Having been focused on Late War for a while Battlefront’s attention has swung back to Mid War with the release with not one, but two supplements. One for the US and one for the Axis Airborne forces. The British should join in the fun once their LW release is out.
Today I’ll be revealing what the US have on offer.
Small but perfectly formed
At 19 pages the ‘All American’ booklet is a compact but welcome addition to the Mid War force. The book allows you to field a Parachute Rifle Company and a Ranger Company. Eight unit cards and seven command cards are also included. With the command cards you may also field a Glider Rifle Company.
As well as the normal army lists you get the usual high quality historical background and graphics just like the Fighting First book. Background wise, the focus of the book is on the 82nd Airborne, as well as the Rangers, across the Mid War period; from Op TORCH, to Sicily and into Italy right at the end of the MW period in Sep 1943.
With the newly released Paras, the model range for the forces in MW is already there. Thus a new player who has purchased a force for D-Day, could easily represent them in Sicily using the booklet or a Ranger Company using the normal rifle company models. It’s certainly nice that models will get some extra mileage.
Lets take a look at what a typical Para Company is going to look like.
HQ 2 x Carbine Teams
Platoon 1 – 7 x rifle/mg teams, 1 x 60mm mortar, 2 x bazookas
Platoon 2 – 7 x rifle/mg teams, 1 x 60mm mortar, 2 x bazookas
Platoon 3 – 5 x rifle/mg teams, 1 x 60mm mortar, 2 x LMGs
4 x 81mm mortars
4 x 75mm Artillery
3 x 37mm guns (utilizing the included command cards)
That weighs in at 72pts. Now at first that seems a lot however lets break this down.
- The stats for the US Airborne are the best in the game. Fearless, Veteran and Cautious.
- With these stats, and combined with the 14 inch dash, they can move up the table fast and I mean unnervingly fast. This unit, with a follow me (on a 3+), can move 18 inches. That will take many opponents by surprise.
- The platoons are large, you can even push platoon 1 and 2 up to 12 strong by adding the LMGs (Total 76pts)
- A hefty four templates can go downrange including two smoke bombardments, perfect for getting the fast troops up and successfully into assault.
- With bazookas, AT guns and even ROF 2 artillery, you have an answer to armour of various kinds.
- Your bazookas hit on a 4+ in assault. That will make a Tiger, Churchill or KV think carefully before assaulting.
With the addition of three M10s (or Shermans), a recon patro,l plus my favourite “arsenal of democracy” card (re-roll a reserve dice) and you hit the magic 100pt mark.
Rangers Lead the Way
The second force in the book are the deadly Rangers. These provide an alternative elite force to the US, which are Aggressive, Fearless and Veteran. They also come with the “deadly” rule giving them a 2+ assault. Ouch!
As you can see the Rangers historically didn’t have the integrated company level support that their Para cousins do, they purely consist of rifle platoons and mortars.
HQ 2 x Carbine teams
Platoon 1 – 7 x rifle/mg, 2 x bazookas, 1 x 60mm mortar
Platoon 2, 5 x rifle/MG, 2 x bazookas, 1 x 60mm mortars, 2 x LMGs
4 x 82mm mortars
Okay, the formation is a lot cheaper than the paras, although lacking the artillery and guns. That said you can get two max size formations for 64pts. That’s four fearless/vet platoons, each packing two bazookas and an integrated arty template plus two smoke bombardments thanks to the 81mm mortars. I would also like to point out that those AT10 bazookas hit on a 3+ in assault.
If running dual formations this brings me to 64pts, allowing 4 x M10s (or Shermans), and a recce patrol. I may even drop a 60mm mortar to gain the arsenal of democracy card.
Aggressive infantry can be a tough force to play. However, fearless allows them to quickly unpin. While harder to get into assault, this can be mitigated by the two smoke bombardments and their speed of advance. Once in assault the enemy either breaks off or takes a second round of horrific 2+ to hit assaults. Sounds like fun.
The included command cards offer a few interesting options as well. With the Glider infantry card you can now field a glider rifle formation. This is basically the rifle formation out of Fighting First however you gain trained instead of green ratings. At 1 pt a platoon, I think this is great value. I have often sighed as my mortars fail to hit anything and huffed as my infantry fluff their assault rolls. Also it makes the bazookas hit on 5+’s in assault rather than 6’s providing a welcome extra deterrent to medium and heavy armour.
Finally one of the Command Cards caught my eye. Col James Gavin was the CO of 505th PIR and wrote the book on airborne tactics basing a lot off previous German experiences. His card allows you to re-position a unit after deployment as well as have units pass blitz on a 2+ if their leader is within 6 inches of the formation commander. That means your M10s could preposition to face flanking armour as well as blitz out of cover on a 2+ (hopefully followed by a scoot and scoot). Potentially a nice tactic and equally valid to re-position a para platoon to road block the enemy once they have tipped their hand during deployment as to the flank they will focus on.
Wrapping it up
The All American fills a missing piece of the Mid War US story. These iconic troops have always proved popular and breath new life into your Mid War battles. Even better those new players who have perhaps invested in a Para or Ranger or rifle platoon in D-Day maybe even starting their journey with the hobby league, now have an easy way to dip their toes into sandy world of Mid War.