End of the Beginning: El Alamein in Flames of War!

The decisive battle of the Western Desert Campaign, and a turning point in the war. Time to play it!

“Here we will stand and fight; there will be no further withdrawal. I have ordered that all plans and instructions dealing with further withdrawal are to be burnt, and at once. We will stand and fight here. If we can’t stay here alive, then let us stay here dead. I want to impress on everyone that the bad times are over.”- General Bernard Montgomery

It was the day before New Years, and I can see the mistake already unfolding. Having now built up and rather enjoyed making my Late War British Army for Flames of War, and the weather making me unable to undercoat models, I had a thought…what harm would it be collecting a Mid-War British 8th Army force, just for fun?

The price tag of such a force, that I really didn’t think would see much play, was pretty large and almost put me off entirely. Of course, at that same moment I found this, on the website of a store getting out of Flames of War.

I smudged out the price, as I don’t want to get into how much money I spent, or even saved!

This, frankly, was a staggering amount of models. While lacking infantry it covered the armoured side of things quite comprehensively. I had just gotten paid….while I won’t get into details of how much I spent, I will say I saved an insane amount of money, to the tune of hundreds.

I didn’t truly realize what I had gotten myself into until I opened the very large parcel.

Bloody hell, that is a lot of plastic.

It is well over what I can foreseeably use all at once, but I have many options to make varied lists out of. I got cracking the same day, and after a while, got Monty’s Desert Rats out of the way. This consisted of three Crusaders, five Grants, and two 17/25 Pounder ‘Pheasant” Anti-Tank guns.

The Grant is one of my favourite WW2 tank designs. It was arguably the best tank the British had in North Africa until they got the Sherman
A ridiculously tall tank, with both a 37mm and 75mm guns.
Crusaders! Much faster but pay for it with thin armour and anemic weaponry. I’m going to have to rush around the flanks for kills with these tanks!
A quite good looking tank, which shows that looks count for nothing when it comes to performance!
The 17/25 Pounder is a prototype or early production 17 Pounder on a 25 Pounder gun carriage. It’s ugly, but when Tigers are on the prowl, you’ll take what you can get!
It is quite an imposing Anti-Tank gun. I quite like the look of them!

Next up I assembled a troop of Valentine II tanks, sturdy Infantry Tanks meant to keep up with and provide support to infantry…at the cost of speed. Valentines are slow!

The Valentine was a well armoured but tiny tank. They suffered from cramped fighting compartments and anemic weaponry until replaced. Still, it is very good at supporting an infantry advance!
It is actually quite staggering how small these Valentines are! The turret barely fits two men, and with only a 2 Pounder you’ll need to get lucky to get kills.

A 6-Pounder platoon provides some light-AT options. While I also have the large 17 Pounders, there may come a time when I want something less overkill.

Four 6 Pounder guns, ready to strike out. These are quite competent anti-tank guns.
The base is getting awfully cramped!

A Motor Platoon gives my force some infantry, best at taking and holding ground. The detail isn’t as good as the late war British infantry, but they’ll suffice.

A motor platoon, notably missing the ‘motor’ part. I intend to buy some trucks to carry these men into battle, even if they are just for show!
The detail isn’t bad, but the late war infantry are notably better. I still like my rolled sleeves and shorts, so I quite like the look of these guys!

A few Humber Scout Cars help me keep tab on the wily Germans. The Humber is a rather large vehicle, and will help me get my Grants where they need to go.

A metal/resin kit, these weren’t too bad for assembly. Still, I would have preferred plastic.
The detail isn’t too bad however, and with my over-used radio using Tank Commander, it looks the business.

Of course, seeing as neither of my two gaming groups have opposing Mid-War forces at the moment, I thought how bad would it be if I made a small Afrika Korps list to demo the setting and game with? They would be considerably cheaper, as their stuff generally costs a great deal more points.

With one already built tank but the rest on sprue, I got a good deal here.

With that, and a cheaply snagged box of Rommel’s Afrika Korps secured, I started yet another army! While I have only a few models complete, here is what I have started with.

Unfortunately, the built tank was built rather poorly, and the turret was glued stuck to the hull. The other two I built, with long 75mm guns. I might grab a single Panzer IV from somewhere else to replace this one!
The Panzer IV cuts a great profile. A damn good design, and probably the best German tank in the desert. The Tiger was good, but realistically it was overkill.
Panzer IIIs are the mainstay of my German force, and I’ll need three more built for my list. Luckily, I have them!
The mainstay of the German Afrika Korps, the Panzer III offers me a solid tank, with a good gun, and excellent crew stats.

So those are the models! I still have a lot to build, and I’m really looking forward to getting them all done before Lockdown is over.

Now, El Alamein and the North African theatre of conflict hold special places in my heart. My Grandfather served there, and ‘getting it right’ matters a great deal to me. And it is an ideal front to cover with the Flames of War ruleset.

A great picture of plucky infantry capturing a German Panzer.

El Alamein is rightly considered one of the turning points for the Western Allies. As a wargaming subject, you can certainly do much worse! With easily available maps of the battlefield, I’m hoping to make a table that can easily represent different parts of the battle with ease.

With the Qattara Depression preventing Rommel’s signature outflanking move, the British were able to force Rommel to fight a defensive battle, or risk a dangerous assault on prepared positions. This was not something he could do with the supplies he had!

I’m hoping I can snag a player or two locally, after Lockdown is over, to play out some battles on the Alamein front. Luckily, seeing as the rules are quite similar to Team Yankee, it shouldn’t take long to teach. My friends in the city have decided that if I’m willing to do Late War for them, they can do Mid War for me, and Patton’s Fighting First will hopefully see my table. My other friend is going for the Afrika Korps as well, using a different type of list then what I am using.

I’m gunning for you, Rommel!

But that is all I have for you folks today. My recent foot surgery has gone slightly awry, and I’m stuck on bedrest. More time to plan the battles to come! Next time I post about Alamein, I’ll have terrain sorted for it, and some more models built to fight it.

So, Happy War-gaming wherever you are! And Stay Safe everyone!

One thought on “End of the Beginning: El Alamein in Flames of War!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s