ECW- Battle of Tippermuir 1st September 1644.

 Montrose's battles are a source of fascination for me. Any one of them is small enough to represent on the table with the limited units I have.  Today I looked them over : Tippermuir, Aberdeen, Fyvie, Inverlochy, Auldearn, Alford, Kilsyth and Philiphuagh.

What the hell- start at the beginning.

Tippermuir it is! I dug into my scenario books and allocated my units and refought the battle over a couple of hours- another solo effort in lockdown.

I had to incorporate some special rules in the scenario.
Under our rules, infantry charging cavalry lose their charge bonuses. Nor can Foote countercharge. In this battle the Highlanders and Irish were particularly aggressive- so they were allowed to. And when charging cavalry the Highlanders kept their secondary charge bonus ( ferocious charge).

Additionally, during the battle, Montrose's troops captured the Covenanter guns and turned them on their former owners. So for this scenario, if/when a gun fell it was available to be fired the following turn by its captors. As Montrose had no guns or Horse, these rules were designed to allow Montrose's troops to perform as they did historically!

One of the Irish Regiments of Foote.
(Being used as Lt Gen Alexander McDonnell's Regt- but carrying Col. James MacDonnell's flag)

Covenanters have BLUE BOX
Royalists ( Montrose)  Red Box.

The Highlanders or as Paul would spell/pronounce it - The Heeelanderrrs!

The Irish Brigade with the Great Man himself- Montrose- conferring with his officers.

Montrose' Right Flank. The Lochaber axemen on the extreme right- going after the Covenanter guns.

'The Devastator' - Alasdair MacColla.
A fearsome giant who played an important role in Montrose' victories 

The layout. The Covenanters on a big hill.
The main path of advance for each unit in the first few turns.

The other Irish Regt.
Representing and carrying Col James MacDonnell's flag. 

Lord Kilpont's Lowland Regiment ( sorry no flag) - on Montrose's right.

The Lochaber Axemen!


The opening moves of the Covenanter Horse

The Irish Brigade advance- against the first gun. They took some casualties and when they got within range both delivered a volley that wiped out the crew!

The Covenanter Horse of the left aim for the Axemen...and partially blocking their own guns.

The Covenanter Horse of the Right hitting the Highlanders who countercharged. The dice - sixes or double five to hit. The Large dice are the Covenanters. They lost and were forced back. Historically the Horse units were very small so here the horde of Highlanders absorbed the attack.

Atholl's Highlanders capture a gun and turn it around.

The MacDonald Highlanders force the Horse back....and in the ensuing melee destroy them.  The few Horse fail to make an impression on the Highlanders who outnumber them considerably. This was reflected in the combat factors and the amount of damage they could take.

On Montrose's Right Flank- the axemen are forced back- so MacColla joins them providing much need +1 die and a huge morale boost to roll off the combat disorders.

Turn 3. The guns on Montrose's left and in the centre have both been captured and turned around- providing fire support.

The Covenanters now being blasted by their own guns!!

By Turn four the Covenanter Horse have fled and Montrose's Foote are storming up the hill.

A bit of a back and forth between the axemen and MacColla on one side and the Covenanter Horse on the other. Finally the Horse break- due to the presence of the Devastator- and the close range blast of the guns fails to inflict enough the gun falls to the axemen!

Gask's Covenanter Regt of Foote charges downhill against the Irish Brigade after delivering a volley.
The Irish volley is not very effective, but they countercharge. 
The dice show the melee result - 3 hits each (6 and double 5 to hit. Big Dice= Covenanters)

Round two of melee- The  Irish Regiment breaks!!

A volley by the other Irish Regt and the captured gun sees Gask's Regt in the Covenanter centre break

The Highlanders go in after taking Casualties against Elcho's Regt.

Elcho's Regt forced back.

The third captured gun firing long range at Rossie' Regt in the distance.

A volley by Rossie's Regt sees the Lochaber axemen break.

Big Al...not happy

A volley by the Fife Levies- of all people! - sees one Highlander unit - already depleted, break

A significant melee die roll for the other Highlanders. They caused massive casualties on Elcho's Regiment- sending it packing but were so depleted that they were destroyed in doing so...thus spoiling any chance of success for Montrose in the game.

The end game. Most of Montrose's army has broken or is in no condition to fight. The captured guns will cover the retreat! The Covenanters, too exhausted to pursue.

I enjoyed this game and refight. It gave me the opportunity to appreciate Montrose's historical victory. Outnumbered, with no artillery and no Horse and with many of his Highlanders lacking firearms, he took a defended hill. In my game, he came close...but lost it in the last turn.


  1. It sounded like it was all one way traffic with Montrose's troops capturing one gun after another in quick succession - just as well those boys from the Kingdom of Fife were there! An exciting game and I will enjoy following your replaying of all of Montrose's battles in Scotland.

    1. Yes- the opening stages- Covenanter guns captured, Covenanter cavalry swamped....but the Fife Levies of all people stopped the Highlanders in their tracks! Promotion to veteran, right there and then! Aberdeen next!

    2. We fought the Battle of Aberdeen a few weeks ago - its on my blog here

    3. Fantastic- I just had a look. Those bigger units (than mine) do look good.

  2. Good stuff, John! The combination of overhead battle views and annotations help in following the battle flow. As with Norm, I enjoyed it.

    1. Thanks Jonathan- I'm getting convinced that any AAR should have them!

  3. Not a period I know anything about or have gamed, but a well presented game is always a joy to follow!

  4. That is a really good read and top rate pictures ,amazing what you can do in two hours .