Tuesday 28 December 2021

“Bring on the Empty Horses!”

This blog post looks at providing riderless horses for the dismounted dragoons that I covered in my previous post. 

Horses for my dismounted dragoons, with horse holders from Bloody miniatures - 28mm

[Note. The title of this blog post is taken from David Niven’s autobiography. During the filming of the 1936 version of The Charge of the Light Brigade, starring Errol Flynn and David Niven, the director shouted this memorable phrase when he wanted the riderless horses brought in to the scene of the charge itself.  Ever since learning about this, our club has always referred to the riderless horses, used to represent dismounted dragoons and cavalry, in this way. ]

Errol Flynn in the 1936 version of Charge of the Light Brigade

An “empty horse” from the film.

My previous post covered James Butler’s dragoons, a unit in my Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth army for the 1620s (see https://theviaregia.blogspot.com/2021/12/what-butler-recruited.html). These were foot figures and I needed something to help represent them as dragoons. While dragoons typically fought on foot, I think it looks better to have something on the table top to show that they have mounts as well. 

The most fool proof approach would be to have a mounted version of the unit, a dismounted version, and set of riderless horses.  I have done this for previous units of dragoons but I have found that swapping the mounted unit off and back on to the table, as the dragoons dismount and remount, is a complete faff.   Typically, after doing this for the first time in a game, the mounted unit gets left off the table and some other convention is used to indicate if the unit is mounted or dismounted. Adding to this, I struggle to think of a game in which my dragoons have remounted during the action.

On this basis, for Butler’s dragoons, I have decided to just provide riderless horses to indicate the unit of dragoons. These riderless horses are from Avanpost (https://www.mezzersminis.co.uk/product-page/21-081-dismounted-dragoon-horse-holder).  They are sold in packs of two horses with a dismounted horse holder.  

Contents of the Avanpost 28mm resin Dismounted Dragoon pack.

I have chosen not to use the Avanpost horse holder minis, but instead used figures from the Bloody Miniatures range; the same used for the rest of the dismounted dragoon unit. For my riderless horses I have decided to use 8 horses and 2 horse holders. This is enough to give the impression of a set of riderless horses, held ready for the dragoons to remount at a moment’s notice.

Swappable horse holders.

I gave myself two additional challenges.  First, I wanted to be able to swap out the horse holder minis, and so be able to use the riderless horses in other situations. Secondly, I wanted to model how the horses were tethered. 

The top of a Warbases 2 x 2p base ‘tray’, cut in half, and the two 8cm square bases.

I used two 8cm square bases (2mm MDF from Warbases) for the horses, with 4 on each.  On each base I added part of a top piece from a Warbases basing tray, the same dimensions as my dismounted dragoon figures’ bases (UK 2 pence piece / 2p). Using one of the Warbases’ 2p  sized MDF bases with magnet holes I marked where a matching magnet hold would need to be in the 8cm square base and drilled a 5mm hole there. I then added a magnet (checking that the polarity would match the figures’ bases, of course!) to the square base. This provides a single figure base tray / sabot for a suitable horse holder figure that is also magnetised to stop the figure accidentally falling off the base.

The top of a base tray glued to the 8cm square base.

A Warbases 2p sized base, with a 5mm magnet hole, used as a template to mark where the magnet hole needs to go in the 8cm square base.

I realise that this is an entirely unnecessary step as I could have just permanently stuck a generic horse holder figure to each base, but is was relatively straightforward to do, and it satisfied my desire to get the most use out of painted figures. 

A metal tree stump with 4 tethers attached, from the Warlord Dragoon set, used to tether four of the Avanpost horses. Note the single base tray, with magnet, ready for the horse holder.

Scratch built tree stump and tethers made with twig, plastic card and green stuff bits.

For the tethers I had two solutions. When 17th century dragoons dismounted the horses’ reins would be passed to the men designated to stay with the horses, and so the horses in all likelihood would be tethered using their reins. The Avanpost figures are modelled with their reins loose, in front of them, but these were too short for my purposes and, being very thin resin, incredibly delicate. I therefore removed them and replaced them in two ways.

The first was to use a white metal piece that comes with the Warlord Dragoon set.  This has four sets of reins, all tied to a tree stump.  I only had one of these in my spare parts box, and so for the other four horses I made the stump from a garden twig, and the reins from thin pieces of plastic packaging.   Once the stumps, with reins attached, were glued to the bases the other ends of the reins were glued to each horse’s bridle. 

Extract illustrations from Wagner’s European Weapons & Warfare 1618-1648, published by Winged Hussar Publishing. 

[Historical note. Looking at Wagner’s European Weapons & Warfare 1618-1648, it’s possible that the loose horses’ reins were looped through the next horses reins in a daisy chain effect with the last set being held by the dismounted horse holder.  Wagner notes that this made separating the horses a laborious process as each horse could only be separated one at a time. I decided this would be tricky to model and so I have used an approach with each horse’s reins tied to a handily placed tree stump.]

The completed bases with horse holders/guards and some scenic scatter added to the bases.

The final bases are now ready to follow Bulter’s dragoons on the battlefield. I shall use them facing forward to represent the dragoons mounted, and facing to the rear to represent the dragoons dismounted. I am sure the bases will also come in handy for other occasions when the cry of “Bring on the empty horses!” is heard across the miniature battlefield. 

Until next time,

Andy @ The Friends of General Haig.

Thursday 16 December 2021

What The Butler Recruited

This blog entry looks at a new unit for my 1620s Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth army, a unit of dragoons.

Butler’s Dragoons, dismounted. 28mm from Bloody Miniatures.


European armies in the early 17th century were experimenting with mounting units of infantry to improve their mobility and therefore their ability to support their army’s cavalry. The experiments were successful, where the mounted infantry were equipped with muskets, and the dragoon as a troop type was born. They were able to dismount and provide fire support to the real cavalry and, off the battlefield, they were well suited to the typical activities of the ‘small war’; raiding, scouting and garrisoning outposts.

Assault on a Convoy, by Sebastiaen Vrancx with Jan Breughel the Elder.  A typical action of the ‘small war’.

Polish armies were no exception and in the 1620s they were forming units of dragoons, typically recruited from foreign troops (see my previous entry on the Foreign Infantry here: https://theviaregia.blogspot.com/2021/03/polish-lithuanian-foreign-infantry.html ), and sometimes converted from existing infantry units into dragoons. Dragoons use on and off the battlefield required smaller, flexible sizes of units, and so just a few companies of infantry may be converted to dragoons rather than larger formations.  

James Butler

The unit of dragoons I decided to collect was that belonging to James Butler, as it is likely that they were at Dirschau/Tczew in 1627. James Butler was an Irish noble who had been fighting in Polish service since at least 1617. He seems a fascinating character. (Short bio here: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/history/ssne/item.php?id=6450 .)  He was an experienced, and successful, officer who was well connected in England and Ireland, as well as in the Commonwealth, and it appears he recruited at least some of his men from England and Ireland.  His dragoons were formed from some of his existing ‘foreign’ infantry companies.

(While looking in to James Butler I discovered there were several James Butlers from Ireland serving in Polish and Imperial armies in this period.  This makes things a bit confusing, but the Butlers were obviously a family whose sons were often seeking employment abroad.)

A company being ambushed in the Thirty Year War by Peeter Snayers.  An opportunity for plunder!

Dragoons seem to have had a reputation, at least among the more puritanical in England, as being too often tempted in to ‘plundering and ungodliness’. I suspect this reputation may be a result of dragoons often being quartered away from the main army with its commanders, and also due to their function often being the disruption of the enemies supplies. 

Based on this I wanted my unit of Butler’s dragoons to look like they have been living off the land and what ever they can ‘acquire’.  Also to look like they are following their own whims of personal comfort, rather than being uniformed. As they are treated as skirmishers in the Pike & Shotte rules, a good variety of poses would also be required to represent the dragoons defending some outpost or attacking the enemy rear areas.

All of these requirements fitted neatly with the latest release of figures from Bloody Miniatures.  This second release includes a couple of sets with muskets (Game Keepers and Sentinels) and also a set of desperate and dangerous looking Mossers (Moss Troopers). With the addition of a few figures from the original release, I had my 12 figures, including command, as well as a couple of horse holders (more of them in the future).

The Halt of the Cavalry by Peeter Snayers.  I like the dishevelled and ragtag appearance of this unit that Snayers has chosen to represent.

I also decided to do some head swaps to add a Polish feel to the unit. Although these men would have been recruited from foreigners I rationalised that a few items of Polish headgear could have made their way in to use in a unit that sometimes had to operate, and fend for themselves, away from the main army.

Three figures with head swaps to give a flavour of troops fighting in Poland.

As desperado dragoons were certainly not going to be uniformed and so I was able to fully explore my paint racks in deciding on colours in which to clothe each figure. They’ve also been given a fairly grubby appearance to suggest they’ve been on campaign for a while.

Cornet, Officer and Drummer.

The command figures for the unit include a Cornet (flag bearer) carrying a dragoon guidon. Sadly Butler’s foot and dragoons don’t have any known flag designs. I’ve used an example that is possibly from an unknown Polish dragoon unit (see  https://www.helion.co.uk/military-history-books/despite-destruction-misery-and-privations-the-polish-army-in-prussia-during-the-war-against-sweden-1626-1629.php?sid=d20622fac8e2f6ae07608fbfa93e14e3 ).  I’ve also included a drummer, with a handily slung drum, that will help him get about when mounted. 

They are based individually so that they can act as skirmishers in Pike & Shotte and this will also give me the opportunity to use them in skirmish games like En Garde or Pikeman’s Lament (both by Osprey Games).  I used to use 2 pence pieces for individual bases, but I don’t seem to get much loose change anymore, and so I’m switching to 2 pence size bases in MDF, produced by Warbases, which have a hole in them for a magnet that will help with storage.  I’ve also bought some movement trays from Warbases to make it easier to move the Dragoons around the battlefield. These also include magnet holes which should help keep the figures on the trays.

2 pence piece bases and base trays from Warbases, all with 5mm magnets added.

Figures on this movement trays from Warbases.

At this point I suspect some people might be saying “This is just a unit of infantry, where are the horses?”. Good point.  You’ll have to wait to next time for my cunning plan to be revealed!

Until next time,

Andy @ The Friends of General Haig

Tuesday 30 November 2021

Polish Haiduks

In this blog post I cover a new addition to my Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth army, a unit of Polish Haiduks.

Polish Haiduks - 28mm from Wargames Foundry & TAG

My painting progress over the summer and autumn has been almost nonexistent and so I am really pleased to be back in the saddle, so to speak!

Haiduk (or Hajduk) was a term used in this period for native Polish and Hungarian infantry. They were armed with muskets and provided fire support to the cavalry arm in open battles, as well as providing the ability to hold fortifications, or indeed assault enemy fortifications. Along with their firearms they were equipped with sabres and hand axes, which they used when involved in hand to hand melee.  They were typically uniformed, and their coats (called a zupan) were usually lined in contrasting colours. The Haiduks therefore provide a distinctive and iconic part of any Polish force, and I have been looking forward to getting some of these on the painting table since I started my Polish army.

Contemporary picture showing a Polish noble escorted by his Haiduk bodyguard.

The Polish infantry were recruited, like the cavalry, through the issuing of a commission to a Rotmistrz.  The Rotmistrz had to recruit the required number of  men as instructed in their commission, and they typically did this in their own home region, looking for volunteers amongst the townsfolk and peasants. The infantry were formed in to banners (companies) with a set of officers, and each tenth man was armed with a long axe or halberd. These tenth men acted as NCOs, directing the rank and file, and were also meant to act as a defence against cavalry with their pole-arms.  

My 28mm miniature Haiduks have been recruited from Wargames Foundry and The Assault Group (TAG).  Like their Hussars, the Foundry Haiduks are a very old range, and so a little on the short side being closer to 25mm than 28mm, but they fit in ok with TAG to my eye. The details on the Foundry figures hold up well; all part of the Perry sculpting genius! 

As well as a tenth-man with his halberd, I have also added a drummer to the unit. Various types of musicians are shown in Haiduk units including fifers, pipers and drummers. 

Contemporary colour picture of a Polish Haiduk

This first unit is painted up in one of the most common colour combinations shown for Haiduks in this period; a lightish blue coat with deep red lining. I want to acknowledge the fabulous painting tutorial by Sonic Sledgehammer that I used as inspiration for this unit, after I saw Troy painting a TYW Bavarian musketeer in just the shade of blue I wanted to use (see the tutorial here: https://youtu.be/ZqpHAV_A1U0). 

I plan to add a few more units like this to the army, and also some separate command bases. The Stockholm Scroll (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Stockholm_Roll) shows a number of Haiduk units, with a variety of uniform colours and I hope to represent these with the future units. 

Until next time!

Andy @ The Friends of General Haig 

Saturday 2 October 2021

Adventures With Fur

In this blog post I walk through updating my Killing Fields ‘Classic Teddy Battle Mats’.

A Highland Charge across the final mat.

My first experience of making a fur based terrain mat is shown on the blog here https://theviaregia.blogspot.com/2019/03/fun-with-fur.html .  

Since then I have acquired two of the 7’ x 5’ ‘Classic Teddy Battle Mats’ from Killing fields (https://www.killingfieldsterrain.com/store/p14/Killing_Fields_Classic_Teddy_BattleMat_7x5%27.html). These are great as they are pre-dyed in a multi tone effect to simulate grass land.  

The Material 

The mats are fine just to use as you receive them, but I wanted to ‘upgrade’ mine. First, I wanted to permanently attach them together.   The tables in our club hall can easily be set up for 10’ x 6’ games, and I wanted something able to take advantage of this and cover the whole area. Two  7’ x 5’ joined along the 7’ edge make a great 10’ x 7’ matt.   Secondly I wanted to change the colour and look of the matt a bit. Especially with such a big area, now two mats are joined together, having only one colour theme didn’t look so good to my eye. 

Two Became One

Dress making pins used to pin the fur matt to the long strip of calico material.

I used the same method to join the two mats as I had when making my large mat for Lutzen (see link above).  I cut a strip of calico material to roughly 12” wide and 7’ long. This would act as a join between the two mats. I pinned one mat to half of the calico material.  

Recommended glue.  A pair of large, sharp scissors is a help too.

Once happy that it was fairly straight I then glued the calico down. I found this fabric glue in Hobby Craft and it was a bit easier to work with, and one tube did the whole job for me.  This was left overnight to dry thoroughly. 

Glue liberally applied to calico base, then second mat neatly lined up with other mat

I then pinned the second mat to the other half of the calico so that it matched up with the first as closely as possible. (Pro Tip: Make sure the knapp of the fur lies the same way in both mats!) Once pinned, the second matt was glued and set aside overnight to dry again.

Repair tip.

During this process I came across a couple of small holes in the mat.  This must have happened while moving or storing the mats. While I had the glue and calico to hand, I glued small patches of calico underneath the holes to prevent larger gaps developing. 

The Coloured Mat

Trusty cheap, re-chargeable dog trimmer from Amazon

With the two original mats securely joined in to a single giant sized mat, I set about adding some new colours. Before slapping on the paint I gave the mat a quick once over with a dog hair trimmer. I randomly shaved areas using the 6mm, 9mm and 12 mm guides that came with my dog trimmer. The original mats are dyed with three colours in layers. The bottom layer is dark brownish, the mid level greenish, and the top level a light buff colour. This meant areas trimmed heavily look darker as the brown shows through, and areas trimmed less were greener/lighter.

Number One Daughter demonstrates fur mat shaving!

This gives a very nice effect on the original mats, and can also effects the result when more colour is added, depending on the strength/saturation of the colour added.  On my previous mat I poured paint directly on to the mat, and then spread it around with a wet brush. This resulted in areas being too saturated in paint and the fur becoming matted. A lot of combing had been required to rescue these areas. 

A generous dollop will do.

Blue gloves covered in dubious brown - not always a good look!

For this mat I decided to follow Barry Hilton’s advice from a recent one of his blog posts (http://leagueofaugsburg.blogspot.com/2021/08/no-bears-were-harmed-in-making-of.html). He’d used his hands to apply different colour paints, and so I followed suit, wearing a pair of thin plastic gloves to make the process easier to start and stop. The paints were a mixture of acrylic paints, picked up from Hobby Craft (a UK craft store). I bought bottles of kids’ paint and tubes of artist acrylics that were on sale. Yellows, buffs, browns and greens. The technique is to squirt a handful of paint on to one (gloved!) hand, then massage it across both hands, before running the paint covered hands over the mat.  Once the colour has worn off your hands, and is on the mat, then you go to work with a comb. This is essential and the only bit which is anywhere near hard work. This combing should stop the fur getting clumped together with the paint, as well as blending colour changes together.  Loose fur, gunked up with paint, will get combed out, but this is fine.

The best bit - painting by hand!

After a few trials I settled on the colours I liked. The cheap kids paint acts as more of a tint as there isn’t as much colour in the paint. The artists’ stuff is more colour saturated and will change the colour of the fur more.

The all important combing

This ‘by-hand’ approach worked like a dream and gave a better result than my earlier attempt. It is also immense fun painting with you hands. I got the kids involved, and they were naturals at it!  I ended up using a just two of three colours, trying to vary them across the mat. As one coat of the paint dries, you can apply different colours over the top to produce tonal variations.

Painting the whole mat was done in a couple of sessions, and left to dry overnight. This approach left the mat soft and furry, and I think it gives a nice look to a whole battlefield, or used as a base and backdrop for model photo shoots. 

What’s next?

For next steps, I’m considering shaving some roads and tracks into the mat. I could place modular road sections on top of the mat, but shaved in looks better. I also need some marsh and stream sections for my Dirschau battlefield, but I think I might make these modular and place them on top. More thinking time required. 

To create hills simply place things under the mat and it drapes over them nicely.

Battle of Alford 1645 set out on the new mat.

The new colour variations.

I hope this post will inspire others to have a crack at fur. This was very easy to do, and the Killing Fields mats are a great starting point. 

This new fur mat ties in nicely with #terraintober on Twitter. Also check out Alex’s Storm of Steel YouTube Channel (https://youtube.com/channel/UCNUYwNznn-ZuNMoHoF3urwQ) where he is going to feature some of the terrain made. 


Andy @ Friends of General Haig

Sunday 26 September 2021

Auldearn 1645 - The Game

Mac Colla, with his vanguard, trying to hold off the Covenanter’s surprise attack.

This blog post is a battle report for the Auldearn 1645 game that the Friends of General Haig played at the Warlord Games Open Day on the 25th September.  

You can see the previous Auldearn blog posts on:

Despite a cloudy start to the day the weather brightened up as we arrived at Warlord Games new HQ in Nottingham.  The Warlorders were as busy as bees getting everything ready for the start of the Open Day, and we were soon directed to our pitch.  We were allocated a space for the Auldearn game in a marquee in front of the building.  For this game we would be playing on a set of terrain boards that belongs to Warlord supremo, John Stallard.  John had it crafted by the talented Ernie Baker some years ago with the Auldearn battlefield in mind.

The board set up and ready to go!

On top of the board we added my terrain and two armies, as described in the previous blog posts (see links above), and before you could say “Irn Bru; brewed in Scotland from girders!” we were ready to go.

As a quick re-cap, the battle starts with Major General Hurry and his Covenanter force springing a surprise dawn attack on Montrose’s Royalists, who are camped in and around Auldearn; a small village less than 20 miles from Inverness in NE Scotland. 

The Covenanters form up ready to attack Auldearn, with only a scant few Royalists to hold them off.

Our game started with the Covenant force shaking itself out from column of march in to battalia formation for the attack.   To oppose them there is just a small Royalist vanguard, led by Montrose’s right-hand man, Alasdair MacDonald, better known as Mac Colla ‘The Devastator’.

The Covenanters had a brisk start and they made good progress over Garlic hill towards Auldearn.  The Covenanters knew that time was a critical factor, and that if they could break in to Auldearn, then they could hinder the rest of the Royalists from forming up to fight them. The Covenanters therefore threw themselves forward, with speed being of the essence.

Mac Colla knew that he had to hold up the Covenanters for as long as possible, to give Montrose enough time to rally the rest of the army, and reinforce him. Not wanting to engage in a firefight with the Covenanters superior numbers, Mac Colla decided that attack was the best form of defence, and led an immediate charge with his lifeguard in to the leading Covenanter regiment. The lead Covenant regiment reeled back from this onslaught, and Mac Colla also pulled back to rally his men for another charge.  

Mac Colla leads in his lifeguard again, while behind him, Gordon clansmen try to fend off Covenant horsemen

There was some confusion while the Covenanters tried to bring up supporting troops.  Hurry managed to bring up Drummond’s Horse on the Covenant right to threaten Mac Colla’s beleaguered troops.  Mac Colla then took a gamble; he charged again in to the Covenant foot with his lifeguard, and trusted to luck that his Gordon clansmen would hold off Drummond’s horse.

Some well timed shots from the Gordons slowed the attacking horsemen enough that their charge was held, and then, despite the fear with which the newly raised Gordons faced their first mounted attack, the horsemen were thrown back. 

To the rescue! The Irish Brigade marching out of Auldearn to join the battle.

Mac Colla’s charge was even more successful and some of the Covenanters were scattered by the impact of his lifeguard. However Mac Colla’s forces were tiring fast, and had to continue to fall back against the overwhelming numbers of the Covenanters.  It was with much relief that Mac Colla saw the first of the Royalist reinforcements marching out of the village, the doughty Irish Brigade.  

Covenant pikemen trying to develop another attack while Hurry tries to rally the Covenant horse.

The next Covenant regiment finally managed to push forward towards Mac Colla.  Their fresh musket fire tore in to the rallying Royalist vanguard. This was too much for the Gordon clansmen who ran for the shelter of the village. Despite Hurry’s pleas, Drummond’s horse would not rally to charge again, and finish off the remainder of Mac Colla’s force. 

The arrival of the Irish brigade, and the Covenanter’s continuing difficulty in bringing forward more troops, stabilised the position for the Royalists.  If only their own Royalist horse could arrive.  Suddenly the urgent sound of trumpets sounded from the Royalist left flank.  Could this be the Gordon Horse arriving in the nick of time?    

Well maybe it should have been, but something had gone awry.  Maybe it was patch of unexpected boggy ground, or may be some confusion in orders, but the Gordon Horse were delayed.  

The Earl of Seaforth’s levies moving forward against the Irish Brigade.

This gave the Covenanters a chance to recover their lines and prepare for the Royalists who were trying to flank their position. It also seems to have encouraged the Earl of Seaforth, on the Covenanter’s left wing, to push forward with his levies.  The Irish Brigade now had their hands full facing off a horde of Clansmen from the far North Western parts of Scotland, including the dread Lewis bowmen. Seaforth’s levies were supported by Halkett’s regular horsemen. 

Finally, the Royalist cavalry arrive.

The Gordon Horse finally galloped on to the field and found that the Covenanters had started to pull back from their approach.  Despite having lost some of the element of surprise, the Gordon Horse still put in a well timed charge and put Drummond’s Horse to flight.  Lord Gordon managed to rally his horsemen, and regrouped as the Strahbogie regiment, arrived from the village, marching up in support of their kinsmen. 

The wall of firepower waiting for Mac Colla’s last, desperate charge. 

Mac Colla’s lifeguard were worn out from their earlier heroics and so Mac Colla instead lead forward his remaining Gordon foot to try and keep up the pressure on the Covenanters.  This proved to be one charge too many.  The Gordon foot faltered in front of well timed volleys from the Covenant musketeers, and were finally routed. A wounded Mac Colla was last seen being dragged back to the village by the Gordons while he protested that “Just one more charge will see them off!”. 

Hurry, seeing Montrose in the front line, tries to lead his cavalry in a charge. 

On the Covenant left a fierce firefight now developed between the Irish Brigade and Seaforth’s troops. Montrose had to intervene personally to rally some of the Irish.  Hurry thought he saw an opportunity to catch the Marquis while he was rallying these troops in the frontline, but Halket’s horsemen refused to follow him in a charge on the Irishmen around Montrose. 

Covenant pikemen lead a charge into the Royalist line.

A lull in the fighting along the whole front line allowed the Covenanter to regroup and bring forward the last of their regular troops for another attack. Some well time volleys from the Covenant musketeers unsteadied the Royalists, and Hurry threw in his men at charge of pike to try and break the Royalist line. 

Lord Gordon leads his regiment of horse in to the flank of the Covenanters, supported by the Strathbogie foot.

The Covenant pike went in hard.  The Royalist foot bent, but didn’t break.  A fierce melee ensued and the Covenant officers urged on their pikemen sensing they were near to breaking through.  At this moment Lord Gordon put himself at the head of his regiment of horse, and bellowing “A Gordon! A Gordon!”, charged past the Strathbogie foot, and into the flank of the Covenanter’s attacking troops.  Some of the Strathbogie foot, perhaps being carried forward holding on to the stirrups of the Gordon horse, followed suit.

The Gordon Horse sweep though the Covenent flank.

The Covenant foot had no reply to this, and beset to their front, and now charged to their flank, started to fall back.  This last setback proved too much, and the Covenant army finally turned on their heals, broke, and ran for Inverness.

A Royalist victory; in the final turn of the game, just as we timed out at the end of the day!  It had been a hard fought, and exciting game all of the way through, with many twists and turns of fate.   Mac Colla’s early aggression was effective in holding up the Covenanters, but his troops were worn down very quickly and only the early arrival of the Irish Brigade saved them.  With the Irish Brigade and the Gordon Horse in the battle line for the Royalists, the Covenanters had a much harder battle on their hands. The Covenanters did manage to organise a final attack which was very close to being successful, but the final charge by the Gordon Horse, neatly recreating events in the real battle, finally broke the Covenant army.

The Pike & Shotte rules worked very well for us. The only issue we had was that we were reminded to not have too many special rules for your troops, as they are very easy to forget in the middle of a game!  One of the things that we really liked about rules was that they provided lulls in the battle, as well as reversals of fortunes, which are often found in actual battle accounts, but can be rare under some other rules.  

Many thanks to the Warlord crew for inviting us to the Open Day, and for looking after us during the day.  Also many thanks to John Stallard for lending us his beautiful terrain boards for the game, they set the game off very nicely.

Our pitch for the day.

A big thank you as well to all of those that came and talked to us during the day and said very nice things about how the game looked.  We had some help from a few people during the day who helped us play the game, but James gets the prize for having the worst dice throws; almost as bad as mine ;-) .

I hope that we were able to show people a little bit about how a game of Pike & Shotte works, and perhaps also inspired a few to try this period for their own games. 

Finally a big “cheers” to ‘Friends of General Haig’ Paul for playing the part of Montrose so well.

Alba gu bràth!

Andy @ Friends of General Haig