We got in a second 1938 game last Wednesday evening - this one a little larger. Tom D planned the scenario, based very loosely on one of the Anglican Campaign scenarios in the background book, and since Tim W's planned game didn't come off due to a no-show, I ended up playing against Tim W, with Tom D as the umpire.

We thought we'd try a more detailed WWII ruleset. Tom D picked one up out of his prodigous collection (he is something of a rule-hoarding squirrel), in this case Overload by Firebase Games. I've not linked it to anywhere, as one of the biggest drawbacks with this particular ruleset is that it appears to have been completely out of print for over 10 years and is just not available. If you know I'm wrong, I'd love to hear anything about it, mail me and let me know!.

The basic premise is that a small BUF Force headed out of Manchester is crossing the pennines in order to provide some additional support to press the small but determined Anglican League forces holding out around the area of Sheffield Cathedral. Unbeknownst to the BUF Force, an Anglican Milita based in the hills, The Speeding Chariots, has got wind of the movement and is determined to amush the convoy and make off with their vehicles, in order to bolster the mobility of Anglican forces in the region, which are woefully undersupplied.

Tom D had prepared handouts for each of us, which I've included here.

Speeding Chariots Ambush (Prince Azalea)

The Castleton Chariots were set up as a small pocket of God’s children resisting against the unholy forces of the BUF and the Reds. Lead by the charismatic Victor Peder McGowan they strove to isolate themselves from Sheffield’s torn advances. Raids by the Chariots have become a common enough event but now it is time to broaden their boarders. Canon Simonite has decreed that now is the time to link up with the surrounding villages, now is the time to strike back at the invading forces and relieve the beleaguered forces trapped in the siege of Sheffield Cathedral.

To do this the Chariots will need transport. Their scouts and spies have learnt that a small contingent of BUF forces will be passing through a local village including the exceptional prize of an armoured car!

The Mission

The troops of the Chariots are still new to combat so the best method of attack therefore will be an ambush. With this in mind though there are 5 main objectives to consider:

  1. Capture, intact, all of the vehicles in the BUF force. When they are in your position withdraw as quickly as possible.
  2. Kill at least 50% of the BUF force.
  3. There is a rumour that a high level BUF officer is travelling with the convoy. If possible capture this individual.
  4. Don’t let The Canon die.
  5. Don’t let any members of the Chariots get captured by the BUF forces. If any of your men fall into BUF hands then the position of the Chariots may be severely weakened.

BUF Resupply Missing (Tim W)

Following the recent skirmishes with the Red Blades it is now time to reassess our attentions, reclaim this city for the glorious BUF and restart the siege of Sheffield Cathedral. The Cathedral has been an irritating thorn in our constant battle with the foolish Red Army. The city leaders have decided that while we are at a momentary stalemate with the Reds it would be best to turn our attentions to the Anglican Leagues main focal point in this area. If we were able to exact a clear and decisive victory against them and take hold of the Cathedral we would show these God fearing eaklings what true power is. Now is the time to STRIKE!

Our forces in the West of the city centre are even as I write this preparing for our attack. We have been in contact with our fellow BUF members in the south and they have been good enough to send us a supply of troops as well as an armoured car and, most importantly of all, a number of very experienced officers. Unfortunately we feel that it would be unwise for a series attack on the Cathedral to begin till they have arrived so until then only light skirmishes to keep the Bible Bashers busy will be sanctioned.

FAO: BUF Sheffield Wing Leader, Major Geoffrey Snow

The Mission

Having travelled up from the BUF’s strongholds getting the Sheffield has been difficult. Along the way there have been a number of raids, mainly by independent local defence forces. It was felt that the ultimate goal of joining the fight to take the ‘Steel City’ was to take precedence and so these raids, although not a serious threat, have meant that our original contingent has had to extend itself. This scenario deals with a raid by one such local group. Where exactly the ambush will take place is as yet unknown but due to previous experience constant vigilance is assured.

The objectives are thus:

  1. The most important part of the force is the officers. Materials can be shipped in from our Fascist allies but nothing makes up for experience and expertise. It is therefore of highest priority that the officers do not die and are not captured. The leader of this convoy is a high ranking BUF party member originally from Sheffield, his drive and knowledge will be invaluable to our push against the Anglican League.
  2. The armoured car was part of a shipment from our Brothers in Fascism over seas. It would be a great loss if this was to be destroyed, or worse captured.
  3. The priority will be to get the convoy moving again as fast as possible.
  4. If possible try and inflict heavy casualties on to the raiders. This will deter them and other possible trouble makers. Should the possibility arise, a few prisoners might shed some light on possible rebel hide outs.

Game Map

BUF enter top-left

The Game

So, the game starts with Tim W assigning his forces to his available vehicles and sending his BUF convoy on its way, entering our table from the top-left down the road. As they pass through the farm buildings on either side of the road, I threw out my divertionary blockade - an old milk cart, which stops the convoy, clipping the first armoured car and causing it to spin.

I then placed my forces on the table in their ambush positions, and the assault is afoot!

An original photograph from the period exists, taken by an Anglican photographer hiding a little further down the road. Shown here with a cleaned-up version. (Yeah, I know, I can see Richard in the top-left!! I was playing the f-stop on my camera ;) ).

The Anglican forces started up with some fire to soften up the stalled convoy, with their bren gun (just visible in the distance in the trees) forcing one of the armoured cars forward to take up a more defensible position., as the BUF troopers at the front of the convoy piled out of their transport and began to return fire, whilst the BUF troopers from the rear of the convoy also disembark and move to assault an isolated pocket of Anglican troops between two of the farm buildings and then establish a defensive position in the barn.

As the firefight continues to rage at the front of the convoy, repulsing some of the ambushing Anglicans located to the right of the convoy (the left of the picture), a further squad of Anglican troops closes in on the rear of the convoy in support of the bren gun.

At the same time, unseen here, Canon Simonite is moving with his bodyguard around the back of the farm to support the heavy fighting at the front of the column.

As the Anglicans to the rear of the convoy close further and join up with a futher unit emerging from the farmyard, Major Snow's Staff Car also moves to a more defensible place just off the road ahead.

Another original photograph from 1938 shows Major Snow disembarked with the support of his bodyguards, who are all providing supporting fire to the regular troopers, just as the incoming fire from the Anglicans turns into an assault.

The assualt quickly turns messy and not a little bit hairy for both sides! But it is the Anglicans that prevail, forcing the BUF troopers back into the fields, as the unit assaulting the armoured car causes the driver to panic and reverse up the road as fast as possible!

However, the driver of the armoured car hadn't noticed the incoming Anglicans from the rear, which only caused him to return to where he'd come from, and panicing futher at the hands of a second assuault, he drove back once more! The Anlican squad had moved on this time, but it didn't save him from a courageous bren gunner and the final appearance of i>The Canon and his bodyguards who finally did for him, capturing the armoured car pretty much intact!

Whilst all this is going on with the armoured car, the anglicans pressing the rear made it to the barn, and after a protracted amount of pushing and shoving at the large barn doors finally began an melée with the defending BUF troops. It was a very close-run thing, but these BUF troops were also pushed back into the fields behind the farm, demoralised, at the same time as the remainder of the BUF troops from the front of the column were also pushed back in the same direction, Major Smith's bodyguard was taken prisoner(!) and you can see in the bottom-left of this picture Major Smith as he repulses an assault on his staff car by two anglican units.

Ultimately, Major Smith was able to flee in one of the armoured halftracks, picking up his belegeured troopers and returning to Manchaster. The only significant losses beyond the deaths of a couple of troopers were the vehicles and the capture of Major Smith's bodyguard. Whilst he will be reprimanded, this is more of an inconvenience for the BUF than an outright defeat

The Anglicans however, have now come into possession of a significant number of vehicles, although fuel will continue to be an issue for them. A third of the assualt force was killed by the BUF, but none were captured, so the location of their base remains a well guarded secret and they also now have some prisoners of some significance to interrogate. The did not, however, manage to kill as many of the BUF force as they would have liked.

All in all, whilst the result based on the objectives was a technical draw, we agreed that the Anglicans acheived a strategic victory overall.

I'm still deciding whether I like the Overlord rules. Which is to say, I do like them, but they are a bit on the slow side for fitting a game such as this into one evening. I'll think about it some more and talk it over with the chaps, and we'll see what comes out in the wash!