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Be My Valentine

Be My Valentine

Be My Valentine
with Ryan Jeffares

With the release of Armoured Fist, I’ve been drawn to building an army of Valentines, not just because they’re getting new plastic models but also due to the fact that they look awesome. In this article I’ll explore how I’ll go about building an army of Valentines as well as what tactics I plan to use with this force.

When building a Flames of War army, I usually start by analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the combat units available to the company, so that I can design my force to maximise its inherent strengths as well as being able to offset its weaknesses through including different support units.

The Valentine Armoured Squadron has access to two different marks of Valentine, the Valentine II and the Valentine VIII, which are different enough that I will explore their strengths and weaknesses separately.

Valentine II
Strong Armour:
The Valentine II’s high front and side armour of 6 makes it effectively immune to lighter anti-tank weaponry, while its tough side armour enables valentines to assault enemy anti-tank guns and infantry.

Low Points Cost:
For 11 points, 3 Valentine IIs are practically a steal, especially when their heavy armour is considered. At this points cost, massing Valentines for psychological effect is a reasonable prospect, which also has the added bonus of warding off formation last stand checks.

Be My Valentine

Slow Speed:
Due to its heavy armour and role as an infantry tank, the Valentine II is slower than other tanks, possessing a tactical move of only 8”/20cm. Furthermore, with its slow dash moves, the Valentine is ponderous and thus can’t switch its position on the table rapidly.

Small turret and ineffective gun:
The Valentine II’s small turret is represented in Flames of War by the Overworked rule, which means that the tank will suffer a +1 penalty when firing on the move. Likewise, the 2pdr gun carried by Valentine II is also a relatively weak gun, with a low Anti-Tank value of 7 as well as the No HE rule, making it ineffective at digging out enemy guns or infantry at range.

Small unit size:
With only three tanks per troop, Valentine II troops can be very brittle as only two bailed or destroyed tanks will force a last stand check.

Be My Valentine Valentine VIII
High Front Armour:
The Valentine VIII has the same tough frontal armour as the Valentine II, enabling it to withstand enemy fire.

Strong Gun:
The 6pdr mounted by the Valentine VIII has Anti-Tank 10 making it capable of penetrating any Axis tank from the front except a Tiger. This helps address the inadequacies of the Valentine II’s gun.


Like the Valentine II, the Valentine VIII is slow, likewise limiting its mobility on the tabletop.

Small turret and No HE:
The Valentine VIII retains the overworked and No HE rules of the Valentine II, making the 6pdr a less accurate weapon when fired on the move or against enemy infantry.

Lower side armour and no co-axial mg:
Due to the changes needed to accommodate the 6pdr gun on the Valentine chassis, the Valentine VIII has thinner side armour and also lacks a co-axial machine gun, which makes it more vulnerable to flanking fire as well as being less effective at pinning enemy infantry.

Higher points cost:
At two points more than a Valentine II, a Valentine VIII represents a decision to specialise its troop to deal with enemy armour, and as a result reduces the points you have available to spend on more Valentines or support units.

Small unit size and limited availability:
Valentine VIII tanks are only available as in the mixed troop at the ratio of one tank per troop, which limits the numbers in which they can be fielded while retaining the brittle nature of the Valentine II troops.

Be My Valentine

The Valentine II is a very good assault platform due to its high armour and relatively low points cost, although it is slow and mounts an ineffective main gun. On the other hand, the Valentine VIII has a more powerful gun, but its lack of a co-axial MG makes it less effective against infantry. However, its lower side armour undercuts its ability to function in assaults alongside Valentine IIs.

In my opinion this makes Valentine VIIIs not necessarily a “must take” by any means and I would recommend including only one or two mixed troops to give your combat units some effective integral Anti-Tank firepower. Furthermore, due to the brittle nature of individual Valentine troops, I’d recommend taking a full Squadron of Valentines, complete with a Squadron HQ and four troops. This will help to offset any losses due to the high number of combat units and will therefore stave off a formation last stand check.

Support Units
A definite requirement for a force based around Valentines is some form of artillery, and the British forces in Armoured Fist have access to both the 25pdr and the Priest self-propelled gun as support units. The inclusion of a unit of artillery is crucial, as its ability to bombard can help dig out enemy anti-tank guns or infantry which the Valentines would struggle to do at range. Furthermore, the Priest and 25pdr have access to both direct fire smoke and smoke bombardments, which can be used to screen the Valentines from enemy tanks or guns while they advance or attempt to flank.

Be My Valentine Be My Valentine

As mentioned earlier, another weakness of the Valentine II tank is the ineffectiveness of the 2pdr against enemy tanks, which can be addressed by including support units to cover this deficiency. One option to combat enemy tanks is the 17/25pdr gun, which is truly formidable with Anti-Tank 12 capable of penetrating a Tiger. Its 36”/90cm range allows it to provide covering fire over a large section of the board and these guns are also effective when on the defence, as they can be dug in on an objective to destroy or deter enemy tanks. Another way of getting anti-tank capability into your force would be to include either a Grant or Sherman troop, whose powerful guns and tough armour would complement the Valentines well on both the attack and defence.

Be My Valentine

The slow speed of the Valentine tank can also be addressed by the inclusion of recon, whose ability to move using the Spearhead rule can help get your Valentines closer to the enemy before the game has even started. Recon vehicles like Daimlers, Humbers or Universal Carriers are also very cheap in points and provide your force with additional MG shots, which can help to supress enemy infantry before your tanks launch and assault.

Command Cards
There are also variety of new command cards which can be used to improve the capabilities of your Valentine Armoured Squadron. The Infantry Support card improves the counterattack rating of all the Valentines in your Squadron to 3+, making them far more likely to stick around in subsequent rounds of an assault. For only two points to upgrade an entire Squadron, I think this command card is very good and will help Valentines to batter through enemy defences in assault

The Charge! card presents players with interesting option for their Squadron HQ and Valentine II troops, as it reduces their tactics rating to 5+ and Is Hit On rating to 3+, while increasing their tactical speed to 10”/25cm. At first glance this card seems to have significant disadvantages as it makes your tanks easier to hit and less likely to carry out certain movement orders. However, the heavy armour of the Valentine II coupled its increased speed will help to negate the increased number of hits they will take, as the Valentines will be able to assault enemy positions more quickly and thus be vulnerable to enemy fire for fewer turns than they would otherwise. The main selling point of this card to me is its cost, as it actually decreases the cost of Valentine II troops by one point, letting me more support units into my force, or better yet, more Valentines!

A Second Formation?
Another way to broaden the tactical options available to your army is to include another formation with access to different units. In the case of a Valentine Squadron, a Motor or Rifle company could provide your tanks with infantry to hold objectives as well as anti-tank guns and mortars to provide covering fire. Taking another formation of tanks such as Grants or Shermans could also be a good way of bringing in more long-ranged firepower, while lighter tanks such as Honeys or Crusaders offer the opportunity to outflank enemy forces and threaten artillery or the side armour of tanks.

Finally, an allied formation from Fighting First is also an option, with American tanks playing in a much different manner to British ones due to their stabilisers and less skilled crews. American infantry have access to different units than their British counterparts and Armoured Rifles have mobility and firepower which synergise well with a horde of advancing Valentines. Finally, an Allied formation can give you new painting and modelling opportunities, providing new colour schemes to paint and a break from painting one particular army.

Be My Valentine