Friday, 11 January 2013

Engagement at Crossmaheart 1649

Being an account of a little known encounter between a detachment of the New Model Army led by the redoubtable Harbottle Grimstone and an allied force of Malignants and Irish Rebels under the joint command of Sir Lancelot Periwinkle and James O'Dowd.

The Irish Confederate Army numbered some 3600 foot and just over 500 horse. There were also three demi-culverins at the disposal of the rebels. The foot were a mixed bag of Irish and English, the latter being the better equipped. Around 800 of the Irish foot, the so called Antrim Redshanks, lacked muskets and would rely on the shock of their charge and their ferocity with sword and axe to break the opposition.

The New Model deployed around 700 horse and 1800 foot, although the disparity in numbers compared to their enemies was offset in part by a the large number of guns, both light and heavy pieces, totaling 15 in all. There were also two companies of dragoons available to Grimstone.

A view of the battlefield. The Irish Confederates deployed on the left, their flank protected by a marsh. The English front line ran roughly along the road that emerged out of the wooded hills in the background.

In the above picture the New Model can be seen deployed on the right. In the background they have refused a flank, although the dragoons have been sent forward to harass the advancing Irish. In the foreground the Ironsides are standing firm as the English Royalist horse, supported by commanded shot, advances at an angle towards them.

The first crisis of the battle came when the Royalist cavalry charged the Ironsides, who stood their ground and then counter charged, sweeping all before them. The losses were heavy on both sides however, and Harbottle was unable to get his cavalry to press their advantage.

Meanwhile, the massed Irish foot were slowly advancing on the New Model’s right flank. All the while they were enduring a brisk fire from the dragoons Harbottle had sent forward and the artillery that had been deployed well back from the road to Crossmaheart. The successful conclusion of the fight on the New Model’s left allowed Grimstone to manaouvre a regiment of foot to enfilade the oncoming Irish infantry, and this, coupled with the losses they had endured thus far, was enough to break the resolve of the Confederate army.

Here we can see in the foreground  the New Model outflanking the Irish foot whilst Grimstone’s gonnes thin the ranks of the Redshanks in the background.

In other words, my first game of the year ended in defeat as Jeff’s New Model Army saw off my Irish Confederates. Sitting back and forcing me to trundle across the battlefield in the face of all that artillery proved a masterstroke.

Armies were DBR 300 pts  played on a 4” X 3” battlefield.

1 comment:

  1. I can only assume that the New Model artillery had been massed for some siege. Clearly however they gave a good account of themselves, unlike those Scots gunnes which fall apart at the first sign of English or Irish foot.