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Author Topic: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"  (Read 35320 times)

Offline Matthewc451

  • student
  • Posts: 12
Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« on: June 23, 2015, 01:34:15 AM »
Little Wars Melbourne 2015 is over and I believe I have recovered enough to share my thoughts in a lucid manner. I ran a table to promote the forthcoming release of “A Right Bloody Mess” (ARBM) and received considerable interest. Christmas is the target for publication.

ARBM is the background for an Australian Civil War starting in 1933, pausing in ‘39 while we help with Hitler and Japanese, before hostilities kicking off again in 1945.

Based upon Western Australia seceding from the Federation following an over whelming majority supporting the action in the 1933 referendum.(The referendum and the result actually happened however, like the American Civil War, no provision existed in the constitution for a state to leave). The Northern Territory also joined WA forming the Dominion of Westralia.

WA rather than waiting for approval, just withdrew once the referendum result was known. Having spent the prior decade preparing for this eventuality they were well placed.

Victoria, in consultation with WA also intended to secede, and with five years planning was ready to act once the referendum results were known. VIC pushed things a bit further taking control of the border city of Albury, with the population's consent. This early encroachment upon  New South Wales was seen as an act of aggression and sparked a desire from many of the towns in the Murray – Murrumbidgee basin to also voice their desire to join VIC.

The actions of WA, NT and VIC caught the rest of the states totally unprepared. Against the backdrop of the Great Depression, Australia’s Armed Forces had dwindled to nearly nothing, although large stockpiles of arms, ammunition and equipment existed in every state.

ARBM is Rules and Scale agnostic, the intention being to provide the starting point and background and allow gamers to make what they will of the future. ARBM provides a number of advantages for gamers:
•   The conflict occurs in an environment and culture that Australian gamers know and can visualise. Since there has never been a war on our soil we rely on photos and descriptions of the landscape in any historical game. I may visit an overseas battlefield but will never really understand the environment, weather, etc. Similarly I don’t expect anyone from Europe or America to understand the red outback of WA.
•   The long timeframe (1933-1939) allows for huge changes in technology and world affairs.
•   Because of the large timeframe existing figures can be used or repurposed. I currently have 6mm, 15mm and 28mm forces in the works. I hold no grudge against 20mm, but I have to stop somewhere. For some of the book's artwork I am using 54mm figures as well as my own mods.
•   Army lists will be provided for numerous systems, from Chain of Command, Bolt Action to Pulp Adventures.

As most of the soldiers taking part will be dressed as civilians, or wearing WW1 surplus or WW2 tailored wear armbands are worn by most forces for recognition purposes. Below are the Armbands and flags of some of the factions.

A Google Group (ARBM1933) has been created to provide a specific forum for discussion (I cast no dispersions on Lead Adventure, quite the contrary, it is a goldmine.) I also have a Blog which I will try to keep updated. http://arbm1933.blogspot.com.au/

I have not included Communist, Nazi or Union graphics, although they will be in the book upon release.

I look forward to hearing peoples thoughts and plans.


Offline aktr

  • bookworm
  • Posts: 75
Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2015, 09:41:00 AM »
It sounds really interesting
Being from Blighty I don’t know much about Australian history but I have a soft spot for interwar war whether fictional or real (I think it’s the tanks ;D). Will there be details of any Intervention forces? And who do you think would intervene with it being quite far away from the ‘great powers’
The big question is will I be able to get this in the UK either in hard copy or digital format



Offline von Lucky

  • galactic brain
  • Posts: 7925
    • Donner und Blitzen Wargaming
Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2015, 12:15:12 PM »
After seeing the lovely 15mm stuff you had on display at Little Wars, I have gone through my collection and put together some WWI mounted Serbians (as New Guard mounted arm) and Koori (trackers with a police command on a camel) along with Eureka Miniatures' WWII partisans to get a force together. I aim to use Early War Flames of War brieifings (pick and mixing platoons as I feel like) to get the company level feel, but heavily restricting tanks and other AFVs.

I really look forward to this project developing.

PS Your painted 6mm stuff was also very enticing.
- Karsten

"Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality."
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Blog: Donner und Blitzen

Offline Matakakea

  • scientist
  • Posts: 303
Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2015, 05:17:38 PM »
So New Zealand gets to retain the Bledisloe Cup until the ockers sort themselves out?  :D
I'm not a mercenary. Killing's more of a hobby for me.

Offline Leigh Metford

  • scientist
  • Posts: 205
Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2015, 12:44:45 AM »
Good luck with your concept. Although I've never participated in a game based on a hypothetical conflict I am drawn to their creative and whimsical potential. If it weren't for an excessively long queue of existing projects...

However, the assertion 'Since there's never been a war on our soil...' echoes straight out of what W.H Stanner identified way back in 1969 as 'the great Australian silence'. The cumulative documentary evidence of colonial history, human memory, and forty-five years of dedicated scholarship say otherwise. 

Offline Nic

  • bookworm
  • Posts: 95
Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2015, 04:12:24 AM »
I have just sent Alan Marsh some pictures to start making a few 28mm figures for this.
As time permits Eureka will be supporting this as much as possible.


Offline Etranger

  • mad scientist
  • Posts: 668
Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2015, 04:24:21 AM »
And some Emus Nic?

(for those that don't know why https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emu_War )
"It's only a flesh wound...."

Offline Leigh Metford

  • scientist
  • Posts: 205
Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2015, 01:18:32 AM »
After posting it occurred to me that all those games of AK47 Republic I've played in years gone by reside fully in the realm of the hypothetical; we just never pinned the setting down to a specific year or country. And I'd forgotten about a brief flirtation the gang had with VBCW. I even organised and ran one of the few games that graced the table before the transient excitement evaporated.   

Offline Matthewc451

  • student
  • Posts: 12
Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2015, 03:01:20 AM »
Hi All,

Let me try and answer some questions.

I will be including details of the the primary players, but expect all sorts of new minor factions to be created by players. I for example have created "The Geelong Workers Union." As for army lists for major factions I hope to produce lists for multiple systems and provide them as Free PDFs.

One of my primary intentions is to provide few details after 1933, thus allowing players to take "history" in whichever direction they wish. If Britian or NZ, etc decides to get involved then it is the players decision. I can see Germany wanting to resestablish its colonies in the Southern Hemisphere or Japan seeing involvement in Australia's civil war as an alternive entry into their pacific solution.

As for format, initially it will be printed, however I will offer PDFs after an initial period.

Hope this helps, I am happy to answer any questions. Back to the PC for me to work on the last few pages and artwork. Then back to the archives for more background info.


Offline Leigh Metford

  • scientist
  • Posts: 205
Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2015, 09:47:10 AM »
Some years ago, long before VBCW and its imitators appeared on the scene, I formed a vague notion of doing something along these lines, and did some reading about inter-war ideological struggles in Australia. Some of the material I encountered emphasised the powerful antipathy then prevalent between protestants and catholics, which broadly aligned with the left-right division. One book mentioned an incident in which the opposing factions armed themselves and prepared to shoot it out, with the protestants defending their parish church from the evil papists. I don't know if this dimension of the contemporary socio-political landscape is considered in your book, Matthew, but if not you might want to factor it in.

Offline Testudo Maximus

  • assistant
  • Posts: 44
Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2015, 12:22:34 PM »
Ive always wanted to do VBCW gaming in 28mm, it looks so good .  But not being form Britain allot of the factions do not make sense to me , I just cant get my head around who is who .This project brings it all a bit closer to home and the thought of a conflict like this going on in places as diverse  Collingwood all the way out to Gundagai makes it really appealing .
I will be watching this with great interest and looking to do something in 28mm I reckon . With Eureka miniatures involved the project just became allot easier to get into . cheers Tom 

Offline Dent

  • schoolboy
  • Posts: 7
Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2015, 11:45:46 AM »
The 3rd Workers Brigade (Broken Hill) of the Australian Labour Army has been forming, on the NSW/SA Border.

From the Sydney Morning Herald, 33*

Speaks of the King Insultingly.
Broken Hill, Sunday.

The miners’ northern president (Mr D. Burtwistle), in the course of an address at a meeting held in Broken Hill this afternoon, to form a Broken Hill division of the Australian Labour Army, spoke in insulting terms of his Majesty the King.
Mr. Burtwistle declared that he always remained seated when “God Save the King” was played at picture shows. Some people, he said, looked at him as if he were ignorant. The position was the reverse.

After thus defining his attitude towards the British Crown, Mr. Burtwistle went on to make some remarks about religion. He said there were those who offer to people in return for lifes well lived a promise of a harp and a pair of wings hereafter. That return would be better made on earth. Rather than be in heaven with some hypocrites he knew, who were certain they were going there, he wanted to be in hell with investigators and scientists, who had been ridiculed down the corridors of time by those who were leading other men along the straight and narrow path to salvation.

Mr. Burtwistle gave the Labour Army the blessing of the Broken branches of the Miners’ Federation, and spoke bitterly of propaganda against the army by people who claimed to be revolutionaries, but were simply resolutionaires. He said that if the workers could get together there could only be one issue – a fight between them and the other section of the community, which made up only 20 precent of the total population of Australia.

“This system cannot be mended,” Mr. Burtwistle declared. “It must be ended, but with the least possible flow of blood.”
“The Australian Labour army will become what the Red army became in Russia,” said Mr. James Kidd. Mr. Kidd further declared that the Labour army was being formed for the definite purpose of combatting the All For Australia League and New Guard. Irrespective of what other speakers might say, the army was formed to fight.

“The Australian Labour army is necessarily a revolutionary movement,” Mr Kidd continued. “The working-class must realise that if they are going to fight, it will not be by the medium of ballot boxes, but of machine-guns. I believe the crisis will become more and more violent until there is a revolution brought about by the working-class rising against economic conditions.
Mr. F. C. Hutt, secretary of the Labour army, told the meeting that if Labour was ever to have a mobile force which could be thrown into action, it would have to be organised on military lines. The proposal was that each Federal electorate should constitute a division of the Labour army to which everybody on the side of the workers could belong, and that then there should be organisation into brigades, and, if numbers permitted, into battalions. A grand council would control the operations of the army from Sydney.
Mr. Donald Grant said that it was his chief desire to persuade the members of the All For Australia League and New Guard present to turn over and join the Australian Labour army. It was the business of the Australian Labour army to defend Mr. Lang against the attacks of his enemies. But if the army had to fight it would also fight for the overthrow of the capitalist system.
A resolution was passed affirming the Broken Hill district’s sympathy with the objects of the Australian Labour army. An unsuccessful attempt was made to hold a meeting in support of the militant “Workers’ Defence Corps” alongside the Labour army meeting.

*Actually from From the Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 1931, page 9 (Some names and locations changed)
Quad licet jovis non licet bovis!

Offline Matthewc451

  • student
  • Posts: 12
Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2015, 01:12:46 PM »
You have been digging in the same whole as me, and picked up the fact the original post got the date and paper wrong. The original post on my personal blog was from a Rev Dr Dave? No clue as to who he is, but he pointed to another blog with this and another article.

Here is part of the post from my blog: http://arbm1933.blogspot.com.au

The Australian Labor Army, Unemployed Workers Movement and Worker’s’ Defence Corps were all creations of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). Information on them is thin on the ground, but they occasionally appearing in newspaper articles and CPA files.

They were all militant creations of the CPA, most responding to the New Guard and keeping Lang in power, or to the eviction of families who due to unemployment were unable to pay the rent. Indeed this last factor was a national problem and on occasion lead to barricades and conflict.

BTW I completed the first draft of the primary manuscript on Thursday. This is not a rough document, but nearly ready for circulation/comment/etc from a select few before I hand it to the professional editor. They should receive what is believed to be a publishable document, it's not their job to look for typos, grammar, etc.

This means I can focus upon The remaining artwork, and Volume 2.

Christmas is the target and it looks achievable.

Must get some photos up onto my blog.


Offline Dent

  • schoolboy
  • Posts: 7
Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2015, 01:59:58 PM »
This may be of interest

Directory of Allocated War Trophies - WW1


Give details of where various factions my find guns to help their causes.

Offline Dent

  • schoolboy
  • Posts: 7
Re: Australian Civil War or "A Right Bloody Mess"
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2015, 02:12:47 PM »
The Flag of the "Block 10" Workers Battalion


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