Sunday, 10 February 2019

SHOBDON: COCKPIT OF HISTORY (10) Aerial Reinforcements and Landing Strip

Rather ironically, HMG's Commander of Shodon Airfield has no aeroplanes at the beginning of this Big Game. He may, however, be receiving frantic requests from his HMG colleagues for "transport planes" and no doubt even more frantic - perhaps even frenzied - requests for "fighter/bomber support". 

At the end of each turn, HMG Commander Shobdon Airfield throws 2D6 ("The Dice of Doom" - extra large wooden dice) and checks against the Aerial Reinforcement Table below:

2D6                                                        Result                                                Comment        .

 1                                                             N/A                                                     N/A

 2                                                      Transport Plane                                             [note1]

 3                                                      Transport Plane                                             [note1]

 4                                                      Transport Plane                                             [note1]

 5                                                      Transport Plane                                             [note1]

 6                                                      Transport Plane                                             [note1]

 7                                                          Nothing                                                       -

 8.                                                         Nothing                                                        -

 9.                                         BUF Fighter Bomber (Henschel Hs123)                        [note2]

10.                                         RAF Fighter Bomber (Hawker Demon)                        [note3]

11.                                       RAF or BUF Fighter Bomber (see above)                      [note4]

12.                                       The King! The King! (Dragon Rapide)                          [note5]

If a result is obtained on the Aerial Reinforcement Table, the relevant plane is considered to have landed and is immediately placed on the board next to the Hangar at Shobdon Airfield. The Hanger is at one end of the take off/landing strip.

Rules for take off, flying, landing and shooting at planes will be given in a future post.

If a result is thrown which is already in use (e.g. a 9 is thrown but the Henschel HS123 is already on the table) this counts as a "No Result".

Please be aware that the son of the captured Commander Stokkies Joubert, one Andre Joubert, is reported to be "in the air" somewhere around Herefordshire, no doubt bent on his own personal mission to liberate his father, or at least learn more of his fate. Andre Joubert and his plane constitute an "Umpire Bonus" that may (or may not) be assigned by the Umpires to the Commander, Shobdon Airfield, at any stage during the Big Game. Rules for him will be given if he makes an appearance.

[Note 1] There are three Transport Planes available. Although they look like Lancaster bombers and have gun turrets, this is all an elaborate camouflage. Transport Planes have no offensive capacity. Each Transport Plane has 4 Cargo spaces. They arrive empty (unless the Umpires determine otherwise). It takes half a turn to load or unload a Transport Plane.

[Note 2] The Henschel Hs123 has 2 bombs and one forward firing LMG. Use the mortar template when bombs are dropped (one each side of the fuselage). LMG fire measured from front/centre of aeroplane base

[Note 3] The Hawker Demon has 2 bombs and rear firing LMG. Use the mortar template when bombs are dropped (one each side of the fuselage). LMG fire measured from rear/centre of aeroplane base.

[Note4] The choice is yours! Choose 1 as per notes 2 and 3 above.

[Note5] The King! The King! Edward VIII's personal Dragon Rapide (GA-DDD) lands at Shobdon Airfield! Stiffen that collar and scramble a colour party!

VBCW Note: Kind Edward VIII was the first member of the Royal Family to qualify as a pilot.  He had a number of planes, of which the best known was his personal Dragon Rapide in a silver and "Guards Brigade tie" colour scheme:

Kind Edward VIII's personal Dragon Rapide
The King's Dragon Rapide being readied for take off..........
.....and landing at Shobdon Airfield.
The King has landed at Shobdon Airfield (if a "double 6" has been thrown, of course) after experiencing minor mechanical trouble on an ordinary trip to Madresfield Court. It may also be that Edward VIII wished to view the damage to Herefordshire Golf Club or undertake an aerial search for the Bank of England's lost gold reserves (see blogposts passim). In any event, the King is accompanied by his party:

(a). a uniformed co-pilot
(b). Queen Wallis
(c). a uniformed ADC
(d). a lady in waiting for Queen Wallis.

The King and his party may take such part in the BIG GAME as the Commander, Shobdon Airfield and the Umpires determine. Before landing, they had no idea that Shobdon was in the middle of an attack, and are therefore all armed only with pistols. However, any Government figure (Royalist or BUF) within 36 inches of Edward VIII receives a +1 bonus to their morale as a result of the "deep honour" felt for "defending their King".

The Kings Plane will be considered repaired within (1 x D6 - 2 rounded up) moves of landing. It may then take off with the King and his party in any subsequent turn. The King and his party have to move into base to base contact with his Plane before boarding. It takes half a turn to board.

The Kings Plane is unarmed and may not be used as a fighter/bomber nor transport plane.

NOTE TO COMMANDER, SHOBDON AIRFIELD : UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES MAY THE KING OR QUEEN SUFFER CAPTURE, INJURY OR HAVE THEIR LIVES PUT AT RISK

Landing Strip Rules - 

The take off and landing strip at Shobdon Airfield may be "cratered" by heavy artillery fire (Big Guns, not mortars or tank guns). Ordinary artillery rules apply. The Umpires have some newly made craters available. Please ask as appropriate. The Landing Strip is rendered inoperable if cratered, i.e. nothing can take off or land at Shobdon Airfield. It takes four people one turn to "fill in a crater", and they have all to be in base to base contact with the crater before "filling in" operations can commence. You never know, we may finish up with a rather desperate Queen Wallis wielding a silver spade.........

SHOBDON:COCKPIT OF HISTORY (9) - Non Aligned Self Exploding Faction

The Spring Big Game 2019 introduces another innovation for the Hereford VBCW : the "Non Aligned Faction". On this occasion, the non-aligned consist of the Misses Cholmondley Warner (Florence and Primula), their pet dog Scamp, and four sheep (or other agricultural animals, such as pigs, cattle or whatever the Umpires have to hand). A total of 7 figures. This Non Aligned Faction are against everyone on the table. 

The Misses Cholmondley Warner and Scamp start on the central table (at the Shobdon Village road junction). Two sheep start on the west table (with the Not So Broad Communist/Welsh Nationalist Front and the Airfield). The remaining two sheep start on the east table (with the Anglicans and the Shobdon Instructional Centre). The sheep are positioned by the umpires before the start of the Big Game.

Each of the Misses Cholmondley Warner, Scamp, and the sheep have a BOMB. It is round. It is red. It has a fuse that fizzes. And it is very probably marked "BOMB", so it is difficult to miss.

Each of the Misses Cholmondley Warner, Scamp, and the sheep figures sit on top of a Warbases dial, with the starting number (1-12) randomly dialed in by the Umpires before the start of the BIG GAME ("the Dial").

The Misses Cholmondley Warner are avowed pacifists and respectively Presidents of the People of Peace (Provisional Wing) and of the Anti Testosterone League. Their attitude towards the VBCW is set out towards the end of the "Commanders Briefings" for the Spring Big Game 2019 HERE (under the heading "Non-Aligned Explosive Pacifists")

At any stage during any turn, a player may move a "Non Aligned Faction" figure by use of one of their Initiative Cards. After moving such figure, the player then turns down its accompanying dial by one.

"Movement" is according to the ordinary rules, e.g. walking, running etc.

There is no limit on the number of times a "Non Aligned Faction" figure may be moved within a turn, i.e. Player A can use one of his initiative cards to move a "non aligned" figure towards the enemy, only to find that the enemy subsequently use one of their initiative cards to move the same "non aligned" figure back, and so on. This simply reflects mental confusion on the part of the non-aligned (or similar, e.g. in one case, being an excitable puppy). But every time a "non aligned" figure is moved, its accompanying dial must then be turned down by one.

"Non Aligned Faction" figures are unarmed (apart from their BOMB, of course). This is because the Misses Cholmondley Warner are extreme pacifists (only willing to kill in the name of PEACE, and then only by a self immolating EXPLOSIVE GESTURE), while the remainder of the "Non Aligned Faction" are, er, animals.

"Non Aligned Faction" figures cannot be shot at or otherwise killed during the course of ordinary play. This is because it is the VBCW, nobody likes to kill a lady, still less a dog, and pre-warmed/ready to eat lamb cutlets/bacon rashers are positively welcomed by hungry troops.

When a Dial reaches "0", the accompanying BOMB immediately explodes, immolating the extreme pacifist (or pet or animal) carrying it. Place an Artillery Template on the centre of the explosion and check for any other casualties as if an Artillery Round had landed.

If, before a Dial reaches "0", a Non Aligned Figure comes into base to base contact with any other figure (Government, Anglican, Commie, Welsh Nationalist, LDV - any figure other than another "non aligned" figure) a check must be made to see whether their accompanying BOMB is triggered. Roll a D6 : 1 - 3 bomb doesn't go off, 4-6 bomb goes off. 

If the accompanying BOMB goes off on this die roll, immolating the extreme pacifist (or pet or animal) carrying it, again place an Artillery Template on the centre of the explosion and check for any other casualties as if an Artillery Round had landed.

A Non Aligned Figure can move from table to table using the Inter Table Movement Rules (see future post) e.g. for an appropriately placed player, an Anglican on the east table can use an Initiative Card to "run" a Non Aligned Figure 6 inches on the east table and then 6 inches into the central table. The Non Aligned Figure then becomes subject to the use of Initiative Cards by the players on the central table.

PS. The Umpires have some newly made "Explosion Markers" made up. Please ask as appropriate. Other "Explosion Markers" are no doubt available, and players are encouraged to bring their own along. As large and spectacular as you like. Shouting "BOOM!" or "KER-BANG!" is also strongly encouraged.

PPS. The use of Initiative Cards may be thought to favour the defenders, as the attackers may prefer to use their Initiative Cards to advance rather than sit still. However, the defenders will have other demands on their Initiative Cards, including moving trucks and using aerial power, so the game should not be unbalanced.

SHOBDON:COCKPIT OF HISTORY(8) - Logistics Rules

As recounted in the Commander's Briefings, HMG have certain "assets" in the Shobdon area, namely 6 Jeraboams of Lord de Braose's personal champagne, 6 chests marked "Really Very Secret" (both at Shobdon Court) and 3 VIP prisoners internees (at the Shobdon Instructional Centre).

In the event that HMG C-in-C decides that such assets have to be evacuated from the area via Shobdon Airfield, HMG have 3 trucks at Shobdon Court (courtesy of the Herefordshire AA), 3 trucks at Shobdon Instructional Centre (courtesy of the BUF), 1 truck at Shobdon Airfield (courtesy of the RAF) and "may seek the use of" one of more the 3 trucks in the possession of the Shobdon LDVs - Mr Jones' butchers van, Mr Hodges' greengrocers van and/or young Mr Grace's furniture van.

HMG's "assets" cannot be transported by a vehicle other than one of these trucks.

Such trucks move and suffer damage according to the normal rules of movement distances and "receipt of fire".

Each truck has 2 "cargo spaces".

Jeraboam's of champagne and chests marked "Really Very Secret" require 1 "cargo space" each.

Internees require 2 "cargo spaces" each. There is space within each truck carrying an Internee for two accompanying guards. An Internee must be accompanied by at least one guard at all times.

Trucks are "automatically driveable" e.g. they need not be accompanied by a section, nor a driver assigned to them from a section. 

The Government Commanders of Shobdon Airfield and Shobdon Instructional Centre are entitled to an extra Initiative Card each turn (i.e. 7 cards instead of 6 on the first turn, and thereafter 6 cards instead of 5 each turn).

The Government C-in-C at Shobdon Court is entitled to an extra two Initiative Cards each turn (i.e. 8 cards instead of 6 on the first turn, and thereafter 7 cards instead of 5 each turn).

The Government Commanders may use one such "extra card" per turn, if they wish, to "drive trucks" rather than move or fight elements of their Platoon.

"Unguarded trucks" eg trucks being automatically driven without escort or without guards in the back may be stopped by an opposing player coming into base to base contact with such truck and stating "This is my truck". Such player then acquires any cargo in the back of the truck, and uses his HQ Initiative Card to move the captured truck in succeeding turns.

"Guarded trucks" e.g. trucks with guards in the back may be stopped by an opposing player coming into base to base contact with such truck and stating "This is my truck". The guards immediately dismount from the truck and engage with the opposing players forces. If the guards are subsequently killed and the truck captured, the capturing player then acquires any cargo in the back of the truck, and uses his HQ Initiative Card to move the captured truck in succeeding turns.

While HMG "assets" cannot be transported in or any vehicle other than one of the above trucks, such assets can be carried by a section of infantry. Each section of infantry has "1 Cargo Space". However, an infantry section carrying an HMG asset can only walk e.g. move 6 inches per turn. Such a section cannot "run" or "charge". Otherwise such a section can "fight normally" e.g. melee, fire or receive fire as usual. Such a section that becomes "Jumpy" or "Suppressed" automatically drops its HMG "asset" immediately it receives such an adverse morale status. Such HMG "asset", after being dropped, is available for collection by any section that is neither "Jumpy" nor "Suppressed" and comes into base to base contact with the HMG asset.

Potential key assets - trucks of the Shobdon LDVs. Young Mr Grace's Furniture Van is off-camera.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

ARMOUR MODELLING CHALLENGE 2019 - FREE GIVEAWAY!

In 2018, we gave you the "Build a Landing Fleet" Amphibious Modelling Challenge. In 2019, we're staying safely on dry land and now give you the "Armour Modelling Challenge 2019" - converting and painting another piece of "cheap Chinese giveaway plastic" into something vaguely acceptable to the AVBCW 1930s battlefield:
The Armour Modelling Challenge 2019
Chinese plastic sourced from Ebay a while ago, but it is in roughly 1/55 scale and it was very cheep. We have ten of these to distribute as a free giveaway to participants in the Spring and Autumn 2019 Hereford VBCW Big Games!

Another view of this potentially deadly AVBCW weapon
The tracks, running gear and armoured body are all fine - it's the turret that's the modelling challenge. Far too lacking in depth to be convincing, and it's got two gun barrels to boot! In fact, about half of these tanks don't even have the turret, just the body and tracks (because some of them came with missiles that one of the Umpires has already snaffled for his forthcoming "BUF Superforce"). 

So - can you scratchbuild a suitable turret and gun barrel, add a tank commander and then give your personalised tank a snazzy 1930s paint scheme ? If you can, the Umpires are content for you to get one up on your VBCW enemies and add them to your Platoon as "special Umpire bonus"! Claim your free cheep Chinese tank at the next Big Game by approaching Clive or Roo and stating - in best newspaper tradition - "You are an Umpire and I claim my cheep Chinese tank!"

VBCW Backstory: Some may have noticed, in recent Big Game Reports, the presence of "tanks" which are curiously hard to identify. For example, the BUF presented some at the Battle of Winforton Pontoons:
"Hull down" - BUF Tank Force waits for Sir Gilbert and his Anglican allies
These tanks were in fact manufactured in 1937 by a hitherto little recognised armour producer, Elstree Industries. Well known for being the centre of British film production, Elstree derived considerable inspiration from its American film making cousin, Hollywood, and it's approach to armour authenticity:

An unidentified "Panzer" leads the "Afrika Korps" in Hollywood's "Patton"
What kind of tank is that? A "German military policeman" looks askance as yet
another "Hollywood tank" rumbles by in "The Battle of Britain".
While absolutely "historically accurate" armour types may be the ideal, the Hereford1938 campaign has always taken a somewhat relaxed approach to modelling innovations:

The Battle of Bredwardine Bridge, Spring 2015 Big Game. A totally historically accurate Morris CS9 follows
a Malvern Hills Conservators "Skunk Works" armoured motorcycle (with five HMGs), which in turn
passes the slower moving BUF "Armoured Pepperpot". The latter was the subject of interventionist
threats by that decisive judicial figure, "Judge Dredd", while the last was subsequently the subject of
an infringement of copyright action by Lord Reith of the BBC. Neither "innovation" has been seen since,
possibly by reason of MOT failures.
Some may be concerned that the VBCW should not become "too tanky". Good point. It may therefore be some comfort to know that, such have been the demands of the Civil War upon Elstree Industries' industrial capacity, a reluctant decision was in fact taken to sub-contract some of the work to a factory in Shezuan, China : the Shezuan Ordnance Depot and Delivery Yards ("SHODDY"). Upon receipt of the completed VBCW Order from its Chinese sub-contractor, Elstree Industries was horrified to discover that the "armour" was in fact made of tin, the principal weapon was subject to random misfires, and all units were accustomed to break down at the least provocation. After conversion and painting, your cheep Chinese model may look like and even sound like a tank, but the Umpires' "special rules" shall ensure that, subject to the D6,  it never quite escapes it's SHODDY origins.......

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

WELSH COUP IN HAY ON WYE!


Just as the eyes of the world focus on SHOBDON in anticipation of the Spring Big Game 2019, news reaches us of a coup d'etat in HAY ON WYE !


Hay on Wye Strategic Map.
His Majesty's Government have held HAY ON WYE without substantial challenge since the early part of the Herefordshire VBCW. Originally occupied by a substantial garrison (albeit without an identified Royalist/BUF commander or any substantial organisation), the demands of campaigning elsewhere and the Government disaster at the siege lines of Kington (Autumn 2017 Big Game) both contributed to a drastic reduction in garrison strength.

While details are still sketchy, it is reported that the small remaining garrison downed arms and fled in terror before a screaming horde of rabid Welsh Nationalists lead by a certain "Kenny Gwain" and his "Abergavenny Sheep Rustlers", who wasted no time in raising the Welsh standard:

The instantly recognisable features of the "conqueror of Hay", Kenneth Gawin, Esq.
What does this development mean for the Herefordshire VBCW? The loss of HAY ON WYE is undoubtedly an early blow for Major (CRO) Everard, the newly appointed Government C-in-C. With the historic advances of the Anglicans from Ross on Wye towards Hereford and the recent triumph of Sir Gilbert Hill at the Battle of Winforton Pontoons, this embarrassing loss of Hay on Wye renders it doubtful whether the Government now have any formed troops south of the River Wye.

But it is not only Major Everard who will have to contemplate a response. Sir Gilbert Hill, if not still "confined to quarters" at Kentchurch Court, must now worry about the security of "his" Golden Valley, particularly the Golden Valley Railway:


Were Gwain and his Abergavenny Sheep Rustlers now to advance south east from HAY, Sir Gilbert and his famous Golden Valley Invincibles (now on the north side of the River WYE, having of course crossed by pontoon) might have to make a strategic re-assessment and retrenchment. As it is, however, the latest aerial reconnaissance reports suggest that Gwain is in fact moving north, along the Welsh border, no doubt to effect a conjunction with the Communist forces of Comrade Professor Winters for the purposes of his attack on SHOBDON.....

SHOBDON : COCKPIT OF HISTORY (7) - COMMANDERS BRIEFINGS

Shobdon in "Strategic Context". This map can be used in conjunction
with this Map, that caption explaining the contending parties positions.

For the Government

(1). HMG C-in-C and Commander, Shobdon Court

Congratulations (we think)! You are the North West Regional Commander for Her Majesty’s Government (HMG), reporting directly to Major Everard, C-in-C County Forces, and to Lord de Braose, Lord Warden of the Marches. Your base is the spectacular Shobdon Court, where you and your junior officers have had the occasion, and indeed the honour, to dine with the Lord Warden in the past.

Shobdon was a quiet sector in Herefordshire’s VBCW, at least while HMG Forces besieged the Reds at Kington and other bases along the Welsh border. Of course, once those same siege lines collapsed so spectacularly (Autumn 2017 Big Game), it was only a short matter of time before the “Red Hordes” advanced upon Mortimer Country generally, and Wigmore in particular.

Thank goodness Sir Barrington Patchpole KC “threw in his lot” with HMG! The loyal Mortimer Militias, supported by Government forces, ensured that Wigmore was stoutly defended. The advancing Commies (from the west) and raiding Anglicans (from the east) were “properly seen off” (Spring 2018 Big Game) at Wigmore. Weren’t they?

You have now received very worrying reports that “the Red Horde” have defaulted southward in an attempt to flank Wigmore and head for Leominster or Hereford. This means - gulp - they’re heading directly for Shobdon. Worse, the Anglican raiders who attacked Wigmore have equally defaulted southward. Whether they seek to raid Shobdon, or just shadow “the ungodly Commies” themselves, is unknown to you. What is known to you is that the Anglicans are heading your way aswell!

You have a re-inforced Platoon at Shobdon Court, consisting of your own Platoon plus a section of infantry (9 Rifles, 1 LMG, raw), an unarmed “Command Car” and an Armoured Car (1 LMG, trained), all  as volunteered by the Automobile Association (Commander Camshaft, i/c) together with 2 new-fangled BUF “Tank Destroyers” (Armoured SP/AT Gun and LMG, 2 crew, trained). You can also call for “Air Support” by telephoning your junior at Shobdon Airfield, although whether he will actually have any to provide is unclear…..

Further, you can call for support from the Government Platoon situated at Shobdon Instructional Centre or any of Local Defence Volunteers situated in and around Shobdon Village. There are three Platoons of LDV, each of whom have looked very smart and loyal when inspected in the past by Lord de Braose. However, some tedious local issue appears to deeply divide the LDVs, and such local volunteers are notoriously unreliable when things get tough…….

Intelligence information suggests that Shobdon Court could shortly be attacked by up to three full Commie platoons from the west and could shortly be attacked by up to three full Anglican platoons from the east. At the same time? Crumbs!

In the event of attack, you must make sure that the highly valuable Government property at Shobdon Court does not fall into enemy hands, but is transported safely out of the area. Unfortunately, such is the state of Hereford’s road network (potholed as usual, but recently subject to continual brigandage) the only sensible way of preserving such property (6 x Locked Chests marked “Really Very Secret” plus 6 x Jeraboams of Lord de Braose’s personal stock of champagne) is to transport the same in trucks through Shobdon Village to Shobdon Airfield, and then have them flown back to Hereford.

You have three trucks volunteered by the Automobile Association for the purpose of transporting Government property. You can ask for any trucks from anyone else who has them, but your junior at Shobdon Airfield will have to arrange the necessary Transport Planes. Your staff have piled the locked chests and champagne jeraboams next to the AA trucks in anticipation of your orders. Time for you to get on the telephone…….Good luck!

(2). HMG Commander, Shobdon Airfield

Congratulations, sir! As one of the most able and “air-minded” of Major (LRO) Everard’s officer corps, you have been given command of the newly constructed Shobdon Airfield!

Your senior officer at Shobdon Court has just telephoned you with the latest intelligence briefing (see above). It looks as if things could get a little “sticky” before the day is over - the Red Horde look as if they’re getting too close for comfort!

Your senior officer wants some Transport Planes. He wants some Fighter/Bomber planes for air support. He wants you to make sure that Shobdon Airfield is neither overrun nor damaged by the Reds. He has warned you that he may even require your Platoon to march at short notice towards Shobdon Court, or “if those LDV blighters don’t play ball” to march into Shobdon Village and “give them a taste of discipline”.

Golly gosh! That’s a tall order! You’ve got nothing on the airfield at the moment other than your own “Defence Platoon” plus an extra BUF Armoured Car (trained, 1 LMG), and your standing orders from Major Everard personally are to ensure that the Airfield “does not fall into enemy hands - at any cost!”

You better get on “the blower” to the main airfield at Hereford Racecourse. God knows when they can get any Transport Planes to you, and as for fighter/bombers, well, you might need them yourself to defend the Airfield…….

What’s this? A message from the Shobdon Instructional Centre?

(3). HMG Commander, Shobdon Instructional Centre

Congratulations, sir! As one of the most able and “security-minded” of Major (LRO) Everard’s officer corps, you have been given command of the Shobdon Instructional Centre!

You have three VIP prisoners held within the Instructional Centre, plus a Section of (rather fanatical and teutonically uniformed, it must be said) Camp Guards (trained, 9 Rifles, 1 SMG) and a BUF Armoured Car (trained 1 LMG). You also have your own Platoon to defend the Instructional Centre from outside attack.

Your senior officer at Shobdon Court has just telephoned you with the latest intelligence briefing (see above). It looks as if things could get a little “sticky” before the day is over - those “Anglican Raiders” look as if they’re getting too close for comfort!

Your standing orders from Major (LRO) Everard personally are to ensure that none of the three VIP prisoners falls into enemy hands - at any cost. Your senior officer at Shobdon Court has authorised you to “use your initiative” in the event of attack. However, he has also warned you that he may require your Platoon to march at short notice towards Shobdon Court, or “if those LDV blighters don’t play ball” to march into Shobdon Village and “give them a taste of discipline”.

Golly gosh! You could be in a fix! Such is the state of Hereford’s road network (potholed as usual, but recently subject to continual brigandage) that the only sensible way of moving your VIP prisoners (if you want to) is to transport the same in trucks through Shobdon Village to Shobdon Airfield, and then have them flown back to Hereford. And you might need some fighter/bomber air support to get them through the Village….

If he can, your fellow commander at Shobdon Airfield will also have to arrange the necessary transport planes. You have three BUF trucks on stand-by at Shobdon Instructional Centre in order to get the prisoners to the Airfield….time to get on “the blower” to that chappie at Shobdon Airfield! I say!

And Against the Government….

(1). “Red Horde” Command

The “Red Horde” consists of up to three full Platoons of Communists/Socialists/Anti-Fascists/Welsh Nationalists, etc.

TELEGRAM COMINTERN TO WINTERS

MOST IMMEDIATE+ATTACK SHOBDON AUTHORISED. STOP+SEIZE SHOBDON COURT.STOP+DESTROY SHOBDON AIRFIELD. STOP+LIQUIDATE ALL IN SHOBDON INSTRUCTIONAL CENTRE.STOP+ CAPTURE ALL CAPITALIST IMPERIALIST PERSONS PROPERTY SHEEP AND SECRET DOCUMENTS. STOP.+ NO MERCY FOR NON-PROLETARIANS.STOP+NO EXCUSES FOR FAILURE.STOP+LOCAL COMMISSAR PERSONAL INITIATIVE AUTHORISED FOR TEMPORARY TRUCES OR ARRANGEMENTS WITH DECLARED PROLES AS NECESSARY+ FORWARD THE REVOLUTION+ACKNOWLEDGE+ENDIT.

TELEGRAM WINTERS TO COMINTERN

TOP SECRET+ACKNOWLEDGED. STOP+ATTACK SHOBDON AUTHORISED.STOP+NO EXCUSES FOR FAILURE.STOP+CONFIRM TEMPORARY TRUCES OR ARRANGEMENTS AS NECESSARY WITH DECLARED PROLETARIANS. STOP+FORWARD THE REVOLUTION COMRADES+ENDIT.

(2). Anglican Command

The “Anglican Command” consists of up to three full Platoons of Anglicans.

Letter delivered by Messenger from Bishops’ Conference to Local Commander

“…..after morning prayers, would you be kind enough to lead the chaps on a swan around Shobdon? It would be jolly helpful, you know, if you could release those poor wretches held in the Shobdon Instructional Centre, or capture the Government’s North Western Regional Command Post at Shobdon Court. We hear there are some very valuable items there, things that the Government wouldn’t want us to get our hands on. Of course, capturing Shobdon Airfield would be just so wonderful, don’t you think? Put a bit of a spoke in Everard’s wheel? We’re glad we’ve got an experienced chap like you on the ground, so use your discretion, won’t you? We hear the “Bateman Claimants” in Shobdon Village each have an LDV at their disposal, so you could always have a little chat with one or more of them. See if they’d like to “see the light”, much like our own Paul on the Road to Damascus? Of course, we really can’t trust that Red Ogre, Winters, anymore. Not after he broke our long standing alliance so spectacularly (Autumn 2017 Big Game). And we can’t really trust the Government commanders, either; not while they hold the dear Bishop of Hereford in captivity. But if a suitable offer should come along from either - or even any of their junior commanders - well, we’re sure that the Almighty will guide you. Just remember- our Christianity must always be muscular, but it can sometimes be supple. Yours in God, old chap….

And the Locals….

Mr Jones, Shobdon LDV No.1

You are the only true Bateman Claimant! The others are frauds, damned frauds! By the end of this day, it is you who will be holding the Bateman Standard of your father and forefathers, and to hell with the other two! You’ve got your LDV Platoon of stout chaps, and your own Pillbox, even your own Truck! Hurrah! Now that the Reds and the Anglicans are attacking the Government here at Shobdon, well, it’s the perfect time to make your play! All you’ve got to do is decide which faction will best serve your interests - the Reds, the Christians or the Government - and grab the flag. Or perhaps, if the other two acknowledge you as the only true Bateman Claimant and give you the flag, there’s still time for all the LDVs to come together as in the old days? I mean, the really old days, where a bit of self protection and highway robbery was never missed? If you can’t prove your title, perhaps you could stay safe and get rich?

Mr Grace, Shobdon LDV No.2

You are the only true Bateman Claimant! The others are frauds, damned frauds! By the end of this day, it is you who will be holding the Bateman Standard of your father and forefathers, and to hell with the other two! You’ve got your LDV Platoon of stout chaps, and your own Pillbox, even your own Truck! Hurrah! Now that the Reds and the Anglicans are attacking the Government here at Shobdon, well, it’s the perfect time to make your play! All you’ve got to do is decide which faction will best serve your interests - the Reds, the Christians or the Government - and grab the flag. Or perhaps, if the other two acknowledge you as the only true Bateman Claimant and give you the flag, there’s still time for all the LDVs to come together as in the old days? I mean, the really old days, where a bit of self protection and highway robbery was never missed? If you can’t prove your title, perhaps you could stay safe and get rich?

Mr Hodges, Shobdon LDV No.3

You are the only true Bateman Claimant! The others are frauds, damned frauds! By the end of this day, it is you who will be holding the Bateman Standard of your father and forefathers, and to hell with the other two! You’ve got your LDV Platoon of stout chaps, and your own Pillbox, even your own Truck! Hurrah! Now that the Reds and the Anglicans are attacking the Government here at Shobdon, well, it’s the perfect time to make your play! All you’ve got to do is decide which faction will best serve your interests - the Reds, the Christians or the Government - and grab the flag. Or perhaps, if the other two acknowledge you as the only true Bateman Claimant and give you the flag, there’s still time for all the LDVs to come together as in the old days? I mean, the really old days, where a bit of self protection and highway robbery was never missed? If you can’t prove your title, perhaps you could stay safe and get rich?

And the Supporting Cast….

Non-Aligned “Explosive Pacifists”

Primula and I have had quite enough! The world shall indeed know of the Misses Cholmondely-Warner! The pure reason of self-immolating pacifism and the voice of the Anti - Testosterone League will be heard in Herefordshire! The Provisional Wing of the People of Peace (myself and Primula, and Scamp, of course, such a dear doggie) shall take our place in the middle of Shobdon and demand that THIS WAR SHALL CEASE! OR ELSE! (Primula’s so clever with wiring and explosives, you know. I’ve always been more fond of Goethe, myself). And if these NAUGHTY BOYS don’t go home AT ONCE, well, I’m sure they’ll have to re-write the nursery rhyme….which one, dear?.....why, Bo-Peep, of course….WHAT DO WE WANT! STOP THE WAR! WHEN DO WE WANT IT? NOW! NOW OR ELSE!

The Mommets

Ahar, Mommets be waiting. That we be. Waiting, ahar. We be waiting, see? For them that don’t be local. For them that don’t be fair. That be right. Not local. Not fair, see? Pass that zider, now. See, we be waiting, ahar, that be right. 

Monday, 4 February 2019

SHOBDON : COCKPIT OF HISTORY (6) AVBCW Shobdon Court

In the world of the AVBCW, Shobdon Court was not demolished in 1933, nor did the 3rd Baron Bateman pass away in November 1931.

AVBCW Shobdon Court, 1937
Today's visitor to Shobdon may indeed see only the remnants of this once beautiful country house, whether it be the northern entrance gates:

Entrance Gates, North, Shobdon Court, 1937
Entrance Gates, North, Shobdon Court today
or the still remaining stables and former servants' quarters, now converted into flats [note1]:

Shobdon Court Stables today
Shobdon Court Servants' Quarters today
but in the world of Hereford's AVBCW, the disappearance of Shobdon Court is thought to be much more tragic than by mere demolition.

We know that the good Third Baron in fact lasted until about his 80th Birthday in 1936, when he suffered a fatal heart attack. It is said that this was upon being shown the American press reports of the relationship between the new King, Edward VIII, and the Baltimore born, soon to be twice divorced, Mrs Wallis Simpson. 

Be that as it may, and as the Trustees of the Estate anxiously considered the complicated (and all say very surprising) "secret provisions" of the Third Baron's will, Shobdon Court remained unoccupied. Herefordshire's "Very British" Civil War broke out, and the County's Anglicans suffered defeat and disaster in the opening stages of the civil war. It did not escape the senior command of His Majesty's (then triumphant) Forces in Herefordshire that Shobdon Court was both strategically important and helpfully vacant. Interior plans of the Court were obtained [note2], and it was soon commandeered as one of Lord de Braose's "Regional Command Centres":

Shobdon Court Ground Floor Plan
Shobdon Court First Floor Plan
Lord de Braose, Edward VIII's "Governor of the Marches", frequently visited his "North West Regional Command Centre" during these early stages of the "Post-Bishop" Government hegemony over the County. During these visits, he was accustomed to inspect the locally raised "Shobdon Militias", or Local Defence Volunteers, newly (and curiously numerously) raised from Shobdon Village and the immediate surrounds, before "retiring to a well-fortified dinner" (ho, ho!) at Shobdon Court with his senior "Royalist" advisers and BUF supporters.

But the village of Shobdon was alive with gossip. The proud standard of the Bateman-Hanburys may have fallen, that distinguished lineage apparently extinct, but.....could, even now, someone pick it up? 

The Standard of the Bateman-Hanburys.
Rumours swept the small village. The still to be published will of the late Third Baron (why had it not been published, eh?) in fact concerned a long (and locally) "concealed" son, or at least the "secret provisions" bequeathed both title and the Estate to him. There was no shortage of local claimants for this honour, each with their own story and supporters; after a series of scuffles and threats at the bar of the "Bateman Arms", the clamour reduced to three likely candidates : none other than Mr Jones, (young) Mr Grace and Mr Hodges. But which of these could properly claim to be the "Fourth Baron Bateman"?

The Local Defence Volunteers, raised at the start of the AVBCW, duly split into three factions. Each supported their preferred candidate. Each recruited feverishly in the hope that the issue could be resolved by simple strength of numbers, and then obtained miscellaneous pieces of heavy equipment in the hope that military technology would solve the issue. Each built their own pillbox - as both HQ and "Last Redoubt" in case of difficulty.

All knew that while Lord de Braose and His Majesty's Government remained in firm control of the area of Shobdon, there was little prospect of actual armed conflict between the three Shobdon Militias. But if ever the Government's control should slacken, or were Shobdon ever to become a battleground or suffer an invasion from anti-Government forces, well then, such might be just the circumstances in which one of the "Bateman Claimants" might be able to settle things to his advantage once and for all.....[note3] 


Note 1: the very same stables and servants quarters shown in the 1718 "Shobdon Court South Prospect" engraving within this blogpost. This gives a helpful idea of the location (and huge size) of Shobdon Court itself.
Note 2: extremely useful, now, for the AVBCW RPGer - or Cluedo player.
Note 3: gentle readers who have got this far (well done) will have noticed that there is still no explanation for the apparent destruction of Shobdon Court within the world of AVBCW. That's because, in the usual way, such questions can only be answered by participation in the Hereford1938AVBCW Spring Big Game 2019!