Scotch on the Rocks

The BBC News has an article on a 1970s drama series, about an armed revolt in Scotland.

It sounds like the most dramatic news story imaginable.

The battle for Scottish independence has taken a violent turn after paramilitary “soldiers” of the Scottish Liberation Army (SLA) took over the town of Fort William.

Troops from English regiments of the British army are massing north of Glasgow to turn back an expected assault on the nation’s largest city.

The prime minister is meeting his cabinet in London. And the leadership of the SNP, the party which recently narrowly missed out on winning a majority in the Westminster parliament, has yet to condemn the actions in the Highlands.

I wasn’t aware of this series, but I am intrigued by the similarity to the article I wrote thirty years ago about a possible modern era English Civil War that was published in Wargames Illustrated.

” … its six o’clock, on Tuesday the 27th October 1998. This is the Royal Somerset Broadcasting Service, and now the news from Wessex and around the world. The headlines: Scotland has seceded from the British Republic, fighting has broken out along the border. Royalist army and volunteer militia units have pushed back across the border an armed incursion by Democratic Guards into south-west Dorset last night. Bristol Docks were once again the target of bombing over the night, but damage has been minimal. The United States has once again confirmed its commitment to the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Wessex and Duchy of Cornwall.”

Sadly the Scotch on the Rocks series was never repeated, the real SNP complained about their fictional portrayal in the drama. Also not all the episodes are available. You can get the book on Amazon though.

I wonder if they would remake the series (still have it set in the 1970s) or reboot the series to a modern day setting.

There are lots of gaming ideas in this concept. Something I hope to explore in a later blog post.

Team Yankee: Red Dawn

So there I was thinking I haven’t visited the Team Yankee site in a while, and when I went there I was intrigued and pleased to see the announcement of the release of Team Yankee: Red Dawn.

Red Dawn Logo

Background on the Soviet Invasion of North America, Soviet Airborne Forces, the VDV, Cubans, US Continental and Militia Fores.

Instructions on how to build a Soviet BMD Air Assault Battalion, T-72B Tank Battalion, T-64BV Tank Battalion, Cuban T-62, T-55, BMP & BTR-60 Formations, and a US Militia Group.

Air Assault rules, US, British, West German, Soviet, Warsaw Pact and Cuban forces for the Air Assault Mission, and how to field the Mi-8 HIP, CH-46 Sea Knight, CH-47 Chinook, and CH-53 Sea Stallion transport helicopters.

Four Scenarios pitting US irregular Militia Groups against the Soviets.

Of course Red Dawn was the name of the 1984 film starring Patrick Swayze. The film depicts a fictional World War III centered on a land invasion of the continental United States by an alliance of Soviet, Warsaw Pact and Latin American states.

The story follows a group of teenaged guerillas, known as the Wolverines, in Soviet-occupied Colorado. 

The Team Yankee version of Red Dawn is very similar, but is part of the Team Yankee setting, so there is a war in Europe whereas in the film the war was focused on the North American continent.

I like the concept of armed militia and pick up trucks with HMGs on board.

They could also be used for games in Wessex: The Second English Civil War for insurgent and militia forces.

The new helicopters also look interesting for air assault scenarios, both within and outside the Team Yankee background.

It will be interesting to see how far Battlefront will take this background. This blog post has an in-depth review of the rules and forces from the rule book.

Westland Wessex HC.2

This Westland Wessex HC.2 was on display at RAF Cosford. The HC.2 was a RAF Troop carrier for up to 16 troops, the prototype was converted from an HAS1 and an additional 73 were built.

The Westland Wessex is a British-built turbine-powered development of the Sikorsky H-34. It was developed and produced under licence by Westland Aircraft (later Westland Helicopters). One of the main changes from Sikorsky’s H-34 was the replacement of the piston-engine powerplant with a turboshaft engine.

Early models were powered by a single Napier Gazelle engine, while later builds used a pair of de Havilland Gnome engines.

I didn’t realise that the last RAF Wessex helicopters (Cyprus based HC Mk 2s) retired as late as 2003.

I always had this idea of Westland Wessex helicopters flying about for games set in my world of the Second English Civil War or Team Yankee. For 20mm games there are plenty of choices, both kits and diecast models. For 15mm Italeri do a 1/100th scale Wessex die cast kit which would work well.

For larger 28mm scales, you are probably looking for the 1/48th Revell plastic kit.


Land Rover Centaurs in Wessex

The Laird Centaur was the brainchild of Laird (Angelsey) Limited and was the result of intensive engineering development combining the Land Rover and the Alvis designed tracks of the FV101 Scorpion light tank. 

Many years ago I wrote and had published an article in Wargames Illustrated called Wessex: The Second English Civil War.

Wessex: The Second English Civil War

On March 17th, 1998, Royalists rose up in defiance and took control of key government buildings, airfields and broadcasting stations in the West Country and Cornwall. Supported by army units and Sea Harriers from what used to be the Royal Navy, there was little bloodshed. People came out onto the streets and cheered. The King who had been in exile in Canada flew back and landed at Bristol airport. The Kingdom of Wessex and Duchy of Cornwall was born. The Republican Prime Minister was, of course, very angry at what had happened. He mobilised his Democratic Guards and ordered them to defeat the Royalist rebellion. The Second English Civil War had started. Three hundred and thirteen years after the last pitched battle to take place on English soil, there were going to be more.

My recent blog post on the Laird Centaur Half Track and their proposed different versions got me thinking about what if the Laird Centaur Half Track was a commercial and military success and was used extensively by both sides in the Wessex Civil War.

In the marketing materials they did advertise an armoured version. This got me thinking about scenarios involving an Armoured Laird Centaur Half Track in Wessex.

A Democratic Guard patrol on the M4 near Reading, comprising three Armoured Laird Centaur Half Tracks and a Scorpion Light Tank is ambushed by Royalist Special Forces. The objective of the ambush is to disable the vehicles and then withdraw.

Royal Marines Armoured Laird Centaur Half Tracks are guarding the entrance to the 40 Commando Royal Marines base at Norton Manor Camp. There then follows an assault by Republican paratroopers to rescue POWs being held at the camp.

A Royalist convoy, with Laird Centaur Half Tracks is approaching Gloucester when it is ambushed by a force of Democratic Guards using light scout vehicles, motorbikes and a single Armoured Laird Centaur Half Track.

Democratic Guards using Laird Centaur Half Tracks are landed on the beaches of North Somerset by landing craft, to sabotage the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. Local royalist forces rush to defend the power station and push the Democratic Guards back into the Bristol Channel.

I’ve not found any models of the Laird Centaur, but I do remember once an article in a magazine about how to convert a 1/76th version using the (then) JB Models Land Rover and Scorpion models. Both kits are now available from Airfix.