Thursday, 11 October 2012

The inspiration

For today's blog post (can you tell I'm killing time until i can actually order some shinies) I want to tell you about the inspiration for me taking up the guardsmens duty.

Like a good number of wargamers out there, i have some military service and it has influenced my life and my view of a lot of things. I spent 6 years with the British Army as a Royal Green Jacket (now a part of 'The Rifles') and spent my time doing everything from a general footslogger through to sharpshooter and mortarman. Trust me mortars were the best bit....but then that's noticeable from their inclusion in the army list.
My regimental or is that mental history is whats pushed me towards guard on so many occasions, but i must confess to having always had a bit of a history soft spot for the second world war. I was that kid that would peer skyward as a spitfire passed over London en-route to a display and get goosebumps. I also had this amazing uncle who was a modeller of all things WW2.

And that's where the inspirations began.

**fuzzy wavy type of flashback animation**

July 6th 1944. D-day Europe.
Cramped into gliders members of the Ox and Bucks regiment silently made their approach for a much overlooked d-day mission.
That mission was for what would become known as Pegasus Bridge. Their mission briefing was simple, take and hold the bridges over the river Orne and Caen canal. It was what was described as a 'coupe de main' operation. Made hours before the d-day landings the troops knew they would be unsupported for long hours and the simplest statement was made to them 'hold until relieved'.
Why was the mission so important?. The bridges were the only crossings that would allow German Panzer reserves a quick route to the landing beaches. If they made it over the bridges they would be free to move onto the beaches and well....history would have been very different.

 **fuzzy wavy type of flashback animation**

But history tells us that they never made it. The mission was a complete success and today it still stands as the finest example of a 'coupe de main' operation. The bridges were taken and held.

That by and large sums up the moment of inspiration for me. If your interested in knowing more theres lots of information out there but the best sources are 'Pegasus Bridge' by Stephen Ambrose (author of band of brothers) or for a more visual and only movie account 'The Longest Day'. 

Combined with that historical image and my own experiences I sat down to write the army list. The basic premise to be of an airborne infantry force that has been deployed and moved in force to take and hold an objective with limited support from air cover. 

An Explanation of choices.

Platoons with 3 infantry sections
This choice harks back to my own service. My rifle platoon was made up of 3 sections. A section in the army is a group of 8 men divided into 2 4 man fire teams. 

Mortar teams
I know in 40k mortars are viewed with some disdain as being useless. This is definitely a place where my choice is for rule of cool over rule of effectiveness. I was a mortarman and i want mortars!

Heavy bolter Fire support teams
Most regiments have access to fire support in the form of General Purpose Machine Guns or GPMG's and the heavy bolter is about as close as you get. They also double up well as 'bren guns' for the WW2 flavour.

Anti Tank Missile Teams

Personally i got to try the 'Milan' missile system and as an anti tank weapon it rocked. This is where the missile teams come in. They also double up as the WW2 piat, a short ranged anti tank weapon that wasn't exactly effective and with my ability to make MISSile launchers miss....nuff said!

Scout vehicles
The Tauros, Venator and sentinels. The Elysian list doesn't allow for any 'armour' per se and for that reason i included these choices. Their real life inspiration, the British Scimitar light tank. 

Vulture Gunships
I needed some sort of heavy firepower and  put a lot of thought into the choice for this. After much ifing and butting i went for the Vultures simply because they had a  two fold appeal, Apache/a10 gunships making strafing runs and also Spitfires!....please forgive me for making silly noises when using these. 

I could easily have gone with the krieg list from Forge World and i must admit to being tempted by the look, but the feel was most definitely more WW1 than current/WW2

So that's the if/but/why of my choices and the general inspiration for the army. Fluff wise I'm writing it but in short it will mostly be derived from the aforementioned Pegasus Bridge episode.