The British army in Africa (the Desert Rats from 7th Army) are an iconic representation of British activities during WW2. Unfortunately, the Africa setting isn’t currently part of my range so I had to find a representative central European force. Late war British formations tend to look largely identical to US formation due to the high degree of equipment sharing and I was less than enthusiastic about painting up more Sherman and Jeeps. British Paratroops, the Red Devils, on the other hand are not only a well-known British symbol for WW2, they also allow me to run different scenarios compared to the more conventional US formations available to me.
For the Airborne I included enough models to field the army as either a Para or Airlanding company. With the exception of the para artillery battery all available options are included (and the missing artillery will be remedied as soon as possible).
Unlike all other FOW armies which are exclusive Battlefront, I mixed in a pack of Old Glory British Paratroopers. Because the paras are a specialty formation, the Battlefront range didn’t have enough variety for my taste and the Old Glory models are approximately comparable in scale and size.
Headquarters: The HQ has all available upgrade options including Col. Pine-Coffin as a Hero, three PIAT teams, 3 Sniper teams and a Pathfinder marker.
Core Platoons: The core of the company is built around three full strength platoons that can be fielded either as a Parachute or Airlanding Platoons. Each platoon has the optional PIAT team and light mortar.
Engineer Platoon: A complete Engineering platoon including PIAT team, light mortar and supply Jeep. I modelled the bases in the act of engineering activities (investigating a mine field, cutting barbed wire, assaulting with flamers) to differentiate them from regular infantry bases as the British airborne models don’t have obvious engineering gear. The flamer models are from Old Glory.
Commando Platoon: The commando platoon is designed for flexibility with all possible option including not only the PIAT and light mortar teams but also extra SMG teams.
Weapons Platoon: Depending on the choice of Parachute or Airlanding formation the weapons platoon can either be fielded as a full 3-section mortar platoon with ML 3-inch mortars and/or a full 4 gun MG platoon.
Anti-Tank Units: Four 6pdr AT guns with command and Jeeps provide light to medium AT support. The two 17pdr guns pulled by cut-down 15cwt trucks can knock out even the heaviest German tanks.
Recon Units: Tetrarchs are delightful little tanks so the company has a full unit of 4 Tetrarch’s including various gun options. Further recon support comes from a Recon Platoon including a Universal Carrier, Jeep and recon team. I modeled the recon team with only three soldiers to differentiate it from regular infantry bases. The Carrier and Jeep use the Para crews to tie them in with the rest of the army.
Air Support: Three Horsa Gilder allow me to run the entire company in a glider assault scenario. Some fighter-bomber support will be added at some point to provide air cover.
Other: I am a firm believer in the visual appeal of wargaming. That’s why we go through all the effort of painting, converting and terrain buildings. I therefore dislike the use of counters or dice on the battlefield to identify game dynamics. On the other hand, Flames of War requires a number of game play markers so I made up visually pleasing alternatives. The supply dump and the paratrooper marking the landing zone are objective markets. The tank crew Bailed Out markers are mounted on pennies for stability but otherwise standard. The dead or wounded paratrooper discs serve as Pinned markers.