Reconvening about a further three weeks down the line...Barry concludes the battle report on the epic struggle at Aughrim.
|Judging by his top you couldn't tell Gerry was Ginkel!! The start of Part 3.
For all you marathon runners out there; To recap, 10 x 6 feet table, about 1,600 miniatures and so far about 13 hours of gaming. Four players come together for the third time to try and resolve the bloodiest battle in Ireland's history.. Aughrim 12th July 1691.
Well actually, Bob had to work late so there were only three of us for the first two and a half hours. Poor Gerry had to manage the entire Williamite Army whilst Dave and I dealt with our own little parts of the Jacobite force.
|OK Hilton, deal with this! Langston's and Wolseley's move on up!
Part two, best described as the Jacobite cavalry phase
had closed with the Williamite right wing (northern flank) stopped dead. Much of its infantry had retreated or routed and the remainder were mostly held at the distance of the first hedgerows. The Horse were largely untouched and a mighty wing consisting of 12 squadrons stood off beyond the Melehan stream. To achieve this considerable result the Jacobites had thrown in almost everything they had which was mounted on a Horse. Some of Abercorn's, Galmoy's and Kilmallock's battered squadrons were still operational but no unit was without losses. On Kilcommodan Hill the Foot had taken a battering, mostly from Ginkel's large guns and some battalions, particularly the Guards, were badly mauled.
|The Williamites prepare to try again on the southern flank
The centre of the line on Kilcommodan Hill itself was solid and under no immediate threat. From Bloody Hollow south there were many regiments on both sides sorely tested. The Williamites had thrown cavalry across at Attibrassil bridge but this sacrifice was in vain. Jacobite counter attacks loosened the foothold. The Danes had fought through at Bloody Hollow only to break back disorganized and damaged.
Gerry had to hit us hard and so began Part three, best described as 'clinging to the lifebelt' for the Jacobites.
The attacks started immediately and were in reality a continuation from the end of Part two. Without masses of organized and well positioned Foot the only option open to Ginkel on the northern flank was to send in the Horse and hope that the Jacobites were fragile enough to break before the wave.
|Langston's ride, Bagnall's run exposing Gormanston's. St Ruhe watches
Langston's regiment came first and made a good fist of it. They charged Bagnall's Regiment who bolted at the sight of the thundering horses. This in turn exposed the unsuspecting regiment of Lord Gormanston to the charge. The Irish volley failed to check the Horse who thundered into the infantry and cut them down. In their moment of victory the unsupported Langston's were caught in a cauldron of fire from Irish infantry all around them.
|Unstoppable! Langston's crash into Gormanston's sweeping them away
Despite being yards from capturing St Ruhe, the Williamite Horse were all but destroyed and broke off.
|St Ruhe in danger! Langston's cut their way through to the General
Next came Wolseley's Enniskilleners - wild, gungho and the only Williamite unit to be classed BLADE in the orbat. Out to meet them rode the remnants of Kilmallock's Regiment let by Pierce Butler and Lord Abercorn. The heroes of Kilmallock's died to a man but wiped out the lead squadron of Wolseley's (revenge for Newtownbutler!). The 2nd squadron charged on towards the Jacobite line but was cut down by feverish volleys on the way in. Seeing the fate of their comrades seemed to discourage the remaining regiments of Horse on the Williamite right.
|Sacrificial charge - Kilmallock's spoil Wolseley's attack
On the southern flank the Williamites just could not build the momentum of the attack. Just as it seemed the mass of infantry would roll forward yet another battalion would hesitate or retire in the face of enemy fire. The momentum drained away from the Danes and Huguenots.
|Go for broke - They Dutch Horse force the centre
An attempt to regain the initiative in the centre was at first successful. The Dutch brigade consisting of regiments Zuylenstien and van Oyen thundered up the central slope of Kilcommodan Hill. Lord Bellew's Regiment had advanced some way down the slope whilst engaging Dutch infantry but now found itself exposed to the enemy Horse.
|Bellew's bolt! On come the Dutch!
The Irishmen lost their nerve and ran back up the slope bursting through McMahon's Regiment behind them. Tantalizingly, the Dutch Horse failed to contact the fleeing infantry and found themselves blown and exposed under the very muzzle of the surviving Jacobite gun battery and in front of McMahon's regiment. The inevitable conclusion was the rapid destruction of the brigade.
|Now the Dutch will feel the heat of the guns!
Some command paralysis swept across the Williamite army at this point.. just as Bob arrived! He stood at the door in silence sweeping his eyes across the table then looked at Gerry! Priceless moment in sport... what is THIS?? Actually Gerry had done well but we as the Jacobites had done better and the dice Gods had been with us. In one crucial round of morale checks I remember rolling five 6's and a 5. The look on their faces was worthy of a picture!
|Sarsfield leads forward the counter stroke across the morass
They did their best to salvage something but this point marked the turning of the tide. Dave went onto the offensive leading forward the Life Guard cavalry brigade across the morass and took the fight to the Williamites. The Guards themselves charged to glory riding down Prinds George's Regiment but not before Patrick Sarsfield shamed himself in front of the world!
|Sarsfield flees the field - A moment of infamy!
Leading the brigade and taking a 'officer hit' during the defensive volley, the craven scooter turned tail and galloped from the field! On seeing this, Simon Lutterell's Regiment of Horse faced about and fled too! The air was blue from Dave's side yet, the Life Guards on their own prevailed. This disrupted Gerry's centre resulting in a planned attack by the Danish Horse being diluted because they had to face about to meet he rampant Life Guards.
|The King's Life Guard smash Prinds George's Danes
It was all up to Bob. The last attack. Led by Kirke's Lambs, supported by the inexperienced regiment of Meath and a handful of survivors from the gallant Erle's Regiment, they pushed for the spot on the northern slope of Kilcommodan hill most battered by the Williamite artillery throughout the battle. One bad die throw, one poor volley might see the Jacobite line crack in two.
|Danish Horse try in vain to break the line late in the battle
Down the slope marched Lord Creagh's rookies. They had survived all morale checks in the previous five turns and now walked straight into the path of the oncoming attack. They took fire from Kirke's and Meath's. Erle's tried to charge them but failed. Meath's failed their charge check. Lord Creagh's passed their own! A volley from Kirke's veterans broke Creagh's battalion which at the point of charge had already suffered over 50% casualties. The rout of Erle's cause checks along the Williamite line and with the exception of the stoic Kirke's, they all broke!
|Lord Creagh's Regiment sacrifices itself for victory!
The valiant sacrifice of Lord Creagh's Regiment had forced the enemy's hand and won the battle.
We all looked at each other. It was 8.30pm. We'd fought another 6 hours. Over 19 hours in total. Was it over? Yes it was. Ginkel's army was shattered. What was left had enough cavalry to cover a retreat to Athlone. The Jacobites had no Horse left to pursue. Their infantry line was solid, 13 battalions defiantly holding Kilcommodan Hill. Attibrassil was secure. Aughrim and the castle were still garrisoned. The Williamites had 6 scattered battalions in good order from the 28 who had begin the battle.
|The end of the battle viewed from the south
|View from the north. Kirke's attack has failed.
The War in Ireland would continue into 1692!