Saturday, May 26, 2012

Battle of Alford

Scale - 28mm
Rules: Pike and Shotte
Hosts: Jim and Chris Ferich
Royalists:Eric Boyle (CinC) and Joe Schulze
Covenanters:  Kyle Schulze (CinC), Cy Taylor and Jack Pope
Game Length: 10 Turns in 3 hours

The Battlefield Map

Montrose surveys the field
Royalist Forces:
The Marquis of Montrose is raiding the highlands of Scotland. Major-General William Baille was leading the Covenanter army to stop Montrose from raiding Aberdeen again. Motrose estblished a position on a small hill south of Alford near a crossroads that could overlook a ford on the Don River. Lord Gordon' infantry and cavalry held another hill which established the army's right flank.
Montrose's position
We assigned Montrose a commeand rating of 10. Lord Gordon's (Command Rating 8) cavalry is outnumbered 3:1 but is of very high quality. They are supported by Scottish infantry and clansmen. Clansmen offer no support to other units making it difficult to position them for the battle.
Lord Gordon's Cavalry

Royalist Scots under Gordon

Covenanter Forces:
The Conenanter's took a position near the ford on the River Don. They are led by General Baillie (Command Rating 8). Balcarres (Command rating 8) is leading the cavalry ontheir left flank.
Baillie's forces deployed along the river
Covenanters start the advance

 General Baillie is tasked with taking the hills that are occupied by Montrose's forces and his forces are given the initiative. On turn 1 the forces begin the slow (movement rate 6 inches) steady march across the field.
Turn 1 from Montrose's left

Turn 1 from Montrose's right
Turn 2 and 3 saw additional moves and artillery began to fire as infantry came into range. Nothing exciting, just the usual exchange of pleasantries between opposing players as the forces closed in on one another. My son (Kyle) had to be nice or he would be walking home.  

Royalists await the inevitable

Turn 3 and they are really getting close

The Covenanter cavalry is stalling in the advance.

Montrose and Gordon repositioned their forces to take advantage of the terrain. General Baillie draws first blood as Gordon's forces take some hits from artillery and matchlocks disordering a unit. Matchlocks have an 18 inch range and shots are exchanged. Balcarres' cavalry is threatening the extreme flank of Gordon.

Meanwhile Montrose has his hands full in the center and left flank. The highlanders can no longer contain themselves and charge the royalist position. Othe Covanenter forces take control of the wood and advance ever closer to engage in hand to hand combat while canon fire hits and misses targets on both sides. Matchlock fire is accurate and the Scots are repulsed. On the break test they left the field! It was at this time I blundered a roll and my units of Scots left the field as well, but Montrose ordered them back on the following turn. Very unpredictable troops.

Highlanders repulsed by Montrose
 Both sides come within spitting distance and firing continues. The royalist forces under Gordon start to take more than they give. Most of my units take 1 or 2 hits and their stamina are 3 for matchlocks and 4 for pikes. (Pikes in the center and matchlocks on both flanks are not considered one unit but three units!).

Both sides are close

Gordon's troops are bloodied...most units have 2 hit and are ready to break.

Montrose attempts to take the woods and sends the highlanders on the extreme flank to rush forward. Other units holding the hill take casualties from matchlocks and artillery fire. The Scots charge across the field unsupported but ready for a fight against....other Scots! Montrose then decides to attack coming off of the hill. Eventually the Scots trying to take the wood for Montrose are shaken and leave the field.

Montrose holds
The melee in the woods begins
Montrose advances everyone!

Lord Gordon is fighting a different style of battle. He stays on the hill and takes a pounding, no fancy moves or strategy. Baillie has not assaulted the position and stands off to shoot the royalists off of the hill. The situation is becoming desperate for Gordon as most of his units are bloodied. I use the commander to rally a hit off of a unit each turn to buy time. To make matters worse Balcarre's cavalry moves in to attack. The infantry forms hedgehog and barely wins the fight repulsing the cavalry and causing it to fall back shaken.

Gordon's position...lots of casualries.

Cavalry finally meets on the flank
Gordon's cavalry now advances and fights the remaining units of cavalry. Gordon pushes back Balcarres  back and follows up again with a sweeping advance. The hand to hand value of 8 dice for Gordon's cavalry was the difference. Gordon's cavalry hit on 3's or better and was supported. I rolled well to help things along but Balcarre's cavalry was weaker in ratings to be fair. Gordon's cavalry was eventually broken by a unit of lancers and also left the field but in the process Balcarres loses 2 out of 3 units and his brigade is broken.
Gordon's position, enemy cavalry broken
Meanwhile Montrose advanced and scattered the Covenanters but lost many units in the process. There were several shaken units as a result but the royalist forces stood (rolling high on the shaken unit table) and Baillies forces did not and retreated.

The center held by Montrose
The left flank of Montrose
With a majority of Baillie's forces shaken the army left the field. This was an extremely close game which could have gone either way. If the matchlock fire on Gordon's troops had caused 2 more hits...if the hedgehog had not formed...if the artillery had been a little more effective then all would have been lost and Montrose would have left the field in shame. A very memorable battle to be sure. 


  1. Great looking game & figures; although I failed to get good photos of them, there were several really impressive Pike & Shot games at Enfilade! - one won Best of Period too. Best, Dean

  2. A really good write up of a game that realistically captures the feel of the period. Thanks for posting I really enjoyed reading your article