This is a work of fiction created for the Twilight 2000 Role Playing Game. Original material © Dave Ross
7. South West England
RGHQ: Chilmark, nr Salisbury, Wiltshire (closed down Jan 98; some staff transferred to alternate facilities at UKLF HQ, Salisbury, others moved to Winchester with Central Government)
Alternate RGHQ: Bolt Head, nr Salcombe, Devon (abandoned Jan 98, staff relocated to HMNB Devonport)
Counties: Avon, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire
Nuclear Targets: Bristol, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Yeovil
North of the M4
The main Motorway running from London to South Wales before the War, the M4 now marks the northern border of the territory currently controlled by His Majesty's Government. Just north of the M4, the town of Swindon in Wiltshire has emerged as one of the largest Free Cities in England, with a population approaching some 100,000 people (approximately half of its pre War population), many of whom have made their way to Swindon to escape the devastation and anarchy found further north. The City maintains a limited manufacturing capacity, much of which is based around the Honda Car manufacturing facility, with the plant's former workers able to fabricate a number of items. Together with its strategic location on the crossroads of the territory controlled by HMG and the regions to the north, this has made Swindon a major trading centre, with merchant convoys travelling to and from the City from as far afield as Newcastle, Carlisle, and, occasionally, North Wales. Such travel is of course hazardous, and there is always a demand amongst the merchants for experienced soldiers willing to serve as escorts in exchange for both financial and material reward. Unlike some of the Free Cities further north, Swindon maintains relatively organised, thanks in no small part to its proximity to HMG's forces (RAF Lyneham is only eleven miles away from Swindon, whilst the nearest garrison is only six miles away, in the town of Wootton Basset, which is home to a detachment from the 6th Battalion, Light Infantry). It also has its own militia force, with many of the men and women within its ranks deserters from the Government forces south of the M4.
Further north the spa town of Cheltenham was perhaps most famous before the War for
the Cheltenham Gold Cup horse race and its literary and music festivals. It was also
home to the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the arm of British Intelligence
responsible for providing Signals Intelligence to the Government and the Military,
a fact that made it the second location in the United Kingdom to be targeted by Soviet
nuclear weapons, at 11:15am on Thursday 27th November 1997 (approximately ninety
seconds after the first warhead detonated over London). In an effort to ensure GCHQ
was completely destroyed a second warhead was aimed at Cheltenham eight days later,
although it overshot its target, devastating the nearby town of Gloucester instead.
Today the ruins of Cheltenham and Gloucester are inhabited by small bands of survivors
who try to survive as best they can. Much of the rest of Gloucestershire is rural,
and has become increasingly threatened by marauder incursions from three directions
South of the M4
Southern Wiltshire and eastern Dorset are both firmly under the control of HMG, with large military garrisons based in Salisbury, Warminster, Bovington, and Blandford Forum, all of which have long been associated with the British Army. Headquarters, United Kingdom Land Forces is still based at its pre War home, Erskine Barracks near Salisbury, whilst Royal Air Force Strike Command Headquarters relocated to RAF Upavon, also near Salisbury, at the start of 1998 following the destruction of RAF High Wycombe. Wiltshire is also home to two of the Royal Air Force's remaining air bases, RAF Lyneham and RAF Boscombe Down (the former is home to the remnants of the RAF's C130 Hercules Transport fleet, whilst the latter was a Ministry of Defence test site before the War; converted to an operational airbase at the end of 1997, it is now home to a number of the RAF's surviving fighter aircraft, including the last operational Eurofighter). The Army’s 43rd Infantry Brigade carries out regular patrols throughout the area, operating as far north as the M4 Motorway and far as west as a line running from Bath in the north to Dorchester in the south, although long range patrols are occasionally carried out beyond that, pushing west as far as Taunton, and, less frequently, north as what remains of Cheltenham and Gloucester. Patrols operating outside HMG's borders will be well armed and well equipped, including radios to stay in contact with their headquarters. They will usually use Land Rovers, usually either WMIK or Snatch models, although Fox and Ferret armoured cars will also occasionally be encountered.
Also located close to Salisbury is the military and Government research centre at Porton Down. Before the war the exact nature of the research carried out at Porton Down was a closely guarded secret however it was widely believed to carry out work in the biological and chemical warfare fields. Porton Down remains shrouded in secrecy and is heavily guarded by the Army.
Avon and Somerset
Bristol was destroyed in the nuclear exchange and is currently inhabited by refugees
and scavengers who are rarely bothered by anyone. The rest of the region is largely
rural; a number of towns and villages have formed loose alliances with each other,
and outsiders are generally unwelcome. The area has a small surplus of food which
supports a modest trade, much of which is with Exeter in Devon. The Army patrol along
the M4 as far as Bristol, and has established a presence in Bath, so the area has
not suffered greatly from marauder incursions from the north -
Many refugees entered the area after the nuclear exchanges, and a large number have lingered at Minehead in Somerset, on the edge of Exmoor, where they have occupied a former Holiday Camp (the site's chalets offered ready made accommodation). Several hundred strong and led by a man known only as Vince, a forty year old from Bristol, the refugees have established a relatively peaceful co existence with the local population.
Devon and Cornwall
Three main power blocs currently exist in Devon and Cornwall, none of them strong enough to control the entire region. HMG maintains an enclave at the Plymouth Naval Base in Devon. Consisting mainly of Royal Navy personnel, the Plymouth garrison is relatively powerful but is isolated from the main body of HMG’s forces, and is reliant on resupply by sea.
The entire western part of Cornwall has been taken over by a marauder army that numbers several thousand strong and is led by Marcus Rose, a former Major in the Parachute Regiment, who has declared himself to the Duke of Cornwall. Rose sees himself as the leader of the whole of post war England; his forces are well armed and continue to expand eastwards. He tolerates no dissent, and the people of Cornwall live in terror of him and his troops. He has taken control of a tin mine, using slave labour to mine the tin. A large number of Rose’s troops are refugees who entered the area in 1998.
A few brave souls continue to resist the Duke’s forces under the banner of Mebyon Kernow (Cornish for Sons of Cornwall). Recently a small group of MI5 operatives have entered Cornwall and Mebyon Kernow’s leadership are keen to make contact with them.
The third force in the region is the city of Exeter and its neighbouring towns, which have formed a mutual trade and defence alliance. The alliance is led by a council consisting of members of the pre war local Government and prominent citizens and headed by Gillian Gardiner, the former leader of the Exeter City Council. The various towns belonging to the alliance maintain an isolationist policy; those entering the area to trade or who have useful skills are welcomed, but refugees are turned back, by lethal force if necessary. In order to protect their borders, Exeter and its neighbours can call on a defence force of several hundred soldiers and policeman, supported by large numbers of civilian auxiliaries.
Both HMG and the Duke of Cornwall are eager to establish a relationship with Exeter’s
leadership; a three man undercover MI5 team entered Exeter at the start of March
and the Duke has also despatched envoys to the City. The Government’s goal is to
bring Exeter back into the fold peacefully and re-
Elsewhere in Devon, the Torbay area is in utter anarchy, with numerous different groups all fighting with each other to try and gain control. Dartmoor Forest is home to a marauder group consisting of Warsaw Pact Prisoners of War who broke out from Okehampton POW Camp in Devon in 1998; known as Konev’s Wolves, they are led by Captain Nikolai Konev, a Spetznaz officer captured in Norway. Other escapees from Okehampton can be found throughout the region, either individually or in small groups of less than half a dozen. Whilst some of these groups have joined local militias, a handful have found their way into the ranks of the Duke of Cornwall’s forces.