Army List Composition

With Chris Potter

It seems that every time I embark on a new Flames of War Late War Army, I tend to follow the same pattern – When building my Soviets, I watched far too much Enemy At The Gates and Downfall. For D-Day Americans, I started by watching Band of Brothers and get all worked up to paint as much Airborne infantry as I could lay my hands on! The 101st Airborne served me well in the drops over France, the fighting in the Bocage and even destroyed a trio of Tigers with Gammon Bombs, in one memorable battle in a small village near Carentan.

Later, I watched Saving Private Ryan and knew I just had to complete a Beach Assault Company. With a bag of sand and plenty of Desert Yellow paint; the 29th Infantry Division were put to battle, and successfully managed to not only Hit The Beach against stalwart German Beach Defenders on our launch weekend for D-Day German book, but the boys from the Blues and Greys rolled them up on a dash for the objective with only a few casualties from errant Mortars.

And so I find myself at the Crossroads at Bastogne with the Bulge: American book. Paratroopers from Normandy have served me well, but I feel the itch to paint some more with snowy bases… Helpfully in my stash pile I have a blister of US Paras in winter clothing from many many moons ago to continue my airborne journey through late war; as well as some old Resin Easy Eights and Hellcats lurking in the drawer too… Then whilst reading the background books on my shelf at home, as well as the new Osprey books that arrived from Amazon, the idea formed for me to build my new army. The pattern is complete…

There are a couple of pre-conditions this time around however. Having painted not only x2 full US Infantry forces (which is a lot of infantry stands) in the past year, I have painted a Full LW and MW Fallschrimjager Force, a Soviet Army for Bagration (more infantry than I thought possible to squeeze into 100pts…) and a small Hungarian MW Cavalry Force to round off 2021 to date. Thus:

  • The list needs to be tank/AFV heavy in it’s primary formation. I simply cannot paint much more infantry than maybe small company until my poor rested eyes have forgiven me! Plus, this list needs to be smaller in model count, as eventually I want to attend some shows. My plan is to fit the army into one or two figure trays from the Army Bags available on the BF website
  • I want artillery in the list somewhere, since Normandy showed me what Arty can do to an opposing force. As I was on the end of it last time, this time the tables will turn. The ETO is firmly on the defensive for the Axis, so I need to maximise my opportunities to win the battle. The Americans have some very interesting Artillery to choose from
  • Reading through the book, the Easy Eights and Jumbos look rather tasty and are a great new addition to Sherman companies, giving some great options to mix up the firepower. I need some of those in the list – just to try them out if nothing else!
  • M18 Hellcats are FAST. I didn’t realise just how fast until we play-tested the new book. Definitely need some of these regardless of space and points, again to maximise firepower and the search & destroy doctrine to kill German Panthers and Panzers.

With these points in mind, off I went to build my army list and present a new force to our lunchtime games in the office. The plan is also to try and get an army that is flexible, as well as competitive. I am a long way from tournament META planning (too much lockdown, not enough game time) but I am ready to build an army that appeals to me!

The list here appeals to me for several reasons. First and foremost, the model count is low. I won’t get bogged down with too much painting. Second, the fact I have managed to squeeze in x10 M4A3 Shermans of various types, as well as the M18 Hellcats and the M12 Artillery, means visually the force will look great attacking through the snow covered Ardennes. The M12 are great at laying down covering fire, or in a pinch direct fire against Tigers and other heavy armour. The M18 Hellcats can scoot around the edges, driving into the enemy flanks and picking off targets at will, then getting out of the danger-zone. And finally with the Infantry support, means the list is still a combined-arms force that should be flexible enough for me to be able to adapt to most missions that I encounter, as well as being competitive enough that I don’t retain the reputation of more losses than wins (my Hobby League W/L ratio was sadly not positive…)

So next up is begging, borrowing and scrounging the models, to get a head start on building and painting them before the book launches. My greatest asset here is Battlefront have recently teamed up once again with Vallejo Paints. Available now are several paint sets geared toward armies from WW2 and WW3, which have all the colours I need for my army. Alongside the new Colours of War book which has a tonne of ideas, guides and information for gamers and modellers; I am primed and ready to go with this new project. So, the plan is to settle in with my background reading of the entire Battle of the Bulge for that complete experience and to get a feel for the new force, get the Battle of Foy episode of Band of Brothers playing on the iPad and crack on with the latest boys from Currahee and their armoured brethren… It’s going to be a busy few weeks! And when the plastic Easy Eights, Jumbos and Hellcats arrive in the office, I will be first in the queue to get a few sets for the army!

Building A Bulge: American Force With the New Starter Force

With John Lee

With the launch of the Bulge: American release, I thought I would look at how a new player, or someone on a budget, can get an American force on the table that would be semi-competitive or at least hold its own with the focus on the new shiny M4 Easy Eights, Pershing’s, and Chaffee’s.  For the new player, it opens the door to playing Flames of War without needing to buy, assemble or paint too much and get into playing the game quicker.

So, if we look at what we get in the excellent value starter set (Spearhead Command), that will help decide what formations to run.  The starter set contains the following:

  • Complete A5 Rulebook
  • American “Start Here” booklet
  • 1 x M4 Jumbo Tank (75mm or 76mm)
  • 4 x M4 Easy Eight Tanks (76mm)
  • 2 x M26 Pershing (90mm) or Super Pershing (90mm) Tanks
  • 4 x M24 Chaffee (75mm) Tanks
  • 3 x M4 Sherman (Calliope) Launchers
  • 2 x M8 Greyhound (37mm) Armoured Cars or M20 (.50 Cal) Utility Cars
  • 2 x Jeep (MG) or Jeep (60mm)
  • 1 x Full strength Parachute Rifle Platoon
  • 2 x Decal Sheets
  • 11 x Unit Cards

The bonus here is that the rulebook is included in the box – so the new player makes a saving right away.  Now if we look at what formations are in the Bulge: American book, we can see what we can maximize from what we get in the starter box.  The most obvious formation is the Veteran M4 Sherman (Late) Tank Company, but we will also explore the M4 Sherman (Late) Tank Company, Veteran M24 Chaffee Tank Company, and the M24 Chaffee Cavalry Company.  We will look at options for 105pts.

Looking at the Veteran M4 Sherman (Late) Tank Company first, let us look at what units comprise this formation:

Looking at the formation and what we get in the starter box, we can use all the box!

We are using everything from the box and applying a couple of command cards to round up the points.  So, five units (out of a possible seven) for the formation break.  Armoured Cars and Jeeps for spearheading your force into a position to go after the objective(s).  With the addition of an upgrade command card, some of your M4 Easy Eights now have AT13 instead of AT12.  That one pip can make all the difference!  The Jumbo to absorb all those possible incoming shots from your opponent.  The Pershing’s provide long range AT14 sniping shots.  Chaffee’s and M4 Easy Eights to use their speed to get around your opponent’s flanks with ROF2 shots (using stabilizer).  The Calliope Shermans provide the artillery template you will need.  Being armoured means they cannot be pinned by enemy counterbattery fire.  Finally, infantry in the form of a full-strength Parachute Rifle Platoon (2+ Last Stand!) with sticky bombs in addition to the two Bazookas.  Assists with dealing with tanks in assaults.  As you can see, you put an army on the table straight from the starter box.  If you wanted the Super Pershing, you could change out theM26 Pershing Platoon and remove one M1919 LMG team to get it for 16pts.

To buy this army you need only to purchase the following for $150:

1 x USAB11 Bulge: American Spearhead Company Starter Force $110
1 x FW270C Bulge: American Command Cards $15
1 x FW270 Bulge American Book $25
Total: $150

If we look at changing it up a bit, we could get a couple of boxes to supplement the core starter box that gives you some options depending on points and what your preference is.   The first thing we could add is a box is a box of M26 Pershing’s for an additional $30.  Three in a box and adding in the two we get from the starter box allows us to add in the Super Pershing and double our standard Pershing’s.  Let see how a potential list would look by adding in this box:

As you can see, you have a Sherman list with almost NO Shermans!  Still have five units for the formation break and have a very useful Super Pershing with FA13 and a gun that is AT18 with a 48” range!  You have three standard Pershing’s with their AT14 and Chaffee’s to race around the flanks and cause some havoc.  Recon, Paras, and an artillery template to round out your force.   If you still want your Easy Eights in this list, change out the Chaffee’s and Calliopes and add a Greyhound to the Recon Patrol.

Onto the M4 Sherman (Late) Tank Company now and it’s made up of the following units:

So, we can use some of the Starter Box, but will need to supplement it with more Shermans:

By adding one box of M4 Sherman (Late) you effectively can run this formation where the only thing you are not using are the two Pershing’s from the starter box.  You could run them as formation support by either replacing the Parachute Rifle Platoon or removing the Chaffee’s and Recon Patrol. Standard five units for the formation break and the support as per the previous lists but running an interesting mix of different Sherman types!

To buy this army you need only to purchase the following for $200:

1 x USAB11 Bulge: American Spearhead Company Starter Force $110
1x USBX88 M4 Sherman (Late) Tank Platoon $50
1 x FW270C Bulge: American Command Cards $15
1 x FW270 Bulge American Book $25
Total: $200

The next formations to look at are based around M24 Chaffee’s.  The first is the Veteran M24 Chaffee Formation and is made up of the following units:

So, we can use most of our starter box for this formation, but we will need one or two more boxes of Chaffee’s to round out the formation:

Five units again for the formation break.  We introduce the armoured mortars for our artillery template to make sure we have at lease five units for the break.  The usual support and we bring in the Pershing’s for that AT14 goodness.    We have used almost everything in the starter box except one Easy Eight and the Calliopes.   This is achieved by buying an extra box of Chaffee’s and Armoured Mortars.   I would suggest getting two boxes of Chaffee’s to make the formation all Chaffee’s and use the other options in the Starter Box as formation support.  Let’s have a look at how that could work:

Five platoons for the formation break.  One artillery template and recon to spearhead your speedy 14 Chaffee’s into strike range!  Shermans with a Jumbo leading the way alongside two Pershing’s to provide the anvil to the Chaffee’s hammer!  Note that as the Calliopes are M4 Sherman (Late) sprues, you could just assemble the three tanks without putting the launchers on which is reflected in this list.  The only items not being used in the force are the M4 Easy Eights and Parachute Rifle Platoon.  You could substitute these in for either the Pershing’s or Shermans.

To buy this army you need only to purchase the following for $272:

1 x USAB11 Bulge: American Spearhead Company Starter Force $110
2x USBX94 M24 Chaffee Platoon $100
1 x USBX7881mm Armored Mortar Platoon $37
1 x FW270 Bulge American Book $25
Total: $272

The last formation is the M24 Chaffee Cavalry Tank Company found in the Command Cards and is made up of the following units:

This is a similar formation to the M24 Chaffee Tank Company but has different grey box options optional components.  Still need a couple of boxes of the Chaffee’s and a box of Stuarts (to assemble M8 Scotts):


Seven units for the formation break and can allow a double or wider spearhead.  Pershing’s to provide long range AT while the recon and Chaffee’s go for the objectives supported by the Scotts and Para’s.  Change out the options as you see fit as you still have some tanks in your starter box.

To buy this army you need only to purchase the following for $320:

1 x USAB11 Bulge: American Spearhead Company Starter Force $110
2 x USBX94 M24 Chaffee Platoon $100
1 x USBX70 M5 Stuart Light Tank Platoon $50
1 x USBX79 M8 Cavalry Recon Platoon $30
1 x FW270 Bulge American Book $25
Total: $272

If you plan on running other formations or already have existing formations that you want to flesh out, the starter box has some useful options to help do that along with a couple of other useful boxes such as the Pershing Box.

There you have it – some options to ponder for getting started with different formations with the starter box.  Enjoy!

Bulge: American Forces on the Western Front, 1944-45 Spotlight

with Wayne Turner

By September 1944 and the Allies have stormed across France. Patton’s Third Army was poised to strike into Germany itself, with the 4th Armoured Division in the lead. Hitler’s new Panzer Brigades were diverted to meet the Americans in the Lorraine.

By early December 1944 it seemed unlikely that the Germans would attack. On 16 December that illusion was shattered when the might of German Sixth Panzer Army smashed into the thinly-held US lines in the Ardennes forests. In the central sector, the Germans approached the town of Bastogne on 19 December, defended by the veteran 101st Airborne Division. What followed was an epic seven-day struggle. On 26 December the siege was broken by the arrival of the 4th Armored Division.

Check out Bulge: American Forces on the Western Front, 1944-45 in the online store here…

After the Ardennes, the US Army turned its attention to crossing the Rhine into the German heartland. Leading the march of the US First Army is the 9th Armored Division and in early March 1945 they cross Remagen’s Ludendorff Bridge across the Rhine.

Inside Bulge: American Forces on the Western Front, 1944-45 you will find:

Background on the US Army during liberation of France, the Battle of the Bulge, and the battle for Germany.

Instructions on how to build:

  • Veteran M4 Sherman (Late) Tank Company with options for new variants of the M4 Sherman, like the M4 Sherman (late 75mm) with improved armour and mobility, the M4 Sherman (late 76mm) also with improved mobility, and the M4 Jumbo assault tank with heavy front and side armour so they can lead the way. The M4 Easy Eight has a 76mm gun and improved suspension for even better mobility and improved stabiliser benefits. You can also tank the mighty M26 Pershing heavy tank with its 90mm gun and thick armour, or an experimental T26 Super Pershing with its extra long 90mm gun and even more armour.
  • Veteran M24 Chaffee Tank Company: these well motivated and trained light tankers benefit from the new M24 Chaffee light tanks. This new tank is just as fast as the Stuart, but benefits from a 75mm gun, just like the M4 Sherman. These can be backed up by M8 Scott assault gun for indirect fire support.
  • M4 Sherman (Late) Tank Company represents the fresh troops just arriving in Europe and are equipped with the same selections of M4 Sherman tanks as the Veterans. They can also call on their own artillery in the form of the M4 Sherman (Calliope) tank platoon fitted with salvo rocket launchers, or the M4 Sherman (late 105mm) assault gun armed with a 105mm gun.
  • M24 Chaffee Tank Company also represents fresh troop who have been issued with new M24 Chaffee light tanks.
  • Battle Weary Armoured Rifle Company: Some troops have been fighting nonstop since Normandy, and though they vastly experienced they are less inclined to do anything rash in battle.
  • Battle Weary Rifle Company: The riflemen of the infantry divisions in particular have had a hard slog from Normandy to the German border. However, their experience makes them excellent fighters, especially in defence.
  • Bastogne Parachute Rifle Company: The toughest troops in the book are the parachute riflemen. These battered bastards of Bastogne will hold out at all cost, mounting savage counter-attacks when required. They are supported directly by their own artillery, anti-tank and recon.
  • Bastogne Glider Rifle Company: By late 1944 the green glider troops of Normandy have become veteran fighters, almost equal to their parachute brothers in their skill and determination.
  • M18 Tank Destroyer Company sees the arrival of the M18 Hellcat tank-destroyer, a fast and mobile anti-tank vehicle armed with the excellent 76mm gun.
  • M36 Tank Destroyer Company: These veteran troops can either be armed with the tried and trusted M10 tank-destroyer, or the new up-armed M36 tank-destroyer with the excellent 90mm anti-tank gun.

All these formations are well-supported with artillery, anti-tank, anti-aircraft, aircraft and reconnaissance. Among these you will find the new M5 Stuart Cavalry Recon Patrol, armed with fast and well-armed Stuart tanks instead of M8 Greyhound armoured cars, and T27 Xylophone multiple rocket launchers to saturate the battlefield with high-explosive rockets.

You will also find Painting and Basing guides as well as three new Bulge themed Missions.
You will also find optional Fog and Winter Weather rules to add the effects of adverse weather conditions to your games.

This book expands extensively on the teams, units and formations available to play with for US forces, adding many more options to expand your force, or to start a new one. This book is well-worth a look for your next late-war Flames Of War project

Bulge American Live Launch – 7th November 2021

The Bulge American Live Launch is starting on the 7th of November so mark those calendars. We will be having a live battle report and a hobby hang out Q&A with the studio so be sure to tune in on Twitch. We will also be updating the Live Launch website throughout the day.

Bulge American Live Launch – 7th November 2021 – STARTS: 8:00am – PST / 3:00pm – GMT / 4:00am – NZT