In which what was initially going to be a small bash at Giles’ place quickly turned into a two-table scrap of Big Game proportions at the village hall!
In planning the game, Giles and I decided to once again set the action around the Much Marcle area, this time focussing on a local landmark, the TV transmitter at Marcle Ridge. As this transmitter wasn’t erected until the 1960’s, we changed the scenario so that the Royalist/Fascist forces had built a radio transmitter on the site and the dejected Anglican League was now obliged to destroy it.
With the sudden increase in players (us local VBCW nuts were joined by some of Giles’ Warhammer chums) and a second table on the cards, we quickly knocked out another scenario, in which workers at the nearby cider factory had been shanghaied into the royalist ranks. In order to keep these reinforcements from joining the defence of the station, the rebels also had to keep them occupied by attacking the factory. A full background was therefore written thus:-
The second battle of Ledbury saw a battered and dejected Anglican League force retreating back towards Ross-on-Wye. Luckily for them, the so-called Diocese of Archenfield was spared a further royalist/fascist onslaught as government forces, mindful of rebel groups still lurking in the Malvern Hills, concentrated on consolidating their gains.As the Anglican League withdrew from Ledbury, a half-hearted BUF pursuit was bravely countered by a small rear-guard of Malvern Hills Conservators at Little Marcle. Soon a poorly-defined front line was established among the fields, villages and hills between Ledbury and Ross, with the landowners sandwiched in the middle switching allegiances as they saw fit.This gave the local Anglican League leader, Brigadier Gideon Langnecke, time to reassemble, re-train and re-equip his forces while the government dawdled. He also began an effective propaganda campaign, made easier by the increasingly heavy-handed royalist rule over the county. Langnecke turned the unknown whereabouts of the Bishop of Hereford, the King’s attempt to gain possession of the treasures of Hereford Cathedral and the massacre of Twiggy Mommet protestors to his advantage, spreading discontent throughout Southern Herefordshire.The royalists, mindful of the growing Anglican-fuelled discontent in the county, decided to indulge in a spot of counter-propaganda and, moving through the porous frontier between royalist and rebel areas, set up a radio transmitter on Marcle Ridge: a steep and narrow hill running north-south near the village of Much Marcle that overlooked the Ledbury-Ross road.Soon the airwaves over Archenfield were being swamped with government speeches, royal proclamations and exhortations by Prime Minister Mosley for all rebels to lay down their arms. Langnecke’s work was being undone and the already precarious morale of his troops was plummeting.He resolved to capture the transmitter – a task complicated by the fact that workers at the cider factory in Much Marcle had been pressed (pun intended) into service as a Royalist militia, reinforced by the South African rugby players who had taken part in the 2nd Battle of Ledbury. Langnecke therefore planned to keep this militia busy with a show of force at the factory whilst simultaneously advancing on Marcle Ridge up the gentler eastern side. Thus a patrol was sent out to disperse the small squad guarding the transmitter before both sides returned to their headquarters to report the situation, leaving the ridge unoccupied.The scene was set for the next battle in Herefordshire – a battle for the hearts and minds of the county!
My Anglican squad(ies) will be will known as Verity’s Van-guards*, led by Rev R R Verity, formerly newspaper editor of the Worcestershire Regiment, who, in all Christian conscience, could not support either the adulterous King or the godless Mosley despite most of the rest of the former regimental neighbours siding with that faction. As an “associate member” of a regiment, Verity understands the need for war as a last straw, which for Verity himself came when the BUF commandeered the vicarage in the village of Norton as accommodation for several of the nearby barracks’ ladies of dubious reputation, making him homeless in the process. A day’s walk over the Malvern Hills to the other side (figuratively and literally) saw Verity accept the shilling (and accompanying Lee Enfield) of the Bishop of Hereford in the Ledbury area. He hopes that his newspaper editing skills will come in handy for countering the insidious propaganda of the BUF and “King”, if the Anglicans ever capture this radio tower that is…*Their first duty as a newly formed squad was to guard the cattle and farm-produce railway vans at Ledbury and Tarrington stations… the nickname stuck.
Reequipped following the 'skirmish' around Ledbury to suit both the English climate and continuing conflict the Pretoria Rifles Platoon led by Major GJ 'Stokkies' Joubert have decided to continue to fight for the King. Always up for a scrap some of the Platoons cooks and Orderlies have stepped into the ranks to create a somewhat inexperienced 3rd section (replacing casualties suffered in their first combat) For some reason the Herefordian local ladies rather like the strange accents and bronzed torsos so the attractions of staying outweigh the adventurous undertaking of trying to return home. So much so one rather accommodating individual known locally as 'Lady Welly Top', who 'welcomed' the entire platoon over a single weekend, was convinced to recreate the Regimental Standard, albeit with some local twists.
In the site of a long abandoned shallow quarry in towards the crest if the ridge the Royalist forces had established their small transmitter station consisting of a Nissen hut, radio shack and privy. The transmitter itself being over 30ft high was originally intended as a temporary solution but the necessity of getting construction material to the top of the ridge and the 'enlistment' of a local father and son electrician (perfectionists both) and Frank 'the shovel' Evans ensured the site was built to last. Scant attention was made regarding security, a mere couple of slit trenches, mere scrapes in the earth and the recycling of some locally appropriated barbed wire serving to keep out any unwelcome visitors.
The dastardly Captain Arrowsmith and the BUF (played by Richard and Scott) would fight over the station with an Anglican League force led by Tym and Anthony.
Table 2 represented the cider factory and the orchards and open countryside around it.
Langnecke and the Reverend Verity (me and Gavin A) would demonstrate outside the factory, held by Roo South Africans and Gavin H’s Stowford’s Pressed militia.
|The Rev'd Verity's platoon deploys|
|Defending the cider factory|
|Joubert's boys hold firm|
|Verity's cautious advance|
|LDV advancing through the orchards|
|Athletes and scarecrows move up|
|Verity's men under fire|
|South African rout|
|Athletes finally get going|
|Action from table 1|
|More fighting on the ridge|
|The radio station remains in fascist hands|