Monday, 5 December 2016

Busted flush : The Battle for West Auckland : 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 πŸ˜€ 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 this rate they will be cup winners this season πŸ˜€

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 πŸ˜€


  1. Top write up, that's more how I remember it. my photos told less of a story. Hopefully I'll get to fight Caulfield again, we all need enemies with that kind of luck

    1. Rumour has it the Colonel swallowed his version of the events. He has been awarded the King Edward Medal for conspicuous bravery and moved one notch up the list for promotion. NOne of this of course in anyway due to his betrothal to the Colonels eldest Daughter Milly πŸ˜€ Royalists do like to keep it in the family after all.

  2. Spiffing game,what!
    BTW what rules do you use for the vbcw?

    1. Thanks Alan we currently use Bolt'll spot the dice in a couple of photos. Not for everybody but I find them complex enough to give a competitive feel but not so complex you have to look at the rule book. I have first edition but we have adopted a couple of the new changes.

  3. Lovely pics of a great looking game. I have to say I was rooting for the miners...anyone who allies himself with fascists, no matter how reluctantly, deserves a good thrashing!

    1. Thanks Gordon.......of course I do find myself occasionally having to align myself with ideologies which do not match my own. But what goes on in the dungeon stays in the dungeon. Certainly seems no love lost between the Royalists and the Fascists...this might be the cause of future conflict ?

  4. A damn fine report and splendid images to boot. Top stuff old boy.

    1. Thanks Phil photos always a bit dark in the dungeon for my liking but the photos capture the event πŸ˜€

  5. Great looking game! Champion work.
    I wish I was as diligent as you with taking pictures during a game, upstanding effort there.

    1. Thanks Captain. I have found taking pictures straight to my iPad has cut the phaff to a minimum, they can be edited deleted and uploaded really quickly, so we just click away when the chance offers itself πŸ™‚

  6. Lovely write up and some great photos, the smoke trailing biplane being my favourite.
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks the smoke is from a big bag of black wool/moss I was given πŸ˜€

  7. What a wonderfully entertaining AAR supported by splendid photos. For future reference they are known as Port Fail to we Saddlers.

    1. Ah! Port Fail, I always recall them still being on the defensive back in the day.

    2. Thanks gentlemen πŸ˜€ I should point out I don't come from a strong football supporting background and have very limited affinity with any clubs......but Martin seemed quite keen on the Vale/fail team, keeping them at the back and protected was clearly a move to win the πŸ† this season? Well at least my diabolical dice rolling means he still has a full squad !

  8. Wonderful stuff, sir! The miners et al seem to have a gift for artillery.

    1. Thanks fair to say the Dice gods did appear to take the side of the Communists and miners.