Meeting up with Jim it transpired the entire Wild Geese Battalion ?(withut their HMGs) was to be in on the attack. As they were freshly painted the Welsh Free Church Fusiliers replaced the Fromby troops and in overall command of the mission was Dai Gueste – Free Church lay preacher, ex-French Foriegn Legionarie and Readers Digest salesmen.
Government forces had to get a convoy across the Village from the Ormskirk end to the Preston end. The Rebels had to stop them. Both the COnvoy and Rebels starting forces made good progress with the Welsh taking position on a rocky outcrop to spot for the Barge bound mortars and the Irish taking up ambush positions in the hedgerows at the Preston end.
The Dingle Boys appeared early on as reinforcements and formed a firing line on a ridge by the village where they had a very successful battle. They continually rolled double 6s (granting exra determination) beating back sundry assaults by the Formby TA. However they couldn’t advance to deliver a knockout blow to the Convoy as Dai Gueste was at the Preston end liaising between the mortars and the Welsh Free Churches Fusiliers spotters and couldn’t give them the objective to advance. (I pressume the Dingle lads had been dropped off at the coast by Ferries and ‘acquired’ their transport on route.)
The Government advance was a little delayed by repeated rolls of double 2 (atrocity) which we took to be the Govenrment forces thinkng a reflection (perhaps from a broken window or mirror in the town) was a signaling attempt by rebel sympathisers in the town – and consequently delivering fire onto the village in some turns.
The Irish couldn’t deliver a knockout blow to the tanks covering the convoy and casulaties they took from the Convoy guards and Vickers VI light tanks caused them to become disordered. A flurry of Free State air support appeared (and some naval artillery support) but it didn’t tell on the enemy. (The air support will dovetail nicely with the next ALFIES adventure.)
With the Irish panicked the Tanks cleared the road for the trucks that made a dash for freedom. The Irish recovered good ordeer and made a last assault ont hem but despite taking out guards they failed to kncok out any more trucks. The Tanks then drove between the Irish and Welsh intending to finish off the Free staters. Their accurate HMG fire breaking the Welsh who fled for the barges.
Then disaster struck – one Tank platoon broken dow and was stuck – it became pinned by mortar fire – then the other was destroyed by the combined Irish fire as the Convoy had by then escaped. At the other end of the table the Dingle lads where sitting pretty and given their performance, their Commander Comrade-Colonel Starkey was musing changing their name to the Dingle Guards.
The fact remained the Convoy had only lot one truck and while the lost of tanks and TA units was a heavy price for the Government the Free Staters had failed in their objective.
Dai Gueste has put his failure down to a lack of transport and so after careful prayer and consideration put in an appeal to the Free State Supply & Logistics Committee for bicycles for his command platoon. If they fail him the collectign tin might have to be passed around Chapel and temperence meetings ‘Bikes for the Boyos.’
(Errr..does anyone know where I can get 15mm Bicycles from? Just to stick on the stand….)
Roleplaying next week and after that FINALLY the battle of Helsby Hill.