Hi all, Coxer here returning to me oldest FoW love – British Airbourne forces. With the new lists out on Forces of war, I thought now was a good time to look at the new lists covering Operation Varisty, if you want to know my views on British para’s here are thoughts about Market Garden, and Overlord.
So Where to begin? Well there are three lists, Parachute Company (British and Canadian), Airlanding, and Airborne Armoured Recce (AAR). Interestingly all of them including the AAR are Infantry (now it’s been changed to mech)– even though the AAR has no infantry in it’s core platoons. So what are the big changes if any? Well firstly there is the new rule ‘All on the same page’ which shows the closer co-operation by ground forces so that there are no ‘allies’ in the list, just all one big force.
The next big addition is small but powerful the panzerfaust! All Airlanding and Para platoons can upgrade the platoon commander to have a Faust. This is designed to capture the history of allied forces using captured ones in combat, the disadvantage of course is that unlike in German forces the Faust is not ‘magic’ but on the other hand a Faust + up to two PIAT’s finally gives you a British infantry unit which doesn’t always need 6Pdrs Backing them up!
The Airborne Recce platoon has returned, this time consisting of Universal Carriers and Dingo’s, as have the Airborne Assault platoon – this time as Motorcycle Pioneer Rifle teams – an interesting combo for which I think I’ve only seen in EW previously.
Other ‘new’ units include the airborne recce machine gun, and airborne recce mortar platoons, both of these are FV versions of existing units, the recce machine gun unit is composed of MMG carriers, which can’t dismount their HMG’s (on a side note there is no longer the restriction of HMG’s being unable to bombard – just saying), whilst the recce mortar platoon consist of ML 4.2” mortars – just what I like vs infantry in foxholes.
Alongside this you get some support from the existing armoured forces in the area, Recce platoon’s of humbers and Carriers, Guards Churchills (who convey on their riders a 3+ save – a very nice option for this force on the attack!) Independent armored platoons including DD shermans, and some M10 17Pdrs – this is of course alongside the existing 6 Pdrs and 17 Pdrs.
You also get the ‘Overlord’ artillery options, 75mm Pack Howitzers (without ‘medium support’) 25Pdrs, and BL5.5’s.
The final new option is of course the Airborne armoured recce platoon, whilst they retain the option for cromwells as found in Overlord, they now get the Locust to replace the tetrach – this little beauty is mobile, being both a light tank and with wide tracks, but continues the tradition of no armour (1,1,1) and a pop gun (2, 7, 4+) – I will be buying 4 at some point though!
So where does all of this leave a player when it comes to making a list? Well as always British Airborne forces offer any player that nice option to mix rock hard defense with Night attacking death. I think the big advantage of three AT weapons in an infantry platoon is not to be over looked. 6Pdr’s will always form an essential part of this force, as will smoke. The really interesting options with smoke are the variety of sources, mortars, heavy mortars, pack howitzers, etc. Whilst access to decent armour from churchills and cromwells will help anchor forces as well as add a little mobility to the list. My first take a 1750 is this
So whats the thoughts with the list then? Well you get the two core platoons, with their three AT assets. Recce is small and to the point, and there are two smoke sources – the the heavy mortars being my favourite unit to remove entrenched gun teams cheaply! I’ve tried to get a nice balance of ‘attack’ and ‘defense’ with the support. On defense, Churchills can sit happily on objectives, as the 6Pdrs support the troops, and the SP anti tank is a nasty surprise in ambush – whilst on attack the troops can hitch a ride on the churchills – and lets not forget tow-hooks – i wonder if the 3+ save also applies to the guns they carry…. and they can fire direct smoke after the M10’s have shot first.
Well I hope this has been informative and insightful, and I just now need to persuade Winner to resurrect our great rivalry of the past – British Airborne Vs Fallschirmjager…