Warr Without An Enemie: Battle of Alford, 2nd July 1645

 

The exploits of the Marquis of Montrose and his army are legendary, although also frequently overstated. The battle of Alford was one of series of victories which would lead to the Royalists gaining, temporarily, control of Scotland despite the odds facing them. Following an against the odds victory at Auldearn in May Montrose was seeking to bring Baillie's Covenanter army to battle and continue the progres of the campaign. Baillie was a good and experienced commander who wished to avoid a battle if posiible or unless the situaion was favourable. Unfortunately Baillie was handicapped by having a group of Scotland's ruling party as 'advisors'. Acting under orders of the representatives of the Committee of Estates and against he better judgement the Covenantor army moved to confront Montrose near Alford. The two armies were very equal in size but the postion the Covenantors took up was potentially perilous because of the marsh, river and single ford behind the army. As events were to unfold this was to be a mistake.

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Battlefield:

 

Each square is 6 to 8 base widths by 6 to 8 base widths. So it should usually be about 5 foot by 4 foot (150cm by 120 cm).

 

Terrain:

The River Don can not be crossed except by the ford.

The first level of the hills in squares C1 to C5 and D1 to D5 count as normal hills. The second level hill, Gallow Hill, in C2, C3, D2 and D3 counts as difficult going. The hills in A1 to A5 are also difficult going. These areas of difficult going count as both hills and Boggy.

Near to the ford is some marshes, these counts as Boggy.

Deployment:

Royalist:

The Royalist army is deployed on the hills in C1-C5 and D1-D5. If doing the historical battle Napier's Foot is not deployed on the table. It is hidden from the enemy behind Gallow Hill. The rest of the army is in the lower half of squares C1-C4. Aboyne's horse was in C1 on one flank and Gordon's on the other flank in C4. The infantry are in squares C1 to C4 in a single line between the cavalry. If the players agree free deployment can be used.

Covenantor:

The Covenantors deploy after the Royalists in the upper half of squares B1 - B5. If doing the historical battle Hackett's horse are on the right flank in B1 or B2. The other cavalry units are deployed in two lines on the left flank in B4 - B5. The infantry is in two lines with 4 units in the first line. They are in B2 - B4 between the cavalry. If the players agree free deployment can be used.

Covenantor Army OOB:

Army Commander: William Baillie: Good (D6+2)

Second in Command: Lord Balcarres: Average (D6+1)

Infantry:

Cassilis' Foot: 6 Veteran I4 bases
Elcho's Foot: 5 Trained I4 bases
Lanark's Foot: 4 Raw I6 bases
Noray's Foot: 4 Raw I5 bases
Glencairn's Foot: 5 Trained I5 bases
Callendar's Foot: 6 Trained I4 bases

Cavalry:

Balcarres Horse: 3 Trained Pistoleers (C2*) bases
Hackett's Horse: 4 Trained Pistoleers (C2*) bases
Aberdeenshire Horse: 3 Raw Pistoleers (C2*) bases

Balcarres is in command of the left wing of the army. He commands his cavlry regiment and the Aberdeenshire horse. Also he command 1 to 3 of the infantry regiments of the players choice.

Baillie is in overall command and direct command of the right wing of the army. He commands Hackett's cavalry and 3 to 5 of the infantry regiments.


Royalist Army OOB:

Army Commander: Marquis of Montrose: Excellent (D6+3)

Second in Command: Lord Gordon: Average (D6+1): Hothead, Doomed

Infantry:

O'Cahan's Irish Foot: 8 Veteran/Elite I3 bases
Gordon of Minimore's Foot: 3 Trained I4 bases
Huntly's Highlanders: 8 Raw Highlander bases
Strathbogie Foot: 8 Trained I4 bases
Napier's Foot: 5 Raw I5 bases

Cavalry:

Gordon's Horse: 3 Trained Swedish (C3) bases
Aboyne's Horse: 3 Trained Swedish (C3) bases

Lord Gordon is in command of the right wing of the army. He commands his horse unit and the Gordon foot unit. In addition he commands 1 or 2 of the other infantry units.

Montrose is in overall command of the army and in direct command of the left wing of the amry. He commands Aboyne's horse, O'Cahan's Irish and Napier's foot. In addition he can command 1 more infantry unit of the players choice.

Special Rules:

Huntly's Highlanders are unsurprisingly highlanders and use the special rules on page 31.

O'Cahan's Irish can Salvo Fire. This is a special tactic that will be covered more fully in the Thirty Years War supplement.

Salvo Firing: Some units are capable of firing salvo's. This has no effect in normal play but can be useful in charges. In defence they get a +2 when taking a Nerve test. When attacking they can attempt to fire and then charge in. Normally a unit can not fire and charge in the same turn but salvo firing infantry can. They take a Nerve test, without any bonuses for salvo firing, and fire if they are able. Then they charge.

 

The core details of this scenario were drawn from the excellent series of scenario books published by Paritzan Press. This scenario is based on the information on this battle in "English Civil Wars Gaming Scenarios" by Steven Maggs (2003). The authors thoroughly recommend this series of booklets.

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