Recently reading an article in Wargames Illustrated of how a UK gamer embarked on a AVBCW project using his local town as a campaign setting, the idea of gaming an "A Very American Civil War" around the same time period came to my mind; in my case using Atlantic County, New Jersey as my personal battleground. Both my gaming buddy and I decided to begin the research for a "what if" wargame world set in our very own back yard.
The 1933 Business Plot is an ideal tinder box to spark off an American Civil War. In the Business Plot, Wall Street businessmen supposedly recruited retired Marine Corps General Smedley Butler to overthrow the newly elected President Roosevelt and install a right wing regime. A perfect place to start.
Luckily, I grew up in an area rich in history especially during the early 20th century. In the early 1930s, local political boss Enoch "Nucky" Johnson was still in power of Atlantic City and much of Southern NJ. You may also know of a fictionalized version of Nucky from the television show "Boardwalk Empire". In the early 1930s, the media magnate Hearst was supposedly jealous of Nucky over a showgirl and lobbied Roosevelt to go after Nucky's misdeeds. Shortly thereafter, the Republican Nucky was the target of the Federal government. Also present in NJ were some Fascist Germans in North Jersey around Sea Girt.
So lets say the Business Plot is a reality and actually happens, which throws the United States into chaos. Nucky Johnson knows that Hearst has had FDR's ear and decides to throw in his lot with the Business Plot and Smedley Butler. The local left-wing leaders and other enemies of Nucky decide to back FDR (if he is still alive) and the counter-coups and now we have "A Very South Jersey Civil War"!
Douglas O-2H observation plane of 119th Observation Squadron based out of North Jersey, this squadron ultimately moved south.
Bader Field, the airport for Atlantic City. An excellent strategic site and area of operations for an air elements.
A civil war needs factions and Atlantic County can provide them!
Atlantic County Sheriff's and Atlantic City Police Departments: The uniformed enforcement arms of Nucky Johnson. These gentlemen will form the backbone of Nucky's support for the Business Plot.
Friends of New Germany (FONG): Every civil war needs some scary nutters, here are ours. The FONG actually existed having formed in the US in 1933, Apparently they had a camp in northern NJ, but say Nucky invites them down to Atlantic City to help him strengthen his stranglehold on South Jersey.
Northside Militia: The North Side of Atlantic City was the home of the majority of African American residents. The North Side historically backed Nucky. Politics makes strange bedfellows...
Atlantic City Jitney Association Motor Rifles: I'm uncertain if the ACJA Motor Rifles would be left, right or something else but they have to be on the tabletop! Jiitneys are independent operated taxi buses and very much an Atlantic City icon. In the 30s they probably drove Model-T buses around this time and how cool would it be to field them?
Add to these Absecon Bay clammers, rum-runners, mafia, etc. I need to do more research into the socialist and labor movements in the area to form some left-wing factions. That's it for now, feel free to provide any feedback or opinions!