Sunday, November 13, 2011

In which our hero takes to the desert

And after many, many nights of getting very, very little done here is my second FoW army - Early War Indian Rifles from Hellfire and Back,

The force is based loosely upon the TO&E for the 11th Sikh Regiment, 4th Battalion, 7th Indian Infantry Brigade of the 4th Indian Division during Operation Crusader, supported by brigade recce from the Central Indian Horse and attached tanks from the 44th Royal Tank Regiment. Even though FoW is a World War II Themed Miniatures Game and it's not likely I'll ever be actually recreating any historical fights, I still prefer to lay my lists over a snapshot of time when possible - some old grognard snobberies die hard.

Here is full 1500 point force arrayed and looking a bit small. Those Matildas eat up a lot of points.

This mob is the HQ, rifle platoons, and mortar section. They all look pretty much the same past two feet anyway. Sikhs were instrumental in my choice of Brits as my nation of choice. I just like the hats. You can usually count on me to pick a force based on the availability of a funny hat. Still, I probably would have played Yanks if they had an early war option to extend my purchasing efficiency. The Sikh rifle platoons were the first figures I bought for the game, and had I been able to grasp infantry tactics sooner this would have been my first army - or more likely a mid war version of this army would have been. Instead, I switched to a vehicles-only Churchill company. Still, the infantry, now that they're painted can be used from the deserts of Africa until the surrender in Italy and fulfill my chief selection criteria of being a core that can span all three phases of the war. A few tanks and weapons stands swapped here and there and these beturbaned troops can make up the bulk of a half dozen or so different lists.

Here we see the daring carrier patrol of the Central Indian Horse. Indian pattern carriers are beautiful little trucks and I lavished a bit of extra brushwork on these out of fondness. I did have to pull out the greenstuff to give the crews turbans. Funny hats being the raison guerre after all.

And rumbling in at the back of the column, as will generally be the case are the four might Matildas. These are beautiful, iconic tanks for the desert war and stand as impervious as they are attractive - or they would be if it weren't for the fact that my opposition pretty much always shows up with an 88 or a coastal battery ready to negate their imposing plates. All things considered, they are as likely to be a costly way to lose a lot of points in a few shots as stalwart spearheads shrugging off all fire. I need to figure out how to deal with the big guns pretty quick. I doubt the mortars will be able to lay enough smoke or pin enough crews to do the job in this list so I am looking at a variant with only three Matildas and a battery of four 18/25s. I've been completely underwhelmed by British artillery in play thus far though so it's a hard sell. In any case, i suspect I will do better with Matildas supporting an infantry army than the other way around because I will get to defend far more frequently, which feels like the better role for these.

The points work out like this:
HQ - 25pts
Rifle Platoon w/ Sticky Bombs - 185
Rifle Platoon w/ Sticky Bombs - 185
Mortar Platoon with 1 section - 60
Carrier Platoon w/ 1 patrol, 1 Boys AT - 95
Matilda Platoon w/ 2 tanks - 475
Matilda Platoon w/ 2 tanks - 475
1500 points

As expandability goes, this force makes a good core, the infantry in particular. I can paint up one more Matilda and grab my six universal carriers from my Tunisia army and field an HaB infantry tank company of five tanks and 9 carriers (some paint-scheme leniency required) to impersonate the Central Indian Horse's exploits around Sidi Rezegh. I can add some engineers and proxy my Churchill III's as NA75s and field Cassino Indian Rifles. I can add a swarm of anti-tank rifles and field the core of a motor company or jock column along with a few new vehicles I still get to have fun painting. Lots to do, but less than if I had picked a force without broad full-war utility.

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