Scenario: Bridges Over The River Mersey

Background: following the capture of Manchester, Royalist forces have launched a two-pronged offensive on Liverpool. The southern prong pushes along the M56 axis overrunning Republican positions at Stretton and Preston Brook with ease before swinging north into Runcorn to capture the strategically vital Runcorn-Widnes rail and road bridges across the Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal.

Their capture will allow the Royalists to push into south Merseyside and threaten the port-city of Liverpool. It is imperative for the Republican cause that the Royalists do not capture either bridge intact so they launch air strikes at the two bridges.

Rules: this scenario has been written with AirWar: C21 in mind.

Republican Forces: 4 x SEPECAT Jaguar GR.1B (player to assign bomb load), 4 x Hawk T.1A escort.

Royalist Forces: 3 x Harrier GR.5 (appear on even number roll on d6, roll once per turn until appear), 2 x Tornado F.3 ADV (appear on a 5 or 6 on d6, roll once per turn until appear), 3 x Blowpipe SAM AAA.

Victory conditions: the Republican Air Force must cause at least 50% damage to both bridges for a narrow victory, destroying them is a major victory.

Terrain: as per the map. Royalist AAA can only be deployed south of the bridges. Aircraft from either side can enter from whatever direction they wish.

Notes: both bridges are classified as large steel/concrete bridges with 15 damage points each.

News: Royalist North West Offensive Thwarted

5th January 1989: The Republican leadership received welcome news when it was reported that the Royalist offensive to seize Liverpool had faltered.

Although some Royalist forces were able to invest the city they became bogged down in fierce street battles as the Republican leadership of the city issued a call to arms to all citizens to resist the royalist troops.

Liverpool mayor Derek Hatton pledged to turn Liverpool "into a new Stalingrad" as militia units including army cadets and trade union chapters fought alongside Republican army units from the Lancashire Regiment against the Royalists.

News: Cambridge Falls To Royalists

3rd January 1989: TV channel Sky News gave the first reports that Cambridge had fallen to Royalist forces following a concerted offensive over the new year period.

Royalist forces spearheaded by The King's Regiment and the 7th Duke of Edinburgh's Gurkha Rifles forced back the Republican Anglian Regiment in a series of attacks over a three day period. The Republicans swiftly deployed elements of the 3rd Tank Regiment and the Parachute Regiment to Saffron Walden to help prop up the retreating Anglians as the capital came under threat of Royalist attack for the first time in the war.

News: Charles Crowned King

1st January 1989: In a small scale ceremony in Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa, Prince Charles was crowned King of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis; Head of the Commonwealth, and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Upon his coronation, Charles Windsor adopted the regal name of George VII to avoid the association with Stuart kings named Charles, the first having been executed following a civil war, the second living for many years in exile.

Blogs: Un-Tied Kingdom, The War in 2011

If you enjoy this blog and Winter of '79, you'll be pleased to see another modern British civil war blog project, the Un-tied Kingdom, the War in 2011. Right up to date, the divergence point is the recent election and the Labour Party leading a revolt against the minority Tory government. Hopefully you'll follow Brian's efforts as well as Mark's at '79 and mine here.

Miniatures: 1/56th British Army AFV's

As the missus watches Poirot (or Pie-rot as I like to call him!) on ITV this Christmas night I decided to read through the Battlegames PDF bundle I bought a week or so back. I'd only got into the first few when reading about Mike Siggins' visit to an old toy soldier fair and his quest to buy 54mm Coldstream Guards he mentioned a company called Scarlet and Gold who make 30mm toy soldiers and also that they produce vehicles...

Whilst my 28mm plans are FIBUA based and I probably won't want a Chieftain or Challenger in 1/56th, I can find a use for APC's and light tanks like the Scimitar. A useful looking 20 vehicle range, it includes Warriors (one above), Humvees, Land Rovers and a 105mm towed by a Pinzgauer light truck.

Another 1/56th source is Sloppy Jalopy who do a small range of Cold War era vehicles including a very useful FV432, Humber Pig and a wonderful Saxon APC (above). Once the credit card bill is reduced post Christmas I will be investing in some vehicles from both companies for some 2ECW action.

Miniatures: Airfix To Release Modern British

Airfix have today posted their 2011 catalogue online and in it contains some very interesting models for 2ECW gaming. Airfix are planning to release a new range of 1/48th scale vehicles and figures which should be worth keeping any eye out for:

A06301: British Land Rover Twin Set (set includes one Land Rover WMIK and one Land Rover Snatch)
A02750: British Army Troops

Miniatures: Chieftain & Challenger

Mark on his excellent Winter of '79 blog found some useful 1/72 pre-painted models at very reasonable prices. The Altaya range includes two obviously useful models in the form of a Challenger I in the green/black camo pattern (perfect for home service) and a Chieftain V in the Berlin urban camo. Mark points out that it isn't 100% accurate for Berlin, but is more than acceptable for Basingstoke or Bedford...

He picked his Chieftain's up from Model Hobbies of Stoke-on-Trent for a very reasonable £7.19 (given it's ready for gaming) and I may pick up a couple to use with the old 20mm's I have stored away that were the main reason for starting this project!

News: Prince Charles Agrees To Take Crown

31st December 1988: CBC reported that Prince Charles, at the time in exile in the United States, had, after representations from military and political leaders, agreed to be crowned King. Charles had not taken the decision lightly as he had initially believed that such an act would fan the flames of war in Britain, but the continued violence, break-up of the Union and foreign intervention led him to change his mind. The Republican Government in London condemned the decision as "illegal, inflammatory and of no consequence".

News: Para-Military Campaign Launched In Scotland

28th December 1988: BBC Scotland reported a series of para-military attacks on Scottish National Party (SNP) and Scottish Labour Party offices and officials by extremists operating under the banner Siol nan Gaidheal (Seed of the Gaels).

The Siol nan Gaidheal (SnG) had been an ultra-nationalist wing of the SNP until they were expelled from the party in the early 1980's. Under the leadership of Jackie Stokes and inspired by ultra-nationalist movements across Europe, the SnG began to organise for 'military struggle' when the civil war erupted in England.

Stokes was hugely critical of SNP leader Gordon Wilson's agreement with Cranwell to support the London Government in return for independence, believing that that the weakened state of the English government meant that independence could be declared unilaterally without the need to gain English acquiescence.