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'A gaping silken dragon,/Puffed by the wind, suffices us for God./We, not the City, are the Empire's soul:/A rotten tree lives only in its rind.'

Monday, 9 April 2012

Alternatives, if not reality

I've nodded here and there to the insanity that is 'Very British Civil War' (VBCW) . For those (few?) who know not, it is an alternative wargaming world with Britain rent by civil strife in the late 1930s. The Gentleman's Wargame Parlour forum is one of the main arenas for the 'period', and thousands of threads have been posted. I have an interest in that I wrote a very small part of one of the source books and designed some of Solway Crafts and Miniatures flags. I have also written a number of academic articles on the British Union of Fascists (BUF), and, shortly to appear, one on the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in the period. Wargamers' interest in VBCW seems to be mixed, with most, happily, taking it to be a bit of chappish fun, what?! Others, one suspects, are a tad more silly in that they are playing out history as a team sport - 'my side's the best/goodist/on the side of the angels' etc etc. But I suppose another aspect is the fact that so much of the built environment of the period is still around us - I live in a bit of it, and quite a few of the fixtures, from doors to budget Art Deco railings on the stair survive. On my recent trip to Copenhagen I came across an absolutely first rate bit of Art Deco/moderne public building:

These two towers command either end of a bridge over one of Copenhagen's numerous waterways (some being part of the defensive system of the city), and, for sheer, modernist elegance, I should think they are hard to beat. They are crying out to be modelled in 28mm, or even 20mm, but I doubt if I have the skills.

As for my own VBCW chaps, I have quite a number of SCW fellows who will stand muster for the Reds, and I have a few of Mosley's men, some seen below with a Polish tankette:


  1. Splendid Danish towers- I must confess I have never noticed them.
    Been sorting out my Welsh Nationalists today and getting troops organised prior to painting. I ,for one, think that the whole VBCW thing has encouraged many people to examine in depth a fascinating period of history.It has also encouraged local research and appreciation of the might have beens of history too. It is spiffing fun and I have learned much in the "company" of splendid, knowledgeable and companionable chaps.Long may it continue...

  2. This is true, Your Grace, indeed, it is so. On the subject of Welsh Nationalists, though of a just slightly later period, I frecently read a fascinating book, Fugitive Ireland; European minority nationalists and Irish political asylum, 1937-2008, by Daniel Leach, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2009. Despite the title, it contains a good deal of information about the links between the post-war Plaid and Breton exiles. It also includes photos of Plaid Cymru president Gwynfor Evans with Breton nationalists, including Sicherheitsdienst (SD) veterans in Dublin at Easter 1966. Welsh Nationalists were actually far more helpful to the SD men than Irish nationalists were, though, of course, the Catholic church's anti-Communism also helped.

  3. I wish a part of the appeal is the lovely art deco building and that British Comic book hero action we all remember from our youths. I have to admit I love the "period" and love the ability to create a little something a little Briatin so to speak, but most of all its the research I love.

  4. The comic book hero business is interesting - Tiger Tim the Terror of Tonbridge?

  5. Dennis the Menace, London-based Anarchist terrorist and wanted arsonist?

    1. Les Pretend - the mobile pillbox?