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Battle of Carlisle – Jacobite Rank & File

Now that the world has started to re-open we have been playing a few more games and the latest is part of a Jacobite campaign that we are playing through using Rank & File with a lot of the rule changes that I am thinking of adding to the second edition. The main changes for the new version are no stand removal and a new command system.

The Battle of Carlisle is the third in the campaign, both of the others being Jacobite victories. The poor quality Government forces haven’t been able to cope with the Jacobite tactic of advancing as fast as possible and charging straight into their opponents. Simple but effective.

As the Jacobite army moves south so the Government have more regular troops available to stop then and the third battle sees the Jacobites outnumbered but, with no other real alternative, still on the attack. The Government forces deployed in a strong position, between two streams, with a village on their right and prepared earthworks to their front. As the morning mist clears the Jacobite army appear to be well concealed.

Overnight flank march, who would have guessed? As the Jacobite army turns up on the flank the Government forces scramble to face. Forcing the opposing army to try to redeploy meant a lot of command activation rolls to try to get units into position to face the real threat.

The first line of Government troops put up a good fight, being better quality than the previous losers helped but they were still overwhelmed by the first charge, they did cause a lot of damage to the Jacobite units though and all were at 50% strength or less when they had to take on the second line Government units.

The mid battle saw increasingly desperate charges by the Jacobites to try to break the Government army but with both sides close to their army break point the carnage continued. At noon more Jacobites were sighted, troops that had been under siege in Carlisle break out and though severely depleted march to join the fray.

Unfortunately even these new troops couldn’t tip the balance and the Government forces held their position, the cavalry finally starting to make an impression hitting weak Jacobite units. The writing was on the wall and the Jacobite commander reluctantly orders the army to withdraw.

Once again the battle showed the depth that is added by a campaign setting. The game itself was played out over two evenings and as I wasn’t in control of any troops I got to see both sides grimly looking at the battlefield and discussing whether they should order a retreat or not!