I thought it was time to give a recap of events in VBCW Herefordshire, taking off after the arrest of the Bishop of Hereford and the royalist/BUF capture of (most of) the county. Think of the county as a wheel, with Hereford city as the axle in the middle. Radiating out from the city are the spokes (road/railway), which connect it to the rest of the country.
In Herefordshire, King Edward’s newly-stamped authority is upheld by interim governor William de Braose with the Three Counties Legion BUF, and the King Offa’s Legion of Blackshorts (technically under BUF command). The BUF are garrisoned in Bromyard, with the Blackshorts in Leominster.
Hereford city itself is garrisoned by a Municipal LDV, together with the local constabulary and the dubious loyalty of the Herefordshire TA regiment (elements of which have fought for the Anglican League).
The rest of the county is splitting up into modern-day Marcher lordships under the control of notable landowners, aristocrats, farmers etc. – all under the loose umbrella of the Landowners’ Protection Association (traditionalist and royalist so long as it serves their interests).
The exception of this is Ross-on-Wye, where elements of the defeated Anglican League have regrouped, with an uneasy alliance with the Welsh Nationalists, who have a foothold in Monmouthshire and Kington.
Also of note is the eruption of the Twiggy Mommet protest movement in response to the hardships created by the war and the fascists’ agricultural policy.
Chronicle of battles
Actually just over the border in Worcestershire. The royalist Malvern Hills Conservators viewed the BUF presence in the Malverns as trespassing, and clashed with the Three Counties Legion at Drugger’s End. The MHC narrowly beat the BUF, leading to a bitter enmity between the two theoretical allies.
In an attempt to seize the initiative with a bold thrust towards Ledbury and the Malvern Hills hinterland, the Anglican League advanced from Ross, and with the help of the MHC met BUF defences at Much Marcle. The BUF held the village, but after inflicting heavy casualties on their mortal foes the MHC during a savage hand-to-hand fight, were forced to withdraw, with some of their number being cut off from their HQ. This allowed the AL to take Ledbury, thus linking them up with pockets of sympathetic fighters in the area and staging the way for a potential thrust towards Madresfield, home of Edward VIII!
The Blackshorts prepared to retake Ledbury by establishing a foothold in the suburb of happy Land. After a hard fight (aided by misguided Twiggy Mommet scarecrows), they succeeded, thus beginning the opening stages of a siege.
The Blackshorts then proceeded to capture another road into Ledbury, setting upon the local defenders before they had time to react.
Both sides brought up reinforcements and in the 2nd battle, a combined Blackshort/BUF force beat back a determined Anglican League/MHC/Twiggy Mommet counterattack.
The 2011 ‘Big Game’. The Royalist contingent from Hereford, travelling south to take part in the Somerset campaign, sustained a very bloody nose.
The next target for the royalists was the village of Colwall, with its strategic railway tunnel on the Hereford-Worcester line, currently occupied by anti-fascists.
In the first battle, the MHC easily saw off a Blackshort attack, a large portion of which was hampered by lack of ammunition. In the second battle, the MHC had been relieved by the Anglican League, who promptly lost the village to an aggressive BUF assault.
The 2012 Ledbury ‘Big Game’
Both sides were heavily reinforced in preparation for the battle of Ledbury. Local royalist forces were supplemented by forces from Shropshire and beyond, while the Anglican League/MHC drew support from forces as diverse as Socialists from the Midlands and the exiled Emperor of Abyssinia!
Both sides came out heavily mauled, and while the royalists failed to take the town, the opposition also suffered heavily. The Anglican thrust has been stopped in its tracks, but the royalists are unable to take advantage of this. A stalemate ensues.
While the Socialists made their way to Ledbury, a splinter group travelled to Shobdon, where a number of political prisoners were being held at a former Instructional Centre. The Guarding BUF and local LDV force narrowly defeated the red horde, thanks to timely reinforcements and some cider!
Attempts made by the authorities to stamp their ownership on the Lugg Meadows (a rare example of the ancient Lammas Meadow system) causes consternation among the local community.
Shots ring out at the very outskirts of Hereford City as Twiggy Mommet protesters force a small police guard to flee from the council enclosure works, forcing the authorities to rethink their policy.
As part of Tym’s 2012 Cardiff ‘Big Game’, the Herefordian Royalist contingent proved pivotal in the attack against the Welsh Nationalists, leading the attack along the flank.
At the time of writing the latest battle to have been fought on Herefordshire soil. A small force of BUF crossed into territory claimed by the MHC. After a protracted firefight, the BUF got the better of the MHC but ultimatelylost their backbone and decided to withdraw after taking casualties themselves.
In summary, while the royalist/BUF authorities still hold much of the county, their control is being slowly eroded around the periphery, with the Anglican League controlling an arc from Ross to Ledbury, the MHC aggressively patrolling the Malverns, the socialists probing into north Herefordshire and the Welsh still lurking along the border.
The royalists need to take bold action to regain the initiative or they will find themselves completely cut off from the surrounding counties. Similarly the Anglican League needs to muster their meagre resources and maintain the uneasy alliance with the MHC, the Welsh and the reds in order to capitalise on their gains.