If the Scots vote “yes” on today’s independence referendum, they will begin a process that will result, in eighteen months or so, in the creation of a new state and the separation of a union that has persisted for over four hundred years. Although we have some examples of peaceful national dissolution, many, and perhaps most, secessionist efforts result in horrific violence along the lines of demarcation. If the rUK government determines to undertake what some have called the “Longshanks Solution,” what sort of terror might the English inflict upon their former compatriots? This article examines five English weapons that could decide the outcome of a British civil war.
Astute class nuclear attack submarine: Displacing 7400 ton submerged, the Astute class nuclear attack boats are among the most advanced subs in the world. They can make up to 30 knots, are reputed to be remarkably quiet, and can carry a large load of torpedoes and land attack missiles. Astutes carrying Tomahawk missiles can strike any part of Scotland. Scotland’s limited anti-submarine capability cannot effectively protect either Scottish commerce, or Scottish access to offshore natural resources. In effect, the Astutes give the Crown the ability to strike anywhere, at anytime, without concern over effective defense or reprisal. Also, all seven of the boats have been or will be constructed in England.
English Electric Lightning: This high speed interceptor can make the skies over Scotland dangerous. The most advanced Lightnings, employing their unique stacked engine system, can reach in excess of Mach 2. The restricted range of the Lightning will not prove a major handicap over Scotland, which is well within range of most English airfields. Scotland flies no aircraft competitive with the Lightning, and appears to lack much of an effective, integrated air defense system. The English Electric Lightning has only limited ground attack capabilities, but its ability to create deafening sonic booms over much of the country should prove deeply annoying to many Scots.
Nelson class battleship: Displacing 35000 tons and carrying 9 16” guns in three triple turrets, the Nelson class battleships Nelson and Rodney overmatch any warship operated by the non-existent Royal Scottish Navy. The BL 16” Mark 1 can strike targets at up to 35000 yards, delivering up to 9 2000# shells per broadside. These guns can substantially outrange Scottish coastal artillery. The mobility provided by the two battleships should give the English Crown the capacity to bombard Scottish coastal cities at will, without concern over retribution. Most importantly, both Nelson and Rodney were constructed in English shipyards, and named after proper English admirals.
English longbow: Constructed mostly from yew, these 6’ long bows require years of training to master. In the hands of an effective archer, however, an English longbow can penetrate the armor of most Scottish knights and clansmen at considerable range. English efforts to maintain an experienced, well-trained cadre of archers remain uncertain, but then again rumor has it that the art of armoring has fallen by the wayside among the Scots. Recent evidence has emerged indicating the House Windsor’s renewed interest in maintaining an effective archery branch.
Everyone hopes that the war between Scotland and England will be long, destructive, exhaustive, and entertaining. If Scotland hopes to resist English power, it is best advised to seek assistance from the Northmen or the Gauls, or to try to raise an army among the Irish.