29th Infantry List Tech

with Andrew Haught

The 29th Boat Assault Company have been near and dear to my heart since they first arrived years ago in the Bloody Omaha book, at that time I leaned heavily into numbers over elite units so it was an easy choice for me between the 29th and the Big Red One.

The US Assault Company is a unique Infantry company that has a mix of specialty weapons from Bazookas to Flame-Throwers, this unit has a weapon for every occasion. Along with this unique composition you have access to lots and lots of units in one formation. Having access to six core infantry units is a key aspect of this list.

Before getting into the list let’s look at what you get in a unit. For nine points you get:

5x M1 Grand Rifle Teams

2x M1 Bazooka Teams

1x 60mm Mortoar
1x Flame Thrower

As a bonus you can replace one of your Bazookas with M1919 LMG at no cost.

The version of the Assault Company I am running are Confident, Trained, and Aggressive. They also come with the Blood n’ Guts trait that gives them a 3+ to rally, that will keep my units moving forward. I could go with the Big Red One elite option, but the 29th is who I want to play. Since I am going for the cheaper version that is easier to hit, it is important then to make sure I have the numbers to absorb losses more easily.

To this end I am going to take 5 units of the Assault Boat Sections, adding in the HQ  and M1917 Machine Gun platoon that gives me an even 50 points. I am choosing to leave the 2 Bazookas in each unit instead swapping any for the LMGs. I don’t think those units need the rate of fire since I am going to run two units of the Support Boat sections with the M1917 Machine Gun platoon for 5 points a unit, and I have a unit of M1917 guns. Adding in those units brings me up to an even 60 points.

Next I want to add some artillery; this will be simple as I already have loads of small one gun templates, so adding a full strength mortar platoon for 6 points would be ideal.
So right now my army comes to 66 points and I have 10 units in my formation, so it looks pretty solid and I have enough artillery and machine guns to deal with most infantry lists I come across. I do feel that I am relying too heavily on my Bazookas to take care of all the tank threats that may be in the game.  To cover this weakness I decided to look in the book and see what I could get for 34 points tank wise. I quickly landed on M10s, as those give me 8 AT 12 tanks, and the downside of not being able to deal with infantry is covered by the rest of my list. An HQ and two units of 4 M10s comes to 34 points exactly, giving me a full 100 point list with 13 units- seems good on paper.

Now the list has some Achilles heels, I have no dedicated anti-air units so air-power can be quite effective against me. I am also weak against light tank lists, like a Stuart company. At a 100 points you can get 50 of them and at those numbers they will swamp me, my M10s don’t have enough shots to kill them all and the Stuarts AT is high enough to kill an M10 even when hitting front armour. But no list can cover all the bases and even against light tanks and air-power I will have a fighting chance, as I do still have loads of bazookas and my M10s have self-defence AA.

So here is my final list

Assault Company (66 points)

  • Assault Company HQ, 2 Pts
  • Assault Boat Section, 9 Pts
  • Assault Boat Section, 9 Pts
  • Assault Boat Section, 9 Pts
  • Assault Boat Section, 9 Pts
  • Assault Boat Section, 9 Pts
  • Support Boat Section, 5 Pts
  • Support Boat Section, 5 Pts
  • M1917 Machine Gun Platoon, 3 Pts
  • Mortar Platoon, 6 Pts

M10 Tank Destroyer Company (34 Points)

  • M10 Tank Destroyer Company HQ, 2 Pts
  • M10 Tank Destroyer Platoon, 16 Pts
  • M10 Tank Destroyer Platoon, 16 Pts

As a list this works really well- it’s easy to split it up when figuring out reserves and it is flexible with the ability to both attack and defend quite well. On the defence you place one Assault Boat Section and Support Boat Section on each objective, freeing the rest of your force to be placed in such a way that they can delay and assault the incoming enemy models.  On the attack I would focus one objective, soften it up with the loads of artillery templates this list has and band all my infantry together and swarm the weakened objective. I will use my HMG and tanks to threaten any reinforcements to the attacked objective while also proving much needed fire support to my main attack.

Well, I hope this gives you an idea of how you want to build your beach landing company. Perhaps you want better quality of troops instead of numbers by swapping out the 29th with Big Red One, or maybe you do have a Stuart player in your area and you want Shermans instead of M10s. I highly suggest tweaking your lists to fit your local m eta and your playstyle.

Well that’s it until my next List Tech, hope to see you on the battlefield.

Painting US Infantry- Evan’s Guide

with Evan Allen

Nothing seems to cause as much confusion as colours of the uniforms worn by the United States Army during WWII. And this seems to be mainly due to the fact that the army entered the war in December 1941 wearing one uniform and finished the war in 1945 with another uniform, mixed them up in between, with a few other articles of clothing thrown in for good measure!

In this article I will attempt to portray these uniforms with pictures of BF miniatures painted with Vallejo’s Acrylics colours that I’ve personally chosen. So please treat all colour suggestions as a guide and not a decree. Also, I’ve purposely avoided one step in the painting process that I
normally use which is highlighting of the base colour. This is so you can see the original colour from the bottle and not just the highlighting I use,
which is add 10-15% VP Deck Tan (986) to the original base colour. For those that don’t use the

Vallejo range just cross-reference the
colours on the FOW colour chart to get your favourite paint brand equivalent. Throughout this article I’m going to use the designations that seem to be most commonly used to describe the uniforms and not necessarily the ‘official’ nomenclature.
7 December 1941. The United States is dragged forcibly into the war and the first US soldiers to see combat in the ETO, or ‘European Theatre of Operations’, land in Tunisia on 8 November 1942 during Operation Torch.

This figure is shown
wearing the M1941 or ‘Parsons’ jacket and Olive Drab woolen trousers with canvas leggings and M1 steel helmet. The G.I. in this uniform could be found in the Bocage hedgerows of Normandy to the snow-covered Ardennes, from the dusty Tunisian roads to the hills of Italy and anywhere else that a G.I. fought in the ETO.

Uniform Part Vallejo Colour
Jacket/leggings Khaki (988)
Trousers US Field Drab (873)
Webbing Green Grey (886)
Helmet Olive Drab (887)
Boots Flat Brown (984)

One uniform Item that can cause confusion is the HBT or ‘Herringbone Twill’ denim fatigue that the US Army issued. These were worn as working clothes during training etc. but were also worn over the top of the normal combat dress for amphibious operations such as the Tunisian
and Normandy landings. The olive green colour of the HBT’s was similar to the colour of the later M1943 uniform, which we’ll look at later.

 

These two figures (Above and left) show a mixture of HBT shirt and trousers mixed with the OD woolen trousers and M1941 jacket. Again, this would be a common mix anywhere the G.I. fought.

 

Uniform Part Vallejo Colour
Herringbone Twill US Dark Green (893)

(Note. To differentiate between HBT and the M1943 uniform I’d suggest adding more Deck Tan to the highlight colour for the HBT material)

To add to the figure with the Herringbone twill trouser choice is the additional items issued for the Normandy landings. These consisted of the Assault jacket, worn over the normal jacket, and the waterproof gasmask bag. The Assault jackets had extra pockets for things like grenades
and ammo magazines that wouldn’t hinder the troops onto the beaches . The Gasmask bags, well just because, who knew what the Germans would do under such pressure?

Uniform Item Vallejo Colour
Assault jacket Vallejo Olive Drab (887)
Gasmask bag German Grey (995)

 

Camouflage uniforms were issued for a select few units in the ETO, mainly some units of 2nd ID, 30th ID and 2nd AD in the Normandy battle. The experiment was short-lived due to the similarity with the German camouflage uniforms, and some ‘friendly fire’ incidents took place as
a result of the confusion. But this does make for an interesting looking G.I.
This camouflage uniform was basically the HBT uniform printed in a camouflage pattern.

Uniform Part Vallejo Colour
Uniform Base Khaki (988)
Camo. Flat Brown (984)
Camo. US Dark Green (893)
Leggings Khaki (988)
Webbing Green Grey (886)

A trick I’ve learnt with camouflage uniform painting is once you’ve finished the pattern then go over the whole figure with a light dry brush of the original base colour. This should help blend in the pattern and prevent it from being to ‘loud’.

The M1943 uniform. This uniform is what usually springs to mind when thinking of the classic image of the wartime G.I. It was the end result of U.S. Army research and testing to develop a purpose made combat uniform that could be worn anywhere, anytime. The guiding principal was the ‘layered approach’ where you start with the basic uniform of Shirt and trousers then added jackets, liners, hoods etc to suit as the weather got colder or wetter. This uniform, with a few modifications, has evolved into the current uniform worn by the U.S. military and many other countries today.

The first issue was to the G.I.’s taking part in the Anzio landings in Italy and the new uniform proved itself an immediate success. Due to internal squabbling however, between the ETO command and the U.S. based command the issue of this much improved uniform was delayed until pretty much the end of the war for the troops already serving there. Most new troop formations that were shipped to the ETO after mid 1944 were wearing the new uniform but the rest had to soldier on through one of Europe’s worst winters wearing the older and less weather resistant uniform. With the new uniform also came ‘Shoe Pac’ which were an attempt to make the G.I.’s boots waterproof. They were a rubber and canvas overshoe that slipped over the boot and had metal clips to tighten. They were black in colour.

Uniform Part Vallejo Colour
M1943 uniform US Dark Green (893)
Shoepacs German Grey (995)
Webbing Green Grey (886)

Tank crews had their own specialist uniforms issued to suit their requirements, namely bouncing around inside a tank! The most obvious symbols of the Tanker are the Windcheater jacket, which was highly sought after by all G.I.’s, and the M1942 Armoured forces Helmet. This Tank crewman has a windcheater jacket and a Tankers helmet.

Uniform Item Vallejo Colour
Windcheater Khaki (988)
Helmet Flat Brown (984)

The standard U.S helmet became popular with tank crews as the M1942 Tankers helmet offered no ballistic protection whatsoever. Also as the M1943 uniform became available Tankers were issued it as well.

Uniform Part Vallejo Colour
Helmet Olive Drab (887)
Jacket Khaki (988)

Contrary to popular belief, if you’ve chosen an American force, you have a wide selection of paint schemes to choose from. Be it a ‘Gypsy’ mixture for a veteran unit or ‘uniform’ appearance for a freshly landed bunch of Greenhorns enjoy your painting and gaming.

Currahee!

with Chris Potter, BF UK

For me nothing typifies Late War like the Normandy invasion. The largest seaborne invasion in history? Check. The largest airborne drop of troops to date? Check. And all this against a dug in and entrenched foe, led by none other than the Desert Fox himself: Erwin Rommel.

When the Late War journey was announced and the information about the books started to come to fruition, I was in my element like a kid in a sweet shop. I was at the front of the queue when we had the Late War sale clutching my list of ‘must haves’ begging the boss to let me get my blisters and box sets. Like a lot of others, I had to wait my turn, much to the better half’s relief as my list far outweighed my wages.

But boy did the factory deliver. I managed to bag myself two boxes of US Parachute Infantry, to get my Band of Brothers Airborne fix, as well as a box of 29th Infantry for the all important beach landings. This would be the start of my D-Day Force. Because on the horizon I was being tempted by the new plastic Airborne sprues and some rather tasty kit in the form of new plastic jeeps and rumours of 80mm mortars to rain fire on the enemy.

However, Matt managed to bring me back to the present as he reminded me that we needed to put together forces for Fortress Europe before I got carried away with the US D-Day book. Sorry boys of the 29th and 101st, you will have to wait whilst the glory boys of the 3rd Armored have their time in the spotlight.

I don’t want to reiterate what has already been said by a thousand others, but nothing screams US dominance on the Western Front like the wonderful Sherman tank. Whatever version of Sherman, you see a group of these coming, and you know that the rest of the US forces are not far behind. They are the breakthrough, the reason that prior to D-Day in 1944 the plucky Brits designed a Duplex Drive (DD) system to allow them to ‘swim’ up the beach to smash the enemy. They even fitted them with canvas flotation devices to literally float them through the surf.

From Omaha to Caen, throughout Market Garden to the German homeland, Detroit’s finest were leading the way and looking good doing it!

So when I saw that the new US Combat Command contained no less than 5 Shermans, which when combined with the 8 found in the Hit The Beach starter set, meant I had the solid core needed for a Fortress Europe Armoured Company. Add into that, the Priests for some artillery support and the M10 Tank Destroyers for some long range AT, all I need is some Armoured Rifles to take and hold objectives.

I am really excited to field Americans in Late War for V4. At heart this is all about getting as many models onto the table all at once. My usual modus operandi is to get what looks cool, then play a few games and work out the weaknesses before changing up the army composition. This time will be no different. My first game is against Gareth’s Germans. Let’s see how the Combined Arms list compares and performs!

D-Day: American Spotlight

with Phil Yates
The D-Day landings were the biggest undertaking of the US Army to that point in the war. The US Army was huge, but most of its divisions were totally inexperienced. Only a handful of divisions had taken part in the fighting in North Africa, and most of those were still engaged in Italy. To offset this inexperience, they had raised elite assault troops, such as paratroopers and rangers, reorganised their regular troops for assault landings, and brought experienced veteran divisions back from the Mediterranean.

This gives an American commander a wide choice of forces, even though their equipment was standardised to maximise the benefits of Americsn-style mass production. Do you want to field fresh, eager troops, available in significant numbers, or do you want to field the less common desert veterans. Are you content with regular army troops, or do you want a small, elite strike force?

What’s In The Book?
Parachute Rifle Company

  • Hard-as-nails volunteers. Fearless and trained exceptionally hard, so ready for anything.
  • Ready for anything. Platoons include riflemen, light machine-guns, mortars, and bazookas.
  • Platoons can be further reinforced with extra bazookas and light machine-guns.
  • Light infantry, so few integrated weapons. Just mortars, pack howitzers, anti-tank guns, and recon jeeps.
  • Can parachute into battle in airborne assault missions.
  • Regular army troops can provide tanks and heavier fire support.
  • Tanks, who needs tanks? I’ll just rip it apart with my bare hands!
    Glider Rifle Company
  • Large rifle platoons reinforced with light machine-guns, mortars, and bazookas.
  • Platoons can be further reinforced with extra bazookas and mortars for more firepower.
  • Small, hard-hitting formation with just two rifle platoons, heavy machine-guns, mortars, anti-tank guns, and pack howitzers.
  • Can land by glider in airborne assault missions.
  • Take the objective, then hold it with massed firepower.
  • Easy to convert from Rifle Company in Fortress Europe.

Ranger Company

  • Deadly assault troops who rally and hit in assaults on 2+!
  • Small, elite platoons with flexible organisation including mortars and bazookas if needed.
  • Compact company of two range platoons makes it easy to scale. Take as many or few companies as you need.
  • Scale impassable cliffs with ease.
  • Lead the way in assaults.
  • Easy to convert from Rifle Company in Fortress Europe.
    Assault Company & Veteran Assault Company
  • Rifle company reorganised to spread the risk for assault landings.
  • Up to six small platoons with plenty of weaponry: rifles, bazookas, mortars, and flame-throwers.
  • Either normal support platoons or integrated platoons with both a heavy machine-gun and a mortar, escorted by riflemen.
  • Swarm the enemy, pushing through any weak spots found.
  • Field as desert veterans – better tactics, less gung ho.
  • Easy to convert from Rifle Company in Fortress Europe.
    Rifle Company & Veteran Rifle Company
  • Cost-effective infantry with large, cheap platoons that can withstand a lot of enemy fire.
  • Platoons can be further reinforced with extra bazookas and light and heavy machine-guns for more firepower.
  • Formation has integrated heavy machine-guns, mortars, anti-tank guns, and artillery.
  • New 57mm anti-tank guns and 105mm light howitzers.
  • American riflemen manoeuvre quickly at dash speed.
  • Field as desert veterans – better tactics, less gung ho.
  • Fire and manoeuvre. Lots of artillery and firepower to support rapid assaults.
  • Easy to convert from Rifle Company in Fortress Europe.

M4 Sherman Tank Company & Veteran M4 Sherman Tank Company

  • Cost-effective medium tanks with integrated support.
  • Stabilisers for greater volume of fire on the move.
  • Up-gun an M4 Sherman platoon to 76mm guns for more anti-tank punch.
  • Heavy fire support from M4 Shermans armed with 105mm howitzers and half-track mounted 81mm mortars.
  • Flexibility. Can swap out a platoon of M4 Shermans medium tanks for a platoon of M5 Stuart light tanks.
  • Field as desert veterans – better tactics, less gung ho.
  • Grab their nose, manoeuvre to the flank, kick them in the butt.
  • Easy to convert from M4 Sherman Tank Company in Fortress Europe.
    M5 Stuart Tank Company & Veteran M5 Stuart Tank Company
  • New upgraded M5 Stuart light tank.
  • Exceptionally fast, ideal for flanking manoeuvres.
  • Cheap light tanks with light and fast M8 Scott or heavy M4 Sherman assault guns as artillery support.
  • Flexibility. Can swap out a platoon of M5 Stuart light tanks for a platoon of M4 Shermans medium tanks.
  • Field as desert veterans – better tactics, less gung ho.
  • Speed around the enemy flank to seize the objective before they can react..
  • Easy to convert from M5 Stuart Tank Company in Fortress Europe.

Armoured Rifle Company & Veteran Armoured Rifle Company

  • Armoured M3 half-tracks for battlefield mobility, even under fire.
  • A weapon for every occasion. 
    • Platoons have riflemen, light machine-guns, mortars, bazookas, and half-track-mounted machine-guns.
    • Formation has integrated heavy machine-guns, mortars, anti-tank guns, and self-propelled artillery.
  • New 57mm anti-tank guns and M8 Scott light assault guns.
  • Massed firepower overwhelms the enemy when attacking and shoots down any attack.
  • Field as desert veterans – better tactics, less gung ho.
  • Large, resilient platoons withstand a lot of enemy fire.
  • Easy to convert from Rifle Company in Fortress Europe.
    M10 Tank Destroyer Company
  • Massed self-propelled anti-tank guns, with up to 12 in a company.
  • Up to three security sections for perfect initial deployment, spearheading into No Man’s Land to flank enemy tank attacks.
  • New M20 scout car in HQ and security sections. Fast and well-armoured.
  • Use Seek, Strike, and Destroy doctrine to blitz into position and then scoot back out of sight after shooting up the enemy.
  • As mobile as a medium tank, and almost as well armoured, but fewer machine-guns and no top armour, so stay away from enemy infantry.
  • Easy to convert from M10 Tank Destroyer Company in Fortress Europe.
    Support
  • New M8 Greyhound armoured car mounting 37mm gun operates with machine-gun and mortar armed jeeps as well-armed cavalry recon.
  • New 3-inch towed tank destroyer for solid anti-tank firepower.
  • New L4 Grasshopper air observation post makes sure that your artillery are always on target.
  • New M12 155mm self-propelled gun for heavy artillery support and bunker busting.
  • Three batteries of towed 105mm or self-propelled M7 Priest or M12 155mm artillery give American forces powerful artillery support on top of the integrated artillery in formations.
  • Time on Target rule allows supporting artillery to make enemy infantry and guns re-roll successful saves for extra deadliness.
  • New P47 Thunderbolt fighters armed with eight machine-guns, bombs, and HVAR rockets have the right weapon for any target.
  • New M15 and M16 self-propelled AA guns. Mix of 37mm guns for punch and quad .50 cals for volume of fire.

How Do the Americans Play?

The Americans have three basic varieties of troops in D-Day: American. You can field elite paratroopers and rangers, regular troops fresh into battle, or experienced veterans. Each of these has a different play style.

The elite paratroopers of the parachute rifle company are a new experience for American players. They are some of the best infantry in the game, being rated as Fearless, Veteran, and Careful. On their own, they need to be aggressive as they don’t have the long-range firepower to stop the enemy from sitting back and picking them off, but used this way they can be hard to stop. Given tank-destroyer and artillery backup, they also make excellent defensive troops, so you can swing either way.

The other elite option, the rangers, are more assault oriented, being Aggressive, so easier to hit, and rallying and hitting in assaults on 2+. If you sit around, you’ll get shot to pieces, but if you go for it, the rangers are hard to stop without killing every last one of them!
The regular troops are well trained and eager for battle, although still lacking in actual combat experience to polish off the rough edges and teach them the difference between training and life-or-death battle. Most are rated as Confident, Trained, and Aggressive. Their eagerness shows in their ‘Blood and Guts’ approach to warfare which gives their tanks a better Last Stand rating and their infantry a better Rally rating. Once again, they usually need to take a fairly aggressive stance to prevent more skilful enemies massing firepower against them, although rifle companies can often mass enough firepower of their own to turn the tables.

The veteran formations have learned what works and what doesn’t, so are rated as Careful, making them harder to hit, and have ‘Yankee Ingenuity’ pushing their tactics up to 3+. Of course, they’re no longer so ‘Blood and Gusts’ as the green guys.  Their skill allows them to match the best, but they are more expensive in points, so your force is smaller, so tactics need to be more cautious.

The American strategy can be summarized in the phrase mobile tactics. They win by using their mobility, their ability to fire on the move, and their numbers to outflank their opponents and keep them off balance, while applying massed firepower to overwhelm any opposition.
Normandy Campaign Missions

D-Day: American includes three new missions and a linked campaign. The first mission is Shot in the Dark, an airborne assault gone wrong with the attackers scattered across the board (and possibly off it) while the defenders attempt to organise a defence in the dark before the attackers reform and overwhelm them. It uses simple rules to reflect the chaos and uncertainty of airborne assaults.

The second mission is Help Is On Its Way, a refight of the Rangers’ battle at Pointe du Hoc. This mission uses the amphibious assault rules to bring the attacking forces ashore. A shortage of landing craft forces the attackers to land in multiple waves, which tanks to the attacker’s Overwhelming Force rule may include units from previous waves that have already been destroyed. The defenders have bunkers, nests, minefields, and barbed wire to delay the attack, while both sides hope desperately for assistance from a rescue force coming from inland.

The third mission is FUBAR (an acronym for Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition) which allows you to refight the bloody battles on Omaha Beach. This uses the same amphibious assault rules, but is a much more straightforward frontal assault into heavy defences with victory being determined by how fast, or even if, the American player can capture their objectives.

These three missions are linked together with two standard missions from the rulebook in a simple campaign where the outcome of one battle has an effect on the next. If the American player can make their final breakthrough in the fifth mission, they win the campaign.
Who are the Warriors

The D-Day: American book has four warriors: Norman ‘Dutch’ Cota, Lafayette Poole, James Earl Rudder, Turner Turnbull.

Norman ‘Dutch’ Cota, famous for leading his troops off Omaha Beach, showing them how an assault should be done, allows infantry under his command to attempt to charge again if they are driven back by defensive fire.

Lafayette Poole, America’s most successful tank ace, is ideal for leading your tanks’ advance. His men will follow him as he dashes forward, then when he gets close, his accuracy while firing on the move us unparalleled.

Turner Turnbull’s paratroopers refused to give up ground, no matter how many times the Germans attacked. His platoon’s defensive fire is virtually impenetrable.

James Earl Rudder led the rangers at Pointe du Hoc, steadfastly counterattacking any German penetrations into the rangers’ defensive positions.

Command Cards

The command cards introduce a new concept, title cards. These cards have the title of a division and a special rule giving the division’s flavour. The key is that you can only have one title in your force. 

Title command cards for D-Day: American give you the option to field twelve new infantry divisions in addition to the two in the book. These allow you to customise your rifle company force to fight in many different ways. Some divisions give you new equipment, such as SMG-armed assault groups or M7 Priest assault guns as far of the formation. Others give your troops new abilities like attacking at night, riding tanks, navigating reserves to where they are needed, and improved artillery support. Most of the title cards give your division a different focus, trading out the ‘Blood and Guts’ rally bonus of the ‘yankee Ingenuity’ tactics bonus for other advantages.

Your tankers and armoured infantry aren’t left out, gaining the option to be the Free French ‘Division leClerc’, determined to liberate France or die trying. If they want to stay good ol’ boys from the US of A, they get lots of interesting equipment for their Sherman tanks: DD amphibious gear, Cullins hedgerow cutters, tank telephones, and sandbag armour.

The Americans are known for their love of fire support, and the command cards don’t disappoint, giving naval gunfire support, heavy mortars, air superiority, and new weapons loads for your P47 Thunderbolts including napalm and really big bombs!  

If all this firepower seems to blunt to you, you can get all sneaky with the French resistance. They can mess with your enemy’s reserves or fight alongside you on the battlefield! And, when everything else fails, there’s always luck, with the Lucky card giving you a re-roll at the critical moment.

Big Four of Late War: Victor

Victor “el Presidente” Pesch is the ring leader of Big Four, having come up with the entire concept of embarking on the Journey alongside our players. Known in the Studio for his painting prowess he spends his days wrangling Photoshop and InDesign working as a Graphic Designer, whilst his nights are spent working on whatever new project takes his fancy. He has his eyes set on an American force filled with Sherman tanks. For now…

You can follow Victor’s Big Four journey here…

Fortress Europe: American Spotlight

with Phil Yates

The US Army focused on standardisation to enable it to fight a war on a far-away continent. At the beginning of 1944, they had one type of medium tank, one type of light tank, one armoured infantry organisation and one infantry organisation.

This makes it easy if you are planning to field an American force. Your most important decision is how to combine these standardised components to win your battles. Do you want to go tank-heavy, with just a little infantry support? Do you want to field a solid infantry force with a few tanks for backup? Or do you want to field a balanced mix with the right tool for every situation?

M4 Sherman Tank Company

  • Uses same M4 Sherman tanks as Mid War, including the same T30 75mm assault guns and M3A1 armoured cars in the integrated support.
  • Cost-effective medium tanks with integrated support. A full company of 17 tanks with a recon patrol and self-propelled mortars and artillery for just 70 points!
  • Stabilisers for greater volume of fire on the move.
  • Flexibility. Can swap out a platoon of M4 Shermans medium tanks for a platoon of M5 Stuart light tanks.

M5 Stuart Tank Company

  • New upgraded M5 Stuart light tank. Just as fast as the Mid-War M3 Stuart, but better armour and not so reckless.
  • Exceptionally fast, ideal for flanking manoeuvres.
  • Cheap light tanks with the same integrated support as the M4 Sherman Tank Company.
  • Flexibility. Can swap out a platoon of M5 Stuart light tanks for a platoon of M4 Shermans medium tanks.

Armoured Rifle Company

  • Same organisation and equipment as Mid War, so easy to transfer across.
  • Armoured M3 half-tracks for battlefield mobility, even under fire.
  • A weapon for every occasion.
    • Platoons have riflemen, light machine-guns, mortars, bazookas, and half-track-mounted machine-guns.
    • Formation has integrated heavy machine-guns, mortars, anti-tank guns, and self-propelled artillery.
  • Massed firepower overwhelms the enemy when attacking and shoots down any attack.
  • Large, resilient platoons withstand a lot of enemy fire.

Rifle Company

  • Same organisation and equipment as Mid War, so easy to transfer across.
  • Cost-effective infantry with large, cheap platoons that can withstand a lot of enemy fire.
  • Platoons can be further reinforced with extra bazookas and light and heavy machine-guns for more firepower.
  • Formation has integrated heavy machine-guns, mortars, anti-tank guns, and self-propelled artillery.
  • American riflemen manoeuvre quickly at dash speed.

M10 Tank Destroyer Company

  • Same organisation and equipment as Mid War, so easy to transfer across.
  • Massed self-propelled anti-tank guns, with up to 12 in a company.
  • Integrated recon patrols for perfect initial deployment spearheading into No Man’s Land to flank enemy tank attacks.
  • Use Seek, Strike, and Destroy doctrine to blitz into position and then scoot back out of sight after shooting up the enemy.
  • As mobile as a medium tank, and almost as well armoured, but fewer machine-guns and no top armour, so stay away from enemy infantry.

Support

  • Same organisation and equipment as Mid War, so easy to transfer across.
  • Three batteries of towed 105mm or self-propelled M7 Priest artillery give American forces powerful artillery support on top of the integrated artillery in formations.
  • Time on Target rule allows supporting artillery to make enemy infantry and guns re-roll successful saves for extra deadliness.

How Do the Americans Play?
The American forces in this book represent the fresh divisions pouring into Europe ready for the D-Day landings. They are well trained and eager for battle, although still lacking in actual combat experience to polish off the rough edges and teach them the difference between training and life-or-death battle. Most are rated as Confident, Trained, and Aggressive. Their eagerness shows in their ‘Blood and Guts’ approach to warfare which gives their tanks a better Last Stand rating and their infantry a better Rally rating.

American tanks have stabilisers, so they can fire as quickly on the move as at the halt (although not as accurately). On the other hand, they are not heavily armoured and mount mid-range guns, so need to use weight of numbers and clever manoeuvring rather than frontal firefights to defeat enemy tanks.

Their infantry have Garand semi-automatic rifles and BAR automatic rifles, as well as half-track-mounted weapons, and can fire just as well on the move as they can when halted. They are fast moving and have plenty of fire support. Let their support pound the enemy while the manoeuvre, then swamp the enemy in fire and roll over them from an unexpected direction.
The American strategy can be summarized in the phrase mobile tactics. They win by using their mobility and numbers to outflank their opponents and keep them off balance, while applying massed firepower to overwhelm any opposition.

What to Expect in D-Day: American
Your Fortress Europe force will easily transfer to D-Day: American, gaining some useful new kit and skills in the process. Your tankers will appreciate upgunned M4 Shermans mounting 76mm and 105mm guns, and your infantry will find the new 57mm anti-tank gun an improvement over their old 37mm gun.

Some of your older equipment like the M3A1 armoured car and T30 self-propelled guns will be phased out, to be replaced with improved M8 armoured cars, M20 scout cars, and M8 Scott self-propelled guns.

D-Day Americans will also bring veteran American formations. These troops have been through the school of hard knocks. They’ve learned the hard way, so they aren’t as gung ho any more, but their tactics are much better.

There will be lots of totally new options for a whole new D-Day force as well.

As you’d expect these improvements come at a cost, and some players will elect to stick with what they have in Fortress Europe, preferring extra numbers over increased performance. Whichever way you go, your Fortress Europe force is a solid base for any future developments.

Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon Unit Card

with Jim Westerfield

From the mid-1930s until the late 1950s, U.S. Army infantry regiments in each division contained an Intelligence and Reconnaissance (I&R) platoon as part of the regimental headquarters company. In 1939, the I&R platoon Table of Organization & Equipment (TO&E) authorized 10 infantrymen to make up the unit. This was expanded to 18 infantrymen in 1940 and the platoon TO&E, in 1941, was authorized to include 1/4-ton vehicles (Jeeps).

I&R Platoon of the 180th Regiment, 45th Infantry Division in WWII.

The I&R platoon consists of a platoon headquarters and two reconnaissance squads. Platoon headquarters consists of the platoon leader, platoon sergeant, driver, topographic draftsman, radio operator, and scouts and observers. Each squad consists of a squad leader, assistant squad leader, radio operator, drivers, scouts and observers. The platoon headquarters had one jeep while each squad had three jeeps, some of which carried radios.

     
The soldiers that made up the platoon are all infantrymen, given additional training by the regimental S-2, as there was no institutional military intelligence school at the time. Training of the platoon members focused on operating as scouts along with map and aerial photograph reading, conventional signs, military symbols and abbreviations, sketching, oral and written reporting, scouting and patrolling, theory and practice of observation, camouflage and the art of concealment, and the collection of information.

Individual equipment for members of the I&R platoon include standard infantry small arms and equipment, though individuals in the field often supplemented the standard issue as they saw fit. Each squad also had a prismatic compass, a 20-power monocular telescope and/or a pair of field glasses, and a watch. The platoon members carried notebooks and writing materials and colored pencils to pass along information and mark maps.

War Department FM 7-25, Headquarters Company, Intelligence and Signal Communication, Rifle Regiment, October 7, 1942 states:

“The principle mission of the regimental intelligence platoon is to serve as the special intelligence agency of the regimental commander, for the collection, recording, evaluation and dissemination of information, under the supervision of the regimental intelligence officer (S-2). The platoon is also charged with counterintelligence measures and surveillance. Actual operations of this platoon are conducted under the immediate control of the platoon leader. He may receive his orders directly from the regimental commander, S-2, or S-3. During training periods, it may be required to assist the S-2 in conducting intelligence and counterintelligence instruction within the regiment.”

The main function of the I&R platoon was to be the ears and eyes of the regimental commander. FM 7-25 describes the principle functions of the platoon as:

  • Gathering detailed information about the enemy and terrain in locations that are not readily accessible to the rifle companies of the battalions or regiment.
  • Assemble, evaluate and distribute information and intelligence gathered by the platoon and by subordinate, higher, or adjacent friendly units.
  • Provide early warning to the regiment on the presence, disposition, composition, and approach of enemy forces of all types. Operate well in advance of the regiment in order to gain and maintain contact with the enemy.
  • Maintain contact with reconnaissance and security formations of other, larger formations that are operating forward or to the flanks of the regiment.
  • Regain lost contact with adjacent, attached and assigned friendly units. Locate and maintain contact with the flanks of an enemy force when contact is gained by dismounted combat elements of the regiment.
  • Reconnoiter avenues of approach, routes, river crossings and complex enemy obstacles. Search suspicious, dominating and critical areas along the route of march to identify possible ambush sites, defended roadblocks, route classification and contaminated areas.
  • Establish and operate 24-hour observation and listening posts.
  • Conduct dismounted patrolling to the front, flanks, and rear of the regiment when terrain or enemy situation precludes the use of mounted patrolling.
  • Assist the regimental S-2 at the command post or at a tactical observation/tactical command post by maintaining the intelligence situation map, and/or keeping an intelligence log, taking and preparing reports, messages and sketches.
  • Carry out such counterintelligence measures as directed by the regimental commander or S-2. Provide instruction on the subject to other units of the regiment. Search undefended or captured towns and villages and captured enemy equipment and positions.

Some other missions performed by the platoon that were not specifically included in standard doctrine were;

  • Liaison between regiments of the division.
  • Messenger duties between battalions of the regiment.
  • Escort and security for the regimental commander as he moved forward of the main command post.
  • Serving as radio-telephone operators for regimental command in dismounted offensive operations.
  • Marking of route of march for the regiment and providing guides at traffic control points.
  • Accompanying a combat or reconnaissance patrol conducted by rifle platoons or companies from subordinate infantry battalions of the regiment in order to report on tactical progress of intelligence acquired directly to the regimental commander.
  • Conduct economy of force operations on a flank of the regiment in order to provide early warning and prevent the regiment from being surprised.

While being trained infantrymen, thus capable of getting involved in direct fighting against enemy forces, the primary duty of the I&R platoon is to support the front-line infantry and regimental commander by carrying out the above type of missions and not get directly into a firefight.  The MTOE did vary during the war but we will go with the 1942 organization.  

In Flames of War:
The I&R platoon is an additional platoon in the Rifle Company formation diagram.  To model the platoon, we will use the organization from V3 North Africa with a command carbine team of 3 figures and 2 carbine teams of 4 figures.  I used the dismounted armored recon platoon to build the unit. As the pick of the litter they are a little better trained than most of the rest of the guys in the regiment.  Very useful for calling in fire. For points we will use the rifle platoon as a benchmark. We will be adding recon and spearhead skills, but in compensation we will have worse Rally and Counter Attack ratings. At slightly less than one point per rifle team we, rounding up we get 1 point for the platoon.  

New Mid War Unit Cards

Over the course of Version 4, the Flames of War community has been very enthusiastic about particular units that did not make the cut for the new books. Units with significant fan clubs have found their fans sending us unit cards to allow those units to be fielded in your V4 forces.

During the launch, and in the future, we will share some of these cards with you. The launch day cards will be available on the Flames of War Website next week for download here…

These cards are neither ‘official’ nor ‘unofficial’, but have been researched and tested, so it’s up to you, your opponent, or your TO as to whether or not you can field them.

We know you’ll enjoy seeing some of these old friends on the battlefield again.