Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Very British Civil War - thoughts

Says it all! Image credit - 6milphil.

A few years ago I belonged to the same wargames club as Nigel Higgins, founder of Anglian Models. We chatted about a new phenomenon that had arisen in the wargames world - A Very British Civil War. Nigel was happy about sales of his excellent SCW figures, but seemed bemused by the number of gamers buying them for AVBCW. I asked if he'd thought of putting out a range specifically for the period, and he said he'd discounted the idea. “Why put so much time and effort into something which might be a flash in the pan?” he said.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill – 'Some flash! Some pan!'

This mythical era has proved it has legs. I've been tempted by it for some time, but my attentions were diverted by many other things. Now I have a little time, I can turn to it once more.
* * *
Back in 1935 English local administrative boundaries changed, and my part of the County of Norfolk became Blofield & Flegg Rural DistrictCouncil.

VBCW canon accepts that most of East Anglia fell under the sway of the Anglican League, with Norwich declaring itself a Free City, Great Yarmouth a Free Port, and Kings Lynn being taken over by the British Union of Fascists (BUF). Blofield & Flegg would fall under the Anglican League, but the increased imposition of tithes to support the League's war effort would make their hold unpopular in some quarters, especially as there was a strong socialist feeling in the farm-worker population.

Historically the BUF did make an appearance in Norfolk in support of local farmers who fought the imposition of Church of England tithes (known as 'Queen Anne's Bounty') on their land and produce. Such support faded quickly when the local constabulary (usually a single copper!) moved them on.

I can see an alternate history where the BUF were far more militant, fighting Anglican League troops to protect the farmers - for which protection the BUF would naturally expect to be paid in produce! Equally, I can see the farmers and the local community quickly becoming fed-up with both sides and taking matters of defense into their own hands, in the manner of the Clubmen of the previous Civil Wars.

My VBCW plan is for two platoon-sized forces to begin with, one each of BUF (Boo! Hiss!), and Anglican League. Eventually I'll add a platoon of Local Defense Volunteers. 

As Norfolk has a history of good horse-rearing, all sides will have a cavalry contingent. Armoured vehicles will be kept to a minimum. They're rare, expensive, and an increasing shortage of fuel as the war progresses will make them hard to keep going. I also feel they detract from the flavor of the game. I want to fight skirmishes between various small factions - not the Kursk Salient in miniature.   

Equipment-wise, all sides will have access to surplus WW1 stuff, the British Army's tin hat being predominant, perhaps drawn from souvenirs of service during the Great War. 

All this to come. Watch this space...


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

Interesting. Don't forget that there was quite a considerable manufacturing capability in Norfolk besides farming (e.g. the railway works at Melton Constable made shells etc., during WW1 and Boulton & Paul in Norwich built aircraft) so both sides might get access to some heavy kit.

All the best,


A J said...

Thanks, Bob. Yes, Boulton & Paul produced aircraft for decades, right up to the 1960's, so they'd be a definite war asset. I didn't know the railway works at Melton produced shells. They'd certainly be a prime candidate for producing armoured trains. =)


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