Monday, 5 December 2016

Busted flush : The Battle for West Aukland : VBCW

Second lieutenant Archibald Caulfield of the Royal Borderers had been given clear orders from Colonel Cavendish. Lead the Recon force to West Aukland, probe any defences and if possible bring back any weapons or supplies of value. To carry out this task Caulfield had been entrusted with a significant portion of the Borderers armoured squadron, supported by a platoon of mobile infantry. Although he disliked the idea, he had also been ordered to take with him infantry support from the Penrith Fascists and as a favour to the Chief Constable a detachment of the Cumberland Constabulary.  He understood from the Colonel that it didn't matter too much about the Fascists and it would be nice to see the boys in blue blooded in battle, any that performed well might be persuaded to transfer into the regular army.

With overhead support from their scout plane he had led his force to West Aukland. The town itself had been strongly fortified so using his mobility he had taken the force around the town crossing the river and then moving East towards St Helens Aukland. His spotter had identified an industrial area on the north side of the river which looked ripe for exploitation. Little did he know that the whole town had mustered behind the Communists who had infiltrated the local mining communities. They were up in arms and ready for a fight.

But surely the might of the British Army, bolstered by the knowledge that they were fighting for the one true King of this great country would see these rebellious working classes off ?

Men of the Askham Hunt provide excellent cross country manoeuvrability, in the distance can be seen the Northern outskirts of West Aukland, the chimney marks the colliery workings....the Royalists objective !
Two squads of mobile regular infantry arrive in trucks, some of the armoured squadron is already deploying in front, resistance at this stage is light and the regulars are laughing and joking unprepared for the defence which will face them.
Lt Caulfield has deployed the Fascists and police constables as far from his regulars as he can this will avoid any potential flare ups of previous hostilities between allies. His hope is this flank attack around Deborah Wood (real location) will tie down the defenders allowing his regular troops to sweep in and gain all the glory.
Form the church tower the miners have a deployed a 50cal machine gun ! But they hold their fire.
The Durham postmen have joined the Miners and brought a range of weird and unlikely weapons, spotting these through his field binoculars Caulfield dismisses these as Durham 'funnies' and pays them no heed.
On the Royalist right flank the Hunt have come under fire and choose to pull back whilst the regular troops dismount and bring in a truck mounted Vickers Machine gun to open the way to the town. The Vickers tank to the left has taken a direct Rocket hit first turn  and immediately blown to pieces !
The scout plane (Hawker Fury) flys in low over the colliery to assess the resistance dropping a grenade. The pilots laughs when the defenders run for cover ๐Ÿ˜€ only to hear the distant buzzzzzz of machine gun fire. A glance to the rear and his smile has gone, the plane has been hit and is loosing oil....with a grimace he turns the stick away from his target. As he flys past the church tower he is subjected to geers, cat calls and worse !
In the town Madame T is orchestrating her defence.
The 'regulars' advance is turning into something of a disaster the unit on the left, previously full of bravado discover their truck has run out of fuel, once they have fixed this the truck promptly hits a hidden mine (we play with a set of special events which just occasionally cause operational nightmares)
Sgt Bertram Smythe heads home trailing smoke, let's hope he gets back to Penrith as a crash landing on the A66 by a fascist marked plane is unlikely to receive a friendly welcome.
Meanwhile the Royalists on the right flank are making gradual forward progress, but the unit of postmen in the Whitehouse are proving hard to shift.
From behind the enemy lines they have pulled a Howitzer into the field, first shot taking out the Police truck, luckily only three were killed in the crash. They have then knocked out the fascist armoured car and are about to turn their attention to the Armour in the open ground.
In the church yard the visiting football team from Port Vale are having a 'knock about' game oblivious to the battle taking place.
From the Church tower the 50cal heavy machine gun keeps the Fascists and constabulary pinned down.
Lt Caulfield seen here in his Motorcycle sidecar is directing the attack on the right flank, not quite panicking yet the miners are putting up a tougher defence than expected, anyway it won't be long before they turn and run......
The posties are carrying out a text book fighting withdrawal with their lightweight machine guns, they are supported by a flamethrower, unpredictable but potentially devastating weapon, these can only be managed by veteran firemen.
Madame Tatiana close to the centre of town continues to spur the menfolk on to greater deeds, is it communist fervour or the promise of something else which drives the men to such heroic deeds. She can be seen here with her female comrades Mabel and Edith urging another flamethrower to the front.
Pinned down ! 
Atmospheric B&W shot
As the Lanchester AC trundles forward spraying ineffective machine gun fire the infantry and remaining cavalry fall in behind. The postsmen in the garden who have held out now choose to retreat into the house.
The Royalist attack has fallen into three separate probes, the Fascists and remaining police on the left, Regulars supported by armour in the centre, and infantry supported by the AC down the road towards the White House.......all are finding it heavy going.
Finally its half time for the Port Vale Team and they have moved into the road.

In the centre the Border Regulars are pinned down, the colliery complex has been ringed with barbed wire and is lightly defended but the troops just won't break from cover. But if they stay there they will die !
The Borderers don't play much heed to new fangled weapons and this is the first time they have come up against flame throwers, not realising its potential impact the Lanchester has been caught off guard and the inadequate seals means one whoosh and the AC bursts into flames. Luckily the remaining cavalry are on hand to ride down the fireman...but the damage is done.
The removal of the 'flamer' means the road is finally open and the infantry having cleared the house make a last ditch run for the town.
Still unable to pass a courage test the Regulars stay pinned in the open
The infantry who charged forward have fought a deadly hand to hand battle with a group of miners whose blood was clearly up charging out from behind their cover to assault them in the open, they paid with their lives but many of the Borderers are also casualties.
The town still seems quiet, the Football Team carry out a few practise drills in the street.
The second Vickers tank can be seen burning from another long range Howitzer shell.....
The Royalist high point, Lt Caulfield drives hard on his sidecar down the road into the town......but when he looks behind him nobody is following ! Just as he thinks this might be a mistake and taps his drivers shoulder to turn around a trio of pistol shots ring out, as they whistle past their ears his drivers needs no further encouragement and they speed back out of town.
The Port Vale squad continue to practise ....at this rate they will be cup winners this season ๐Ÿ˜€

It would be a long journey back over the A66 for Lt Caulfield, if he was lucky he would hold on to his rank. By the time he reached The Eden valley he had already sent a despatch rider back with his report. In it he had explained how the failed attack by the Penrith Union of Fascists against a weekly defended section of the town had thwarted his carefully prepared plans. This had left his whole force at risk and without his heroic personal efforts even more of the men would have been lost, he had also insinuated that the miners had probably been supported by regular communist troops, and his troops had in fact come under fire from partisan women who were acting as snipers for the enemy, this was no way to fight a civil war and dashed unfair.

Well the dice gods were not overly friendly to the Royalists on this occasion but we had tremendous fun and will be planning another adventure soon. Some more pictures and a biased report but the victors on Martin's Blog ๐Ÿ˜€

Saturday, 3 December 2016

North Cumberland Royalist's : Recon in force !

With their own resources limited mainly to agricultural goods the North Cumberland Royalist forces, based in Carlisle and the Eden valley have sent a strong mobile reconnaissance force to the East over the Pennines. A force this size is too strong for the local independent militia units along the A66 to cause any problems and they melt away onto the moors as the column moves past. Their targets are the coal mines in and around  West Aukland. Not sure what they will find but they are looking to bring back anything of value for the cause !
The force is highly mobile with a mixture of regular troops in trucks, light tanks and armoured cars, together with a detachment of irregular cavalry, members of the Penrith Fascist Union and the Cumberland Constabulary.
They are also supported by a Hawker Fury currently flying under the colours of the Penrith Fascists, whilst mainly for Scouting purposes the plane does carry some small 2lb bombs it can drop. With a force this size they don't expect much trouble from the Durham Miners and hope to be back on the right side of the Pennines in a couple of days...........

Cumberland Borderers Banner : VBCW

We are playing another VBCW battle this weekend and I felt I needed a new Flag/standard carrier. Picked up at a show sometime ago he is a converted Lewis gunner ammo carrier. I need to do a bit of tidying up on the flag....but he is otherwise good to go.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

German Parachute Regiment : Sealion

I have gradually been working on some Fallschirmjager reinforcements for my Sealion project. A bit of time over the last few days and a bit of elbow grease and they are pretty much completed. As part of my Sealion campaign I am keen to play some smaller Parachute and glider based scenarios so wanted to get the regiment up to a proper independent force.

The reinforcements are Crusader minatures which I really like, nicely cast a good chunky size and a good range of early war troops in a range of poses.
The command squad...I plan to use the radio operator as a Forward observation unit to call in the Stuka 
Medium/Heavy weapon support, 5 cm mortar and an antitank gun I believe it is a PzB38/39
Two MG 34 teams
The rest of the Rifle and submachine gun armed jagers
So I have reached this stage so far .....
Combining all my Fallschirmjager together I can muster effectively 12 units. As veterans they will be fairly tough, have just enough heavy support to deal with any British tanks and including the observer and the Stuka gives a bit more flexibility (and fun), hopefully get them in a battle soon.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Pigeon bombs away : VBCW

Regular followers will know that our last VBCW battle involved the first recorded use of Pigeon bombs. Highly trained homing pigeons are trained to carry and deliver various sizes of bomb and drop them roughly near the enemy. Very inaccurate but occasionally deadly, especially if you carry sandwiches ! Very hard to take a photo of a pigeon bomb in action, but I managed to capture one on film recently.
This is Bertie...
He missed the last battle but has managed to fly all the way to Penrith from China ! He is clearly very strong as he can carry and drop quite a large bomb๐Ÿค“

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Phewww that was Battleground

Back from the show, tired but happy all seemed to go well, I think 9 or 10 games during the day and hardly a break. Everyone very complimentary about the game and hopefully all enjoyed it. All left smiling anyway. HAving done it at a couple of shows now I know it works, is quick to set up and I can accommodate experienced gamers through to fairly novice children.
The table set up first thing, plenty of space but 
sports hall lighting!
 One close up of the table, I didn't get to look at anything else much during the day 

My loot for the day, with not much spare time Steve who was helping was looking out for bargains. A couple of Universal Carriers at 30% discount, some light german artillery which I was picking up, it
cost me £3 using the Warlord discount email from a couple of weeks ago ! A smudge of terrain for next weekend, some Grenadiers ( I actually only want the arms)  and some Ironclad armed WI, these are great but will take a while to get to the painting table.

A good day and very likely to be back next year with another game thank you to everyone that played and came and had a chat......a special prize should go to Martin who played twice and managed to get Aragorn killed both times ๐Ÿ˜€

Friday, 25 November 2016

British Militia : Operation Sealion, VBCW

I bought a second unit of Foundry home guard figures with the previous set. These whilst nicely as a 'marine' unit didn't quite have a role. So as they needed rebasing I have also given them a fresh look. My thoughts are they represent a militia unit who have had to make do with no standard uniforms.
Hopefully they are uniform enough that they will mix in with more regular troops, but I can also play them as a reserve unit or as a VBCW militia unit. Sorry about the photo the light in the kitchen is really annoying ๐Ÿ™

Packed up and ready for Battleground in the morning.