The British in Flames of War represent a force that allows the player to stick around and methodically crush their opponents under steady and effective firepower. This does not mean that a British force is always slow or cumbersome ( an all too often generalization in FOW). The British universal special rules go a long way in creating the medthodical style of play that appears on the table, and also represnt some of the best rules in the game. I will break down the late war special rules into three main categories: Motivation,Firepower and overall doctrines.
Motivation: The two rules that have a large impact on a British force staying around in battle are British Bulldog and “Carry on Sergeant” British Bulldog is arguably the best single rule for British and allows ANY British platoon to re-roll motivation tests to counter-attack in an assault. The motivation test to counter attack is one of the most important and imperative rolls required in the game and allows British units to keep attacking in the assaults. Since no infantry saves are allowed in the assault phase, simply getting bases into contact over and over again is essential to having a victorious round of assault. This rule is especially important for confident trained list as they will likely not be causing many casualties or have a great chance to pass required motivation tests. British bulldog allows players to outlast opponents that may be superior in numbers, veterancy or motivation. The rule is also very important for British armored units since they almost never have more than four vehicles, meaning many rounds of combat are needed to cause casualties.
A perfect chaser to the already powerful Bulldog rule is “carry on Sergeant”. “Carry on Sergeant” allows leaderless British platoons to take motivation tests to counter attack instead of having to break off. Such a rule obviosly complments the already long term assult phase for the Brits and allows heavily damaged platoons to continue in the fight. Keep in mind that even though the platoon is leaderless, they still get to re-roll failed test using the British Bulldog special rule.
Firepower: A key to any British list, commonwealth or otherwise is the large amounts of firepower they can bring to bear on their opponents. The British special rules compliment this doctrine nicely with “semi indirect fire” and their various artillery rules (which I will write a separate article on).
Semi Indirect fire allows various tanks in the British arsenal to re-roll misses with their main gun when they did not move and are firing at an enemy platoon over 16 inches. This rule allows for a methodical style of play if one wishes as British tanks are sat back and simply pound away at enemy positions. Such an ideal situation is often hard to come by, however, since most British tanks are only moderately armored. Semi indirect fire is most powerful when combined with the armor killing potential of the 17 pound gun on the Sherman firefly tank. The firefly can sit back in an over-watch position while the rest of the regular tanks of the platoon move forward to flank or attack the enemy armor.
Semi indirect fire also has marvelous potential when defending since tanks can take up stationary concealed positions and pour re-rolled fire into on coming tanks and infantry. The most important element to remember of semi indirect fire is to know its uses and how it is very situational on the table. It can be an excellent tool for knocking out dug in artillery or infantry, but wanes in usefulness when heavy armor or concealed and gone to ground veterans are the target. Most importantly, never let the rule force you to stay stationary with your armor. Always move if necessary and use Semi Indirect fire as a mere bonus to your armor component.
Overall Doctrines: The British more than any force besides the Soviets, have special rules that directly affect the overall army on a whole. As opposed to affecting individual unit performance such as German rules, the British doctrines have force wide affects that can greatly alter games and play styles. One such rule is the Night Assault special rule which allows for Rifle Companies to begin the game at night if they are attacking in a game with defenders dug in and when they have the first turn. Such a rule greatly reduces incoming fire (shooters must role for distance at night) and also reduces the movement of tanks to eight inches and prevents any unit from moving at the double. The Night attack doctrine, more than any other rule, allows for a British player to take their time in the attack and move up to their enemy as a relatively intact and powerful force. The rule also allows for British players to place their units eight inches closer to the enemy, reducing the turns of incoming fire by even more.
On a whole, the British rules represent a force that can potentially overwhelm its opponents with massed, consistent firepower than can be maintained over several turns. Aided by the above universal rules, the combined force of a well constructed and handled British list can be an extremely difficult force to stop.