The 1919 British Revolution

Across Europe in the early part of the 20th Century many of the nation states were undergoing change or violent revolution. The governments of the time were so concerned about this that resources were diverted to focus on the perceived threat of revolutionaries and paramilitary forces.

The 1917 Russian Revolution eventually led to the Communist USSR as well as a Civil War that raged for years with plenty of intervention by the Western powers.

In Germany following their defeat in 1918 led to the creation of the Weimar Republic that was plagued by political extremism. In addition that time saw both left wing and right wing paramilitaries causing problems for the government.

The capitulation and break up of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire also saw rises in nationalism and revolution.

In Great Britain the government feared a bolshevik uprising and was quick to oppress any potential threat to the established order. One of the biggest areas for concern were the labour movements and trade unions. One strike in Glasgow in 1919 eventually resulted in a street battle between strikers and police, which was so bad, the army was called in.

The “Battle of George Square”, also known as “Bloody Friday” and “Black Friday”, was one of the most intense riots in the history of Glasgow; it took place on Friday, 31 January 1919.

Clashes between the City of Glasgow Police and protesters broke out, prompting the War Cabinet to make soldiers available to the civil power, to prevent the violence from escalating.

Medium Mark C tanks and soldiers at the Glasgow Cattle Market in the Gallowgate

With troops and tanks on the streets of Glasgow, peace was eventually restored, but there were concerns that some of the soldiers might go over to the side of the rioters, could that have been the spark that started a British Revolution?

The fear of the soldiers siding with the protestors was so much that the War Department didn’t want any Glaswegian troops sent to quell the violence, incase they changed sides. Though reports later implied that English troops were sent, more recent research has indicated that it was Scottish troops that were sent to Glasgow. However what if English troops were sent and the situation rather than be defused, escalated into a more violent conflict. Would the conflict bring in local paramilitary forces, some fighting for the establishment and some fighting for change? Another potential spark for a British Revolution?

British army tank in Dublin

In future blog posts I want to have a look at potential battles in the 1919 British Revolution and the forces involved.

Flames of War Great War

Flames of War Great War

This week sees the release of the Flames of War Great War supplement. You can either buy a boxed set which comes with the supplement, or you can buy the August issue of Wargames Illustrated, that comes bundled with the supplement for “free”. Alongside the rules there are various models, including two boxed starter sets.

I got my copy of Wargames Illustrated yesterday and spent some time reading the supplement and the plethora of articles in the magazine itself on the new supplement and the rules.

The models look really nice, this is the Mark IV Male.

Mark IV Male

You can compare that detailed model with the 15mm version I bought many years ago. This version is a lot more detailed, looks much better and really captures the feel of this, one of the first tanks. As well as tanks there are infantry and artillery. I really quite like the introductory boxed set available, Mitchell’s Marauders.

GBRAB1 Mitchell's Marauders

Your rifle company is well-equipped for assaulting and crushing the enemy. Prepare your assault with your Mark IV tanks. They will pulverize Jerry’s gun nests with high-explosives and rake his trenches with machine-gun fire. Then send in your highly-trained rifle platoons to clear out the trenches and breakthrough.

The box provides all you need for an introductory game, infantry, tanks and artillery.

There is also a German boxed set available. Though that boxed set has the A7V, you can of course use captured British tanks for your German forces.

captured British tank

I feel I can’t say too much on the rules, as I have not had a chance for a game with them…

The articles within Wargames Illustrated cover a range of issues, one of the interesting aspects is debunking the myth that the Great War was just about muddy trenches. Towards the end of the war there were more battles that were about movement and breakthroughs across new areas that hadn’t been torn apart from relentless artillery barrages.

With the 100th anniversary of the Great War this month, I can see these models proving popular. For the future I hope we can see some more models, notably missing are armoured cars, which though played little part in the trenches, were well utilised in other theatres of the war.

15mm Home Guard MkIV Male Tank

15mm Home Guard MkIV Male Tank

15mm Home Guard MkIV Male Tank

I have had this tank for sometime. Having found the 6pdrs I glued them in. Don’t remember the manufacturer, though it may be Minifigs! When I was planning some Operation Sealion games back in the 1990s I intended that the Home Guard would make use of a museum Mark IV Male tank. I mentioned this also in an article I wrote on a French themed Operation Sealion, Otaire de Vigneur.

To add a bit of diversity to my games, I also have one of Minifigs’ World War One British tanks, for use by a Home Guard unit (stolen from a local museum no doubt).

Now  when I wrote that article and bought the miniature it was only an assumption and what I thought would be a nice idea, and probably had no basis in truth….

How wrong I was….

15mm Home Guard MkIV Male Tank

I have had this tank for sometime. Don’t remember the manufacturer, though it may be Minifigs! When I was planning some Operation Sealion games back in the 1990s I intended that the Home Guard would make use of a museum Mark IV Male tank. I mentioned this also in an article I wrote on a French themed Operation Sealion, Otaire de Vigneur.

To add a bit of diversity to my games, I also have one of Minifigs’ World War One British tanks, for use by a Home Guard unit (stolen from a local museum no doubt).

Now  when I wrote that article and bought the miniature it was only an assumption and what I thought would be a nice idea, and probably had no basis in truth….

Well just shows a little historical research never hurt anyone, as the Bovington Tank Museum has on display a Mark IV Male tank that was used just in this way. It was used in World War One and then presented to the Navy. When war broke out in September 1939, the  Tank Mark IV (Male) number 2324 was refurbished for Home Guard duties; according to the Bovington Tank Museum website.

Our exhibit, a male tank, was presented to the Royal Navy’s Gunnery School, HMS Excellent after the war to commemorate their help training Tank Corps gunners and it was temporarily refurbished for Home Guard duties in 1940. (Believed to have been achieved by removed parts from another tank possibly on Southsea Common.)

This photograph is from HMS Excellent in 1940.

Another view of the Mark IV at speed.

So though I thought my idea was probably if Operation Sealion had happened, I didn’t think and didn’t realise that it had in fatc happened despite the fact that the Germans hadn’t invaded.

So if you are playing Flames of War Operation Sealion games using the Blitzkreig sourcebook than you can use a Mark IV Male tank as part of your Home Guard forces.Not sure how long though it would last against German Panzers though…

Now who has the stats for a Mark IV tank for Flames of War?

Advance upon the enemy…

One of the games I enjoyed a lot at GamesDay 2007 was Aly Morrison and Dave Andrew’s excellent World War One demonstration game.

German forces complete with a captured British Mk IV Tank in German colours and soldiers armed with flamethrowers, move forward.

Advance upon the enemy…

You can see many more pictures of the game on my website.