Tuesday, 1 January 2013

The Black Hounds

They came from all over Wales. Men, women, boys. Numbers waxed and waned depending upon the immediate threat to their locality. Some were there from the beginning and would be there at the end. The miners of the Rhondda Valleys figured heavily amongst these bitter-enders.

Bonded together by the brotherhood of the pit, unafraid of the dark, used to explosives, physically and mentally toughened by cramped hard labour, they made perfect guerrilla fighters. In the battle for the valleys their local nickname of Trogs, was rapidly picked up and used freely by the Government Paras. A nickname that held a derisory tone, would become a badge of honour. After the crisis, to be called a Trog was to be known a man amongst men.

One group of Valley Boys led by local tenor, Alun Barry, became known as the gwyllgis, or the "Black Hounds" (MI5 analyst interpretation). They were renowned for their skill and daring in ambushing road bound Government spearheads and follow up convoys.

The "Black Hounds" remained a local militia despite attempts to incorporate them into the mobile commandos and permanent Free Wales forces. At various times the Hounds included a bus mechanic from Porth, a Tabernacle minister and a Rhondda council employee. Two were known communists and only one positively identified as a plaid cymru activist.

In an interview given to a Canadian journalist from the National Post, Barry described their motivation as "We go down the pit in the morning with our neighbours to keep the bread and butter on our families tables. We fight when we have to fight, to protect our communities and our way of life".

In wargame terms the "Black Hounds" are a small core of hardened militia or home guard. They can be used independently, to supplement the permanent militias or work in tandem with a mobile commando. Armed with ex-Army small-arms and home-made explosives they are experienced in mining culverts and deploying litter bin fougasses in roadside ambushes.



  1. Wonderful stuff, keep it coming please!

  2. Great post to start a new year!

  3. The hounds remind me of the fighting characteristics of the Azurian miners from Spanish C.W. Looking forward to hearing more tales from the front.

    1. Thanks guys.

      Inspiration came from the Asturian Miner "Dynamiteros" but also the Welsh miners who formed a significant group within the British Battalion of 15 International Brigade: