A Very British Civil War in Pembrokeshire: The Battle of Pelcomb Cross

With the Bishop of St David’s still struggling to return to Pembrokeshire following his reverse at Three Cocks, Lord Tenby’s Royalist Administration decided to capitalise on the Bishop’s absence.  Baron Kylsant, who had been flown back to Pembrokeshire bfrom Brecon y the RAF, was ordered to mount a reconnaissance in force against Anglican forward positions at Pelcomb Cross, a few miles northwest of Haverfordwest.

Above: Elements of the Anglican League’s Roch Castle Fencibles (victors of the actions at Crundale and Treffgarne-Owen) occupy the hamlet of Pelcomb Cross.

Above: Major General Sir Ivor Picton, on an inspection tour of the front, stops with his staff to have a pint of Buckley’s Best Bitter at the Pelcomb Inn.

Above: The sound of Lewis Gun fire from Pelcomb Farm soon has Fencibles rushing to man their positions.

Above: Led by an old campaigner, the ‘St Non’ Company takes up positions among the cottages surrounding the crossroads.

Above: A short distance to the south, a BUF scout spots the Pelcomb Inn.  With the taste of the Sun Inn’s inferior Felinfoel Double Dragon still sour in his mouth, he starts to feel a thirst coming on.

Above: On the scout’s signal, other members of the Haverfordwest BUF branch of the Campaign for Real Ale move forward.

Above: The Roch Castle Fencibles prepare to defend their pub to the last.

Above: Baron Kylsant looks on as his men advance. He couldn’t give a flying fig for the prospect of visiting a real ale pub, as his ‘personal medic’ always has a tot of medicinal Napoleon brandy somewhere on her person (and sometimes it’s dashedly difficult, but damnably enjoyable to find).

Above: Another BUF Storm-Unit moves forward as an anti-tank rifle team covers them.

Above: ‘B’ Company of 2nd KSLI starts to take effective fire from the Anglican ‘St Padarn’ Company, stationed in Pelcomb Farm. However, a supporting light tank from ‘C’ Squadron, 1st King’s Dragoon Guards manages to provide effective supporting fire and the Shropshiremen press slowly forward.

Above: In the centre, the 2nd BUF Storm-Unit is pinned down in the hedgerows as it takes fire from the hedges in front, the cottages on the left and the farm on the right. A runner is sent back to Baron Kylsant, requesting urgent tank and MG support.

Above: However, the Anglican League now has its own tank support lurking in the farmyard.

Above: The Fencibles in the farm continue to pour fire into the King’s troops, but they are starting to suffer casualties from the return fire coming from the Royalist tanks.

Above: All heads turn skywards as one of the ‘Bishop’s Wasps’ appears over the battlefield.

Above: Wing Commander ‘Taffy’ Jones DSO MC DFC & Bar MM makes a strafing run across the battlefield. ‘Taffy’ Jones was one of the highest-scoring British air aces of the Great War and is still a formidable airman.

Above: A medic seconded from Baron de Loutson’s Slebech Castle College for Young Ladies’ Cadet Corps, provides a handsome young Subaltern with a much-needed drink to steady the nerves.

Above: On the left flank, the BUF’s 1st Storm-Unit cautiously crosses the hedgerows in front of Pelcomb Cross. All seems quiet…

Above: Suddenly, a volley of fire from the cottages cuts down several Blackshirts and the advance staggers to a halt. The BUF Cohort Commander moves forward to take control of the deteriorating situation.

Above: With fire from the farm largely suppressed, the KSLI move forward again as the tank continues to spray MG fire at its loopholed walls.

Above: Suddenly, a burst of heavy MG fire from the lurking Anglican tank rattles off the KDG tank’s armour. A few rounds find their mark and a track is shattered, leaving the tank immobilised in the lane.  Unperturbed, the Dragoon Guardsmen coolly return fire, but the enemy tank has already withdrawn.

Above: As the first KDG tank takes fire, a second tank emerges from cover, along with a BUF tank-hunting team.

Above: In typical style, the Dragoon Guards officer brings a certain level of class and tone to the battlefield as he coolly scans the horizon for the enemy tank.

Above: Reinforcements arrive; a tankette crewed by two of Baron de Loutson’s young ladies and flying the colours of Baron de Loutson’s ‘English Mistery’ faction, passes the Sun Inn and advances to support the KDGs.

Above: An armoured car, also crewed by young ladies, follows the tankette past the Sun Inn.

Above: The 2nd KSLI’s Machine Gun Platoon also now deploys along a hedgerow and adds its weight to the assault on Pelcomb Farm. The Anglican Militiamen are finally driven out and fall back towards Pelcomb Cross.

Above: However, the BUF’s left flank is presently being cut to pieces and suffer heavy casualties in the fields south of the Pelcomb Inn. A ‘Wasp’ also adds to the real ale-lovers’ misery.

Above: The Blackshirt commander desperately tries to rally his men with the promise of a free round of Double Dragon at the Sun, but this was the wrong thing to say and his men rout and flee for the slim possibility of decent beer at The Swan in Littlehaven.

Above: Nevertheless, the Royalist right flank seems fairly secure and the Shropshiremen move forward to take the farm, covered by the tanks and machine gunners.

Above: An overview of the battlefield taken by the war correspondent for the Western Telegraph, Sir Aidan Catey, through a long lens from an observation balloon tethered to a the lounge bar of the Bristol Trader Inn at Haverfordwest. Note that the Anglican League tank has re-positioned itself in the farmyard and remains to be winkled out.

Above: Despite the heavy casualties suffered by the BUF (again), the Royalists remain in good spirits.

Above: However, some people always take high-spirits too far and a brief outbreak of Morris is swiftly and ruthlessly stamped out!

Game Notes:

Figures by Musketeer Miniatures, Renegade Minatures, Empress Miniatures, Hinterland Miniatures, Great War Miniatures and Woodbine Designs, painted by me.

AFVs mostly by Warlord Games, though the tankette is by Empress Miniatures.

Aircraft by Airfix, with a pilot by Copplestone Miniatures.

The farm is by EM4 Minatures, while the other buildings were scratch-built by Martin Small.  Other terrain items were built by Al ‘Skippy’ Broughton.

The good photographs are by Gareth Beamish.

Rules used are ‘Went The Day Well?’ by Solway Crafts & Hobbies.

The game was played at the Wargames Association of South Pembrokeshire.  We meet every Tuesday 6.30-11pm at 1st Pembroke Scout HQ, Pennar, Pembroke Dock.

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