So British Recce lists have acquired something of a bad name due to tournament players using them as M10C/Crocodile delivery systems. In this article, I want to try and rehabilitate the armoured car by taking a deep dive on the Inns of Court and seeing how we can make a 100pt list that is both based around an armoured car formation, effective in a competitive game but bound by the limits of what would reasonably be expected to support the “Tip of the spear” that the armoured car regiments represent.
By the time of the D-Day Division, Armoured Car regiments were held as a corp asset. Inns of Court, for example, were a 1st Corps asset. Over the campaign, the Armoured Car regiments switched increasingly to being a divisional asset, joining the Armoured Recce Regiment of the division as a recce screen for the division.
11th Armoured’s Armour car regiment was the “Inns of Court” regiment. In the UK legal system, the “Inns of Court” is the organisation that all barristers belong to and maintains a supervisory and disciplinary role, as well as providing various services to its members. One extension of this was the forming of a volunteer regiment during the Napoleonic Wars, the “Bloomsbury and Inns of Court Volunteers”. It was here, whilst under review by King George III, that he dubbed them the “Devil’s Own” base on their pre-war day job!
By WW2 the Inns of Court regiment had become a light cavalry regiment. Serving initially as part of the 9th Armoured Division, they were shifted to 1st Corps direct control and made their combat debut on D-Day, when C squadron was given the task of dashing off the D-Day beaches darting deep into enemy-held France, and blowing up bridges to prevent reinforcements from hampering the liberation. The feedback from this raiding action was that the Dingo was a far better recce platform than the Daimler and so the regiment restructured around light troops (with two patrols of two Dingos) and heavy troops (with three Daimler Armoured Cars, one with the turret removed to create a sawn-off Daimler and act as a Dingo for the heavy troops). These were backed up by the heavy AEC Matador Mk.III armoured cars providing fire support and the US-built Staghound served as a roomier ride for the squadron HQ troop.
The Inns of Court worked closely with the 11th Armoured Division, eventually falling under its control and wearing the Tarsus Pursuant black bull by the time the Division reached Germany.
They led the division over the Rhine and linked up with the SAS jeep patrols, who fell under the ICR’s effective control. The two units worked to scout out and secure river crossings, assess towns for enemy presence and keep the 11th Armoured moving on its advance to its final destination, Denmark and the Baltic Coast.
In the Game
The Inns of Court are represented by the “The Devil’s Own” formation build card.
This differs from the “Armoured Car Squadron” formation card in the following ways:
*The core units go from being 2-5 Daimler Armoured Car troops to 1-3 Daimler Armoured Car troops, plus 2-6 Dingo Recce Patrols
*We gain a Matador Armoured Car troop
This revision to the regular squadron better reflects the ICR’s re-arrangement to Heavy and Light troops. The Dingo recce troop does over-represent the Dingos slightly with each light troop ending with 2×3 Dingos, not 2×2 but, having run two-car Puma platoons, I shan’t complain too much!
The Inns of Court also ran a unique organisation with the AEC. Whereas most Armoured Car squadrons only operated them in pairs, ICR operated them in units of three. Thankfully the Matador card does allow for this.
On a final organisational point, whilst there is a card for the Sawn-off Daimler I would not recommend using it. This is because it changes the Daimler Armoured Car Troop from being two Daimlers and one Dingo to one Daimler, one Dingo and one SOD. This is correct for the 11th Hussars (who invented the SOD) but the Inns of Court organisation of Two Daimlers and one SOD can best be reflected by using a standard Troop and counting the SOD as the troop’s Dingo, given its stats are effectively the same.
So, how do we combine all this? Obviously, we need to start with our core formation, the Devil’s Own.
HQ Platoon- Two Staghounds – 4pts
Whilst the Staghound is twice the cost of the Daimler HQ, I love those big armoured cars too much to turn them down. The extra armour doesn’t make much difference outside of small arms and the 2cm autocannons on most German recce vehicles, but losing overworked and gaining an extra MG shot are nice.
Platoon 1 – Daimler Armoured Car Troop (2 Daimler, 1 Dingo – 2pts
Platoon 2 – Daimler Armoured Car Troop (2 Daimler, 1 Dingo – 2pts
Platoon 3 – Dingo Recce Patrol – 1pt
Platoon 4 – Dingo Recce Patrol – 1pt
The core units here are formed of two heavy troops (Daimler Armoured Car Troop) and two light troops (Dingo Recce Patrol). With three Dingos per patrol, it just as much reflects an under-strength light troop as an over-strength patrol so I’ve matched two such patrols to the two heavier troops.
Platoon 5 – Matador Armoured Cars – 6pts
The three-strong AEC troop is nearly mandatory as it brings a cheap smoke bombardment, artillery bombardment and also direct smoke, HE and AT fire that really helps the little guys out.
Platoon 6 – Black Bull Motor Platoon with 4 M5 Halftracks – 7pts
The Motor infantry platoon would be an easier sell if they had the pioneering ability that they should have, but they do still bolster the squadron, even if the motor platoon is hard to love compared to a rifle platoon.
All that comes to a massive 23 points.
Next up is the support.
SAS Section with three SAS Jeeps with three extra MG and a 0.50 – 5pts
SAS Section with three SAS Jeeps with three extra MG and a 0.50 – 5pts
2 x Armoured SAS Jeeps Command Card – 2pts
Behind Enemy Lines Command Card – 2pts
As mentioned in the background, the ICR worked closely with the SAS after crossing the Rhine. Having acquired a couple of blisters of the SAS Jeeps back in v3 I was eager to add them in so took both platoons.
The command cards also provide options for armoured jeep and, given there was no downside to armouring them other than cost, I equipped both units with armoured gunshields, as well as extra MG and the .50 to deal with any light armour. I also took the Behind Enemy Lines card for both patrols to cause some havoc.
All this still left me with 63pts to fill. What I really needed now was some more artillery and the kind of heavy-hitting power that only armour can bring to the party. I could be boring and go with some Sextons and double M10C or Italian Churchills but we set the target of being true to the theme of the force. Instead, let’s look at who the Inns are scouting for; 11th Armoured. Now, the 11th Armoured do have self-propelled artillery and anti-tanks in the form of the 13RHA (The Honourable Artillery Company) and the 75th AT regiment respectively, but these would have been behind the spearpoint supporting the Comets of the 29th Armoured Brigade.
Yep, it’s time to reject 17pdr mediocrity and embrace 77mm HV superiority.
I chose a second formation, the Comet Armoured Squadron.
HQ Troop – One Comet and two Cromwell CS tanks – 19pts
Troop 1 – Three Comets
Troop 2 – Three Comets
Troop 3 –
Dingo Humber Scout Car Recce Troop
The HQ CS Cromwell can provide an extra bombardment (with smoke) whilst two troops of three Comets provide high-end anti-tank, direct smoke and HE fire. With two points left I pondered dropping a 0.50 or extra MG from one of the SAS troops to stretch to a Crusader AA troop but these had really long since been left at the depot so I opted for the Regimental Recce troop and its Humber Scout cars to pitch up. A little redundant but they can lurk out of sight and keep the squadron in combat.
All of that left one point left so I took lucky, partly to keep the Comets in the fight when two inevitably got bailed and the third panicked and partly to annoy Duncan.
To summarise, our force looks like this:
The force gives plenty of options on what stance to take. The Comets provide an offensive option to attack with, backed by plenty of spearheads, artillery smoke and a small infantry component. On the other hand, deep reserves don’t hurt the force with two of the three armoured platoons needing to be in reserve anyway. It probably lacks the raw nastiness of an M10C with Crocs but it still has a decent punch whilst fitting the force theme.
If the TO is limiting formation count then a backup plan would be to drop the Comet squadron and take Sextons, Cromwell (four tanks) and Challengers (four tanks) in support. This still fits the theming, the Hussar units being from the 11th Armoured’s Armoured Recce Regiment, whilst preserving hitting power in artillery and armour.
I now have all the bits to do this (well, I think I technically need one more Daimler recce box) and it will likely be a 2023 project so stay tuned!