Second game of the week was a larger affair. Played between myself, Edward and El Hoggo. With the Princess Beatrice Rifles, The Peoples' Socialist Republic of the Isle Of Wight, and the Anglican League, repectively. This was played on a 6x4 foot board using plenty of scenery. The following is the report from my commanding officer to his CO. There may be other reports from the other factions to follow. Send them in chaps:0)
On receiving orders from Colonel Templeton Smyth to investigate the presence of Communist agitators in Ryde, I ordered my senior NCOs to have the men assemble on the parade ground. The whole platoon mounted up in the vehicles available and we headed immediately to Ryde. We were joined by a section of riflemen from the Royal Yacht Squadron who were also mounted in a truck.
Number one section led by Sergeant Hoskins was sent into the town first to scout the situation. Hoskins quickly met a local Police Constable who was able to report that Agitators had been present in the town for a number of days and many of the local working men and women had declared Ryde as the capital of the Peoples’ Socialist Republic of the Isle Of Wight. The constable went on to explain that the Communists had thrown up barricades around the Western end of the Esplanade and had made their headquarters on the pier.
Hoskins immediately returned to the column and we proceeded to the Eastern end of the Esplanade. My column of vehicles made its way on to the Esplanade from Seaview Road. It became immediately apparent that the Reds had indeed erected barricades to create a stronghold.
The Platoon advanced onto the Esplanade and immediately came under fire from the barricades. I believe the Reds had mounted a Pom Pom on the back of a truck to give them extra support. Number one section disembarked from their armoured truck which then headed towards the Reds to give covering fire with its Vickers.
Number Two section led by Sergeant Elphinstone also disembarked his men. Both sections came under fire, both rifle and machine gun, from a Seamen’s mission on the seawall. Both sections took casualties but were able to suppress the fire from the mission and its environs. The RYS troops took up position a little to the west of One and Two sections and engaged in a rifle battle with what appeared to be Naval troops behind a dry stone wall which surrounds Esplanade park.
The Reds’ Pom Pom was causing a great deal of concern as was the threat of Heavy Machine Gun fire from the Mission. Number One section’s Armoured truck and Number two sections Bulldog were able to little else than head towards the barricades. Number Two section’s Bulldog was crippled by machine gun fire and slid to a halt blocking much fire from the Socialists.
Corporal Sedgwick’s number three section disembarked closest to the barricades and were the only section to engage in hand to hand combat with the enemy. His men moved forward and engaged a unit of Reds which had come over the barricade. Sedgwick’s men went forwards with bayonets. At first they had some success, killing a man with a Lewis, however they were driven back when they came under attack by socialists hurling petrol bombs. The socialists lost heart and retired behind the barricades.
Sergeant Butcher’s Four section made good progress. They were first able to support One and Two sections with fire on the Mission. With concentrated fire they were able to drive off the sailors in the mission, except for a curious looking armoured vehicle. It appeared slow and cumbersome. It was as if a fellow had managed to mount a pillbox on wheels.
Butcher then took his men forward towards the Red barricades. It was Butcher’s men who disabled an enemy machine gun and the sailors behind the dry stone wall. Butcher then survived the last rounds fired by the enemy pom pom which then took no further part in the action.
My Platoon had taken several casualties, mostly in One and Two sections and the RYS men. We had two vehicles damaged and my Vickers team had all been wounded. We halted our advance to regroup, at this point it was apparent that the Socialists had withdrawn from their first line of barricades. The Red machine gunner wounded by Sedgwick’s men was taken prisoner. He informed us that the Reds would have only retired to a second line of barricades. It also appears that the militia attacking us from the Sailor's Misson were from the Anglican League not the Socialist's commune. I decided that a continued assault would require a greater force than I had at my disposal. I then followed orders given over the telephone to return to barracks in Carisbrooke.
It is hard to tell how many enemy casualties were inflicted, my estimate is somewhere between thirty or forty. Privates Wilson, Smith G, Smith R and Davies were killed. As were three men from the RYS. We also had three other men badly wounded and a dozen men with light wounds.
Lt T WCooper Commanding
3rd Platoon, 1st Company, 1st Battalion Princess Beatrice Rifles