Friday 11 October 2013

(Some of the) Armies of France and (some of) the Allies

Given my fascination with the smaller armies of WW2 I was looking forward to seeing the Bolt Action army book covering France and the Allies and luckily the postie dropped it off just before a rather lengthy telephone conference ("sorry, can you repeat that, the line is a bit dodgy").

As previously stated I have picked up some early war French and also some miniatures suitable for the Army of the Levant so I was pretty excited by the prospect of this volume. Given it included some other interesting armies such as the Poles, Norwegians, Dutch and Greeks I thought I would be in pig heaven. Actually I'm a bit disappointed.

I'm not quite sure what I imagined but Warlord have restricted themselves to pretty much the Blitzkrieg era so for the French (who fought though out the war on various sides!)' we have theatre selectors for the Phoney War, Battle of France and a broad Defence of Vichy. Given the detail and variation the so-called major nations have, this was a tad disappointing. Further, whilst you could use the American volume for a Free French force in 1944-45 or a British one for the Poles in Italy (similarly restricted here to a few weeks in September 1939), they won't have the specific rules that set them apart from the armies they are attached to and supplied by. 

Ok, I could do this myself, and probably will if I want to raise specific Free French or Polish late war units, but I think I am an exception, judging by the comments on the Winter War Kickstarter many Bolt Action (and Chain of Command) players cannot see beyond the official lists...

No doubt space was the issue, as well as lack of demand, but it would have been nice to include some more theatre selectors for the later war French, Poles etc, even if the vehicles were only in the US or British book.

Dutch infantry at the Battle of the Grebbeberg, May 1940
The volume also shows how narrow the Osprey book range is. In other volumes we are treated to pages of wonderful artwork, here we have whole sections with no illustrations at all (whether that is paintings from Osprey or miniatures from Warlord). Critise Battlefront all you want, their book including the Greeks includes photos of their 15mm Greek army).

Greek infantry counter-attack the Germans on the Metaxas Line, April 1941
The book also includes an army list for a Partisan platoon, which in itself is pretty cool, but is very vanilla trying to cover everything from Tito's partisans through the Polish home Army to the Marquis in one list with two theatre selectors (early and late war).

Overall, there is enough to go on with here (and I am lowering my expectations for the Italy volume now accordingly), but it does go to show how narrow minded the interests of WW2 gamers are when it comes to raising armies and playing games.

And, no, there is no Chinese army list despite them supplying thousands of troops and fighting throughout the war...


  1. I am a fan of the less-frequently seen armies as well. For FOW, I have been working on a Commonwealth Army in North Africa. This is a lot of Sikh infantry. Yup, turbans and all. I am also contemplating Polish Paratroopers for Market Garden games. Because no one else is doing them near me. We do have a fellow who is a fan of the French and their colonial troops. He has Senegalese troops painted up, for example.

    Does it cover the Chetniks of Yugoslavia as well, or just Tito's Partisans? I suppose it would work for either, as you mention it is rather bland.

    1. No, it's just a partisan list covering all partisans. The partisan squad in the Soviet book has more flavour...

  2. I'm interested in the Norwegians but, as no one makes any in 28mm (yet), it's a bit of a non-starter.

    1. Gorgon Miniatures produce eight (sculpted by Mike Owen) but they don't have an LMG. I'm hoping Gav does it as a natural extension of the Winter War.

  3. Mike Owen!

    He of the Foundry Conquistadors???

    I'm off.....!!

    1. He of the Artizan Designs Americans as well...