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Looking At The North Africa US Command Cards

Looking At The North Africa US Command Cards
with John Lee

When V4 of Flames of War released, alongside the books were Unit Cards and Command Cards – this was new for the game.  The Unit Cards have all the stats as in the book and rules for that unit which meant you could refer to them more easily in the game, rather than having to flick through different sections of the Army book.  The addition of the command cards allowed the army book to be streamlined with the core formations and units whilst the specialising, upgrading, downgrading, warriors and non-standard formations and units moved to the new card pack.

 Each Army Book has their own set of Command Cards and for this article we are focusing on the third set that was released when V4 came out – Fighting First.  Please note that you find the American Parachute and Ranger Command Cards in the Airbourne Pack.

The Command Cards are made up of the following different types:

  • Force – Cards affecting your force overall
  • Formation (Type) – Cards affecting the selected Formation Type
  • Unit (Type) – Cards affecting the selected Unit
  • Build – Allows you to build a new Formation Type or alter an existing one
  • Limited – Only one of these cards can be in your force
  • Warrior – Adds the selected Leader or Personality to your force.  You may only ever have one Warrior in your force

Some cards are a combination of the above eg Build, Limited and there are 38 cards in the pack in total.

Starting off with the six Force specific cards:

  • Hail Mary (Limited)
  • Dummy Minefield (Limited)
  • Tank Raid (Limited)
  • Don’t Know When They’re Beaten (Limited)
  • Arsenal of Democracy (Limited)
  • US Army Airforce (Limited)

 The most common card played if you have a spare 1pt lying about is “Hail Mary” giving you the ability to reroll any one die.  Useful for that critical situation where a re-roll can change the course of a game!  “Dummy Minefield” allows you to redeploy a minefield in a mission where they are used or add one if the mission does not use them for 5pts.  “Tank Raid” automatically stops your opponent from receiving air support for the first time they turn up for 1pt.  For 2pts discarding the “Don’t Know When They’re Beaten” card allows one Unit to automatically pass all their Rally, Remount, and Last Stand tests for that turn – use for that key Unit you need to stay in the game.  “Arsenal of Democracy” card when discarded, means you can re-roll all your Reserve rolls for 1pt for that turn.  Can make the difference when you are in a bind waiting on those key armoured reserves!  The last card “US Army Airforce”, when discarded, can be used if your aircraft fail to arrive.  Roll a die.  4+ they arrive, 2 or 3 no show, and roll a 1…they arrive but controlled by your opponent!  All these cards are “Limited”, so you can only have one of each in your force.

Looking At The North Africa US Command Cards

 Next up are the twelve Formation specific cards:

  • Marksman (Limited)
  • True Grit (Limited)
  • Hidden in Plain Sight (Limited)
  • Cut Them Down (Limited)
  • Ferocious Valour (Limited)
  • Charmed Life (Limited)
  • First of the First (M3 Stuart Tank Company)
  • Old Reliable (M3 Lee Tank Company)
  • Palm of Victory (M3 Lee Tank Company)
  • Bullseye (M4 Sherman Tank Company)
  • Fortify the Building (Infantry Formation, Limited)
  • Linebacker (Infantry Formation, Limited)

 The following cards apply to the Formation Commander.  Starting with the “Marksman” card gives you the ability to only have hits the score on your opponent swapped on a 4+ instead of 3+ for 1pt.  “True Grit” card, when discarded is where Units with their Unit Leader is within 6” and line of sight of their Formation Commander automatically pass their Last Stand test for that turn, for 4pts.  “Hidden in Plain Sight” for 4pts gives your HQ unit concealment when halted.  “Cut Them Down” gives you the ability to reroll failed hits in Defensive Fire when assaulted for 1pt.  “Ferocious Valour” gives you TWO dice to hit during assaults for 3pts.  “Charmed Life” gives the ability to automatically pass an armour or infantry save made by the Formation Commander by discarding this card for 2pts.  “First of the First” gives the M3 Stuart Formation Commander the ability to re-roll one failed Firepower test for their 37mm gun in each Shooting Step for 1pt.

Looking At The North Africa US Command Cards

 The next two cards apply to the M3 Lee Tank Formation.  The first is “Old Reliable” which gives your Formation Commander’s M3 Lee tank the ability to re-roll all failed To Hit rolls during the Shooting Step for 2pts.  The second is “Palm of Victory” giving you Halted ROF 3 with the 75mm gun and Halted ROF 2 with the 37mm gun using the Secondary Weapon rule!  Combine these command cards to give your Formation Commander Halted ROF 5 with re-rolling failed to Hit rolls?  Nuts!

One for the M4 Sherman Formation titled “Bullseye”.  For 4pts, your Formation Commander ignores the +1 penalty for shooting on the move with its Stabilisers.  Nifty!

The final two relate to Infantry Formations.  “Fortify The Building” is exactly that!  Choose a building that Infantry from the Formation are hunkering down in, and they will have a 2+ save for the rest of the game – all for 2pts.  “Linebacker” for 1pt gives your Formation Commander Infantry Team the ability to hit on 4+ in Assaults.  Nice!

Now onto the Unit specific cards of which there are four:

  • Roll Over Them (M3 Stuart Tank Company HQ, M3 Stuart Tank Platoon, Limited)
  • Charge the Guns (M4 Sherman Tank Company HQ, M4 Sherman Tank Platoon)
  • Favourable Position (M10 Tank Destroyer Platoon, Limited)
  • One Objective (M10 Tank Destroyer Platoon, Limited)

The first of these, Roll Over Them” allows the M3 Stuart Unit to Counterattack on a 3+ for 1pt.  “Charge the Guns” for 3pts gives the M4 Sherman Unit the ability to pass Follow Me tests on 3+ and then may shoot after passing the Follow Me test.  Why stop there – get that assault in as well!  Insanely good!

Looking At The North Africa US Command Cards

The next two cards are for the M10 Tank Destroyer Platoon, with the first card titled “Favourable Position” that allows Shoot and Scoot Movement Orders to be passed on 3+ for 3pts.  The other is “One Objective” where the Unit Leader may re-roll one failed To Hit roll in each Shooting Step.  Combine these to make sure your ambush is successful and allow them to get out of danger!

Looking At The North Africa US Command Cards

Next up are the twelve Build specific cards:

  • Softskin Transport (Infantry or Gun Unit)
  • Courageous and Faithful (M3 Stuart Tank Company HQ, M3 Stuart Tank Platoon, Unit)
  • It Shall Be Done (M3 Lee Tank Company HQ, M3 Lee Tank Platoon, Unit)
  • Charge the Guns (M4 Sherman Tank Company HQ, M4 Sherman Tank Platoon, Unit)
  • Old Ironsides (M4 81mm Armoured Mortar Platoon, T30 75mm Assault Gun Platoon, Armoured Recon Patrol, Unit)
  • Regulars, By God! (Armoured Rifle Platoon, Unit)
  • Unity is Strength (Armoured Rifle HQ, M1917 Armoured MG Platoon, 37mm Armoured AT Platoon, Unit)
  • Always Prepared (Rifle Platoon, Unit)
  • No Mission too Difficult (Rifle Company HQ, M1917 MG Platoon, Mortar Platoon, 37mm Anti-Tank Platoon, Unit)
  • Ranger Platoon (Unit)
  • M3A1 Armoured Recon Company (Formation)
  • Engineer Combat Company (Formation)


"Softskin Transport” applies to an Infantry and Gun Unit for 1pt.  This gives your Gun Units in particular an option to move to other locations where needed or to come in from reserve.  If you use captured 6pdrs, you can move them to the other flank (I have done this in a tournament more than once!).  You need to be careful though as they have a Tank Save of 5+ meaning if they get hit you have 33% chance of saving the transport.  If it gets destroyed, the passengers are destroyed, and all Transports sent to the rear immediately.

The next seven cards effectively upgrade the unit’s ratings – reflecting more experienced units.  “Courageous and Faithful” bumps up the skill from “Green” to “Trained” and being hit from “Reckless” to “Aggressive”.  This is an auto-include card for any M3 Stuart units in your force for 2pts per unit.   “It Shall be Done” upgrades M3 Lee Units skill from “Green” to “Trained” and being hit from “Aggressive” to “Careful” for 6pts.  The restriction is you are limited to three tanks in the Unit.  “Careful” is the best armour in the game and puts your units on par with your opponents’ armies in Mid War.  “Old Ironsides” (2pts), “Regulars, By God!” (7pts), “Unity is Strength” (2pts), “Always Prepared” (4pts), “No Mission too Difficult” (2pts) have the same upgrades but are not restricted to limited number of teams.

“Rangers Platoon” allows you to build a Fearless Aggressive Green Platoon for 9pts that comprises 7 x M1 Garand rifle team, 1 x M1 Bazooka team and can assault on 3+.  This card is different to the Ranger Platoons found in the compilation book in that it is Fearless instead of Confident and assaults are better – so consider this option, if you like Rangers but want to only take a Unit instead of a Formation.

Looking At The North Africa US Command Cards

The final two build cards are formations.  The first is the “M3A1 Armoured Recon Company” and gives you the option to take on enemy recon forces.  It comprises the following units:

  • 1 M3A1 Armoured Recon Company HQ
  • 2-6 Armoured Recon Patrol
  • 0-1 T30 75mm Assault Gun Platoon
  • 0-1 M3 Stuart Tank Platoon

Refer to my article on building a US force based on the new starter set here as I have some options to build this formation including using some of the command cards mentioned here.

The second formation is the “Engineer Combat Company”.  The formation comprises of:

  • 1 Armoured Rifle Company HQ
  • 2-3 Rifle Platoon
  • 0-1 37mm Anti-Tank Platoon

It costs 1pt to take this formation (in addition to the unit costs) and allows Infantry Teams in your formation cross minefields safely on 3+ and both Infantry and Gun Units dig in on 3+!  If we combine some of the upgrade cards to the units to make then Careful, we have the core of a solid formation that can attack or defend.  Add the mobile AT, recon, and artillery options to round it out.

Looking At The North Africa US Command Cards

A near full strength Formation with all units upgraded and the M10s getting the card to help them with getting out of danger from ambushing.  We have used six command cards for this force and provides some flavour.  To add even more flavour, we could remove the third small Rifle platoon and provide a Warrior (see below – probably “Nicholas Minue”) and the following Command Cards – “Hail Mary”, “Don’t Know When They’re Beaten”, “Arsenal of Democracy”, “Cut Them Down”, “Ferocious Valour”, and “Linebacker”.  

Last, but not least, are the Warrior Cards and we have four to choose from. The first is “Commando Kelly” for 3pts and applies to a Rifle Platoon. In each Shooting Step, you pick one Infantry Team from the unit.  That team may re-roll all failed To Hit rolls. The Unit also has a Last Stand rating of 2+!  

The next warrior is “William Wilbur” and applies to the Formation Commander of a Rifle Company for 2pts.  He may grant a re-roll for one failed To Hit roll and one failed firepower test roll to a either a M3 Stuart, M3 Lee, or M4 Sherman within 4” in each Shooting Step.

Another warrior for an Infantry Formation is “Nicholas Minue” costing 2pts.  This card is very cool.  At the start of an Assault, roll a die for a friendly team in the Assault.  On a 4+, discard this card and make one Infantry team in the Unit hit on 2+ in Assault combat and always counterattacks – even if the rest of his unit breaks off!  Insane.

The final warrior is “Paul Robinett” and is for your force overall and costs 3pts.  At the start of the game, after deployment, you can reposition one of your Units within your Deployment Area. If a Unit Leader is within 6” and line of sight of their Formation Commander, the Unit digs in on 3+!

There you have it. There are some flavourful cards in the pack, and you can mix and match depending on your playstyle and what you want to represent. Enjoy!

Last Updated On Thursday, February 24, 2022 by Luke at Battlefront