Bloody Aughrim July 12, 1691 - refought by the LoA Part 15 - The musings of DOB

Each of us had a slightly different take on the battle, even those on the same side! Dave's reflections were somewhat longer than those of Bob and Gerry... must be the Irish poet in him!...

Dave O'Brien- Here are my reflections of the game but because it was fought over three separate days over a period of three months some of the opening memories are as correct as I can remember, especially the second day as I was seriously ill.

Some of Dave's collection on the right of shot

Barry and myself took command of the Jacobite forces, my main reason being they were the force I had painted up and had never gotten around to using in anger. We split the army in two with me commanding the right flank and Barry commanding the left flank and both of us taking turns at rolling for command percentages. Our initial discussion on tactics was that we would remain on the defence and let the Williamites suffer casualties trying to force us away from the hedge line then the hill which was our main defence position before launching a counter attack with our cavalry.

 I commanded three infantry brigades, two cavalry brigades, a brigade of dismounted dragoons, three small units of commanded shot supported by a field gun and two light guns.

Our plan seemed to be working well especially on my flank where Gerry who was facing off against me struggled to remove my commanded shot from the hedge line. I managed to combine their shooting with support fire from my artillery both of which were surprising successful because of a series of 6’s on my dice rolling which meant he had to take morale tests and a series of 1’s on his dice rolling quickly saw his Huguenots breaking and causing further panic on the troops around them. On the other flank Bob commanding the Williamite left flank soon showed Gerry how it should be done and his fire power quickly drove off Barry’s commanded shot. Gerry followed Bob’s lead eventually destroyed my troops holding the hedges and advanced towards my dragoons defending the marshy ground and river line.

To give credit to Gerry he quickly regrouped and advanced all along the line and sent in his Danes but they quickly ran into trouble against my dragoons mainly due to the fact that he was disordered by the marshy ground as well as moving which meant the any return fire was ineffective. At this point things were looking good or so I thought until I happened to glance to my left to see that Barry had suddenly decided to launch all his cavalry in an all out attack on Bob’s forces, what happened to our agreed plan to sit on the defence? It’s amazing how in such a large battle you can become focused on your own situation and suffer blindness on what was going on elsewhere, the real fog of war I suppose. It was around this point that my dragoons suddenly found themselves under pressure from what turned out to be Gerry’s dismounted Dutch dragoons of the Guard but we had to finish up for the day.

Brandenburg broken. Dave's figures in the foreground
Day two of the battle was a late start as I was working which meant we weren’t going to get a lot of gaming done which was just as well as I was suffering from a serious chest infection.
The pressure continued on both flanks with Barry managing to keep Bob at bay but was quickly losing what little cavalry we had on that flank while Bob had two or three cavalry brigades sitting in reserve. On my flank my dragoons were now suffering serious casualties from the superior guard shooting plus he could bring more fire power to bear and once one unit had to take a morale test and failed their rout caused the others to test and they were soon joining their comrades to the rear with the Dutch Gard te Paard close behind on their heels.

The position in the centre was holding up due to accurate shooting from my field gun who managed to score hits virtually every move and poor dice rolling for morale held up the front troops with the reserves piling up behind. We were also helped that Bob drifted his infantry across to his left to try and make room for his cavalry to advance, the downside for the Williamites was that this forced Gerry to advance frontally against the marshy ground slowing his advance and allowing me to switch infantry over to my right to plug the gap left by the fleeing dragoons. I also had my two cavalry brigades over on that flank but there was little room for them to manouevre and they were starting to come under fire from the guard dragoons who had now crossed the river so I was forced to pull them back from the river line and find some room for them to deploy for counter attacking.

Because I was under severe pressure on my flank I again missed what was going on on Barry’s flank but it certainly seemed to be thinning out rapidly of infantry and cavalry, even the King’s Guard infantry were suffering severely from the fire of the Williamite artillery. My attention was quickly brought back to my flank as my new infantry flank was about to be charged by the 1st squadron of the Gard te Paard as they thundered over the bridge into the 2nd battalion of Dillon’s Regiment who were prepared to defend against cavalry and easily saw them off especially as they were in column to charge over the bridge. They did the same to the 2nd squadron which charged in two moves later but were then caught disordered by another squadron of Garde du Corps and cut to ribbons. Their brave conduct obviously inspired their comrades as they all passed their morale tests for seeing a unit destroyed. It was at this point that we had to finish for the day but everything was still to play for and should be resolved on the third day.

The third day saw me in better health and ready for what was going to be the crux of the battle although sadly Barry’s dice rolling got us off to a bad start by rolling no movement allowance just as O’Brien’s cavalry were about to launch a counter attack against the now disordered Garde du Corps who were having to rally in position, fortunately I had infantry supported by a light gun whose shooting destroyed the remains of the squadron and forced the other one to retire. The dutch Gard Dragoons were also forced to take a morale test from shooting casualties and promptly broke, the ensuing series of morale tests that Gerry had to take went disastrously wrong with an unbelievable number of ones on his dice rolling and suddenly virtually the whole of Gerry’s flank was either routing or in retreat.

 Now was the time for a counter attack so I launched Sarsfield and his cavalry brigade across the swamp to ride down the enemy infantry but once the Lifeguard were ready to charge the curse of Gerry’s dice seemed to effect mine and move after move I kept rolling 1’s which gave Gerry time to rally up some troops and suddenly my counter attack wasn’t looking such a good idea. My attack went from bad to worse as I eventually managed to get the 1st squadron of Lifeguard to charge led by Sarsfield himself but he received a bullet through his hat and promptly fled the field followed by Luttrell’s cavalry who disgraced themselves on their first outing. Fortunately the Lifeguard did their job in the charge and broke another unit and now I had the two squadrons of Lifeguard behind Gerry’s flank, isolated but still a threat which he couldn’t ignore forcing him to use what little troops he had left to swing this was and that to avoid a flank charge.

On Barry’s flank he had somehow managed to cobble together some sort of defence which Bob’s cavalry was reluctant to charge so the final through of the dice was left to Gerry’s final cavalry unit which I think were the Gard Dragonders(actually Dave it was the Danish Horse of von Donop) who launched themselves uphill in the centre of the battlefield against De Boiselleau’s regiment which was ready to face horse and promptly broke the cavalry and brought an end to the game as their was virtually nothing left of the Williamite army while Barry and myself still held onto all out positions, had two squadrons on their flank and I had a number of units that still had been uncommitted to the battle.

Highlights of the battle for me were my commanded shot, dragoons and the field gun who fought against heavy odds and inflicted more than their fare share of pain on the enemy. Dillon’s battalion did a stunning job of shoring up my right flank at the most dangerous moment and destroyed two squadrons of the Dutch Gard te Paard. The villains of the peace have to be the 2nd battalion of McKellicut’s regiment who fled the field after suffering only one casualty but the biggest culprit has to be Sarsfield and Luttrell’s regiment who did likewise without suffering any casualties.

Would I change anything if we fought the battle again? the only thing I can think of is some more space behind the Jacobite lines to allow the cavalry to have room to change positions or even have them off table and able to come on where the player wants. Other than that there is nothing I would change which would give us such a stunning battle where the advantage seemed to switch from one force to another with every turn of game. We used a variation of the order system which allowed us to use brigades instead of units when it came to movement allowance, I thought for such a large game it would take too long counting how many battalions, squadrons and artillery pieces there were every move and the brigade system seemed to work fine, or perhaps it was the calibre of the gents I was gaming with that meant there were no issues.