Sunday, 16 October 2016

Battle for Alston Moor : VBCW

The Alston Valley is a hot bed of revolution and anti-establishment feeling. It is a place where making a living is hard and for most this has in the past required working for others and making other men rich ! But people's loyalties have changed much since the start of civil unrest. The valley is now under the general control of the Alston Socialist Alliance and other left wing elements whose military arm are collectively known as the Workers Brigade. These groups are only loosely affiliated when it serves their joint purpose, although they agree on a few key principles. This Country would be great again if it was run by the workers for the workers. They hate the King, they hate government and they hate the church, all of whom are considered the 'establishment'.

The villages in and around the valley are home to agricultural workers, miners who work the mineral deposits in the area. Disaffected servants and others who have escaped the yoke of servitude to build an independent workers state. They are generally poorly armed as they have, as yet, been unable to build firm links to any national parties or organisations. They do occasionally get hold of guns or armoured vehicles when they trade their agricultural or mineral deposits to nearby factions.

Up until now they have been content to make small local raids in search of weapons and as they have become increasingly militarised, replacing the traditional Sunday church worship with military style parades and weapons training.

One of the parades through the village centre
The Alston Moors Mounted Brigade, farmers and ex gamekeepers on their own or stolen horses
Last in the column, mainly due to its cumbersome nature is an ancient field gun, originally sent to the area as scrap metal, the foundry workers have brought it back into serviceable condition, but they haven't fired it in anger !

So it was on this uneventful Sunday morning that the Archbishop from Hexamshire had roused his congregation and led them across the Moors to attack the Village, his Serman that morning had aroused such excitement that a significant contingent of the Anglican League had followed, 'hell bent' on re-establishing good Christian values in the valley and also stealing what ever valueable commodities they could find.

Our battle takes place on the edge of Alston, with rough ground leading past the mines onto the moors themselves. (Ed note... We played Bolt Action rules with about 15 or 17 units per side we had some special rules for unique units. The objective was to hold the middle ground, the Anglican League would enter from the moors and the ASA would start in parade formation in the village, the battlefield is 8 foot long and 5 feet at its widest)
View form Alston village up towards the moors (this is a couple of turns in but is the best overview shot I took)
As soon as the alarm is raised the parade breaks up with units rushing to and fro. The gunner immediately unlimber the 60 lb artillery piece but it take them a full turn to load it. Who know if the'll manage to hit anything ?
Other units from the Workers Brigade move out of the village towards the mine owners house, which is now used as the Miners Benevolent Home. In the foreground a mortar has been set up and they start to ineffectually fire smoke up the valley.
The Alston Mounted Brigade scout forward towards the mine office (white building)
Anglican League troops are pouring into the valley, under the commanding presence of the Archbishop who is accompanied by a reporter from the local paper.
Even the cricket team have been shamed by the Clergy to break their first innings and join the battle, secretly they are hoping to complete the second innings in Alston where they believe they have a decent square.
Take aim FIRE.....a tremendous flash and "CRUMP" (had to get that in) from the village signifies the first live firing of 'the gun' at this range they can't even see where it lands. Little do they know that their first shot is an incredibly lucky shot completely destroying the motorcycle recon unit. Those not killed outright were so dazed they were simply stumbling about for the rest of the day dazed and deaf ! One up to the workers !
The Alliance also has one small and almost obsolete tank, which trundles forward
The workers have generally banned all sports in the valley which have any links back to the old establishment ways. Preferring instead pastimes more in keeping with their local traditions. One of these which has found favour with the mining communities is pigeon fancying, and through diligent breading and training they have developed the birds to carry small bombs which can be dropped on any potential enemy. It is of course an unreliable weapon and they don't hold much hope of hitting anything !!!!!!!!!!!
The Alliance have move any machine guns they have up to the front to provide a defensive line, whilst the cavalry continue to scout near the mine office.
One unit of miners advances forward into the allotments
The lucky shot.........reload

Rather than a frontal assault the League are looking to use available cover in and around the mine workings.
Before pushing forward the miners check out their prize birds, once they are assured of their security they move on
Foolhardy cavalry exposes itself to enemy fire and takes a number of casualties, in the distance armed monks run down the hillside
Overview of the battle of Alston Moor
The servants and gamekeepers who have formed their own irregular unit make their way across rough ground towards the old mine owners house.
Things are getting up, the cavalry have chosen to pull back but one of the miner units under the close supervision of the mine foreman are rushing forward under the cover of smoke from one of the mortars
Anyone for Cricket.......not likely a sport clearly played by toffs and public school boys, used by the establishment to subdue the workers across Great Britains' overseas colonies.
The workers have moved their banner nearer the front to encourage greater morale and remind people what they are fighting for.
The Renault tank has been brewed up by accurate anti-tank fire.....actually not very accurate as they took several shots to hit it, missing completely on one occasion and hitting the building instead !
Truck which had held a machine gun has now been blown up as well, luckily the gunner has been thrown free and although pinned he is unhurt.
One of the Anglican Leagues powerful artillery pieces causing havoc in the valley.
In the centre of the battlefield the workers are holding but things do not look encouraging. A smoke bomb is obscuring part of their view and they are unattached from a heavy machine gun on the Rolls Royce Armoured car.
And then out of the smoke they hear a scream...probably akin to the ACW rebel yell...in a hail of bullets and gun fire the ladies of the Hexamshire WI charge forward. All neatly dressed in blue they put down a devastating volley. No man can stand this kind of punishment for long πŸ˜•
There is only one hope and the cavalry muster for a WW1 type charge, with nonchalant ease the Ladies reload and let rip cutting the horsemen down as they charge.....such nice horses too such a shame.
The Archbishop has now pushed forward, the mine office has changed hands several times and has seen some of the fiercest hand to hand fighting. Currently held by the Monks. He is quietly confident and dictating his victory sermon the the reporter. A small blob a pigeon poo lands at the reporters feet to which he exclaims "that was a close one " a few seconds later a 2 lb bomb dropped by a pigeon hits the Archbishop directly on the head. An almost impossible shot.
Well I wasn't expecting that ...........and the reporter for the first time in the day starts to question if there really is a god. It may be too late to effect the outcome of the battle but it did make the miners cheerπŸ˜€
With one more turn the workers attempted to snatch the objectives but this was really only a piric victory as they had taken far more casualties and would need to fall back.
The banner still flying in defiance of the WI luckily the game ended before they could do anymore damage !
One unit of miners had spent the entire game in the allotments ? Either pinned down or perhaps they were protecting the pigeon loft
The heroes of the day !
After the battle the monks are supervising the sad task of collecting the body of the Archbishop this will make the front page !

A fantastically fun game played in true VBCW style. Lots of highlights some of which I didn't capture on film. The WI were fantastic, initially they wouldn't  move as they had received bad news in the post, then they stopped to have cream tea and cakes and then they charged devastatingly into the fray. But apparently all Anglican League armies in the future will carry millet to protect them from pigeon bombs.....not sure if this will work as it might attract the pigeons instead. More of the battle will no doubt be expolored on Martin's Blog....see blogs I follow πŸ˜€ we just need an excuse for another battle.


26 comments:

  1. Great write up, fantastic day's gaming. The martyrdom of the Archbishop will inspire more followers and greater fanatasism. God will endure

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    1. God save the King ....but that is for another day πŸ˜€

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  2. What a carry on, splendid stuff. Pigeon bombers, just priceless :-))

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    1. Surprisingly fun I think they hit one thing all game it just happened to be the Archbishop !

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  3. Blimey! I always did find the WI a bit scary! Brilliant!

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    1. If they fight like this all the time I am definitely getting some, imagine what they would be like in tanks !

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  4. What a sensationally looking game Matt - superb!

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    1. You are very kind....obviously I can only take credit for half the game.

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  5. Cranky old Great War guns, militant pigeons, and a screaming attack by the good ladies of the WI - Classic VBCW! Bravo!

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    1. Thanks AJ I am definitely getting some WI ladies just need to source some suitable figuresπŸ˜€

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  6. A superb looking game, Matt! Very VBCW too, especially fond of the dive bombing pigeon.

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    1. Thanks David........the pigeon only hit one thing all game, it just happened to be the Archbishop !

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  7. Cracking good stuff Martin and Matt.
    Matt, that is probably the best looking dungeon I've ever seen! Are you sure you haven't made a mistake with it's name?

    I still think there should be camels used. Them and suicide sheep dogs - Complete with satchel charges strapped to backs and a guy with a whistle directing them! (only thing is, the dogs may go after the sheep)

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    1. Thanks Roy...not certain what you mean by the name ? Still not convinced by camels in Cumbria. I think I might strap a bomb to a sheep though.

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    2. Sorry, I just meant labelling your gaming room as 'the dungeon'. It looks a heck of good setup, whereas dungeons normally conjures up mental images of being dark, damp and unpleasant.

      If your still not convinced about my suggestion about camels (bactrian, by the way), you're going to love my inclusion into the crackpot scheme to also feature an Indian elephant! Travelling circus anyone...
      [Clint *loves* my ideas for his PBB game! :)) He must think I'm a right looney]

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    3. Are but you can't see the wall with the chains ! Love the idea of the elephant .......that is an idea !

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  8. What a great report! I was quietly humming The Internationale to myself as I read through. Hopefully a counter-attack from the rallied Workers Brigade will once again throw off the shackles of their oppressors!

    There is strength in union!

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    1. Thanks Tim strength indeed at least the toffs won't be playing cricket for a while most of the first eleven were finished off.

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  9. This side of the battle was just as entertaining as Martin's great game.

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    1. Thanks Adam....history being written by the victor and all that....

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  10. Good to see the pigeon made an appearance!

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    1. Thanks Jon just imagine what I could do with a whole flock !

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  11. Sounds a blast and looks fantastic. What an imagination, first 11 with Lee Enfields and the RAF bombers!!!

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    1. Thanks John will be in touch soon πŸ˜€

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  12. Exellent looking game and Greate AAR!

    Realy like the initial pictures of the worked matchning througt the village!

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    1. Thanks Michael....they would of course look better with pikes !πŸ˜€

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