Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Ford Improvised Armoured Car - The Great Antipodean Adventure

Men of the All for Australia League's 17th Volunteer Rifle Company advance cautiously accompanied by their Randwick Armoured Car near Beaconfield's Park 


Early in the morning of Thursday May 19 a group of men from the All for Australia League delivered 5 Model A Fords and three truckloads of steel plates and armaments to the Randwick Tramways Workshops and into the hands of a talented engineer there Harry Lime. The previous evening one of the Leagues most senior leaders General Gordon Bennett used his influence to gain workshop time to build them several Improvised Armoured Vehicles. Bennett’s experience from the Great War led him to believe that in the upcoming power struggle the faction who wielded armoured vehicles would gain a decisive edge.

Harry Lime had served under Bennett in the Great War and was keen to assist him again and the Constitutional Crisis gave him just that the opportunity. He had already spied a rival group at the workshop adding a riveted ‘Battle Box’ to an old Crossley chassis/body. He noticed the armour was the same thickness all round causing unnecessary weight he said to an off sider “if the enemy get around behind you you deserve to get your arse kicked!” Plus he noted the use of riveting resulted in overloading the old Crossley, overall he was unimpressed with this groups product. He said to Bennett, “Sir I have a cunning plan, we’ll use just the chassis and powerful drive train of Ford Model A’s as a base for our vehicle and then we’ll encase it in an all welded armoured body with a rotating turret armed with a Vickers Machine Gun. The welding will save weight and we will use half-inch armour for the front plate and thinner side and rear armour. Lastly we’ll move the motor and gearbox to the rear of the chassis so well protected as it drives into action, it will be a marvel!” Bennett was captivated and even more so when Lime said he would deliver the first unit in 48 hours so it could be tested in the field and any shortfalls in the design could be noted and updates made for full production.

On the morning of the 21st of May Lime delivered his first Randwick Armoured Car to the leadership of the All for Australia League. Two things stunned them; firstly, the imposing vehicle they beheld and secondly by the outrageous paint scheme Lime and his workers had applied. Bennett’s first words to Lime were, “Impressive piece of machinery Lime but why did you get Picasso to paint it?” Lime chuckled, “Sir I’m confident this colour scheme will disgiuse the lines of the vehicle so it will be nigh impossible for any opposition to hit it!” Lime’s test driver Bruce Smith quietly whispered to Bennett, “He’s right you know, any gunner who see’s camouflage scheme will be laughing so much they’ll never be able to aim straight...”

Suffice to say the League’s top brass approved the vehicle and that very afternoon it was delivered to the 17th Volunteer Rifle Company who had been assigned a mission at Beaconfield's Park on the following day Sunday the 22nd of May. Lime and two of his build team were instructed to join the company and see how their beast performed....

The Build

The basis for this was an old matchbox Modal A Ford, I drilled out the thee rivets holding the chassis to the body and in seconds I had a platform for which I plan to make a myriad of superstructures for 😊. The rest of the parts will find uses and can even act as battlefield clutter. The build was pretty straight forward. I used my usual styrene sheet with odds and ends from the parts box. The louvres were from a friend’s 1/35 clear out and made a nice armoured grill. I used a sort of British Caunter colour scheme and included blue which from what I read was actually some sort of grey anyway it was fun to do done with cheap rattle cans and is a bit sloppy...well this vehicle was turned out in 48 hours hahaha.







I hope you think it looks the part! Hopefully an AAR next time. Also must get back to my VSF stuff!!!!

Saturday, 3 February 2018

A Visit to The Governors House AAR - The Great Antipodean Adventure

Well after what seemed an eon finally got the The Great Antipodean Adventure under way. Our group got together Monday night and had our first run through of the A World Aflame rules! The rules got the thumbs up but will require a few minor modifications for us. They are not the best set of rules but perfect for what we are trying to achieve! Anyway I hope you enjoy...

Background...

Wednesday 18 May 1932 Sydneysiders awoke to a new world. The broadsheets were filled with stories of the slaying of Mrs Slocombe in the Rocks District and continued unrest on the streets. Everyone’s discussion over breakfast revolved around the Police firing on a ‘defenceless housewife’ the Forth Estate totally ignored the facts and lingered on the Constabulary oppressing the citizenry of Sydney.

Public Houses over the city were fill with crowds talking of avenging the first martyr of the people’s revolt against an oppressive government that had been imposed on New South Wales. One particular establishment was filled to the gunnels with members of the Amalgamated Engineering Union and as the day wore on they became more and more rowdy. Their leadership group wanted to make a statement but a bloodless one to prove they were more egalitarian than the cruel government! It was decided that on this very day to honour the late Mrs Slocombe they would replace the flag that billowed over The Governors House with one of their Union banners. Two groups would approach the Governors House which they nicknamed the Bastille. They would traverse the gardens in the twilight hoist their banner and then retire into the night!

Later that afternoon the alcohol driven members of the Amalgamated Engineering Union approached their goal! The northern group led by Banner-man Bruce Smith advanced southward through the gardens and were momentarily taken aback when a stern voice was heard, “this is your only warning, disperse and leave the Governors ground immediately...”
At this point a shot was fired by the mob at of all things a rabbit, the Constabulary led by Sergeants Howard and Abbott thinking they were the target opened fire...

A nasty melee forms as members of the Amalgamated Engineering Union's come to grips with the Constables of Sergeant Abbot's Section.

The unforgettable moment, a photograph taken by an Advocate Journalist just moments before the fatal shot is fired that ended the life of Mrs Slocombe... 

The Scenario
Game Length:          10 Turns
Victory Conditons:   The Mob must exit their banner from the south board edge and the
                                   Government forces must prevent this from occurring

Battle:                         The Governors House
Location:                    Sydney NSW
Date:                          18th May 1932
Commander:             Bruce Smith
Weather:                    Fine Still Very Late Afternoon Visibility 36”
Notes:                        Orders can’t be changed:
                                   ‘Exit Figure bearing the banner from south board edge’
Amalgamated Engineering Union Mob
Unit ID. Name
Figures
Officer Grade
Unit Initiative
Morale
Volleys
Notes
Gang 1
8
2
2
5
5
-1 Fire/Melee
Gang 2
8
2
2
5
9
-1 Fire/Melee
Gang 3
8
2
2
5
10
-1 Fire/Melee
Gang 4
8
2
2
5
4
-1 Fire/Melee







Battle:                         The Governors House
Location:                    Sydney NSW
Date:                          18th May 1932
Commanders:           Sergeants Abbott and Howard, Brigade Captain Bush
Weather:                    Fine Still Very Late Afternoon Visibility 36”
Notes:                        Order can’t be changed:
                                   ‘Ensure no civilians exit the south board edge’
Government House Northern Security Detachment
Unit ID. Name
Figures
Officer Grade
Unit Initiative
Morale
Volleys
Notes
Police
Section 1

6

3

4

4

9

Police
Section 2

6

3

4

4

9

Firemen
4
3
3
4
5
-1 Fire/Melee








'A Visit To The Governor's House' Chance Cards

‘Randomly selected’ is done by side with 1D6 the highest roll side gets the card they then use an appropriate die to select the unit from their own side.

HEARTS ACE No Effect.
HEARTS TWO Resolve - Player who rolls highest on 1D6 retains this card and can play it to automatically pass a morale test.
HEARTS THREE No Effect.
HEARTS FOUR Rascally Rabbits! - One randomly selected Mob unit expends a volley of ammunition obtaining dinner! They can still fire this turn but that expends yet another volley of ammunition.
HEARTS FIVE No Effect.
HEARTS SIX Brew up! One randomly selected Mob unit can’t perform an action this turn as its members enjoy a cuppa...
HEARTS SEVEN No Effect.
HEARTS EIGHT Get a wriggle on! The Player who rolls highest on 1D6 can select any one of his units this turn and it can add 3AD to their 6” move when they run. If no unit wants to run treat as no effect.
HEARTS NINE No Effect.
HEARTS TEN Ooo Bruce brought beers! One randomly selected Mob unit pauses to imbibe ‘supplies’ it can’t perform an action this turn.
HEARTS JACK No Effect.
HEARTS QUEEN Who forgot the compass? Affects Union Mob units ONLY. A unit gets lost, one randomly selected unit RUNS due north.
HEARTS KING No Effect.
CLUBS ACE Resupply! Affects Government units ONLY. A civilian contractor on a bike enters the south edge this turn with five volleys of ammunition. When/if he delivers his supplies he is removed from the board he is a non-combatant.
CLUBS TWO No Effect.
CLUBS THREE Government reinforcements, a unit of armed Fireman have been dispatched from the Governors House and enter the south map edge this turn.
CLUBS FOUR No Effect.
CLUBS FIVE Smoko! One randomly selected Mob unit can’t perform an action this turn as its members enjoy a Woodbine or two...
CLUBS SIX No Effect.
CLUBS SEVEN We’re flanked! Movement in the shadows unnerves a unit. The Player who rolls highest on 1D6 randomly selects unit which can’t perform an action this turn.
CLUBS EIGHT No Effect.
CLUBS NINE Resolve - Player who rolls highest on 1D6 retains this card and can play it to automatically pass a morale test.
CLUBS TEN No Effect.
CLUBS JACK Get a wriggle on! Player who rolls highest on 1D6 can selected unit this turn can add 3AD to their move if they run.
CLUBS QUEEN No Effect.
CLUBS KING A message from the Governor! Affects Government units ONLY. A note believed to be from the Governor creates confusion a randomly selected unit can’t perform an action this turn

The AAR

Dave and Alan Commanded the four gangs comprising the Union Mob brought and brought them on from the north map edge on a broad front running at top speed! They were met by a warning shout and some desultory rifle fire. The AWA rules variable movement was interesting as the groups moved forward unevenly. Alan's high rolling got his lads ahead of Dave's. A Chance card saw a volley of Mob fire wasted nabbing rabbits for tea. Uncannily this random event seemed perfect for that moment of the game! 

Turn 2, a Gang of eight Unionists see the Coppers cowering in the distance at the Gate House.
The Unionists kept on the move in the first turns which meant firing was out of the question for them, hitting at long range is hard for trained soldiers let alone the untrained rabble on the move.

Sergeant Howard's Section deploying, these guys proved the unit of the night taking no losses and virtually wiping out two gangs of Unionists! Men can operate normally up to 15 inches from their leader, we'll probably reduce that in built up areas.

The Mob closes on the Gate House and the first casualties are suffered. AWA calls for pretty regular morale checks and subsequent checks can be detrimental in a large game that may require a bit of house keeping. Also regarding activation in AWA its done by pairing a unit from each side for future games we'll nominate units 'in secret' so there can be no 'gamey' selections!

The situation at the start of turn 4. Two Sections of NSW's finest are to the right and the four groups comprising the mob are too the left (naturally haha) preparing to launch a drunken charge. The chance cards played a cruel blow to the Unionists in the foreground as they paused for refreshment well within range of Sergeant Abbott's Constables!!!!

Turn 4 plays out two gangs of Unionists reach the Gate House...a drawn melee ensued which means it carries over to the next turn

Turn 5 and the eastern most Gang charged only to drop short of the Police line and are cut down by accurate fire!

Turn 6 Sergeant Howard's Section faces thin air as the Mob facing them routs! In the centre around the gate House the Coppers now leaderless too rout and are about to flee southward!
in the very far distance at the top right the Unionists with the crucial banner are moving unopposed along the board edge and in the centre top a small section of four Firemen can be seen deploying under Brigade Captain Bush!

The turn 6 Gate House melee before the dice are rolled...

the Coppers roll badly and lose fleeing! The Unionist victors are in turn cut down to a man by Sergeant Howards Constables! the Gate house if left in a strangle eerie silence...

Turn 6 Bush's men deploy trying to intercept the Unionists!


Bush's Fiemen take out the third Gang of Unionists but their sacrifice allows the Unionists bearing the banner to exit the south board edge!

Turn eight saw Bruce Smith exit the south edge surrounded by jubilant Engineering Union members!

So a Pyrrhic victory to the Mob it was bought at great cost! The casualties:
Constabulary 4
Fire Brigade 2
The Mob 20!!!

Congratulations Dave and Al!

A very entertaining start to this new adventure! In retrospect the Mob's 'drunken enthusiasm/vengeance morale was I think 1 too high when we replay scenario that'll change! Next game will be again a mainly 'infantry' affair to get the rules down pat it's called 'The Gun'...

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The Spark That Ignited Armed Conflict - The Great Antipodean Adventure!

The Newspaper Headline that tuned The Great Antipodean Adventure Nasty!

In the days following the dismissal of Premier Lang's New South Wales State Government on the 11th of May 1932 the streets of Sydney were filled with throngs of people stunned by this highly controversial use of Australia's constitutional powers! The thought of a government's term being cut short on the whim of a lackey of a Monarch half a world away was unheard of and of great concern to many! The more the citizenry mused the more they were angry and the news of the new Premiers deferment of a state election turned the anger of many into fury!

The many Political Factions which had been in existence for years took this opportunity of uneasiness to hit the streets spruiking their agendas and plans on how the state of New South Wales should be governed and in doing so whipped the masses into a frenzy. Seemingly uncontrollable rioting began! The Constabulary on order from the Police Commissioner waded in to clear the streets but their efforts were unsuccessful and there were many injuries! Due to the number of Constables with head injuries they were ordered to discard their military style caps to dye their summer helmets to match their uniforms and don them for protection. Of more importance and in a disturbing escalation of events Constables were also issued long arms from military stocks for 'their protection'.

May 17 and the fighting around barricades erected by rioters in the Rocks District was becoming particular intense. It was late in the afternoon as the shadows grew longer near the defences at the end of Mavis Street that an alcohol fueled mob cheered the darling of the Unions, Mrs Slocombe as she taunted the Police facing them! No one knew exactly what happened next but a Constable was struck, a flaming Molotov Cocktail was passed to Mary Slocombe and their was the sharp crack of a rifle...Mary was killed instantly and with her any hopes of peacefully quelling the rising feeling of the populace against the caretaker Government of Premier Stevens!

Mary's death opened the floodgates and now with the 'gloves off' the crowds armed themselves with every manner of firearm they could lay their hand on...blood thirsty chants rang through Sydney Town and the 18th of May 1932 dawned with a blood red sky...



Next Post the first Great Antipodean Adventure AAR - A Visit to The Governors House!

Friday, 19 January 2018

A World Aflame Rules - The Great Antipodean Adventure

Okay I’ve decided to try Osprey’s A World Aflame rule set for this campaign. I’ve completed three test games with the rules will use them with a few clarifications/modifications. I’ll run through them with the rest of the Ol’ Gits when we start our regular sessions later in January and see if they agree/are happy with the choice. I think they’ll be happy...If not I’m going back to the drawing board.


I picked A World Aflame as not only are they written for the period The Great Antipodean Adventure is set in but they are simple and will lend themselves to the colourful gaming which I believe all this hypothetical interwar type stuff is about. You want to have your tongue set firmly in your cheek when your All For Australia League’s 1st Volunteer Rifle Company throw themselves into action against a force of armed Police to capture that vital communications hub i.e. the street side Phone Box!

I’m not going to write a full review on a set of rules that were released several years ago as there are several already online. These rules look good for the social games we’re looking at but they could be have been more comprehensive. I’m just giving you my thoughts on each section of the rules. Oh and just so you know there is no pre-measuring allowed.

What you’ll need, well it lists all the usual suspects from figures to an opponent(!) but there are a few ‘items’ that interested me;
-Arrow die to use for scatter, don’t have any so going to use a D12 and a clock face (noon pointing north or a designated table edge).
-Average Dice well I haven’t used these suckers for years and at least one of the Ol’ Gits said “What are they?” I for one don’t mind seeing Average Dice in play, I don’t have any but it’s easy 1=2 and 6=5. Nice inclusion for me but think I may be in the minority here!
-Chance Cards well I like this idea to include randomness into the game as well of some of the lightheartedness I mentioned above. A selection of sample cards is included in the rule book and you are encouraged to create your own.  Being sick of making cards after doing them for TW&T, IABSM and Longstreet what I’m going to do is used regular cards with a chart listing what each one means and I’ll update the chart for each game...easy. Here’s my only real gripe I have with the rules, I know it’s hard to include cards that cover every conflict and imaginary conflict in the 1919-1938 period but a lot more support should be offered here by Osprey even if it’s just with a larger selection of cards available online with generic ideas, the author himself says “I now have far more cards than I’ll ever use” well Mr Eaglestone how about sharing them online as if they aren’t directly useful they can at least give gamers ideas for their own?
No scale is given but it’s not an issue for our skirmishing games.
There’s an explanation of unit organisation from section upwards which is straight forward and is helpful in setting up games.
A Unit sheet is supplied as you need to record a units strength, quality, leader ability, morale and ammo levels etc. In my trial games I only needed to record ammo the rest was just stuck to the base of the unit leader or covered with markers (morale).
Command and control is included and this is good as so many games just leave this out (even abstractly) allowing our toy soldiers to do whatever we want when we want 😒. There’s levels of command, squad unit level where anyone within 15” of the leader is in command and that commander needs to be within 5” of the next level leader to be in command. This can be repeated depending on how big your army is! Units start the game with an overall written order/directive they must follow to the best of its ability until changed by a new written order which must be received from the command at the next level at 5” range, by a runner or phone/radio then that must be followed. This order can be as simple as ‘capture the phone booth’ or 'exit board south edge', this process will probably be academic in our TGAA scenarios.
Building strengths against fire and weather (affects visibility and smoke drift) are included which are nice touches.
They are suggested victory point allocations again helpful in creating scenarios.
The turn sequence is:
-Draw a Chance Card
-Carry out initiative checks with moves and firing
-Carry out Melees
-Final Morale checks
The initiative checks are carried out in pairs, I pick a unit you pick a unit we roll for initiative winning unit goes first loser second. You continue to do pair by pair the same way until one player runs out of units any extras then carry out their actions in any order the player desires. I’ve not played anything like this before and it worked well.
Movement covers foot and vehicular units with units having a base movement amount which is augmented by average dice adding extra inches. Nice to see bicycles are included. A cool rule for movement but listed in the Anti-Tank section is the ‘curiosity test’ where vehicles approaching obstacles or structures need to roll to see if they will halt as they are suspicious of said obstacle or structure...why isn’t this in every set of WW 2 rules where we see tanks racing through towns or up to trench lines fearlessly! In the Movement area Engineering type activities like entrenching are listed as well. 
For Firing the full range of weapons is covered from hand guns to artillery and smoke is dealt with too in this section (I like how smoke can be generated by fires as well as smoke shells). The mechanics of firing is stock standard with a hit number for each weapon at various ranges and then a number of dice each weapon rolls, these are modified successful results are kills. All looks pretty deadly. The bit I like here is units have limited ammo (though they can be resupplied). There’ll be no firing at extreme range as you husband your supply of rounds. Running out of ammo unsurprisingly affects a units morale, great rule! This will entail bookkeeping or markers but the trade off in tactics and play in my opinion are worth it.
Looking at the ranges on the firing table I think they relate to ‘realistic’ in the field ‘effective’ maximum ranges rather than maximum weapon ranges. Plus they play well on our 6' x 4' tabletop.
There’s a basic set of aircraft rules but in The Great Antipodean Adventure these may not get a run in as most of the action will be in the street of Sydney and terror bombing of cities was still a way in the future...but I suppose you never know!
Melee is pretty simple and deadly. Cool that the attackers need to pass morale to charge the defenders and if successful, the defenders then need to take a morale test to see if they’ll stand their ground. If both pass the melee goes ahead, each figure rolls a D6 with modifiers and the highest wins. There is a maximum of two figures attacking one.
Morale rules worked well. Every unit has a morale rating roll a D6 add/subtract the modifiers and a 5+ result is good. There is a need for a markers here as your units can be 'confused', 'demoralised' and 'routed' plus taking a morale check in a previous turn has consequences in the current turn an interesting idea as pressure can build up on a unit turn to turn. May simplify some this for The Great Antipodean Adventure!
The rest of the book contains 3 scenarios, the above mentioned sample cards and a unit roster template.
There’s no QRS, a sad omission! Working on one now (got some guidance online)!

The book is well printed. The layout is good but a few less glossy pictures may have allowed for more space for the rules to be fleshed out or more scenarios to be included. It’s a funny but the PDF version of these rules actually would have cost me more than the AUST$14.00 the printed copy did (thank you Book Depository for the free shipping!).

Next time I write on the TGAA I’m hoping it’ll be an AAR.