Monday, 11 July 2016

Local News

(OOC: Apologies for the lack of updates in VBCW Herefordshire. I’m busy with my Frostgrave stuff at the moment, having pretty much painted everything I need for VBCW. However, this post by erstwhileVBCW gamer ‘Leadboy’ requires some kind of retort…)

Who is the ‘Scarlet Lady’?

Decent law-abiding listeners throughout the county have been shocked and scandalised by the recent output from a traitorous radio station, the ‘Bishop’s Broadcasting Service’.

Transmitting from rebel-held Ludlow, their so-called news program claims to have uncovered the identity of the ‘Scarlet Lady’ – an unfortunate young woman, who is rumoured to appear in a number of photographs from the collection of the late gadabout, Colonel Patrick Mustard.

These frightful derrogutypes, the rebels claim, are of none other than Lady de Braose, supposed wife of our dear Governor!

Until now this noble Baron has refused to lower himself and answer such ludicrous claims, but at the urging of his press secretary, has released the following statement: “What utter rot! It just goes to show how desperate these fellows are, to cast aspersions on a man’s wife, especially when that man is not actually married! Silly b-s!”

Indeed, as everyone in proper Herefordshire society knows, Baron de Braose is a confirmed bachelor, who’s only mistress is his job!

Manuscript still in Rebel Hands

The salacious memoirs of the aforementioned Mustard is still thought to be in rebel hands, being last seen in the grubby oil-stained hands of a socialist rabble-rouser.

As is the habit of these unscrupulous reds, excerpts have been leaked to the more disreputable organs of the press (see above), however most of these have been dismissed as the perverted workings of an unbalanced hack by experts.

Many however are still taking this work of fiction seriously, and have expressed an interest in securing the manuscript. Shady deals are thought to have been made, although the authorities have disavowed any involvement, merely warning individuals against making private agreements with such unpleasant characters.

Fighting Near Aconbury

After a period of calm, fresh fighting has erupted around the Aconbury front around the Hereford-Ross road. Our correspondent Mr. Morrison has phoned in this report from Shell village:

A BUF lorry carrying fuel had broken down and been hidden in a barn near Shell village. The BUF/Royalist forces were tasked with recovering the fuel. The Anglican League forces were ordered to sweep the village and farm for rumoured hidden fuel supplies. Both sides were under strict orders NOT to destroy the fuel.

Unknown to both sides the ruined village was occupied by the remnants of the Shell LDV, who had been decimated in a previous battle after being deserted by their Anglican allies. Now nursing a bitter hatred of both sides they were determined to fight to the last to defend their village against all-comers.

 As the Hereford Small Traders advanced into the village on the Anglican left flank and Lord Scudamore’s Loyal  Legion did likewise on the Royalist right both suffered casualties when ambushed by the Shell LDV, who knocked out an Anglican armoured car with grenades.

In the centre the BUF reached the barn, where they were inadvertently joined by Lord Scudamore’s Legion seeking cover, and the Gas Street  Irregulars seeking loot. With 75% of the King’s men in the barn the Anglican commander, unaware the barn contained the vital fuel, decided it made too tempting a target for his mortar team to ignore. As spectators held their breath the mortar scored a direct hit, but to the disappointment of the onlookers the bomb turned out to be a dud and failed to explode!

Meanwhile the avaricious tendencies of the Gas Street Irregulars had left the Royalist left flank held by only the BUF Company Sergeant, who now faced the Archenfield Young Farmers and an armoured car advancing along the road through a wood. In an act of seemingly suicidal bravery he charged the Farmers, who failed their morale test and fled. He then survived a machine-gunning attempt by the armoured car and charged it in return. The raw crew also failed their morale test and drove off.  Sgt.’ Mad Wullie’ MacFeeble has been recommended for the Cross of St.George (Iron Class).

A desperate charge towards the barn by the Forest of Dean Free Miners and the Bishop of Hereford’s Suffragen Militia was met with a hail of fire from the BUF HMG and artillery, and repulsed with heavy casualties.  The Shell LDV were finally wiped out by the Royalist cricketers of Lord Smedley’s Gentlemen’s Second XI, and the game ended with the Royalist/BUF forces triumphant, having had the best of luck. If only that mortar shell had exploded...........!

Mr. Morrison was also on the present during a BUF punitive expedition against malcontents on Windy Ridge:

Both sides were tasked with investigating suspicious lights from the church tower and checking the village for spies. The BUF had also assembled a demolition team to destroy the Bishop’s Broadcasting Corporation transmitter on Windy Ridge, which was guarded by the Archenfield Young Farmers.

A cautious approach by both sides uncovered a number of malcontents and deserters lurking in the woods and houses, some of whom surrendered quietly but a few decided to fight and put up a ferocious resistance, causing casualties on both sides, before being eliminated. This diversion basically bogged down the whole centre of the battlefield.

On the Anglican left wing the Forest of Dean Free Miners were driven back from the church by the Cheltenham Ladies College and Gas Street Irregulars, who occupied the tower, but found nothing untoward.

On Windy Ridge the firepower of the BUF supported by an armoured car forced the Archenfield Young Farmers to fall back, but time ran out before the demolition of the transmitter could be carried out.

Kington on the Verge!

Welsh nationalists holding the market town of Kington are on the verge of surrendering, a military spokesman has revealed:

“With the railways cleared of rebel saboteurs, we have been able to transport heavy siege guns from Royalist bases in the West Midlands, and are currently using them to great effect against the Taffies,” he said.

There can be no doubt that Joubert’s men and our brave Territorials have their tails up now, and soon they will have liberated Kington and, with the rebels in full flight back across into Wales, will have secured the border within days!

Ex-Bishop Attacked!

An attempt has been made on the life of the former Bishop of Hereford, currently staying in the city at a guest of Baron de Braose.

At 3 a.m. last Wednesday, an intruder broke into the ex-Bishop’s lodgings in the Green Dragon Hotel and lunged at the stricken cleric with a kitchen knife. Thankfully the noise alerted a section of de Braose’s personal guard, who were also staying at the hotel. These stalwart fellows managed to apprehend the would-be assassin before he could fulfil his gruesome intent.

A man, thought to be a crazed anarchist agitator escaped from nearby Burghill Asylum, is currently being held under arrest at Hereford city gaol.

In order to protect the former Bishop, orders have been given to fly him to an undisclosed location for his personal safety. Captain Arrowsmith’s air flotilla is currently on standby at Hereford Racecourse in readiness for this transportation.

Society News

Sir Barrington Patchpole, QC, is delighted to announce his engagement to Lady Deirdre Ffaines-Muir of Wigmore Manor.


The couple, both long-standing widowers, are believed to have developed a close attachment during their work with the Landowners’ Protection Association, branches of which they both lead.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Hereford Wargames Website


The new Hereford Wargames Website can be found at https://herefordwargamers.wordpress.com/ - please check it out!

This website is intended as a hub for all wargamers (and indeed boardgamers, card gamers etc.) in and around Hereford.

Our aim is to connect individuals, gaming clubs and groups – allowing like-minded gamers to get in touch and get some good games going!

Monday, 18 April 2016

The State of Play


Once again battles have been fought and the balance of power is shifting. However this time things have been complicated by rumours of the contents of Colonel Pat Mustard’s salacious memoirs, currently in the hands of the Socialists.

Although deemed to be largely a work of fiction by mainstream experts, the possible existence of this scandalous tale of love affairs, assignations and lust among the Establishment has sent ripples of discontent throughout British society. Authentic or not, the manuscript gives the Socialists a strong bargaining chip, for one of their barges, plus it's crew, is currently being hauled out of the river by the BUF.

In Herefordshire, trust in the landed gentry has been shaken. In parishes in and around the scene of the recent Anglican League victory at Aconbury, residents have flocked to the Anglican banner. Local landowners south of Hereford, formerly content to remain neutral, have fallen over themselves to prove, should the manuscript ever be published, their piety and good character under the accusing glare of the ‘lower orders’ in their employ. Further north, newly conquered Brimfield and adjacent parishes have also followed suit and declared for the Bishop of Ludlow.

However most of this area remains loyal to Miss Nemone Mortimer-Wagstaff. With her control over Mortimer Country, Nemone has been looking for a cause (and a husband) for some time, but has been unable to make up her mind until now. Worried by the discovery of Mustard’s memoirs, in which the young lady’s late mother is mentioned, she has made no secret of her desire to possess and destroy the document. In matters of romance her heart is currently torn between the Anglican ‘Shropshire Swain’ and a dashing Royalist officer from Shrewsbury.

To the west, the Welsh border campaign has ended with the Fascists dealing a coup-de-grace to the rebels by pushing them out of their last strategic base at Whitney. However the joint Anglican/Socialist rear-guard has given the retreating forces plenty of time to withdraw and regroup closer to their respective HQs at Ross and Ludlow (now firmly under the Anglican League). The Welsh Nationalists have been similarly repulsed and but are clinging on in a besieged Kington.

A small but potentially significant development is the arrival of the Albertines – supporters of the King’s brother Prince Albert, whose armada sailed in force from his exile in Canada but was scattered by a storm and has landed piecemeal around the British coast. The small force of Albertines that washed up the Severn estuary have negotiated passage through the Forest of Dean and have set up shop along the Wye valley around Welsh Bicknor and Stowfield. They have since fought alongside the Anglicans but, should reinforcements arrive, they may well emerge as an independent faction.

So the Welsh border is largely in Royalist and BUF hands, but this has left the north and south of the county vulnerable to a rejuvenated Anglican League presence. Can the King’s forces anticipate the next threat quickly enough to counter it? Will the accord between Royalist and Fascist continue to hold? Will neutral parties such as the Landowners’ Protection Association and the Twiggy Mommet protest movement survive in an increasingly polarised county? Can the Anglican League exploit it’s recent gains? Will their alliance with the Socialists and Welsh hold now that another Royal has thrown his cap into the ring?

I’ve no idea, but it’ll be fun finding out!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

April Big Game - Aconbury Pictorial

Here are some photos taken by the Anglican League war correspondent during the fighting at Aconbury.

Anglicans advance

Bishop of Hereford's militia supported by Forest of Dean miners

Hereford Small Traders occupy a building

Archenfield Young Farmers occupy a hill

Lady Rita leads the Anglicans into battle

Anglican armoured cars advance

Aerial view of the battle

Fascist armour destroyed by Lady Rita's roadside bomb team

Anglican right flank holds firm

Fascists advance in the centre

Thanks to Rita for these great photos! The full set can be found on this Photobucket link

April Big Game - Whitney

Herewith follows an illustrated account of the fighting at Whitney-on-Wye from the perspective of Major Miles Straitt-Jackett, Commanding Wulfhere Company, West Mercia Division, BUF.


BUF troop barges


WHITNEY BRIDGE POST ACTION REPORT
By Major Miles Straitt-Jackett

 Commanding Wulfhere Company, West Mercia Division, BUF

BUF right wing advances
Sir,

I have the honour to report that the Socialist rabble and their lackeys attempting to hold Whitney-on-Wye toll bridge have been utterly routed, and the way is clear for a further advance by His Majesty’s victorious forces.

BUF cavalry

The action opened with both sides advancing towards the bridge, and our gallant forces suffered an early blow when the Socialists launched a rocket attack on Storm Leader Giles’s tank, destroying it utterly with four lucky hits. Undaunted, the infantry pressed forward determined to avenge their fallen comrades. The valiant BUF cavalry, having ridden down a scarecrow that may have been an Anglican spy, attempted to attack the enemy flotilla but the heartless swine within thought nothing of machine-gunning our fine equine steeds, so a tactical withdrawal was ordered to protect our noble beasts.

Cheltenham Ladies' College advance

On our left flank the gallant ladies of Cheltenham College advanced in concert with the Wulfheres of the BUF and seized a dominant hill, while Viscount Scudamore’s Loyal Legion advanced along the river bank protecting our troop barges. The Gas Street Irregulars used  their renowned searching skills to look for the missing manuscript in various buildings, and were pleased to find a rare first edition of Rev. Splong’s renowned work on the Mating Habits of the African Guinea Fowl. Fortunately I was able to point out the monetary value of said work before it was used as toilet paper. Alas, the manuscript was not found. Rumours that the enemy had located the missing document are probably false, and in any case it will turn out to be a crude forgery.

Socialist rocket barge

A generous lunch seemed to put fresh heart into the men (and ladies) as the afternoon battle swung decisively in our favour. The Socialist tank and armoured car which had caused heavy casualties amongst Viscount Scudamore’s Loyal Legion were finally destroyed,  and our lorried artillery – ‘The Decimator ‘ -  scored several direct hits on enemy Police, Post Office and Socialist units. These were finished off by the Cheltenham Ladies and Wulfheres, causing the enemy HQ and mortar to flee in their usual cowardly fashion. What a contrast to the gallant Viscount Scudamore’s Loyal Legion, who stood firm by the bridge despite suffering 90% casualties!

Socialist tank destroyed

On the river the Socialist water rats attempted to board one of our barges but their barge was sunk by accurate mortar fire, leaving the few survivors floundering in the water under Captain Arrowsmith’s machine guns.

BUF barges reach Whitney toll bridge

After this drubbing I expect the enemy will hotfoot it back to Ross to lick their wounds, while their odious propaganda machine fabricates a plethora of untruths to try to hide the extent of their inept and cowardly performance.

Socialist barge sunk by mortar

Yours respectfully,
Miles Straitt-Jackett
Hon.Major

BUF infantry disembark

Thanks Alan for this great report and some smashing photos! (More photos can be seen by clicking this Photobucket link)

Monday, 11 April 2016

The Hunt for the Manuscript – Herefordshire Big Game April 2016


Another Big Game last weekend!

So the various factions once more girded their loins and scattered throughout the county in search of a salacious manuscript that could bring down the aristocracy.

With a total of 16 players, we were able to spread out onto three tables – these being:-

Brimfield


Situated in the north of the county, not far from the border with Shropshire and Ludlow, where the forces of the Anglican League Bishop of Ludlow and his ally the Bishop of Lichfield have retreated after making one advance too far in the Welsh border campaign.

Closer to home and supported by mercenaries from Worcester (paid for by an absent Sir Gilbert) they are able to make a more confident move into Herefordshire but are opposed by the King’s Colonials, Herefordshire Territorials and the Blackshorts.

Whitney-on-Wye


The final throes of the Welsh border campaign, in which the remaining rebel forces (a mix of Anglican League and narrowboat borne Socialists), are fighting a rear-guard action on the River Wye against their pursuers.

A numerically superior BUF force, also coincidentally using narrowboats, have pushed the rebels back as far as Whitney-on-Wye – the last strategic river crossing under Anglican control. The men in black were now determined to salvage their battered reputation and finally avenge themselves against the enemy.

Aconbury


To be more precise the hills that dominate the Hereford to Ross road – an area currently under control of the neutral Landowners’ Protection Association but slap bang between Anglican and Royalist lines.

After retreating from the Welsh border back to Ross, the Anglican League (in alliance with a recently arrived force of Albertines) plan to mount a strong advance now that their supply lines are shorter. Facing them is a scratch force of Royalist militias and Salopians, rushed south to bolster defences.

As I played the part of Spode and his Blackshorts at Brimfield, the bulk of this report will concentrate on that action.

Blackshorts and Fascisti advance 

My Blackshorts advanced, got shot up and then retreated.

The end.

Sorry, but that’s about the gist of it… Okay, I’ll elaborate a bit… Both sides advanced along the length of the table towards the village in the centre. On the Royalist side the Territorials took the wooded left flank, the King’s Colonials the centre and my Blackshorts the more open right flank.

Anglican League death rays!

Facing the Territorials were the Bishop of Ludlow’s forces, complete with disintegrator ray guns! (Knocked up by the Ludlow School science department – actually glorified LMGs) and the ‘Shropshire Swain’ – a lovelorn chap determined to win the heart of a certain lady.

Royalists advance towards Brimfield

Opposite the Colonials in the centre deployed the Worcester mercenaries, paid to do Sir Gilbert’s dirty work and completely resistant to any offers to double their bounty and swap sides (typical of Spode to forget his cheque book).

The King's Colonials move up

Deploying opposite me was the Bishop of Lichfield and his troops. Using the platoon generator guide with which we ask all our players to build their forces, I employed a mortar, anti-tank rifle and a light tank in addition to the usual HQ group and infantry sections (three Blackshorts and a unit of Women’s British Fascisti). Meanwhile my opposite number took to the field with a large Char tank, anti-tank team, HMG, mortar and a rocket battery towed by an LMG armed steam wagon, in addition to his HQ and infantry sections.

And so I moved forward alongside my Royalist allies, outgunned but undaunted!

The Royalist left and centre quickly dug in to the wooded hills and village church, trading artillery and machinegun fire with the enemy – managing to disable the Bishop of Ludlow’s tank. The remainder of Ludlow’s forces sprang forward to occupy the village buildings, supported by the mercenaries who similarly got indoors.

The Blackshorts ran as quickly as possible through the open field to the nearest hedge line, my tank taking the extreme left where it could at least get a shot at Lichfield’s behemoth. Sadly my entire platoon seemed incapable of hitting anything when it came to shooting...

Rockets land among the Blackshorts

The Blackshorts were forced to take shelter behind the hedge, where a barrage from the enemy rocket launcher took out my anti-tank rifle and a couple of riflemen. With the help of their signallers (before they too were killed), my mortar zeroed in on the enemy tank, but also failed to do any damage.

My infantry could not advance further until the Anglican tank was dealt with. However, in a depressingly familiar state of affairs, the two tanks traded shots for the rest of the game – neither managing to knock out the other.

One death ray down!

The rate of fire was hotting up across the table, with the King’s men challenging the enemy but facing a determined Anglican rebuttal. The Colonials knocked out one of the lorry-mounted death rays, but lost an armoured car in response.

Blackshorts line the hedges and get shot at

The Blackshorts could do little to support, being whittled down not only by the heavy firepower of the enemy opposite but also being enfiladed by the mercenaries (stubbornly refusing to change sides on the vague promise of double payment sometime in the near future) in the building to their left.

Pulling back to reform

I could hold on no longer – even with the assistance of a section of Loyal Americans and an HMG from the King’s Colonials. Once full sections were now being merged into composite units in order to hold the line, but with the forces of the King being battered across the table, little else could be done.

Motorbike police pierce the centre!

The final straw was when a section of Anglican motorcycle police blasted through the centre of our line (to the theme tune of CHiPs!) This foolhardy move was accompanied by a general advance by the Bishop of Lichfield – largely untouched by my feeble (and inaccurate) counter-fire.

View from the opposite side - Anglicans advance

It was time for us to pull back and leave the village of Brimfield to the Anglican League while we still had a relatively viable force. 

Pulling back further

What of the manuscript? Well a number of promising documents were discovered by both sides (I had hidden some red herrings across the three tables), but the genuine article was not to be found at Brimfield.

Narrow(boat) victory at Witney

On the other tables both sides had mixed fortunes. At Whitney the BUF pushed back the Anglican rear-guard, thus clearing the Welsh border area of the rebels, but the much-desired manuscript and all the society-wrecking scandal within had been discovered by the Socialists! The reds immediately vowed to publish the document in full…

The fighting at Aconbury

At Aconbury the rebels fared better and managed to see off the Royalists, ensuring that the no-man’s land between the two sides, and more importantly the Hereford-Ross road, was in their hands.

For me the game was a lesson in how not to plan a Big Game in a hurry. Various factors meant that I didn’t give as much attention to the day as I usually do. My on-the-spot decision to have all sides fight along the length instead of the width of each table bunched things up and certainly made things difficult for some players (including me). I also failed to pay full attention to the platoon compositions that we ask players to submit before the game in order to help balance things out. Lessons learned…

End of play at Brimfield

Still, despite (for me) a poor game where I lacked any tactical imagination, it was great to see old friends and meet new ones. It was gratifying to see that everyone seemed to enjoy the day and, as usual, the food was top-notch!

As for the overall narrative – with Colonel Mustard’s scandalous manuscript about to be published by the Socialists, things have got a lot more interesting…

Watch this space…

In the meantime, here are some other reports of the game (to be updated as they roll in):-

Giles' report part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Hunt the Manuscript! Big Game News - April 2016

With a just over a week to go before the Big Game (Burley Gate Village Hall, Saturday 9th April), it’s time to reveal all…

Colonel Patrick Mustard; notorious seducer, rake and general gadabout, is dead – done in, it is widely believed, by one of the many humiliated cuckolds left in his wake.

While many women may lament the passing of this infamous ladies’ man, husbands throughout the shattered empire can breathe a sigh of relief.

Or can they…?

You see, it transpires that Col. Mustard was in the process of writing his memoirs – a no doubt salacious history of conquests that, should it ever be published, would ruin the reputation of many a high-born lady.

Being something of a battlefield tourist, Mustard was on a motoring tour of the main front lines when he was shot, stabbed, throttled and beaten to death. However the manuscript of his memoirs was not discovered upon his person.

Investigations reveal that it was last seen in his possession when he left his hotel in Malvern. Between then and his death in Monmouth he stayed at three locations in Herefordshire – ergo he must have hidden the manuscript for safe keeping at one of these places.

It is imperative that someone recovers the manuscript – a most valuable document that would cause untold damage to British high society were it to fall into the wrong (or right, depending on your political outlook) hands. Whichever faction finds the manuscript will win the gratitude of a great many powerful people, including one who holds sway over a large swathe of northern Herefordshire.

The manuscript will be hidden somewhere on one of the three tables, which represent the three places in Herefordshire (Brimfield, where Government forces are guarding against a rebel incursion from Ludlow; Whitney-on-Wye, where the Anglicans are retreating before a river-borne BUF advance; and Aconbury, where the hills commanding the Ross road are being contested) visited by Col. Mustard before his demise.

The race is on! Royalists, Fascists, Anglicans and Socialists (not to mention mercenaries and newcomers the Albertines) must not only beat the opposing side(s) but also scour the land for this important document and reap the rewards!