I plan to produce a complete company of Home Guard for use with the Crossfire rules.
This will be made up by three platoons of Infantry, a single MG, two squads of Engineers and a FO for the supporting mortars which will represent all the available firepower the regulars can spare. I have two regular mortars which is ample for defending a small seaside town from the German invasion forces.
The first platoon will consist of the eight helmeted Home Guard figures plus private Frazer from the personalities pack. Captain Mainwaring will be the PC.
The second platoon will be made up of seven of the Home Guard figures with caps; I want the crouching figure for the third platoon, the numbers will be made up by Corporal Jones and Private Pike from the personalities. Sergeant Wilson will be the PC.
The third platoon will be mounted on bicycles. I will have two to a stand. The five mounted figures from the Home Guard bicycle pack will form the bulk of the platoon; the extra bike will come from the phone box set and the crouching figure from the Home Guard pack with caps will be mounted on the base next to it. The PC will be the dispatch rider.
The Lewis gun and crew from the Home Guard support pack will be the company MG and the other heavy weapons will form the two squads of Engineers.
The FO will be the chap making a phone call of course.
The Major and Private Godfrey will form the CC stand.
Company transport will be provided by Private Jones’ van which has already been fitted with firing ports in the sides and roof (thanks to Corgi).
The civilians will be mounted two to a 40mm square base to make objective markers. I’m not going to use the spy disguised as a nun so the woman with the bike will be based on her own.
All the pictures here are from the Foundry website. You can compare them to my feeble efforts once the project's been completed.
Here's everyone being cleaned and assembled. You can see Captain Mainwaring and Sgt. Wilson top left.
This rather unflattering close up of Captain Mainwaring shows the final colour scheme I settled on. Khaki is a difficult colour to match, particularly WWII British khaki, I have several pieces of battledress and webbing lying around and no two pieces are the same colour.
The whole figure except the flesh areas was painted with Foundry 29A Moss and then given a chestnut ink wash. The battledress was highlighted in 29A Moss again and then given a final highlight of 29B Moss. The webbing was painted with Foundry 12B Drab, allowing the brown ink to show in the deepest creases and then given a highlight of 12C Drab. The gas mask bags should be a lighter colour than the webbing but, in the spirit of keeping things simple, I painted them the same as the rest of the webbing. Helmets were painted a flat Foundry 26B Forest green.
The pictures below are a little yellowy because my main light broke but they give a reasonable idea of the finished figures.
Captain Mainwaring and his platoon. Frazer in kneeling pointing on the right hand base
Sgt. Wilson and his platoon. Jones, Pike and Walker are together on the base in the foreground.
Some of the personalities and a Lledo version of Jones' van.
The third platoon mounted on bicycles and commanded by the dispatch rider.
The Company machine gun with two stands of engineers behind it. The Colonel and Godfrey make up the Company Commander stand on the right. Behind them the FO is using his telephone to call in a mortar strike. There are six casualty markers in the background from Black Tree Design.
Some regular army support. A Battlehonours field gun with BTD crew and a Bolt Action Miniatures Bren carrier and crew. The gun and Carrier were painted with Foundry 26B Forest Green and given an Orc Flesh ink wash (any dark green will do). They were then drybrushed with Foundry 26B Forest Green and finally with Foundry 26C Forest Green.
Corgi 1:50 van, Corgi 1:50 Tiger, Lledo van.
I've included these photos to show the difference in size between the available Jones' van models so you can make an informed decision about which (if any) to go for if you undertake your own Home Guard project. Buying both can be expensive as both are collector's items now.
There are two versions of Jones' van that I know of. Corgi do a 1:50 version and Lledo do one that seems to be around 1:56 or maybe 1:60. The picture above shows them with a Corgi 1:50 Tiger tank for a size comparison. The Corgi version is a much nicer model with transfers on the back and front as well as the sides and seems to be a better representation of the actual vehicle. The side transfers also show the loopholes so the platoon can fire out of the van. Sadly, since the Foundry figures are on the small side of 28mm, it looks way too big so I went for the Lledo version in the end.
The two photos above show the real cast of the show with their van and my figures with the two models. Even when the bigger BTD Americans enter the picture it's clear that the Lledo model is the better size match. This is good in as much as it's a much cheaper model to buy but a shame because the Corgi one is so much nicer.
Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler
If You Think We're On The Run?
We Are The Boys Who Will Stop Your Little Game
We Are The Boys Who Will Make You Think Again
'Cause Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler
If You Think Old England's Done?
Mr Brown Goes Off To Town
On The Eight Twenty-One
But He Comes Home Each Evening
And He's Ready With His Gun
(So Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mr Hitler
If You Think Old England's Done?)
Sung by Bud Flanagan. Lyrics by Jimmy Perry. Music by Jimmy Perry and Derek Taverner.
Rules for using the Home Guard in Crossfire
The Home Guard were committed to defending their country from the German invasion force and so I'm keeping their morale as regulars rather than green. Their actual fighting effectiveness however I am down-grading.
Each rifle squad rolls three dice for shooting but count as insurgents so cannot kill a suppressed stand of regular troops with a second suppress.
Machine guns and mortars are not hampered by being classed as insurgents.
Home Guard fight at -1 in close combat.
PCs (Mainwaring and Wilson) are +1 (Rallying only, not close combat) and the CC (Colonel Blimp) is +1 including close combat.
The Home Guard player may deploy a platoon of decoy sheep. The decoy sheep platoon is made up of three squads and a PC just like a normal platoon and may move as if it was a normal platoon. It may not fire.
Since sheep will not be bothered by gunfire, even if some of them are killed, a squad of decoy sheep may never be pinned or suppressed. Enemy fire will only score an effect if a squad of sheep is eliminated. This means that the sheep may be used to draw enemy fire and force a 'no fire' or an initiative swap.
Why would the Germans fire at the sheep? Well, at any time the Home Guard player may substitute a real platoon for the decoy sheep platoon. Once this switch has been made the sheep are revealed as real soldiers and the sheep models are removed from play. Only a number of troop squads corresponding to the current number of sheep squads may be substituted. The platoon that is substituted must have remained hidden since the beginning of the game or have been kept off table.
Sheep entering a terrain piece containing hidden enemy forces will reveal those forces but the Home guard player must decide immediately if the sheep are real (and are then removed from play) or are real troops in which case the troop squads are placed on the table and play continues with the German player being unable to carry out ambush fire.
The true nature of the sheep will also be revealed if a German squad or leader stand contacts them.
The Warden can act as an FO. The Vicar can be used to discover hidden enemy troops, he can't be shot at but can be captured if contacted. Winston Churchill armed with his tommy gun acts as a +3 Company Commander and may command all allied troops on the board.
Home Guard Booby traps
In 1940 when Britain expected Hitler to invade at any moment 'Mad' Mike Calvert and Peter Fleming (brother of the more famous Ian Fleming) were given the job of making Kent and Sussex unsafe for any axis invaders.
They went around destroying or booby-trapping piers, organising 'stay-behind' squads of farm hands and other local men and filling the basements of houses likely to be used as enemy HQs with explosives ready for the Germans to move in.
One of their cunning devices was the exploding milk churn. The idea was that these innocuous items were perfect for booby-trapping and could be left almost anywhere in the countryside without arousing suspicion. Consequently many were prepared, ready for instant deployment should the need arise.
Exploding milk churns in Crossfire
I bought a dozen 1:50 scale resin milk churns and based them on two pence pieces. I left the 'heads' visible on the underside of six and 'tails' on the rest.
Obviously, in real life, there would have been many milk churns around and only a few would be bombs. I wanted a way of simulating this and the fact that the local Home Guard commander wouldn't actually know where the booby-trapped churns were because they'd have been placed by partizans and not his own men.
The allied player can place a number of milk churns wherever he wants up to the number dictated by the scenario. Half should be 'heads' and half 'tails'. I would suggest the total available should be two for every enemy platoon with a maximum of twelve unless you're planning a really big game.
The milk churns should be placed in terrain features and will affect the whole piece if they explode.
When an enemy unit enters the terrain feature containing a milk churn the allied player 'detonates' it. He must flip a coin and if the result matches the type of milk churn it will explode inflicting a 4D6 attack on the nearest squad with a 2 squad kill potential (these were very big and nasty bombs) Pins are ignored but a suppression or better will allow the Allied player to seize the initiative. If it doesn't detonate it was a dud or a real milk churn and is removed from play.
German Engineers treat the milk churns as mines and if they roll a 3-6 may take an action to 'disarm' one. The disarmed churn is removed from play. On a 1-2 the allied player flips the coin as normal however.