Monday, June 25, 2012

AVBCW - Unit Flags

Here are the flags for the principal units that'll be involved in my VBCW gaming.

First up, the Socialist Militia. 

Cooperating with - but not controlled by! - the above is the Socialist Women's Alliance. Their banner includes the angled arrows of the 1930's European anti-Fascist movements. 

The Flegg Fencibles Local Defence Volunteers have a relatively sedate flag, based loosely on an Elizabethan-era army standard. 

The red Cross of St. George shows their patriotism, whilst avoiding any kind of links to the notorious Edward VIII.

* * *
I hoped to play the next Raid on the Tembe scenario in my Colonial campaign setting this week, but family matters are going to eat up my time. With any luck I'll be able to fight out the encounter next week. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

AVBCW - Local Defence Volunteers

And so to the stalwart defenders of home and hearth, the Local Defence Volunteers. Much like the Clubmen of a previous civil war, the LDV are determined to stay neutral in the conflict tearing the country apart.
This is a platoon of the Flegg Fencibles, raised from the area covered by the Blofield & Flegg District Council. Some of their number are WW1 veterans. The majority are new recruits who've never seen war, eager to do their bit.

They are organized simply in four sections of ten, with a three-man platoon command. They wear a mixture of civilian and military clothing, with equipment derived either from the member's service in WW1, or gear issued to a Territorial Army soldier or Yeoman, who has decided to defend his home instead of the bullying government of some upstart monarch. 

Weaponry consists of Lee-Enfield rifles and shotguns, with the odd pistol for officer and NCOs. They lack LMGs and support weapons, but hope to acquire these soon. 

Their standard is based in part upon an Elizabethan-era flag, with the "F F" for Flegg Fencibles picked out in gold by doting womenfolk.

Again, all figures are Pendraken Miniatures from their Interwar AVBCW range. I hope to add cavalry, support weapons and an armored vehicle for each side in the fullness of time as funds permit. In the meantime I'm steadily working on making scenery for this scale. One thing I will add sometime is a railway track, N-gauge being appropriate for this scale.

All being well I'll resume the Raid on the Tembe mini-campaign some time next week. The next cards have been drawn, giving Captain Pike the services of a local guide to the next way point - the Rev. Jenkin's Mission.   

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Very British Civil War - Socialist militia platoon

My order from Pendraken Miniatures arrived a couple of weeks ago, and I got busy painting 'em up. First off the block is the Socialist militia platoon...

...these lads and lasses are eager volunteers from the towns and cities, willing to do their part to reform society along more egalitarian lines - at the point of a gun if necessary.

Their uniforms are basically blue dungarees supplied by collectivized clothing factories in their hometown. A smart red "cheesecutter" cap shows their allegiance and solidarity with their comrades fighting in Spain. The platoon standard is based on an International Socialist banner, and reads British Socialists with a central motif showing a combined wheat-ear and cogwheel around a raised fist.

To the right of the picture is the women's platoon. They have their own banner which reads SWA for Socialist Women's Alliance. The two arrows allude to the anti-fascist insignia popular across Europe. Their colors are red, for socialism, and gold and silver, reflecting a recent speech by Annie Lee, Manchester's first socialist woman alderman, in which she said "Who needs gold and silver? Women are the true wealth of the world!"

Organization: The platoon has four sections of twelve, with a three person command element. It lacks light machine guns and support weapons, but there's every hope of acquiring these in the near future.

The figures are all from Pendraken's SCW range. The women's section commander and standard bearer were - ahem! - modified from male figurines using strategically-placed drops of filler.

I like the figures. They're clean-cast, easy to paint (I can work up a whole section in a couple hours), and easy to store. 

Next up, the Local Defence Volunteers, motto - Adepto mea terra -  Get off my land! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Relief of Pond's Landing

And so, at last, to the second of the battles fought in the Raid on the Tembe mini-campaign. The previous encounter saw the British column victorious after engaging the defenders of a Ukrazi tribe village. A day or so farther on, and a different situation has arisen.

That incorrigible merchant-adventurer Willoughby Pond, Esq, succeeded in establishing a trading emporium on the shores of the might Ukrazi River. Utilizing an abandoned Arab house on land owned by the friendly Kumyonda tribe, he surrounded it with a palisade and built a go-down (warehouse) and jetty for the goods which soon began to flow through his business.

Unfortunately for Pond, the Ukrazi tribe disputes ownership of the land. Furthermore, they had issued a warning to Pond the previous year detailing exactly what would happen to him should they catch him on "their" turf again. A recent defeat at Pond's hands notwithstanding, the Ukrazi are still sore at this upstart white interloper - and Pond no longer has his infernal battle machine with him...

Cut now to the British column, plodding its weary way through Africa's infernal heat. Captain Fred Pike of the Barsetshire Regiment is satisfied at the performance of most of his men so far, although one signally failed to come up to snuff. 

Lance-Corporal Powell, previously known as "Nosher" for his voracious appetite, now has the alternate nickname of "Moses." Pike, the adopted son of a Church of England parson, named the hapless non-com thus, for like the Biblical patriarch, Powell "wandered forty days and nights in the wilderness," after taking the wrong path to the previous skirmish, and failed to show up until the battle was well over.

It could've had serious repercussions in the fight. Powell's section formed a third of the composite platoon's numbers and half of its best fighting strength. Needless to say, Captain Pike resolved to make sure Powell wouldn't get lost in future.

Around mid-morning, the sound of sporadic gunfire begins to carry on the south-easterly breeze. "What do you think that's in aid of, Sergeant?" Pike asked CSM Harrington. 

Harrington pushed his pith helmet back on his head and gazed in the direction of the distant river. "I suspect it's coming from half a dozen or so muskets, sir. The timing suggests a skirmish of some kind, rather than a hunting party."

"Who do you think is out there?" 

"I'm not rightly sure, sir." Harrington rubbed the sweat from his neck and face with a grubby handkerchief and regarded his Captain with a wry smile. "Rumor has it an old friend of ours has established himself in these parts."

Pike looked blank for a moment then realization dawned. He groaned. "Oh, no! Not him!" He shook his head. "Very well, Sergeant, break out the ammunition and issue sixty rounds apiece."

Harrington saluted and went about his business. Pike stood and listened to the distant musketry, slapping at mosquitoes and cursing quietly under his breath. Within fifteen minutes Harrington returned, his expression clouded. "Sir, I beg to report a problem with the ammo. Some silly bugger in ordinance allowed the cases to get wet. The cartridges are corroded."

Pike stared at the non-com. "Is any of it usable?"

Harrington shook his head. "I'm afraid not, sir. All we have is what the men already have in their pouches. I've checked, and it amounts to four rounds apiece, shared out, like."

Pike uttered a soft exclamation that would've brought his schoolboy self a severe hiding from his foster father. He rubbed his jaw and thought hard. "We'll get to the river and signal the Lady Cynthia for resupply. For now, we'll have to do what we can with what we've got. Get the men fallen-in. We'll advance momentarily..."   


The initial set-up.

Pond's Landing, with native deployment and a pod of interested hippos.

The Barsetshires arrive on the scene, the Ukraziland Rifles coming through the wood on their flank. Harrington waves the men forward.

Harrington is all too aware of the need to conserve ammunition, yet a golden opportunity presents itself as his section encounters an unwitting warband.

With tribal musketmen sniping ineffectively from the brush, the war leader decides to take the bull by the horns. With an ear-splitting shriek, the warband rushes the gate.

Most of the doughty defenders stand their ground atop the house, leaving a pair of guards to defend the gate itself. Pond's Dutch lady friend Miss Calida van Wert lets loose with her shotgun at a promising target.
A volley reduces the warband to near-impotence. Pike leads 1st section up on Harrington's flank.
All too aware of the ammunition shortage, Pike gets the bit between his teeth. Bayonets fixed, he leads his men in a fierce charge that slams into the warband. 

Unable to resist the fury of the Barsetshires, the tribesmen break and flee.

Over at the gate, the situation becomes desperate as the tribesmen break in.
Pike spares a few rounds for a volley to drive the warband away from the palisade.

Harrington also uses some precious ammo to the same end. Casualties on the warband are few, but, loaded with shock, they won't stand and fight any longer.

The shrieking warriors trample on one defender. His mate dead, the survivor makes a break for the stairs but is cut down in turn. Only the little band on the rooftop can stem the tide now - if they can.  
After a brief flurry, Miss Calida van Wert shows it's possible...
And help is at hand! Inspired by their victory, Pike and his men charge for the gates, catching the tail end of the warband as it tries to enter the compound. 
Between a rock and a hard place. The warriors stand their ground but fall beneath the sword and bayonets.

The end. In the skirmish that won him his nickname, "Furious Fred" Pike and his men break through the press and engage the remaining warriors, as Harrington deals with the musketmen and wards against further interference.
Trapped between the British redcoats and the stubborn defenders of the house, the leader of the warband asks for quarter.

Pike saw to the disposition of his men and the roundup of prisoners, before climbing the stairs to be greeted by the merchant, whose relief was evident on his face. Pike managed a smile for the man. 
"So, we meet again, Mr. Pond..." 

As evening fell on the bloody day, the surviving tribesmen met other bands of their fellows. A conference of tribal leaders and the witchdoctor sat around a solitary camp fire, and discussed the situation.

"The red soldiers are too much for us," a sub-chief complained. "Our men fall like a wildebeest before a pride of lions."

"We must fight harder!" a chieftain insisted, stabbing at the ground with his spear. 

"No," the witchdoctor said quietly, his tone cutting through the growls of agreement like a knife. 

"What would you have us do?" the Chieftain protested.

The witchdoctor stared into the flickering flames, reading who knew what in the images. "We don't fight harder," he said. "We fight smarter..."

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Twenty thousand visits!

I'm gratified to see the visitor total to this blog has passed the twenty thousand mark. It's always good to share the hobby.

It has been a rather busy few days for us, so the next game report from Daftest Africa will follow next week. For some reason the paragraph containing the origins of "Moses" Powell's alternate nickname went missing from the previous AAR, so the explanation will appear next time.

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