…and so it came to pass that the forces of the King and his Fascist supporters once again converged on Ledbury, hoping to wrest the market town from the control of the rebel Anglican League and their Socialist comrades. Yes, it was time for the Herefordshire Big Game 2013!
|Table 1 from the rebel defences|
|Table 2 from Ledbury|
|Combined BUF/Blackshort/TA platoon|
Joining my force was Tym, with a wholly BUF platoon (including his female BUF section), transported in trucks and with a mortar and artillery piece in support. Facing us was VBCW co-creator Mort, with his Somerset Freedom Fighters masquerading as local Anglican Leaguers, with a mortar and two Rolls Royce armoured cars.
|The mystery car|
The players had already been given clues as to what to expect, in the form of newspaper clippings, and after mustering for inspection, were briefed further:-
The time has come for the forces of the King to go on the offensive once again.The rebel-held town of Ledbury is blocking the railway links between loyal Hereford and the neighbouring counties, and in the wider scope of things, forcing supply routes between the King’s armies in the Midlands and northwest and the loyal ports at Gloucester, Bristol and points south to divert into central England.It is imperative that Ledbury is secured for The Crown – if only to show those fascist bully boys that dare to call themselves the King’s men who’s boss!URGENT INTELLIGENCE: A government car carrying a political prisoner and escort has been reported missing.The vehicle was last seen driving at speed near your area. It is vital that you secure both the vehicle and its occupants.THE PRISONER MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO REMAIN AT LARGE!Apprehend the prisoner and bring him/her to a secure location behind your lines.
Anglican League Briefing
The Anglican League’s attempt to cut off Herefordshire from the rest of the country by driving north from Ross and linking up with anti-government elements in the Midlands has failed, and we are now on the back foot.Ledbury must be held at all costs; else any hope of creating a broader alliance will be lost, forcing us to rely on precarious links with nationalist Wales for supplies and support.Victory today will see a rejuvenated Anglican League in Herefordshire.Failure could mean the first step in a brutal fascist campaign to eradicate all opposition in the county – God willing we can prevent this!Sir,Sympathetic sources within the local authority report that a government car has gone missing nearby. It seems that the royalists and co. are in quite a flap over it and are desperate to locate the vehicle.It might be worth getting to it first. Whatever or whoever it was carrying appears to be rather important – let’s find it and bring it back to our lines shall we?
The Anglican League’s attempt to cut off Herefordshire from the rest of the country by driving north from Ross and linking up with our liberation forces in the Midlands has failed, and they are now on the back foot.Thus the People’s Army has come to defend Ledbury from the Fascist counterattack. The town must be held at all costs; else any hope of spreading the revolution to the oppressed rural workers of Herefordshire will be lost.The will of the proletariat is with us – we will prevail and the Red Flag will spread westwards!Comrade,Spies in the enemy camp report that a government car has gone missing nearby and that the fascist scum will stop at nothing to retrieve it.It is believed that this vehicle of capitalism contains some sort of precious cargo as Mosley’s cronies have ordered an all-out search for the car.The forces of socialism must find this tool of oppression, liberate its contents and bring them to the proletariat behind our lines!
The time has come for the forces of Prime Minister Mosley to go on the offensive once again.The rebel-held town of Ledbury is blocking the railway links between our local garrisons and the neighbouring counties, and in the wider scope of things, forcing supply routes between the our legions in the Midlands and northwest and government ports at Gloucester, Bristol and points south to divert into central England.It is imperative that Ledbury is secured for the corporate state – if only to show the regular royalist forces how to do the job properly!URGENT INTELLIGENCE: A government car carrying a political prisoner and escort has been reported missing.The vehicle was last seen driving at speed near your area. It is vital that you secure both the vehicle and its occupants.THE PRISONER MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO REMAIN AT LARGE!Apprehend the prisoner and bring him/her to a secure location behind your lines.
The defenders were allowed to set up first, followed by the attackers. Once all the models were on the table, the first initiative cards were drawn and dice rolled – the battle was on!
The battle on table 2
|Our forces deploy|
My first objective was the large wood and the half-timbered house beyond, dominating the middle of the table, towards which I advanced with my territorial infantry loaded into the halftrack. Tym’s truck-borne BUF advanced along our right.
|Entering the wood|
My forces entered the wood and slowly probed forward (very slowly in the case of the cyclists – obviously not mountain bikes!), wary of a possible Anglican presence in the house. However first blood was drawn by an Anglican armoured car lurking a distance behind the house, which fired at my Blackshorts.
Meanwhile Tym’s BUF continued to advance along the flank, with his female unit racing forward towards the unoccupied defence works on our extreme right. My forces moved through and around the house towards the church – our next objective and, as I soon discovered, full of enemy infantry.
|Onwards to the church|
Curiously, Mort’s Anglicans were now approached by two big game hunters, on the lookout for an escaped lion (which was in fact causing havoc on table 1!) from the exiled Emperor of Abyssinia’s private menagerie in Malvern. This pair duly set off towards Tym’s BUF, exchanged a couple of shots when they were told to turn back, and then promptly scarpered. The BUF were by now also engaged with the Anglicans holed up in the next half-timbered building.
These forward positions were doing a good job of holding up our advance, but had denuded the Anglicans of troops to defend the town itself – a job which was left to their mortar team, spotters, anti-tank pair (largely redundant due to the lack of BUF tanks) and command squad. Mort was forced to form elements of these into a scratch unit to deal with the BUF ladies on his left flank, where one of his armoured cars had been rammed by a BUF truck and was out of action.
On table 1, the royalist advance continued to grind on in the face of fierce opposition. It was the socialists who reached the crashed government car, and received this information:-
You have found the government car, which, judging by the skid marks looks to have been going too fast, hit a slippery patch and careered off the road.The driver is dead and a BUF officer is badly injured but alive. In his delirious state he says:“He’s gone - the blighter has run off with my sword… You must find him – the Bishop of Hereford must not be allowed to escape!”Oh crickey – wasn’t the Bishop of Hereford the figurehead of all anti-government resistance in the county before his capture last year?
|Armoured car nuisance|
|Blasting the church|
|The right flank|
|Fighting on the outskirts|
It was only a matter of time before out superior numbers would decimate the Anglicans, and so Mort announced that he was making a tactical withdrawal with whatever he was able to salvage to join his fellow rebels on table 1. It was decided that the remainder of his platoon would tie up the attackers for a number of turns, selling their lives dearly and almost halving our combined force.
|"I'm just popping to the toi- Hello, who's this?"|
Bad news for the Anglicans on table 1 then, for while they were receiving reinforcements from Mort, these would soon be followed by Tym and I, who had taken our objective. Even worse for the rebels was the news that the Bishop of Hereford had finally been located – hiding in an outside privy at the Royalist HQ!
|"It's the Bishop!"|
The battle on table 1 is best left described by those whom fought and umpired it. Giles’ account is here, here and here, BUF Rich has a description here (scroll down), socialist Rob has blogged it here, while Tym's photos are here. More details are also on the Very British Civil Forum here.
|Arrival on table 1|
By the time Tym and I arrived on the scene, the royalists had engaged with the enemy along the length of the Anglican defence works. A random event card had forced the Anglicans out of their trenches (duly occupied by Mort) to make a counter-attack, resulting in an almighty scrum between the socialists and BUF/South Africans on the royalist left and some tank-on-cavalry action on the right. Even an Anglican padre got stuck in!
Slightly to the royalist rear, a unit of BUF infantry had been held up by a group of Twiggy Mommet protestors, enraged by the destruction of the scarecrow by Rich’s passing BUF cavalry (causing winces from those players who knew something of Herefordshire’s association with scarecrows in the VBCW universe and the consequences of damaging them).
Another random event card caused a breakdown in communications and here my dice rolls failed me (having behaved themselves surprisingly well all day). My remaining force, sitting threateningly on the socialist flank, ground to a halt and refused to move, in the process blocking the route of Tym’s advance – a somewhat ignominious end to what was a successful day.
|"Get off my land!"|
With Royalist and BUF troops bearing down on the rebels and with half the town already liberated for the King, the Anglican/Socialist position was untenable and the towel was thrown in. The Anglican League will have to retreat back to Ross-on-Wye, while the government now have an uninterrupted rail link between Shropshire and Gloucestershire.
It had been a great day, and a most enjoyable game with lions, scarecrows, bishops and big game hunters thrown into the mix! More photos can be found here.
Here's to the next one…!