Sunday, 14 August 2016

The Battle for Gilsland 1938 : VBCW

Those that also follow Martin's blog will know we have been planning a game where our two independent VCBW campaigns could come together. His being based in the sunny NE and mine in wet and windy Cumbria it wasn't hard to devise a scenario.

Following their battle with the Royalists at Brampton (see previous VBCW battle) the Scottish Independent Republicans have decided to pull back across the border to regroup. Rather than heading directly north they have travelled East to cross the River Irthing at the village of Gilsland. The army under the command of one Captain Hamish McDonald consists of both regular infantry, Volunteer militia troops drawn from the villages in the lowlands, a strong contingent of Coal miners from the Lothian coalfields and an armoured division with solid Matilda tanks, slow but heavily armoured.

A small recon force has been sent ahead to ensure the bridge is open, but having crossed and sent word back to the main force they are surprised by a strong force of Fascist troops approaching from the East. Initially unsure as to their intention Captain McDonald deploys at the edge of the village. As two huge armoured cars trundle towards the cross roads and open fire with multiple heavy machine guns, his troops dive for cover. With the Royalists snapping at his heals he has only one choice to engage this new enemy and push through to the bridge where he can dig in and regroup.

The initial deployment of the Scots, Gilsland village in the foreground, river Irthing is down the hill, more open moorland in the distance. The Fascists are arriving from the East to the right.
Scots regular troops supported by The Duke of Roxburgh, George Ker who has sided with the Independents and is fighting with his summer shooting party, seeing the whole affair as jolly good sport.
The Scottish Artillery attempts to unlimbers under fire, whilst the miners set up their mortar to attack the armoured behemoths in front of them.
More armoured vehicles arrive in the Main Street !
Facing the Duke and his shooting party are a collection of disaffected servants and estate workers. Ungrateful working classes who need to be put back in their place with a shotgun.

The strong central position taken up by the majority of the BUF troops and mortars......luckily they haven't been spending enough time on the range and find it very difficult to zero in on the Scots.
The Scots have a Tiger Moth recon plane carrying a number of 2lb grenades and bombs they do their best to drop these on the armoured cars but can't quite hit the target.
Eventually though the artillery get off a luck shot hitting the first car square in the front observation slit ripping the turret right off !
With the key objective of getting to the bridge the Scots have to advance across the fields to try and get to the road.
The Recon units pull back towards the bridge to hold it for the rest of the army.
In the village the Coal Miners pour fire into the butchers, whilst they can't actually see the occupants by keeping up a solid fire they at least force the BUF to keep their heads down.
The armoured CS9 attempts to push onto the flank but is cautious as they come under fire from behind the hedge.
The BUF have a Hawker Fury attack plane which circles overhead causing even the regular infantry to duck their heads when a burst of machine gun fire rattles down, luckily it doesn't hit much
The Hawker Fury in action...
In the Main Street the Scots have lost a Matilda to the Renault Tank and the heavily armoured car is prowling up and down, the street is not a good place to be in the open !
A shot from behind the main BUF position.
The miners have moved right up to the hedge but continue just to fire into the the Butchers keeping the occupants pinned down.
The Duke's shooting party have made it to the edge of the field and provide support to the Matilda which is temporarily stuck at the cross roads, when it is assaulted by infantry the Duke bags a couple himself...jolly good shot.
Eventually the infantry lays down enough covering fire to attempt to get across the road but you can see they have taken a lot of casualties in the process.
Back in the village backstreets the Miners have come under fire from the tank, boosted by a wee dram of Johnnie Walkers the Miners charge the tank with picks and shovels but soon realise it is too heavily armoured to damage.
The second monster takes a direct hit from the air and busts into flames.
The Scots can now limber up their artillery and make a dash for the bridge.
Whilst the BUF armour prowls slowly around the village with nothing left to shoot at.

We judged it a minor victory for the Scots who were holding the bridge and the Cross roads at the end and able to make a reasonable withdrawal across the river. As night fell Captain McDonald ordered his troops to dig in using the river as a defensive line......" from now on lads this is the Scottish border and we'll nee let any of them Englesh across".

A very enjoyable game and a pleasure to introduce a new gamer to the dungeon....more to come๐Ÿ˜€


  1. I do love the different POV. Glad my armoured cars were so intimidating, I checked and the are 31ft long (9.5m). See you soon

    1. History as they say is written by the shopping list for VBCW has increased ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Michal ...a pleasure to play as well๐Ÿ˜€

  3. I've been looking forward to this battle report! Lovely looking table as always and a great looking game! Look forward to the reading all about the counterattack!

    1. Thanks as if you ever travel to the far north let me know ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Cracking good stuff! And the finished bridge looks well.

    And may I suggest some camels be added to the VBCW shopping list - for the North of England Mounted Camelry Corp, you understand. They go by the moniker, The NEMCY Boys. :))

    1. Thanks camels there is an idea not sure how they would deal with the Cumbrian climate though ? I had certain been looking at some cavalry and will look even harder now.

  5. Atmospheric and splendid, I love your terrain!

    1. Thanks Phil ....was great game which felt right for the period. Hopefully more to come.

  6. What a fabulous game, the pair of you obviously had a cracking day.

    1. Thanks yes a very enjoyable game.๐Ÿ˜€

  7. Lovely stuff! An enjoyable AAR with plenty of action.