Sunday, 3 June 2012

A Very British Civil War - the War Comes to Durham - The Battle at Ryton Grange

The North East is abuzz with rumours that the King's brother is visiting the area for a spot of shooting with the local nobility; indeed the local newspapers are even reporting these as fact, which is rather convenient since he is indeed in the area, lodging at Ryton Grange.

Lord Percy has provided Tenantry forces from his northern army to ensure the security of the king's brother.  However, such a valuable prize has attracted a great deal of attention from various factions and on the balmy morning of the first shooting party, trouble arrives at Ryton Grange in droves.

From the south, a large force of Chopwell Communists have mobilised, bringing as many assets to bear as they can, intent on capturing the royal person as a bargaining chip.

Unfortunately they won't have things all their own way.  From the road to Newcastle (north east), a BUF contingent is seen skulking through the woods towards the Grange.

To everyone's surprise, the marvellously liveried troops of Lord Lambton also arrive from the east.

The tense stand-off breaks into violence aplenty...

South of Ryton Grange, the Communist 'Red Hats' militia muster ready for the assault.

Pushing on across the fields from the south they make good progress towards the gatehouse of the Grange.  Georgie Boy would soon be enjoying the hospitality of the Soviet!

However, Percy's troops have other ideas and storm out of their billets to meet the damn Bolshies head on.

In a fierce exchange across the road, including a few lobbed Mills bombs, one or two Communists are mortally wounded but otherwise both sides are entrenched, hurling insults and trying to outdo each other with renditions of 'the Internationale' and 'God Save the King'.

The Communist armoured Lancia screams up the road, halts and sprays Percy's armoured car with Lewis gun fire.

With bullets pinging off the front of their car, the somewhat less than valiant crew of the Percy's armoured car bail out and flee up the road towards the safety of the Grange, sprinting past PC McGarrick who had already felt the need to find a pressing engagement anywhere but at the roadblock.

Meanwhile, over to the east, the Communist civil defence brigade (civilian levies for the most part) were holding the escape route to the south.

They even brought up a friendly contingent of coppers, mostly it has to be said, to stop the troops raiding the local pub when they got thirsty, bored or otherwise distracted.  

The determined 'Lambton's Hounds', troops of Lord Lambton's Estate Militia form an advancing gun line and giving display of well-disciplined fire into the Communists, start popping off a few comrades.  The red brigade returns wild and spirited fire without much effect and so to silence the dogs of the bourgeoisie the commissars order their assault section forwards.

Armed with SMGs and molotov cocktails, the Chopwell comrades given out great cheers as their brave heroes rush forwards spraying Lambton's Dog Soldiers with lead and lighting their firebombs ready for the big show.

However, the Lambton regulars had other ideas, and in a frankly beastly display of good tactics caught these mad Reds in a crossfire...

Vicious massed fire cut down the brave Reds and forced the survivors to the ground.  Vodka and petrol spilled everywhere, and the cheering stopped.

Just north of this action, the BUF armoured car's HMG ran low on ammunition as is sprayed the Communisit positions holding the crossroads without noticeable effect, while BUF attack troops skulked west towards the Grange.

Also coming from the east are the splendidly liveried forces of Lord Lambton. 

Having despatched the Communist assault force, Lambton's troops flood into the village looking for booty.

The communist militia try to resist; an effort not helped by their chaps with Molotov cocktails having a tendency to blow themselves up...

The pressure begins to tell, and despite some fearsome disapproving glares (and a healthy dose of SMG fire) from the matriarchal commissars forcing some of the more honourable estate militia out of the village...

...Lambton's caddish and all-round bad egg 'freebooters' get the jobe done in the lanes with some vicious and most unsporting competent assault work.

The Chopwell citizens, taking heavy losses, retreat from the horror unfolding in the lane, and seek cover as their morale fails in the terrifying close combat along the hedgerows.

Things look bad for the Chopwell forces over to the east, but their security force attack on Ryton Grange itself fairs a little better.  A Tennantry LMG team presents a problem, blocking the Reds advance, and so the Cossacks spur their horses on past the terrace to deal with these troublesome chaps.

This to the amazement of the waiting army HMG crew who quickly recovered from their astonishment to open fire on the mounted communists.

Fire discipline failed them however and not only did they spray the area with ineffectual fire, they also exhausted most of their ammunition doing it.  The nearby officers blared angrily at their incompetence.  Galloping through the hail of lead, the cavalry chopped down the LMG crew with their sabres, before retreating back to safety behind the terrace.

The way across the road was now open and as the army infantry also retreated back to the Grange the communist infantry flooded forwards desperate to capture the King's brother!

This seemes to have been a dastardly ruse though and as the Chopwell Cossacks moved up to support their infantry, Lord Percy's cavalry counter-attacked!

In a swirling melee, the brave but inexperienced Cossacks were cut apart by the experienced soldiery and the survivors fled...

...hotly pursued by the army mounted troops.

Rather unfortunate for them, the Chopwell infantry nearby, freed from facing the retreating Tennantry infantry turned their rifles on these khaki horsemen, felling man and beast alike; and with that both side's cavalry were spent.

As the battle dragged on, a sneaky British Union of Fascists flying column to the north threaded its way over to the Grange, largely unmolested by any of the squabbling forces.

Elsewhere, losses were mounting.  the Chopwell communists had lost a lot of good people, and the bitter fighting had also taken a toll on Lambton's irregulars.  Percy's Tennantry were taking a few losses but their position remained secure, and when the crew of their armoured car finally pulled themselves together and started pouring HMG fire into the attacking Reds.  Things began to look very bleak for the attackers and very good for the army.

Then over the airwaves of the various wireless sets in the hands of the faction commands, the following BBC broadcast crackled through.

+++...rep..ts of heavy underway right now in ... area of Ryton Grange.  A gover..ent spokesman has assured us that the king's brother, the Earl of Inverness, currently residing at Ryton Hall one mile to the west of Ryton Grange, is in no danger...  +++

As the news filtered through to the various factions, the fighting ceased and the troops left the area to lick their wounds.

The communists would not have their prize today.

Lambton's Hounds would not recover the money own to their lord by the king's brother and his gambling debts.

The BUF and Lord Percy's Tennantry were successful in their actions.  

The civilian toffs who'd assembled at Ryton Grange for a jolly bit of grouse shooting were suitably bemused at the whole blessed show...

In the days following, rumours and unconfirmed news reports flood the airwaves and local papers...

The Kings Brother has been captured by the Newcastle Anglican League!  Sources have stated that they are planning to crown him King within the week.  Just as soon as the Bishop of Durham can be found, rumoured to be at his hunting lodge in Weardale, and together with the Bishop of Newcastle they believe they have the right to crown him king.   To counter this, the King has prepared a writ of Habeas Corpus which has been served on the Anglican League to force them to hand over his brother.  

These statements are highly disputed.

+++Durham Chronicle+++

Following the news yesterday concerning the Anglican League in Newcastle, most areas of the north east have reported unrest.

Unconfirmed rumours have emerged from Chopwell that at least seven local vicars have been heinously murdered.  At Langley Park for example, Father Martin Allen and his rector are rumoured to have been killed by an angry Communist mob whilst bravely defending the lych-gate of their  church yard.

Banner-bearing Communists disgracefully rioted through Barnard Castle, causing damage to many high street shop fronts.

John Harding, the self-appointed ‘leader’ of the Chopwell Duma has refused to make a statement concerning this anti-church violence within his territory.

+++BBC outside radio broadcast+++

*crackle*…I’m here at Tow Law, and speaking with a local lady who… I’ll simpl…all Edna.  So Mrs Br..haw can you tell me what happened here y…erday?

Aye, it were terrible.  Them Reds came up here just after m…ing service and had a go at the ..urch over there.  They was shoutin’ and carryin’ on, and one of them thrown a fire bomb.  It b..nced off the stained glass though and nearly hit poor Mrs Hartley.  Then they dr…ed Father Westerby out into the stree….ver there and set about him with sticks.

They beat him in the street?

Yes.  It were terri… to see and some of the local lads tried to stop ..em.  the big fellow with the red scarf and the bright green coat pointed a pistol at them though so there weren’t mu….ey could do.

Is Father Westerby alright?

Not really I heard.  …over in the rectory with Dr Gar…. Maisy in the bakers said they broke both his legs.  I mean it’s terrible isn’t it?

So there you ha…….oof that the rum……ar….*crackle*

+++Press release+++

John Harding, Chopwell Duma.

Following the recent rumours concerning civil unrest and violence towards local Anglican priest and congregations within the borders of the Chopwell collective, I can categorically deny any official involvement in this trouble.

The outrageous actions of the Newcastle Anglican League will obviously cause tension, but we do not condone violence against unarmed citizens.  Our security forces, in liaison with the local independent police are investigating every allegation of violence and we give our assurances that anyone found to have perpetrated such a crime will be prosecuted to the extent of the law.

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