Hello. This is Huw Puw, reporting from the front line for the Fish Guardian.
Yes, that’s right; the Front Line. It seems that following my numerous near-death experiences in reporting the campaigns of the Army of Cantref Cemaes, I am now the Fish Guardian’s subject-matter expert on the Front Line and my editor insists on sending me back to the Front Line as often as he can (as soon as he finds out I’m back in Fishguard, in fact)…
So once again, I found myself blindfolded and bundled into a car, then dumped in the field headquarters of a regiment of the Army of Cantref Cemaes. Thankfully there were no cross-dressing nutcases to be seen, but there was a lot of sharpening of bayonets and swords going on, which was most worrying. From asking around, I gleaned that the newly-raised Catrawd Waldo Williams was about to go on its first raid into the No-Man’s Land of the Landsker. Colonel Lewis-Jones assured me that his men’s lack of combat experience didn’t matter, as they were going to go in with the cold steel and give those Royalists “A damned good taste of Welsh spunk!”
I wished him luck and requested permission to observe the attack from somewhere at the rear of his regiment…
Above: As dawn rises, the ‘Waldo Williams’ Regiment (known generally as ‘The Wallies’), with a company of the Llanfyrnach Armoured Regiment and a squadron of the Preseli Horse, advance on the isolated farm of Dyffryn-Conin. The farm is to be used as a firm base for a further assault on the railway near Clunderwen.
Above: The locals enjoy the morning air, oblivious of the impending battle. As is customary, the ladies wear traditional Welsh dress in case some tourists come past.
However, the Royalist garrison of Clunderwen Junction has been tipped off and is advancing to meet the enemy at Dyffryn-Conin!
Above: On the Royalist left flank, a long, drawn-out chord on an accordion splits the early morning air and chills the blood of all who hear it, friend and foe alike! This of course, is the internationally-recognised signal that Morris is about to be perpetrated… The Welshmen pray that it can’t possibly be true, but yes, the sound of clacking sticks, jingling bells and the sight of capering Silly-Bastards draws nearer and the Civil War in Pembrokeshire is plunged into new, unimaginable depths of depravity… The Bastards…
Above: In the Royalist centre, Lt Col Keir and the Slebech Castle Ladies College Cadet Corps provide the tactical headquarters and a rifle company for the Royalist force. These young ladies are now hardened veterans of campaigns in England as well as Pembrokeshire and together with the cross-dressing lunatics of Y Merched Beca are giving me a deep-seated fear of anyone in a long skirt…
Above: On the right of the Cadets is a company of regulars belonging to the Royal Highland (Black Watch) Regiment and on the right flank is a ‘Storm-Wing’ of the BUF’s Sir Thomas Picton Independent Cohort, supported by an anti-tank rifle team and a Machine Gun Carrier from the 2nd KSLI.
Above: Suddenly, the thundering of hooves and the revving of engines announces a charge by the Preseli Horse! Resplendent in their buff coats and steel helmets, the Welsh cavalrymen draw sabres and charge the hedgerow, screaming their war-cries; “Shwmae Mam!”, “Beth ydym ni’n ei wneud yma?!”, “Peint i mi!”, “Rhedeg i ffwrdd!”…
The BUF watch the oncoming charge in disbelief: “Are they bloody mad, Sergeant?! Don’t they know it’s the 20th Century?” “I dunno Sir, but they’re not as mad as Private Pritchard; he’s a bloomin’ ‘ero, Sir!” BUF Private Pritchard sprints forward to the hedgerow and lobs a Mills Bomb into the heart of the cavalry charge, cutting down two of the troopers before running back to the cheers of his comrades. As they reach the hedgerow , the rest of the cavalry are wiped out by concentrated BUF rifle and Lewis Gun fire! [Private Pritchard’s heroics were the result of a random even card]
Suddenly finding their arcs of fire clear of friendly cavalry, the Welsh armoured cars open up on the hedgerow, cutting down a few Highlanders and BUF. However, the Royalist MG Carrier returns fire and kills the driver of one of the armoured cars.
Above: Confident that her right flank is holding, Lt Col Keir orders her ‘gels’ to take up positions in the farmhouse, while she brings her tactical headquarters and heavy machine gun section up in support. She does however, dispatch a medic to the right flank.
Above: But what fresh hell is this?! As if one load of Morris-dancers wasn’t enough, yet another Morris-man scampers out of the farm stables, inflicting a Nerve Test on all nearby units… War is Hell… However, the young ladies of the Slebech Castle Cadet Corps prove to be made of steel and the terrifying apparition capers off to join his mates on the left flank. [Yep, another random event card…]
Above: Back on the right flank however, the Black Watch suffer a bit of a wobble as they come under heavy and accurate fire from the Wallies’ Glogue Company and one of the armoured cars. Buoyed up with confidence, the Glogue Company runs forward to the cover of the barn, but many are cut down in the open before reaching safety.
Above: Back at the farm, the Wallies’ Llanfyrnach Company has occupied the stable-block and is raking the farmhouse with fire. Colonel Lewis-Jones senses that his moment of glory has come… Dragging me and his personal standard-bearer along by the scruffs of the neck, he personally leads the Hermon Company through the farmyard gate and across the yard to assault the farm house! Thankfully his grip on my collar eases off and I manage to take cover in the corner of the yard, behind the civilians (that’s me at the top-left of the picture above)!
Above: Having weathered the assault of the Morris Man, Lt Col Keir brings up her tactical headquarters and most crucially, her heavy machine gun to assist in the defence of the farmhouse…
Above: Veterans of the Great War will recognise the scene in the farmyard as the Cadets open up on the Hermon Company at point-blank range with pistols, rifles and heavy machine gun… The Colonel manages to reach the farmhouse with two men, but they are quickly cut down at the front door and the Colonel is forced to fall back, dragging his wounded standard-bearer with him.
Above: Meanwhile, over on the Royalist left flank, a duel has been taking place between another Royalist Machine Gun Carrier and the Wallies’ heavy machine gun section. The carrier eventually gets the best of the exchange, cutting down two of the three Welsh machine-gunners. Seeing their way clear, the Carew & Cresselly Morris scramble over the hedge and charge! The accordion-playing reaches a new crescendo and the jingle of bells strikes terror into the hearts of all there to witness it!
Above: Despite the early Royalist success on the right flank, the continuous machine gun fire from the armoured cars and the Glogue Company is shredding the morale of the Black Watch and the BUF. The anti-tank rifle meanwhile, seems utterly incapable of hitting anything. However, the MG Carrier does sterling work in the anti-tank role and manages to immobilise the smaller of the two armoured cars. Nevertheless, the infantry are jumpy and Lt Col Keir dispatches her Sergeant-Major and an additional medic to stabilise the situation.
Above: The cowardly BUF have finally had enough and pull back from the hedgerow, leaving the Black Watch to it, who are themselves cracking under the strain! The Llanfyrnach armoured car crews scent victory and advance over the rather squishy remains of the earlier cavalry charge! Hurrah!
Above: However, that Royalist MG Carrier is still lurking and bullets finally penetrate the paper-thin ‘armour’ of one of the armoured cars, killing the crew. The second car pulls back and is soon followed by what’s left of the Waldo Williams Regiment…
But I survived, which is what really matters…
This is Huw Puw, reporting for the Fish Guardian while running as fast as I can back to friendly territory (and with luck, all the way back to Fishguard).
Models, Rules, Acknowledgements, etc
My sincere thanks to Chris and Rhys at the Carmarthen Old Guard for embracing the silliness and joining the Civil War in Little England Beyond Wales and thoroughly getting into the spirit of it all! Thanks especially to Rhys, who painted that magnificent Welsh Nationalist army in only a week or so! Huw Puw would apologise to Rhys for mercilessly taking the mick, but he has no shame…
The rules used were ‘Went The Way Well?’ by Solway Crafts. They’re not the greatest rules in the world, but they do give a fun game, as long as you’re playing with gentlemen and not bounders, rules-lawyers and nit-pickers…
The models are a bewildering array of manufacturers and have mostly been covered in previously articles here, so I won’t go into detail. Empress, Footsore, Hinterland, Warlord, Great War, Woodbine, Mutton-Chop and other manufacturers all feature. The livestock are by Redoubt Enterprises.
The Huw Puw figure was sculpted from scratch by the supremely talented Martin Small and is based on the John Sparkes comedy character of the same name.
The farm is an epic pre-painted model from EM4 Miniatures.
The terrain cloth is by Tiny Wargames.
The hedges were frantically finished off by me on the day of the game and were still wet with PVA glue when we placed them on the table! They’re made out of six-inch lengths of rubberised horsehair, kindly supplied by my good mate Andy. I then Bostiked them down to 6″x 1″ MDF bases from Warbases. Warbases also supplied the very nice laser-cut MDF gates and styles, as well as a Royal Mail pillar-box and phone box in resin. The hedges were then finished off with thinned PVA glue and ‘Blended Turf’ flock by Woodland Scenics. Some of the hedges also include Woodland Scenics tree-armatures that were finished off using Woodland Scenics foliage mesh, which is rather like miniature camouflage netting – you rip pieces off the mesh and then drape it over the (glue-covered) tree branches.
The trees were also frantically finished off for this game (I’ve got around 300 woodland Scenics tree armatures awaiting completion) – this time using Woodland Scenics ‘clump foliage’ and ‘foliage clusters’.