Monday 9 December 2013

Bolt Action: Battle of Snodland

The Strategic Situation: In the spring of 1937  the takeover of the Medway docks by Red Rita of the Chatham Soviet was a major strategic blow to Prime Minister Mosley as Comrades in Spain offered to ship arms to their compatriots in London through the docks. Mosley's BUF Blackshirts were heavily engaged in urban warfare in the East End of London so he had no troops to spare for a new front.

Viscount Sidcup, aka Spode, offered to recapture the docks with his Blackshort Legion operaing from his ancestral home near Sidcup gold course, and Mosley was desperate enough to take him up on the offer.

Spode's Cunning Plan: Spode learning that Red Rita, leader of the Chatham Soviet, had place a blocking force at Gad's Hill near Dicken's Home at Highbury decided to trap and destroy the Soviet leader. He had been reading Alexander's biography again and fancied to see a likeness between his own strategic genius and the Macedonian.

Accordingly, Spode ordered the Blackshorts to march very ostentatiously East down the old Roman road of Watling Street to Meopham. There he secretly split off a mobile detachment under the command of Captain The Honourable Rupert Pikely-Trotter who had been thrown out of the Drones Club for cheating in the annual tiddlywink competition.

While the Blackshort Legion demonstrated to the front of the Reds, Pikely-Trotter was to drive south over the North Downs and through the lanes to Snodland then up the A228 along the north bank of the Medway to take Red Rita in the rear.

Where it All Went Wrong: The regular British Army swore an oath of loyalty to the monarch and his/her legitimate descendants but what to do when there are two crowned kings: Edward VIII in London and George VI in Canterbury? The Colonel of the Queen's West Kents decided to declare Martial Law in a military zone around their barracks in Maidstone and await events.

When Pikely-Trotter's detachment turned south they unknowingly entered the West Kent's self defence zone, triggering a response.

Pikely-Trotter's detachment drives south towards the A228. He led the column in his Jag, followed by a Vickers 'Dutchman' light tank, and a light armoured car towing a 13 pdr howitzer. A platoon of infantry struggled to follow in a charabanc hired from Delboy's Superior Motor Company.

The Jag was suddenly riddled with machine gun fire. The driver stalled the engine and Pikely-Trotter hid below the dashboard.

The fire is revealed to come from a West Kent's Morris armoured car and Vickers Light Tank.

The Blackshorts deploy off the road from a cramped position between two houses, all the time under fire. Pikely-Trotter shouts orders and exhortations to his troops from below the dashboard of his jag as the driver pumps the starter motor.

 The Blackshrt tank is thrust forward to screen the deploring Blackshort infantry. Pikely-Trotter's Jag is beginning to resemble a colander (note the suppression markers) but nothing vital is hit. It still won't start.

The full scale of the West Kent's ambush becomes clear. Note the carriers moving up the back lane behind the town.

A west Kent carrier armed with a Boys Antitank Rifle ambushed the Dutchman and sets it on fire with a side shot into the engine compartment.

The first shot from the Blackshort's howitzer land amongst a West Kent detachment and causes carnage.

The Blackshort armoured car gallantly charges a West Kent two-pounder anti-tank gun which puts a round through its engine.

 The Blackshort gun line is overrun. Pikely-Trotter leaves the dubious protection of his Jaguar, which bow has a flat battery, and makes a run for it to oversee the attack from the rear.

Demoralised, the Blackshort infantry follow their leader. The West Kents let them go.

Spode will not be pleased.


  1. That'll teach 'em! A great AAR - thanks for sharing!

  2. Its rough in Snodland. West Malling is much more gentile.

    1. Absolutely. One can't imagine letting off a cannon at West Malling. The residents committee would be furious.

  3. Thanks, that was a very fun read!

    I am curious: when did Britain adopt the current road system? Was it called the A228 as far back as '37?

    1. Dear Neverness, I regret I don't know. Not even I am that old! The m'ways are post 60s.

  4. Great write up, your campaign looks a lot of fun!
    Still looking forward to a Burma action!?!

    1. I have to make some Burma terrain first, Philo. I can do Kent more easily.

  5. Great AAR, really like the way you rationalize what's happening to the car under fire. I do similar things during my own games. If a tank round scores a critical hit but does no damage then it must have been a through and through. If the car won't successfully activate dead battery makes sense to me.

    1. I am basically a scenario wargamer, Chris. I haven't much changed since I made toy planes and 'flew' them round my bedroom.

      For a simple game, Bolt Action gives easily rationable results. :)

  6. Great background story and AAR report. Really loved it and the tanks etc looked great.