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 !
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 !
In the town Madame T is orchestrating her defence.
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.
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.
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 😀
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 😀