Monday, 5 September 2011

The battle of Happy Land

Giles and I had a great game last week, in which my Blackshorts took on his militia outside Happy Land – a Victorian suburb of Ledbury. The background was thus:-

While the BUF had stalled the Anglican Leagues advance on Ledbury at the battle of Much Marcle, the brutal beating meted out by the BUF on the Malvern Hills Conservators (and memories of the infamous Olympia Rally brawl) turned many observers against the fascists.

With the Three Counties Legion BUF now strung out between holding their positions at Much Marcle and pursuing the fleeing MHC, the way was open for local anti-government militias in the Ledbury area to take up arms. Soon a well-armed LDV force was gathered outside the town at Happy Land.

Happy Land

Tasked with dislodging this group were the Blackshorts of King Offa’s Legion:- two Blackshort infantry companies, a command group, a Boys anti-tank rifle team and a Vickers HMG team. They also had the assistance of a BUF tank and a mortar team, and the Monmouthshire English Trained Band: a company of veteran ex-servicemen employed by landowners and businessmen who had lost out during the Welsh nationalist takeover of that county.

Opposing them, the LDV had three companies of militia infantry, a command group, a Boys anti-tank rifle team, a Vickers HMG team, a pair of anti-tank bombers, an armoured car and a ‘Croydon Crusher’ – a 1930’s quad bike armed with an HMG.

Rumour had it that a sizable number of Twiggy Mommet scarecrow protesters were also in the area (it was agreed that we would roll a D6 at the end of every turn. A 1 would cause some protestors to appear at the edge of the table. We would then roll again to see what edge they appeared on and whose side they joined.)

The LDV starting positions

We tried out the new Brigadier 38 big game rules, but used playing cards to decide initiative, as the command points system of Brig. 38 did not suit our smaller game.

The Blackshorts starting positions

As the LDV took up positions among the buildings (Widow Arnet’s cottage), woods and hills at one end of the table; the fascists, with the exception of the mortar, advanced across the river at the other end. As they advanced their centre came under heavy fire from the LDVs three HMGs. The Blackshorts returned fire but were forced to deploy their political officer, ‘Trouncer’ Trudd, who through a mixture of Spodeian rhetoric and his threatening cricket bat, managed to rally the green Metropolitan Blackshorts as they wavered under fire.
The Monmouthshire English advance along the right flank

The LDV get ready to meet the assault

The Blackshort signaller was able to help the mortar crew zero in on the LDVs command group, but the shot fell short. Luckily the LDV militia covering their left flank was hit instead, causing many casualties – the only decent result the mortar had during the game!

The Metropolitan Blackshorts recieve heavy fire

The LDV firing line

It was then that the first unit of Twiggy Mommet scarecrows arrived, slap bang next to the recently mortared LDV unit. Worse was to come, for they immediately declared for the fascists (possibly due to an over-consumption of cider) and charged the decimated LDV, who made a hasty retreat, taking the two bombers, who had been waiting to spring out and ambush the BUF tank, with them. This allowed the Monmouthshire English and reformed Metropolitan Blackshorts to advance unmolested along the right flank.

Twiggy Mommet protestors appear...

...and get stuck in

Meanwhile in the centre, the tank, HMG and Boys team came within range and began to take casualties, with ‘Trouncer’ Trudd having to steady the HMG team before succumbing to a bullet himself. However at last the Blackshorts were able to return some heavy fire, eventually destroying the LDV ‘Croydon Crusher’, immobilising the armoured car and suppressing the HMG and Boys teams.

The Marches Blackshorts advance

Pressure begins to mount on the LDV

To the Fascist left, the Marches Blackshorts fared rather worse. After ascending a hill opposite another hill held by the LDV right flank, they came under effective fire from the enemy. After managing to return fire a little, these locally raised fascists turned and fled.

An ignominious retreat for the Marches Blackshorts

The second lot of protestors

By now the second unit of scarecrows had appeared; once again on the LDV left and once again declaring for the fascists. Emboldened by their comrades’ success, they immediately headed for the LDV centre-rear and charged the nearest militia company. Stumbling through Widow Arnet’s back garden, these protestors were cut down by the waiting LDV, the few survivors fleeing back through the corpse-strewn garden.

The second scarecrow charge

and it's gruesome outcome

Eventually The Blackshorts reached the LDVs left flank and began to bring their firepower to bear. The Monmouthshire English, supported by the Metropolitan Blackshorts, advanced across the bloody garden so recently vacated by the scarecrows, while the Blackshort sniper ensconced himself in the widow’s cottage and began to take pot shots at the LDV right flank. Meanwhile the LDV militia holding the hill – really the only effective unit they had left – were being kept busy by the first unit of scarecrows, who had crossed the battlefield and, after shooting the few firearms they had, prepared for another charge.

The fascist advance along the right flank

The scarecrows charge the other flank

The LDV was now outnumbered and outflanked and, while it was possible for them to hang on a little longer, defeat was largely inevitable. The Blackshorts had dislodged their enemies from Happy Lands, thanks to their courage under fire, the sturdy British knee and not a little luck!

The fascist advance reaches it's target

LDV surrender

As usual Giles was a great host, and a fantastic game was had. We both gained a good appreciation of the Brigadier 38 rules, although some questions were also raised. It was also nice to get some decent (and sometimes downright jammy) dice rolls for a change!

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