INCHBARE (AD 1130)
King David I, youngest son of Malcolm Canmore, took the Scottish throne at a time of great unrest between the Gaelic clans and the Norman Scots who David and his predecessors had settled on the confiscated lands of their rebellious Gaelic subjects. Angus, the Earl of Moray, choose this time to press his line's ancient claim to the throne and recruited the Mormaer Malcolm of Ross to his cause. Moray brought 10,000 light armed clansmen to Kintyre, where he was joined by 5,000 from Ross and 300 under Fergus of Galloway. The army then moved south via Mar and over the Cairn of Mounth to Fettercairn, where they stopped to pillage, collecting a large herd of cattle that was sent back to Moray.
King David's army, under his High Constable Edward De Morville, quickly mustered at Forfar. He was joined by Cospatric, Earl of Dunbar, with 800 light horse, and Constantine, Earl of Fife, with 400 Norman knights and 1000 foot. The combined army was reckoned at 3,500 horse and knights, and 5,000 foot with swords, axes, flails and spears, but with no bowmen.
After a brief skirmish of the advance scouts at Lundie hill, De Morville decided to lay an ambush on the flat flood plain opposite the ford at Inchbare on the River North Esk. He placed his foot in clear view on high ground near Baile a Loune (Ballownie), and hid his horse in several groups behind nearby hills, to encourage Moray to advance onto the open plain to attack the apparently inferior force.
Against the advice of Malcolm of Ross, who urged further scouting, Angus took the bait and marched his army across the ford at first light. As Moray's men formed to charge the Constable's foot, a small party of Norman knights impetuously charged without orders. His ambush unveiled, De Morville quickly committed the rest of his horse to the charge.
Perceiving the mounted charge across the plain, the Moray men had time to form a heavy line in a half circle across the ford. As the Norman horse were brought up short by the wall of spears or brought down by archery, clansmen jumped foward into the fray with poleaxes and dirks to hamstring horses and dispatch downed riders. The rebels held their lines, allowing the Normans to reform and charge again, making it a long and bloody battle of attrition that lasted most of the day. The Cospatric Earl of Dunbar, and Constantine, Earl of Fife, both fell in the fighting, and the tide of battle seemed to have turned against the demoralized Royals. But then Angus of Moray rashly accepted a challenge to personal combat from a Norman knight and was struck down.
Angus' younger brother Malcolm MacEth took command, only to lose his nerve. Malcolm of Ross then stepped in and started to press the battle again. But a late arriving force of 2,400 horse from Merse appeared to reinforce the Royal army. His army exhausted and facing a large force of fresh horse, Malcolm decided to disengage while he could still retreat in good order. His army retired across the ford in the failing light and rising mist, and then dispersed through the woods and the marshland beyond to avoid mounted pursuit.
In the aftermath, De Moreville claimed over 4000 rebels had been slain including Earl Angus, while acknowledging only 1000 casualties. Lost, however, were the Earls of Dunbar and Fife and over 100 Norman knights of high name and repute. Other sources estimate Moray's losses at closer to 1500-1800. Following the battle, there was no pursuit, and the Royals retired to spend several days encamped at Brechin, where they were joined by King David. Eventually, Malcolm MacEth was betrayed to King David in 1134 AD and spent the rest of his life imprisoned in Roxburgh Castle. Stripped of his titles, Malcolm of Ross retreated to the highlands of Strathconon and Strathnaver, living to a good old age. Fergus of Galloway eluded David's wardens for many years, eventually taking asylum in the court of King Henry of England and marrying one of Henry's daughters.
Both armies are variations on the Scots Common list. They are not strictly proportional to the historical numbers noted above, but are selected in hopes of providing game balance with a sufficiently historical flavor.
Royals -- 1x 3Kn (Gen), 2x 3Kn, 2x 2Lh, 5x 4Pk, plus reinforcements from Merse (1x 3Kn, 1x 2Lh)
Moray -- 1x3Kn//Wb (Gen), 7x4Pk,1x5Wb (Fergus of Galloway), 1x 3Wb, 1x 3Bw or 2Ps, 1x2Ps
The North Esk is wide and banked and is considered difficult except at the ford.
Deployment: Moray deploys first in the square area indicated on the map by darker green, or anywhere along the road to his rear as far as the base edge. The Royals deploy second, with all foot being positioned on the hill marked Baile a Loune, and the balance positioned anywhere within the normal deployment zone. There are no camps or logistical elements in this scenario.
Personal Combat: Any Norman Knight element in close combat with the Moray command element may challenge Moray to personal combat. Moray is honor bound to accept the challenge. Before resolving the close combat, both sides roll an unmodified D6 for the personal combat, with the high roll winning. If the Norman Knight loses, his element suffers a -1 close combat modifier for that bound. If the Norman Knight wins, then Moray is killed and as a consequence, the Moray command element suffers a -1 close combat modifier for that bound, and the Moray side suffers a permanent -1 PIP modifier for the balance of the game (representing the loss of initiative when Malcom Macerth took command). In the event of a tie, the duelers get swept up in the fighting, and close combat continues as normal.
Reinforcements: The Merse contingent will appear at the road end on the Royal baseline on the second Royal initiative role of 6.
Normal, except there are no camps.
Last Updated: Oct. 21, 2003
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