Wednesday 16 November 2011

Agony in Llanover: After Action Report

"Griffin One, Griffin One. This is Blue Twelve. Mr Cram is dazed. We are on the touchline. Fly Forwards required urgently!" 

"Repeat! This is Blue Twelve. We are on the touchline. Fly Forwards required urgently!" 
 The final moments of Llanovers agony. 
The centre of the village is precariously in government hands

 "This picturesque Monmouthshire village has escaped the tide of war since 1647 but last night felt the full force of the Emergency Government's attempts to quell the growing fires of nationalist opposition in Wales. All morning, army and civilian ambulances have been ferrying the wounded to field hospitals following a second night of bloodshed".

 "One soldier told me, "They popped up everywhere. It was a nightmare, I lost all me mates. Twelve platoon is gone!"  And the surviving Corporal of the Wessex Rangers platoon at the centre of the action said "If they fight like this for one village. What the hell is it going to be like in the cities!" 

Butch and Sundance, Free Taff Style!
Have Bren Gun Will Travel

This evening's game represented night two in Llanover. Night one is still to be blogged as the pics are stuck on my smart phone just now. The government forces have got a platoon over the coo' bridge in the dark before it was blown. With no way back they assaulted the village with gusto! Maff's small number of Free Taff volunteers and Territorials held the line magnificently. When I told him a reserve was available - he fully expected a platoon of Royals - only to find 3 miners in windcheaters and donkey jackets armed with SLRs.

'Butch and Sundance' took up position in Mrs Miggins' front garden and held back greatly superior numbers. When the 'Guvvies' got close enough to grenade, it was all over. 'Butch' was taken out by splinters forcing 'Sundance' to make for the church yard and find himself last taff standing.

The action was intense right across the table (I'd removed the 'dead' figures from the road closest to the camera, before I took the top picture). An entire section wiped out and the platoon Charlie G team skulking off table. But it didn't come without cost and a foray from Taffs in the manse was met with deadly fire.

By the end of the evening, the government had managed to ensconce Mr Cram and his sparks, a corporal two riflemen and two GPMG teams in the Church. The rest of the platoon lay dead. Three miners held the house behind Mrs Miggin's (top left) - shooting at anyone exposing themselves in the light of the flames from the burning Land Rover. Sundance had melted into the darkness and two more volunteers were left in the Manse. But the main defence (off table) had been flanked and effectively broken. The road to Abergavenny is open.

 The Game

The most demanding game to date in many ways and 50 minutes after the first round, we decided it was time to quit. The Taffs didn't have enough men left to retake the church and the sound of battle would have told the guys holding the southern perimeter that their line had been breached and it was time to head for the showers. A bittersweet victory. 12 Platoon was down to just 9 men at the end of the battle.

The 'Guvvies' were old style Platoon 20. I've grown fond of them in a very Basic Battle Skills kind of way.

The Free Taffs were a mix of ex-Hotspur for the volunteers and RH Models Brits for the Territorials. No prizes for guessing what rules...Cold War: 1983.



  1. This game was a brutal brawl. I'd had a few thoughts and had a bit of a plan but that went out of the window as Mark started bringing on the Rangers even as I was telling him where my guys were set up. So, planning on the hoof....Bren team covering the open ground, rifle group covering the central road, two men in the upstairs Manse (looking to pick off targets and give rapid cover fire, a poor mans lmg team) and the rest in the manse garden to react. The 50mm mortar wasnt going to deliver a nebelwerfer like stonk but was useful in harassing massing Rangers and unsettling the Charlie G. Once it ran out of bombs, the crew jumped in as reinforcements. I kept out of the church tower because it would simply be a Charlie/66 magnet. That was it. I had deja vu of an ASL game on the Oosterbeek perimeter and from then on it was a grim matter of making every shot count and to hell with the fancy stuff. To judge by the amount of Charlie G belting into my positions, Mark felt the same way. My foray with the guys from the Manse was a rash move and costly...but they helped wipe out Mark's central section and tangled with his right flank so much that only a handful reached the Church - in fact it almost went the other way with the rangers grenaded and hunkered down behind the hedge and the Taffs desperately "doing a Para" and using sheer agression to make up for numbers.

    As the dust settled we were both stunned at the damage; while Mark's Govies won, I wasnt at all disapointed - it had been one hell of a game and my Taffs had also put down a very big marker.

  2. as usual very good, but did I miss day 1 ?

  3. I don't think it's my best After Action Report. The game was moving too swiftly to take many photos.

    I have more photos of this game on my smart phone along with those from night one, which are waiting for me to download to the PC.

    I just wanted to blog last night's game whilst it was hot.


  4. I'll make a note in the text about night one.


  5. Two things:

    1) Llanover College is the public school which provided me with armed schoolboys for my VBCW Free Welsh.

    2) Nice use of rugby terminology in the transmission.