The new plastic kit for the British and Canadians is fantastically detailed and allows for myriad customization options. Our customer service boffins worked out that there are a possible 396 variations that can be made BEFORE the consideration of optional heads and additional accessories such as maps, waving arms and binoculars.
The new kit is packed with optional extras, with head options for steel helmets, assault helmets and Tam o’shanter caps (for Scottish or Canadian troops), as well as weapons including: Lee Enfield No 4 rifle, Bren light machine gun, Sten sub-machine gun, 2-inch light mortar, PIAT anti-tank projector, Webley service revolver and Mills Bombs, additional accessories and command options.
A British infantry squad was referred to as a section. It normally consisted of ten men and was divided into a separate rifle group and Bren group. Each section was led by a corporal armed with a rifle or pistol and included a lance corporal who was in charge of the Bren group. All the section members apart from the corporal carried ammunition for the Bren – 700 rounds in 25 magazines in all. In addition, all men carried grenades. As the war progressed, additional weaponry was acquired. The section leader and/or second in command would be issued with Thompson or Sten submachine guns (though these were sometimes quietly ‘lost’ to avoid making themselves obvious targets for snipers). Late in the war a second Bren was added to many Veteran sections, whether this was officially part of their issue or not.
Canadian infantry sections were organised in the same way as their British counterparts. From 1943–45, due to the Canadian practice of employing MMGs and HMGs on Universal Carriers, spare Bren guns also became available to some infantry sections. All three Canadian infantry divisions were trained to conduct amphibious landing operations. Canadians participated in landings at Dieppe, Sicily, Italy, Normandy, the Breskens Pocket and the Rhine crossing. 3rd Canadian Infantry Division conducted so many amphibious assaults they earned the nickname ‘The Water Rats’ from Field Marshal Montgomery.
The Commandos established an extraordinary reputation for dash and bravery in World War II. Formed in 1940 by order of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill with the express goal of taking the fight back to the apparently unstoppable German armed forces that had thrown the British Expeditionary Force out of France with such apparent ease. An all-volunteer force, they recruited from all parts of the armed services. Indeed there were Army commandos, Naval commandos and the Inter-Allied Commando regiment which included nationalities such as the Belgians, Polish, Dutch and others.
Commandos fought in campaigns in Europe, Burma, Africa and earned battle honours for many famous actions including arguably the greatest raid of all – St Nazaire.
Commandos were fielded in many different ways - from units of less than a full section up to full assault divisions depending on the task at hand. Superbly trained, aggressive in action, well-equipped and deadly in hand-to-hand combat the Commandos were rightly feared by their German, Italian and Japanese foes.
The Churchill, undoubtedly one of the most successful and famous British tanks of the Second World War, is arriving to bolster your army very soon and here is your chance to grab 3 of the beasts early so you can represent no less than 7 variants on your battlefield and keep the enemy guessing!
The British Army adopted a doctrine centered around the use of light, fast 'Cruiser Tanks' coupled with slow, better armed and armoured 'Infantry Tanks', that would be used to smash the enemy defences with infantry support... and the Churchill was a prime example of the latter - one of the heaviest Allied tanks of the war, it featured thicker frontal armour than that even of the Tiger!
Although it suffered from being under-armed, a defect common to most British armoured vehicles of the period, it was nevertheless loved by its crews: its cross-country ability was unrivalled and it was less inclined to ‘brew-up’ from a direct hit than the Sherman.
It will be no surprise to you to know that it was named after the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, but you may not know that he had also been involved with the development of the tank as a weapon during the First World War.
Taking the form very reminiscent of earlier WWI tanks, the Vauxhall motors built Churchill was the basis for a slew of variants from the MkI with a 2pdr gun to the MkVII 75mm guns. Other versions would see more specialist engineering equipment added including the likes of bridging equipment and minesweeping devices - and a favoured 'close support' option of the 95mm howitzer!
The Universal Carrier, or Bren carrier as it became popularly known, was just that a multi-purpose, tracked and armoured vehicle that filled a whole variety of roles with all British and Commonwealth troops in every theatre of World War II.
Well-loved by the men they supported, they were used to ferry troops up to the frontline, to evacuate wounded, bring up supplies and ammunition and to conduct liaison and patrols. With some 113,000 units built in the UK and abroad, it was the most produced armoured fighting vehicle in history.
Universal Carriers gave terrific service for British and Allied forces throughout the war and also saw good use in the Soviet army. No self-respecting British Commonwealth commander would eschew these trusty carriers to back up his stoic Tommies
To stem the aggression from Germany, Italy and Japan, Britain and her Commonwealth put huge numbers of men into uniform in WWII. Her small but professional army was swallowed up defending a worldwide Empire and soon her forces were shattered and in full retreat, culminating in crushing reverses at Dunkirk and in Singapore. However, Britain stoically declined to surrender and her army was reforged, fighting back against the might of the Axis powers. The Tommies, as they were known, learned new techniques on the field of battles and by war’s end were a highly effective fighting force having fought from the opening of hostilities in 1939 to the war’s end in 1945.
Containing no less than 36 highly customizable plastic infantry, supplemented by weapons teams, transports and a Churchill tank (itself highly customizable as you can build any one of seven variants) this boxed set gives you a highly effective and balanced starting force for a British or Canadian army.