Back in mid July, I mentioned that I was starting to get back into Flames of War and was starting to get some things painted. Today’s post is quick…ish–mostly just a few photos showing where I’m at with that so far (also done to give me a quick kick in the pants and try to keep my momentum on the project).
When I started getting into Flames of War, the game was set only in the mid-war period of 1942-1943—the other epochs existed, but Battlefront was putting all their energy and resources into covering the mid-war battles and campaigns.
For those unfamiliar with Flames of War, the game handles World War II as three separate games early (‘39-41), middle (’42-43) and late (‘44-45)—which makes all kinds of sense considering the technological leaps made in weapons between the start of the war and the end of the war!
When I bought my first models for the game, I wanted to play the underdog–and the army with the best toys: the Germans.
I say underdog because by the time the North Africa campaign was lost by the Germans, mere months following their defeat at Stalingrad, hindsight shows that the Germans were definitely losing—and going to lose—the war.
However after some other friends mentioned wanting to get into the game….and a bit of thought, I shifted from wanting to play the bad guys to wanting to play one of the overlooked armies of the war: the Canadians.
Once upon a time, Canadians were known less for how willingly they apologise and more for their fighting prowess. Not only did Canadians fight, but in both World Wars they earned the reputation of being among the best fighters of each war!
But that isn’t what got me interested in playing Canadians in Flames of War. A long time ago, I read (Canadian literary treasure) Farley Mowat’s two books on his experiences fighting in the Second World War. One, quite by accident: it happened to be on sale for, like, a buck. A hardcover book about WWII for a dollar? Sold!
The book, “My Father’s Son” was a collection of the personal correspondences between Farley and his family while he fought and served in Italy (then later served in the Netherlands). “My Father’s Son” precipitated my reading his other book, “The Regiment,” which was more an accounting of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment (affectionately known as the Hasty Ps), the regiment that Mowat belonged to. The books showed me how Canada had been involved in the war (beyond their D-Day landings on Juno beach) in two very different ways and ignited in me the desire to know more about the Canadian experience in the Second World War.
Who’da thunk that over a decade later, I’d be using those books to inform what miniatures I would collect (perchance to play) in a war game? It was solely because I read about Mowat’s experiences in Italy that I decided to make my Flames of War army Canadians serving in Italy in 1942-43. Even now, with Late War being all the rage among Flames of War players, I am still more excited to play a humble Canadian Infantry regiment in Italy than anything in north-west Europe at later stages of the war.
With that said, it should be no surprise that I’m fielding an infantry company. In Flames of War terminology, I’m using the Mid-War “North Africa and Mediterranean” handbook to field a British Rifle Company—Italy using the Canadians special rules and platoon-choice limitations.
What this means is that I’ll need a minimum of three platoons (remember, each platoon is made up of three squads of ten soldiers plus one command section)…which means I’ll be painting up a hundred-something, 15mm little men (ack!), not to mention various anti-tank guns, vehicles, tanks and artillery which will be required to support my infantry!
Still, bite-size pieces and momentum will do a lot to see me through.