One of the coolest things about working for a wargames company is that, with so many like-minded hobby fiends in one place, casual conversation is almost always about wargaming! This can throw up some unexpected surprises from time to time, as I recently found out! Conversation in the Marketing office turned to weekend plans, and I mentioned that I was thinking about going to our HQ store’s D-Day commemorative tournament on the 8th of June.

The New Plastic Bolt Action US Rangers Boxed Set

Given that the brand-new US Rangers plastic boxed set had recently gone on pre-order, I’ve had Rangers on the brain for a while now, and of course they’re the perfect army for a D-Day event, which I pointed out to general agreement.It was at this point that the challenge was set forth:

“Why don’t you do that, then? You could write an article about the event while you’re at it.”

“Ah,” said I. “I don’t actually have a Ranger army, and the event’s in two weeks, anyway. I’ll probably just take my Germans.”

It was then that I deployed my cunning master stroke.


Swayed by my masterful powers of persuasion, a deal was struck. I could get my hands on the brand-new Rangers, in quantity, before the end of pre-order, provided I got them all built and painted in time for the tournament! “Not a problem”, said I! I’ve done loads of armies on a quick turnaround for tournaments before, so this kind of challenge is right in my wheelhouse!

Before I could be let loose in the warehouse with a basket and an expression of glee, I had to work out exactly what I was letting myself in for, and that of course meant working out an army list – one of my favourite parts of the entire tournament experience!

Masterminded by the HQ Store’s own Conor Hind, the rules for this D-Day event were simple enough but presented a really interesting challenge. A quickfire one-day tournament, 750 points, single Generic Reinforced Platoon, and a maximum of 11 Order Dice – oh, and of course the armies needed to be D-Day themed, and the event is ‘comped’ to prevent any lists that are considered too nasty, so no multi-launcher spam or barbecue armies allowed! For my Rangers, here’s what I’ve come up with:

Unit TypeUnit NameOptionsCost
Infantry (Headquarters)Regular 2nd LieutenantExtra Man60
Infantry (Headquarters)Regular Medic23
Infantry (Squad)Ranger Squad5 Extra Men, BAR M1918A2 Automatic Rifle145
Infantry (Squad)Ranger Squad5 Extra Men, BAR M1918A2 Automatic Rifle145
Infantry (Squad)Regular Engineer Squad3 Extra Men, 2 x BAR M1918A2 Automatic Rifles, Flamethrower110
Infantry (Team)Regular Medium Mortar TeamSpotter60
Infantry (Team)Veteran Sniper TeamSMG67
Infantry (Team)Regular Bazooka Team60
Armoured CarRegular Reconnaisance Jeep40
Self-Propelled GunRegular Mortar Jeep40

750 Points, 10 Dice

Right off the bat, the two biggest challenges were the relatively low points and Order Dice caps – I’m used to fielding armies at the Grand Tournament standard of 1,100 points and functionally unlimited Order Dice, which allows me to get more or less everything I want on the table. Here, though, I had to make compromises, and leave out some units that would normally be an ‘auto-include’ – and get a bit creative with some of the things I did pick!

My bet was that, at 750 points and with a D-Day theme, I’d not be likely to see very many armoured vehicles at all – maybe the odd armoured car or funky 21st Panzer Division SPG – so I could skimp on my anti-tank a bit. If someone brought something like a Panzer IV, my solitary Bazooka team was going to really have to put a shift in, until the flamethrower-toting Engineer squad could move up to help. If I lost both of those, I’d really be in trouble!

I’ve made a couple of deliberate concessions to theming at the expense of competitiveness in this army, of which the biggest is the Lieutenant, taken at Regular and with a friend – this is considered a cardinal sin in many competitive circles, and almost enough to have the list labelled non-competitive by itself for some people! I actually really don’t mind two-man officer teams, and while 60 points for two chaps is steep, arming them with SMGs means they can lay down four shots at close range, usually hitting on 4s, which is plenty to deal with irritating small teams and enemy backline units. I also included a Medic – usually I don’t bring one unless I’ve got spare points, and to be honest it was a toss-up between him and a transport Jeep for this army. In the end, though, the image of a medic, bag in hand, sprinting across the beach as machine-gun fire whips around him was far too cool and thematic to ignore – so in he went!

Bolt Action 10-Man US Ranger Squad
10-Man US Ranger Squad
Bolt Action US Army Flamethrower Team
US Army Flamethrower Team

The core of the force is a pair of ten-man Ranger squads, each with a single BAR. I was tempted to go full-strength with 11 men and add an LMG (one of the more unique Ranger options), but in the end, with such a tight points restriction I had to free up as much space as possible to get other units in. These two squads would take advantage of their Rangers Lead The Way pre-game movement to try and get into good firing positions, and if I could get them in cover, big Veteran squads are hard to shift. They’d be my go-to objective-takers late in the game, and I expect they’d do plenty of damage as well. Backing them up and rounding out my infantry core was an eight-man Regular Engineer squad, with a pair of BARs and (of course!) a flamethrower! I always prefer to run my flamethrowers in squads rather than as teams where possible, as it makes them a little more survivable, and the extra firepower means that the unit isn’t restricted to point-blank barbecuing! They’re my primary ‘threat’ squad, so I expect them to take a lot of incoming fire – they’ll be hugging cover as much as possible as they advance to wherever they’re needed.

The theme of this force is the initial push off the beaches on D-Day, so I’ve got no heavy armour or supporting artillery – as much as I’d like a Medium Howitzer, it just doesn’t seem right! The Medium Mortar will have to do a lot of work as my primary indirect fire option, while the sniper team is absolutely mandatory in any army as far as I’m concerned, and is a great modelling opportunity. As my only dedicated anti-tank unit, the Bazooka team is probably going to spend a lot of most games on Ambush or chasing any enemy armour that does show up around the board – I’ll need all my dice luck for these chaps when it comes down to the wire!

Bolt Action US Army Jeep with .30 cal MMG
US Army Jeep with .30 cal MMG

Finally, for my vehicle options I’ve got a pair of Jeeps – one in the tried-and-tested Reconnaissance variant, mounting an MMG and the ever-useful Recce rule, while the other is a little bit funky. While trawling through my stack of supplements, I stumbled across the Mortar Jeep from D-Day: Overlord! With a light mortar in the back, it’s a really interesting way to chuck some extra HE around, and has great mobility – and it’s only 40 points, to boot! Needing sixes to hit, I didn’t expect it to be massively dangerous, but if it could whack a few pins on a couple of units per game, it would’ve more than made its points back in my eyes! These Jeeps are about the heaviest things the Rangers might expect to have immediately to hand as they lead the charge off the beaches (they’ll be outrunning everything else!), so are great for keeping to the theme. I’ve also got some really fun ideas for converting the Mortar Jeep – keep an eye out for that!

With the list in hand, I was ready to raid the warehouse, and get cracking! It was then that another issue presented itself. With the tournament on the 8th, I’d banked on using the weekend of the 1st to do most of the heavy lifting – however, I suddenly remembered that I would be spending that weekend at the seaside with my partner! While the thought that I might be able to squeeze a couple of hobby evenings in at the hotel did cross my mind, I considered that perhaps that might not exactly be viewed as ‘romantic’ for the purposes of our getaway! That left me with only five days before the event – and I was at work for all of them! Some late evenings lay ahead!

Join me in the next article as I show you how I assembled and prepped my force for painting, in as little time as possible!

1 comment
  1. Good luck! You’ve got your work cut out for you mate.
    And about that mortar Jeep… Can it range in? Otherwise I would never use it, with my luck it would take a few games just to get a hit.

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