This is a work of fiction created for the Twilight 2000 Role Playing Game. Original material © Dave Ross
The largest City in the south west before the War, Plymouth was home to the Devonport Naval base, the largest Naval base in Western Europe and the Royal Navy’s only nuclear repair and refuelling facility. Other bases in the area included HMS Cambridge, the Navy’s gunnery training school, which was located in the south of the City, the recruit training centre at HMS Raleigh, across the river Tamar at Torpoint in Cornwall, and one of two Royal Naval Hospitals (the other was at Portsmouth). The City was also home to 3 Commando Brigade’s Headquarters and 42 Commando of the Royal Marines.
The City was the target for several attacks by Soviet conventional bombers during the opening months of the War, with both the Naval and civilian port facilities suffering damage from air launched missiles. Several missiles intended for Devonport missed their target completely, striking residential areas and causing a number of civilian casualties. In the late summer of 1997 the increasing use of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe caused many of Plymouth’s citizens to leave the City, and by Black Thursday (as the Thanksgiving Day Massacre would become known in the UK) it was estimated that more than two thirds of the City’s population had sought the perceived safety of the countryside.
To the surprise of many– not least the Chiefs of the Defence Staff and the Admiralty – Plymouth was not a target for nuclear attack during the dark days of November and December 1997. The City did suffer from civil disorder however, with food shortages sparking off a wave of rioting that the civil authorities were unable to control, prompting them to seek assistance from the military. By the end of 1997 armed Royal Navy sailors and Territorial Army soldiers were patrolling Plymouth’s streets and order was gradually restored.
At the beginning of 1998 the Regional Government Headquarters (RGHQ) for the area relocated to the Royal Citadel in Plymouth from Salcombe, twenty five miles away. Part of pre War plans for the continuation of Government following a nuclear attack, the RGHQ was headed by a civilian official, Jonathan Owen MP, a Junior Minister in the pre War Labour Government, and his deputy, Emma Lockwood. Arriving with Owen and the RGHQ’s civilian staff was a small contingent of Territorial Army personnel who reinforced the Plymouth garrison. Whilst Owen and his staff were nominally responsible for local Government throughout Devon and Cornwall, by the spring of 1998 their authority extended to no more than ten miles outside Plymouth, with the rest of the region to all extents autonomous.
Throughout 1998 and 1999 the Plymouth enclave gradually became more and more isolated; with no secure land corridor linking it to the main area controlled by HMG in the south of England supplies of food, water, and ammunition all had to come by sea from Portsmouth, and arrived irregularly. Morale in the garrison was low with some sailors deserting their posts to try and make their way back to their homes and families in other parts of the United Kingdom, while others simply slipped away into the countryside and turned marauder. During 1999 rumours began to reach the garrison of the activities of a rogue military officer named Marcus Rose who had begun calling himself the Duke of Cornwall, with refugees entering the area from the west telling stories of atrocities committed by the so called Duke’s forces. Alarmed by reports that Rose was planning to aggressively expand the area under his control, Owen contacted HMG in Winchester, and at the end of 1999 a small team of MI5 operatives arrived by sea with instructions to infiltrate the territory controlled by the Duke and report back on what they found there.
Currently Plymouth and the Cornish town of Torpoint remain under Government control, with order maintained by the Royal Navy, supported by a small number of soldiers and Royal Marines and surviving elements of the pre War Devon and Cornwall police force; however the sailors lack the resources to extend their area of control and are effectively under siege behind a fortified perimeter. The senior officer is Rear Admiral Bertie Kerr, RN, the commander of the Devonport base. The garrison continues to rely on resupply by sea from Portsmouth, with a ship currently arriving approximately every six to eight weeks. Without this resupply it is doubtful if the enclave would be able to survive, a fact that both Commissioner Owen and Admiral Kerr are well aware of.
The Navy base at Devonport has remained operational throughout the War and is currently home to a number of Royal Navy warships. The Type 42 Destroyer HMS Nottingham and the Type 23 Frigate HMS Norfolk both suffered heavy damage earlier in the war; both ships would require some months of work in a fully equipped shipyard before they would be able to return to sea, and have been stripped of most items of value, although they retain their heavy armament. HMS Norfolk can still maneuver under her own power, but can only manage a few knots, and is in no condition to take to the open seas, whilst HMS Nottingham is in dry dock and would need completely new turbines before she could return to sea; both ships have skeleton crews consisting of a few dozen sailors.
Three ships remain operational; a second Type 23 Frigate, HMS Monmouth; the Island Class patrol ship HMS Lindisfarne; and the minesweeper HMS Cottesmore. Lack of fuel has severely curtailed the ships’ activities, although they do carry out occasional patrols along the coast. The base also has a number of tugs and tenders, many of which belong to the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service, and small boats regularly cross the Plymouth Sound to link Devonport with the smaller garrison at Torpoint.
The population of the Plymouth enclave currently stands at approximately 95,000, around 60,000 of whom live in Plymouth, with the another 15,000 in Torpoint. The remainder live in a number of smaller towns and villages, chiefly on the Rame Peninsula. Many civilians exist by providing services to the Military, with a thriving barter trade in operation, supporting a range of cottage industries.
A number of impromptu settlements have also sprung up along the borders of the Government enclave, and are home to approximately 30,000 people. Whilst many of the residents of these shanty towns were originally refugees who moved to the south west in the wake of the 1997 nuclear attacks, in recent months they have been joined by residents of Cornwall who have fled their homes in an attempt to escape from the Duke of Cornwall’s forces.
4th (Volunteer) Battalion, Devonshire and Dorset Regiment (TA)
The 4th Battalion of the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment (more usually known as the Devon and Dorsets) was a Territorial Army Infantry Battalion from the south west of England tasked with a Home Defence role in wartime. The Battalion consisted of an HQ Company based at Exeter and five Rifle Companies; A Company at Plymouth; B Company at Paignton; C Company at Dorchester; E Company at Exeter; and G (Home Service Force) Company, also at Plymouth.
The Battalion was mobilised in October 1996, with its various Companies dispersed throughout the South West of England on a variety of tasks; HQ Company moved to Plymouth, where it joined A Company and the Home Service volunteers of G Company, who were tasked with defending the City’s port facilities from any attack by Soviet saboteurs (one of A Company’s platoons went to Salcombe, in the summer of 1997 to provide a security detachment for the Regional Government Headquarters; it would return to Plymouth in January 1998 when the RGHQ relocated from Salcombe to the Royal Citadel in Plymouth); C Company carried out a similar role at Poole in Dorset, whilst E Company remained in Exeter. B Company was stationed at Okehampton Camp on the northern edge of Dartmoor, which was being used as a prison camp for Soviet prisoners of war.
In the aftermath of the Black Thursday nuclear attacks the various elements of the Battalion found themselves assisting the civil authorities to distribute humanitarian relief and maintain law and order. Gradually however the Battalion began to come apart as a cohesive military unit as 1998 wore on. By mid August E Company in Exeter was following the orders of local commanders only and serving as a local defence force for the City of Exeter. C Company remained intact but was geographically isolated from the rest of the Battalion, and in September it was attached to the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment Regiment at Bovington Camp in Dorset, where it was tasked with providing extra security for the Wytch Farm onshore oil field.
In November 1998 the remaining prisoners at Okehampton were transferred to Plymouth, from where they were taken by sea to Portsmouth and then on to Warminster. B Company remained at Okehampton, but it would break up over the winter of 1998; many men tried to make their way back to their homes in the Torbay area, which by now was in total anarchy, whilst others headed north or west (some would find shelter in towns or villages who were grateful for the added protection the soldiers brought to their communities, whilst others would eventually end up in the ranks of the Duke of Cornwall’s Army). Some thirty or so men remained at Okehampton until January 1999, when commanders in Plymouth finally gave the order to evacuate and they made their way to Plymouth, joining A Company.
By the end of January 1999 the 4th Battalion, Devonshire and Dorset Regiment had been reduced to an HQ Company, and two Rifle Companies (A and G), all based in Plymouth, where they occupied the Royal Citadel barracks overlooking Plymouth Sound. In January 1999 the Battalion’s Commanding Officer died after contracting typhoid. He was replaced by Major Andy Hastings, who had formerly been the Officer Commanding A Company; a thirty six year old from Durham in the North East of England, Hastings had been an architect in Plymouth before the War; he joined the Battalion in 1986 as a private, and was commissioned in 1991. Known and respected by the men he commanded, Hastings would prove to be an effective leader.
In April the Battalion took under command approximately thirty men – and women -
In an attempt to secure the perimeter of the area controlled by HMG, A Company crossed the river Tamar into Cornwall at the end of January 2000 and occupied Tregantle and Scraesdon Forts on the Rame Peninsula, near the villages of Tregantle and Antony respectively. Originally built in the 1860’s to protect the south of England from French attack, at the dawn of the 21st Century the forts now form an effective barrier against the Duke’s forces, controlling access to the town of Torpoint and the entire Rame Peninsula (an area known locally as Mount Edgcumbe). G Company has remained at the Royal Citadel, where it serves as the garrison’s reserve force.
The men and women of the Battalion are armed with standard British military small arms; around half have L85A1 assault rifles, whilst the remainder have a mix of SLR’s and Sterling SMG’s. Support weapons consist of a few L86 automatic rifles, Bren guns and GPMG’s, two 51mm mortars and a Milan firing post, for which a small number of missiles are available. The Milan and both mortars are with A Company at Tregantle Fort.
More unusually, the Battalion also has a single L118 105mm light gun that had been left behind by 29 Commando Regiment, Royal Artillery, a regular Army unit stationed at the Royal Citadel who had deployed to Norway with the rest of 3 Commando Brigade at the start of the War. Towed by a one ton Land Rover, the gun is manned by a team commanded by a Home Service Force volunteer who had formerly been a bombardier in the Royal Artillery. Supplies of ammunition are limited to eight high explosive shells and a dozen smoke rounds.
The Battalion operates a number of soft skinned vehicles, primarily Land Rovers and Bedford trucks, supplemented by requisitioned civilian 4 x 4’s. One of G Company’s Platoons has been formed into a Quick Reaction Force equipped with an ad hoc mix of armoured vehicles that the Battalion has acquired. Fuel, like everything else, is in short supply in Plymouth; what diesel is available is reserved for the Quick Reaction Force, with the rest of the Company’s vehicles converted to run on alcohol.
Zeebrugge Troop, Royal Marines
Zeebrugge Troop of the Royal Marines is an ad hoc unit formed at the start of 1999 from a small number of Royal Marine in Plymouth, many of whom had previously served as part of Royal Marine detachments aboard various Navy warships. Taking its name from the First World War raid on the Belgian port of the same name where the marines won two Victoria Crosses, the Troop is under the command of Captain Scott Marsden, a twenty eight year old who, as a Lieutenant, commanded the Marine detachment aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious until Illustrious went down off the Kola peninsula in mid 1997. Marsden’s second in command is WO2 Mike Dixon; a thirty nine old veteran of the Falklands and Northern Ireland, Dixon spent the opening months of the War in Norway with 3 Commando Brigade’s Recce Troop. Seriously wounded fighting on the banks of the Litsa River in Russia in April 1997 he was returned to the UK, where he spent four months in Plymouth Naval Hospital.
Initially tasked with supporting the Navy’s patrols of Plymouth as part of the Royal
Navy Shore Company – the marines’ mere presence was often enough to quell disorder,
with few rioters willing to take them on in a confrontation -
Royal Navy Shore Company Devonport
The Royal Navy Shore Company Devonport has assisted to maintain order in the Plymouth area since December 1997. Formed from personnel from the various Navy facilities in the area, the Company’s personnel have a mix of experience; whilst a number of the sailors are veterans of the naval battles of 1997 who survived the sinking of their ships, a number had just completed basic training at HMS Raleigh at the time of the nuclear attacks and found themselves enforcing law and order and burying dead bodies rather than going to sea. The Company also has a significant number of female personnel in its ranks, women having been able to serve on all Royal Navy warships except submarines since 1994. In mid 1998 it was reinforced by midshipmen and staff from the Britannia Royal Naval College in nearby Dartmouth, who moved to Plymouth following the total collapse of law and order in the Torbay area. The Shore Company is commanded by Captain Richard Thompson, RN, a veteran of the 1997 North Atlantic battles, where he commanded the Frigate HMS Brilliant until she was sunk by a torpedo fired from a Soviet submarine in August 1997.
Whilst a small number of the sailors are armed with L85A1 assault rifles, most are equipped with older weapons, mainly SLR’s and Sterling SMG’s. Support weapons consist of GPMG’s (many of which have been taken from the ships tied up alongside at Devonport) and a small number of L86 Light Support Weapons and Bren light machine guns. The garrison operates a number of Land Rovers, trucks, and requisitioned civilian vehicles; amongst the more unusual vehicles it possesses are half a dozen BV206 all terrain vehicles that were originally intended for the Royal Marines in Norway. Most of the Shore Company’s vehicles have been converted to run on alcohol fuels.
Headquartered at HM Naval Base Devonport, with a detachment at Crownhill Fort in the north of Plymouth, Drake Company is responsible for local security for most of Plymouth including Plymouth Airport, which is located three miles north east of the City centre (the exception being the south of the City, which is patrolled by Cambridge Company. The largest of the three Companies, Drake Company’s Commanding Officer is Commander Gordon Miller, RN. As well as manning a series of checkpoints on the main routes into Plymouth, the Company carries out regular foot and vehicle patrols throughout the city. These patrols are frequently accompanied by surviving members of Plymouth’s pre War police force; armed with a mix of military weapons and MP5 SMG’s, the police officers provide the sailors with an invaluable source of local knowledge.
Located across the river Tamar in Torpoint, Raleigh Company is under the command of Commander Matthew Tait, RN, a former member of the training staff at HMS Raleigh. Whilst the sailors carry out regular patrols of the area, the Army presence at Tregantle and Scraesdon Forts means that Torpoint is relatively secure,
Cambridge Company was also formed from training staff and recruits, in this case the RN gunnery school at HMS Cambridge, and undertook local security duties in the south of Plymouth. In response to the growing threat posed by the Duke of Cornwall, in January 2000 Cambridge Company began preparing for a possible offensive role in any conflict between HMG and the Duke, converting a number of vehicles into heavily armed and armoured gun trucks, using heavy weapons taken from the gunnery school and disabled warships tied up alongside at Plymouth. In keeping with the Royal Navy’s tradition of designating shore establishments as ships and naming them accordingly with the “HMS” prefix, the sailors have given each of the gun trucks a name (most of which are intended to be tongue in cheek). The Company also operates a Fox armoured car that it has acquired; all of its vehicles continue to run on petrol. Cambridge Company is commanded by Lieutenant Commander Susan Hornsby, RN.
One of the Company’s gun trucks is commanded by Lieutenant Rafael Sanz, a United States Navy Officer who was half way through a two year exchange posting at HMS Cambridge at the time of the nuclear attacks, and has been effectively stranded in the UK. Rather than using the “HMS” prefix, Sanz’s crew have chosen to call their gun truck the USS Voyager (a lifelong Star Trek fan, Lieutenant Sanz often refers to Plymouth as “The Delta Quadrant”, a reference that is lost on much of the Company).
The Security Service (MI5)
During the last few months of 1999 the British Security Service despatched a team of twelve men and women to Plymouth by sea under the leadership of Camilla Kerslake. Thirty one years old and the daughter of a former Conservative Cabinet Minister, Kerslake joined the Security Service in 1991 after graduating from Oxford’s Balliol College with a First Class Degree in Classics. Her second in command is Andrew Preston, a forty two year old who has been with MI5 for nearly twenty years.
The MI5 team’s main responsibility is to monitor radio traffic and gather intelligence on the various separatist and unlawful groups operating in the south west and coordinate efforts to destabilise these groups. In January 2000 three of Kerslake’s team successfully infiltrated into Exeter and have managed to recruit several agents there. However the Security Service’s primary target in the South West is Marcus Rose, the self appointed Duke of Cornwall (King William is particularly incensed that Rose has claimed one of his late father’s titles and has instructed MI5’s Director General to take all necessary steps to deal with him and restore the rule of law in Cornwall). In late May a two man team left Plymouth in a small boat in an attempt to enter the territory controlled by the Duke from the sea. Landing near Falmouth, this team has made it to Truro, from where they have been in occasional radio contact with Plymouth.
Occupying several offices in the Devonport base, the MI5 team generally only carry sidearms, although they do have a number of heavier weapons at their disposal if required, primarily MP5 submachine guns and M16 assault rifles plus two M203 grenade launchers and a Minimi light machine gun.
The Duke’s Spy
For the past six months Marcus Rose has been receiving information from a traitor highly placed within the Plymouth garrison. The traitor passes their information to a trader based in the north of Plymouth named Mark Wright, who ensures that it reaches the Duke. In exchange for this information both Wright and the traitor have been promised positions of power should Plymouth fall to Rose’s forces. Additionally several of the RAF personnel who came to Plymouth from RAF St Mawgan are also loyal to the Duke, although this is not always out of choice; Rose is holding several of their close family members hostage in Newquay.
Possible identities for the traitor include the following:
Forty two years old, Preston is second in command of the Security Service operation in Plymouth. Unknown to his superiors, he actually knows Marcus Rose, the two having met in Northern Ireland in the 1980s when Preston was assigned to the MI5 operation in Ulster and Rose was serving with the SAS. Preston has nearly twenty years of experience in the Security Service and resents the fact that Camilla Kerslake has been placed in charge of the Service’s Plymouth operation, a role he feels should have gone to him.
Thirty five years old, Emma Lockwood is a highly intelligent and extremely driven woman. She joined the Civil Service in 1987, and at the start of the Twilight War she was a Higher Executive Officer (HEO) in the Home Office. In the summer of 1997 she was recruited for Operation PERIPHERAL, the plan to ensure the continuity of Government in the event of a nuclear attack. Assigned to RGHQ 7, she arrived at Salcombe in August 1997. With the RGHQ located in the Royal Citadel, Lockwood has access to the highest levels of military and civil planning for the Plymouth enclave.
Commander Matthew Tait, RN
A former member of the training staff at HMS Raleigh, forty year old Tait is now the Commanding Officer of the Raleigh Shore Company. He has spent the entire Twilight War in the UK on various shore assignments.