Bloody Aughrim July 12, 1691 - refought by the LoA Part 14 - Reflections of three commanders

How we viewed the battle in brief. The post match interviews in the tunnel to use the sporting idiom. Quite differently as you will see in terms of result!

Bob (Commander of the Williamite Right)

So it was decided, a game between Christmas & New Year, just an afternoon with friends on Ireland's bloodiest battlefield.How little we knew then.
Aughrim, a battle none of us fought before, Barry had spent a couple of days there up to his camera lens in mud, getting the lay of the land and we had read Mike McNally's excellent book on the battle.
So we arrived to see some great terrain laid out & proceeded to place about 1,400 miniatures on it. I remember thinking there are so many figures we will never be able to manouevre the troops, then as Gerry and I took on the roles of the Williamite command it dawned on us why the Jacobites chose this position, because there was no room to manoeuvre on the real battlefield.
As we started the Williamite advance towards the last Jacobite army, it became a real struggle to cross bogs, hedges lined with commanded shot, guns placed to rake advancing infantry, but slowly we gained territory.
However this came at great cost, the Coldstream Guards taking the hedgerows, but being so badly cut up they routed off the field, Erle's Regiment taking massive casualties, yet still attempting to charge with only 3 figures left ( I think they will be being upgraded in our next encounter).
If ever a wargame mirrored the real battle this was it, there was even a dice throw to see if an artillery round would kill St Ruhe, but that would just have been too surreal.On both sides the carnage was great, though some troops chose not to see action, but rather run from the field as craven cowards and in reality who could blame them.
And so after the best part of 20 hours gaming we all drew breath and decided that both sides had fought each other to a standstill and a favourable draw to the Jacobite's was declared.
This was a most memorable game, in terms of visual appeal, historical accuracy and just plain fun, virtually every turn had ups and downs for both sides and the game hung in the balance for the entirety.
Can't wait till we do it again.

Gerry (Commander of the Williamite left)
From the left wing of the Williamite forces and looking across to Kilcommodan Hill and the Jacobite lines, you could see it was going to be a hard slog.I had my dismounted Dragoons advance on the far left towards Attibrassil bridge whilst the Huguenots and my smaller Danish Brigade advanced toward the hill.
The Dragoons did well initially clearing Dave's troops from the approaches to the bridge and allowed me to advance the Guard Cavalry to be able to charge across the bridge. In the ensuing melees I managed to spectacularly lose both the Gardes du Corps and the Gard te Paard  completely.
Meanwhile, as the Huguenots and Danes were advancing forward, Dave's field gun began to cause havoc. Both brigades took casualties as they advanced. Between the bridge and the edge of Kilcommodan hill was where I had deemed the weak point in Dave's line. I reckoned if I could break through there it would split his forces in half and give me a good chance of routing him. What I hadn't given enough thought to was the marshy ground between the bridge and the bottom of the slope. It absolutely slowed my advance and as my troops were halved in movement and also disordered because of the terrain, they became easy pickings for Dave's musketry. The Huguenots having advanced decided today wisnae their day and headed for the hills. To be fair they'd taken pelters on the way in and decided it wis somebody else's turn now. The Danes were made of slightly more sterner stuff and managed to crawl their way through the bog. However by the time they'd got to the other side they took a couple of musketry volleys and turned tail as well.

Having managed to get the Huguenots turned around and sorted out I then advanced them on the very left flank, with the larger Danish brigade in the middle, and the remnants of my smaller one stuck on my right. Things were going swimmingly well, as my guys advanced. My field gun was causing casualties, Dave was looking concerned (but then he always looks concerned when Barry's on his side!!! :-) )
.... And by this time we were well into our third gaming session, Bob was arriving late today, and the young Master Donohoe was C in C!  What could go wrong???? Pretty much everything actually!!!!

Between receiving a call from Bob asking if it was worth him still coming over, and the 30 minutes it took him to get over, my whole left flank had a complete morale collapse. One of the Huguenot regiments took casualties and routed, causing loads of other morale tests which, surprisingly, I managed to fail every single one. Dave then decided to come on the counter attack with his cavalry. Patrick Sarsfield himself leading from the front.......not!!!!!.......he managed not once but twice to throw a one with his dice to charge......and Sarsfield threw his toys out the pram and went home.....taking Luttrell's, I think,with him.......funniest thing I saw all day.

Anyway......we pretty much called it after that.......a Jacobite Victory.......although the Williamites still had a few decent brigades, we'd have wrecked them trying to push the Jacobites off the hill. All in all an excellent game, played in the best spirit, with good friends and cracking banter. Well worth doing again.

Barry (Commanding the Jacobite left wing)

It was an extremely close and hard fought battle. A very high number of cavalry against infantry charges. The Jacobite defence was I think well handled and controlled. We suffered badly from a lack of good artillery. I believe we used our Horse well on both flanks and made the best of the infantry available. It is difficult to see what else the enemy could have done. I think their caution on the northern flank was understandable and meant that when the Jacobite Horse was spent they themselves had insufficient infantry to support their own Horse and thus were checkmated. The scenario seemed very well balanced from a gaming point of view. Genuinely exciting, full of action, unpredictable and with buckets full of surprises. I felt it was a pretty clear cut Jacobite victory when placed against the historical context and potential repercussions for each commander. Of course the Jacobites had hung on rather like Wellington at Waterloo but without the ability to pursue their beaten enemy. They had lost about 40% of their infantry and 80% of their Horse was spent but the field was theirs. Ginkel's army was organizationally in tatters and from his reputation's perspective the result was arguably even more dire.