After the recent debacle to West Aukland, Lt Caulfield had been lucky to keep his commission. The Colonel had been less than pleased when the recon mission had returned empty handed from across the Pennines. But after a short spell cleaning toilets at the castle barracks Caulfield had resumed his command. The Colonel had little choice as he had limited senior officers at hand and he had been called away to an important meeting with other Royalist leaders in the midlands. This left Caulfield in charge, and under strict instructions not to do anything rash !
But he was determined to redeem his reputation so when unlikely reports of possible troops movements to the east reached him in the officers' mess he was quick to despatch a force to investigate....as like as not it would be another false report, but at least it would serve as a good training mission for the mixed bag of units at his disposal.
Moving East along the A69 Lt Caulfield at the head of the main Royalist forces approached the small village of Greenhead. At least if it was a false alarm he would be back in time for last orders. As he looked through his binoculars he could see little across the valley....it was only when the first shell whizzed over his head that he saw them "bloody hell...those Northumbrian bastards are back" with a shout to his driver his motorcycle charged down the road towards the action.
Caulfield at the head of his force !
And so to the battle ...........This felt like quite a photogenic battle so I took too many photos do skip if you feel the need 🙂if not enjoy
The Wetherall Hunt have been sent forward to reconnoiter the way ahead, arriving on the battlefield behind the railway cottages
The main force arriving from Carlisle down the A69 two units of regular infantry, Lanchester armoured cars supported by the Carlisle WI
As the Royalists' advance down the main road Lord Percy's forces begin to appear in the distance, Lt Caulfield orders the armoured cars forward and other units including the Stanwix Militia off the road to the south.
The Stanwix Militia move forward through the small farm to the south of the A69 their orders to holding the railway cutting
The clink of hobnail boots on the cobbled road ! As the Cumberland Borderers run down the road
The Hunt have ridden upto the bridge over the railway and met the advance units of the main Royalist forces. Asking a solitary lady where the enemy are ? she replies in a strong Russian accent "zee fascists are coming down zee road" little did they know this is Svetlana a communist spy attempting to gather intelligence for the Alston Workers Brigade....if only they had known they could have captured her.
To the East, Military style Police, known locally in the NE as the Alnwick Vampires, are rushing forward a number of other trucks push forward, each one full of troops. The number 39 bus has been forced to park up abandoned by its driver.
Caulfield orders the Constabulary Mortar team to deploy on the hill, it is unlikely they will hit anything so they are best kept at the back out of the way !
The Royalist second wave begins to arrive on the battlefield, more armed police and Facist units from Penrith, unfortunately communication has not been good and units arrive from random directions
This must be madness ! The Wetherall Hunt gallop over the bridge in a 'Charge of the light brigade' re-enactment, not surprisingly a burst of machine gun fire from ahead makes them think again and they soon dismount and dive into the buildings by the bridge
The 'Vampires' move forward in armoured trucks then take cover in the long grass
The Northumbrian forces are still moving onto the battlefield...including, an armoured car and an old Renault tank
More Penrith facists arrive in their van from the north, together with a 13lb artillery piece being manned by Carlisle Constabulary reserves.
The Police Mortar team have little experience with such a weapon, so sighting by eye they blast a shell into the distance ! Kabooom a direct hit on one of the enemies armoured cars looking at each other is disbelief they start to reload.
To the south the Militia can now see the enemy forces over the railway cutting and move upto the hedge, unsure what to do next ?
Black smoke billowing from the knocked out AC, leading the charge the Vampires have drawn a lot of fire and soon get pinned down in the long grass
The bulk of Percy's force is now advancing, Northumberland Rangers moving swiftly across country, they are used to fighting in this sort of terrain.
Royalist forces moving into defensive positions behind the railway cottages
The police artillery piece has now deployed but doesn't have a target, the AC's pull up short of the bridge and open fire at anything they can see over the bridge
Suddenly to their consternation the Royalist forces come under fire from their own troops in the railway cottages ! Unbelievably some of the fascists have received communication from some of Percy's right wing forces and have changed their allegiance!!!!!! (we had some special Blue on Blue random events the chance of a unit actually changing sides was very unlikely ! So at least we knew it wouldn't happen again 🤔)
In the skies above the village a Hawker Fury had been doing its best to pin the Northumbrian's down but eventually it flew too close and was hit by machine gun fire as oil leaked underneath the plane it banked away and headed back to Carlisle airport.
On the main road the Vampires charge into the building to finish off the remaining Hunt members, the AC unlikely as it seemed, was also hit by the Mortar (very loud cheers from the Royalist forces....dejected crying from Percy) although not destroyed it was immobilised and wouldn't be able to come over the bridge !
Royalist forces fire multiple volleys into the traitorous facists in the cottages ahead, it is clear they must be dislodged before the enemy proper can be handled, but it isn't going to be an easy task. Eventually the men of the Carlisle Golf Club in conjunction with the Regular Borderers wipe them out but at heavy cost to themselves.
A second unit of Penrith facists unaware of their comrades defection advance to the south, luckily for Svetlana they don't recognise her
Northumbrian troops have pretty much taken hold in the village, but seem reluctant to charge the bridge ? Even with the artillery support they have brought up, instead the Tank pushes forward first...luckily they know the Royalists have little which can trouble it..........!
The Rangers rush forward on mass through the village and the industrial buildings by the railway
A shot down the railway cutting, the Royalist facists look like they are going to make a dash for it ?
The vampires in the foreground are still pinned down, UNBELIEVABLY UNBELIEVABLE the Tank which had moved up under cover of the bridge has also been hit and knocked out by the Police Mortar....three hits and three destroyed vehicles. (Anyone close to Lord Percy at the time of the third mortar strike would have heard language not printable on this blog or ever to be repeated in the dungeon again 😀)
In a scary homage to WW1 the Stanwix Militia and the Remainig Royalist Facists jump over the wire into the railway cutting looking to cleverly outflank the Northumbrians
In desperation Lord Percy orders one of the remaining Armoured Carriers to charge over the bridge, in disbelief the Royalists fail to shoot at it as it speeds past but now they have enemy troops behind them as well.
Unaware of the crisis behind them and under cover of the cutting the two units of infantry push on........
And the Militia are able to charge out of the cutting knocking out the remaining enemy in the area and leaping for cover in the gardens, the second unit starts to move along the cutting to the north.
Behind their lines the Northumbrian infantry have jumped out near the farm but immediately have to take cover from the Lanchester which has circled back to harass them with its Vickers gun..
The Northumbrian's now well established in the village preparing to charge across the cutting, they come under fire from across the cutting in the railway cottages where the fascists have paid with their lives for their treacherous behaviour.
A kind of angry stalemate now occurs where neither side is able to take control or capitalise on gains made.
Coming under fire the heroic Mortar team roll a Fubar and run from the battlefield. Their incredible shooting, knocking out three enemy vehicles is without precedent and would have clearly won them a distinguished medal....however now fleeing the field at the merest sight of the enemy has blown it they are likely to end up on a charge and cleaning toilets for a good while !
The leading unit of Northumbrian Rangers have now climbed into the cutting but are surprised to find the enemy already there, what ensues is a deadly long range shooting battle with no cover for either side !
NO NO NO it cannot be happening, another coded message passes across the lines and the unit of Carlisle Constabulary change sides arrrghhhhhhh ! They immediately swamp the remaining loyal troops in the cottages and move to capture Lt Smythers, refusing to be bowed he fires back with his pistol and shouts a warning to the other Royalist troops that treachery is at hand again.
LT Caulfield close to the action is able to regroup his forces bringing the remaining WI and regular troops back towards the bridge which must be held at all cost.
The fearce battle continues in the cutting, let's hope the five thirty train doesn't arrive on time
"Blimey Johnson they have cut the road" on the A69 the only remaining vampire carrier now realises the folly of thier heroic drive and wonder how they are going to get away ?
At this point with darkness drawing in both sides decided to call off hostilities, Lt Caulfield soon rounded up the Police he could capture and led them away for interrogation back in Carlisle, just why he wanted to know had so many troops defected during the battle. The Northumbrian's however had complete control of the village and soon set up a road block. Their lines of communication and supply would be very long but Lord Percy would now consider this small village the front line and the boundary of his growing territory. He couldn't quite be sure of the loyalty of some of the defectors but they would form a useful front line Border force if he could support them with his remaining rangers.
Lord Percy inspecting his newly acquired territory
What he can't see behind him is Svetlana on her motorbike heading south into the hills where she can inform her comrades in the Alston Socialist Alliance and Workers Brigade the result of the battle. Knowing that the best time to attack is before an enemy has been able to dig in they immediately start to prepare an assault....after all which ever side of the Pennines they live the only good facists are dead ones and she is sure the workers engineers will be able to get that tank working again if they can capture it 😀
It goes without saying we had a fun time, a really tough battle for both sides but you couldn't have scripted it.........