Tuesday, 30 October 2012

VBCW Herefordshire – A Recap

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.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Pox 1 - Wargaming 0

As the spectre of chicken pox stalked with playgroups of Herefordshire, I prepared for the 5th Big Game at Evesham.

But it was not to be, as the aforementioned pox struck the JP household and yours truly was obliged to stay at home* and help look after one spotty and very miserable child.

To compensate for this lack of wargaming, I consoled myself with taking a few photos of the Royalist platoon that I was planning to take to Evesham.

Captain Stanley Horne, with his platoon sergeant and standard bearer

Irregular LDV section

Trained LDV section

Trained Territorials section

Mortar team and spotter team

Sniper, motorcycle messenger, anti-tank team and armoured vehicles

Armoured steam lorry
Photos and write-ups from the game can be found here and here.

*Actually I did pop up on Saturday morning to say hello, and to see a man about a gun (don't ask). To give my wife a break I took our youngest (and at the time of writing non-spotty) daughter. There's no harm in starting her wargaming early! (Although the look on everyone's face when I turned up with a baby was quite funny...)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

“Come Into the Garden Maud”

The blacksmiths and engineers of Herefordshire have been busy again, with another second-hand purchase – this steam tank from Ironclad Miniatures.

I’ve christened her ‘Maud’, after a very special lady in my life who, blind and in her late nineties, has recently survived an operation for a broken hip, and is still going strong!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Can you dig it?

After making dozens of road sign game markers, I realised that I hadn’t done anything to show units that have dug in or gone to ground.

Getting fed up with making signs, I thought I’d try something different, and came up with these…

Basically chunks of packing foam, cut into small wedges, with some stuff from my bits box glued on (a chap in a helmet peering over the edge, a rifle and mug resting on an earth bank, a spade and shotgun barrels resting on some sandbags). Add some of my new basing and voila!

Speaking of road signs, I’ve also glued some small discs (courtesy of Giles) to the removable bases to hopefully make them a bit less top-heavy.

Hereford Supporters Club

So I had some birthday money to spend and at the same time discovered Colonel Bills Wargames Depot – purveyor of second-hand miniatures. The result: four support teams for my Herefordshire Regiment!

Vickers HMG team (Crusader Early WWII)
Lewis Gun LMG team (Brigade Games WWI)

Mortar team (Crusader Early WWII)

Boys anti-tank rifle team (Crusader Early WWII)

Notice that the bases are different to my previous offerings. Giles, having finally, I suspect, had enough of my slapdash attitude to basing, very kindly gave me some tubs of his basing material and base-paint.
To make it go further I’ve mixed it in with my old basing flock and then splashed out on some varying shades of greenery from my local model shop – I must admit the results are far better than what I’ve previously attempted, and so begins the laborious task of rebasing the rest of my collection...

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Partially Armoured Car

Recently I bought a couple of second hand, but un-built, Tamiya 1/48 models off the Lead Adventure Forum. One of them is a Citroen 11CV staff car, which I wanted to turn into an improvised armoured car.

However when it came down to it, I liked the model so much (apart from the bloody rear bumper which refused to stay stuck and got snipped off and flung across the room) that I decided not to stick squares of cardboard ‘armour’ onto it, but went for a more partially armoured look, sticking some strips of metallic tape ‘rivets’ around the window and using up my spare ‘Purdue’ turret from 6Mil Phil.

Add one scratchbuilt Vickers HMG barrel, a coat of paint, a wash and some dry brushed distressing and there you go!

Monday, 1 October 2012

I am the Music Man...

“I am the music man, I come from down your way…”

The good folks at CP Models very kindly gave me this Victorian one-man band figure in return for featuring their excellent miniatures in my VBCW Miniatures Guide.

I’ve no idea what to use it for, but it’s a cracking mini, if rather challenging to paint for a numpty like me, and will no doubt grace a tabletop very soon!

Altogether now:
"Pia-pia-pia-no, pia-no, pia-no; pia-pia-pia-no, pia-pia-no"

The Man From the Ministry

I present to you Sir Julian Jinks, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. This high-ranking member of the BUF is based on Jorian Jenks, real-life agricultural advisor to Mosley’s BUF (before his internment during WWII), environmentalist and pro-organic farmer.

In my little VBCW alternate universe, Julian Jinks followed a similar path during the run up to the abdication crisis, and when the BUF came to power, was knighted for his services and became a valued member of Mosley’s cabinet.

The miniature is a Black Tree Designs WW2 personality figure and will be used either as a BUF senior commander or an objective marker.