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

Wales

8. Wales


RGHQ: Wrexham, Clwyd (Closed down Feb 98; a number of staff now serve with the LCC)


Alternate RGHQ: Brackla, Mid Glamorgan (Abandoned in wake of 1997 nuclear strikes)


Counties: Clwyd, Dyfed, Gwent, Gwynedd, Mid Glamorgan, Powys, South Glamorgan, West Glamorgan


Nuclear Targets: Cardiff, Milford Haven, Newport, Port Talbot, Swansea


South Wales


Before the war South Wales was the most densely populated part of the country and was home to two million people. The region included the capital of Cardiff and the major cities of Swansea of Newport, and was the most industrialised part of Wales. Traditional heavy industries such as coal mining and iron and steel had been in steep decline since the 1960’s, but the establishment of a petrochemicals industry and the development of the service economy and tourism had compensated for some of the decline. The area was also part of the M4 corridor; a motorway stretching westwards from London across southern England and into Wales which had attracted high technology investment from British and multi-national companies along the various towns and cities in its path.


The nuclear attack on Britain was particularly devastating for South Wales. Cardiff, Swansea and Newport were all destroyed, along with the steel works at Port Talbot and the large oil refinery and terminal at Milford Haven. About one million people perished in the attack or in its aftermath from fallout, sickness, starvation and anarchy. Most survivors headed north into rural Wales or east across the border into South West England. The last government and military personnel at RAF St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan were evacuated to Anglesey by helicopter at the beginning of 1998, abandoning the devastated cities and towns to looters, gangs and violence. From 1998 the LCC began to move into the area from North Wales but found the devastation and anarchy to be beyond their ability to control. They did however seize control over the still standing Severn Bridge and the Second Severn Crossing; two large suspension bridges that span the Severn Estuary that linked South Wales with England, and effectively cut off South Wales from the outside world.


In 2000 most of South Wales is a devastated wasteland inhabited by isolated pockets of survivors. Living conditions in the region are terrible with no running water, power, and scant food and medical supplies. A few dozen gangs have risen from the ruins of Cardiff and Swansea who spend most of their time fighting with each other, and stealing from and terrorising the survivors left in the area. None of these gangs are well armed or more than 50 strong, but there are violent and have made travel through South Wales a hazardous proposition. Newport and the other smaller town also have their own gangs who will resist any incursion on their territory, and anything of value has long been looted from the region. During 1999 the LCC began establishing a number of military cantonments along the northern borders of South Wales. The Welsh nationalists send occasional scouting teams into South Wales but these teams tend not to stay too long due to the level of hostility from the locals. However they have established two outposts to give them a toehold in the region. The first and larger outpost is at Chepstow on the River Wye on the English border near to the Severn Bridges. Seventy Byddin am Cymru troops are stationed in the now abandoned town of Chepstow and barricades have been built on the bridges and both ends are heavily guarded. Another smaller garrison has been established along the Pembrokeshire coast which is the only part of South Wales that managed to hold out due to its westerly location. The Welsh garrison provides some security for the towns of Fishguard and Pembroke who survived despite taking casualties from the nuclear strike on nearby Milford Haven, and today support a population of a few thousand people. Forty troops and some engineers are barracked at Pembroke Castle; a large 13th Century castle that towers over the town of Pembroke and which was partially destroyed by Oliver Cromwell in the English Civil War; the Welsh engineers are very interested in salvaging any fuel or equipment from the remains of the oil refinery at Milford Haven.



Mid Wales


The Mid Wales region comprises the counties of Dyfed and Powys and stretches from Cardigan Bay to the English borderland. Dominated by the Cambrian Mountains, Mid Wales is largely rural and before the war the economy was dependent on farming and small business. Refugees fleeing the chaos of South Wales caused large scale upheaval in the region as many small towns and villages were swamped by the desperate hoards. Some refugees were integrated into the local communities but many locals opposed the influx and formed armed groups in resistance against them. From the beginning of 1999 the new Welsh Assembly Government began to take control of the area and brought some stability to the region.


The Welsh nationalist established a number of refugee camps in the southern parts of the region to try and control the refugee problem. Hastily constructed from abandoned buildings or even tents, living conditions are far from ideal but they are at least relatively safe and a source of regular meals and medical aid. Able bodied men and women are recruited from the camps as a source of labour for the farms and reconstruction projects, and also as recruits for the Byddin am Cymru. Aberystwyth is the largest town in the area with a population of 6,000 and a small but functional airport, while the smaller towns of Aberporth, Brecon, Cardigan, Newton, Lampeter, Llandrindod Wells, Welshpool and Ystradgynlais each support a population of a few thousand people. The Byddin am Cymru has a force of about 500 infantry and cavalry in the region. Most of the force is based in Aberystwyth and across northern Powys, although a detachment is also based in Oswestry across the English border in Shropshire. The medieval fortress of Powis Castle near Welshpool also houses a horse cavalry detachment that patrols Offa’s Dyke.


Offa’s Dyke


Offa's Dyke is a massive linear earthwork that was built sometime in the dark ages of post-Roman Britain. Historically it was considered to be the physical border between England and Wales, and although the Anglo-Saxon King Offa is credited with its construction, it is unknown if it was built to keep the Welsh out of England or the English out of Wales. Offa’s Dyke is not a continuous earthwork, but 80 miles of it was built to compliment natural physical barriers such as the River Wye. In places it is over 60 feet wide and up to 8 feet high, and with the River Wye it stretches 150 miles from the Severn Estuary to the River Dee, and then joins up with Wat’s Dyke in North Wales. In post-Twilight War Britain it has been brought back into commission by the Welsh nationalists who have used refugee labour to extensively rebuild the dyke and reinforce it with timber palisades and barbed wire on top of the earthwork. A number of watchtowers have been built at crossing points and key sections along the dyke manned by troops, and horse cavalry regularly patrol its length.      


North Wales


A stronghold of Welsh nationalism before the war with a high percentage of the population fluent in the Welsh language, North Wales escaped any direct damage from the nuclear attack on Britain, although the eastern regions were very close to the heavily populated north west of England which was heavily damaged by the nuclear detonations. In the wake of the nuclear exchanges the mass influx of refugees and marauding gangs from England prompted the formation of the Welsh Assembly Government (in Welsh Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru or LCC) after parts of North Wales were overrun by marauding gangs from England. The Welsh nationalists established a governing council in the town of Caernarfon and organised a militia known as the Army of Wales (Byddin am Cymru) to safeguard the borders of Wales. Welsh troops were sent to the borderlands and ordered to forcibly turn away all outsiders, and quickly established a reputation for brutality which led to a sharp decline in the numbers of refugees and gangs crossing the Welsh border.


From their capital of Caernarfon the LCC have successfully pacified North Wales and forced the marauders and refugees back into England. Some towns close to the English border have been abandoned due to the high levels of destruction caused by marauders and looters, but many other towns in North Wales have survived in relatively good shape. A physical land border has been established along Wat’s Dyke, a 40 mile earthwork that runs through North Wales and across the English border to mark the new boundary of Welsh controlled territory. This boundary was later extended along the parallel and more widely known Offa’s Dyke that runs through Middle and South Wales. The border with England has been officialy closed since the late spring of 1999, and is patrolled by the Byddin am Cymru. The LCC does allow some regulated cross border traffic, but English and Welsh black marketers also try and smuggle goods and, more commonly, people across less well patrolled sections of Wat’s and Offa’s Dyke. Maintaining law and order and restoring public services is a priority for the Welsh nationalists, but their resources have been spread thin guarding their borders and trying to isolate the British garrison on Anglesey. The recent expansion into Mid and South Wales has also led to an even more increased strain on those resources. The First Minister of the LCC is Alun Wyn Jones, a pre war local politician who was elected to the post at the start of 2000. Unknown to Wyn Jones, one of his senior aides is working for MI5 and is passing information back to Winchester.

  

In September 1999 the Ffestiniog hydro-electric power station in Gwynedd was brought back online restoring limited power supply to many parts of North Wales. This was considered a major coup for Wyn Jones who had promised to restore law and order and many pre-war services when the LCC took control. At present engineers are working on restoring other hydro-electric stations in Wales including the Rheidol station near Aberystwyth. Ultimately Wyn Jones plans to restore the large 1728 MW Dinorwig station which could supply North Wales with pre-war levels of electricity. In addition to providing power for homes and services it has also begun to revive the local economy. The LCC has reopened a few factories to create employment and retool the workforce. If Dinorwig can be brought back on line Wyn Jones plans to restart some limited manufacturing in those factories.



Isle of Anglesey


Anglesey is a 276 square mile island located off the North West coast of Wales. Known as Ynes Mon in the Welsh language, the island is strongly associated with ancient British history and was believed to have been a centre of the ancient Druid religion and was also a final stronghold against the Roman occupation of Britain. Anglesey is connected to the mainland of North Wales by two bridges spanning the Menai Straight. The Holyhead ferry port, the busiest ferry port between Britain and Ireland before the War, the Wylfa nuclear power station and the Royal Air Force training base at RAF Valley were all located on Anglesey. RAF Valley became an important operational base for NATO anti-submarine aircraft during the war, patrolling the Atlantic approached to Europe and escorting British and American nuclear submarines transiting the Irish Sea from their bases at Faslane and Holy Loch on the west coast of Scotland, whilst the Hawk trainer jets were transferred to bases in Southern England during the first half of 1998 in an attempt to bolster the UK’s main air defences.


Following the nuclear detonations Anglesey became a haven for surviving British forces in Wales as it was physically untouched by the war and was naturally easy to defend. Currently the British garrison is some three hundred strong; though made up mainly of RAF personnel, it includes a small numbers of Welsh based Territorial Army soldiers who refused to join the Byddin am Cymru, a detachment of Grenadier Guardsmen and some US Navy personnel. It retains a single operational Sea King HAR 3, although it has no aviation fuel. The British force has no armoured vehicles but they do have a number of Land Rovers and trucks. They are armed with standard British small arms, chiefly L1A1 SLR’s and L2A3 Sterling SMG’s, supplemented by a few L85 assault rifles (the Guardsmen have the newer A2 model), but they have no heavy weapons other than some L7A2 GPMG’s and Bren Guns. The Royal Navy Hunt Class minesweeper HMS Atherstone is also docked at Holyhead harbour. Nicknamed the Crazy A, the Atherstone remains operational, using a small reserve of fuel stored at Holyhead.


Despite threats from the LCC the British garrison has no intension of handing over control of the island to the Welsh nationalists. The British have blockaded the Menai and Britannia Bridges, effectively controlling access to Anglesey. The Menai Strait itself varies in width from 1,300ft and its narrowest to 3,600 ft at its widest and both sides are patrolled; it is possible to cross by boat but the current is notoriously dangerous and is a difficult proposition in even ideal conditions.


In 2000 Anglesey supports a population of 60,000 people. Living conditions are good by the standards of post-War Britain. The island is largely self sufficient from farming, market gardening, fishing and commercial marine activities. The Ysbyty Penrhos Stanley Hospital in Holyhead is also operational, but power supply to the communities on the island is limited to generators controlled by the RAF. Some pre-war infrastructure has also survived. The large aluminium plant at Amlwch is no longer operational but could easily be reactivated, and a small amount of timber, processed food and chemicals are still manufactured. The town of Holyhead is the focal point of the island. A few dozen fishing boats are moored along the dock and jetties protected by the ports two and a half mile breakwater. Three inoperable cargo ships and two large ferries that once carried people and vehicles across the Irish Sea to Dublin are also docked at the harbour. Of most significance to the British garrison and the LCC is Wylfa nuclear power station. Wylfa was affected by EMP from the nuclear blasts over North West England, but was quickly shut down by its staff and many of the stations engineers have remained on the island. Among Britain’s surviving nuclear power stations Wylfa is considered to be the most recoverable, and its 980 MW reactor output could potentially supply enough power to kick-start the entire economy of North Wales and much of Northern England. HM Government in Winchester is particularly interested in the situation at Wylfa.


Operation FOLIUM


Unknown to the LCC - or anyone else in Wales for that matter - is the fact that in an operation codenamed FOLIUM, a precautionary measure following the first uses of tactical nuclear weapons in the summer of 1997, much of the Bank of England’s gold reserves were transferred from London to a secret underground site in the Rhydymwyn Valley in North Wales where they remain. A small detachment of Grenadier Guardsmen were left in Rhydymwyn as a guard force, (although they had no idea what they were guarding); in 1999 the Grenadiers left the area and headed for the British enclave on Anglesey.