Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Montrose’s Campaign in Scotland – 1644-46


John Graham, Marquis of Montrose cuts a dramatic if doomed figure across the pages of the history of the War of the Three Kingdoms. Regarded by many as one of the finest generals of the war, if not the period, for a year he ran the forces of the Scottish government ragged at the behest of his master and King, Charles I.  His string of victories through 1644-45, across the breadth of Scotland, offers great potential for gaming, with forces typically on the order of a few thousand troops per side.

The National Covenant had been signed in 1638 across Scotland in response to Charles attempts to impose Anglican Church structures and procedures upon the Presbyterian Scottish Church.  Signed by both the great and common of the country, it was widely supported and provided the foundation upon which the Scottish Government fought and won the “Bishop’s” Wars in 1639-40.


With the outbreak of hostilities in England in 1643, both King and Parliament courted the Scottish government.  Parliament ultimately prevailed, and under the terms of the Solemn League and Covenant, 20,000 Scottish troops where committed to invade northern England. As had been shown in the Bishops Wars, the Scots, many of who had served as mercenaries during the Thirty Years War, would prove a dangerous foe and a serious hindrance for the Royalist cause.

Originally a signatory and supporter of the National Covenant, Montrose had become disenfranchised from it, in the main due to political infighting within the Presbyterian cause.  Although a veneer of Protestant idealism covered the Covenanters, long established rivalries lay beneath.  In particular, Montrose was at odds with Archibald Campbell, the Earl of Argyll.  Clan Campbell, and its supporting sub-clans, was the strongest in the Western Highlands (the Earl could personally raise 20,000 men).  Argyll, along with other major Scottish Lords had made themselves Lords of the Articles, a position previously nominated by the King.  This change in the constitution of Scotland had secured more power for the wealthiest landowners at the expense of the minor Lords (like Montrose).

With the outbreak of hostilities, Montrose joined Charles in England.  The King had recognized that the Covenanter field army would swing the balance of power significantly towards Parliament.  Montrose, commissioned by the King as Captain-General, was tasked to take the war to Scotland primarily, to re-direct the Covenanter field army and to raise troops and take the country for the King.  Initially Montrose entered Scotland from the Southwest, and although successful in taking Dumfries, his small force of Scots and English Royalists were soon hastily bundled back across the border by the more numerous local Covenanter regiments.


However, the cause of the King was not extinguished, the flames of opposition to the Covenant smoldered on.  In the northeast, the Gordons, led by Marquis of Huntly had already rebelled and stormed Aberdeen.  Perhaps more significantly, in the west, the Earl of Antrim had dispatched three regiments from Ireland, to form a core around which the royalist western clans could rally.  Led by Alasdair MacColla of Clan MacDonald, many of the western clans had old scores to settle with their local rivals, the Campbells.

Montrose met with MacColla outside Blair in the central Highlands, and raised the royal standard in August of 1644. Montrose’s army began with three regiments of Irish mercenaries and locally raised Highlanders, many of whom had been “pressed” into service and were poorly armed.  Montrose now displayed the bold audacity (and perhaps, reckless bravery) that was to typify the next year, and advanced south towards Perth.

On September 1st, outside of the city, Montrose met the less numerous Covenanter forces. Lord Elcho’s troops where purely local regiments, only a few of which had limited experience from dealing with Huntly’s rebellion earlier in the year.  This had made them over confident and they also under-rated their opponents as an ill disciplined highland rabble. As a result, the Covenanter commanders felt sure they would make short work of Montrose.  Indeed, many of the local populace came to view the fight, thinking it would be over in minutes.


Unfortunately, they were right, but they witnessed the cataclysmic collapse and rout of the government army.  Tibbermore was fought across open ground, where the Covenanters expected a prolonged firefight, giving their horse time to maneuver and roll up the flanks of the Royalists.   It had been a long time since Lowlander fought Highlander, so the local troops did not know that the clans would not be standing still.  Montrose led his troops forward, overcoming the forlorn hope.  The experienced Irish regiments offered a quick but devastating series of volleys before launching a wild “Highland” charge. In moments, they were amongst the shocked Covenanters.

As the government army disintegrated, they were harried back and through Perth, which was sacked.  With its fall Montrose was able to replenish his supplies, but in a trend that characterized his campaign, many of the clansmen melted away into the hills with their booty.  With more government regiments forming an army near Stirling, it was imperative that Montrose gathered more men, to which end he moved northeast to link with Huntly.

Before he could reach the lands of the Gordons, Montrose encountered the local regiments from around Aberdeen led by Lord Balfour.  On September 13th, the forces met on the outskirts of the city at the Justice Mills.  With the exception of a company of McDonald archers, most of Montrose’s Highlanders had left the army. Only a few local companies of horse had joined, so the rump of his force remained the Irish Brigade.  The Covenanters had two recently raised regiments, the city militia and a regiment from Fife acting as city garrison, alongside a series of local lairds and their personal mounted retinues.


Initially, Montrose chose to negotiate, as Balfour’s position was strong.   At first cordial, the negotiations were shattered when an Irish drummer in the Royalist party was shot out of hand.  Montrose now resolved to fight the battle and storm the town. The order of “no-quarter” was to given to the army.  On both flanks, the Irish Regiments were held up by the skirmishing tactics of the more numerous royalist horse, which although successful, masked their own infantry from engagement.  The central Irish regiment, Laghtans, charged uphill against the Covenanter centre, where the part-time Aberdeen militia awaited.  Although the ground was against them, the experience of the Irish prevailed and again after a short but violent firefight they charged home. 

With the collapse of the Covenanters centre, the retreat became a rout, which flooded into the city precipitating four days of rape and pillage.  This did not endear the local population to Montrose and with Argyll’s army fast approaching; the royalist army retreated into the Highlands.

Support from Gordon, Marquis of Huntly, was muted. Not only was he aware of Montrose’s retreat and the advance of Argyll, he had little reason to like Montrose. In the Bishops Wars, Huntly had raised his standard for the king, only to be defeated at Brig of Dee by the Covenanters led by Montrose.


Argyll’s force contained not only his own Campbell levy but also two additional experienced foot regiments and a strong body of horse recalled from England.  Montrose initially had the better of them, initially leading them around the edges of the Grampians, on a fruitless pursuit.  This did allow Montrose to raise additional troops from the area to supplement the Irish Brigade.

On October 28th, Argyll surprised Montrose after catching him encamped at Fyvie castle.  Argyll mounted several attacks against Montrose’s strong defensive position but the steep and enclosed wooded terrain ultimately prevented the forces closing completely with one another.  After a few more days of desultory skirmishing and growing supply problems, Argyll disengaged, leaving Montrose to slip away into the hills.

At this point Argyll presumed that Montrose was beaten and that oncoming winter would devastate what remained of his force.  His troops dispersed into winter quarters and Argyll returned south, first to Edinburgh, then to his lands in the west.



Montrose reunited with MacColla, who had brought recruits from the western clans, conspired to campaign through the winter and take the fight to the enemy.  However, rather than invade the lowlands, MacColla’s desire to re-establish Macdonald hegemony in the west prevailed, taking Montrose into the heart of the territory of the Campbells.

In December, the Royalists cut a bloody swathe through the Campbell lands, sacking Argyll’s seat of Inverary.  The Earl was incensed and wanted to pursue Montrose into the fastness of the Highlands, but the recently arrived General Baillie decided it was better to bottle up Montrose in the mountains where the vagaries of the climate would soon reduce his force.  With his highlanders deserting, supplies running low and disease reducing the core of the Irish Brigade, Montrose had to act. 

With Baillie’s army to the north and Argyll’s larger force to the south, Montrose was effectively trapped in the Great Glen. Rather than forcing the main exits of the Highlands, Montrose chose to march his army overnight, through Glen Roy, surprising Argyll near modern day Fort William.  Of all Montrose’s exploits it is perhaps this that shows his greatness as a leader for moving a large body of troops with great haste, across such rugged terrain in the middle of winter required great skill and tenacity.  On Candlemass Day, February 2nd, Argyll was shocked to see Montrose’s troops materialize out of the mountains outside his base at Inverlochy, and form a battle line on the slopes above the castle.



Although more numerous, Argyll’s force was mainly his personal levies backed by a few inexperienced government regiments.    Montrose still had his Irish regiments, a few regulars from the east and some of the more opportunistic western clans.  His exhausted men would have been in desperate need of rest and supply, perhaps giving them a steely resolve, which the surprised Campbell forces would not have been able to match.

The battle was over quickly. With a single volley the desperate Irish men closed and routed Argyll’s regular regiments, which were soon followed by the Campbell levies.  With their backs to the loch, there was nowhere to run, the battle turning into a massacre as traditional scores were settled. As his men died on the shore or drowned in the loch, Argyll made good his escape on his waiting galley.

With this victory, the initiative swung to Montrose and his replenished force was bolstered by defections and stronger support from Huntly and his Gordons.  Not only did infantry arrive, Huntly’s son, Lord Gordon, brought in him his horse regiment, allowing Montrose to field his first effective cavalry wing.



After some skirmishing in the east, Montrose’s field army erupted from the Highlands via Dunkeld to fall on Dundee. The town was stormed but just as Montrose’s troops were settling in to the rape and pillage news arrived that the government army was fast approaching.  Led by Baillie, the Covenanters had advanced from their base at Perth when they heard of Montrose’s exit from the mountains.  Luckily for Montrose, Baillie's men were exhausted and his infantry strung out along the road so the Royalists were able to gather up their force and beat a hasty retreat from Dundee, narrowly avoiding being trapped in the city. 

Over the next few days, Montrose struggled to disengage himself from his pursuers, but Baillie also failed to bring him to battle.  Baillie then split his force, giving Sir John Hurry command of the northern forces whilst retiring to Perth.  Baillie then struck north and almost caught Montrose at Crieff, forcing the Royalists to retreat once more into the Highlands.

As Montrose pulled his forces together on Deeside, Hurry ravaged the Gordon lands in the north. He raised additional forces from local regiments, militias (fencibles) and clan levies, many of whom had seen their lands subjected to the ravages of the marauding Royalists.  Montrose knew he had to deal with Hurry, as his harrowing of the Gordon territory (a major source of Royalist recruits and provisions) prevented him from taking the war south.  Hurry also wanted to force Montrose to join with him in open battle, but only when the government forces were concentrated in sufficient strength.



On May 9th, Hurry startled Montrose’s scattered forces at Auldearn (see accompanying article).  Hurry began the attack with the advantage of surprise and numerical superiority. However, the battlefield terrain and the Royalists stubborn resistance conspired to prevent Hurry from capitalizing his initial advantage.  Eventually, as Montrose gathered and organized his forces, he was able to commit them against to Covenanters flanks winning the day and tumbling Hurry’s army back to Inverness.

With Hurry defeated, Baillie moved his Covenanter army north, but through most of May he could not locate Montrose who consequently had freedom of movement across the Grampians and surrounding lowlands, with no credible opposition to challenge him.  As Baillie moved north, Hurry left Inverness with the remnants of his cavalry and soon the two government forces were in pursuit of Montrose.  A cat and mouse chase ensued through June, as Montrose sought to shake off Ballie or bring him to battle under favorable conditions.  Eventually, Baillie caught up with the Royalist force at Alford on July 2nd.

Of the battles in Montrose’s campaign, Alford was probably the one most resembling an organized set piece.  As Baillie had been in pursuit, Montrose had chosen his ground.  His army was deployed on the high ground overlooking the River Don, with elements of his force deployed behind the ridge crest.  Having crossed the Don, and unaware he was facing the full strength of the Royalist army, Baillie would have to fight uphill with the river to his rear. Understandably, Baillie understood the weakness of his position, but his commanders argued for an attack.



Unlike previous encounters, the battle of Alford was decided by the cavalry actions on the flanks.  Initially the Gordon Horse on the Royalist right held the advantage, but as the Covenanters played reserve squadrons into the push, they soon had the advantage.  Unfortunately, additional Covenanter reinforcements where introduced into the rear rather than the flank of the melee, offering little tactical advantage.  Seeing this the Irish infantry (now much depleted) charged into the melee, breaking the Government horse.  With an open flank and mounted enemy to their rear, the Covenanter centre collapsed into headlong flight, but with the river to their back many were caught before they could cross.

With this latest victory, the government in the north was finally cowed and Montrose could advance south.  Baillie moved south with the remnants of his army, but the Government and Kirk officials who had previously meddled with his decisions now effectively controlled the last Government field army. With the Covenanters held up by internal strife, Montrose bypassed Baillie, and crossed Stirling Bridge to bring the civil wars to Central Scotland for the first time.

Baillie having been given nominal command of the government army against his will, caught up with Montrose as he advanced towards Glasgow.  His scouts reported that the Royalists were camped at the foot of Kilsyth Hills, set to engage any pursuing force as they travelled the road to Glasgow. Rather than be trapped between the Royalists and the River Kelvin, Baillie left the road, climbing the slopes into the Kilsyth hills in an endeavor to outflank Montrose’s position. 


Initially his movement was hidden by the hills to the southeast of Royalist position.  However, as his force broke cover, his leading regiment, a composite “Forlorn-Hope” took it upon themselves to take the farmstead of Auchinvalley on Montrose’s immediate flank, rather than bypass it to gain the advantage of higher ground behind the Royalists.  The initial encounter rapidly escalated as both sides fed troops into the battle.  Unfortunately, the Covenanter attack now relied on the initiative of the regimental and company commanders, as Baillie had lost control. With echoes of Auldearn, the Covenanters were stacked up in a series of dense blocks, pinned by confining terrain and unable to make their numbers count.

Taking the cavalry wing, the Earl of Balcarres tried to swing around the Royalist flank, but was first checked and then repulsed by the Gordon cavalry.  As the Covenanters routed, the royalist cavalry swung into the now exposed flank of the engaged government infantry.  With his front line collapsing, Baillie tried to bring up his only remaining reserves, the newly raised levies of Fife, who decided that flight was the better part of valor.  Baillie tried to rally his broken force but to no avail. Although his regulars held together as they retreated, the Fife regiments disintegrated, and were slaughtered by the pursuing Royalists.

With Baillie licking his wounds in Stirling, and the remaining government forces demoralized and scattered in the lowlands, Glasgow was at the mercy of Montrose’s.  Trying to gain favor with the locals, Montrose prevented his highlanders from looting the town, but these troops, now disgruntled at being denied the spoils of war, soon started to drift away.  After some local plundering, MacColla took his highlanders and some Irish troops north, intent on continuing his personal feud against Clan Campbell. The Gordons also decided to return north, showing little interest in marching further from their homelands, after Montrose, with a clumsy lack of diplomacy, showed greater favor to his new found friends from the lowlands and borders.



Left with the rump of his Irish regiments, and a few loyal cavalry, Montrose decided to march south to join the King in England.  Although initially gaining some additional troops in the form of the rapacious but fickle Border moss troopers, news reached Montrose that David Leslie had left the main Scottish field army to march north and meet him.

The Royalists immediately changed plans, and veered west intent in retiring into the vastness of the Clydesdale Hills.  However, perhaps in arrogance, Montrose failed to anticipate the speed and aggression of Leslie’s advance and was surprised on the 13th of September 1645 at Philiphaugh, near Selkirk.  In shock, the border moss-troopers fled, taking most of the Irish with them.  Montrose could only rally a small force of 200 infantry to fight over 3000 approaching Covenanters, comprised predominantly of horse and mounted infantry.

What loyal cavalry that Montrose could muster advanced to try and gain time but Leslies superior force soon dispersed them.  The remains of Montrose’s force now found themselves with their backs to the River Ettrick, pinned within the walls and enclosures around Philiphaugh farm.  Initially, this prevented the weight of the government force being brought to bear, but unlike Auldearn and Kilsyth, there was no one to rescue the resolute defenders.  Slowly whittled down by fire, and outflanked, the remaining Irish surrendered.  In revenge for atrocities committed on the battlefield and in stormed towns, there was little sympathy for these catholic Irish mercenaries, who were summarily executed.



Montrose himself escaped, and fleeing north to link up with the Gordons, he raised some of his highland allies on the way. However, having previously upset the Gordons, the defeated Montrose now had few friends and little credibility in the north. The Gordons would no longer be driven by Montrose’s strategy, instead preferring to pursue more limited local goals. 

The King, defeated at Naseby in June 1645, subsequently surrendered to the Covenanters around Newark in the spring of 1646. As the campaign in England wound down, the main Scottish field army began to return north through the winter and spring of 1645/46.  Come spring 1645, the Royalists in Scotland were as divided as ever, each faction pursuing different objectives.  Huntly was content to prosecute his own agenda in Aberdeenshire and MacColla was harrowing Campbell lands in the west.  Meanwhile, Montrose besieged Inverness but again he was surprised by the Covenanter relief force and his small army was scattered.  With the King in captivity and the Royalist cause looking utterly hopeless, Montrose finally laid down arms on July 30th 1646 and promptly fled to the continent.  


History credits Montrose as one of the premier generals of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.  He led the Government by the nose for one glorious year, winning a remarkable string of victories but failed to deliver a knockout blow, and ultimately failed to save the beleaguered King.  In many battles, he was surprised but with even limited resources he could react to organize a fighting retreat, as at Fyvie, or steal a victory, as at Auldearn. He clearly had the ability to motivate his forces to feats of great endurance, as at Inverlochy, but could also alienate his allies, as his loss of the Gordons whilst on the cusp of victory showed.

Montrose ultimately failed to solidly unite the Royalist cause behind him and his fragile alliances failed to attract the more cautious Royalist sympathizers.  Perhaps with a larger, more unified force, he could have won Scotland for the King but his reliance on Catholic Irish and highland troops meant he would never develop popular support amongst the majority of Presbyterian Scots.



Wargaming the Campaign

Montrose’s 1644-45 campaign offers plenty of scope for the war-gamer. The numbers in the forces involved are fairly small, the battles varied in scope and the possibilities for linking into a campaign straightforward.  The following text offers suggestions into one our approach but these should be considered as an introductory guide.

Each battle had a distinct character which offer challenges to both players.  Often the games may appear uneven in terms of troop numbers, quality or type. The arrival (or lack thereof) of reinforcements will allow scope for uncertainty.  Terrain additionally, often played a critical role in the outcome.  All of these elements give some very challenging scenarios that can be played separately as one-off battles using historical orders-of-battle.


Playing a Linked Campaign

Another way to make the battles more challenging is to play a linked campaign. Here the Royalist player is forced to manage his limited forces and work with sporadic and often unreliable reinforcements.  The Covenanter player, on the other hand, gets to fight many of the battles with fresh forces, but their quality will be controlled by what the government had available within the theatre.

Our recommendation is to play with the historical order of battles, scaled at approximately 1:10.  This gives robust unit sizes in accordance with the unit sizes outlined in the Pike and Shotte ruleset.

Montrose’s Army and Recruits

In a linked campaign the Royalist player will start with Montrose’s army at Tippermuir (we recommend using the OOBs published by Stuart Reid in the Osprey Campaign book entitled “Auldearn 1645 – The Marquis of Montrose’s Scottish Campaign”).  As the campaign progresses, the Royalists will suffer losses through battlefield casualties, sickness and desertion, but will also gain recruits following victories.  To account for attrition within the royalist army, we suggest the following mechanisms should be employed.

Montrose’s Irish Brigade was extremely resilient and was repeatedly re-marshalled to fight again, despite suffering all manner of hardship and deprivation.   At the end of every battle any Irish unit broken and destroyed is reduced in size for the next game. For example, a large Irish foot regiment broken in combat becomes a standard Irish foot regiment in the next game. However, rather than field progressively smaller units, the royalist player can reconstitute his battalions by amalgamating regiments (a standard and a small unit can be combined to form a large unit).  That said, the lack of reinforcements combined with casualties (through action, disease and desertion) meant that the Irish could never be fully replaced and as such the number of available units should decrease as the campaign progresses (three pre-January 1645, two pre-September 1645 and one for Philiphaugh).

For every other non-Irish unit in the Royalist army role a D6 at the end of each game and consult the following table. If a unit was broken in the previous battle, then role a D3 and consult the table.

1-2         The unit deserts en masse, the unit disbands and all men return to their homes. The unit will not be present at the next battle.

3-4      The unit suffers from desertion and attrition and is much reduced in size by the next battle. The unit is reduced in size for the next battle. If the unit was already Tiny in the previous battle, then the unit is considered destroyed and will not be present in the next battle.
5-6      The unit is resilient and will take the field in the next battle at the same size.

At the end of every battle the Royalist army can attempt to recruit new units for the next battle. This represents the tireless efforts of Montrose, MacColla and other prominent Royalist nobles to gather Royalist sympathizers and their armed forces to the King’s cause.

The royalist player must first roll a D3 to determine how many units are recruited.

For each unit recruited, roll a D6 and consult the following table to determine what type of unit is recruited:-

1-2      Highland clansmen
2-4      Scots Infantry
5          Scots Cavalry/Dragoons
6          Gordon cavalry

Apply the following modifiers to the above roll:-

After Tippermuir –3 to dice roll
After Justice Mills -2 to dice roll
After Fyvie -3 to dice roll
After Inverlochy +2 to dice roll
After Auldearn –no modifier
After Alford –2 to dice roll
After Kilsyth +2 to dice roll (re-roll modified result of 6 or more)

To determine size of each unit roll a D6 and consult the following table:-

1          Tiny
2-3      Small
4-5      Standard
6          Large

Note: Scots and Gordon infantry were conventional armed with pike and shot. To determine the make up of conventional infantry regiments roll twice on this table. The first roll will determine the size of the pike block and the second roll the size of the two shot sleeves.


Government Armies

The Covenanters controlled the government and the established military forces as well as the regional conscription process. As such they were able to field what was effectively a new army for each battle. Covenanter armies will therefore begin each battle with a fresh new army using the published historical order of battle. We recommend using the OOBs published by Stuart Reid in the Osprey Campaign book entitled “Auldearn 1645 – The Marquis of Montrose’s Scottish Campaign”.

The Battles

There were 8 major battles fought during the short campaign:

·      Tippermuir (September 1st 1644)
·      Justice Mills (September 13th 1644)
·      Fyvie (October 28th 1644)
·      Inverlochy (February 2nd 1645)
·      Auldearn (May 9th 1645)
·      Alford (July 2nd 1645)
·      Kilsyth (August 15th 1645)
·      Philiphaugh (September 13th 1645)

What follows are some suggestions on how to refight these battles with some of the historical flavor.

Tippermuir

On the morning of September 1st, as the royalists approached Perth, they found the Government army, led by Lord Elcho, deployed and waiting.  Tippermuir can be re-fought as a straight up pitched battle on open terrain. The Covenanters should fully deployed first, the Royalist army deploys second.

The Covenanter army had some artillery, which was captured during the battle and turned on them by Royalists. Defeated or captured artillery can be re-used by the new owners (for this battle only).  Highland clansmen start the battle with no muskets and improvised weapons.  If they break any Covenanter regiment they gain their equipment.

The objective for both sides is to hold the field at the end of the battle.



Justice Mills

With the Royalists still on the offensive at this stage, a modest Government army led by Lord Balfour of Burleigh blocks the Royalist advance on Aberdeen at Justice Mills on the outskirts of Aberdeen. Again, this battle can be re-fought as a pitched battle with the Covenanter army deploying first, and the politely providing the royalists time to deploy into battle line. The Covenanter army may place a single forlorn hope unit in the justice mills complex during deployment.

The Covenanters are in a strong position along the crest of a steep embankment (the Justice Mills Braes) which should be classed as Rough Terrain (for Pike & Shotte).

The objective of the covenanters is to hold the Royalists for 8 game turns and have >50% of the Covenanter army unbroken by the end of the turn eight. The royalist objective is to clear the field and completely rout/destroy the Covenanter army.

Revenge:- There are accounts of the Irish being enraged by the murder of an Irish drummer boy during a pre-battle attempt to parley with the Covenanters. The furious Irish subsequently fight like fiends offering no quarter to the defeated Covenanters and brutally sacking the town of Aberdeen (to the great detriment of the Royalist cause). To represent this incident, the Irish can be given the Eager and/or Ferocious Charge rules for this battle only.  However, if the Royalist player chooses to utilize this option, an additional -1 must be applied when rolling for recruits in the next battle (as the sacking of Aberdeen unsettles the Gordon clans).



Fyvie

With a third and much larger Covenanter army, led by Argyll, pursuing the Royalists following the sack of Aberdeen, Montrose retreated northwest towards the highlands. However, they are caught while encamped at Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire. With MacColla heading west to recruit amongst the clans, and the Gordon’s failing to turn out in strength, the Royalist army is weakened and in a desperate situation. In this battle the Royalists use the enclosed, hilly terrain and woods at the back of Fyvie Castle as a strong defensive position, and are able to hold off the Covenanters for three days of skirmishing before retreating during the night into the Highlands.

This battle could be fought as a series of three mini-battles of 5 turns. The Royalists are well dug-in in defensive positions, with a stronger Covenanter force repeatedly attempting to attack and displace the rebels.

The objective of the Covenanters is to rout/destroy the Royalist army over the course of the three skirmishes and to capture Montrose and the Royal Standard. The objective of the Royalist army is to hold on and minimize losses until the end of the 3 skirmishes.

Hold until nightfall:- Terrain will limit the size of force Argyll can commit, but to further represent Argyll’s non-committal tactics, this game may be fought as a series of three large skirmishes, with the breaks representing night-fall. For each new skirmish, both forces begin fresh without disorder, shaken or casualty markers, although destroyed units will stay destroyed.

Deserters:- The Royalists have an additional problem with desertion and must roll a D6 for each non-Irish unit in the army, and on a 1 or 2, those units have deserted during the night. If any of the units in the Royalist army are Gordon units, there is a -1 to the roll.



Inverlochy

At Inverlochy the Royalists go on the offensive to devastating effect. After a grueling long distance night march through the highlands, Montrose descends on Argyll’s Covenanter army at Inverlochy. This battle is again a pitched battle but with the Royalists having the element of surprise.

Surprise Attack:- To represent the Royalists stealing the initiative, after deployment up to half of the royalist units may make a free move of up to 8”.

Exhaustion:- To represent the fatigue and lack of sleep after their grueling night march, all units in the Royalist army begin the battle with one casualty marker (This could also be -1 to Stamina).

Gerintaethem:- The exhausted, sleepless Royalist army was in no mood for hanging about after the night march, and were eager to close on Argyll and finish the fight quickly. To represent this all units in the royalist army have the Eager special rule for this battle only.

Escape:- Whether Argyll got some bad press or not after this battle, most accounts agree that he was very quick to leave the field to his waiting galley. To reflect this, once 50% of the army is either destroyed or in flight, Argyll will leave the field.  The remaining Covenanter Brigade commander will take command of the army if it is still able to fight on.


Auldearn

Hurry’s surprise attack on the scattered Royalist forces is often thought of as Montrose’s greatest victory.  The initial weight of superior government forces must be held off by MacColla, until Montrose is capable of concentrating his forces and launching a telling counter-attack.

Terrain plays a big part in controlling the Covenanter advance, with marshes either side of Garlic Hill preventing their superior numbers from consuming the MacColla’s outnumbered forces.  The objective for the Covenanters is to brush the defenders aside and capture Auldearn village before Montrose can bring his reserves to bear.  The Royalists win if they hold Auldearn.

At the start of the game, MacColla’s body guard and one other unit are deployed west of the village, with one other unit in the village.  Royalist reserves begin to appear at turn 4 at a rate of one unit per turn.  These are deployed on a D3 dice roll of;

1      - north of Auldearn
2      - east of Auldearn
3      – south of Auldearn

However, the Royalist player can choose to withhold their arrival, enabling them to be deployed the following turn at a point of his choosing.  This allows the Royalist to maximize the effect of their counterblow.


Alford

Following up on his victory over Hurry’s Covenanter army at Auldearn, Montrose marched south to meet a fifth Covenanter army led by Baillie. Montrose chooses his ground high on a ridge on the south side of the river Don near Alford. Baillie crosses the river at a ford and deploys for a fight. This battle can be fought as a simple pitched battle, with the Royalists deployed first, waiting while the Covenanters deploy.

The objective for both sides is to hold the field at the end of the battle.


Kilsyth

With Baillie defeated and the Lowlands open for conquest, the Covenanters manage to pull together one last home defense army The reluctant Baillie is in nominal command but with his leadership ability now encumbered by his appointed kirk advisors.  Montrose is waiting for the advancing Covenanters in the hills at Kilsyth, and Baillie attempts a brilliant flanking maneuver that could have ended the campaign. Unfortunately for the Government, an element of the Covenant army attacks too early, against Baillie’s orders, alerting the Royalists to the flanking movement. The battle descends into a meeting engagement as commander’s loose control and units from both sides join the fighting in a piecemeal manner.

The Royalist army should deploy first along the rightmost 2/3 of their chosen long table edge within 12” of the table edge. The Covenanter army deploy up to half the units in the rightmost 1/3 of the opposite table edge, but can deploy up to half way across the table.

At the beginning of the second and third turns the Covenanter player can deploy a further 25% of the units, such that the army is fully deployed by turn 3. These units are deployed on the same 1/3 table edge as the original deployment, but can take a full turn as normal. This represents the arrival of the remainder of Baillie’s army.

The objective of both sides is to engage and defeat the enemy. The covenanter army should try hard to obtain victory by rolling up the royalist flank.

Loss of Control:- To represent Baillie’s inability to control the advancing Covenanter army, the 50% of units deployed initially have the Eager special rule.


Philiphaugh

At Philiphaugh, Montrose was outmaneuvered, outnumbered and outclassed by David Leslie and had little chance of achieving a victory. The Royalists should deploy first and infantry can begin the game in cover, behind a hedgerow and/or field boundary ditch.

The Royalist objective is to hold without breaking for eight turns, at the end of which Montrose is considered to have repeated the disappearing act similar to that used at Fyvie. The Covenanter objective is to break the Royalist army before turn eight. If the Royalist army breaks it is considered effectively destroyed.

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