David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occassional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Disaster at Penk Bridge

I've dabbled my foot in the VBCW genre once or twice over the past year or so as an alternative to 'What If?' 1940 games or our ongoing Blandings games of Pig Who-oo-oo-oey! Now, earlier in the year I decided it would be fun to bring the fully fledged VBCW to GHQ in a more local setting. Leicester Gamer, over on the VBCW Forum made me some super flags for my local units which today had their first outing on the table top battlefield ~
Peaceful South Staffs. A view looking towards Wolverhampton
Pendeford Farm in the foreground, the River Penk on the left.

The game was played out using Bolt Action rules over ten turns. We like the rules very much for their deceptive simplicity, ease of play and the unpredictable nature of the game turn using the Action Dice. Jon commanded the forces loyal to the Moseley Government and I commanded the forces of the Opposition. The Government's force must enter from the road on the table left while the local opposition force are deployed beyond the line of the north-south road, Pendeford Mill Lane. There were no more than 40 figures and a tank with assorted vehicles, MMGs and a mortar on either side and the game lasted the full ten turns, being only decided right at the death, but that's getting ahead of myself ~
5th Battalion the South Staffordshire Regiment en route to the Front

The Boulton-Paul Workers Cooperative leaves the pub for the Front

Local Anglican League militia leave a prayer meeting for action

A few atmospheric shots first to warm you up for the action, with the final picture showing the defensive positions and the developing attack. The Government's forces will score a Tactical Victory if they hold the bridge and have fewer losses than their opponents at the end of turn 10, but a Strategic Victory if they enter the outskirts of Wolverhampton. Now, the action unfolds before us ~
BUF fanatics lead the assault on Penk Bridge.
They are supported by the Express & Star Rifles and Tettenhall's Swindley's Own.

Elements of the Bilston BUF's  'Steel Division'

The Three Tuns Invincibles under mortar attack at the strategic crossroads.

The attack develops steadily and the local militia units find themselves under heavy attack as Swindley's Own, supported by the BUF squad cross the bridge under heavy fire ~
Under heavy fire Government loyalists rush the bridge.

While the 'gentlemen' of Tettenhall are distracted by the chance of a pork dinner!

A squad from the KoSLI steel themselves for the assault.

Soon the crossroads is in the Government's hands as the bridge over the River Penk is secured and the defending militia units destroyed after a hard fight ~
BUF troops try to outflank the defenders.

A volunteer ambulance rushes mounting casualties away to safety.

The South Stafford's Smith gun knocks out the enemy tank!

The odds were mounting on a successful assault by Government forces as we reached the final turn of the game despite the South Staffords still grimly holding the outskirts of Wolverhampton! The Smith gun is knocked out and its crew killed while a total of nine pin markers are loaded on the South Staffords, who fail their morale check and finally flee their position leaving the Government to claim a significant victory and a foothold on the outskirts of Wolverhampton ~

A close fought game where, despite being outnumbered and out classed, the Opposition forces gave the Government's men a stern test. Despite the defeat they are not down hearted as they regroup for the next phase of the campaign. Wolverhampton shall rise again ~ 'Out of Darkness Cometh Light'!


  1. Splendid stuff chaps, a VBCW game as it should be, full of local flavour. Talking of flavour watch out for those pigs, they come cheap :-)

  2. Great looking game and terrain. Nice to read all the local references, especially the Bilston steel division.

    1. Thanks Matt! Agree about the local nature of VBCW games as the genre's main attraction.

  3. Great stuff, lovely photos, terrain and figures.

  4. I use Bolt Action for VBCW as well. My Spode's Blackshorts carry the flag for Mosely.

  5. Fab game & great fun to play!

    1. Indeed it was great fun and for me that's the whole point! See you soon-ish!

  6. Great scenario, might just have to borrow that one :-)

    1. Thanks, Stuart! Let us know how it plays out for you.

  7. Very nice! I am amused that this took place on what used to be my commute to work in St John's Square. My VBCW collection is taking a break from action as I paint up ECW units to contest the coal fields of the Severn Gorge using Crowning Mercy having looked at your seige of Blandings games.

    1. Thank you, Graham. I hope the memories of commuting to work you mention were n't too painful! I hope you enjoy your coming ECW games!