Campbell of Lawers and the Earl of Seaforth surprise an ill prepared Montrose at Auldearn. MacColla must fight a desperate holding action until the remainder of the Royalist army can be sent to his relief.

To Hurry's frustration Lawers brigade makes slow progress east over Garlic Hill (drawing several ones) as the remainder of the Covenanters caught up. The limited surprise they had achieved looked to be slipping away as Manus O'Cahan's brigade arrives before the Covenanters have come to grips with MacColla's brigade.

Hurry has decided to avoid the strong garrison on Castle hill and attack through the marshes on the right. While these may slow his advance they will provide some protection from the Royalist Horse. Lawers Brigade again fails to go forward while Seaforth's deployment to the right is hindered by marshes. Hurry's own brigade is delayed by the levy pike and shot. O'Cahan's brigade moves promptly into Auldearn to support MacColla.

As the action has shifted to the Covenanter right all views of the battlefield will now be from the south. Lawers Brigade charged MacColla's two small units of veteran commanded shot (MacDonnell's Irish and MacColla's own Lifeguard). Protected by the hedge MacColla's men more than hold their own. Seaforth's Brigade is strung out as it worked through the marshes. Hurry's own Brigade is yet to crest Garlic Hill.

Seaforth's Brigade pushes forward on the right approaching Dead Wood. One of Lawers' regiments has pushed forward past MacColla's left flank. This forces MacColla to withdraw his Lifeguard while fighting hard to hold the hedge with MacDonnell's commanded shot. O'Cahan forms a second line along the hedges west of Auldearn.

MacColla launches MacDonnell's commanded shot in a successful salvee charge destroying one of Lawers' regiments. O'Cahan moves south extending the Royalist line. Viscount Aboyne arrives on the Covenanter's southern flank with his two troops of horse. Hurry's horse has reached the crest of Garlic Hill just in time.

Hurry attacks MacDonnell's commanded shot with two troops of horse, one troop is lost. Meanwhile his third troop screens Aboyne. Hurry's levy pike and shot reluctantly advance up Garlic Hill. Lawers focuses on screening Aboyne with his troop of horse and his remaining regiment of pike and shot make no progress against MacColla's Lifeguard. Seaforth turns his commanded shot to face Aboyne's horse that have arrived in his rear.

Aboyne's horse charge the Covenanter horse to their front and to the surprise of all suffer heavily and both troops are lost. Faced with Hurry's remaining horse MacColla withdraws MacDonnell's commanded shot behind the hedge. He then launches them in another devasting salvee charge against Lawers' already disordered second regiment destroying it. O'Cahan continues moving south entering Dead Wood, securing the Royalist left flank.

Hurry brings forward his levy pike and shot while redeploying his horse in the marsh. His horse on Garlic Hill is lost to the combined fire of MacDonnell's commanded shot and O'Cahan's artillery. Lawers' horse redeploys and MacDonnell's commanded shot withdraw back behind the hedge.

Hurry advances his levy pike and shot past the hedge on the crest of Garlic Hill, aiming to hinder the movement of MacDonnell's commanded shot. Disaster strikes as MacDonnell's commanded shot and O'Cahan's artillery again combine their fire. The untried levy takes some casualties and panic ensues, one regiment is lost in a rout and the other is disordered by the rapid departure of their fellows. O'Cahan's commanded shot advance extending the Royalist line confronting Lawers and Seaforth's foot. Lord Gordon's two troops of horse arrive on the northern side of the field, adding to Hurry's mounting problems.

Hurry withdraws his remaining levy pike and shot over the hedge on Garlic Hill while his horse heads north to cover their flank. Lawers horse turns north as his foot fails to make any impact on O'Cahan's commanded shot to their front. MacDonnell's commanded shot moves to threaten their flank. Seaforth's pike and shot fire their muskets and bows at O'Cahan's other commanded shot in Dead Wood but are unwilling to discard their pikes to charge into the wood. Lord Gordon advances slowly from the north as Montrose arrives with the last of the Royalist army south of Auldearn.

MacDonnell's commanded shot charge the flank of Lawers remaining pike and shot destroying them. Seaforth's pike and shot take revenge destroying MacDonnell's commanded shot. Lord Gordon's advance from the north is slowed by the marshes while Montrose advances from the east.

Hurry and Lawers have formed a line facing north to hold off Lord Gordon while Seaforth launches a last desperate attack in the forlorn hope of reaching Auldearn. It is not to be and the Covenanter army breaks.

It was a comprehensive victory to the Royalists. The Covenanters felt almost to the end that if they could break another commanded shot the way to Auldearn might still be open. All the Royalist commanded shot had surrendered their Ax, Knyf and Swerd markers so were only one unsaved hit away from being lost. MacColla's command, in particular, was handled with great skill and boldness. 

An intense, absorbing, and enjoyable game for both players.
Lord Lensman of Wellington
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Now motivated to get my English/Royalists painted :)

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Thanks for a great report and pictures of a fascinating battle.


Fabulous report, Paul. It is great to see what you have done with the rules, bringing the Celtic fringe to life. Looking forward to your Irish journey! 
2021 Painting Competition - Winner!
2022 Painting Competition - 2 x Runner-Up!

pierre the shy

This game was, as Wellington said of Waterloo, a near run thing. MacColla and the Irish brigade must be handled with a mixture of aggression and caution as they are small commanded shot units.

Paul seemed to think that I handled them very well, though I felt I did get a bit lucky with them on more than one occasion. Montrose shows up very late in the game in this scenario with the Strathbogie Regiment and he kept drawing very low, even with redraws, so never got into action.

Though much is taken, much abides; and though
we are not now that strength which in old days
moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are.


Nicely done report Paul and well played Pierre-the-shy! Montrose was out-foxed by Hurry and MacColla (alone IMHO) prevented a disaster. I've often wondered why Montrose didn't knight him on the spot rather than waiting until after Kilsyth, but then I'm a fanboy.
Encumbered by Idjits, we pressed on


Paul seemed to think that I handled them very well, though I felt I did get a bit lucky with them on more than one occasion...
You very much made your own luck =D>  =D>  =D>
Lord Lensman of Wellington
2018 Painting Competition - Runner-Up!
2022 Painting Competition - Runner-Up!
2023 Painting Competition - Runner-Up!


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2012 Painting Competition - 2 x Runner-Up
2016 Painting Competition - Runner-Up!
2017 Paint-Off - 3 x Winner!

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Great battle report and a good looking wargame
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Lister: "Oh God, aliens... Your explanation for anything slightly peculiar is aliens, isn't it?

Rimmer: "Well, we didn't use it all, Lister. Who did?"

Lister: "Rimmer, aliens used our bog roll?"