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Battle of Helsby Hill (Part 1)

 

Liverpool Irish in there starting position Helsby and hill to their right

Liverpool Free State Forces deployed with the Irish brigade attempting to take Frodsham with the ‘Wild Geese Battalion on the table edge, the IRA (Scotland Road) Battalion in the middle and the ex-Biritsh Army liverpool Irish in the west towards the table middle.

Wild Geese (left) and IRA (right) preparing to advance on the town of Frodsham

The Heavy machine gun armed motorcycle combinations of the Red Rievers where posted in the middle accompanied by Divisional Commander Major General Fergal Mckenzie, DCM, Car.

The Welsh were on the extreme Western table edge and the Scottish more easterly as they advanced againist Helsby.

The Government forces had Helsby Local Defence Volunteers (LDVs)s in the trenches on the hill while the 3rd Battalion Cheshire BUF Auxillaires occupied their town. Fordshams own LDV was trusted with defendign the town and a BUF battalion guarded Frodsham hill and Battalions in the terrain inbetween.

(See https://clarkythecruel.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/battle-of-helsby-hill for order of battles and set up)

The Scots made good progress towards Helsby – the7y then came under surprisingly accurate artillery fire spotted in the gloom by Battlaion leader White of the BUF. They froze and then panicked eventually joined by the sluggish Welsh.

In a rash even Bulcheresque decision the Liverpool CO charged his mortocycle troops towards Helsby hills trusted to their firepower to make mincemeat of the defneders and enable him to steal guns before dawn.

Meanwhile on the Frodhsam front Naval gunners accurately spotted ship’s guns onto the town damaging the LDV. The IRA kept missing turns due to confusion, indiscipline or drunkeness (they rolled a lot of double twos) when not firing sproadically on the town. The out of shape Liverpool Irish (the regiment was disbanded in 1922) edged closer but never fired a shot.

Then at Helsby the Welsh – inspired by Dai Gueste the brigade commander personally leading them closed on the town and opened up. Dai Gueste the ex-French Foriegn Legionaire Welshman and encyclopedia salesman dashed to rally the Scots.  The Welsh charging to battle crys of Ogi! Ogi! Ogi!  set upon the BUF and the Free Welsh Army platoons with their SMGs made mincemeat when they broke into the BUF defences.

When Welshmen attack!

 By the end of turn 8, with dawn broken Helsby was in LFS (Welsh) hands and the Scots had rallied and were ready to go. At their rear the twin battalions Bette Braddocks Amazons had arrived, the 1st Battalion under Colonel Rosalin Bruxelles making excellent progress while the 2nd Battalion proved sticky and did not advance far.

And who could blame them – the Rievers shooting it out with the BUF had routed the 5th  battalion only to come under paralysing artillery fire spotted by Area Commander – BUF Brigade leader Horace Hamilton  who with his staff occupied the forward trenches and spotted the guns. Thos gave tiem for the 6th to get into position to shoot up the Rievers and by dawn not one but two bombers from nearby RAF bases destroyed the survivors.

Menawhile supported by People’s Fleet Air Arm fighters and Naval gunnery the irish took Frodsham. The Free State regulars of the Wild Geese Battalion  advanced towards the hill while the IRA looted the town. It was by now light and governemnt artillery kncoked out the Wild Geese’s naval spotter. To add insult to injury machien gun fiore caused them to panic. Finally to make matters worse the first government reinforcements turned up – a platoon of Royal Tank Regiment heavy tanks, 2 of Vickers mark VI operated by Hussars and a Royal Highway Patrol Group Squadron. Bad news.

The Wild Geese panicking as so many hundredweight and horsepower of Government reinforcements turn up.

Suddenly things look very tricky for the Free Staters – will next week by a Napoleonic clutching of glorious victory from dreadful circumstances or will be a disaster with the celtic flower of LFS fighting power crushed on the slopes of the Sandstone trail?

Welsh and Scots prepare for the off with LFS airsupport (birkenhead badgers flying circus ?) in support - but is it too little, too late?

 

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