This Thursday we should be playing our first game of a Very British Civil War using the Warhammer Great War rule adaptions posted on the excellent Gentlemen's Wargames Parlour. I've set out our stall 'covering' the war in and around Basingstoke which is the area Tom lives in and close to both Nick and I. Also it seems to be an area little covered so far by those making up the history of this war apart from one small mention in the Southern Source Book of Basingstoke being independent in the early days of the war, and then being captured by a column of government troops from Reading.
For those of you who don't know the Very British Civil War - it is a fictitious war set in the interwar years in Britain where Edward does not abdicate to marry Mrs Simpson, but instead turns to the British Union of Fascists to support him. The country is turned upside down by this and in a scenario similar to the Spanish Civil War, war breaks out across the country with various factions and groups attempting their own agenda. The VBCW books do not give you a set of rules - you simply play with whatever set you like which are appropriate. Likewise, apart from the broad storyline to the war, it is up to you to determine what actually happens, and much of the 'history' of what is happening is being mapped out by clubs and wargamers around the country playing it out on the tabletop. Most of them are covering the areas they know and live in, researching the local areas in 1938, and putting colour into the books.
My aim is that we should start a campaign based on this period and covering the attempt by Mosley's men to capture Basingstoke. So as a pre-cursor to that campaign I decided to kick it off with a quick pre-campaign battle using my new terrain boards and to see how the rules work. My aim is that in someway the start of the campaign will be coloured by the outcome of this battle.....
So here's the briefing for Tom playing the Basingstoke Defence Force:
After a period of phony war, the relative peace of Basingstoke has been broken by rioting in the town between local elements of the British Union of Fascists and workers from the Thornycroft Factory. Rioting quickly escalated from fists; to clubs and sticks; to guns and in the last exchange a number of local children were caught up in the gunfire and killed and injured. The local people rose up and placed the blame for the atrocities at the door of the Fascists. Things quickly escalated with a number of BUF members killed and the rest fleeing the town north towards Reading.
Recently word has reached you that these local BUF sympathizers have persuaded the local BUF Legion commander to try to retake the town for the Government. As a precursor for this attempt, a small advanced guard of fascist troops has been reported leaving Reading heading south apparently to try and capture a crossing over the River Broadwater, south of Stratfield Saye. The local defence committee of Basingstoke has ordered that you stop this thrust and hold the bridge.
While you know that it is important to give the Fascists a bloody nose, you also know that it is important that you do not lose too many men from your command. In these early days of the war, unacceptably high losses are not something which will sit well with the local people and could be disastrous for the coming conflict and how likely it is that Basingstoke can remain independent.
The forces at your disposal include two platoons from the local Stratfield defence unit and a small unit from the local lord of the manor Lord Grey who has agreed to place his men at your disposal. Most importantly, you have two (hopefully) very effective platoons of Territorial Army troops and even a Vickers Heavy machinegun which you can count on. Rather more uncertain in quality are a couple of platoons of New Massagainians – units raised from the brewing industry and consequently somewhat temperamental….. but they have promised to come to your aid and are currently on rout in trucks as long as they don’t stop at too many pubs along the way. Also you have two roadblocks which can be placed anywhere on the table.
Major Victory: Hold the bridge over the River Broadwater until the end of turn 10 and don’t suffer more than 25% losses
Minor Victory: Hold the bridge over the River Broadwater until the end of turn 10 but suffer 25-50% losses
Minor Victory: Inflict more than 50% loses to the Fascist forces attacking
Any other result is a defeat.
HQ - Colonel Cusack with a SMG and grenades and 4 soldiers with rifles and grenades - all stubborn. One man has the standard of the Basingstoke Defence Force.
Local Defence Company (Militia)
HQ of a Captain with 2 soldiers with pistol and rifles
2 Platoons of 8 men with rifles
Local TA Unit (treated as veterans):
HQ of a Captain and 4 men with rifles and grenades
2 platoons of 10 men with rifles and platoons
HMG and 4 crew.
Lord Grey and his household:
5 men with shotguns who gain a +2 morale if within 12 inches of their manor house.
A Company of New Massagainians (Militia)
HQ of a captain and 4 men with rifles
2 platoons of 10 men with rifles
AT gun and 4 crew
All in cars and trucks and entering from turn 2 onwards unless a 5 or 6 on a d6 is thrown in which case they are delayed a turn.
The Massagainians are a throwback to a period in Victorian Basingstoke where the local brewing interest rioted against the Salvation Army when they arrived in the town. The Riot Act was quite literally read in Basingstoke and to reflect their support for the brewing industry, I have formed this unit from those who work in and around the trade. However to reflect this, they have a special rule. On any turn when a Massagainian unit doesn't more, fire or fight, you must roll a d6 for the unit. On a roll of 6 they have cracked open the beers and are then considered Fanatical for the next three turns. If however, they throw two 6s in successive turns, they become insensible with drink and need to sober up - they are then nolonger fanatical and cannot move or fire next turn.