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From the Bocage to the Mountains of Tunisia

From the Bocage to the Mountains of Tunisia

From the Bocage to the Mountains of Tunisia
with Phil Yates

With the arrival of Armoured Fist, i’ve been tempted to do something I’ve thought about for a long time - paint up some Churchill tanks!

Left: Phil looking serious!

I’ve always liked the Churchill, ever since I built the old Airfix kit many years ago (fortunately, the new Battlefront Churchill kit is so much easier to build with about a quarter the number of parts!). It combines that solid squareness of British tanks with a combat history full of amazing exploits. Not only that, but it’s rock-hard on the table, able to take on anything and win, recreating those exploits on the tabletop.

With lots of other projects on my plate, I haven’t really got time to paint up a new rifle company to go with them. However, I’ve come up with a way around that. I’m going to re-use my Normandy-era Motor Company as the basis of a Rifle Company in Tunisia.

Rearranging my rifle platoons, I can field:

  • Rifle Company HQ - 2 points
  • Two Rifle Platoons (understrength) - 8 points each
  • 3-inch Mortar Platoon (2 tubes) - 3 points
  • Two 6 pdr Anti-tank Platoons (4 guns) - 12 points each
  • Vickers MMG Platoon (4 guns) - 4 points
  • 3x Universal Carrier Patrols (with AT rifles) - 3 points each
From the Bocage to the Mountains of Tunisia

For a grand total of 58 points.

Adding a Churchill III Armoured Troop of three tanks (for 33 points), I get to 91 points. That’s not a bad core force for just painting three more tanks!

Depending on what I feel like on the day, I can swap out some of the rifle company’s support weapons and add in my existing 25 pdr Field Troop from my Desert Rats Grant Armoured Squadron or my Hurricane tank-busters to fill out the force.

From the Bocage to the Mountains of Tunisia

Since it is Tunisia, I’m also tempted to make a couple of 17/25 pdr anti-tank guns as well. These are another piece of weird and wonderful British kit that I have a liking for, and they add a little variety to the force (for me anyway, I don’t normally field weapons with such high anti-tank). I’m also tempted to add some Kittyhawk fighter-bombers to my air force as well, just because I like them (once again a love started by an old Airfix kit!).

All-in-all, I’m quite excited about the prospect of fielding some of my favourite models as part of a whole new force for a minimal amount of effort.

From the Bocage to the Mountains of Tunisia

Tally Ho!
I’m also tempted to recreate a small part of New Zealand history by building a Valentine force. On 22 July, 1942, the Valentine tanks of the 23rd Armoured Brigade were supposed to support the New Zealand Division on Ruweisat Ridge. Unfortunately, due to inexperience, they ended up making a glorious cavalry charge in the best traditions of the Light Brigade! The net result was that the New Zealand Division was once again left in the lurch by British armour.

It’s always appealed to me as a piece of history, and now I can recreate it easily with the new (and very yummy) Valentine kit. A full armoured squadron of 15 tanks is just 50 points with the Charge! command card that gives them that green cavalry feel.

From the Bocage to the Mountains of Tunisia

They don’t have much speed, and nothing bigger than a 2 pdr gun (and no HE), but they are well armoured! Their tactics pretty much have to replicate those of the day. Close rapidly and get to point blank range where their guns can be effective.It’s not a big force, but could be fun for some smaller 50-point games!