Armies Of Late War: Phil’s Desert Rats

Armies Of Late War: Phil’s Desert Rats

Armies Of Late War: Phil’s Desert Rats
with Phil Yates

My favourite (and biggest) Late-War forces are from the 7th Armoured Division, the ‘Desert Rats’. I have a Cromwell Armoured Squadron (still short one troop from the War Establishment, even after all these years) and a Motor Company (with all the trimmings). Having played them under both Version 2 and Version 3, the Armies of Late War book makes it easy to field them in Version 4.

I usually use Overlord to build this force, as the Normandy Campaign really interests me. My Armoured Squadron usually operates with the same core (give or take depending on the points) with extra bits and pieces added as needed:

  • 1x Squadron HQ of 2x Cromwell and 2x Cromwell CS tanks
  • 3x Armoured Platoons of 3x Cromwell and 1x Firefly tanks
  • 1x Motor Platoon
  • 1x Recce Patrol of 3x Stuart
  • 1x Air Support (sometimes)

Armies Of Late War: Phil’s Desert Rats

Using Armies of Late War changes things a bit as the Cromwell Armoured Squadron there is based on Battle of the Bulge rather than Overlord, so is Confident rather than Reluctant with the associated points increase. That does mean I’ll have fewer troops (although I can continue using Overlord when I want to), but that’s an interesting challenge that I’ve been meaning to take on anyway, and I get better ammunition for my Fireflies as well!

Here’s my new Cromwell Armoured Squadron at 1500 points:
  • 1x Squadron HQ of 2x Cromwell and 2x Cromwell CS tanks (340 points)
  • 2x Armoured Platoons of 2x Cromwell and 2x Firefly tanks (435 points ea.)
  • 1x Motor Platoon (140 points)
  • 1x Recce Patrol of 3x Stuart (145 points)

Armies Of Late War: Phil’s Desert Rats

It’s much the same as I’ve been fielding, just with one fewer armoured platoon, but an extra Firefly for increased shooty goodness. I could have done this with Battle of the Bulge, but inertia had kept me on the old, safe path. Now, I think my tactics are likely to rely a little more on sitting back and shooting (especially with the added power of the CS tanks as artillery in Version 4), with the rapid advance to administer the finishing stroke being delayed a little due to fewer of the speedy Cromwells.
My Motor Company has:
  • 1x Company HQ
  • 1x 3-inch Mortar Section
  • 3x Motor Platoons
  • 3x Carrier Patrols
  • 1-2x Anti-tank Platoons
  • 1x Vickers MMG Platoon
  • 1-2x M10C SP Anti-tank Platoons

Armies Of Late War: Phil’s Desert Rats

Once again, the big changes are going to be the improved morale (maybe my infantry might be able to assault a bit more often rather than relying on overwhelming force) and better Anti-tank rating on my M10C 17 pdr SP guns (yum!).

Here’s my new Motor Company at 1500 points:

  • 1x Company HQ with Armoured Transports (35 points)
  • 1x 3-inch Mortar Section (60 points)
  • 2x Motor Platoons (full strength) with Armoured Transports (140 points ea.)
  • 1x Motor Platoons (weak) with Armoured Transports (115 points)
  • 2x Carrier Patrols with .50 cal and PIAT (105 points)
  • 2x Anti-tank Platoons with Armoured Transports (135 points ea.) 
  • 1x Vickers MMG Platoon with MMG Carriers (160 points)
  • 1x M10C SP Anti-tank Platoons (370 points)

I’ve kept most of the transport (which is now optional) as I’ve found it useful to be able to concentrate my whole force on one flank if my opponent tries to do the same (or if I’m attacking and they can’t!). I’ve lost a Carrier Patrol and weakened a Motor Platoon, but expect more from my mortars (even with just 2 tubes) than they ever achieved in the old rules. The net effect is a tighter, punchier force.

Armies Of Late War: Phil’s Desert Rats

So, using Armies of Late War takes me later in the war to the Battle of the Bulge, something I could have done before, but hadn’t, while making things easier since the new stats and characteristics are all on the Unit Cards. I’m looking forward to taking my Desert Rats into the field.


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