Here is Montréal - please comment.
First district: Montréal and the Champlain valley
I arrived in Montréal by train from Ottawa and took my first step in the center of the city. Built on a huge island in the middle of the St-Lawrence it is only accessible via a limited amount of bridges or by air, if you have the means to hire one of the few air cabs available. Dominating the city is the Mont Royal, a small mountain on which numerous parks and cemeteries are built. A peculiar aspect of the city, and one that is the most confusing for visitor, Montréalers use the river as a point of reference when they give you directions. Laval, the other island that lies west of the city is indicated as “North”, Longueil air base is “South”, and so on. The streets are also labeled in that fashion. It is confusing at the start but once you get a hold of it, it kind of makes sense.
Montréal is the capital of the République of Québec since its independence in 1931 and is supposed to be its economic heartland. However, it still seems in the Depression. A quick visit in the “Eastern” part of the city will give you a sample of some of the poorest quarters of the city. Beside dilapidated housing are numerous abandon factories that are occupied by some of the poorest citizens of the République. The big halls are home to complete villages of refugees, either from the occupied zone or that were expelled from the Maritime Provinces. These people have been mostly ignored by most Quebecers. Only the Catholic Church seems to try to take care of them. During my visit there, I saw numerous monks and nuns providing food, clothes and basic medical care to what they call “the factory people”. If their misery was not enough, a lot of them have been expulsed by force recently as investors reopen some of the abandoned factories. René Lamontagne, a priest whose parish contains five such factory villages, hopes that by losing their house, these people will at least gain a job.
The suffering of these poor refugees is easily forgotten once you move to downtown Montréal. Here, new skyscrapers are growing around some nice old Victorian style buildings. This is here that you find all the glamour that use to be the trademark of Montréal in the 20s. The great Eaton and Hudson Bay Company departments store, luxurious bars and restaurants and great apartment complexes to fulfil the needs of the old and nouveaux riches are all clustered around downtown.
One industry that seems to be flourishing right now in Montréal is banking. If you walk around the Montréal stock exchange, you can find a branch of almost every major bank in the continent, in addition to some British, French, Italian and German banks.
Québec regulation on foreign banks is very light. As long as they do not accept deposits, loan or borrow from Québec citizen or companies they are free to do what they want. They do have to pay a small amount of taxes but a lot less than in their home country. -L
Moving “South” one arrives on the water front where the port, some industries and old Montréal is located. This is where most of the social life of the city happens for normal Montréalers with hundreds of them walking along the river and bathing in it on a nice summer day. In winter, huge groups of children play hockey on the frozen brooks of the river. There, around city hall is where you find the offices of the Gouverneur and around it the buildings that were supposed to be the main government district. They are mostly deserted due to the lack of money required to move the government from Québec City. However, most of the newly created institutions like the central bank, Québec’s national radio service and the headquarter of the Navy are located there.
Another reason for the smallness of the government presence in Montréal is Duplessis’ reluctance to move anything away from Québec. This power struggle between the Primer and the Governor insure the maintenance of the status quo. In addition, constant Pirates and Maritime Province Air Force threats make it an unattractive choice compared to much safer Québec City. -L
This is also there on the waterfront that you can still see the scars of the recent war. Late in 1934, the Maritime Provinces Air Force organised a daring raid to attempt to destroy the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, one of the most important link of the city to the south shore. Most of the bombs missed their targets and the bridge suffered only light damage. However a chemical factory near the north end of the bridge was hit and the resulting fire took two days to extinguish. The burned out wreck of the factory and an adjacent residential buildings are still visible today. This is a strong contrast to the Canadian Car and Foundry airplanes factory next door, where I could see brand new Valiants, King Cobras and Hérons (Hectors –L) being rolled out.
CCF is a big conglomerate that mainly produces steel and railway wagons. In 1936, it helped Bell open an airplane plant in Vermont, a maritime province. CCF provided the financing and the civil engineering expertise, Bell the airplane technology. When the English speaking Montréal newspaper The Gazette broke the news, the Québecers reacted with predictable hostility. They were calls from Levesque to seize the company and trial the owners from high treason. It took all of Duplessis’ diplomatic skills to deescalate the situation by having CCF promise to provide the AAQ with a certain amount of combat airplanes as a “gift”. The numbers were not made public but our sources say that it is between 50 and 100 Valiants and King Cobras MKIB
Further down river to the west of the CCF plant you find the port of Montréal. It used to be the most important port in Québec. Now the docks are half empty. Because of the Maritime Provinces’ airfields on the south shore of the St-Lawrence, most maritime traffic will stop at Québec City or Grande Baie. Since the St-Lawrence narrows down significantly at Québec City, it takes a very courageous captain to continue up to Montréal. The AAQ and the MQ are doing their best to keep the river safe, but they do not have the resources to be everywhere. Most of the goods come to Montréal via trains and Zeppelins to reduce the risks. But, it is not rare for these convoys to also be attacked. There will nevertheless always be a need to go down river since the industries, especially CCF and Fairchild, that operates a plant in Longueil on the south shore in front of Montréal, will always require raw material and to transport their finished product.
In consequence, the Dorval airfield has become a very important freight transit point in the north east. -L
But, even with these signs of normality, life in Montréal remains life in a besieged city since it is within range of the Maritime Provinces forces. In addition, the Champlain valley pirates are getting bolder every year and their raids are unfortunately regular event in the city. In consequence there is a strong presence of the AAQ in Montréal their blue and white planes constantly patrolling the skies along with the autogyros of the Montreal Police Department, private militias and the most prestigious squadron in the skies of the République, the Millice Ville-Marie (Ville-Marie militia). Most of them are based in the Dorval airfield, where I was able to rent an old CCF Mallard to use during my travels.
According to our last estimates, the AAQ has 3 full Interceptors squadrons protecting the capital (1st “Les Aigles du Mont-Royal”, 35th “Les Faucons de St-Joseph” and 5th“Les Alouettes du St-Laurent”) in addition to 2 others (33rd (I) “Les Étourneaux”, 32nd (I) “Les Cougars”) based on the zeppelin Jacques Cartier, an old Murat class French ship, which is always patrolling the region. In addition, other squadrons from quieter districts usually get rotated to the capital to help boost its defense. The MQ also has a strong presence with around 10 floatplanes and some anti-air dedicated warship. Finally, there is also around 2 squadrons of armed autogyros from the Montreal PD and around 10 squadrons of various private interests that includes the Ville-Marie, The Fairchild Eagles, CCF Hawkeyes and Blake Aviation Security that has a strong presence due to the high demand for security services. - L
The Champlain Valley
The Québecers call it the Richelieu Valley since on the République territory it follows the course of the Richelieu River. It is in that part of the country that you can find some of the worst nests of villainy on the continent. When I expressed the desire to fly down the valley, everyone told me that I was insane. I was told tat I would most probably get kidnapped or even worst since even the AAQ does not fly patrols south of their St-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu base. It is as if the République surrendered the territory to pirates, smugglers and bootleggers. I nevertheless went as far south as St-Jean. The town really has a Wild West feeling. The AAQ has a strong presence there, but I saw more private planes in the air and heard more foreign languages spoken there then anywhere else in the République.
The AAQ presence could not be qualified as strong. We estimate that only one mix squadron (44th “Les Cardineaux”) is there with some Sureté Nationale patrol planes. They seem to be more concerned in keeping an eye on the Maritime Provinces forces than to enforce the law. Pirates can operate with a free hand as long as they stay south of St-Jean. There are no known pirate group holding Québec letters of Marques, but by offering them a sanctuary, the République gives them incentives to leave their shipping alone. –L
It was troubling to see that chaos so close to the capital, but I have been told that Primer Duplessis is trying to get things under control, early this year he send the famous St-Georges squadron to confront the St-Germain Raiders that had been causing so much trouble in the Empire State and had been hiding on Québec’s territory.
The only reason the Raiders were targeted was that they started asking for protection money from the Québec civilians living near their bases. Our information is that the new Fleurs de Lys militia took care of the Raiders, not the St-Georges. -L
The main legitimate industry of the region is agriculture and the distillation of alcohol. This combination of fertile soils and clear water help make the famous Québec Dry Gin and Québec Whiskey that are exported everywhere in the world. To prevent illegal distribution, every producer must sell its production through the Québec Liquor board. However, this system does not seem to prevent many crates of Québec liquor to appear on black markets all over the continent sometime as far as in Houston.
Québec does not care about the prohibition, the Liquor board is a way of collecting tax revenues but they keep using it as an alibi. Probably 50% of what is produced legally in the Champlain Valley ends up south of the boarder. This is in addition to all the illegal production that takes place. -L
It was with great relief that I left this wild and vulgar place for Québec City.
Defenders of the Republic
The Ville-Marie militia
This is considered the most prestigious private militia in the country. Generously founded by the capital business community they fly top of the line fighters. They are very flamboyant and image conscious, membership is viewed as a way to enhance one’s social status and reputation.
Most of its pilots are recruited from the nouveaux riches families of Montréal, most of whom got their fortunes thanks to the Governor Lévesque. Inside the AAQ, it is known as the Lévesque militia. -L
They are known to fight for kills and most of the AAQ officers that I met told me that their enthusiasm sometimes make them forget what the mission was. They operate almost independently from the AAQ command, their charter putting them under the direct responsibility of the Governor. They tend to be unappreciated by the AAQ units, this is probably only jealously based on their success and prestigious assignments.
Structure of the unit: Being a member of the Ville-Marie militia is an important status symbol for a Québec pilot. It has been called after all, the most influential club in the country. The places are limited at eighteen and there is no shortage of applicants each time a position is vacated. Because of its important social role, the lineage and wealth of a recruit is as important as his flying skills. Language is not a problem as some of the pilots come from some of the old English families that decided to stay in the République.
To date there are only two persons that have refused an invitation to join the Ville-Marie: Col. Dubé of the Fleurs de Lys and his former wingman Maj. Ronald “Kid” Lejeune the current commander of the St-Georges squadron. -L
Their base of operation is Dorval airport just outside Montréal. The big gold painted hangar where they keep their Zeppelin, the Saint-Joseph, is hard to miss. However their HQ and social club are located in downtown Montréal. In consequence most pilots commute in autogyros from there to the airfield. There is no schedule in the Ville Marie; it can be changed according to the will of the commanding officer or to accommodate the pilots’ busy social schedule. Discipline is very loose and there are no official colours or markings for the unit. Every pilot is free to paint his plane the way he wants. But, as a sign of their membership in the militia, all pilots are required to paint two broad gold strips on the top of each wing and add the symbol of the Ville-Marie militia on their plane. The unit is under the command of General Auclair the AAQ Montréal district commander.
However, because of their political connections he was almost no leverage to enforce his powers. It fact, he tends to ignore the Ville-Marie when planning the protection of Montréal. According to our information he said that he assumes that they will get in the way.
But their special status does create some tensions with the AAQ and the diplomatic skills of the head of state are sometimes required to clarify misunderstanding.
The arrogance of the Ville-Marie militia painted them in the corner. Since Québec’s model of air defense relies heavily on the AAQ, without its collaboration the Ville-Marie are only guys with planes. They are said to be a constant headache for Auclair because they ask for the best assignments and for missions worthy of their status. In addition the lack of discipline of the unit makes it unreliable and in consequence Auclair tries to minimize their use. Feeling that their talents are wasted, the militia recently started making raids against some pirate groups, without the approval of the AAQ, with mediocre results. Only the favourable press that the Governor is able to get them and their popularity in the general population is said to prevent Auclair from ordering them to disband. -L
Pilots and their planes: Well financed, the Ville-Marie flies the best planes available on the market. They tend to snob local designs and buy imported planes. The pilots are superbly trained; the Ville-Marie logged more air combat flying hours than any other Québec unit.
According to some after action reports that we obtained from the Maritime Provinces, the flying skills of the Ville-Marie pilots are greatly exaggerated. The quality of their planes makes up for their lack of discipline and aggressivity. They are on par with most regular squadrons and militias in North America. The combat hours issue should not be given too much importance since most of the AAQ’s squadrons do not have the required administrative staff to keep track of them! The Ville-Marie pilots constantly compare themselves to the Broadway’s Bombers or the Hollywood’s Knight but they lack the skills and panache to sustain the comparison. In fact they cannot even be compared to the St-Georges squadron that still remains the best unit in Québec’s sky. -L
Maj. Georges “Gouverneur” Levesque is the nephew of the Governor and acts as the leader of the Ville Marie. He is known to be a great leader and a marvellous pilot. When he makes a sortie over Montréal, the entire city comes to a stop as thousands of Montrealers watch him in awe as he execute hair-raising stunts in is golden Bloodhawk. He is a national celebrity and his photograph regularly appears on the front page of the most important publications of the République. His exploits are also widely reported in the newspapers social pages. Skilled, charismatic and sure of his abilities, it is said that he sees every enemy plane in Montréal’s airspace as a personal insult.
Recent engagements: The Ville-Marie militia is presently in a bitter struggle against the Suppôts, a Québec based pirate group. The Suppôts are known for their brutality and complete lack of principles. They do not have any respect or loyalty for anything; they attack everyone, even the Catholic Church, as long as the potential payoff is good enough. Their base of operation is rumoured to be in the Richelieu Valley where their Zeppelin Belzébuth is said to have been seen.
The leader of the Suppôts, Luc “Lucifer” Tremblay is rumoured to have served in the AAQ during the North East War. -L
They locked horns more than once with the Ville-Marie during their numerous raids on Montréal. Last month they mounted a daring raid again the Ville Marie social club during which they stole the content of the safe, most of the liquor and kidnapped the future bride of Maj. Lévesque, Marie Ouellet. The he and his uncle have vowed to free her at all costs, but so far all attempts to locate her have been unsuccessful. Lately the Lévesque clan complained publicly of the lack of support of the AAQ in the search. They are also claiming that Primer Duplessis is interfering with the search since he keeps refusing to assign resources to locate the pirates. Since this incident all the resources of the Ville-Marie are used exclusively to find Miss Ouellet.
It is also rumoured that Maj. Levesque and Col. Dubé of the Fleurs de Lys came to blows when Dubé said to him that he would rather escort a zeppelin full of “fertiliser” than search for Miss Ouellet. -L
Special squadron rule – Silver Spoon
Because of the almost unlimited resources they have access to, the Ville-Marie planes are always fully supplied and in best order. At the start of each scenario, the Ville-Marie player can give the special characteristic Superior Engine (-1) or Superior Weapons (all) to a plane of his choice for the duration of the scenario. If the plane already has this characteristic, it gains either Superior Engine (-2) or Premium Weapons (all)
Restriction: No characteristic of a Ville-Marie pilot may exceed his Natural Touch score.
Scenario - Hail Marie
The Ville-Marie received information on the whereabouts of the Suppôts. An informant told them that Marie Ouellet was held at a small airfield south of St-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu. They set off in mass with a detachment of the Montréal PD to arrest the pirates and liberate her. Unknown to them, the informant was a Suppôts boarder that was send by Lucifer Tremblay to set a trap to kill or capture Maj. Levesque. They were correctly expecting him to push ahead as fast as possible, without appropriate support in order to free his fiancée. 20 miles from St-Jean, the leading element of the Ville-Marie fell into the trap.
Set up: use the rural map. Set up the Ville-Marie in the centre of the map with all the plane adjacent and facing the same direction. The Lucifer Element set up on the east and west edge of the map and the Shaitan Element can set up on the north and the south edges.
Rules of engagement: The Suppôts will retreat if they are outnumbered at any moment. The Ville-Marie pilots may not retreat from the engagement.
Victory condition: The Suppôts player gets 5 Victory Points if he shoots down Levesque, 10 if he kills him and 1 Victory Point per additional planes shoot down or pilot killed. The Ville-Marie militia player gets 5 Victory Points if he shoots down Tremblay and 2 Victory Points per additional plane shoot down. Any non-combat bailout will give the Ville-Marie player a -1 Victory Point penalty. The scenario ends on Turn 20 when the rest of the Ville Marie catches up with the leading element, forcing the Suppôts to flee. If both players have the same amount of Victory points, the Ville-Marie player wins.
Luc “Lucifer” Tremblay
André “Judas” Bertier
Pauline “Salomé” Isabelle
Yannick “Golgotha” Bradette
Shawn “Shaitan” Hanson
Quincy “Pendu” Oswall
Pascal “Le Roi” Lalancette
Martin “Papou” Paradis
La Millice Ville-Marie
Maj. Georges “Governeur" Lévesque
1st Lt. Anne “Burn” Brulée 6-6-4-2-3-3
Cpt. Denise “Double D” Demers
1st Lt. Kevin Molson “Export”
Malphas, over and out