Since starting with 15mm World War II Flames of War gaming a number of years ago now, my Allied modelling has focused exclusively on United States forces. Beginning with basic US infantry rifle, artillery and armored companies, I eventually added in some US Airborne forces plus some air support. Recently I’ve felt maxed-out on the US, so I’ve taken to looking to build out my Allies with another country’s army.
After a bit of research and reading, I’ve settled on the British Guards Armored Division. I began this new journey with the plastic Guards Armored Sherman and Firefly models included in the excellent Open Fire! starter game box set. While these can be played as Allied support to my existing US Airborne, I really wanted to give the British their own space on the board.
Along with my existing plastic Shermans and Fireflies I already have painted-up, I bought another set from a fellow member at Metropolitan Wargamers in Brooklyn, NY. This gives me a full four-platoon armoured squadron with four Shermans in the command section.
To fill out my Guards Armored Division, I’ve also added the special Lieutenent Colonel Joe Vandeleur warrior character. As a leader of the Irish Guards during such famed actions as Operation Market Garden, Vandeleur proved to be a solid field commander known for his by-the-book leadership.
Michael Caine as Lt. Col. Joe Vandeleur in ‘Bridge Too Far’
I’m a big fan of 1977’s A Bridge Too Far in which Michael Caine co-stars as Vandeleur during Market Garden, so I couldn’t help but add this model to my new force with the colonel riding upright in his armoured car.
In the coming month or so I’ll be filling out my British force. I have one completed Royal Artillery section and another on the workbench, enabling me to field a full eight-battery platoon. I’ve also got Battlefront’s British Rifle Company box allowing me to march three full platoons on the table of what was known affectionately during WWII as the PBI – Poor Bloody Infantry.
I’m really looking forward to playing with my new British units this coming year, along with all their special national rules. The Brits are really going to open possibilities with new scenarios and new fronts. As Caine says as Vandeleur in A Bridge Too Far, “I’ve got nothing else planned.” At least for now.
- Flames of War: Fielding the Guards Armoured Division (brooklynwargaming.com)
- Flames of War: Hunner Park 1944 Scenario (brooklynwargaming.com)
- Flames of War: Metropolitan Wargamers Summer 2013 FOW Day (brooklynwargaming.com)
- Flames of War: Foy 1945 Scenario (brooklynwargaming.com)
- Flames of War: Fielding Easy Company (brooklynwargaming.com)