Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Feature - "Crusader" Class Personnel Carriers

The Loyal Ludlow Infantry have fought with distinction in all the most recent engagements of the Civil War in Herefordshire. Traditionally conveyed to battle in repainted "Evian" trucks (a commercial sponsorship arising from the Rev. Duff - Postin's internationally renowned abstinence from alcohol) their courage and tenacity has now been recognised by another international combine - the Packard Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan. A number of Packard Town Vans (guarded on their voyage from America by the Chicago Police "Citizens Relations" Demonstration Squad) have now completed their conversion, within the closely guarded confines of the Bishop's Industrial Park and Experimental Proving Grounds, to "Crusader" class Personnel Carriers, as today displayed in the grounds of Ludlow Castle.

The Bishop and Chancellor of Ludlow inspect the very first "Crusader" Personnel Carriers. 
Especially adapted, with their front firing Light Machine Gun (or Anti Tank Rifle), for the new "shoot and scoot" tactics being worked up on the Bishop's Training Grounds, the technical specification of these advanced Personnel Carriers remains shrouded in secrecy. For example, are they armoured or unarmoured? Or fuel injected and turbo-charged? Can they really be - as rumoured - "faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive"?

All enquiries have been directed to Staff Captain Maskelyne, who will only confirm that each "Crusader" is designed to hold a full section of Loyal Ludlow infantry, complete with Light Machine Gun (or Anti Tank Rifle).

A Pathe News newsreel crew capture the historic moment in the grounds of Ludlow Castle

Special - Command Decision

With the campaigning season about to start, the Bishop of Ludlow has announced a reconstitution of his Battle Headquarters, reports the Ludlow Leader. The accession - some months ago, now - of the Bishop's Military Secretary, the Rev Duff-Postin, to the position of Chancellor of All-Ludlow (by the universal acclamation of both the Town and Ecclesiastical Councils) left a vacancy for the position of Bearer of the Great Standard. The despatch - around the same time - of the Rev. Stoker, Chief Exorcist to the Bishop and Battle NCO to Commandant Lasalle, on a goodwill tour to the French Central African Protectorate Independent Republic of Jojoba (President for Life, Chief Whoaroo) left another HQ position unfilled. It is thought that, after his stop off in Africa, the Rev. Stoker will head on to Ruritania and Transylvania (in search of Arrowsmith's rumoured new recruiting grounds) while the new Chancellor has already been despatched on a secret diplomatic mission of his own, apparently "much closer to home"...

The Bishop and his new Battle HQ in the grounds of Ludlow Castle
The announced changes reflect the growing importance within Ludlow of a new religious organisation, THe Order (of the Bishop) of Hereford Martyred And Sanctified, or the "Order of THOMAS" for short. Doubting - well, it could hardly be otherwise - the official reports to the effect that the kidnapped Bishop of Hereford is still alive and well, the Order maintains a different truth - that "their Bishop" has been assassinated by his captors, and - directed as they are by the former Dean and Chapter of Hereford Cathedral, who fled to the sanctuary of Ludlow upon the fall of Hereford and capture of the Bishop - have vowed revenge. The interests of such a powerful - not to say, fanatical - political force in Ludlow needed to be assuaged.

The Bishop, accompanied by Commandant Lasalle, explains the command changes to an eager press
"It is a great pleasure" the Bishop told a hastily assembled press conference, "to announce the appointment of Brother Oswin as the Bearer of the Great Standard of Ludlow. And Brother Cadfael - with his well known 'Cup of Healing Herbs" - as Medic to the Expeditionary Force. I know that Abbot Ambrose, leader of the Order of THOMAS, is equally pleased by the recognition thereby conferred upon his noble Order. We must pray for all of our Headquarters Staff in the battles to come...."