Saturday, 21 January 2023

Going Commando!

With the potential to include some Layforce Commandos in our “what if” Crete campaign I initially looked at building a full Commando troop, or at least a couple of sub-sections. Then fiscal prudence intervened! My research concluded that these amazing fellows did not in fact wear power armour and carry bolt guns. Rather, they were equipped in much the same fashion as regular troops albeit in a much more flexible way. So, I decided to use a mix of my regulars and some additional figures built using the extra heads supplied with the Perry sprues, mainly the woolly cap option. Although maybe when the shooting started they switched to metal helmets? I also picked up the Perry SAS Bren teams pack (the figures wearing the keffiyeh/agal will be saved for the desert war).

The Layforce men are quick to make use of Jerry’s kit!

This will give me the “look” I was after without having to acquire lots more figures.

Pinning down a precise TO&E for the Commandos is not easy. There’s quite a bit of info available but it can be contradictory. Plus their organisation changed quite rapidly throughout the war and was also often modified to suit the circumstances, as you might expect for such specialist troops. Anyway, Orange Dave and I have combined forces and settled on the following of 1 Officer and 30 ORs:

Layforce Commandos

Lieutenant (senior leader) SMG. 
2" Mortar (or Boys AT rifle) and three crew

Two Assault sub-sections, each of 9 men 
Sergeant/Lance Sergeant (superior junior leader) SMG 
Rifle Team
- four Riflemen 
LMG Team
- Bren Gun 
- three crew
- one rifleman

One Support sub-section:
Sergeant/Lance Sergeant (superior junior leader) SMG
LMG Team
- Bren Gun*
- three crew
- three rifleman

Special Rules: Aggressive
Command Dice: 6 (see CoC FAQ)
Force Rating: Elite, +2

*Later Commando forces (‘42 onwards) could replace the support section Bren with a Vickers GO (or “K”), treat as an MG34.

Also the list of supports has the following entry:
List Five, Assault sub-section of 9 men, including SJL, as per main list.

We’re using the TFL British North Africa 40-41 support list as a starting point (minus a few things like most AFVs), then adding in items using the Consolidated Arsenal as we deem fit for a particular scenario.

The Commandos on Crete are reported to have suffered terrible casualties as they made a series of audacious and incredibly brave attacks on German positions whilst providing a defensive screen to allow many thousands of British, Australian and New Zealand soldiers to evacuate from the southern port of Sphakia. Approximately 75% of the Commandos were listed as dead, missing or wounded. Some remained after the island fell, either to help train partisans, or to slip away when an opportunity arose.


George Anderson said...

Tying down OOB's is incredibly hard, especially for units outwith the main force.

The Wargames Table said...

Agreed George. It’s a best guess based on a variety of sources.

Matt Crump said...

Very nicely done, I have been searching the net for CoC Americans and Germans in Italy but not that easy to find 👍

Phil Robinson said...

Looking good, I imagine early organisation would be very flexible to suit as you say.

The Wargames Table said...

Matt, Phil,
Thanks chaps