Tuesday, 9 October 2018

AUTUMN BIG GAME 2018 - THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM


HEREFORD AVBCW AUTUMN 2018 BIG GAME

“BRIDGE OVER TREBBBLED WATER”

LATE NEWS SPECIAL BULLETIN

TABLETOP TEASER

The Hereford AVBCW Autumn 2018 Big Game ("Bridge over Trebbbled Water") is nearly upon us! A "hard-core" of AVBCW gamers are committed to converge on Burley Gate Village Hall, Herefordshire, at 10am on Saturday 13th October for a full and frenzied day of "double fisted" AVBCW action!

That's right, double fisted! Each player is bringing along not one, but two, full Platoons to commit to action! (note1) It's going to be the greatest test of each player's command ability since, well, um, lesssee now...well, at least since Zama! But will Sir Gilbert Hill prove to be Scipio or Hannibal? With the fate of his nephew, Chief Superintendant Ronald Bigsworth-Hill, hanging in the balance (and the possibility of dear Ronald being hunted down and himself hanged by the BUF unless it goes "the right way"), Sir Gilbert has doubled his efforts and re-doubled his forces...

Sir Gilbert Hill intends to fight "double fisted" with his two Platoons
Sir Gilbert has bravely announced his "battle line up" well before the Big Day, trumpeting the addition of a "Colonial & Dominion Platoon" to the original "Golden Valley Invincibles". But will this "propaganda coup" hand the military advantage to Sir Gilbert's enemies, or is it mere recognition that the much feared Government Intelligence & Telegraphs Section ("GITS") would be bound to discover the composition of his forces before the "Big Day"? After all, it appears that they have already discovered the location of Sir Gilbert's intended battleground:
An Intelligence Map hand drawn by a GITS operative, said to be based on Sir Gilbert's own
Operational Maps. The meaning of "Table1", "Table2" and "Table3" remains obscure, but
may be a secretive Government code.
If the Government's intelligence is accurate, it appears that Sir Gilbert and his Anglican allies plan a river crossing to the west of Hereford itself, striking from the south to the north of the County in the area of Winforton and Willersley. But what tactics will Sir Gilbert and his Anglican allies (variously, the Bishop of Ludlow, the Rev. Canon Colcannonroo and the Rt. Rev. Canon Winters) adopt to try to "force the crossing"? A straightforward "charge of the assault boats" across the river? Or a careful construction of Pontoon Bridges to bring the Anglican Tank Brigade into play (if there is an Anglican Tank Brigade, of course)? Should Sir Gilbert concentrate all his available forces (at least 18 infantry sections plus supporting weapons!) on one part of the battlefield, or should he spread them out in the hope of reducing the Government's resistance and counter-fire? How will Sir Gilbert use his section of "tracked and armoured smoke dischargers" to best advantage?

And what of the newly promoted Group Leader Giles and his newly arrived Government ally, Lieutenant Everard? What will be their plan of defence with their available forces (at least 12 infantry sections plus supporting weapons)? Field fortification and investiture of Willersley, Winforton and "the Farm" may have many advantages, but may also leave the "Western Approaches" ("Table 1") dangerously denuded of defenders, an open avenue for the Anglican Forces to pour through in the direction of Mortimer Country. How will Group Leader Giles use his BUF Tank Brigade (if there is a BUF Tank Brigade, of course) and supporting "Big Guns" - well in advance of his principal battle line with the aim of disrupting the Anglican crossing of the River Wye, or echeloned deep in defence?

Fleet Street's miiltary correspondents breathlessly await the opposing C-in-C's solutions to this "tabletop teaser", just as their Foreign & Colonial counterparts muse over the first entry into the Hereford VBCW of substantial bodies of "native levies" from the Empire and beyond (note 2):

Lt. Everard leads a section of the Cameroon Highlanders, a regal gift from the Fon of Bandjun,
King Kamga II, hereditary ruler of Cameroon, to his "fellow monarch", Edward VIII. The
Cameroon Highlanders are expected to play a major part in the Government's resistance
upon the Wye and and throughout the County.....


























....while Sir Gilbert has of course welcomed Chief Kansan O'Flynn and his native levies into the
tender embrace of the Hill Enterprises (Dominions&Colonial) Platoon (blogposts passim)
The newly arrived Lt. Everard has been heard to sniff that his native troops are at least trained and uniformed regulars, rather than "mere mercenaries"; an insult which, it is understood, Chief Kansan intends to remedy by "poppin' Everard in ma'evah boiling pot" at the first opportunity. And how does the Chief intend to do this? Why, dark rumours are already circulating of the Chief's principal "ju-ju man" and his mastery of the dark arts.....

Can Lt. Everard escape the encircling coils of "ju-ju"? Can Sir Gilbert and his allies triumph, and save Sir Gilbert's nephew from "the long drop"? Do the Anglicans - or even the BUF - really have a Tank Brigade? Can Group Leader Giles pull off another masterpiece of "fighting defence" (and yet another promotion)? All these questions can only be answered by participation in the AUTUMN 2018 BIG GAME, BRIDGE OVER TREBBBLED WATER....

Notes

(1). The late addition of the Rt. Rev. Canon Winters means that the Bishop of Ludlow's forces will be fought as usual, one Platoon commanded by the Bishop (Clive) and one by the newly arrived (but still Rt. Rev) Canon (Robb). The remaining forces (Roo, Doug, Giles, Alan) will nevertheless indeed be fought "double-fisted". May any modern and bad taste jokes resulting please be directed to Umpire Roo.....

(2). if you ignore the Abyssinians, of course. And the "Chinese Christian Converts". And no doubt others innumerable now lost in the mists of campaign history....

Late Notes for Players

(1). Given the lower numbers of players than usual, we will be playing all three tables as "one table" in wargame terms, even if the same are slightly separated physically. C-in-C's should note that sections of Platoons can therefore be "intermingled" by Players if it is thought to their tactical advantage, and Platoons (and their constituent sections) are not therefore restricted to "one table" as usual. Food for thought....

(2). Please have a late check of the special Scenario Rules (blogposts passim) applicable to this Big Game, and remember that we are playing the original "one phase" rules, not the Mort amended "two phase" rules. A look at the original rulebook may therefore help....

(3). Remember your own lunch and the usual tenner!

Friday, 21 September 2018

AUTUMN BIG GAME 2018 - SPECIAL RULES


HEREFORD AVBCW AUTUMN 2018 BIG GAME

“BRIDGE OVER TREBBBLED WATER”

SCENARIO SPECIAL RULES


1. General : Move Phases

We are reverting to the original “WTDW” Rules in relation to “phases”:  i.e. returning from “two phases per move” to “one phase per move”. Mort introduced the “two phase amendment” three or so years ago in order to make the wargame more realistic, but the overwhelming feedback from Hereford VBCW players is that “speed of play” is more important for a Big Game.

2. General : Chance Cards

We are reintroducing “chance cards” for this game, with a special set of cards specifically for this scenario (or numbered cards with a table of events cross referenced to such numbers).

3. Special : Platoon Roster Amends

The usual Platoon Roster consists of one Platoon HQ, one Platoon Heavy Wpn (MMG or Mortar), one Platoon AT Weapon, three infantry sections, one tank OR big gun and “something VBCW”, which may be another infantry section, or VBCW type vehicle(s). The usual rule (sometimes strained in its observance) is that one cannot have both a Big Gun and a Tank, or two Tanks, or two Big Guns, within a Platoon. See the Platoon Generator.

For this game, we are abandoning that rule. So this time, you can have (if you want) two Big Guns, or two Tanks, or a Big Gun and a Tank per Platoon. A river crossing demands more heavy weaponry than usual for both “defender” and “attacker”, and it is realistic - even for the VBCW - that both sides would seek to concentrate their available heavy resources about the riverside. Or the Umpires say so, anyway.

Amend your Platoon Generator results accordingly.

4. Special : Deployment Zones

Before play commences, the defenders (HM Government) may set up their (1). HQ Section (2). AT weapon (3). 1 x Big Gun (and forward observer if appropriate) or Tank, all within one foot of their table edge. Their remaining Platoon assets (e.g. usually 3 Infantry Platoons, the infantry heavy weapon [MMG or mortar] and 1 Big Gun or Tank) remain off-table and are diced for at the end of each succeeding move. A successful die roll results in the relevant unit (of the defenders’ choice) arriving at any point along the baseline at the beginning of the following move.

Die Rolls for Arrival
6 = 2 x“off table”units from the Platoon arrive (Defender’s choice)
5 = 1 x “off table” unit from the Platoon arrives (Defender’s choice)
4 = a non-infantry unit from the Platoon arrives (Defender’s choice)
1 - 3 = nothing arrives.

HM Govt always take initiative cards at the start of each turn equivalent to the total number of their units, whether on board or off board. If HM Govt players have more cards than they “need”, the most appropriate can be played, and the rest simply discarded.

Before play commences but after the HM Government forces have deployed, the attackers (Anglican & Allies) may set up all their available units within one foot of their table edge.

Rationale for these rules: HM Government are defending lengthy stretches of the River Wye. It is reasonable that they should have some units “in situ” with reserves arriving to the (newly identified) “threatened point” in a somewhat haphazard manner. Anglican forces will have “spotted” HM Govt. defenders before launching their attack at the “threatened point”, hence their set up after HM Govt. forces.

5. Scenario Special Rule : Assault Boats

Assault Boats (exclusively in Anglican & Allied Hands):

(a). may be dragged across ground, one boat per Section. The Section should be distributed around the boat in a realistic “carrying” mode. Move rate across ground: 12 inch full move/6 inch half move.
(b). may be “launched” into the River Wye without movement penalty (e.g. if moving from “ground” to “river” within one move, the 1/60 models are allowed to “jump in” the boat without movement penalty and the move completed “on the water”)
(c). have a carrying capacity (in water) of one Section or equivalent eg. (1). Heavy Wpns (MMG or mortar) (2). HQ Group & AT Group/Rifle. There are five (5) assault boats per section, and therefore sufficient (if that is what a player chooses to do) to carry the entire infantry component of a Platoon with Hvy Wpns and AT Group/Rifle. Assault boats cannot carry Big Guns, Tanks, Armoured Cars or Cavalry. These can only cross the Wye on completed Pontoon Bridges.
(d). move rate on water: 1D6+6 inches. Boats are unaffected by current, winds, etc. and may generally be moved as if they were “trucks on water”. Occupants may fire from boat moving at this rate without penalty.
(e). may be “disembarked” from the River Wye without movement penalty (e.g. if moving from “water” to “ground” within one move, the 1/60 figures are allowed to “jump out” the boat without movement penalty and the move completed on land at the water movement rate)
(f). casualties to a Section do not affect the above rules. The effects of fire on a Section carrying/travelling within a boat are dealt with by the Morale Rules (e.g. Jumpy/Suppressed)

6. Scenario Special Rule : Firing on Assault Boats

Assault Boats may be fired upon (of special interest to HM Govt. players):

(a). boats are treated as unarmoured trucks for the purposes of being fired upon. Apply the same rules for working out casualties within the boat if it is hit by fire;
(b). boats may be destroyed by fire (“sunk”). Apply the same rules for working out casualties within the boat if it is sunk. Surviving 1/60 figures should be placed in an irregular circle around the “sunken” boat before it is removed from play and are deemed to be “swimming”.
(c). Movement rate for swimming figures: 3 inches in the direction of the player’s choice. Swimming figures should obey the “unit coherency” rules. It may be a long swim to the nearest river bank….
(d). All weapons save pistols are deemed lost to swimming figures. Each swimming figure is deemed to have a pistol. It may not be worth getting out of the water even if a river bank is reached….

7. Scenario Special Rule : Building Pontoon Bridges

Pontoon bridges (exclusively in Anglican & Allied hands):

(a). consist of four parts - entry ramp, pontoon one, pontoon two, exit ramp (“pontoon parts”) This replicates the three actual 1/60 scale pontoon bridges available (Airfix Pontoon Bridges widened for 1/60 scale tanks). A completed Pontoon Bridge is sufficient to cross the width of the 1/60 River Wye (2 feet wide);
(b). it consequently takes a minimum of four moves to build a Pontoon Bridge. One “pontoon part” per Pontoon Bridge may be laid per move;
(c). it takes one Section to build a Pontoon Bridge. Casualties to a Section do not affect their building ability. The effects of fire on a Section building a bridge are dealt with by the Morale Rules (e.g. Jumpy/Suppressed);
(d). “Pontoon parts” appear as if “by magic”, i.e there is no necessity to transport them to the water’s edge. Consequently, if a Section arrives at the water’s edge and their player declares “I’m laying a Pontoon part” (i.e. the entry ramp, in this example), the ramp becomes available to that section immediately, as if “by magic”. “Building a pontoon part” counts as a full action, e.g. that is the only activity the section can undertake that turn.
(e). A Section building a Pontoon bridge must be in physical proximity to the “pontoon part” being laid, e.g. at the water’s edge for the entry ramp, on the entry ramp itself to build pontoon one, on pontoon one to build pontoon two, on pontoon two to build the exit ramp.
(f). A player may “swap” a pontoon bridge building section by physically swapping figures around in accordance with the usual movement rules. This will allow a unit that is “jumpy” or “suppressed” to retreat from their bridge building duties and be replaced by a unit with higher morale/greater ability to “finish the job”, but at considerable cost in time and force ratio to the attacking player.
(g). once a Pontoon Bridge is finished, either side can of course “attack across it” if appropriate, according to the usual Big Game rules for combat.

8. Scenario Special Rule : Firing on Pontoon Bridges

Pontoon Bridges may be fired upon (of special interest to HM Govt. players):

(a). pontoon parts of pontoon bridges are treated as armoured cars for the purposes of being fired upon. Apply the usual rules for working out casualties on the pontoon part if it is hit by fire (e.g. a section standing on the relevant pontoon part);
(b). pontoon parts may be destroyed by fire (this applies even if and after a Pontoon Bridge has been ‘completed’). Apply the usual rules for working out damage to the pontoon part and casualties on the pontoon part if it is destroyed. Surviving 1/60 figures should be “retreated” and placed on the pontoon part immediately behind the destroyed pontoon part.

  
9. Scenario Special Rule : Smoke

(a). Sir Gilbert Hill has a special “additional unit” of three tanks (provided by the Umpires), armed only with smoke shells. All other players (and Sir Gilbert’s other tanks or artillery) may fire smoke shells. Sir Gilbert takes an extra initiative card per move for his “additional unit” of smoke shell tanks.
(b). Mortars cannot fire smoke shells. Only tanks and Big Guns.
(c). Dice for the prevailing wind (a). at the start of the Big Game (b). after lunch. This is undertaken by throwing an GW EM-4 direction die. There is no die for wind strength, which is constant.
(c). Fire smoke shells as per normal rules. A player must declare “firing smoke” before undertaking measuring/dicing etc.
(d). A smoke shell burst consists of a piece of white kapok on a DVD disk. Once a smoke shell is fired, place as per normal rules. Place a dice on said DVD disk turned to “3”. Each smoke burst lasts for 3 moves, with the die being turned back each move (to “2” and then “1”. After “1” the DVD disk is removed). Smoke bursts drift according to the prevailing wind at 6 inches per move. Smoke bursts are moved accordingly at the beginning of each turn, before any other actions.
(e). If a “smoke DVD” is between a firing unit and a unit being fired upon, the unit being fired upon counts as if in “soft cover”. This is the case irrespective of the firing unit, whether tank, big gun, infantry section or the like. The position of artillery observers makes no difference to this rule.
(f). if two “smoke DVDs” are between a firing unit and a unit being fired upon, the unit being fired upon counts as if in “hard cover”. This is the case irrespective of the firing unit, whether tank, big gun, infantry section or the like. The position of artillery observers makes no difference to this rule.

10. Scenario Special Rule: Anglican/Allied Special Artillery Ammunition

The Anglicans & Allies have a stock of “special artillery ammunition” for this game, increasing the range of the relevant “special” shell by (a scale) 3 feet. With this limited number of shells, Anglican guns will therefore be able to hit “anything on the table” (eg. the likely deployment of each forces’ guns, the width of the River Wye at 2 feet, the 8ft table, and the 4ft artillery range with observer).
After the Anglicans have used a “special shell” (represented by a plastic piece or appropriate card), however, it must be handed over to HM Govt forces, who may “fire it back” in succeeding turns as they wish, again turning over the card/shell representation to their opponents when they do so.
“Special” shells may be combined with “smoke” shells i.e. if a player wishes to fire a smoke shell over a very long distance, they can do so by obeying this and the “smoke” rule.

Finally - “Umpire Surprises”

The Umpires have some “surprises” up their sleeves, as usual. “Surprises” usually appear after lunch in a desperate umpire sponsored attempt to “rebalance” the game (if, as usual, it hasn’t quite worked out as they thought). Other “surprises” may be introduced for specific Platoons, in which case the Umpire will let the relevant Platoon player know by direct email in advance of the game, and tell the remaining players at the appropriate point during the game.


*****

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

AUTUMN BIG GAME 2018 - MARITIME MODELLING CHALLENGE (2)

Those "volunteers" taking part in the Maritime Modelling Challenge may wish additional inspiration (apart from Alan's photos in the last post) to "get on down" to the model boat yard. The "Junior General" homepage provides these helpful images:

(a). Boats

British "Stormboats" and "Assault Boats" of the late WW2 era. Although HM Govt might wish for one of these as a complimentary means of naval defence, it's rather doubtful that the Umpires would allow it - these Fast Motor Launches have more of a chance! If the BUF wish to liaise with "a foreign power", these Wehrmacht assault boats might make an appearance in a later "amphibious" game : Part 1Part 2 and Part 3.

(b). Pontoon Bridges

The same "Junior General" webpage provides a very detailed, illustrated look at how to build a "Bailey Bridge" : from Part 1 here to Part 7, yes Part 7 here. The Umpires are providing the pontoon bridges for the forthcoming Autumn Big Game 2018 ("Bridge over Trebbbled Water") and promise to keep 1/60 scale bridge building endeavours a lot simpler. Special scenario rules for bridge building, artillery fire, smoke, sinking assault boats and swimming/drowning Anglican infantry will be put up on the blog well before the day of the BIG GAME.

Monday, 17 September 2018

AUTUMN BIG GAME 2018 - MARITIME MODELLING CHALLENGE

At the last two Big Games - Autumn 2017 and Spring 2018 - a "modelling doggy bag" was available for collection by any volunteers within the Group, consisting of five (5) smaller plastic "assault boats" and one (1) large "Landing Craft". These had been picked up by the Umpires off Ebay in the summer of 2017 - don't say that we don't plan ahead!

A number of volunteers duly made off with their "doggy bag" of duff plastic (hey, they were cheap), hopefully with the intention of re-producing the boats, neatly painted and converted, whenever necessary.

Well, the time has finally come! The Autumn 2018 Big Game ("Bridge over Trebbbled Water") features an assaulting Anglican & Allies Force crossing the River Wye using those same assault boats. A later game (Autumn 2019 or Spring 2020 - we told you the Umpires plan ahead) will feature a Royalist/BUF Force using those same assault boats and Landing Craft in a contested beach assault. So it doesn't matter which side our volunteers are on : their "flotillas" know no masters!

Please don't ask : where on earth can the Umpires find a beach in the land-locked County of Herefordshire? The Umpires are endlessly resourceful, and all will be revealed in due course! (audience yawns).

Now, the original intention was to set out a post with detailed instructions on how the Assault Boats and Landing Craft should be converted. The intervention of camera problems has changed this intention, however, and for the better. This is the VBCW, after all, and the idea of a single, uniform conversion of any kind of boat was simply too "industrialised" a concept. We're into "homemade"!

So, the good news for our volunteers is: you can convert your plastic boats just as you wish! Please bear in mind the following pointer, however : the assault boats are just that, i.e. for conveying infantry and infantry support weapons across water. No "armour" please. No "5 different weapons platforms all round the boat, including 2 heavy lasers, etc..." It's just a simple assault boat. Ditto the landing-craft. Now cue a drum-roll:

Alan's Assault Boats
Alan, industrious as ever, has been the first volunteer to convert the contents of his doggy bag and passed on these photos of his conversions. Although Alan is best placed to give all the details, the essential steps for all of us are demonstrated, e.g:

(1). find said doggy bag of duff plastic in amongst your "to-do someday" modelling pile;
(2). remove and wash contents (the assault boats seem to have had a hard life);
(3). separate top (deck) section from bottom (hull) section by application of fingers and a little force
(4). create interior deck with plasticard or similar, scissors/knife and a file;
(5). fit and glue interior deck to interior of hull;
(6). add any extras inspiration and/or your bits box causes you to add (always bearing in mind that each boat should carry an infantry section of 10 men or equivalent, so not too crowded);
(7). paint or spray grey. Add any "weathering" wizardy that you want (or none at all) or any other painted details (e.g. Alan's brown decks and ship numbers - or none at all); 
(8). varnish and leave to dry;
(9). stand back and admire;
(10) pack in your kit to take to the Autumn Big Game 2018!! Don't forget!!

And that's it. Some further notes:

(1). The above is the minimum conversion. If you want to go further, be our guest. But please don't "waterline" the assault boats. The existing plastic bottoms are fine in terms of scale (the assault boats may well have to be dragged across the ground as well as "be in the water")
(2). Creating the "interior deck" can be fiddly for the first one, but once you're satisfied, that first "interior deck" serves as the template for the remainder, and its then "simples";
(3). the interior deck should be low enough so that 28mm figures placed within come up to about shoulder height on the sides of the assault boat. We don't have to be exact about this, so "whatever looks right" to you;
(4). when you're making your interior deck, you'll see that the bottom of the hull has two "channels" moulded in. These can be filled with Milliput or similar, which creates a nice feel of weight to the boat and also leaves the "bottom" flush and ready to receive your new interior deck.
(5). if you follow the above method, please don't throw away the "tops (or "deck")" section just yet. We might want to convert some of the "assault boats" into "patrol boats" for later scenarios and the deck might come in useful. Anyway, please don't throw it away.

Alan's Landing Craft
So much for the "assault boats". What about the rather larger "Landing Craft" within the same doggy bag?

More good news. For "Bridge over Trebbbled Water", the Autumn 2018 Big Game, we don't actually need the Landing Craft. We have (umpire converted and provided) Pontoon Bridges instead. You therefore don't have to do anything at all in relation to the "Landing Craft" at the moment, if you don't want to or don't have time. On the other hand, we will need the Landing Craft for the intended "Beach Assault" game, so you might want to do all the amphibious modelling work at the same time....

Alan's plastic doggy bag Landing Craft is in the centre of the above picture : numbered "LV8". Again, a simple conversion : the front bow has been cut from top deck to waterline (with a moveable "door" scratched to fit) and the rear has been altered to provide a new rear deck and cabin. Various small details have been added to complete the picture, and the finished conversion painted. That's it!

We can leave up to you how you want to achieve your own Landing Craft conversion. The only piece of conversion that is really necessary is the bow arrangement, as the existing "rear compartment" is perfectly serviceable if you don't want "crew figures" out in the open. If you want to figure out how to add a "landing ramp" to your Landing Craft, or put in an interior, please be our guest again....

If you're really keen, of course, there's nothing to stop you supplementing your Landing Fleet with other boats or scratchbuilds:

Alan's "rowboats"
Alan's Scratchbuilds
Alan's "Landing Fleet"
.....and then trying to persuade the Umpires that you can actually use such scratchbuilds in any particular scenario!

With many thanks to Alan for getting ahead on his conversions and providing the photographs. Any questions, please circulate same on the email Group!

Thursday, 13 September 2018

AUTUMN BIG GAME 2018 - GENERAL BRIEFING


AUTUMN BIG GAME 2018

"BRIDGE OVER TREBBBLED WATER"

THE GENERAL SITUATION

The Hereford 1938 AVBCW Campaign is so sweeping in geography (note 1), so fast moving in chronology (note 2), that it seems hardly any time at all since "The Great Cattle Rustle" in MORTIMER COUNTRY (see The Spring Big Game 2018 General Briefing and subsequent posts). Indeed, it isn't : our 1/60 scale campaign participants have hardly had time to draw breath and re-ammunition. It is but a fortnight or so later.

And a busy fortnight for all concerned.

The Not-so-Broad-Any-More Communist Front (prop: Comrade Professor Winters, aka Rob) remain in the north-west of the County, grouped in the general area around KINGTON, PRESTEIGNE, KNIGHTON and BRAMPTON BRYAN. Having previously and triumphantly broken through HM Government's long standing Siege Lines at KINGTON (see The Autumn Big Game 2017 Overview), the Red Horde are said to be "licking their wounds" after subsequently failing to capture WIGMORE HALL (notwithstanding an unprecedented 3:1 numerical advantage), the principal seat of "independent LDV" authority within Mortimer Country. Comrade Professor Winters has denounced such talk as "reactionary propaganda", preferring to claim that his fanatical troops are "licking only their captured ice creams" and engaging in such necessities as re-arming, re-provisioning, re-selecting and "re-educating" (the last not being confined to enemy prisoners, but including social democrats, socialist democrats, democratic socialists, trade unionists, ideological deviationists, and indeed anyone that does not fervently believe in the historically inevitable advance of the vanguard of the Red Revolution under the eternally wise leadership of Comrade Winters, ably "assisted" by Comrade Gollumroo (aka Roo) and the Comintern).
The "historically inevitable advance of the vanguard of the Red Revolution" at The Battle of Wigmore.
A Communist Armoured Hedgerow Breaching Vehicle ("AHBV") leads the Reds into battle....



























....only to finish up crashed into the Wigmore Hall Cricket Pavilion, its crew and
accompanying infantry destroyed,  the AVHB itself set alight by "friendly fire"
from a Communist 18pdr. Spies! Agent Provocateurs! Fifth columnists!
 A filthy capitalist plot, no doubt.....
The Anglican League (prop: Captain-General Jermingham aka Mort) remain in both the south-east and north-east of the County, their previous advances - apparently - temporarily(?) stifled.

In the south-east, with his Strategic Command Post safely quartered in ROSS-ON-WYE, the Captain-General himself anxiously eyes his northern battlefront, situated roughly along the line HOARWITHY to WOOLHOPE. Morale has not quite recovered from his regrettable absence at the recent Anglican Raid into MORTIMER COUNTRY, nor its somewhat embarrassing cause. The Captain-General, his long anticipated "return to action" in MORTIMER COUNTRY having been trumpeted with enthusiasm from church pulpits across the County (in advance of the Spring Big Game 2018), instead found himself strangely absent from the field of valour. Some say that this was due to "inclement weather" (note 3) while others tell of the Captain-General's Field Column having to "ask directions of a local" as to the whereabouts of WIGMORE HALL, and being directed not into MORTIMER COUNTRY, but towards CENTRAL LONDON (note 4). Truly unfortunate that the Field Column asked directions of an opera loving agricultural type (or BUF spy). It is said that the Captain-General's "advance on Wigmore Hall" foundered somewhere around the outskirts of Royalist-held GLOUCESTER amidst the very distant strains of Gotterdamerung.....

Wigmore Hall, Wigmore Street, Marylebone. A concert hall, not a Herefordshire battlefield.
After being so comprehensively misdirected, Captain-General Jermingham saw neither...
In the north-east, with his Strategic Command Post safely quartered in LUDLOW CASTLE, the Bishop of Ludlow (aka Clive) mutters as to the slow progress of his famed (at least in his own diary) "A49 Thrust" southward towards HEREFORD. Having reached the deer park of BERRINGTON HALL itself as a result of the Battle of Berrington Approaches (see the Bishop's Broadcasting Service's account), the Anglican lines so remain there. The westward Raid into MORTIMER COUNTRY, undertaken partly to stifle the Not So Broad Communist Front's own advance and partly to assuage the love of "The Shropshire Swain" (former ward of the Bishop) for Miss Nemone Mortimer-Wagstaffe (step-daughter of Sir Barrington Patchpole KC, leader of the Mortimer Country LDV) proved not to be a success, but a mere distraction from the urgent business of capturing the important County town of LEOMINSTER. Notwithstanding the able leadership of the Bishop of Lichfield (aka Tym) and the somewhat less able leadership of the Shropshire Swain and his Anglican Staff College Advisers (aka Clive, again), the undermanned Ecclesiastical Raiding Parties failed to capture "the true" WIGMORE HALL, suffered (once again) the massacre of the Ludlow Light Lancers (reformed after their similarly comprehensive annihilation at The Battle of Eardisley), and generally escaped with only a few MORTIMER COUNTRY pigs and cattle...

The Ludlow Light Lancers.
Re-formed. Re-Organised. Re-Painted.
Re-Massacred.
With their enemies thus momentarily(?) confused, if not yet confounded, are the County members of HM Government (prop. Lord de Braose, Governor and Warden of the Marches, aka JP) celebrating? Far from it. The British Union of Fascists (prop. Captain Arrowsmith aka Rich) is in utter confusion. Bad enough that Captain Arrowsmith has "gone AWOL" (as to which, the Capital & Counties Tearoom remains alive with gossip); bad enough that the newly promoted Group Leader Giles (aka Giles) has been distracted by lingering wounds and a rumoured re-location of barracks; bad enough that their loyal foreign allies, the Politically Confused Spanish Nationalist Monarchist Fascist Catholics (aka J), seem to have foundered somewhere in the Bristol Channel; the worst that the Government's wily diplomatist-in-chief, Major Straitt-Jackett (aka Alan), was "truly exploded" on active service in MORTIMER COUNTRY. It is said that, even if he survived the explosion, Major Straitt-Jackett will "never quite be the same" and may not even "return to operations" (other than of great length and difficulty, upon what remains of his person). With the leadership of the BUF in such disarray, and HM Government's battle lines in danger of contracting into the confined triangle of LEOMINSTER-HEREFORD-LEDBURY, to whom can HM Government (together with its various allied LDVs) look for battle leadership? The famous Lord Grover (aka JP, again), renowned for having once destroyed an enemy tank with nothing but his sword, seems to have returned to his country estates. That hard-riding, devil-may-care swashbuckler of a South African, Stokkies Joubert (aka Roo, again), seems to have scattered his commando and taken to a life of careless ease in the 'watering holes' of HEREFORD. After a desperate call for "substantial reinforcements" from the Hereford Shire Hall, Edward VIII has despatched merely one out of favour staff officer, the unknown quantity that is Lieutenant Everard (aka Alan, again). Perhaps the entire fate of Edwardian Herefordshire now depends upon a brand new hero, Major Sir James Barleycorn, MC (aka Tom) the undoubted victor of the Battle of Mortimer Country. Having held off three attacking Communist Platoons with only one Mortimer LDV Platoon throughout the course of that battle, can the newly promoted and freshly decorated Barleycorn MC demonstrate similar heroics in other parts of the County?

Barleycorn MC (aka Tom) at the conclusion of his unprecedented defensive fight at the Spring Big Game 2018.
 It is said that, of all the recent promotions and decorations in recognition of his achievements,
none has given Barleycorn MC greater pleasure than the award of "The Wigmore Bunny"
by a grateful local population (aka The Umpires, to general player acclamation)
The Hereford1938 AVBCW Campaign thus remains delicately poised. As the Fleet Street military correspondents (and their bookmakers) have it : the game's afoot, and it's anybody's game.

But not anybody's family.

The redoubtable Sir Gilbert Hill (aka Doug), Herefordshire's answer to John D. Rockefeller/Alphonse Capone [insert somebody slightly controversial -ed.], is famously fond of his family.

And now his nephew, Chief Superintendent Ronald Bigsworth-Hill, (aka Doug, again) is in mortal danger. And still somewhere in MORTIMER COUNTRY.

The many avid readers of the Hereford1938AVBCW Blog will recall that, "but a fortnight ago", the gallant Bigsworth-Hill "answered the call of Wigmore" and rushed to the defence of Sir Barrington Patchpole KC and his family (aka JP, again) against the simultaneous assaults of the Communist Front, the Anglican League and HM Government.

A panoramic shot of the Wiltshire Police Flying Column,
under the command of Chief Superintendant Bigsworth-Hill,
gallantly preparing to defend Mortimer Country.
The same legions of readers will further recall that the said Sir Barrington sensibly/infanously/treacherously then "did a squalid deal" with the forces of HM Government in order to repel the assaults of the Communists and the Anglicans upon his previously independent fiefdom. The precise terms of such "deal" may yet be in dispute (Sir Barrington beware), but the potential results for his former loyal ally and equally former BUF Storm Leader (2nd class, deserted), the very same Bigsworth-Hill, are much to be feared. The BUF have a particularly nasty, not to say final, way with deserters from their cause....and Ronald has consequently "gone into hiding".

Sir Gilbert is a criminal psychopath/respectable businessman sensible chap. He knows that to rescue his nephew, Ronald, from his hiding place in MORTIMER COUNTRY will be difficult. He knows that to do so, he will require all the might of his famed "Golden Valley Invincibles" and the full support of his historic allies, the Anglican League, together with his own new recruits, Chief Kansan O'Flynn and his tribal supporters. All that Sir Gilbert and his allies have to do, however, is draw HM Government forces towards them in the south of the County by crossing the RIVER WYE and advancing north. With his encirclement by the newly distracted HM Government forces thus broken, Chief Superintendant Ronald Bigsworth-Hill can then make his escape in good order...

"But that's impossible!" exclaimed the Anglican Staff Officer. "A contested crossing? Under fire? Assault boats and pontoon bridges? Why, the WYE is even now at full spate! With the recent rains, it's three times its usual width! Treble the difficulty! Even if it isn't impossible, it's never been done before - at least not outside of Hollywood!!!"

"Why honeychile, you're almost so right..." drawled Miss Sweetmeat, Sir Gilbert's very very personal secretary. "Lord de Braose, that deah boy, will never expect it. And that's just why it can be done....."

Can the Golden Valley Invincibles and their Anglican allies pull off their daring plan? Is the RIVER WYE ready for (homemade) assault boats and hurriedly assembled (converted Airfix) pontoon bridges? Will HM Government rally their presently almost leaderless troops and see off Sir Gilbert? Can Ronald Bigsworth-Hill be saved from capture and the gallows? Can Chief Kansan O'Flynn even swim?

All these dramatic questions, and more, can only be answered by participation in the AUTUMN 2018 AVBCW BIG GAME, "Bridge over Trebbbled Water", at the BURLEY GATE VILLAGE HALL, SATURDAY 13TH OCTOBER 2018, 10AM - 5PM!!! 

Notes

Note (1) : not quite so sweeping, actually. With a few limited but necessary "historical" anomalies, the Hereford1938AVBCW campaign is actually confined to the boundaries of the County of Herefordshire, an area of 842 square miles.

Note (2) : the "chronology" of the Hereford1938AVBCW campaign has always been deliberately left rather vague, best expressed as "a year in real time roughly equates to a month in campaign time". With two "Big Games" a year, the campaign interval between "battles" is thus about a fortnight. The campaign has just passed its sixth anniversary "in real time", but the "starting campaign month" has never quite been articulated. If this timeline is considered generally acceptable, and May 1937 considered the starting point of both the national and County VBCW, we may not yet even be in 1938, but only preparing to celebrate Christmas 1937...scary. 

Note (3) : it actually was. Strange now to think that the Spring Big Game 2018 took place against the background of heavy (and unseasonable) snowfalls, making long journeys very difficult and unpredictable. It is not only in the Hereford AVBCW that the weather plays unexpected tricks on the population....

Note (4) : full details of the historic Wigmore Hall in Central London can be found here.

Friday, 8 June 2018

HM GOVERNMENT PRESS CONFERENCE CHAOS

Staff Commander A.D. Mann, official spokesman for H.M.Government's "Warden of the Marches", Lord de Braose, today gave a press conference at the Shire Hall, Hereford. In attendance were a number of representatives of the international news agencies and a gentleman from "The Times".

The Shire Hall, Hereford. It was up these steps that the press representatives
climbed to listen to Staff Commander A.D.Mann's Press Conference within. The
Union Jack flies above, indicating that Hereford is still "proudly loyal" to
HM Edward VIII (copyright, BUF Press Bureau)
Staff Commander Mann cleared his throat and read a statement:

(1). HM Government wished to express their utmost admiration for the heroism of Captain James Barleycorn, Commander, 1st Wigmore LDV (temporarily attached), at the recent Battle of Wigmore Hall. Facing no less than three so-called Communist "armies" to the west flank of Wigmore Hall and consequently severely outnumbered, the 1st Wigmore LDV nevertheless defended their positions with "patriotic integrity" and "extreme tenacity", ignoring both offers of reserves and the prospect of a tactical retreat toward the Hall itself. HM Government desired to convey His Majesty's personal admiration of Captain Barleycorn's courageous stand against the King's enemies, represented not only by an immediate advance in his regular rank and the award of the Military Cross, but also the grant of a baronetcy. Henceforward, Captain Barleycorn was entitled to the name and style of "Major Sir James Barleycorn MC";   

[polite round of applause from assembled representatives of the press.
Mutters in various languages : "he's done well for himself, hasn't he?"/
"that's one right in the eye for Sir Barrington, sure enough"]

(2). Storm Commander Giles had now fully recovered from his wounds received at the Battle of Berrington Approaches. In recognition of his gallant conduct at the said Battle, together with his courage and tenacity at the subsequent Battle of Wigmore Hall, leading his troops by personal example while still very much "under the weather", HM Govt. was pleased to confirm his promotion to BUF Group Leader, his seniority being backdated to the commencement of the action at Berrington.

[further polite round of applause from assembled representatives of the press.
Stifled yawns in various languages : "Is this it?"]

(3). HM Govt "now regretted to confirm" that Major Strait-Jackett, equally gallant Government commander at the Battles of Berrington Approaches and Wigmore Hall, had indeed been 'severely injured' in the course of the latter battle and was presently undergoing 'a special course of treatment' for such injuries. No future date has as yet been fixed for the gallant Major's "return to duties", nor would further comment be made "at this time". 

[Stifled commotion within the press ranks. Muffled cries - in various
 languages - of "twister!"/"tell us the truth, why don't you!"/
"come on, we've all seen that photograph!"]

(4). HM Govt was "nevertheless pleased to confirm" the appointment of Lt. Richard Everard, former Assistant Equerry (Military) to Queen Wallis herself, as the acting replacement, with full command authority, for the late the said Major Strait-Jackett [aggressive shuffling within the press ranks]. A brief record of Lt. Everard's personal background and previous service to the Crown [hoots of derision] was immediately to be made available:

"Lt. Richard Everard. Charterhouse and Sandhurst. After obtaining his commission, Lt. Everard was posted to India where his first action was to take part in the hunt for the Chittagong Armoury raiders. Serving with the 14th Field Company, he was then involved in suppressing the Saya San Rebellion in Burma in 1932, before being posted to Palestine, where he fought with the Royal Scots Fusiliers at the Battle of Anabta in June 1936. Upon the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Lt. Everard resigned his commission to serve with the Carlist Requetes fighting in support of the Nationalist cause, and was awarded the Cross of Military Merit by General Franco. Lt. Everard returned to this country after the "present troubles" began, immediately resumed his commission and was shortly thereafter appointed Assistant Equerry to the Queen. Personal : Lt. Everard
happens to be related to the late the said Major Strait-Jackett, whose mother was the sister
of the late Deidre Warming-Knightley, grandmother to Lt. Everard. Clubs : East India. Polo Club."

[outbreak of derisive laughter - in various languages - from the assembled
press corps. Cries of "what d'you take us for ?" "we all know he got too
close to the Queen, come on!" "We've been to the embassy parties!". Loud
comment from the foreign editor of Le Matin : "C'est petit "Richard", le 
favorit 'frou-frou' de la Reigne de Bretagne!" Immediate demands from the
the monolingual representatives of the "Nishinippon Shimbun" and the
"Frankfurter Zeitung" for a translation of 'le petit frou frou"..
 UNIVERSAL CLAMOUR]

Staff Commander Mann responds uncertainly to the anger of the international press corps.
Perhaps such uncertainty is the explanation for what happened next...
(5). The announcement of Lt. Everard's appointment concludes the Press Conference. There being no further business.....

"Nonsense!" "What about Arrowsmith then, hmmm?"
"Where's the gold reserves, Staff Commander?
Tell us why the King's sending Everard to the front !
What on earth is a frou-frou?
ETC. ETC."

As the Press Conference dissolved into unexpected chaos and a scatter of loud insults, Monsignor Alfredo Borgia, the "news delegate" of "L'Osservatore Romano"/"Vatican News" rose portentously to his feet, shouting first in English:

"I ACCUSE this Government of an offence against the laws of God and Nature!
I accuse this Government of hiding the truth!
I accuse your Leader and his minions of 
chopping and stitching and re-animating 
the exploded corpse of Major Strait-Jackett!
I accuse you all of consorting with
THE UNDEAD!

and then switching into French, outstretched finger pointing directly at the already befuddled Staff Commander:

"MONSIEUR, J'ACCUSE!"

[Sudden silence. General horror in various languages.]

In the years to come, notwithstanding the many hundreds of volumes of history and biography dealing with the Hereford VBCW on the library bookshelves, none could quite explain the immediate reaction of Staff Commander A.D.Mann:

A surprising admission - was it really an admission? - from the Government Press Spokesman.
The incident will be argued about for years to come.
PS. With many thanks to Alan for Lt. Everard's CV and "social history".

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

GOSSIP FROM THE CITY & COUNTY!

Gossip, rumour, small talk, chatter, scandal; call it what you will. Hard by the Old House in High Town, amidst the nodding cloche hats and polite chink of teacups, Hereford's City & County Dining & Refreshment Rooms remains the "central exchange" of intelligence in the County's VBCW. But what is hard information and what mere gossip? Perhaps only the most seasoned intelligence agents can tell - and there are said to be plenty of such types (of all factions and interests) crammed into our packed and chintz lined tearoom. But part the fronds of that aspidistra, peer through the haze of cigarette smoke, and listen in....

(1). News from the capital - yet another censorship crackdown! HM Government are hunting for the secret printing presses of "Private Parts" magazine and the person of its elusive editor, Mr William Tell. It is said that the special ire of the Government's Chief Censor has been aroused by reports that the magazine has finally obtained full colour photographic proof of Major Strait-Jackett's "course of treatment" in Woolwich following his "explosive end" at the Battle of Wigmore Hall (blogposts passim):

The stitched together remains of Major Strait-Jackett on the operating table at the Special Hospital for Investigation of Trauma, Woolwich. (photo: courtesy "Private Parts" Magazine)
(2). Speaking of printing presses: Colonel Mustard's Memoirs have been published in their full and unexpurgated (i.e. fully illustrated) version within the Liverpool Free State! Well, I never! Copies are bound to be circulating in Herefordshire soon! So that's why we haven't seen Daphne Parker - Boales of late! Any why Lady Edie Minty-Batton couldn't preside at the Flower Show! For all that to be dragged up again by those ghastly Reds, and after all that dear, darling Lady de Braose has suffered....

(3). We shouldn't worry so about Lady de Braose, you know. She's sworn to repair her social disgrace by avenging herself on Comrade Professor Winters - and any snivelling Commie fellow-traveller that dare to stand in her way. Some say that Winters quite "lost his head" when he ordered publication of Mustard's memoirs. Well, Lady de Braose has armed herself with an antique Japanese sword and publicly announced that : "I won't be satisfied until I've taken that head myself"! It was in "The Hereford Times" last week, didn't you see? "A Blow for Womens' Emancipation" - rather a double edged headline, I thought. Much like that Japanese sword, so I hear. And so typical - his mother gave him a nice Christian name like William and now he prefers the proletarian "Bill"! Huh!

(4). And speaking of heads...who would have thought that CBS's Borneo correspondent would have "faked up" that Arrowsmith story! The gall of the man! And there's nothing in all those rumours about the ROF Rotherwas explosion either; no, not at all. Everyone knows that Captain Arrowsmith made off with the reserves of the Bank of England, and buried what he couldn't carry. Handed over all those bearer bonds to the German Chancellor personally, so he did, in exchange for a position within the Reich "commensurate with his talents"! Well, of course, he should have been so much more careful with his negotiations:

Captain Arrowsmith's first English edition of "Nazi Caravan (incorporating Extreme Right Wing Motorhome)"
It can safely be assumed that the former "Colossus of the Herefordshire Far Right" had greater aspirations than a
 second career, based in a suburb of Munich, as a humble translator of Aryan "lifestyle magazines". Sic transit...
(5). Of course it's true. Why, it's said that the Inland Revenue is sequestrating Arrowsmith's assets even as we speak: HM Government is determined to make some kind of recovery! And the King himself is flying to Madresfield at weekends, joining in the hunt for all those gold bars that Arrowsmith is said to have buried somewhere within the Three Counties!

(6). Do you think it's been raining so hard in Munich? We've never known weather like it here in Hereford. Why, the Wye is now so high it's threatening to break it's banks....

(7). So that's why Stokkies Joubert has finally vacated "The Nelson Suite" at the City Arms Hotel! Aunt Agatha heard him say that he was "going on commando again" (although it's quite possible that she misheard, and that Stokkies simply announced that he was "going commando again"). Apparently he and his men are patrolling the the right bank of the Wye all the way from Hereford to Hay....d'you think they are on some kind of flood watch?

(8). Speaking of absentees - following his unexplained disappearance, Captain Arrowsmith's friends and allies are in deepest disgrace! His Chief Scientific Adviser, that notorious Whitechapel scientific tinkerer and hopeless cider addict, Professor Dave Ross (pronounced, in a Herefordshire burr, as plain "Davros") has been banished from Hereford and incarcerated on an island in the middle of Bodenham Lake! There, Viscount Hereford will be able to keep an eye on him from his breakfast table at Hampton Court!

Hopelessly tainted by his association with the absent Captain Arrowsmith and showing all the signs
 of advanced cider addiction, Professor Dave Ross has fallen from His Majesty's grace. After their
 unexpected introduction at the Battle of Bredwardine Bridge and the subsequent copyright
 infringement action by Lord Reith's BBC lawyers, his plans for more 
"independent armoured pepperpots" may now never be realised.
(9). Well, Professor Ross' plans may be one thing, but have you heard about Sir Gilbert recruiting natives? Well, I never! Whatever next! There has certainly been some strange goings-on within the Golden Valley of late! D'you think they've done some kind of rain-dance? Anyway, he can't be himself, poor man, what with all those worries about his relative, Superintendent Ronald Bigsworth-Hill, so cruelly abandoned to his fate by Sir Barrington Patchpole KC's sudden alliance with HM Government and the BUF (blogposts passim).

(10). I hear that dear, dear Sir Gilbert has convened a meeting of his allies at Goodrich Castle. D'you think he's planning a rescue mission for poor Superintendent Bigsworth-Hill? All the senior Anglican commanders are said to be travelling to Goodrich right now....

TO BE CONTINUED.....  

HM GOVERNMENT HEALTH WARNING:
ADVANCED CIDER ADDICTION
IS BAD FOR YOUR COMPLEXION