Sunday, 18 August 2013

Game 12 - Crom Castle 1689

This battle is fictional with an OOB developed from (1) the forces that were (mostly) available in Ireland in 1689 and (2) the Jacobite strategy that was discussed at the Jacobite Parliament in Dublin in May, with regard to sending a force to deal with the raids on Jacobite forces and logistics emanating from Enniskillen. We’ve looked at the actual battle which resulted from that last time. On this occasion, we’re making a few more assumptions.

The day before the Enniskilleners and Lord Mountcashel’s force met at Newtownbutler, he had attacked Crom Castle. The original Crom Castle (as opposed to the current one, built in the 19th century), or at least the remnant of it, was well defended by Abraham Creighton’s men. This had been the second siege, as Lord Galmoy had threatened it earlier in the year with his dragoons/troops. Neither attempt to take the stronghold could be considered a siege in the classical sense, and on both occasions, Creighton’s troops were able to fend off any attempt to take the place (though Mountcashel’s effort with three infantry battalions and cannon was the more serious effort of the two).

Our assumptions for this fictional encounter therefore were:


(1)    Mountcashel was substantially reinforced in the latter part of July with infantry and dragoons from Sarsfield and Berwick (as had been promised but never actually happened) and guns and further infantry from Sutherland.
(2)    Wolseley had not only arrived early from the ships sent to relieve Londonderry, and rallied the Enniskillen troops, but had also brought two English regiments and cannon to help garrison the fort.
(3)    Wolseley had left Enniskillen a day or so before he actually did.

What this all means is that we have two larger forces than we had at Newtownbutler, and both are well reinforced with Irish/English troops and cavalry.

The idea behind this of course was to further test out the Maurice rules in a larger scenario.
All infantry fire was modified for matchlock and presence of pike elements within the battalion.
All cavalry charges were modified for the presence of pikes within the infantry block (this made a real difference).

Other points of note for a larger battle:
(1)    The command range can have a really detrimental effect on your command cards, as you have to spend more and more resource as your troops disappear into melee, until you move closer.
(2)    Cavalry can sit and stare at each other (perhaps trading shots and not charging) until it recovers. This all takes time and removes the focus from other areas of the battlefield. Really excellent for matching the period (Sarsfield at Aughrim for instance).
(3)    Musketry is random and deadly and can break a regiment well before its time if the troops are poorly disciplined.
(4)    You can get pinned on a flank, worn down, while the opponent pulls a surprise move elsewhere on the battlefield, but you are left with no resource in terms of cards and may have to ‘pass’ to get more, letting your opponent retain the initiative. We found that this initiative/momentum changed several times throughout the game. Excellent stuff and very reminiscent of the journals and historical records.

The remains of the original Crom Castle today - sixteen miles from Enniskillen and part of a large estate.

 And so to battle:

The defender's setup. Having opted to position troops outside the castle, Wolseley has positioned his artillery (what there was of it) in fixed positions within the castle. Guns didn't move too much once deployed in the late seventeenth century.

A cavalry clash on the Jacobite right as they send their elite cavalry and (not so elite) dragoons into the fray, hoping to turn a flank and exploit it. The Enniskillener horse suffers badly and is routed through receiving too many disruptions. The English regiments on the flank are forced to wheel and defend the integrity of the whole position. Activity was centred here for several turns.

With a new flank formed, and Enniskilleners moving from the centre to reinforce it, the infantry on the Jacobite right begins its attack. The action was important here for several more turns, with both commanders focused on the outcome, leaving cavalry and infantry on the flanks, staring at each other without command. The Jacobites had failed to exploit their flank action, though it would have meant charging straight into the English regiments, who were well trained to repel them.

Mountcashel's regiment and a guards regiment lead the assault on the covered position outside the castle. Musketry takes its toll, but the Jacobite decision to charge home proves fatal. (Maurice is very unforgiving in this regard, as it should be.)

 The situation on the attacker's right remains quiet, though additional infantry are moving through the woods toward the English flank.

A cavalry action on the left, with charge after charge, is unresolved until the end of the game.

The right too could still be fought over, though there are too many other issues with the attack for Lord Mountcashel to focus here.

A breakthrough of sorts, as an Enniskillener regiment routs.

 But the attacker's momentum in the centre could not hold, and the attack is stalled, with only a single Enniskillener regiment left defending the line. A final assault on the Jacobite right also proved fatal, as massed English pikes broke the dragoons and the cavalry was decimated.

We ended the game at that point. Though army morale on both sides was low, the Jacobites simply had no more infantry left with which to occupy the position.

A great set of rules, with a result within 2-3 hours.


  1. That's a good looking game. Good use of the castle ruins; that's the quality of terrain used at GenCon on many tables.
    As much fun as the pure historical replays are, I do like to twist things for a good "what-if."

  2. Thanks Mike. Good to see you made it back from the con - hope you didn't spend too much money. Probably still on a high from all the games.

    Yes, I agree. There are also campaign rules in the game which do look like they could create some excellent narrative to accompany the game, as well as 'notable' - who can of course be based around historical characters.

    The castle pieces are actually vacuum moulded - they turned quite well I thought.

    bought them from here:

  3. great post and love how you have painted and used our scenery hope OK to share with our fb followers people love to see what can be done with our ranges

    1. Yes, of course. Please share the pics.

      I have more to follow for my Boyne game. (Oldbridge features one of your excellent buildings)

    2. Yes, of course. Please share the pics.

      I have more to follow for my Boyne game. (Oldbridge features one of your excellent buildings)

  4. thanks and look forward to seeing that too