Come on You Sons of…

  1. Today, Duncan looks at a blast from the past; Flames of War Great War.

Hi Duncan here and today I’m going to look at my latest side project – The Great War.

Sometime I think Wargamers in general can have a certain amount of soft mattress syndrome about us; the thing that touched us last leaves the greatest impression. Now that is certainly true for me from time to time and the latest impression that I have had left on me was the wonderful podcast Hardcore History by Dan Carlin and specifically the series entitled Blueprint for Armageddon all around the First World War.

I’ve found this series so compelling that, usually whilst painting or commuting, I’ve listened to the 20+ hours of podcast multiple times. To me the First World War had, up until recently, been the reflection of the Great War Poets at school; a trip as a teen to Vimy Ridge; Black Adder; and the stagnation futility and horror of the Western Front, made recreating the fighting there as appealing as a wisdom tooth extraction. This podcast changed everything.

As the recollections of the Great War slide from living memory and enter the great waters of the historic past it seems, to me at least, that more and more light is being poured on the murky waters of the period and with the 100 year anniversaries of some of the most titanic struggles mankind has ever inflicted upon itself are brought into the general public domain, the more fascinating I found it.

The perceived popular opinion, and mine up until recently, was a mire of mud and industrialised slaughter by machine gun and artillery across the same shattered terrain year after year; this is probably true of the Western Front in the mid-War years of 1916 – 1917 but the early part of the Great War with the Battle of the Frontiers and the poorly named Race to the Sea and the 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht were dynamic moving battles were the very fate of Europe was on a knife edge.

US Marines Counter-Attack at Belleau Wood

With all that in mind I found myself draw into the gloomy parts of the Battlefront website looking at the variety of options that the Great War range held. There are, already, some gamers locally with British and German troops so I didn’t want to overly duplicate – I would have to take on the Germans but wanted to expand upon their opponents. It therefore boiled down to the French or the US. The French were extremely tempting but ultimately it was this quote attributed to Marine Corps NCO Daniel Daly during the Battle of Belleau Wood that tipped the balance:

“Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?!”

Reading around the American involvement their eclectic mix of early war vim and vigour and their use of French equipment and British helmet just solidified my gut reaction that this was the force for me!

Daniel Daly

So to create the 3rd Battalion 6th Marine Regiment I looked at what was a logical place to start. As a box set, Brett’s Brawlers was the obvious place to start – and included the machine gun company that Daly can lead – I’m not sure that I would always use the French Tank elements so I also added some 75mm guns and Trench Mortars into the mix.

The list I’m currently working towards is:

As you can see the Great War points values are high compared to V3/V4 equivalents – the full battery of 4 x 75mm guns is over 700pts! I’ve made the Marines CV as I think that they showed in the aftermath of the Battle of Belleau Wood that they were well motivated and trained troops that were more than capable of holding their own against the Germans. I will see how they perform in game and I might tweak them based on how they perform on the table top.  I think a point’s value of around 2000pts is going to be necessary to get a decent amount of troops on the table.

Everything has now arrived for the Americans so I will crack on with getting them on the battlefield and next time we’ll look at their counterparts in the form of the Kaisers Stormtroopers.

4 thoughts on “Come on You Sons of…

  1. A great flames period that sadly doesn’t get as much attention. Will be glad to see more content on it in future

  2. I had the same thought process with choosing which nation to go to. Went with French in the end, though this was influenced by a clearance sale on Firestorm games. And the St Chamond is a beautiful tank. Thanks for sharing! Look forward to your next article

  3. Not to steal your THUNDER, but I too was looking around the Army list to find a compliment to the LGS Opponents. While looking through the WW1 battle list I also found the Battle of Belleau Wood which intrigued me, not to mention the strong sense of Honor and Respect for my Father, a FORMER Marine.
    After taking on the task of building my Army I plan on making a double sided battlefield with the likes of Belleau Wood on one side a Trench system on the other.

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