Feature: Scenario pack : Lightning Strike! Marlborough at Cork and Kinsale

Marlborough's troops go ashore at Passage West

This one came together very quickly in terms of content and choosing the actions to include. The games mainly use 4playX table sizes with eight units per side and gaming for eight turns. I have not fought these battles before in all my years of gaming the period nor, have I seen them demoed on the circuit. That is a little surprising when the Williamite commander and the results are taken into consideration. 

The first game is a traditional 'landing'. A mini, D-Day, Camaret Bay or Iwo Jima. Odd comparisons? Not really. Any amphibious assault is a risk and at Passage West, Marlborough's infantry could not really have known whether the Jacobites would offer stiff resistance before committting to the landing. The Jacobite forces are conjectural but my research has put all of the stated units in Cork around the time of the siege.

Contemporary sketch of the attack made at Cork

The second scenario took careful consideration in its construction. Ultimately, I deemed Donnybrook and a grand skirmish the most playable way to complete it. Wading the River Lee from both north and south combined with the two marshy islands made for a very complex terrain set up on a 4 x 4 table.

Assault on the stone bridge over the river channel at Cork

To simplify the Williamite deployment, the two islands divided laterally, have been combined as a single land mass because this does not impact on the game. The key feature of this scenario is the river channel running-south and connecting the two branches of the Lee between which, sits the walled part of Cork. This is the key to capturing the city near the breach made by the English artillery on the southshore of the Lee near the abbey.

Cork- view from Elizabethan fort to old city and southern arm of the Lee (courtesy Peter.A)

River Lee in Cork (courtesy of Peter A.)

The garrison of Cork and its commander Roger McElligot should not be considered in the same way the 'Empire' is seen in Star Wars movies - amorphous canon fodder to be blasted by the Williamite heroes. This was a seasoned and experienced officer who had seen extensive active service in Europe commanding troops who were probably of better quality that the run of the mill Jacobite regiment.

Please see our guide on Marlborough's campaigns for a detailed picture of all the regiments which participated in the assaults on Cork and Kinsale.

Attacking James Fort

The third scenario allowed the legitimate use of a terrain piece I bought in Antwerp a couple of years back. The attack on James fort at Kinsale was yet another of those incidents which could have gone either way. The Jacobite commander there - Colonel Edward Scott, had done a lot of hard campaigning. It was he who was left to face down Lloyd's Enniskilleners at Belturbet (another scenario coming up for release) and it appears he may well have escaped this one to fight again at Aughrim.

Danish infantry crossing the channel at Cork's east wall.

Von Tettau's attack was most likely a mistake and events just fell in favour of the Williamites with the explosion of the magazine during the historical battle. Peter's thoughtful provision of wonderful photos from Charles Fort shows the sight of the two short sieges and also clarifies the perspective of Kinsale asa safe anchorage. 

Looking from Charles Fort to the headland where James Fort was placed (coourtesy of Peter A.)

It is useful to remember that natural harbour was thebase for Prince Rupert's Royalist Fleet. It was used as a constant anchorage during the the last battles between Cromwell's Commonwealth Fleet and the King's Navy immediately prior to the 1st Anglo Dutch War. I will be returning to Kinsale for some naval scenarios being released towards the back end of the year.

The larger Charles Fort at Kinsale (courtesy of Peter A.)

This scenario pack is the first use of 4PlayX  pre 1700 and, having seen realized the potential, the format is revisited and expanded upon in the next three packs which will be reviewed over the following days.

I have been delighted by the number of gamers who have already obtained a copy.

There are other scenario packs for the campigns in Ireland.