SAS Wargames Club

SAS Wargames Club
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Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Battle of Vinegar Hill 21st June 1798 - Part Five

The Battle
Instead of me writing reams more I shall instead show the battle in map form at various stages of the game because as they say “a picture paints a thousand words”.  As you look at the maps it may appear that the Crown had the better of it but after looking at the casualty returns Lakes wing was on the verge of collapse.  The game lasted 32 moves with each move representing 15 minutes of real time.

Photo’s of the game will soon be available <here>.

Overview of the battlefield.

For the topography I’d scanned in the area of the battlefield from an Irish Ordnance survey map of county Wexford.  I have many such maps covering the main theatres of operation during the conflict.  The size of Enniscorthy was deduced from looking at the Irish Ordnance survey – Historical mapping section on their web site.  They have maps going back as far as 1830.  I’d encourage anyone interested in wargaming Irelands turbulent past to use both of these forms of media to get a good idea of the terrain that these battles were fought over.

Initial deployment

3am to 4am The UI come off of the hill to engage Lake realising to late that Duff and Loftus are approaching from the North.  Johnson and Moore attack Enniscorthy where murderous street fighting ensues.

4am to 5am After severe hand to hand fighting Lakes left flank collapses with his centre and right coming under intense pressure from Byrnes and Murphy with reoccurring melees all along the line.  He loses two pieces of artillery from accurate and sustained fire from UI Guns men.  Duff and Loftus keep Perry at bay by deploying their cavalry to threaten his rear allowing their Artillery and muskets to tear into his stolid ranks.  Sustaining heavy casualties Johnston and Moore slowly push Kearns out of Enniscorthy.

5am to 6am After nearly breaking Lakes centre Murphy’s now spent troops collapse allowing Lake to bring his remaining artillery back into action.  These along with withering musket fire tear into Murphy’s remaining troops stopping them from closing.  Barkers troops remain on the other side of the river unable to deploy due to a lack of room.  Much to the annoyance of Lake Bynes manages to overrun his Brandy cabinet ensuring that after dinner cigars will not be part of this evening’s entertainment.  Perry continues to take a terrible pounding from Loftus and Duff but refuses to budge.  Having taken the western part of the Town Johnston and Moore try to dislodge Kearns remaining men by bombarding the east side of Enniscorthy.

6am to 7am  Infuriated by the loss of his Brandy Cabinet Lake brings up his other two pieces of Artillery.  Along with the remaining troops on his right flank he begins to tear holes in Byrnes command.  What’s left of his centre continues to hold Murphy off with sustained volley fire.  Having expended nearly their entire stock of canister, but much to the relief of Loftus and Duff, Perry’s command eventually collapses.  Cacking their pants the UI artillery realise that Needham’s cavalry has turned up in their rear.  However, to thwart Needhams plans Roche also makes an appearance.

7am to 8am After a hard fought fight what remains of Murphy’s command breaks giving Barker the opportunity to get to grips with Lake.  Needham’s Cavalry chop half of the UI artillery to dog meat with every intent of finishing the job as soon as they can.  Needham’s infantry turn up forcing Roche to split his command in two and negating any further advance.  Byrne continues to poke the eye of Lake by drinking yet more of his Brandy whilst his men frustrate Lakes attempts to force them off the hill.  Johnston and Moore continue to pound Enniscorthy.  Loftus and Duff start their advance into the rear of the UI forces

8am to 9am having had enough of Lakes Brandy and his fill of “grape” quits the field.  Having finished off the UI Artillery Needham’s cavalry inhibits Roche’s advance any further.  Taking sustained artillery fire Roches men hold their ground allowing what remains of the Wexford army to retreat in good order.

9am to 10am It’s all over for the UI who head back to Wexford to plan the next phase of their campaign against the Crown whilst Lake licks his wounds and drowns his sorrows in what’s left of his Brandy.