The Police bore the brunt of the early war on all sides) and have to juggle that with their usual service. The tradition of the unarmed British bobby is long gone is VBCW Britain. Most now patrol in pairs and carry a pistol or shotgun (and often a cutlass from stores.) CID Detectives often investigate crimes which might be resistance or sabotage related and so are normally issued a pistol and again operate in pairs. If they encounter serious trouble they will attempt to find a police box or home phone which they can use to call reinforcements (if their whistles are out of range of other officers.)
Some forces have radio cars but these are often requisitioned by others forces like the Auxies.
The Police tend to have a distaste for the Auxies and paramilitary organisations and often just want to get back to proper coppering. That doesnt mean they have a soft heart for murdering Bolshevik terrorist scum mind. They might let suspects fall down stairs but tend to fall short of ‘proper’ torture.
On top of normal patrols a forces of any size with have a ‘Flying Squad’ of armed officers in motor vehicles (or mounted on horses in rough landscapes) to reinforce patrols that find themselves in difficulty.
Normal bobbies tend to wear traditional police helmets or peaked caps with normal blue uniforms. CID types tend to have a blue brassard to avoid friendly fire. The ‘zebra’ striped police duty cuff has become a handy indicator for the police that they’re proper police as opposed to paramilitaries.
To help the police early the conflict a force of ex-forces hard nuts were formed. Based on the British Black and Tans and the Auxies of the Irish War of Independence. The new recruits were issued with Khaki army uniforms (usually only trousers) and dark green RIC or blue British police surplus tunics, caps and belts. Armed with rifles and some heavier equipment they were used to sweep the countryside for rebel groups. They answer to the local Lord Lieutenant (Boyce in Lancs and Farndon in Cheshire.) As the War has progressed they continue to have a vital security role being used within Government lines as enforcers of the ‘Kings Peace.’ They are renown for the their rough and ready attitude to civilian populations they regard as rebel sympathisers.
Police Field Forces
Many Chief Constables (including both Cheshire and Lancashire) dislike the Auxies and find their heavy handed approach to be counter-productive. As a a result they have pulled together battalion sized ‘Police Field Forces’ to do the same job but with more attention to respecting the civilian population and providing proper policing. They were proper police uniforms and often only have a couple of rifles per section with shotguns being the main weapons. Directed by the Chief Constables they often are poorly coordinated so an area ’hammered’ by the Auxies might find a PFF turning up a week later or vice versa. The rough reception the PFF get means they themselves have become more brutalised though they remain having a lighter touch than the Auxies.
Corps of Military Police ‘Red Caps’
The Army’s police essentially are charged with discipline, prisoner control, traffic control & guarding headquarters. They wear Red cap covers and red on black arm bands.
Field Security Police ‘Green Caps’
Detached from the Red Caps the ‘Green Caps’ take responsibility for actively providing security in the rear areas of Army units. In Cheshire they are given carte blance by Farndon and act as a defacto if disciplined secret police. In Lancashire Boyce keeps them on a short leash preferring Party bodies to take the lead in battling terrorism. The green caps wear standard Army gear (they’re more likely to have 1937 battledress than regular units,) with trench coats and green cap covers and armbands. They tend to race around the countryside in touring cars and on motorbikes. they do have a plainclothes unit the Special investigation branch which is concerned with spy catching and running agents.
Royal Highway Patrol Group
A special kind of auxie the RHPG is dedicated to keeping the King’s Highways free of bandits, red and rebels. Recruited from all over the Empire and beyond they pretty much wear what they like as long as they have a RHPG cap badge somewhere (sometimes worn as a broach) and a blue scarf/kneckerchief. They range the roads in heavily gunned vehicles. For head-gear Canadian style mountie hats are popular as our various steel helmets, Tam O’shanter, civillian fedoras and flat caps. The ‘typical uniform’ is a blue shirt, khaki pullover, black slacks and a waxed barbour or burberry jacket but really anything goes.
For personal weapons each patrol member typically carries at least 2 pistols (usually 9mm automatics) and amongst the Lee Enfields and pump action shotguns the force has a number of Sumoi Finnish sub machine guns which are very popular. A fashion for machetes, kukri and hatchets is also prevalent. Vehicles are festooned with a variety of Vickers machine guns, Lewis guns, some of the new fangled Brens, Boyes anti-tank rifles and even occasionally a full-bodied anti-tank or AA gun.
They rely on speed and firepower rather than numbers and you never can tell where a RHPG patrol will turn up next. Their very mobility means they care little for the preferences of local leaders like Boyce and Farndon (both hold them in contempt) and their patrols range where they like. Neither Army nor Police they don’t answer to either but their approach tends to be swashbuckling and piractical in an Errol Flynn kind of way.
Thanks to Stormwell from the Gentlemen’s Wargame Parlour for permission to use his concept.
The selection test for the RHPG which is very much His Majesty’s personal project consists of:
- being able to recite a portion of the classics from memory
- field strip and reassemble a vickers HMG blindfolded
- fast draw a pistol and hip shooting put half a magazine into a playing card from 10 paces
- and drink half a bottle of gin and fix a mechanical problem with a vehicle engine.
BUF Provosts & Militia
These local self defence forces will usually help police in their area. The only exception would be were they have seriously fallen out with the local BUF/Army and they could be potential allies. They tend to be poorly equipped and trained but have excellent local knowledge. In rural areas they often have poachers and gamekeeper types with good fieldcraft.
In a few areas they might be essentially freebooting bandits bullying their community and snatching whatever crumbs they can from the stragglers of the various factions.
Border Marches Field Force
A joint small Anglo-Welsh Royalist force which is devoted to patrolling the ‘border’ with Nationalist North Wales, carrying out fast pursuit raids and smuggling in BUF south Welsh agents. it uses a combination of tough RHPG type vehicles and hardy cob pony mounted infantry. Their uniform is typical British Army 1908 kit but they have acquired a stock of sheepskin or leather jerkins, RCMP Canadian muskat fur hats
Intelligence & Counter-Espionage Forces
The internal intelligence service has remained loyal to the Crown and devotes itself to operations against both obvious rebels and suspect allies of His Majesty. Out and out policing is handled by Special Branch but MI5 looks to blackmail, co-opt and turn opponents and spies.
MI6/Secret Intelligence Service
The service which carried out external espionage before the War regards all enemies of the King it’s concern. This leads to bureaucratic in-fighting with MI5 when the two could really do with sharing knowledge. MI6 runs agents within rebel territory as well as abroad. They take particular interest in foreign volunteer units like Ireland’s Wild Geese Battalion or the Soviet volunteers in Liverpool. Lacking any relationship with Special Branch MI6 carries out it’s own arrests and assassinations though it has no legal authority to do so – supposedly a set of ‘killer’ operatives exist for such jobs alternatively known as 00′s, Sandbaggers or Minders.
Police – Special Branch
Any rebels which end up in police hands end up with Special Branch interrogating them. Equally when MI5 want someone to disappear Special Branch does the job. The various constabulary Special Brnaches also run their own local agents in the form of neighbourhood tattle-tails and gossips. They are looked down upon by MI5 who they in turn have contempt for as lilly livered toffs would won’t dirty their hands. They also are dismissive of their fellow police as simple ‘wooden-tops’ and of the various other intelligence agencies as fly-by-night politicos. The life of a Special Branch officer is a bitter one.
Strictly speaking Military intelligence should be only concerned with interrogating prisoners and analysing reconnoissance reports. However the nature of the war means that it has grown into a cumbersome force rivaling the Army’s own Field Security Police and MI5/6 for resources.
Intelligence Officers often run their own agents and informants in their immediate area. They frequently organise raids for intelligence or sabotage missions. They use the opportunity to interrogate civilians were the opportunity arises and it seems pertinent to their military concerns. They run radio intercepts and propaganda missions. They are seen as an obstacle my most allied forces and themselves regard their rivals as a waste of resources.
Royal Reconnaissance Service Inspectors
The Royal Reconnaissance Service(see the Army of Chester page) has a special rank of Inspector who has warranted superintendents on behalf of the King. This means, in an effort to bring some order to the intelligence war they are empowered to order any BUF/Royalist force including intelligence service, personnel. Frequently plain clothed (or in Rifle green RSS uniforms) they can take control of counter-epsionage and spying missions to get some co-operation between the various rival bodies.
National Socialist League 5th Column
A personal plaything of Boyce this group of pro-Nazi hooligans have been recruited from all other the world – White Russians, Irish Blueshirts, American Silvershirts, German ‘advisers’ and of course the Nazi wing of the BUF all play their part. They are sent behind Free liverpool lines to disrupt the war effort with sabotage and spreading panic and rumours. They are also primed to help NSL Commando raids. Many but not all are part of the BUF Special Services.
BUF Special Services
This force is committed to the destruction of Mosley’s enemies. Therefore it runs agents both within BUF/Royal forces and in rebel territory. While it has visable ’snatch squads’ of devoted miltiamen it also has sophisticated loyal plainclothes men often recurited from the Police, Military Intelligence or MI5. A double S collar table signifies members in uniform.
It has a devoted Liverpool and dedicated Welsh section both of which consist of agents native to those areas for infiltration missions.
Loyal & Royal Cymru
Loyal Welsh followers of the king have formed this resistance/spy organisation operating in North Wales as well as the Wirral/Liverpool Welsh communities. The BMFF smuggles in and collects their agents as well as BUF SS welsh ones.
Ulster Defence Association Intelligence Service
Given the Irish invasion of Ulster some UDA supporters have come over and act as spies for BUF. As well as stiring up the situation in ireland they are also used in Glasgow and Liverpool where there is a large Ulsterman population they have blend within.
RAF Intelligence & RAF Police
Around RAF bases the RAF has authority to patrol the local area with forces of RAF Regiment infantry and armoured cars sometimes assisted by Air Defence Training Corps teenage auxiliaries armed with captured weapons. Any investigation work will be handled by the RAF Police. RAF Intelligence also handles . There are also ‘Pathfinder’ spies live in rebel territory and leave signal light sor fires for RAF bombers to target.
National Air League
This ‘patriotic’ conservative pro-air power association also has militia forces to guard their airbases and they will sometimes be involved in hunting spies and saboteurs in their immediate area.