The British 8th Army Starter Army is a mix of plastic and metal models containing:
- x6 British 8th Army Infantry sprues (36 Infantry) – Plastic
- 8th Army MMG Team – Metal
- 8th Army Medium Mortar Team – Metal
- 8th Army 6-pdr Medium AT Gun – Metal
- 8th Army 25-prd Light Howitzer – Metal
- x2 Universal Carrier ( with 8th Army passengers) – Plastic/Metal
The Commonwealth Army Strikes Back List
|Eighth Army Reinforced Platoon (Sicily)|
|2nd Lt (Rifle) – Vet – 65|
x1 Buddy (Rifle) – 13
|Forward Artillery Observer – Reg – 0||0pts|
|Commando/RMC Subsection (MTO, 1943) – Vet – 5 men – 85|
NCO SMG – 2
x4 SMG – 8
Behind Enemy Lines
Up and ‘at ’em
|Irish Infantry Section – Vet – 8 men – 104|
x1 SMG – 3
Tough Fighters – 8
|Canadian Infantry Section – Vet – 8 men – 104|
x2 LMG – 40
Stubborn – 8
Tough as Old Boots
|Veteran Infantry Section (Early/Mid-War) – Vet – 8 men – 104|
|Light Mortar Team – Reg – 35||35pts|
|Medium Mortar Team – Reg – 50|
Spotter – 10
|MMG Team – Reg – 50||50pts|
|Medium AT Gun – Reg – 75|
|Light Howitzer – Reg – 55|
Spotter – 10
|Recce Carrier – Vet – 72|
Pintle LMG – 10
Forward Facing AT Rifle – 10
Turn on the Spot
|Universal Carrier (Late-War) – Vet – 72|
Forward Facing MMG – 5
|Total – 13 Order Dice||998pts|
- Rifle – 22
- SMG – 8
- LMG – 2 (1)
- MMG – 1 (1)
- Light Mortar – 1
- Medium Mortar – 1
- Light Howitzer – 1
- Med. AT Gun – 1
- AT Rifle – (1)
(x) denotes a vehicle-mounted weapon.
Notes and Analysis
The objective of this list is two-part – 1) use as much of the Starter Army as possible and 2) make a List that works at a competitive level. Please keep in mind, this List was written using only the contents of the Starter Army.
I misspoke in my previous 8th Army Starter Army list. There is a Theater Selector that can utilize all the options in this Starter Army box. Nestled deep in the pages of Campaign: Italy: Soft Underbelly, the 8th Army Reinforced Platoon (Sicily) provides a force organization for us to make the most out of the 8th Army Starter Army. Specifically, the options for two Mortars and two pieces of Artillery. For this 1k army list, I went all out. I took a full sampling of Commonwealth units to create a multi-national coalition force.
Thoughts on tactics:
This list provides you with all kinds of specialized infantry and support teams. The four Infantry squads can be divided into two groups – close assault and fire support. The Commandos and Irish are your close assault elements. The Canadians and British are your fire support.
Breaking them down individually, the Commandos (17pts per model, yikes) are crazy expensive but come with four Special Rules. Each one of those 17pt Vets come with Behind Enemy Lines, Tough Fighters, Up and ‘at ’em, and Achnacarry Training. Consider using this squad at a late-game Outflanker (Behind Enemy Lines) that dives in from a deep flank and blasts 10 SMG shots from close range. You want to set yourself of an assault (Tough Fighters). You also don’t have to worry about needing to Order Test when making the assault move (Up and ‘at ’em) and they can make a 9″ Run through Rough Ground (Achnacarry Training). The Irish have both Tough Fighter and Vengeance. You’ll want to move this squad up using cover and once you get close, move for the assault. Vengeance will help make sure you are able to pass that Order Check to make the assaults. To support your assault elements, the Canadians can provide long-range LMG fire (x2 LMGs in the squad) and will keep firing until the unit is killed (Stubborn). Finally, the 8-man British Infantry Section can move up within rifle range to dump extra shots (Rapid Fire) onto the enemy. You have four distinct Vet infantry squads, each with a role to play.
To ensure your infantry are able to do what they need to do, we have just about every support option under the sun. You won’t have any trouble winning the indirect fire battle with two Mortars and a Light Howitzer. Establish control early and eliminate the enemy fire support. The free Artillery Observer is great for Pinning (and possibly destroying) static units in addition to your indirect. We also have some solid AT. The Med. AT Gun can lock down a large section of the table and the British Light Howitzer has the option to fire as a Light AT Gun. There is also an AT Rifle on the Bren Carrier.
Finally, you have a bit of speed with the two Carriers. The Transport version has been upgrading with a hull MMG and will do just fine as a mobile MMG platform if you choose to leave the Commandos on foot (not a bad call). The other is has both the pintle LMG and AT Rifle. Remember, this one is not a Transport and also has Recee. You’ll be able to zip this little guy up a flank for a cheeky side armor shot or lay down some Pins on infantry.
What an interesting force! I’m not going to make any claims that this is “optimal” but it sure has flavor! You are probably better off focusing in on one or two of the infantry options to really take advantage of some synergies but this army will be super fun to play.
Considerations for next steps and expanding your Canadian collection:
- A Tank – You need a tank. Luckily, you have a host of options. You can go with something cheap like a M5A1 Stuart or the other end of the spectrum with a M7 Priest something in-between like a Sherman V. Whatever flavor you pick, it will be a welcome addition.
- Campaign: The Western Desert – This Starter Army is tailored for Campaign: The Western Desert. The book not only provides historical background on the Commonwealth 8th Army but also new units and a host of Theater Selectors. Not only that, there are new Army Special Rules for South Africa, India, New Zealand, and Australia. Of course, you can use the National Characteristics in Armies of Great Britain to represent a Commonwealth force, but the Army Special Rules in The Western Desert provide even more options and uniqueness.
- Campaign: Italy: Soft Underbelly – If you want to run this army list you need this book. There are many, many other Theater Selectors available as well. We are only looking at one of options. You create a full Canadian Platoon or Irish or Highlanders or Indian or Commando. Seriously, if you want 8th Army flavor outside The Western Desert, this is the Campaign book you want.