We had a further installment in the on-going Irish campaign this week. The scenario came from "Scenarios for all ages" by Grant and Asquith and concerned the attempt by the Jacobites and Williamites to each seize a vital bridge. Each force is split into two brigades of similar composition. One brigade from each side advanced directly along the road towards the bridge, whilst the other entered from their respective left flanks. The Williamites were slightly disadvantaged by their flanking force being delayed by up to five moves.
I commanded the Jacobite force and decided to ford the river and concentrate on the first Williamite force.
Meanwhile the brigades on the road both advanced their cavalry at full speed to the bridge. The Jacobite horse halted short of the bridge whilst their opponents continued across. The Williamites were hampered by the narrowness of their formation and were pushed back after the initial clash. Now the fight took place on the bridge with both sides hampered by the lack of space to wield their weapons and manoeuvre. The melee swayed back and forth with neither side able to gain an advantage. Eventually both units had to fall back exhausted with no one controlling the bridge.
Both sides moved infantry up to the line of the river and a musketry duel began. The Williamites had been quicker to get into position and thus got their volley in first. As the fire fight continued the Williamites began to get the uppper hand and lacking support the Jacobites fell back.
By now the second Williamite brigade had appeared and was advancing on the right flank of the Jacobite force on the road. The second Jacobite force were now across the river and had begun its advance towards the Williamite side of the bridge. However, the line of march was hampered by terrain and a large manor house. This had been garrisoned by a Williamite battalion which opened fire on the Jacobite infantry. One of the Jacobite units halted to try and suppress the fire, but as it's casualties mounted, the officers were unable to hold them in place and they broke and ran back to the ford.
Ahead, the cavalry vanguard were charged by the Williamite horse. Although they had the advantage of the ground the Jacobites were completely routed by their opponents and the victorious Williamites swept on towards the enemy infantry. Surprised, the infantry struggled into formation and for a time held off the cavalry, but eventually, the horsemen broke into the infantry formation and a rout resulted.
Across the river, the Williamites were closing in on the bridge, using a copse to cover the advance. They were aided by a second cavalry advance. This was unopposed because the Jacobite cavalry had moved to the opposite flank to oppose yet more Williamite cavalry which were threatening the line of retreat.
My infantry tried to hold off the cavalry, but were unsuccessful and disregarding the urgent orders of the brigadier broke and ran. Another push by cavalry against my light artillery failed because, against the odds, they lost formation in the river. However, the final nail in the Jacobite coffin was the successful attack by the final Wlliamite cavalry which swept away the Jacobite cavalry covering the line of retreat. Now the 'road' brigade had no cavalry and was outnumbered by the enemy infantry. The 'flank' brigade had lost half of its infantry and half its cavalry. The remaining cavalry had the opportunity to charge the unsupported enemy infantry, but failed the test to charge and was thus stranded in musketry range and at risk of losing a significant proportion of its strength. Thus what units could, retreated off the field and the victorious Williamites gained control of the bridge.
Our after action discussion highlighted the faulty decision to cross the river, particularly into constricted terrain which favoured the defence. Perhaps, it would have been better to concentrate all forces at the bridge. Food for thought should the same sort of situation crop up.