My apologies for the break in the blog, the weeks have just flown by. Our latest battle was from the Programmed Wargames Scenarios book by C S Grant and as we were using the Williamite and Irish Jacobite armies it has been given the name Ballykelly. The Irish are occupying a low ridge with a small force (two infantry units, a gun and one cavalry unit) and have reserves in a nearby town (four units of regular infantry a light gun, one cavalry unit and a militia unit). An unexpected Williamite advance has caught them off guard, will they be able to hold the position until reinforced? The Williamite force has three cavalry units, eight units of infantry one light and one field gun. Victory would go to the side with uncontested control of the ridge.
I took the part of the Jacobite commander and decided to try and hold the whole ridge, perhaps a mistake as things turned out, but it did force the Williamites to attack all along the line. The game started with a round of artillery and I scored a hit on the enemy cavalry. My intention being to reduce their superiority in that arm before they managed to ride round my flanks.
As the Williamites began their advance, my reinforcements marched out of the village heading for the ridge.
Unfortunately, after their initial success my artillery proved less effective, particularly when the enemy cavalry swung away to the far right to begin their outflanking move. The Williamite grenadiers were advancing quickly along the road towards the centre of my position and it was touch and go whether my reinforcements arrived in time to block them. On my left the two units of enemy cavalry advanced against my single unit and I took the decision to reinforce this flank and trust that the enemy cavalry on the other flank would not advance too quickly.
The Williamite cavalry advanced to attack; one unit meeting my cavalry, the second, stronger one moving round my left flank. I needed to win the melee and therefore it went against me.
Here is my cavalry routing from melee, with the enemy horse about to reform and move against my infantry who are already shaken by artillery fire. In the centre the reinforcements are arriving as are the first of the Williamite infantry. When charged, my infantry routed leaving a gap which fortunately I was able to plug with a battalion which had just arrived. However, this did stop them advancing onto the hill. On my right the atillery was finding the range again and its fire supported by volleys from the infantry unit was stalling the enemy attack. The problem was the enemy cavalry which was now round the flank. This meant that I had to deploy another of the reserve infantry units to cover the rear of the one supporting the artillery. I advanced my last infantry reserve, the militia into the wood on my left and the cavalry reserve charged the second Williamite cavalry. Again the enemy prevailed, although I did manage to reduce their numbers. However, I now had enemy cavalry behind both flanks. The only saving grace was the ineffectiveness of the enemy artillery which with average luck would have swept my infantry from the right flank ridge.
The enemy cavalry on the ridge now charged my centre, the infantry fired an ineffective volley and were routed at the first contact and they were pursued by the cavalry.
The position looked grim. Four enemy battalions were advancing on my left with only a militia battalion to contest the heights. In the centre I had a single battalion facing three opponents, although one of these was reduced in number. On my right things were brighter, the enemy infantry were falling back. However, all the enemy cavalry were now behind my infantry line and I had no effective cavalry remaining.
Fortunately my light gun was in a good central position to take advantage of a stroke of luck. The cavalry which could have charged the rear of my infantry holding the centre failed its morale test and remained stationary. This made it a target for not only the artillery but also the infantry protecting the rear of the unit supporting the artillery on the ridge. Some lucky dice rolls finished the cavalry as a fighting force. The cavalry pursuing the routers broke off their pursuit, but they were also much reduced in numbers. This left only one enemy unit which atempted to charge the light gun. Again the dice let down the Williamite commander and they failed the test. The light gun inflicted more casulaties and the cavalry had to retire from fire.
On the wooded part of the ridge the enemy charged my militia unit. It managed a scattered volley, but it was not enough to stop the charge. Ouclassed and unsupported the militia ran. The Williamites now had half the ridge.
The enemy atillery chose this moment to rediscover its accuracy and the infantry on the right now suffered from shaken morale. With four units retreating or routing, no cavalry and only one fresh infantry unit left I decided that attempting to save the artillery was what the commander on the spot would have done rather than fight to the death against overwhelming odds.
This was a good scenario, the balance can be adjusted to suit different table sizes and quality of troop types. It can be played several times without the result being a forgone conclusion.
Armies of the Great Northern War
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