As per the solway minatures sourcebook the Royal Navy has largely mutinied and allied with anti-Government forces in our campaign.
This includes allying with the ‘Free Liverpool’ forces. This means Naval seamen, pilots and fighters will be assiting our ALFIE agents.
We’ll come to the sea, air and land contribution in turn but first a few words on the general make-up of these forces.
Many officers were paroled, fleed, imprisioned or killed. This is espically true of the former RAF pilots based on board carriers (1924 – May 1939 pilots on Navy ships where members of the Junior service,) this fits in with the RAF’s pro-BUF leanings. The result has Naval units whether on land, air or sea lack the discipline or cohesion that could be expected from pre-war Royal Navy.
Another effect is that the Government Forces may have a Royal Navy Officers Commando (RNCO) made up of highly motivated Naval Officers out for revenge on the rabble that mutinied againist them and that RN officer may turn commanding BUF Forces, Pro-Government Local Defence Volunteers and Auxillary Police in their old senior service rig.
here is the standard Navy Stand used by sailing ships. This employs the colours of the Liverpool tricolour – diagonally to try and avoid confusion with any overseas Navys. The blue has been put behind the Liver-bird to avoid upsetting any locals over football loyalties.
The Battalion HQ and the Marine Battalion of the Worker’s Naval Brigade also fight under the same standard though the Marines have a version with the Globe and Anchor symbol replacing the anchor.
The sea forces at the Free States disposal are technically impressive. Namely the Ark Royal renamed the Liverpool Free Ship (LFS) Arch-Republican – which while not fully completed sit’s in Cammel Lairds Birkenhead docks acting has the base for renegage Fleet Air Arm craft and a smattering of other rebel fighters and bombers. While it could probably sail – lack of discipline and key personel it is left as a static air platform.
3 I class destoyers serve the city and another 2 have been beached and their 4.7 inch guns and Vickers taken and jury rigged for land service.
The Imogen, Independent (formerly the Imperial), Implusive patrol out into the bay and along the coast. They escort in supplies and foriegn volunteers as well as given fire support out to 16,970 yards range.
Isis and Ivanhoe lie at either end of the Estuary at New Brighton Beach and Bludnell Sands respectively along side Valiant and Wander – older stroyers also abandoned and stripped.
Undoubtedly the flag of the ‘sailing Fleet’ is the LFS Ashanti as Tribal class destroyer which is superior to the I class and has been adopted by the Jamaican Street Rifles.
Two sloops the Kittiwake and the Puffin also serve and more importantly sail. They are commonly used to deploy LFS raider parties up the coast or down the Mersey or Dee. They are often accompanied by the Huntly an old mineweeper and the only one in LFS service still armed and seaworthy.
Sitting proudly in the Mersey is the LFS Belfast a town class light crusier which is used as a gun platform able to fire it’s 6 inch guns out to 14 miles in defence of the Free City. At the mouth of the Esturary barely seen from the City but clearly visable from the New Brighton and Formby is the LFS Rodney which again mainly static can fire her 16 inch guns out 36 miles in defence of the Republic. Both these leviathans are limited in their ability to manouvre due to limited crewing and lack of command. When a Government unit gets a drumming from an artillery strike it’s likely to be down to one these monsters responding to a telephoned call for support heliotroped from the Liver Building or Fort Perch Rock respectively.
As mentioned the Arch-Republican hosts a Free State Air Arm – this consists of Swordfish, Blackburn Sukas & Gladiators flown mainly by Sergeant-Pilots and enthusastic seamen or civillian recurits. Other ‘air militias’ also fly of the mighty ship on sufference.
Mutinied Royal Navy Forces on land include
The Worker’s Naval Brigade formed of the Nore, Spithead, Invergorden and Bounty battalions. (Namely after famous mutinys) They have a high proportion of HMGs (say 2 stands per battalion) compared with other units and are of militia quality (due to a propensity to debate orders.) Each Battalion has united on a particular political position (roughly equivalent to regular Labour Party, offical Communist Party, Trotskysist and Anarchist/Anarcho-Syndicalist respectively) so friendly fire between Ex-RN units is possible.
The Four Naval Battalions which are named after famous mutinies each have a different standard:
The pro-Labour Nore Battalion has this relatively straightforward number:
While the Communist and Soviet supported Spithead battalion makes it’s loyalites clear:
Teh Invergorden Battalion which is made up of anti-Soviet Communists (mainly Trotskyites) have chosen this standard using the ‘Spartacist Fist.’
Finally the Anarchist/Anarcho-Syndicalists of the Bounty Battalion have adopted this banner:
They do not appear unduly bothered by local sporting factions. That may be a mistake.
In addition ex-Royal Navy personel often crew captured and jury rigged artillery pieces and staff HMGs using captured BUF/Royalist kit in small viciously independent units at the political fringe.
Liverpool Free State Marines is a battalion sized force formed from fleet Marine forces as well as ex-Marines and more disciplined Sailors. They are veterans and are mobilised on bicycles. There standard is the fleet standard but with a globe and anchor at the centre.
Often the HMGs are clubbed together into Machinegun Companies that do not move from the front while the Infantry in the Battalions is used as a reserve wherever needed.
All in all the former Royal Navy adds a lot to the forces of the Free State it remains to see whether it’s indiscipline will be it’s undoing.