Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War

Battle of the Bulge Angry Birds:
Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
with Bede Bailey

When I first read of Nuts, the original Flames Of War Briefing covering the siege of Bastogne, my eyes were immediately drawn to mention of Easy Company of Band of Brothers fame. Although slightly uncomfortable with the idea of representing some of the main characters from the book and television series in miniature form, I was soon won over by the coolness factor. Now that Nuts and the other Bulge Briefings have been compiled in one hardcover volume, The Battle of the Bulge allows players using the 101st Airborne Division briefing to field an impressive six different character types in one army. With many players attracted to representing their favourite heroes on the table top, these guys are sure to be popular down at the club and in your local gaming store. The question is, how do you get the most out of these new warriors, and how many should you use?

Learn more about the Easy Company miniatures here...
The Battle of the Bulge
In December 1944 the German forces were supposed to be on the back foot, so their desperate push in the Ardennes took the Allies by surprise. Desperate defence by the American and British Commonwealth forces gradually turned to counterattack as they fought to erase the 'Bulge'.

Learn more about The Battle of the Bulge here...

Allied Forces on the German border, September 1944 – February 1945
This article will offer some hints and tips for getting the most out of your chosen warriors, and also some ideas about list building with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment during the Battle of the Bulge.
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War Captain Richard Winters
First up is Captain Richard Winters. Represented as a Higher Command Team, the addition of Winters to your force has two major benefits. The first is regarding morale. For starters, having a Higher Command Team in your company basically gives you a second CO so that you can gain moral and motivation re-rolls on different parts of the table. This enables players to push home two attacks at once in different places, or to leave one commander behind to keep artillery batteries unpinned while the other leads the charge. On top of this, Winters also has A Band of Brothers as a special rule. This enables you to re-roll your first company moral check if you failed.

Left: Captain Richard Winters with Captain Lewis Nixon.
As a Parachute Rifle Company is rated Fearless, the chance of failing two rolls is slim which means your company is likely to stay on the field for that little bit longer. The second major benefit that Winters brings is the ability to allow all platoon commanders from combat and weapons platoons to use the Eyes and Ears rule which is normally restricted to recon units. This special rule is called Captain Nixon, and represents the close relationship between Lewis Nixon and Winters.  The ability to lift Gone to Ground before preparing for an assault, or before attempting to range in an artillery bombardment, makes a huge difference to your chances of success.
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
Lieutenant Ronald Speirs
The second warrior on offer is a replacement for your company commander and represents Lieutenant Ronald Speirs. Speirs has access to two special rules which increase the survivability of your CO so that he can play an even more important part of each battle. The first rule, I’m Here to Take Over, allows Speirs to be held in ambush and deployed in any of your ambush steps within 6”/15cm of a combat platoon. In this way, the CO can be withheld until the battle develops and it becomes clear where he is needed most for motivation re-rolls or artillery spotting.

Right: Speirs making his defiant dash.
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
Another benefit of this is shielding the CO from enemy fire until he is really needed. The second special rule, Defiant Dash, also contributes to survivability. While not in bulletproof cover, Speirs may re-roll his infantry save if he is hit in the opponents shooting step. Given that infantry save on a 3+ anyway, this makes him very difficult to destroy. In fact, more aggressive players might like to use Speirs at the van of any attack, always allocating the first hit to him safe in the knowledge that he gets to re-roll his infantry save, and if that fails he still has a warrior save that might just keep him in the game!
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War First Sergeant Carwood Lipton
First Sergeant Carwood Lipton can join your company in place of the regular 2iC. His special rule is simple but powerful; Talk to Your Sergeants allows combat and weapons platoons to re-roll failed platoon moral checks. Although not a re-roll for all motivation checks, the ability to re-roll your 3+ Fearless moral checks will keep your platoons in the field for much longer after they fall below half strength. Lipton is an especially good addition when Captain Winters is not used as the CO certainly can’t be everywhere at once, and, if the worst happens and the re-roll is failed, the CO won’t leave the field with the platoon remnant.

Left: First Sergeant Carwood Lipton with his radio operator.
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
Toccoa Sergeant
Another of the warrior options available to Easy Company players is fairly unique in Flame Of War and can be compared to the Panzer Kanone option in Grey Wolf. Rather than basing the warrior on an individual, players can replace any or all platoon command teams from combat and weapons platoons with a Toccoa Sergeant. This gives the platoon the Currahee special rule which allows a re-roll to unpin. When combined with First Sergeant Lipton and Captain Winters this makes the core of your force a motivation powerhouse that will be highly unlikely to stay pinned or leave the field.

Right: Men like Denver 'Bull' Randelman were invaluable in bolstering the ranks of Easy Company.
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
Private Eugene Roe
There are two more Easy Company warriors which can add further flavour to game. Private Eugene Roe can join the company to act as a medic. This gives the player the chance to use to Always There When Needed special rule. Once per turn, if a team from a combat or weapons platoon is destroyed, Roe can save them with a roll of 5+. Rather than being represented with a team, Roe can appear anywhere on the table and a marker is placed next to the platoon which made use of the special rule.

Left: Private Eugene Roe lends aid to a fallen comrade.
At the end of the turn it is removed. This could have a major impact on a game if, for example, a key LMG team is returned to the fray just before the key assault is about to be launched. Although the odds are low, the impact on your opponent’s morale when a team comes back from the dead could be considerable!
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
Corporal Darrell ‘Shifty’ Powers
Corporal Darrell ‘Shifty’ Powers can also be taken as a warrior, replacing a Rifle or Rifle/MG team from a combat platoon. Powers has the Best Shot in the Company special rule, which allows him to re-roll any one failed to hit roll per turn. Although that does not sound like much coming from a Rifle team, Powers also has his firepower rating lifted from 6+ to 4+.

Right: 'Shifty' Power with the enemy in his sights.
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
This makes him into a super sniper, with the ability to pick out enemy gun teams such as heavy machineguns and mortars. When combined with the Captain Nixon special rule, a combat platoon command stand can try to lift Gone to Ground on an important enemy team before Powers attempts to take it out.
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
Picking Your Poison
If these warriors sound like your type of fun, you then have the difficult choice of selecting which ones will become part of your representation of Easy Company. At lower points levels, it is probably best to use one or two, especially if you are drawn to expensive options like Captain Winters and Private Roe. At higher levels, such as the popular 1750, it is possible to fit them all in while keeping the list competitive and unique.  While this won’t be to everybody’s taste, there are plenty of casual gamers who just want to have some good fun representing their favourite hero’s from Band of Brothers; these characters are certainly for them.

Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
In smaller armies, it is hard to go past Captain Winters and First Sergeant Lipton for a total of 90 points. Lipton’s Talk to Your Sergeants special rule is great for keeping platoons on the table and encourages the use of weapons platoons which are found more often at lower points levels. Taking two combat platoons supported by the mortar and LMG weapons platoons provides a good core for your army. Having Winters on board makes it easier to ignore the reconnaissance option, as your platoon commanders will be able to lift Gone to Ground.
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
When expanding to 1750 and including all the warrior options Easy Company becomes a hard to break bunch of high moral specialists. All together the warriors cost as much as a solid regular platoon, so the game plan needs to take their specialties into account. As Fearless Veteran troops are expensive to begin with, you’ll be looking at a six platoon list. Once the combat platoons (with Toccoa Sergeants of course) have been padded out with extra bazookas and the like, you have the option between the LMG weapons platoon and the mortars. With the new 3+ save for Gone to Ground gun teams in the Version 3 rules, it is hard to go past the extra firepower provided by the LMGs. Either combat attached or mixed into your defensive position until the enemy is preparing to assault, they will make your combat platoons very hard to shift. That leaves space for three platoons, with anti-tank power high on the list. Easy company was supported by M18 Hell Cats at Bastogne and they provide and excellent support option for your ground sloggers in Flames of War.
Angry Birds: Fielding Easy Company in Flames Of War
Their special rules enable the M18s to be held off table as a special ambush that can be devastating later in the game. To make the most of that, it is best to have another platoon to be held in regular ambush when the mission allows. The LMGs are a good option against infantry, while the Airborne Anti-Tank Platoon can do the job against medium tanks. Taking them leaves a single space which I like to fill with a template option. With all the special rules that the US has with artillery, it is hard to go past a simple Veteran 105mm battery to keep those enemy tanks and infantry moving. Once the warriors are sprinkled in you have a hard-as-nails Parachute Infantry Company with a distinct flavour that allows you to recreate one of the most famous battles of the Second World War.


~ Bede.