Sunday, 3 June 2012

A Very British Civil War - the War Comes to Durham - The Battle at Pelton Fell

NOTE:  Things went a bit haywire with the camera on this one...didn't oil the valves sufficiently it would seem.

A day or two after the Battle at Lowe's Barn Bank, the forces of Chopwell and Lambton lock horns again.  For weeks both sides have been building up their forces around the Stanley/Chester-le-Street area and finally two strong patrols meet in the area of Pelton Fell.

Both sides are looking to sieze control of key transport locations like crossroads and despite their orders the Chopwell patrol, supported by the Acorn Street Irregular militia from High Hold to the west decide to make a stand and capture these crossroads.

Lambton's platoon on foot patrol take up the challenge and the impromptu battle is joined.  It opens with the Chopwell motor patrol storming forwards to take possession of the crossroads.  The comrades spill out of the Lancia armoured lorry and take up defensive positions around the intersection.  Lambton's Hounds would have to fight hard if they want to take it from under the Red Flag.

Ouch, dreadful tin type there.  A surfeit of illumination and exposure one suspects.  Moving on swiftly...

To the south, the Acorn St. Irregulars push forwards, well supported by 'Polly' the armoured car from Stanley.  This Putilov model was recently imported through Liverpool from the comrades in Mother Russia, and smuggled up through Alston for sale to the Chopwell Soviet in aid of the cause to take the Great Leap Forwards.

Lambton's regulars in the area ripple with panic.  They're only a light patrol and don't have anything with them that could take down this motorised monster...

...but they dig deep, knuckle down, and prepare to sell their lives dearly against the hated Reds.  They don't have to wait long as the Communist militia storm into their positions lobbing Molotov cocktails and trying to winkle out the Lambton Hounds with the butts of their rifles and a fine measure of fisticuffs.

The eager Red militia didn't count on the disciplined defence of Lambton's men though and some ungentlemanly close quarter fighting finished off a good few of the Lefties.  So brutal was the fighting that the citizen militia abandoned their assault and surrendered on the spot!

The ignominy of having to relinquish the beloved Red Flag would hurt far longer than the undoubted rough treatment that awaited them in whatever prison camp Lambton's men had waiting for them.  They're unlikely to receive good treatment from Lambton's men that's for sure.

Over to the north of the crossroads it was Lambton's turn on the attack and they pushed forwards through the raking lanes of Lewis gun fire from the Lancia.

The regular Chopwell troops here ensured that both sides bogged down in an exchange of disciplined fire across the hedgerows.  Lambton's men eventually got the better of it though and soon the Communists were ousted from their positions along the roadway.

As the light faded and supplies ran low, the Communists still held the crossroads and seeing the worst of the situation Lambton's Hounds retreated back towards Chester-le-Street.  Severely mauled but holding the ground, the Communists feared a reinforced attack that night and so gave up their ground and limped back to High Hold.

The day saw another bitter draw between the two forces.  Something's certain though; a major battle is brewing between the Durham Toff and the Red Flags of Chopwell.

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