Operation Earwig (Part 4)

 

Vinnie and Ken sped off into the night on the stolen RHPG motorbike motorbike and left Kendal.  Dumping they bike over a dry stone wall by their rendezvous point at the River Sprint they settled down to wait for their comrades. Ken had acquired the Mle 1909 Hotchkiss LMG from the motorbike sidecar and drew a bead on the roadside.

Meanwhile the leg injured Tom and still hale Dick considered their options after their execution of leading officers of the Kendal Garrison. Tom heard approaching troops no doubt alerted by the officer who escaped the massacre.  The ALFIES agents fled Tom leaving a grenade as a parting gift as suppressive fire raked the mess hall.

The Agent heard a squeal of breaks and saw truck lamps through the frosted glass of their exit. Rifle fire came crashing through the door and caught Dick in the knee. As he contorted in agony, Tom manfully dragged him into cover. With the sound of hobnailed boot running through the mess hall it looked like the end for our two heroes.

Then came a fresh squeal of breaks and the rapport of rapid pistol fire. A blunt Scouse accent cried – ‘Get out if ya wanna live!’ Tom dragged Dick out and was faced with a car having ran over a number of Tommys and pistol packing working class men shooting it out with the Territorials who had been on the back of the truck.

The car sped off driven by the owner of the blunt tones – Percy Thomas http://alfiesantics.wordpress.com/a-l-f-i-e-s-agents/rogue-agents/ unbeknownst to these agents the ALFIES deserter who murdered Ernst Hemmingway who appears to have been fighting his own private war in Kendal.

Two Army trucks followed in pursuit with rifle squads on board and Lewis guns mounted on the truck cabs. Tom returned their fire with his BAR. Squealing and screeching through the streets, machine guns bursting Percy eventually smashed the side of the vehicle against the wall – dislocating Tom’s shoulder causing him to drop the BAR. Percy overcompensated and crashed the car – fortunately close to the River Sprint rendezvous. The Kendal troops and the past and present ALFIES agents spilled out and made for the meeting point.

Ken gave covering fire from the Hotchkiss, while Vinnie waited in cover to deliver cross fire from his Tommy. Percy ended up throwing Dick over his shoulders while they stumbled for cover. The Terriers tried to close but where beaten back by the Hotchkiss and Vinnie’s Tommy gun and so hunkered down and sent runners for reinforcements.

Percy was recognised by Ken, despite his beard, who covered him with the Hotchkiss as they made cautious greetings. Ken was there when Hemmingway was murdered: http://alfiesantics.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/operation-daddy-long-legs/

After some frosty small talk the two agents conspire that Ken will only know of a ‘Rodger’ leading Kendal Liberation Front and Ken has told Rodger what ALFIES know of the Hemmingway incident.(Mainly because Ken fabricated it.) Percy and his locals make off and the ALFIES agents head for Ambleside.

With two agent heavily injured crossing Lakeland mountains across the bitter night proved hard. When dawn broke only a couple of token miles had been passed. Finding a hollow the agents bedded town – Tom falling ill and only making it through the day through Dick sharing his body warmth. There followed two more nights of painful and paltry marching and shivering scared day time hiding.

Approaching Ambleside they saw 2 Hadley Page Heyfords fly over Ambleside and despite the agents initial fears drop leaflets threatening the village with bombing in 36 hours if it doesn’t surrender the Liverpool agents.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handley_Page_Heyford

The agents consider their options but decide to return to Ambleside not wishing to abandon it after all their efforts. They propose to sneak into the Town, recover a little and then report to the town elders about their successes and propose the village is evacuated during the RAF raid.

They snuck in their separate pairs – even the sorely wounded Tom and Dick managed to evade the amateur Ambleside Defence Force and headed for their lodgings. Entering they made for their room only to be greated by a smartly dressed seated man with an automatic pistol levelled at them. Their captor has no time for banter. Tom shivers on the bed while Dick is closely watched. Eventually, Tom tries their luck and blazes away catching the BUF agent in the shoulder. The Government man lets rip at Dick and with 3 rapid rounds sends the Yorkshire toned policeman sprawling. Toms delirious fire eventually downs the G-man but Dick is done for. Tom collapses off the bed and on his knees cries “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!’

Hastening their pace after hearing shots Vinnie and Ken arrive but before they can fulling appraise the situation more agents approach – Vinnie uses his Tommy gun at spitting distance to take out the lead Fascist in a hail of bullets the third and final enemy agent thinks better of it and surrenders. In the midst of interrogating him local Ambleside bobby PC Browse arrives with ADF members.

Browse knows the men they have claimed to be smugglers from Whitehaven offering to help with the supply problems. ALFIES searches have revealed they are BUF Special Service agents, uncovering their Warrant cards amid their sundry false papers.

A man down and a man wounded. Half starved, half frozen and facing immanent air raid – what will be next for Operation Earwig?

Well it’ll be a few months before we fnd out – why? Because next time we’re off to deal with some unfinished business from Operation Cricket and see some other ALFIES agents retrieve GOPHERS child in OPERATION FLEA.

Published in: on November 17, 2011 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Operation Earwig – Chaos in Kendal

Kendal

Kendal

Having decided on a plan of action and distributed arms to the Ambleside Defence Force the ALFIES team venture into the Lakeland Hills to disrupt the Government force in Kendal about to attack the town.

Strapping socialist rambler andacademic Tom Williams takes navigation duties and in a squalling bitter gales and rain manages to lead the party off route to Hawkswater Reservoir which adds 10 miles to their journey. Approaching Kendal past the village of Staverley the party is stopped and detained by a BUF section. Ken Walthinstow-Browne the roguish and dapper ex-Royal Naval Officer and entrepreneur speaks for the party with a story about being refugees from the East Midlands seeking sanctuary. He is taken to the village Church where a preening cigar smoking BUF officer in a pristine ‘action press’ uniform asks him to account for himself.

Sympathetic to a fellow toff though he is the BUF man decides Ken’s story doesn’t wash and detains the party in the Church’s vestry. They’ve been forced to leave their luggage with their heavy weapons outside. However, their captors haven’t frisked them. When the BUF officer comes to challenge them over the BAR, tommy gun and grenades quick thinking Jewish-American ex-gangster Vinny Vincetii grabs a grenade while Yorkshire raised copper Dick Monroe shoulders  the door shut expelling both the guards and the grenade.

One quick explosion later the ALFIES men swing the doors open and let rip what for with their handguns on the dazed and injured BUF section. Tom spots reinforcements coming through the door while fall in a hail of gunfire from Vinnie’s tommy gun and Ken’s pilfered Lee-Enfield and pistols. Vinnie observes the village is road blocked at both ends with other BUF sections which haven’t heard the fire fight through the thick church walls and the storm. Neglecting to interrogate a surviving wounded BUF man the party make good their escape and head to Kendal.

The arrangements are to meet up after 6 hours, around 4 in the morning and if the other per miss the rendezvous to head off after 30 minutes having some hours of darkness to escape in.

Choosing a rendezvous point on the banks of the River Sprint the party splits. Venturing into the night Vinnie, his tommy-gun and smooth talking Ken with his pilfered Lee Enfield head to the east of the town while Tom and the BAR escorted by a pistol packing DC Monroe, heads to west Kendal.

The ‘dapper dans’ of Ken and Vinny locate the Kendal Borough Police Headquarters. Outside are milling police and Royal Highway Patrol Group auxiliaries around RHPG tenders, cars and bikes parked up on the street.  The spies break into  a nearby secondary school and using the science labs engineer a gas explosion that distracts the lawmen.

Dick and Tom (but no Harry) locate a large courtyard style barracks where the recently reformed 8th Battalion (Westmoreland Yeomanry) The Border Regiment is based with guards on the Courtyard gates. The spies find a dark doorway on the street, Dick picks the lock after a few attempts and the agents steal into the barracks. They find themselves adjacent to some larders and a large kitchen where a civilian woman is stirring a large pot of stew. Dick bravely sneaks up on the woman, grabs her with his hand over her mouth – Tom helps Dick bind and gag her and they put her in the larder. The soaked secret agents enjoy a bowl of stew before adding a jar of cod liver oil to upset the stomach of the garrisons.

Meanwhile back at the Police HQ as the rozzers are distracted the spooks head round the back, sneak into the car park, locating the fuse box, fire escape and exits. They sneak in and find themselves confronted by a custody sergeant at his desk. They cover him with pistols, disarm and pistol whip before open up the jail cells. They find a couple of drunks but eight trade unionists who have been interrogated by the lawmen as suspect revolutionaries.  They welcome the opportunity to join the spies taking up the proffered pilfered Lee Enfield and Sergeants revolver and joining the rampage through the station.  Entering the kitchen a constable is detained and his weapon liberated. A sleeping CID man is awoken, knocked out and his pistol taken. The party then enters the next room and breaks in on a front office and desk with a bevy of police there. Two grenades later the immediate problem is solved but the RHPG vehicles start to open up on the vehicle. The agents and their allies bomb up the stairs where there is a police flats they bump into a bevy of half-dressed officers trying to reinforce their colleagues and dispatch them in a one sided fire fight.

Kendal Mint Cake

Checking out the first floor the agents dropped grenades on the RHPG tenders and managed to get them plumb on the tender mounted machine guns covering the police and auxies ready to storm the HQ. Escaping up on the roof the agents covered by a rifle toting trade unionist as they use a fire escape to get back into the car park. Bidding their farewell to the locals (the kernel of a future Kendal Liberation Front?) Vinny and Ken snatch a deserted RHPG motorcycle combination with a 1909 Hotchkiss LMG which Vinny despite a leg injured in the fire fights manages to gun into the night heading to the RVP.

Back at the barracks Tom and Dick advance into a dining room where a senior police officer, BUF commander and 3 army officers are drinking brandy and pouring over a map at the high table inthe mess. The player character commandos chuck a brace of grenades and continuing the ALFIES run of good luck they land on the middle of the map. The two most seasoned Army officers dive under the long tables and as the grenades dispatch their comrades shoot at the agents legs from underneath the table ‘Miller Crossing style.’ Tom takes a wounds in each calves and responds by diving flat out on the table and dragging himself along. Dick fires some rounds under the table and then flips a spare table on its side, uses it as cover and takes a grenade out, primes it and gives it some seconds.   An Army Major rolls out from the table and rises next to Tom and they exchange fire – Tom empties his BAR magazine and manages to get one bullet on Major that proves fatal and is lucky the officer misses.

The surviving officer flees the room while Dick throws his grenade which unfortunate lads right into front of Dick who manages to get up on his knees and using his BAR like a cricket bat whacks the grenade to explode harmlessly out of the room. All that time with the Manchester Institute of Technology’s 1stXI proved not to be  wasted.

Despite Tom’s wounds he and Dick determine to push on and bring yet more chaos to Kendal.

Next Time… can Tom and Dick rampage through the barracks without a ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ moment? Will Vinny and Ken make it back to Ambleside? What will become of the Ambleside Defence Force and the Kendal Liberation Front? Find out next month same blog, same blogger.

Published in: on October 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm  Comments (1)  

Operation Earwig: Ambleside Defence Force

Equipped with the following

50 x Mosin Nagent

1 x 1910 Russian Maxim

5 Chauchat

5 Colt Revolvers

30 odd sporting rifles/shotguns original platoon had which tend to be issued to ‘runners’ or ammo carriers for the Chauchats or maxim. Platoon commanders carry the revolvers.

Manpower and Organisation

Platoons are made around 20 volunteers, usually 11-13 locals and 6-9 refugees formed into 2-3 sections. 1 section has the platoon Chauchat the others are all rifles etc; Platoon commanders are issued the Colt Revolvers.

Dress tends to be civillian clothing with the odd piece of purlioned military kit. 

The platoons are as folows named after the pubs in which they meet and use as headquarters and rallying points. While NCOs have been chosen officers have been elected.

The Police House Platoon PC Browses initial volunteers these are more full time have an additional section with themaxim. Under the command of PC Michael Browse, the Village bobby who will call on the ALFIES team expertise and commands the whole unit.

The Vale View Platoon- the refugee section here consists of miners from the Lancashire coal pits. They have brought mining helmets for the unit giving it an element of uniformity. Commanded by the Reverend Roberts, the local vicar of Ambelside (not the pyscho in Troutbeck.)

The Ambleside RUFC Platoon - big lads, often wearing their black and yellow stripped shirts. Also known as ‘the Wasps.’ Commander by ‘Mad’ MIke ‘Mauler’ Morris a cauliflower eared broken nosed  WW1 veteran and prop forward.

The Regency Hotel Platoon this unit has attracted more youths and a large number of American culture orientated ‘spivs’ from manchester. It’s members were ‘newsboy’ caps or fedoras rather than shooting hats or flat caps of other units and sharper more fashionable suits. They even call their Chauchat LMG a ‘Parisian Typewriter’ ops/dandys/spivs. Commanded by Billy ‘Flash’ Harris, a young sharply dressed gentlemen of Manchester.

The White Lion Platoon Yorkshire exiles make up the numbers in this unit. It commanded by Richard Everett, Captain of the Village Cricket 1st eleven, shopkeeper, veteran of Galliopi with Royal Naval Division and all round good egg.

Published in: on October 5, 2011 at 5:46 pm  Comments (1)  

Operation EARWIG (part 2)

In which Liverpool Free State Secret Agents continue to try and unite the Lakes aganist Edward VIII’s Government to cut the A6 route between the Liverpool and Scottish fronts.

On exiting the anti-Semitic Anglican’s fortified hamlet of Troutbeck Ken trips and injuries his head. While Ken returns him to the Anglicans for medical care Tom and Vinnie notice a figure in an Army greatcoat doing an appalling version of ‘not being seen.’

Having determined the stalker is unarmed Vinne throws a stone. The observer panics and takes cover imagining a grenade – with the Tom in the lead theLiverpoolagents bound over and take the watcher prisoner. He is revealed to be Ted Niceday a Private in the 7th (Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Battalion, The Border Regiment. He claims to be a terrific warrior as he cadges fags off Vinnie, who has deserted to Ambleside in order to offer his services as a soldier of fortune.

The agents see through this baloney but Ted has other news a government attack by the Kendal garrison in 7-10 days. The agents return to Ambleside, abandoning plans to talk to the Jewish refugee militia in Troutbeck bridge and meeting up with Dick they lock-up Ted in the town jail. The site of them with a government uniformed prison gets approving, even flirtatious approval from the refugees in the town while the native Ambelsiders are more circumspect. The agents retire to the pub to think through the consequences of this news.

Michael Browse the local police constable bursts in on the agents meetings. He is concerned over the presence of the deserter and when told of the Government attack – worried about the danger to the town. Tom and Dick make impassioned appeals to him with the promise ofLiverpoolaid and of turning Ambleside into a safe area of plenty and prosperity that can defend itself. Browse agrees to talk to the other town elders the Reverend Roberts (not associated with the Troutbeck fantatics) and Dame Margo Staverley. He persuades them to come on board.

 Vinnie has ascertained the town needs no more food now and improved their food distribution controls. Dick and Tom have spoken to Browse and determined how many trustworthy men with military experience the town can call upon from both the refugee and local populations. The team was careful to keep about half of the equipment back for future negotiations.

Chives the pigeon

The carrier pigeon Chives is sent toLiverpoolwith an order for Russians rifles, a maxim gun and other weapons. Medical equipment is also requested from a list furnished by the town Doctor Dougie Kildare, blankets and tents where also ordered for the refugees. Chive has a difficult job escaping the immediate area as he is pursued by not one but two kestrels. Perhaps a government falconer is in the area trying to cut off communications. Bruised and battered by his adventures having thrown off his pursuers through diving through a murder of crows who mobbed the raptors Chives finally reaches Liverpool. (Yes a player played  a pigeon.)

With Chive was also Tom’s request for a Browning Automatic Rifle and Vinnie for a Chicago typewriter – or Thompson Sub-Machine Gun and a crate of Mills Bombs.

In the mean time Dick makes himself useful around the town getting to know the inhabitants and become a friendly face. He also secures further supplies of Ambleside carrier pidegons. Tom gives inspiring civics education classes hoping to inspire a firebrand political culture in the town. The lectures go down well but the attendees tend to get the wrong end of the stick and rather than fiery socialists take the key points of the lecture and twist them to a patrician Tory idea of community. Vinne helps Browse pick out ex-forces NCOs to shape the expanded village militia into some sort of shape with drill and refresher training.

Dick and Vinne also further interrogate Niceday as ‘good cop’ Vinnie and ‘bad cop’ Dick. Niceday reveals that the commander of Kendal is Major Brian Hampton, Commander of 7th (Westmoreland and Cumberland Yeomanry) Battalion. The Border Regiment. They become convinced that Niceday isn’t an agent provocateur or spy but the hapless deserter he denies he is. The Major doesn’t get on with the BUF and the Police resent the troops in town as there’s been trouble. Some Royal Highway Patrol Group forces under Superintendent ’Dick’ Delany have also been moved up.

'A' Squadron Yeoman

The Yeomanry TA unit consists of 3 squadrons – each of 3 platoons of around 25 men. ‘A’ Squadron has secured horses. ‘B’ Squadron is mounted on repainted civilian vans and lorriesit also has the Battalions Vickers guns. ‘C’ Squadrons is on bicycles. There are 12 Lewis guns as well – one per platoon the majority of the men are armed with reserve line P14 Enfield Rifles.

'B' Squadron yeomen Lewis Gun team

The BUF are commanded by Barry ‘Candlestick’ Northridge and ex-TA Corporal who was demoted and resigned joined the BUF.  He’s called Candlestick as he can never remember passwords and so routinely carries one on the battlefield to identify himself to his men. He was 2 Companies each of 100 men who are armed with SMLE rifles and lack transport.

BUF Auxillary poster

Delaney’s RHPG contingent are 3-4 lorries with machineguns and other heavy weapons, an equal number of armed cars and a further equal number of motorcycle-sidecar combinations with machine guns.

Finally there is the Kendal Borough Police 30 or so officers including Special Constables with pistols and civilian small arms.

'B' Squadron Yeomen Rifle Team

The ALFIES team consider their options – ambushes on the road from Kendal, uniting the hamlets but then something starts to happen. They think of vulnerabilities of motor transport and the friction between the government units and start to think like spies. With Niceday’s uniform and pay book they begin to plan to infiltrate Kendal and disrupt the garrison before it starts it’s attack.

British Army Paybook

The airlitfted supplies arrive with the Moby Dick with just 4 days to spare – how quickly can the team act?

Published in: on September 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm  Comments (2)  

Operation Earwig (Part One)

June 1938…A different world, a different Liverpool ina Britain in the midst of a Very British Civil War.

The following Agents of ALFIES (Amalgamated Liverpool Free Intelligence and Espionage Service) :

  • Undercover policeman Dick Monroe,
  • ex-Royal Navy Rogue Kenneth Walthamstow-Browne,
  • Mancunian socialist Tom Williamson (who journeyed toLiverpoolafter the events of Operation Cricket)
  • and Italian-Jewish-American ex-gangster Vinnie Vincetti

are summoned to Birkenhead’s Vittoria Docks.

 

The Catalina flying boat Bette Davis, refitted after its Cheshire adventure (see Operation Cricket (Part 4.)) is waiting to take the player characters on their next adventure. ‘C’ briefs the team on operation Earwig a long term effort to introduce order to theLake Districtand discomfort to Government convoys on the A6 through means fair and fowl.

 

Ken is put in charge of the team while Dick takes special responsibility for the carrier pigeons the team will use for communications (a Government listening station in Kendal makes radio out of the question.) The group board the ‘Davis and escorted by 6 Peoples Fleet Air Arm Gladiators and 2 Swordfish in order to impress the locals fly to Lake Windermere taking a cautious route via the Irish sea. They are carrying credentials from the City Council.

 

Flying back inland they see a LFS ambush of a Convoy at Little Hootle and the pilots decide that’s worth a visit on the return journey, 9To see what happened on the way back go here: http://clarkythecruel.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/sabotage-at-little-hootle-part-2/)  The team are more concerned when Dick notices Vinnie, passing round black market Lucky strikes wears a TNT vest which causes some consternation before he confesses it’s a fake..

 

1925 map of Windermere

The team land onLake Windermere and row to Ambleside. There they are greeted by the careworn local copper Michael Browse and a mixed bunch of local and ‘fugee (refugee) onlookers. Taken to a local pub for discussions the players notice that the defences of the town are little – maybe 30 armed men, some only armed with improvised spears. The pub is threadbare and stocked with anonymous bottles and plain kegs of ale that look like bootleg supplies. The wilier characters guessing there may be more arms in the town but held by individuals for their own protection.

 

Ambelside seen from Heron's Peak

A committee talks to the players – as well as PC Browse there is a sardonic Vicar Reverend Johns and WI leader Dame Margot Staverly (who organise refugee soup kitchens and the like.)  they are very interested inLiverpool, help. The town had a decent collection of stores and food has been taken into common ownership but Winter is coming and by then supplies will be non-existent. They have contacts with smugglers operating out of Egremont and Whitehaven but they only move contraband like spirits, cigarettes and the like – high value stuff.  They are fearful of accepting food and then not being able to protect it from aggressive parties.

 

While Vinnie takes the opportunity to use the toilet (to smoke some opium,) Reverend Johns outlines the village’s situation – Bandits rule Scarbeck to the East and theGrazmereForestis sheltering Royalist renegades, beyond them there is a BUF presence.  Toutbeck andToutbeckBridgeare occupied by Anglican and a Jewish refugee militia respectively. Windermere & Bowness on Windermere is split between anti-pro government factions.  A ‘pirate’ has taken over Belle Island and demands tolls to fish or transverse the lack using a pleasure steam with a cannon fitted.  To the north Rhydal it’s unclear but there are strange goings on involving midnight bonfires and disappearances. The hill farms are keeping a tight control on their flocks and shooting first and asking questions later.

 

The team promise to address supplies but need to get a better lie of the land. They secure lodging in half a bare attic (the other half occupied by a an Italian refugee family who Vinnie strikes up a relation with – with a stash of tinned tomatoes and herbs they have better food!) They debate getting aid in by parachute or flown in at night but admit the difficulties that would create with trying to recover packages in no man’s land or dangers for the aircraft landing on the lake.

 

Ken resolves to visit Toutbeck andToutbeckBridgeto east and secure support. His strategy is to develop alliances between Ambleside and Windermere and the surrounding hamlets in order to form a safe base of operations at the North of theLake.

 

A view of Troutbeck

Travelling cross country the players approach a kernel of buildings in the hamlet which has an improvised blue and gold Anglican League Flag flying. It has improvised defences in boarded windows and firing loopholes. Approaching Toutbeck from the West the agents come under staccato, infrequent rifle fire from a copse the South. They manage to take cover while equally infrequent rifle fire from the hamlet is returned to the sniper. The team feel a little redundant armed as they are with a couple of shotguns and pistols.

 

They are called from the hamlet and told of a covered approach. Making their way across dead ground, shell scrapes and a doorway obscured by cloth covers they are greeted by a shock headed vicar and a couple of shotgun armed men. The Reverend Birkett introduces himself and to the stunned expressions of the Team explains his dispute with the Jewish militia which is based on a complicated theological position that Edward VIII and Mosley’s policy are all the result of a Jewish conspiracy. Vinnie (half Jewish) bites his tongue; Tom bristles with righteous indignation while Ken manfully chats with the clearly barking clergymen.  The Vicar requests that they attack the Jewish militia even making available his ‘holy hand grenades’ ( which are in fact mills bombs (Vinnie and Dick take him up on the offer.)

 

Feeling disgusted the Agents leave the hamlet (out the back to avoid the sniper) passing the graves of at least 8 of the Anglicans. They note the Reverend has 12 men and the ‘heathen’ around 20 according to the insane Priest. They consider their option to resolve this conflict between the two war bands and secure Ambleside East flank.

 

 

Published in: on August 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm  Comments (2)  
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