On Your Tod – Todforce in Flames of War

This is something of an aside to the Taurus Pursuant series as the matter of Todforce was starting to overwhelm the final part.  So, without further ado, Todforce.


You haven’t heard of Todforce?

Well, to be fair, I hadn’t heard of it either until I started reading up on the 11th Armoured Division.  But, when I did they certainly sound like an interesting force.  


By 1945 the British faced two problems: not enough men and too many anti-tank guns.  Each armoured division had an anti-tank regiment that was equipped with 12 towed 17pdr and 12 M10 (3” then, later, 17pdr armed versions).  Heading into D-Day this provided the armoured brigades mobile anti-tank to augment their limited number of 17pdr and offered the infantry brigade towed guns to secure the ground they captured from the inevitable German counter-attack.


However, 11th Armoured Division adapted its organisation as the war progressed, quickly moving from a rigid division of infantry and armour to flexible battlegroups that paired one of the four tank regiments (including the armoured recce regiment) with one of the Infantry battalions (including the armoured brigade’s motor rifle battalion.  The towed AT guns quickly became irrelevant in the mobile breakouts fought after Normandy then, again, after the Rhine River crossing.  Additionally the introduction of the Comet rendered the M10C somewhat redundant; every tank had the firepower of the 17pdr to hand, as well as a better HE round, plus smoke.  With German panzers scare and infrequent, a dedicated anti-tank regiment was a man-power luxury no-longer justifiable.

Indeed, what the Division needed now was another battlegroup.  It gained this by taking the somewhat redundant 75th AT Regiment, dissolving its two towed AT gun batteries and re-equipping the M10C with a greater proportion of, admittedly underwhelming, HE rounds for the main gun.  The towed gunners that were freed of their gunnery duties became infantry, presumably acting like two under-strength motor rifles from their former gun tow M5 halftracks (though its possible they may have lost those, sadly the books are not clear on the exact composition the infantry used). 

The reorganized unit would become known as Todforce, after their CO, Lt Col A F Tod.


Todforce was generally used to secure ground as 11th Armoured Division advanced into Germany.  V2 sites, bridges, ammo dumps and industrial areas all needed holding until the infantry divisions could relieve the division of its burden.  In this, Todforce proved an invaluable resource, often following and relieving the Inns of Court. 

It was also used more actively; soon after its formation  it was tasked with holding Liebanu and taking Lemke in the face of moderate opposition.  Later, as the war came to an end, they would clear Forst Lintzel, Forst Munster and the town on Munster itsel, being backed up by the mobile bofor guns of 58th Light Anti-Air regiment.

Whilst the common logic is that tank destroyers should not be used as tanks, Todforce appears to have served well as an ad-hoc force and General Pip Roberts noted them as being a well motivated force.


So, that’s what we have to work with.  How do we field it?

As noted above, the exact composition of Todforce’s infantry component is never detailed so we need to make some assumptions.  Firstly, 17pdr gunners would have had rifles and a Bren per gun and acquiring PIATS and Light Mortars would likely not be difficult.  The guns would have been towed by M5 halftracks (likely without 0.50 cals) so, again, it’s fair to assume the gunners would have retained those.  To my mind this makes a motor platoon a good surrogate for the unhorsed gunners.

The other normal trappings of a motor rifle company; its anti-tank platoon, machine gun platoon and medium mortar platoon are less likely to be present and I think it’s fair to assume Todforce would not have access to them.  However, it is possible that they may have received MMG and heavy mortar support from the Division’s machine gun company, though that was likely fully tasked to support the 159th infantry brigade.

The Universal Carriers normally operated by the gun troop HQs could have found a new role acting as recce carriers so I’d suggest that gives us our mandatory troop of Carriers.

Assuming we take each every unit, with transports but no weapon upgrades that gives us a 24pt formation if we stick with just the 75th AT regiment, 39pts if we add the potential support from the MG Company, though we can save points by dropping some of the M5s.

So that’s our core.  Of course we need the other part of Todforce, the M10s.  The Berlin Bulge ones receive APDS rounds which pushes the AT15 and the points to “pricey”.  However, it seems a rare excuse to be able to justify there being two boxes so I feel we should take all eight M10C we can.

At this point we have what feels like a good Todforce core of:

Motor Company HQ in M5
Motor Platoon in M5
Motor Platoon in M5
Motor Platoon in M5
Universal Carrier Patrol

M10 (Late) SP Anti-Tank Troop with 4 x M10C 
M10 (Late) SP Anti-Tank Troop with 4 x M10C 

That all comes to 68pts giving us plenty of options for support.  

Taurus Pursuant notes Todforce as working in concert with the Inns of Court so a troop of Daimler armoured cars and one of Dingos wouldn’t go amiss and a full Inns of Court armoured car formation also throws some interesting options like the AEC Mk. III armoured cars for fire support.

Another unit mentioned as working with Todforce is the 58th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment.  Equipped with towed and self propelled Bofors guns, these provide some useful firepower versus light armour, infantry and, of course, aircraft.

Todforce could also call upon fire support from the Divisions two artillery regiments, providing a  large quantity of 25pdr support to help break up attacks or suppress defenders.  Its also not unreasonable to assume that Typhoons would be on hand to lend support.

To finish off this article here’s an example force I cooked up.

10 thoughts on “On Your Tod – Todforce in Flames of War

  1. This is some good work, Lee. Nicely done!

    I think in non-tournament games, I’d ask my opponent to let me put the M10s within the core Formation since I *suspect* that would best represent the usage and relationships, at least as translated to Flames of War lists.

  2. I love the really obscure historical forces
    For all it’s faults, V4 will let you do most of them with a bit of thought like here

    Plenty of redundant British units became infantry, it could have been a good excuse for a command card with slightly worse stats and nothing besides rifles and Brens

    1. Yeah, it does lend itself to a card. I do hold out hope for the occasional card pack of interesting units to add to existing packs. It seems a good way of revisiting old content.

      1. The Command Card system does lend itself to adding new stuff to existing books

        An Arnhem & Oosterbeek pack for example, with CharB1 Flamms & “Porsche” King Tigers amongst terrible infantry

        1. Yep. I wait with interest for the previously mentioned “Italy” pack to see what BF plan to do with this concept.

  3. Would the “ATk gunner infantry” not be mounted in Crusader towers? This would be akin to a Crusader for mobility and a half track for protection. I think this is cover in the Mark Bevis books on British and Commonwealth OOB

    1. Possibly. I couldn’t find any reference to what vehicle was used to tow the 17pdr so assumed the default of the M5 Halftrack. It’s possible they had the various refitted tank chassis tow vehicles but I figured this would have been more worthy of mention in the historical record if it had occurred.

      Certainly more scope for further research to verify one way or the other!

        1. ISBN 1-874622-18-3
          Helion order of battle 3 – does not look much but full of good stuff

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