Send in the ‘Toms’

“Those Brits are a strange old race, they show affection by abusing each other, will think nothing of casually stopping in the middle of a fire fight for there “brew up” and eat food that I wouldn’t give to a dying dog! but **** me, I would rather have one British squaddie on side than a entire battalion of spetznaz!!!… Why? Because the British are the only people in the world who when the chips are down and there seems like no hope left, instead of getting sentimental or hysterical, will strap on their pack, charge their rifle, light up a smoke and calmly and wryly grin “well are we going then you w****r?”

US Soldier 2005

Today we are excited to reveal the new British Book for Late War focusing on D-Day, the break out and to some extent Market Garden.  For me and many of our writers this has been the D-Day book we have really been looking forward to and comes complete with the first 100% plastic range from Battlefront, plus, wait for it, the return of hard plastic infantry in the shape of Paras (and very nice they are too).  While this wont be a page by page reveal of every stat and card I am going to give a overview of what you can build formations you can build with the book and command cards plus the support options.

The book formations

The majority of the questions we get, at Breakthrough Assault Towers is regarding what is and isnt included on the book.  So without further ado here is what you can expect.

Airlanding Company & Parachute Company:  These boys are fearless, cautious and trained with a 3+ assault thanks to the deadly rule.  This is a pretty big change to previous versions where they were veteran.  However this allows the Commandos, the only veteran formation in the book, to have a more unique feel, plus it helps make the Paras a bit more affordable.  With 6pdrs and 17pdrs as core they can certainly hold their own against armour, in fact more so than the US paras (Airlanding can have eight 6pdr and four 17 pdrs).  Combine that with up to eight supporting 17pdrs (or Achilles) and boy can you make a scary gun line.  Oh and platoons can now take two PIATs, which is nice.

Commands Troop:  Fearless Veteran and Cautious these are the super elite troops of the Brit book, a 2 + assault means they are vicious if they get into close combat.  Limited by lack of core AT however support options make up for this.

Rifle Company:  The good old ‘basic’ rifle company.  Not much has changed since Fortress Europe but you can take up to six Wasps for cheap flaming goodness.  Six 6pdrs at a very affordable price for Twelve AT 11 shots is serious ambush bait.  All units have the war weary role meaning they have 5+ rally.

Sherman DD Armoured Squadron:  A little different to the Shermans in Fortress Europe with platoons coming in 3s only and all Fireflys grouped in a single platoon of three as well.  The key thing is that these Firefly troops are not a black box platoon so can’t be taken as formation support or allies to the US on their own. Six AT14 shots is a nasty ambush, especially against high cost German tanks.  Additionally, as with all the armoured forces in the book, you can also take the Crusader AA, although for Red on Blue battles the lack of Air in the German book means they will be better used to pin and take out gun teams.

Churchill Armoured Squadron:  Now it gets pretty tasty.  Churchills are now FA9 and SA8 ie a Tiger.  They also, by default, sport the 75mm gun, the same one as the Sherman (so have direct fire smoke). Each platoon can also take an AT11 6pdr equipped model. 
The Churchill (Late 75mm), also known as the Churchill VII, is available for the CiC and Platoon commanders bringing the Churchills FA up to 11.  Not as high as in previous editions, but then I always thought bouncing all 88s at long range was a bit much anyway.  A couple of CS Churchills in the HQ also provide a smoke and FP3+ bombardment, as well as a direct fire “Brutal” shot, or smoke, each.

Cromwell Armoured Recce Squadron.  Another long awaited addition.  These are basically fast shermans with a 3+ remount plus the scout rule, meaning you can quickly and safely flank your prey before opening fire.  Of note the recce Cromwells can not take Fireflys so your high AT is limited to support. 
A word of warning, these Crowmells are expensive and come in platoons of 3, however they look like good fun.  7+ to hit is the best armour, so keep them outside 16 inches and use cover.

Sherman Armoured Squadron:  Same as their Fortress Europe build with the addition of the Crusader AA.  However, see later how the cards can change them.

Motor Company:  Again no great changes but addition of Wasps.  

Desert Rats Cromwell Armoured Squadron:  These are the non recce versions and come in platoons of up to 4 with three Cromwells and a single Firefly.  This allows you to keep the Firefly in overwatch while your other three hulls press ahead.  Being 7th Armoured, just like previous versions, you have a 5+ motivation although retain a 3+ remount.  

Desert Rats Motor Company: Same as the basic version but with a point saving for reluctant.  Really good value infantry that is going to create a more defensive force.  They retain a 4+ counter attack so will still be “reluctant” to give up ground.

Desert Rats Rifle Company:  The 50th (Nothumbrian) Division has always been a great list and is close to my heart living near Newcastle.  Again “reluctant” trained but incredible value for a defensive force.  Six 6pdrs will definitely be in vogue.  Given that the basic rifles have a 5+ rally and for me last stand isn’t that big a deal (you have to get my guns to a single stand and nine-strong infantry platoons to two stands), I see these as the stand out infantry in the book.

Card Formation

Here I will go through the additional formations and builds options to create new formations.  

Lovats Boys: The famous relief of Pegasus Bridge.  Allows you to re-roll scattered reserves.

SAS Parachute Squadron:  Allows you to take a mix of para platoons gaining a veteran rating (and 2+ assault) equipped with SMGs and also French resistance troops as core sacrificing integrated AT and mortar numbers.  Looks very cool.

Canadian Recce Squadron:  The first appearance of the Canadians and equipped with Shermans with the scout rule.  No Fireflys though.

Breaching Group:  My favorite, and a newly painted one is on my desk right now (Standby for Batrep).  A mix of Shermans, Crocodiles and AVREs as core.  Perfect to crack the German Beach Defender lists.  

44th Candian Division:  An option for the Sherman Armoured Squadron providing a 3+ remount (similar to how Canadians had protected armour in previous editions). 

Guards Armoured Division:  Allows Guards versions of the Sherman Armoured Squadron, Cromwell Recce Squadron, Cromwell Armoured Squadron and Motor Company.  It grants a 3+ last stand.  I can see this being popular and, given its a card costs (not per unit), rewards big formations.

3rd/4th Canadian Infantry Division:  Provides a 3+ rally to the basic Rifle Company countering the war weary rule.

43rd (Wessex Divsion).  Brings back the cautious not stupid rule from previous versions for Desert Rats Rifle and Motor Companys but with a twist.  It now allows you to auto rally a pinned unit once per game.

51st Highland Division:  The Scots get a look in with their ever popular bagpipes.  Allows a rifle company to near their formation commander to rally on a 4+ instead of a 5+.

1st Canadian Parachute Battalion:  Provides a 2+ rally to the Para Company.  Keep them near the formation commander and those platoons will keep on going like the Duracell Bunny.

15th Scottish Division:  Units may re-roll dig in attempts if within 4 inches of a non bailed out Churchill.

6th Guards Tank Brigade:  Provides a 3+ last stand to the Churchill Squadron.

3rd Division:  Grants a 4+ rally for the Rifle Company.

1st Polish Armoured Division:  Polish have always been popular so great to see them included.  Provides a fearless Sherman Armoured Squadron.

49th (West Riding) Division:  The Polar Bears change the Rifle Company to 5+ last stand and 4+ counter attack for a price drop.  Desert Rats seem better value though.

53rd (Welsh) Division:  As you get close to an objective your troops gain 3+ last stand and 3+ dig in.

Sherwood Rangers: 
Sherman DD Squadron become Reluctant but with a 4+ remount, with a point drop.

Recce Squadron:  A mix of Damiler Troops, Universal Carriers and the option for 6pdrs, a Motor platoon and mortars.  I suspect this will be popular.


Now that we know what to expect from the formations lets look at the additional support options

Damiler Armoured Recce Squadron:  Light scout cars with AT7 FP4+ and the option to increase this to AT8.  Well priced and useful recce.  For me this will be worth the extra point over the universal carriers.

17Pdr:  With AT14 and a 36 inch range,  these will be really popular.  That said its oddly the same price as an 88mm but with worse last stand, shorter range, trained instead of veteran (though that matters less with guns), gains forward firing and is no HE.  Seems a bit harsh compared to the German equivalent. Useful none the less.  

Crocodile Flame-Tank:  Very cool unit.  Sporting a ROF 6, range 6 inch flame thrower, as well as a 75mm gun, all mounted on a FA11 SA8 chassis.  It even has a 3+ remount!  However it can’t assault and may not hold or contest objectives, therefore it needs to be supported.  Comes in a platoon of up to three.  With the breaching group formation you can take a total of six in the force.

AVRE Section:  A big change here to previous editions and now they are very tasty indeed.  Firstly they can move and bombard, potentially, with a blitz, 12 inches.  They may then bombard out to 6 inches.  Much like aircraft, they don’t count themselves for danger close (or they would be useless!).  The template is brutal (so re-roll gun and infantry saves always) and there is no penalty for 1 or 2 guns firing.  Also, wait for it…. they are AUTO FP.  The enemy has to deal with these quickly.   They are well priced, I can see these these being another great counter to the beach defence list.  Only drawback is AT1, however this stops them from being tank killing giants.

Centaur Support Tank:   I am not sure what to make of these.  They are basically a Sherman with a 3+ FP bombardment and a ROF 1 AT 8 brutal FP 2+ direct fire.  Very expensive especially when I could have 3 x DD Shermans, and 2 x AVREs for the same cost as 4 of these.  However its great to see these options included.

Typhoon:  The mighty tank buster is back.  Well priced and with AT5 FP3+ rockets, I won’t be going out often without them in my list.  Perfect to back up your lighter infantry such as the paras.

In summary

This book has shaped up to be what I wanted and expected.  It has a wide range of forces and just like the US book makes good use of the command cards to expand the options.  There are some really interesting units and rules to play with, especially the AVRE.  I can see the Breaching Group being popular and the Desert Rats Rifle Company.  The range of support options combined with the point break for cautious reluctant troops means that I can see British infantry being more viable than it currently is in the meta.  Six 6 Pdrs is really scary.

Perhaps the only shame is that the artillery is still overly expensive.  The points haven’t changed for the 25pdr since Fortress Europe and remains 14 for four  You just can’t justify that points sink for a single 4+ bombardment in my opinion, especially when you get three US priests for 8pts or three Nebs for 9.  That said the AVRE is sure to deliver bang for your buck.

We will have lots more British Articles to come.  I shall be looking at some lists and also doing a battle report with the new Breaching Group.  

26 thoughts on “Send in the ‘Toms’

  1. Interesting article – either there are some errors with card names or some typos. 4th Canadian Armoured Division, not 44th. 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions, not 3rd and 4th. The Northumbrian division was the 50th, not 51st – and no idea what that would have to do with desert rats as mentioned in the article.

      1. Sorry, my comment below was that what seem to be quality checking/proof reading errors on the cards are dissapointing.

  2. I’m very much looking forward to getting my paras back in action (I’ve even gone and pre-ordered another platoon to supplement what I already have!). The change to their profile is interesting, will they have gammon bombs or will these be enabled with the sticky bombs command card?

  3. Hmmm. Some good stuff and some…mmm concerns. I am a bit shocked by the 80% reduction in the AvRes’ AT. Remember the ‘Flying Dustbin’ hits top armour. Perhaps the powers to be want to mandate these beasties stick to clearing defences and not mucking about with Jerry armour. Of course, something is already amuck if you are within Petard range of a panzer. Though, I have been in this sticky wicket a few times/games and it was nice to have a option. Nice review.

  4. No Challengers in the Cromwell Reece Regiments.

    Despite being assured that they would be in the book.

    No veteran infantry apart from Commando’s?


    1. Challengers weren’t promised.

      I’m really happy with trained as a para player the points make the force far more viable and they still have assault 3

  5. Thank you for the enthusiastic revieuw . British Tanks will do, but I really have to think what they did with infantry, dashing out the “reluctant Veteran” Theme of 7 (Armd) Div & 51 (HL)Div to “War Weary” reluctant all the way Infantry.
    Also I share your sorrow of missing types (and Medium) artillery , to support the ‘British Way of war’

  6. Thanks for the article I really enjoyed it. Very excited for the new book. I wish the Challengers and Archers were available but it gives me something to look forward to in the next book. Two Piats are most welcome.

    Watch out for those contractions and “none the less” should be “nevertheless”.

    1. As the book is also meant cover Market Garden , don’t know why they couldn’t be added a direct order only .

      1. Mainly because too much direct order upsets retailers which is the main line of business. Also peter has said they are in the next book.

  7. Nice tease, although it got me a bit sad. All I can say is that the meta for ETC will probably exclude the US book. I see no point in playing american tanks or infantry. You have brits now and they are so powerful. Ok, they don’t have the artillery, but who’s using infantry to assault(attack) this days? The drop in points the infantry get from being trained is immense I fear. And lets not forget they still hit as vets… compare that to US infantry? I’m stuck on the damn 4+ and 5+ bazooka… shame… tanks… US can only have 1 at14 tank… and that is a firefly… Got smashed with the fa8 Churchills, wonder that will happen now that they have 9 or 11? I’m just sad… the other option would probably be to try some germans… but guess what… comparable infantry costs you only have the aggressive or reluctant… you said 88’s are better… but 88’s are not core, lets not forget that, and most people downgrade them to be able to have something else side the 88’s. I just hope that the SS will bring some change. I’m thinking only from the perspective of competitive game-play and I think this long awaited book will ruin any future option to take US armies to tournaments. I they would have made the damn Achilles or Firefly available as support to US players 🙁
    Wonder how do you feel about the impact this book will have on the competitive game scene and meta?

    1. I think this book in terms of competitive play does outshine the Us. That said the Us TDs are still a great list as are ARnoured rifles. The Brit book has a card to add to the Us deck allowing US forces to take crocs as support giving the US a high FA option.

      I think Us will shine in bulge when they get more high end AT. Equally though Brits will change the meta making high FA heavies less playable which will cause a benefit to US lists which struggle against FA8/9.

      1. Thank you for the answer 🙂 I will just stack arties on my American list and hope for infantry :))

  8. Great article! Thanks for covering all the command cards too.

    The SAS formation looks intriguing… is there any more info on what makes up the force org if french resistance are mandatory? Thanks!

  9. Out of curiosity.. When AVREs don’t care danger close for themselves can they fire defensive fire with petard mortars??

  10. Why does the rifle company have 5+ rally?
    Morale was generally good in 21st Army Group, and most units shouldn’t be ‘war weary’ as Normandy was their first action. It fits 51st Highland, but not the rest of the infantry divisions.

    1. The main formation in the book is generic. There are many command cards to change that rating and better reflect specific divisions.

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