The Battle of Crundale, 1938

The Battle of Crundale, 1938

Of all the factions in Pembrokeshire, the King’s faction, led by Lord Tenby (son of Lloyd George and MP for Pembrokeshire at the time of the dissolution of government), was undoubtedly the strongest.  However, it was surrounded by enemies, held a long and narrow corridor of land and struggled to maintain communications between the garrison towns of Haverfordwest, Clarbeston Road, Whitland, Narberth, Saundersfoot and Tenby.  The railway was particularly vulnerable and was constantly patrolled by elements of the Landsker Brigade.

However, in the late summer of 1938, a Royalist military supply train carrying weapons, vehicles, ammunition and fuel, broke down near Crundale, in the valley of the Western Cleddau, a few miles north of Haverfordwest.  The Bishop of St David’s spies were quck to report this fact and the Roch Castle Fencibles were soon marching from their positions near Camrose, with the intention of capturing the train and recovering this vital military materiel.  However, the ‘Sir Thomas Picton’ Independent Cohort of the BUF’s XIII Legion were also racing to the scene…

Arriving simultaneously at both ends of Crundale village, the two sides raced to establish dominating positions.  The Anglicans set up a Vickers MG at the northern exit of the village:

Nevertheless, the BUF’s 1st Platoon takes the centre of the village first, while the bewildered village Bobby attempts to keep the peace.  A local St John’s Ambulance Cadet also appears, eager to try out his skills:

The rest of the BUF force moves to take up positions east of the village:

More Anglican League troops appear on the northern outskirts of the village.  They quickly beat the Fascists back from the centre of the village:

As skirmishing starts in the village, a platoon of Anglican League militia and a platoon of Albertine regulars (The Duchess of York’s Own Highlanders) march across country to reach Crundale Bridge:

The Roch Castle Fencibles’ headquarters moves up to the front line:

Having reached their first objective – the road from Crundale to the bridge, the BUF suddenly find themselves in a dire predicament as their left-hand unit routs the field after only light casualties! The centre of the BUF position finds itself outflanked and under heavy fire:

The Anglican League troops pour fire into the Fascists’ exposed flank:

As casualties mount in the BUF ranks, the Anglican League force advances:

Led by an old campaigner, the Anglican League takes Crundale house by house:

The Anglican League MG Platoon continues to pour on the fire:

The Anglican League commander orders a general attack:

As casualties start to mount, the BUF’s resolve begins to waver:

A BUF detachment at Crundale Bridge attempts to stem the tide, but is grenaded into submission by the Highlanders:

With BUF resistance at the bridge eliminated, the Highlanders push on to their final objective:

With casualties rapidly becoming catastrophic, the BUF commander reluctantly orders a general withdrawal:

The surviving Blackshirts leg it back to Haverfordwest:

The victorious Anglican League troops cross the bridge and capture the abandoned train.  In addition to the piles of weaponry, ammunition and fuel, they also capture four trucks, a car and a Carden-Loyd Carrier with which to haul it away:

The Anglican League commander transmits the good news back to St David’s:

We used Osprey’s ‘A World Aflame’ rules for this game – our first attempt with this ruleset. However, we did find it to be somewhat vague in places, with rules not properly explained or downright contradictory. We’re going to keep looking for a suitable set of rules for VBCW.

The figures are almost all Musketeer Minatures VBCW figures, painted by Mark Davies. The two exceptions are Zulu War ‘Bromhead VC’ figures that came free with a subscription to Wargames Illustrated.

Marin Small provided the vehicles, train and buildings, while Al Broughton provided the lovely river sections (which he made using resin ‘water’).

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