This is a work of fiction created for the Twilight 2000 Role Playing Game. Original material © Dave Ross
Whilst the British Army fought with distinction on a number of fronts during the Twilight War, a number of units remained in the UK, where they served in Home Defence or training roles. Whilst the majority of these units came from either the Territorial Army or the Home Service Force, they also included a small number of Regular Army Battalions, drawn mostly from the Brigade of Guards, whilst two Territorial Battalions were withdrawn from Europe at the end of 1997 and the 2nd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment returned to the UK from Germany at the start of 1999. Following the nuclear exchanges, these units have been instrumental in maintaining law and order in a large part of southern England, and as well as having a significant presence at the provisional Capital in Winchester, the Army currently maintains major garrisons at Bordon, Maidstone, Reading and Warminster.
Most units have been augmented by recruits who had just completed basic training when the nuclear exchange began and surplus personnel drawn from support units (this latter category increasingly began to include Royal Air Force personnel as lack of fuel and spare parts began to ground aircraft, during 1998 and 1999), as well as other personnel who had become detached from their parent units for various reasons, so by the summer of 2000 most units have men – and women – from a number of different Regiments and Corps in their ranks (a notable exception to this is the 32nd Infantry Brigade, which has restricted itself to taking under command a small number of men from other Guards Regiments who were based in the UK). Several support units have also been pressed into service as infantry, whilst a number of “Salvage Teams” have been formed; consisting mainly of REME and Royal Signals personnel, (and augmented by personnel from the other services and civilians in possession of specialist skills), these teams operate throughout southern England scavenging sites for key components, spare parts, etc. A number of other support units have been pressed into service as Infantry.
The standard issue British weapon at the start of the war was the L85 assault rifle. Beginning in mid 1996 the Ministry of Defence started to issue the improved L85A2 model, replacing the earlier (and much maligned) A1. With only limited numbers produced, most of which went to front line units in Europe, the A2 model is rare in the UK, being found mostly in the hands of a small number of Regular units. Whilst the A1 model is more common, it has increasingly been supplemented by the L1A1 SLR and Sterling SMG, particularly amongst those support personnel who have been pressed into service as Infantry. A number of rear area units have also been armed with the L98A1 Cadet General Purpose Rifle, a single shot version of the L85 originally issued to the Army Cadet Force, a youth organisation sponsored by the Ministry of Defence. The L96 sniper rifle is occasionally found in both Regular and TA units; rarer is the L118A1, an upgraded version of the L96.
Support weapons consist of L86 LSW’s, and GPMG’s, although some units have been equipped with L4A4 Bren Guns taken out of storage. Whilst most Infantry Battalions also have small numbers of 51mm mortars and 84mm Carl Gustavs, LAW’s and Milan’s are both relatively rare. Even rarer are Blowpipe and Javelin surface to air missile launchers, which are limited to units guarding items of vital national importance (the Wytch Farm onshore oil fields, the Royal Family, etc).
More exotic weaponry can be found in the hands of the SAS and the Paras, the latter having “acquired” a number of M4 and M16 assault rifles and G3 battle rifles whilst serving in Europe earlier in the war; some Paras even returned with AK74’s, RPK’s, and PK machine guns, but for the most part have been forced to discard these due to a lack of ammunition. Similarly, the veterans of the fighting in Scandinavia serving with Catterick Garrison brought an eclectic range of weaponry (and vehicles) with them when they returned from Norway in 1998.
The ubiquitous Land Rover is in widespread service; as well as numerous versions of the standard model, which is unarmed and unarmoured, some units have the “Snatch” version, which has been fitted with armour to protect the crew against small arms, whilst a small number of Land Rovers have been stripped down and fitted with WIMIK’s (Weapons Mount Installation Kit), which add roll cages and two weapons mounts (one pintle mount operated by the front passenger equivalent to a NATO medium tripod and one rear ring mount equivalent to a NATO Heavy Tripod). WMIK Land Rovers are usually armed with GPMG’s and M2 Heavy Machine guns, or (rarely) a Milan launcher, and are used primarily for reconnaissance and fire support missions.
Bedford and Foden trucks are also common, as are requisitioned civilian vehicles (particularly 4 x 4’s). REME technicians have also carried out a number of modifications to regular Land Rovers and civilian SUV’s, which have generally involved fitting a pintle mount equivalent to a NATO medium tripod. The REME have also manufactured a small number of improvised “gun trucks”, converting Bedford and Stalwart trucks into heavily armed and armoured offensive platforms.
Armoured personnel carriers in service include limited numbers of FV432’s, AT105 Saxons, and (more rarely) FV510 Warriors. Additionally, a number of FV603 Saracens and FV1611 Humber Pigs were brought out of storage and returned to service during 1998, and most infantry Battalions now have a number of these older APC’s. The APC’s are supplemented by Fox and Ferret armoured cars and a small number of Scorpion and Scimitar CVR(T)'s.
A small number of operational tanks remain in the UK, mostly Challengers and Chieftains which have been restored to full working order by REME craftsmen after being initially deemed to be too unserviceable to be sent to Europe. Several Warsaw Pact vehicles (mostly of East German origin) that were shipped to the UK for evaluation purposes earlier in the War have also been pressed into service (with appropriate markings to denote their new ownership). Whilst these vehicles include tanks and personnel carriers, ammunition for their heavy weaponry is virtually nonexistent (British commanders are counting on anyone confronted by a T72 not hanging around to find out whether its gun is loaded or not).
Supplies of diesel and petrol are restricted to units based in southern England; units in the north of England and Scotland have all been converted to alcohol fuels.
The Army also maintains a small number of operational helicopters; these include a number of Gazelles and Scouts, two TOW armed Lynxes, and, more unusually, a Mil 24 Hind and an Apache attack helicopter. The Hind was an East German model acquired in late 1996, whilst the Army Air Corps received four Apaches from the US for testing and evaluation during 1995 (the MoD signed a contract to purchase the AH64 in 1993, with the aircraft scheduled to begin entering Squadron service in 1997; World events overtook this however, and the four Apaches delivered in 1995 were the only ones the British received). The Apaches were never committed to combat for a number of reasons, and REME craftsmen have been able to keep one operational by cannibalising the other three. Catterick Garrison also has two operational helicopters, however as with other types of fuel, aviation gasoline is limited to units based in the south of England, and even there is limited, meaning all helicopter flights need to be authorised at the highest levels.