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Meadow Hill, 1938


Misc., A Very British Civil War,  The Great War, 28mm 

I’m not going to explain the background to this nonsense, apart from saying the game is based on an alternative history, where Britain was plunged into a Civil War in 1938. You can read all about it on the Gentleman’s Wargame Parlour – or at least you could if their site was back on line. Colin Jack – the man who got us all into The Back of Beyond is the guy behind this 1938 game – he’s a sucker for quirky periods, exotic units and miniature women in uniform.1938-game-january-2009-001Well, the game actually followed on from one we played late last year (Ouston Airfield, 1937), which ended when the right-wing Duke of Northumberland flew off in a Nazi plane, bound for a meeting with Herr Hitler. Well, the plane was damaged during the fighting around the airfield, and consequently it crashed a half mile south of the English-Scottish border – at Meadow Hill, just north of Berwick. In this alternate universe Scotland has declared independence and formed a Republic. Scottish regulars and Territorials (reservists) mobilised to secure the plane and its passengers. At the same time a column from the British Union of Fascists (BUF) headed north to do the same, while another group led by the Bishop of Durham (a leader of the liberal Anglican League) also appeared from the south  – but of course on a different road. The scene was set for one of those strange games that Colin loves to stage…1938-game-january-2009-005The Scots turned up first, the Territorials crossing the border and taking up a blocking position astride the A1 (the main north-south road), while the regulars debussed from their Bren Carriers and sent a patrol to inspect the plane. Both groups soon became embroiled in a firefight with the German aircrew, which the Scots won fairly convincingly. However, there was no sign of the Duke. At that point the Fascists appeared. While one platoon deployed across the A1 and began a firefight with the Scottish Territorials, the rest drove across the table to an isolated farmhouse – the most likely hideout for the Duke and his entourage.1938-game-january-2009-020Sure enough he was there, and after a Dr. Livingston and Stanley type moment he clambered in the Fascists staff car and drove off to the south, escorted by the remaining Fascist troops. I say remaining, because the ones who had been fighting the Scots barring the road north were badly chopped up, and forced to flee, despite the support offered by a Fascist armoured car. As the game drew to a close the Bishop of Durham appeared (that’s him with the purple surplice under his uniform below). He arrived too late to capture the Duke, but he enjoyed the support of an aircraft – Gladys the Gladiator – which strafed the Fascists as they exited the table.1938-game-january-2009-016Technically the game was a victory for the bad guys – the BUF – who escaped with the Duke. However, the Scots performed well, and the next game might well involve a larger border clash between them and the right-wing English Royalists who occupy Northumberland. There the Scots allies would be the Anglican League, and the men of the Durham Union of Miners, who hate the Fascists with a passion. In other words, this nonsense will continue…1938-game-january-2009-007We played the game using Warhammer’s The Great War rules. I’m no great fan of Warhammer, and I’d prefer our usual “Back if Beyond” rules, but I suppose this system worked better for this kind of low level skirmish. However, all this malarkey with saving throws, and rolls to wound means you have to roll an awful lot of dice to actually kill someone.

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