Lee takes a look at the Bulge British command cards.
Whilst initially not a fan of the command cards based on their somewhat “x-wing” feel on their mid war debut, the late war ones gave generally been a good compliment to the book they work with, even if I’d prefer Equipment and formations were in the book themselves. As ever, Bulge British is accompanied by a hefty pack, so let’s take a look at the highlights.
The Bulge British command card deck features many of the old favourites from D-Day brits; AVRE bridges, mine flails, soft skin and carrier transports all make an every useful return. One thing to note is a subtle change on .50 carriers; it now only upgrades one Carrier per patrol, not the whole patrol.
The Ram Kangaroo makes a couple appearance in the pack; firstly as a gun tractor for 17pdr with Kangaroo Transport, then as the Badger. And, boy, is this Badger angry.
Yep, it’s like a Wasp IIC that decided it didn’t want to get destroyed by MG fire. Mounting the flamethrower on the Kangaroo provides better protection and mobility to help suppress the enemy ahead of a Canadian assault.
The Canadian engineers haven’t been resting on their laurels either. Not content with burning Nazis alive, they also enjoy showering them with PIAT rounds with the PIAT Battery Section.
Mounting a hilarious number of PIAT on the back of a Carrier, the PIAT Battery exchanges a patrol’s Bren Guns for the projector giving a short ranged but FP4+ bombardment for a low cost.
Elsewhere, the Armoured regiments have worked out the Stuart’s main gun turret isn’t worth its weight in gold, or even face hardened steel. Instead they are taking the turret off, mounting a .50 to ward off enemy armoured cars and gaining some sweet ground pressure, calling them Stuart Jalopy
The Jalopy makes for a better recce vehicle, increasing terrain mobility at the cost of firepower and better allowing the Armoured squadrons to use the Stuart’s speed for Spearheads.
Of course, wheeled recce isn’t left out. The Sawn Off Daimler (sadly lacking a PIAT so depriving the Brits of one less Apex Predator), Staghound and AEC Matador all return.
SoDs are, sadly, somewhat a waste of a card, converting one Daimler to a Dingo. The only effect of that change is reducing firepower with no increase in mobility as was the historical effect. If it had gained a PIAT it may have been easier to make a case for the card outside of historically replicating the order of Battle.
The Staghound and AEC fare better, being upgrades for a Daimler Armoured Car platoon. The “Staghound” upgrades the Daimler (2pdr) by bolstering its MG ROF, front and side arnour and removes “overworked” from the gun.
The AEC “Matador Armoured Cars” removes the Dingos and upgrades the armour and gun on the remaining Daimler (2pdr). The 75mm is overworked but provides direct and indirect firepower and smoke.
These new Armoured Cars can be used in Armoured Car formations. The Armoured Car Squadron returns and adds the option for Staghound HQ whilst we also gain a new formation “The Devil’s Own” for the ‘Inns of Court’. Thus unit favoured stealth so has a few units of Daimler Dingo alongside the Daimler Armoured Car troops, all backed up by AEC for fire support.
The recce regiments get a card but BF still seem resistant to doing anything but the Derbyshire Yeomanry due to the firm avoidance of anything to do with the LRC.
The Armoured Cars aren’t the only formation present. 1st Parachute Division receives cards for Royal Engineer companies (who can make use of the Flamethrower) and Recce Jeep companies who can bring a lot of jeeps to the party (but sadly no Polsten AA Guns. Look like they stay in the blister!).
Curious in its omission is the SAS Jeeps. Being a unit in the support pages that previously had a v3 company. I presumed they would get a card but, alas, no.
Along with the new formations we also get title cards for the book formations. Principally these are for the infantry divisions with the Ram Kangaroo Infantry company getting small buffs and nerfs to reflect fresh troop and very, very, worn ones.
Armoured units do receive some cards to; the Guards tanks can include a US airborne formation that *doesn’t* count as an allied formation, bolstering the force, whilst the Polish 1st Armoured Division get Fearless and access to M4A1(76) Shermans. Tasty!
We need a Hero!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a card pack without a few warriors.
Captain Lutterel provides one of two warriors for 11th Armoured; rocking up with 6 Cromwell CS tanks to support the Monmouths. Its a pricey unit though!
The other hero is Reg “Twitch” Snowling, a tank ace with a U-boat to his name. You can discard this card to reroll up to two misses and two firepower rolls for a Sherman or Comet unit’s 17pdr or 77mm fire. Given how often I whiff firepower checks on 17pdr, it’s very tempting!
For the Guards Joe Vandeleur allows Sherman and Kangaroo Infantry formations to better call in Typhoon fire, ranging in the rockets with a reroll on the first attempt.
2PARA gets John Frost and John Grayburn, both of whom make the Parachute company more resilient by either keeping units in the fight or allowing them to replace losses.
These are joined by warriors for the Canadians and Guard infantry too.
As has often been the case with late war, the Command Cards are a good compliment to the main book. Whilst there are some omissions (SAS formation, SoD PIAT) it covers a good variety of units and equipment to round out the British late War experience. I’d still like to see some areas revisited in the future (the 6th Airborne Armoured Recce have not had a chance to shine in D-Day or Varsity) but this will do for now.