Monday, 23 November 2009

A Lunchtime Musing

In my break at work today I had a little think about what I could do with my B&T figures. Then the answer hit me - Clan-based warfare on the Isle of Skye! It retains the local link - I'm a member of Clan MacLeod of Dunvegan, Skye - and means I can mix the B&Ts with militia figures to create a rag-tag bunch of clansmen to fight the representatives of the Republican Government in the name of Edward VIII and the Union...

So I bashed this out in ten minutes:

The Isle of Skye in theVBCW:

The clans are split, and ancient feuds have reignited. Clan MacLeod of Dunvegan has declared for King and Country, forcing Clan MacDonald of Sleat to back the Scottish Government. Aid, however, is limited and infrequent as the Republican Scottish Government has problems of its own, with Clydeside and other areas are simmering with revolutionary unrest, fascist insurgents, and cross-border raids.

For the most part, the fighting on Skye – with its population of just 9,000 people – is limited to skirmishes, raids, and tit-for-tat atrocities.

Clan MacLeod and the Skye Battalion

The Clan MacLeod forces are based at Dunvegan Castle, and led by Dame Flora MacLeod, 28th Chieftan of the Clan and the first female Chieftan. Her ‘army’, officially referred to as the Skye Battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders by London and Edwards’ High Command, comprises some 280 clansmen with varying degrees of experience.

The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland is a powerful force on Skye, and it is represented within the MacLeod militia by no less than three ministers. They see Clan MacDonald, which supports the United Free Church, as ‘dangerous reformists’ and are keen to destroy the UFC’s influence on Skye.

The Skye Battalion is organised as follows:

Dunvegan Castle:
Battalion HQ: 10 men plus Captain Cameron.

Dunvegan Company:
1st Platoon – 30 men
2nd Platoon – 30 men
3rd Platoon – 30 men

Edinbane Company:
4th Platoon - 30 men
5th Platoon - 30 men
6th Platoon - 30 men

Portree Company:
7th Platoon - 30 men
8th Platoon - 30 men
9th Platoon - 30 men

The Skye Battalion has made its front line against Clan Donald the mountainous Cuilin Hills, with Raasay and Rona held by 5th and 6th Platoons to guard against any attempted sea landings.

Equipment is limited mostly to rifles and shotguns, with each Platoon in possession of an LMG (mostly this is the Lewis gun, but 8th Platoon has a Bren gun). Petrol bombs are common, with the force’s sole heavy weapon – a Vickers HMG – kept at Dunvegan for defensive purposes. Resupply is limited to the occasional smuggler’s run from England, and a regular army advisor, Captain James Cameron, has been attached to the force.

There are few cars on Skye, and the battalion instead makes use of horses, although not as mounted cavalry. The unit’s NCOs are all veterans of WWI, and the men themselves are a mix of hardy crofters and war veterans. Few speak English, but this is not yet a problem. Small boats and amphibious landings are commonplace, but neither the MacLeods or MacDonalds have the numbers to drive the other off Skye yet.

London has promised greater support if the Skye Battalion can take Kyleakin, from which point raids can be mounted against the mainland. It remains to be seen if this will happen before the reorganising Scottish Army can provide overwhelming support to the MacDonalds.

The Skye Battalion wear black or dark green tam-o-shanters, khaki tunics, trews in the clan tartan, and khaki puttees. Webbing is leather, usually brown or black, and boots are black. Greatcoats are often worn. Insignia is limited to the clan crest, worn on the right shoulder, and the Highland Division patch on the left. Rank tapes are white. Uniforms, however, are limited, and many wear a mix of civilian clothing and military gear. Steel helmets are rare, and limited to the ‘tin bowler’ of the regular army.

A Platoon is typically organised into three squads as follows:

Lt, Sgt, three-man LMG team, runner, 4 men (rifles).
Cpl, L/Cpl, 8 men (rifles).
Cpl, L/Cpl, 8 men (rifles).

Shotguns, pistols, and petrol bombs are common. Seanar MacLeod, the Dunvegan Company’s minister, has the only sub-machine-gun in the battalion: a Bergmann. Dame Flora has been promised a shipment of automatic weapons from America via Ireland, and Captain Cameron has successfully pleaded for more rifles which, in theory, will enable more islanders to be called to the Fairy Flag.

Suggested Figures:
Musketeer Miniatures – IRA, Worker’s Militia, Black and Tans and Brigands. British Militia and Anglican League packs also have useful figures.

This particular project will go by the name of 'VBCW' and will probably top out at 60 or so figures - a platoon apiece to fight across the Cuilin Hills. The MacDonald Clan troops will be slightly more 'regular' looking, with 1918 infantry to represent their improved lines of supply with the mainland.

On a similar, 1938-related note, it's hard to find 28mm resistants, partisans, or guerillas that aren't carrying soviet weapons. I'm trying to work out what models to get for the Angel Alley Anarchists who'll be fighting the Artizan Police and Musketeer/Empress BUF men in Police Action.

That particular project - Police Action - is now set out as follows:

3 with rifles, 3 with pistols, 3 with truncheons, detective. (10)


BUF Action Squad:
Officer with pistol, female driver, plainclothes security policeman, 2 NCOs with SMGs, 13 men with rifles and shotgun
Car: Officer, driver, BUF man with shotgun, plainclothesman
1st truck: NCO with tommy gun, 6 riflemen
2nd truck: NCO with SMG, 6 riflemen

Musketeer (officer, shotgun, 3 rifles, tommy gun NCO)
Artizan (plainclothesman and driver)
Empress (Assault Guards packs – command and rifles)

28 state forces (plus one car and two trucks

Angel Alley Anarchists:
20 anarchists with a mix of SMGs, pistols and rifles. Two LMGs.

Bolt Action (partisans – Western Rifles, LMGs, German Rifles – 12)

I'm also tempted to get some Natal Mounted Police and use them as Met. mounted cops with riot shotguns (as per a post on the Gentleman's Wargames Parlour). We shall see. Now I'm off to do some painting!

1 comment:

  1. Most interesting background and unit descriptions. I look forward to following the campaign as it unfolds...
    best wishes