A Very British Civil War in Pembrokeshire: The Manor Park Raid

With Lord Tenby’s Royalist Administration forces engaged in the north of the county against increasingly belligerent Anglican League and Welsh Nationalist forces, the south of the county had almost been forgotten by the Royalist Administration. With the south relatively quiet, Regular and Territorial forces had been stripped from the lines facing the Albertine ‘Pembroke Protectorate’ to bolster the ‘Landsker Marches’.

However, Prince Albert’s forces had not been idle.  Under the leadership of the capable Sir Charles McKay-Price and aided by reinforcements and resupply from Canada, they had slowly been building their strength in preparation for a major offensive against Lord Tenby’s forces.  Nevertheless, the Protectorate Army was still some way from being a competent field force and so it was left to the more capable elements of the army to conduct raids, fighting patrols and spoiling attacks against the Royalists.

With manpower being steadily stretched by demands from the north, significant gaps had opened up along the Royalist ‘Jameston Line’ (which stretched from Carew on the Cleddau Eastuary to Manorbier on the south coast).  Instead of a continuous line of trenches, the ‘Line’ was little more than a straggling line of fortified outposts, connected by strong patrols of cavalry, armoured cars and motorised infantry.  While the Albertines did not yet have the strength to directly take on these fortified positions, they were able to infiltrate relatively strong forces under the cover of darkness or the reasonably regular South Pembrokeshire sea-fog.

And so it came to pass that Sir Charles received intelligence that a Royalist VIP was due to visit the local BUF Headquarters at Manor Park; a large mansion-farm on the Carew-Tenby road, approximately 2 miles behind Royalist lines.  With luck, it was reckoned that a sizeable force might be infiltrated under cover of darkness to assault Manor Park, destroy the headquarters and capture or kill the VIP.  Major ‘Skip’ Broughton, of the Freshwater West Australian Light Horse, was appointed to command of the operation and under his command were placed the Pembroke Post Office Lancers and a company of The Duchess of York’s Own Highland Volunteers.

As predicted by R(P)AF Pembroke Dock’s Meteorological Section, a sea-fog rolled in during the night, enabling the force to infiltrate between Royalist strongpoints. As the bulk of the force moved into its assault positions, the Highlanders marched further into enemy territory, to set up an ambush position on the Tenby road, with the intention of cutting off any escape by the VIP.

As dawn broke, all was ready and the attack was mounted.

Manor Park, looking west toward Carew and Pembroke.

In the courtyard we see the VIP consulting with the local BUF staff – it’s the notorious Baron Kylsant, Marcher-Lord of Narberth and ‘Butcher of the Landsker’.

Manor Park, looking East toward Tenby. The BUF are completely unaware that Albertine Highlanders are lurking in the woods at the top of the picture.  However, the Albertines are equally unaware that a Royalist field gun is deployed behind Manor Park (roughly where the sheep are in this photo).

Looking north toward Redberth, the Albertines are also unaware that BUF outposts are deployed along this sunken lane.

The attack begins. In the foreground are the territorials of ‘D’ Company, 4th Welch Regiment.  Beyond the road are the dismounted Freshwater West Australian Light Horse, while the Pembroke Post Office Lancers split into two Troops.

In the centre, the Light Horse deploy their Vickers MG Section to cover the road.

Major Broughton and his guidon-bearer move forward.

On the left flank, ‘A’ Troop of the Lancers move forward to support the Light Horsemen.

Resplendent in their purple ‘kangaroo feathers’, the Light Horsemen move forward through the hedgerows.

An Australian blows his thing.

As the Australians cross a field, a unit of BUF open fire from the sunken road.

The clock starts ticking now that the BUF are alerted to the enemy presence.  Royalist reinforcements will soon start to arrive, so the Albertines need to complete their mission in the shortest possible time.

The Australians and BUF trade fire with each other, with light casualties being suffered on both sides. Men on both sides scramble for cover as bullets find their mark.  The Lancers move forward in support, firing from the saddle as they do so. A saddle is emptied by BUF bullets, but the Lancers press on.

On the Albertine right flank, ‘B’ Troop of the Lancers moves forward, covered by the Territorials.

The Territorials haven’t yet spotted any enemy, but don’t like the look of that hedgerow in front…

With trumpet blaring, the Post Office Lancers add a degree of tone and class to the battlefield as they dash forward.

With the Australians now suppressed by fire from the hedgerow, ‘A’ Troop of the Lancers attempts to seize the initiative and launches a reckless charge on the BUF!

However, the Lancers’ gamble pays off, as the BUF are also suppressed by Australian fire. They completely fail to cause any casualties on the charging Lancers and as the Lancers charge home they break and run!  Blackshirts are quickly lanced, ridden down or captured by the victorious Lancers.

Meanwhile, on the other flank, ‘B’ Troop of the Lancers dashes across the field to the sunken lane.  A volley of shots rings out…

As the Territorials suspected, a second unit of BUF Militia is lurking in the lane.  The two sides trade shots inconclusively across the field.

The BUF Militia Commander and his 2IC leave Manor Park to tell his men to keep the bloody noise down…  Just in time to witness one of his units being ridden down by Lancers!

A St John’s Ambulance officer attached to the BUF, looks on in horror as the Lancers complete their annihilation of the BUF.

“View Halloo!” Spotting the BUF officer and his friend, the Lancers charge off in hot pursuit, though the officer manages to dash back into Manor Park, while the NCO hides in the phone box.

The St John’s Ambulance officer sneaks off, hoping that his black & white uniform will enable him to hide among the cows…

Major Broughton moves forward to rally his men and get them moving forward again.

Having seen what happened to their comrades on the right and not wanting it to happen to them, the remaining unit of BUF leg it as fast as their hairy little fascist legs will carry them back to Manor Park.

The Territorials set off in hot pursuit!

‘A’ Troop charges on up the road, unaware of the fugitive hiding in the phone box.

The Blackshirts scarper, with the Lancers hot on their heels!

The BUF officer bars the gate, while one of his staff officers frantically looks for an escape route.  A BUF signaller, calling frantically for support, finally manages to make contact with a friendly unit!

Captain de Carnelle’s Company of Cadets has heard the call and has withdrawn from the front line near Carew.  The young ladies arrive in rear of the Australians!

The Lancers reach the lane, but their horses refuse to tackle the steeply-banked hedges! The BUF make good their escape and barricade themselves inside Manor Park.

‘A’ Troop of the Lancers meanwhile, runs into trouble as a previously un-located BUG heavy weapons detachment opens up on the horsemen.  Amazingly, no casualties are suffered by the ‘Lucky Lancers’.

Another heavy weapon joins in – this one an 18-pounder field gun belonging to the 2nd Haverfordwest Volunteer Horse Battery RA.  Still the Lancers suffer no casualties!

With the battle intensifying around him, Baron Kylsant makes good his escape in a convoy of staff cars with a motorcycle outrider.

The Haverfordwest Horse Artillery have traded their horses in for a commandeered tea van…

The Duchess of York’s Highlanders, waiting in ambush positions, spot te approaching convoy…

A Highlander NCO orders his men to hold their fire until he gives the word.

However, a Highlander fires on the horse gunners and the ambush is compromised!

With the ambush detected, Baron Kylsant attempts to escape across the fields.  Meanwhile, fortune favours the ‘Lucky Lancers’ once again as the BUF machine gun jams!

However, Captain de Carnell’s Cadets are now engaging the Australian rear.

A cadet sharpshooter takes aim at the exposed Australian machine gun team.

Another cadet rushes forward to engage the Australians.

As more cadets move forward, one takes a tot from her hip-flask to steady the nerves!

A cadet seeks a target among the hedgerows.

A cadet readies her rifle and prepares to engage the enemy.

Major Broughton’s men turn to face the new threat.  With the ambush blown, the time has come for his force to scatter and infiltrate back into friendly lines. Baron Kylsant has escaped justice this time, but his time will come…

This game was played at the Wargames Association of South Pembrokeshire.

The Albertines in this game are mainly from Al Broughton’s collection: the Australian Light Horse are now long out-of-production Battle Honours figures, the Territorials are from Great War Miniatures and the Lancers are from Empress Miniatures’ Anglo-Zulu Wars range.

The other figures are from my own collection: the BUF and Highlanders are by Footsore Miniatures (formerly Musketeer Miniatures), the artillery are by Renegade Miniatures (which seem to be now out of production), the ‘cadets’ are by Hinterland Miniatures (sadly now out of production) and the staff group is a Spanish Civil War staff group by Empress Miniatures.  The cars are by Sloppy Jalopy (drivers by Empress Miniatures) and the livestock is by Redoubt Miniatures.

The scenery is mostly from the club collection and was mainly built by Al Broughton.  The farm is a very nice pre-painted set by EM4 Miniatures.

Rules used were ‘Went The Day Well?’ by Solway Crafts.

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