A Gentleman’s War Starter Set – 8th Army

Box Contents

The British 8th Army half of A Gentleman’s War is an all plastic force containing:

  • x4 8th Army sprues (24 Infantry) – Plastic
  • Humber Mk II/IV Armored Car – Plastic

The Early War Desert Rats List

Standard Reinforced Platoon
2nd Lt (Rifle) – Vet – 6565pts
Medic – Vet – 3030pts
Regular Infantry Section (Early War) – 9 men – 9090pts
Regular Infantry Section (Early War) – 9 men – 9090pts
Boys AT Rifle – Reg – 3030pts
Light Mortar – Reg – 3535pts
Armored Cars
Humber Mk II – 95
Armor 7
Light Autocannon w/ coax MMG
Total7 Order Dice435pts


  • Rifle – 19
  • MMG – (1)
  • Light Mortar – 1
  • Light Autocannon – (1)
  • AT Rifle – 1

(x) denotes a vehicle-mounted weapons.

Notes and Analysis

The objective of this list is two part – 1) use as many of the components from the Starter Set as possible and 2) make a List that is an ‘even’ match to the German side. Please keep in mind, this List was written using only the content of the Starter Set.

Unlike Starter Armies, Starter Sets are built to provide two forces to be used against one another. Because I wanted to create two even forces that used as much of A Gentleman’s War as possible, the point total of the list is completely arbitrary. Thus, this list (like the German one) uses all 24 bodes, the armored car and contains some components of uniqueness – the two lists are not exact mirrors of each other. With all the preamble out of the way, we are looking at a 7 Order Die, 435pt. Early War 8th Army list. Let’s break it down.

You may notice I left out the free Forward Artillery Observer. When playing a game at 500pts or less, a free 100pt unit is just too powerful. I hold the same view of the free Soviet Rifle Squad. It’s just too much for such a small game. As soon as you bump up to around 750pts, bring that free Observer!

I fully admit, this list is pretty vanilla. Two squads of Reg. rifles and a bit of support? That’s it? Yep! That’s it. Let’s keep in mind, this is for new Bolt Action players. It’s mean to be an introduction to the game. Sure this list is mostly just two squads of nine Regs with rifles but you need to start somewhere. Those two squads are the basic component of many successful Bolt Action forces. Combined with the Rapid Fire National Characteristic, those squads put out 12 shots at 24″ (at least, until they take a casualty). Luckily, they will be advancing along with a Medic (keep him close to the two big squads) and under the cover of a Light Mortar, Boys AT Rifle and the classic Humber Mk. II.

The Light Mortar is your one and only indirect HE weapon. It may only fire a 1″ HE template but brings your HE up to three 1″ templates per turn. The Light Autocannon on the Humber can also fire two 1″ HE. Remember, the Light Mortar is not a Fixed weapon. Unlike other Mortars, you can fire on an Advance move. Sure you are hitting on 6 when you Advance but it can be enough to force your opponent to shift out of position to avoid the 5+ shot next turn.

The Boys AT and the Light AC on the Humber should be more than enough to deal with the German Sd.Kfz 222. Try to use both the Boys and the Humber to trap the 222 and diminish it’s chances to pull a Recce move. Remember, your Humber is immune to small arms fire, the 222 is not. Being Open-topped, you can put Pins onto the 222 with a rifle. Use that to your advantage.

Because the Humber is Armor 7 and enclosed, you’ll be able to bully your opponent unless they have dedicated AT weapons. When played at under 500pts, there is a chance you’ll be able to drive around without any threats. Focus your initial shots on the units that can hurt the Humber, like AT Rifles and other Armored Cars. If you can remove the enemy units with a Pen value, you can really control the battlefield.

There are many, many other ways to build a British force from A Gentleman’s War. This particular force is pretty straight forward, no tricks, just standard Regular infantry. You could go with a force of Vet Commandos. Or a Commonwealth Indian Army. You have a lot of options!

In closing, how does A Gentleman’s War compare to Band of Brothers and Island Assault? I think this is another step forward and a great improvement. The opposing forces are more equal and provide more options than the previous Starter Sets. This is without question, the strongest two-player Bolt Action sets Warlord has but forward and I’d recommend this box over the other two. Plus more folks diving into Early War, especially the North African campaign, is always a good thing.

What’s Next?

If you want to expand your 8th Army from the Starter Set, maybe push up to a 1,000pts List, I would recommend a few additional items:

  • Get more infantry – I love the plastic 8th Army sprues. Lots of options, additional weapons and they are wearing shorts! But 24 bodies is not going to be enough when you get to larger games. Especially if you are running Regs. Luckily, there are many options out there to bolster your infantry like Offensive Miniatures and Artizan if you want to go metal.
  • Bigger HE Support – You have a great start but the list is begging for a Light Howitzer. The British Light Howitzer is a real gem with both the option for a Spotter and the ability to fire AT rounds like a Light AT Gun. It’s the best Light Howitzer around and fits perfectly in a North Africa force.
  • Add a Tank – The Humber is great! But you are probably going to need a bit more punch in the list when you scale up to larger games. How about the Matilda II? The Queen of the Desert? It’s a great thematic tank that always looks fantastic in the blue/tan camo. There are plenty of the other options like the Honey, Grant, Lee, Sherman, Crusader, the list goes on.
  • Get Campaign: The Western Desert – If you want more North African Theater information, units, missions, Theater Selectors and ways to play – this is the book for you! The Western Desert has rules/info for Brits, Commonwealth, Germans and Italians along with additional rules and missions for special forces like the LRDG and Sahariana. It gives you more ways to play and more options for battles in North Africa…


2 thoughts on “A Gentleman’s War Starter Set – 8th Army

  1. Thanks for the great guide(s)! What do you think of the mirror lists as equipped in the images on Warlord (Officer with 2 buddies, 8 man infantry (SMG NCO 6 rifles LMG), 9 man infantry (SMG NCO 7 rifles LMG), Light Mortar, AT Rifle, Armoured Car)? Trying to decide how to build my box when it arrives


    1. Thanks for reading Dan! I think the lists shown by Warlord will work just fine. A couple of tweaks from me would be to reduce the additional men with the officer from two to one (you’ll want that Small Team bonus for your Officer), remove the NCO SMGs (points to be saved unless you want to add more SMGs) and I’m not a big fan of LMGs in non-German units but that is very much a personal preference.

      But make no mistake, those suggested army lists will work just fine as is.


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