With Duane McAndrew

Well… exciting times!! Great War is about to receive some welcome attention, so I thought I’d put my two cents (or two bob’s) worth in on the British starter box. For those returning to this era (or never left) and those that are new to this era, getting a British starter box, Mitchell’s Marauders is a great starting point to build or enlarge an existing army. It has the following in the box:

  • 1x Rifle Company HQ (with 2 teams)
  • 2x Rifle Platoons (each with 5 teams)
  • 1x Machine-Run Platoon (with 4 teams)
  • 4x 3” Stokes Trench Mortars
  • 2x OQF 18 pdr Field Guns
  • 1x Mark V Male or Female Tank
  • 1x Mark IV Make of Female Tank
  • 1x Mark A Whippet Tank
  • 1x Sniper

GBRAB02 Mitchell's Marauders

This box has an overload of units that will more than fill out a 100-point army. I love it as it gives the ability to build a  flavourful and competitive army.

But first, let's look at what the British bring to the table for our enjoyment. They are a very capable army with unique abilities that stand them in good stead against the nasty Germans.


As trench fighters, the British are renowned for sticking around. As such they have a better-than-average counterattack. This allied with their infantry having an assault rating generally being better than their usual skill rating making them excellent up close with the enemy.

There are essentially two levels of experience and training for the British and territorial armies. This is reflected as a  “Line Division” and an “Elite Division.” While the Line division is essentially confident trained, the Elite divisions are confident veterans. The Elite Divisions also have the ability to attack at dawn and as such create more interesting strategic possibilities for the British player.


As mentioned above there were territorial armies, ANZAC and Canadian divisions. These are even better trench fighters and were used as frontline shock troops that the generals relied heavily on to lead an assault.

The basic British full infantry platoon is comprised of:

  • 5x SMLE rifle teams
  • 2x Hales rifle grenade teams
  • 2x Lewis MG teams

This is a devastating combination for any of the Germans that choose to confront them. With 5 rifle teams at the front, the Hales rifle grenade teams behind with the ability to shoot overhead and the MG teams providing flanking fire creating a deadly killing field. The grenade teams have a 4+ firepower to dig out any stubborn foes that choose to stand against them. This is all before they assault and add to the carnage they have already delivered.


The Machine-gun platoons were true damage dealers and that was reflected in them being aggressively targeted by the enemy. These platoons suffered one of the highest if not the highest casualty rate of all units within the army. And when you see they have a RoF of 6 halted this reputation is well deserved. They also have the option to be deployed in HMG nests or Pillboxes.

The 3” Stokes mortars provide a cheap option for direct overhead fire to clear trenches and pin down the enemy. These can turn a battle at just the right moment.

The Great War was well known for its massive bombardments before a new engagement. This is brought to the table with the ubiquitous OQF 18 pdr field guns. They can provide deadly direct fire or brutal suppressing bombardments.


The flavour is turned up a notch with the armour that comes with this box. We have 3 varieties; The Mark V*, the older Mark IV and the speedy Whippet. The first two are truly lumbering behemoths. Being Landships they can be damaged but still retain some ability to function. Also, the Mark V* and the female versions of the Mark IV are mobile fortresses and roll two dice when assaulting as they bristle with machine guns. The Whippet lives up to its moniker being the speedy tank on the field. It carries an MG with RoF 6 halted or moving. This can cause carnage flanking or in a direct attack.

I have found, that with Great War, the more competitive armies rely on combined arms. Also, I find this a more enjoyable game as there are so many ways to attack and defend using combined arms. As such, I created a 100-point army as  follows:

Line Division Rifle Company HQ

Line Division Rifle Platoon 11
Line Division Rifle Platoon 11
Line Division Machine-gun Platoon 11
Line Division Trench Mortar Platoon 5
Line Division Trench Mortar Platoon 5
Green Mark A Whippet Tank 9
Green Field Gun 9
Green Field Gun 9
Veteran Mark V* Hermaphrodite Tank 24
Sniper 4

I have chosen to make a Line Division Rifle Company. I have chosen line division just for their cheaper points and for giving me more options on the table. Also, for the purposes here, we can see how flexible the Mitchell’s Marauders starter truly is.

As you can see, I have a Rifle Company HQ of 2 teams ably supported by 2 full platoons of infantry. This provides me with a  solid defensive platform that can be quickly turned to attack if needed.

Next is what I call my scary unit. I have 3 Vickers HMG teams on purpose. This gives me more flexibility depending on the mission generated. I can deploy them individually, creating devastating fields of fire or in an HMG nest to provide for greater survivability. I chose 3 teams as this is what is needed to use for a Pill Box giving a 2+ save instead of the normal 3+. This could be crucial in the right mission.


I’ll jump to the OQF 18 pdr next, as they are great at suppressing infantry and have the flexibility to take down the  German copycat tanks they throw at you.

I chose the Mark V* Hermaphrodite so I had the flexibility of more MGs and a mobile 2 pdr gun to take down the  German tanks. The Whippet is a flexible piece that can be used situationally.

I have included a Sniper team as I grew up on a diet of ANZAC day and heard stories of how effective snipers were in that theatre. This single unit can be a game-turner. It can take out a tank with one shot or suppress an enemy platoon at just the right moment. Also, when used in ambush, it can be deployed in no man’s land to confound the enemy further.
There are so many more formation variants with this box set that I have not even touched on. You also have the ability to add cavalry or armoured cars. Also, there are more varieties of tanks and you can take allies from the French, Belgian or US to flesh out your army further.

With this new look at what the British bring to Great War, I look forward to seeing more of you across the table or in battle reports or generally sledging each other on social media about our respective armies as we are prone to do.

~ Duane