This is a work of fiction created for the Twilight 2000 Role Playing Game. Original material © Dave Ross

1999 - A Disunited Kingdom

At the start of the year the Army received welcome reinforcements when elements of the elite 5th Airborne Brigade were flown back from Germany to bolster the UKLF, with nearly five hundred Paratroopers and Gurkhas arriving at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire over several days aboard the RAF’s few surviving Hercules transports. Bolstered by these reinforcements, soon afterwards the military launched an operation to consolidate their control of the south east of England. Codenamed Operation VAUXHALL, this entailed clearing the area of any lingering marauders, establishing a secure communications network, and securing the borders of their territory. In many areas shanty towns sprung up along those borders populated by refugees; some of these temporary settlements housed only a few hundred whilst others held thousands of people. Conditions in these camps varied, with some lacking the most basic of facilities. They soon developed their own economy based on barter, and in many cases their own particular brand of law enforcement. Several were in the shadow of military firebases and provided services to the military. The legality of these services varied, with black marketing and prostitution both rife.

In early February the Government was able to resume production at the Wytch Farm onshore oilfield in Dorset, with the oil being refined into petroleum products at a BP facility in Poole, Whilst the amount of oil produced was only a trickle by pre War standards, it was enough to keep military units mobile and keep the surviving aircraft of the RAF flying.  Meanwhile in Winchester a small number of individuals with particular talents were given peerages and appointed to the Government. Further Peers were appointed during the year, and by Year’s end Parliament numbered just over forty MP’s and Peers

Whilst life within the Military borders was hard but fair, the situation was much bleaker for those beyond those borders. Without a shred of legitimacy, Military officers, local criminals, and Regional Commissioners had all set themselves up as rulers of different areas and fighting continued as all of these different groups tried to increase their land holdings. In South West England a military officer had declared himself the Duke of Cornwall and was fighting to take control of the entire Region; the North West and the Midlands were in utter anarchy, with a number of different groups all battling for supremacy. Gradually some of these marauder groups began to band together; often these were alliances of convenience that would last only as long as it took to overcome a mutual enemy, after which the alliance would fall apart. Many marauder groups had escaped prisoners (both pre war civilian prisoners who had been released from jail and escaped Warsaw Pact prisoners of war) or former soldier in their ranks, and in some cases entire units were acting unlawfully. A number of US Air Force personnel who had turned bandit preyed on communities in Oxfordshire, whilst people in the East Midlands lived in terror of a group of marauders led by a female sociopath known simply as Bloody Mary.

South Wales had suffered heavy damage during the nuclear exchanges, but many of the towns and villages of the north had escaped relatively unscathed. These communities now found themselves a magnet for refugees, many of whom were coming in to the area from England. In an attempt to stem this flow, the border towns, supported by locally based Territorial Army units, moved in the spring to close the border, with troops establishing a series of temporary firebases along the ruins of Offa’s Dyke, which marked the border between England and Wales. Tasked with keeping marauder groups and refugees out of Wales, the troops in these firebases found themselves in action against unlawful groups throughout much of the Year.

The Scottish leadership in Perth had also consolidated throughout the winter and spring, their efforts assisted by Territorial troops. Camps were set up to house displaced people whilst the military, augmented by local volunteers, actively patrolled the local area, and most unlawful groups soon moved away in search of easier pickings. On the 24th of June (the anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn) in what would later become known as the Declaration of Stirling, Alex Stewart formally declared Independence from the United Kingdom with the formation of the Republic of Scotland, to be governed by a National Emergency Committee based in Perth. Though the NEC claimed to govern the whole of Scotland, in practice they controlled only a small part of the country, with large areas being to all extents and purposes independent of all Governments, and other smaller enclaves controlled by the Military remaining loyal to His Majesty’s Government. The forces under the command of the NEC would henceforth be known as the Scottish Army.

When news of the Declaration of Stirling reached Winchester Prime Minister Montgomery was outraged. There was also concern within HMG that the move would cause a break-up of the United Kingdom should Wales or other areas follow suit. On the 28th of June the British Government issued a statement denouncing Scottish independence and reaffirming that Scotland remained an integral part of the United Kingdom. A number of MI5 agents were sent north to observe and report back to Winchester, but there was little more that HMG could do for they did not have the troops available to forcibly bring the Scots back in to the fold. In truth, such was the breakdown in communication in the UK that many people living in Scotland did not even know that they were now nominally living in a new Country, and many of those who did know gave little heed to whose flag flew over their Country, their attention being focused on more basic things, such as finding food, water, and shelter.  

In Northern Ireland the last semblances of civil authority had collapsed completely, and the Province was now effectively governed by the military, under the leadership of Lieutenant General Sir Graeme Simmerson, who was derogatorily referred to by Nationalists as the “Viceroy”.  Fighting continued in Ulster throughout the year. Irish forces launched an offensive in April which had little impact. In May the 107th Brigade, its ranks swollen with volunteers from the Royal Ulster Constabulary and conscripts drawn from Loyalist communities, launched a counterattack. The severity of the UDR’s offensive caught the Southern Irish troops by surprise and they were quickly pushed back along the entire front line. The UDR retook Armagh in June and in early August occupied Ballyshannon in the Irish Republic, effectively isolating County Donegal from the rest of the Republic. Whilst British and Irish troops were engaged in an increasingly violent conflict, away from the front lines there were constant violent clashes between Protestant and Catholic communities. As well as raiding each other’s territory, often killing indiscriminately, both sides practiced ethnic cleansing, with Catholics being forcibly expelled from Protestant controlled areas and vice versa,

Lacking the manpower to control Belfast, the authorities abandoned the City to the Paramilitaries in July. In September Sinn Fein community leaders declared the now almost exclusively Catholic Londonderry to be independent from the UK, calling the City “Free Derry” and declaring it was now part of the Republic of Ireland. Shortly afterwards troops from the 107th Brigade attacked the City. By the end of October the two sides were separated by the River Foyle; the UDR controlled the east bank, whilst Irish forces held the west. The bitter street fighting had reduced much of the City to rubble, with many residents driven out, causing one UDR commander to liken Londonderry to Stalingrad during World War 2. Gradually the fighting wound down as autumn moved into winter, although both sides continued to carry out sporadic raids on each other, whilst mortar fire was exchanged on a regular basis.

In early September a series of clandestine meetings took place between Alex Stewart’s Scottish leadership and representatives of the French Government, following which the Scots began to receive limited assistance from the French. The French were careful to ensure that this assistance remained covert, as Paris had no wish to be drawn into direct confrontation with the Winchester Government, particularly since the UK still retained a number of nuclear weapons.

Elsewhere much of the country remained under the control of a number of marauder groups, with border areas between different factions remaining hotly contested. Much of the Midlands remained a free fire zone; most of the larger towns were able to defend themselves against the various bandit groups in the area, but the smaller towns and villages were much more vulnerable. Gradually these smaller communities began to band together in loose alliances to try and protect themselves.

At the end of September a loose grouping of various community leaders and pre War politicians came together at Caernarfon in north Wales, where, following six days of discussions, they announced on the 02nd of October that they had formed the Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru (Welsh Assembly Government) and declared Wales to be independent of the United Kingdom. The LCC claimed authority over all armed forces based in Welsh territory, and over the course of the winter Territorial units in Wales banded together under the Red Dragon flag and formed themselves in to the Byddin am Cymru (Army of Wales). As with Scotland, the LCC claimed to govern the whole of Wales, but in practice its power was concentrated in the north of the country, with much of the South Wales remaining in a state of disorder.

The Winchester Government reacted in the same way to the Welsh Declaration of Independence as they had to the Scots one earlier in the year, with an immediate denouncement. Again, however, they were powerless to take any action other than to send a small team of MI5 officers in to Wales.

As autumn drew on, throughout the UK the tempo of fighting gradually wound down as the various groups made preparations for winter and consolidated their control of the territories that they held.