Tuesday 18 June 2013

Bolt Action: Building my British Infantry at 500pts

Now I have my figures, thanks Tamsin, I need to work out my force composition. Normally I build my forces on paper and then buy the figures I need but this time I need to make the figures I won fit a force.

My first thought was to make all the 'extras' from the box (PIATs, mortars, snipers, lmgs etc) to maximise the points and then use what's left as my troops. But on reflection I decided that was a bad move as the core of the force should be the infantry. So I looked at what was compulsory and then what would be good additions.

So I have to have an officer and two squads, each of five men minimum, I also get a free Forward Artillery Observer as the British 'perk'. This uses twelve of the twenty five figures in the box. I thought about giving them some anti-tank capability with the PIAT but discarded that idea. It's unlikely that I'll be facing much in the way of armour at 500 pts plus the PIAT only has a range of twelve inches limiting it's effectiveness.

The next thing I looked at was artillery support. Getting a free FAO is nice but you only get to call in one barrage which may or may not be effective. So I decided to include the 2" mortar. It's not particularly powerful but it gives your opponent something else to think about plus some well timed smoke may make the difference between success and failure for an assault. This brings my running total to fourteen figures used.

Like most wargamers I have a thing for snipers so adding a sniper team was a no-brainer. Having them sitting on an objective picking off advancing NCO's can really stall an enemy advance as well. Which brings my total to sixteen figures.

My force is a little short on firepower so I decided to add a Bren gun to each of my squads. There is some discussion as to whether LMG's are worth the points but I like the longer range and extra firepower they bring. This leaves me with seven figures spare.

So I've added three infantry to each squad making them nine man squads. I decided to use the last figure as a Medic because it gives me an extra dice and in a small force being able to cancel out a casualty could be crucial.

Next I had to decide on the various options like regular, veteran, weapon choice etc. To do this I used the army builder spreadsheet from BoltAction.net. This gave me the following force:

Veteran 1st Lieutenant
Medic (Veteran)
Forward Artillery Observer (Regular)
1st Squad: NCO with Sten, LMG, 7 Riflemen (Veteran)
2nd Squad: NCO with Sten, LMG, 7 Riflemen (Veteran)
Regular Light Mortar
Veteran Sniper Team

This works out at exactly 500 pts and uses all the figures in the box. It's far from being the best 500 pt force you could build for the Brits but it has the benefit of being free. Now I've decided on my force it's on to the hard part, assembling the figures. I think plastic miniatures are the way to go for lots of reasons but I hate the fiddly assembly. This is my first set from Warlord so I'm interested in seeing how they go together.


  1. Ferb, it sound spot on to me! With good battlefield tactics they can kick some butt.

    1. That 'good battlefield tactics' part may be a problem ;-)

  2. Sounds like a reasonable "short" platoon and it will be great to see them assembled and painted :)

    1. There's a spray tin of Khaki winging it's way to me as we speak.

  3. I recently bought the new Band of Brothers box set and the Armoured Fury box as well, however I really want to be patriotic and play British, so also bought the basic British Infantry box with 25 figures. Now as a complete novice in this game and in any WW2 gaming I am clueless on how to build these 25 figures, but after looking at your suggested list for 500 points I am a a bit more confident that I can make good use out of the box, Thanks.


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