North Africa: Mid-war Forces Spotlight

North Africa: Mid-war Forces Spotlight

North Africa: Mid-war Forces Spotlight 
with Phil Yates
It has been a while since we turned the spotlight on the war in the desert, but that is about to change with the release of the North Africa compilation and the accompanying starter and army sets.

Whether you are returning to the Mid-War period or starting from scratch, everything you need is now easily accessible in one place. The North Africa compilation includes all of the existing Mid-War books for the war in the desert:

  • Afrika Korps, 90th Light, and Death from Above for the Germans,
  • Armoured Fist and Red Devils for the British,
  • Avanti and more from Death from Above for the Italians, and
  • Fighting First and All American for the Americans.

Check out North Africa: Mid-war Forces in the online store here...

In addition, we’ve brought back many of the odd and unusual tanks from the Mid-War Monsters book from ten years ago.

The book really does have everything a beginner needs: history and background, interesting formations, organisational information for building a force, and game stats for playing the game. Each army has a painting and basing guide, along with a beautifully illustrated catalogue of the available models. It is a one-stop gaming resource for the fighting in the Western Desert leading to the decisive Battle of Alamein and the close-fought battles in Tunisia that finally sealed the fate of the Axis in North Africa.

What's Inside
Each country has its own section, starting with a guide to some of the major battles they fought, their unique special rules, and the organisation of their forces. Each country has a selection of formations that you can field. These usually include light and medium tanks or self-propelled guns, and various types of infantry including armoured infantry in half-tracks for the Americans, paratroopers for each country, and rangers and commandos. This is followed by a selection of anti-tank guns, artillery, anti-aircraft guns, and aircraft to support your core formation. All-in-all, there are 33 different formations to choose from, or to mix and match to create your unique force.

North Africa: Mid-war Forces Spotlight

North Africa: Mid-war Forces Spotlight

Mid-war Monsters
While most of the formations and supporting units will be familiar to existing players, we have added a few new ones, plus some wildcards for some really ‘out there’ stuff. These are some of the weird and wonderful designs that never made it into widespread service (or into service at all in some cases), but are interesting and exciting enough to include in the game.

We give a brief outline of the background, development, and potential or actual combat use of each vehicle, then all the information you need to use them in your games: formations, units, and characteristics. Many have their own formations, or hybrid formations mixing them into formations equipped with standard tanks, while others are available as support for your existing army.

The Germans have three new tanks and a new gun: Tiger (P) heavy tank, Diana tank-hunter, Bison self-propelled infantry gun, and 7.62cm gun. The Tiger (P) is a wildcard that can be added to any force.

The Tiger (P) was designed to meet the same specifications as the normal Tiger heavy tank, but with an air-cooled engine, it was thought to be a better option for the desert. It’s a little slower than the standard Tiger, but its unique petrol-electric transmission gives it better performance in difficult terrain.

North Africa: Mid-war Forces Spotlight

Mounted on a partially-armoured half-tracked chassis, the Diana was the first self-propelled anti-tank gun to mount a captured 7.62cm gun. It was available in the 90th Light Africa Division box.

The Bison was a 15cm infantry gun mounted on a much modified Panzer II chassis. It’s gun is lighter than that of the Lorraine Schlepper, but it has the capability of firing on the move and better armour, making it useful for close-in infantry support work.

The 90th Light Africa Division was issued with captured Soviet guns instead of the usual 5cm anti-tank guns. They aren’t as mobile and are a little more vulnerable to counter fire, but they pack a serious wallop.

North Africa: Mid-war Forces Spotlight

The Italians have three new tanks: P26 /40 heavy tank, Semovente self-propelled gun with a long 75mm gun, and Semovente 90. The Semovente 90 is a wildcard that can be added to any force.

The P26/40 is a heavy tank by Italian standards, with similar characteristics to the M4 Sherman (which incidentally the British classified as a heavy tank). That makes a nice upgrade from the lighter M14/41 medium tank.

At the same time the P26/40 was being finalised, the Semovente received a longer barrel, giving it similar anti-tank performance. These two tanks can replace the M14/41 and standard, short-barrelled, Semovente in tank companies.

The Semovente 90 self-propelled anti-tank gun didn’t get into combat in North Africa, but was in service in time to fight in Sicily a few months later. It mounts the 90mm gun from the Lancia 90mm truck on an armoured chassis, giving the Italians a decent anti-tank boost.

The British have four new tanks: TOG 2* 17 pdr-armed heavy tank, Churchill 3-inch gun carrier, T14 assault tank, and Boarhound eight-wheeled heavy armoured car. The TOG 2*, Churchill 3-inch, and Boarhound are all wildcards, of which one unit can be added to any force.

The TOG 2* is a rather antiquated design created by The Old Gang who designed the original tanks of the First World War. However, it has been upgraded with a new 17 pdr turret to create the most powerful tank in British service. It’s not fast, but it has the punch to make any enemy tank worried.

As well as being a Wildcard, the Churchill 3-inch gun carrier can replace a unit of Churchill tanks in a Churchill formation or one tank in each Churchill tank unit, giving you extra fire support with its powerful 3-inch anti-tank gun.

North Africa: Mid-war Forces Spotlight

The American-designed T-14 assault tank fills the same role as the Churchill infantry tank, and can be fielded the same way, either in its own formation or mixed in with Churchill tank units. The T14 isn’t as well protected as the Churchill, but it is faster and has an excellent dual-purpose 75mm gun.

The Boarhound is unusual, being an armoured car that is heavier, better armed, and better armoured than many tanks, as well as being extremely fast on roads. If you want your armoured cars to totally dominate the enemy scouts, they certainly do the trick.

The Americans have four new tanks: M6 heavy tank, T14 assault tank, M27 medium tanks, and T55 Interceptor tank destroyer. The M6 and T55 Interceptor are both wildcards, of which one unit can be added to any force.

The M6 heavy tank is the American equivalent to the German Tiger tank. That being said, it is an unusual design with a stabilised 3-inch gun for anti-tank work and a co-axial 37mm for soft targets and twin .50 cal machine-guns in the hull (plus an AA machine-gun on the commander’s hatch).

North Africa: Mid-war Forces Spotlight

The T14 assault tank is the same as the one supplied to the British, but in American service they use the stabiliser and mix it with M4 Sherman tanks where it operates much like the heavily-armoured Jumbo later in the war.

The M27 was supposed to be a replacement for the M4 Sherman tank. It’s faster and better armoured, and, best of all, it packs a 76mm gun. This is easily one of the best tanks of the period, and its turret was eventually mounted on an M4 Sherman hull as a hybrid stopgap.

Do I Need This?
Do you need this book? Well, the answer is a definite ‘it depends’. If you are a current Mid-War player and you are happy continuing to field your current force, then the answer is no, you don’t need it. However, if you are new to Mid War, this book is essential. It provides you with everything you need to get into the period, no matter which army (or armies) you plan on fielding. If you are an existing player wanting to try something new or switch things up, then again, this is the book for you. You can add some of the new tanks to an existing force, or start collecting a new army using the fantastic new army boxes, and no matter which you go for, North Africa has all you need to know.

North Africa is the one-stop-shop for everything you need to refight the Mid-War battles in North Africa.