Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Hereford1938 AVBCW Autumn Big Game 2017 (PART THREE)


As the Bishop contentedly tucked into his beef and horseradish sandwiches, followed by a substantial slice of fruitcake [1] and cup of honest English tea, even as Storm Commander Giles tried out his karaoke "Robin Hood" impression deep within his dark and bosky den [2], the umpires met.

["We've got to do something", said Umpire Clive, puffing anxiously on an umpteeth cigarette. "The whole thing's just too unbalanced now, and we've all afternoon to go." Umpire Roo agreed, but in a strangely hesitant and non-committal fashion. A variety of options were considered, none of which found ready agreement. "Well" ventured Umpire Clive reluctantly, "I suppose we could ask Rob (Comrade-Commissar Winters) if he wouldn't mind, just to help us out, you know, kind of becoming completely over-confident after his early victory at Kington, putting aside the long standing Anglican/Socialist anti Fascist alliance for a while, and having a go at everyone from the flank?" At this suggestion, a very strange thing happened. Umpire Roo's body suddenly shortened and spasmed, his skin greyed, eyes growing to blood shot and jaundiced saucers, his hair fell out to a mere wisp, and suddenly the mishapen result was chittering: "Oh yeth, yeth, oh yeth..." It was Comrade Gollumroo in the flesh. "Oh yeth, my precious...we'd decided thath, we were going to do thath anywayth...." The appalling vision slimed and skittered back into the Hall, leaving an astonished Umpire Clive to contemplate the likely afternoon's play...]

The headlines of Ludlow's various afternoon newspapers now screamed their own story:








"It seems to me" said the Bishop, carefully wiping the very last crumb of delicious fruitcake from his lips, "that we can still achieve the victory...."

Rumour and counter-rumour had flooded into Anglican Headquarters over lunch. "The Reds", heedless of strategy and faithless to previous treaty understandings, were evidently "on the march", for their cavalry were already skirmishing forward under the outward pretence of "bringing a message for the Bishop".[4] Commandant Lasalle excitedly leaned forward over his stack of battle-maps. "Mai oui, M'sieu L'Eveque! C'est certainement! Voyez ici...."

His stubby finger traced out the Anglican options. On the right, having spent the whole morning marching, the Verity LDV were at last coming into a position to assault Councillor Cracknutt's forces. The LEAF Behemoth Destroyers, despatched at the request of Cousin Verity, were poised to destroy such armour as the Councillor had in support - the "Little Italian Tank" and a consistently "wheelspinning" (Not Very) Armoured Car - and then wheel round behind the LDV's sole (armoured) artillery piece, squeezing Councillor Cracknutt's forces into "a pocket of destruction" hard up against Storm Commander Giles' Rural Redoubt.

Or not, as the case may be. On the A49 itself, the hitherto unused infantry sections of the LEAF and a plethora of armour and armoured cars provided a ready alternative strategy. The heavily armoured Somua behemoth idled at the cross-roads, waiting for orders. An armoured car of the Verity LDV, and two armoured cars of the Brichester LDV were on hand to "lead a charge" down the road against the solitary "Wyrd Force" armoured car. Another round or two from the LEAF mortar would put paid to the AT gun and MMG (whose crews had already suffered losses), and the remaining infantry forces of Councillor Cracknutt and Storm Commander Giles (heavily engaged  in the Rural Redoubt, suffering enormous losses, against the forces of Councillor Morgan) would be fatally split asunder.....

"Mais les Rouges, M'sieu L'Eveque...." Commandant Lasalle chewed frantically on his cheroot, calculating time and distance. The two Platoons of Commissar Winters had a very long way to go before reaching the flank defences of the Ludlow forces; in any event, the defending Brichester LDV Platoon, already known to be stout hearted, were well dug in : a direct charge would cause appalling Socialist casualties."Non, c'est parfait." considered the Commandant finally. "Nous finissons contre les Noirs, et apres, les sales Rouges!"

Command Decision - the Bishop takes a moment to contemplate his options.
A flank attack by the Verity LDV, squeezing the "Government" forces into
a deathtrap, or an A49 charge, splitting them asunder ? Truly a moment of destiny.
Lunchtime was over....[and the post lunchtime auction of additional forces took place, using the new campaign cash rules. Cousin Verity invested in "The News of the World 1938 Competition Winners", a bowler hatted and umbrella waving infantry section; Commissar Winters supplemented his infantry forces with the BBC Light Entertainment Concert Party, and Captain Morgan, to demonstrate his absolute fidelity to his new masters went all in and spent the very last of his cash reserves on the well-trained Herefordshire Watch Committee]....and the Bishop had made his final decision.

[1] as prepared by Mrs Miggins. Regular listeners to the Bishop's Broadcasting Service will already be familiar with the daring escape from Hereford of this well known society confectioner, but newcomers can read the full tale HERE
[2] reportedly "in full costume", including a tiny tricorne and green tights. The Amalgamated Society of Music Hall Comedians would like to thank Storm Commander Giles for keeping them in business, and the whole of Ludlow in gales of laughter at the tale....
[3]. the Chancellor of All Ludlow, the Rev. Duff-Postin, had been conducting lengthy negotiations with the Socialist (Very Broad) Front, as recorded in detail HERE. It has since turned out that Eustace Spode safely evacuated the supposed "Little Hereford Pocket" (in order to attend the County Golf Challenge), while evidently the Rev Duff-Postin, when singing "The Internationale" with Comrade Red Robbo, was simply negotiating with the wrong type of socialist. In any event, the worthy Reverend's "detente" policy has undoubtedly collapsed by reason of Comrade-Commissar Winter's battlefield betrayal of the Bishop.
[4]. a flimsy excuse that stood no hope of being believed. The Red cavalry were nearly all mown down by Storm Commander Giles' MMG in any event, the few remaining, being unable to produce "The PASSWORD" were given a metal jacketed .303 Brichester LDV message from the Bishop to "Ogre" Winters. Thus perished the first of the Red attacks upon the Bishop's lines....

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