The Battle for 'Beautiful Bertha'
The local garrison of the British Union of Facists, the Filton Facists (FiFa), have been instructed that their brothers in arms the United English Farmers Army (EUFA) have siezed control of newly constructed railway gun at Avonmouth and are bringing it to Stoke Gifford Railway Yard, where it can be defended more easily utilising the aircraft stationed at Filton Airfield. Once delivered, set and anchored in Stoke Gifford Yard, the gun, known as "Beautiful Betha" will be able to target strategic Anglican, Facist and Royalist sites in Bath, Bristol and even Newport. It also affords the BUF much greater control of the Bristol Channel and as such is of huge tactical importance to the Facists. BUF Cavalry outriders have met the train in the fields between Avonmouth and Stoke Gifford and are accompanying it to the yard.
BUF forces are dug in along the railway line and are defending the yard, however intelligence suggests that the Wansdyke 5th Peoples Flying column and some of Prince Alberts Somerset Light Infantry are planning to sieze control of the yard thereby rendering "Beautiful Bertha" useless to the BUF.
The game is based on deliberate attack from P38 of the BKCII book, with the defenders having 1500 points and the attackers having 2250pts. The railway line runs along the centre of the table (north/south) finishing at the yard (making the track approximately 5ft long on a 6ft table). The train starts at the South of the table and moves Northerly to the yard, being self commanded and travelling 20 cm per turn. The train itself cannot be attacked as it is heavily armoured and impenetrable to all but the biggest guns, and must be preserved by the attackers (its also a great tactical advantage to the Flying Column and their cohorts). However, the train can be slowed by blocking the railway line with armoured vehicles causing the train to slow its movement speed to 10cm for the following turn when it hits a vehcile. Each vehicle the train hits will be immediately destroyed on impact. The train never moves slower than 10cm a turn as it has certain amoutn of inertia and a well stocked engine! The attackers should occupy the yard in 12 turns to gain a minor victory or occupy it before the train arrives for a major victory. The defenders should prevent the attackers occupying the yard for a minor victory and break the attackers for a Major victory.
Defenders may use fixed defenses and 1 bi-plane from Filton airfield in support, the attackers may use artillery and air support as they see fit.The BUF have partial air superiority.
The Loyal Army of the South forces consisted of the 3rd Battalion PASLI under the command of Lt-Col 'Biffo' Frimley-Green, Major 'Bonzo' Atkinson and Captain 'Wizard' Watkins. In support was one Battalion of the 5th Peoples Flying Column under the command of Major Stanton Prior and Leutenant-Commissar Norton Malreward. Both forces had armoured support as well as a battery of off-board artillery.
Take Your Places Please
The view from the South. The Loyal Army of the South would deploy on the right side of the table, the BUF on the left.
The view from the right side of the table...
...and from the left.
An overall view of the deployment of both sides.
'Beautiful Bertha' the object of our 'affections'.
BUF Beaverettes and AT gun covering the railway line.
BUF forces in and around the railway yard, the destination of 'Beautiful Bertha'.
PASLI forces in position for the attack.
5th Peoples Flying Column covering the flank of the attack.
A barrage of off-board artillery landed right on top of the BUF in the railway yard, causing a lot of hits and auto-suppression. The PASLI forces advanced on a broad front, supported by some of the 5th PFC.
For the BUF, their cavalry moved over the railway track on their left flank, whilst troops in the woods dropped mortar fire on the 5th PFC T-26s, knocking one out. At the railway yard the troops were still recovering from the artillery fire, unable to move.
The after effects of the artillery strike.
The PASLI forces broad front advance.
The BUF cavalry and tank move to try and flank the 5th PFC, whilst protecting 'Beautiful Bertha'.
The BUF draw first blood with massed mortar fire.
The PASLI recce fails to spot for the FAO, but the rest of the force carry on with their advance, with light tanks entering the railway yard. The 5th PFC having seen the threat to the flank, move to cover this whilst still advancing towards the railway line.
For the BUF, their FAC calls in air-support from Filton, but despite surviving plenty of ack-ack, the attack fails to hit any tanks. The left flanking manouevre stalls, with only the troops in the railway yard in action, with a firefight developing between the ATR units and PASLI MkVI light tanks.
PASLI forces enter the railway yard.
The 5th PFC cover the threat to the flank whilst pressing on to the railway line.
BUF air-support fails to cause any damage.
A firefight develops between BUF ATR units and MKVI light tanks.
An iffy turn for the PASLI forces as their right flank blunders and the CO is in a quandry as to what to do. Luckily the right flank moves forward into the hangers to get good fields of fire. The 5th PFC ignore the shambles to their right and continue their advance.
An iffy turn for the BUF as well, with an HQ blundering and the FAC failing to get through to Filton. However the cavalry play a blinder and rush along the railway track to cover 'Beautiful Bertha'. In the railway yard, the BUF infantry attack the light tanks, knocking one out and supressing the others who move back into the CO, supressing him.
The BUF cavalry escort 'Beautiful Bertha', hoping to evade the approaching 5th PFC.
The after effects of the infantry assault.
The PASLI FAO steps up to the mark and calls in the off-board artillery right on top of the exposed BUF infantry in the railway yard, to devasting effect. Following the FAO's lead, the other PASLI units pour combined fire into the beleagured BUF, destroying 4 infantry units. Not to be outdone, the 5th PFC move up to the railway line and combined fire see the demise of 2 cavalry units.
Somewhat shaken by the massed fire against them, the BUF forces rally and continue to take the fight to the PASLI. The cavalry initiative move forward, but then fail their command roll. The infantry and Beaverettes move along the other side of the railway line, whilst mortar fire sees the end of the PASLI artillery support unit.
The results of the very effective PASLI artillery fire.
BUF troops advance either side of 'Beautiful Bertha'.
The BUF cavalry caught in the flank.
Combined fire from the PASLI leaves the BUF forces in the railway yard very depleted.
With the BUF cavalry presenting such tempting targets, initiative fire accounts for 1 cavalry unit, only for them to fail their command rolls. With few tragets left for the PASLI forces, their fire still manages to destroy one Beaverette and one infantry stand.
The BUF forces gamely carry on despite being in a bit of a tight corner. Mortar fire accounts for the PASLI AT gun, but then a blunder leaves the Beaverettes exposed and in the open. The cavalry suffer from opportunity fire as they attempt to keep pace with 'Beautiful Bertha', with units destroyed or suppressed. Their supporting Pz1 fails to hit anything despite 3 turns of fire. To add insult to injury the CO fails his command roll.
Things are now looking extremely tricky for the BUF chaps.
The BUF cavalry exposed to flanking fire.
The BUFs cavalry ranks are being depleted.
The PASLI forces advance onto the objective.
'Beautiful Bertha' has been abandoned by one of her suitors.
'Beautiful Bertha' nears her destination, with an infatnry unit oblivious to her arrival.
the 5th PFC sensing victory, pour fire into the BUF cavalry, destroying 3 cavalry units and one MG unit. the PASLI forces follow their lead, finishing off another infantry unit and one Pz1 in the railway yard.
With the writing on the wall and at their break point, the BUF gamely pass their command roll but concede the battlefield the the PASLI and 5th PFC.
The after effects of the 5th PFC combined fire.
The PASLI forces in complete control of the railway yard.
The Loyal Army of the South now have 'Beautiful Bertha' to themselves which will be a big threat to the Army of the Severn Valley forces in future battles.