Members of the Forest Outlaws Wargamers Club (based in Mansfield, Notts) can quite often be found at Warlord Games HQ on a Friday afternoon, indulging in a large multi-player game of Black Powder. Occasionally though, they’ll put on a big game of Bolt Action. On one recent Friday, whilst wandering through the store, I caught sight of a desert airfield board being erected. Intrigued, I paused to examine it, and upon spying two Rogue Heroes amongst the assembled forces immediately forestalled any actual work for the rest of the day in order to watch the game’s proceedings. Luckily the chaps didn’t mind, being an amiable bunch; the boss, not so much…

It was a scenario the players had devised themselves. A large SAS raiding force was to pounce on a well-fortified and well-patrolled German airfield, led by Paddy Mayne, The Irish Lion, and David Stirling, the Phantom Major, in a post-dawn attack. Their objective was to eliminate as many German fighters as possible. With the SAS rolling on in trucks and jeeps from Reserve, it would be a race against time to reach the aircraft and destroy each of them with a well-placed Lewes Bomb. All three aircraft destroyed would constitute a major victory, two a minor victory and any other result a loss.

The SAS had patrols, barracks full of troops, and a guard tower to get past, and that’s without contesting with machine gun nests, armoured cars and sniper teams!

Opening Gambits

As the SAS penetrated the outer defences and roared towards their quarry, kicking up swathes of dust in their wake, the German patrols believed themselves well prepared, with both the perimeter-adjacent patrols able to go on an Ambush order ahead of the first jeep’s arrival. But with their weapons unable to penetrate the soft-skinned vehicles, both squads were wiped out in a hail of machine gun fire from the ragtag fleet of jeeps and trucks. It seems the SAS’ idea of stealth had less slipped quietly out of a window than launched itself with righteous fury at the surprised Germans.

The patrols meet a swift end.

The Afrika Korps answered this transgression with withering hails of machine gun fire that sprayed forth from guard towers and motorcycles who were quick to respond to the encroaching threat, but most of the agile jeeps evaded any damage. One LRDG truck exploded and spewed its squad out onto the cold sands, though most of the men were unscathed. Meanwhile, DAK troops surged from their barracks and took up firing positions behind sandbags. The SAS had a lot of open ground to cover and a lot of guns pointing at them, including the autocannon of an Sd.Kfz 222, which moved to take up a firing position.

First Blood – The first (of many) LRDG trucks is wrecked.

A Rogue Hero

Shoot That! The British players don’t take long to mull over their tactics…

The 222’s autocannon cracked loud across the battlefield, setting fire to the centremost LRDG truck, though its crew managed to successfully contain the flames. In return the assemblage of trucks and jeeps poured as much fire at the guard tower as they could; it commanded line of sight over the entire airfield, and was a threat that could not be ignored. With a combination of plucky SAS spirit and the fickle favour of the dice gods, the squad within the tower was finally eliminated by a Bren gunner.

In a characteristically bold move, Paddy Mayne took his jeep right up the right flank, completely unsupported. For his folly, his jeep was hit and destroyed by the SMG of the Kradschützen’s motorcycle sidecar. The rest of his squad was also wiped out, leaving him overexposed and in danger of being surrounded.

The Irish Lion, isolated and alone (but for a monkey, apparently!).
The Afrika Korps move swiftly to take on the one-man threat that is Paddy Mayne.

The next turn he was subjected to a cracking display of ineffectual firepower, weathering a storm of Kradschützen SMGs, a sniper team, and an MMG, although with a wealth of Pins, he isn’t going anywhere…whilst the Germans close in for the kill. In desperation, Stirling sent some reinforcements his way, wiping out all but one motorcycle as they advanced – but their arrival on the scene was heralded by the storm of a nearby DAK squad’s rifles and LMGs, and Mayne stood alone once again.

The SAS enjoy more success on the left flank, pressing past the outer defences.

Over in the centre, Stirling issued a flurry of orders, urging the men of the SAS to close with the enemy, A Squad of Afrika Korps defenders was wiped out in vicious hand-to-hand fighting, and for their triumph the SAS earned the attention and ire of the Sd.Kfz 222’s Autocannon.

The Right Flank Collapsed and A Renewed Offensive

With a rev of the engine, the final motorcycle unleashed a concentrated burst of SMG fire into Paddy Mayne, finally felling the SAS hero, and thus emboldened, surged across the width of the battlefield, with the objective of cementing its newfound legendary status by felling Stirling as well.

Felled in a drive-by shooting, Paddy Mayne is finally dealt with.

With Mayne’s fall, the Allied right flank had evaporated, and with very few SAS vehicles remaining, it would be a real foot slog to get anywhere near the aircraft. Realising this, Stirling directed the SAS left flank forward, whilst it was relatively unhampered with the enemy relatively scattered across the board, to try and move the battle closer to the target aircraft. He himself re-embarked in his transport to spearhead the renewed assault, all whilst DAK forces, who now found themselves without any viable targets, raced to redeploy firing lines.

At the Phantom Major’s Command, the remnants of the SAS’ left flank surge forward, hoping to salvage some victory from the day.

Whilst all this was going on, a dramedy had unfolded in the rear of the DAK ranks – the sniper team had comically failed to hit anything all game, and was now out of viable targets, still perched on the roof of a hangar, where it would remain for the remainder of the game – useless, and cursed by its commander.

Lewes Bomb Destruction

The SAS finally reach their first target.

Stirling and what few SAS troops remained finally reached the first aircraft, knocking it out of action with a Lewes bomb. Their triumph was short-lived as yet another SAS transport was Wrecked. The lads would be walking home. All remaining DAK troops had set up a kill box overlooking the next aircraft, just daring the SAS to try it… But, after all, who dares wins, right?

With very few allies left, Stirling seeks personal glory, but is robbed as the game ends.

Launching themselves into a flurry of firepower from the Ambushing German troops, Stirling (back in his transport) and the last remaining squad made a desperate run for the next aircraft, and when the dust had settled, only the Phantom Major and two of his fellows lived. Despite being poised to set the second Lewes bomb the dice gods chose this moment to pass their judgement and declared the game over, robbing the SAS of a minor victory. The three men melted back into the desert, pondering the fate of Paddy Mayne. A rescue mission may be in order in the near future…

Rogue Heroes

We recently returned the Soldier of Fortune initiative to the Warlord Games Webstore in a new guise, producing a new exclusive collectable figure which is only available for a single month. The first three of these new figures were all SAS heroes, largely inspired by our great enjoyment of the hit, recent BBC series, SAS Rogue Heroes. We began with David Stirling, the Phantom Major, and swiftly followed with John ‘Jock’ Lewes.

The third such figure, Soldier of Fortune 003: Paddy Mayne, The Irish Lion, is still available, but only to the end of this month (October 2023). Don’t miss out on adding this special edition figure to your collection! You can find out more about Paddy Mayne, and the Soldier of Fortune initiative here.

1 comment
  1. Hello,
    The ME-109s look great! What scale are they? And which manufacturer?
    I am playing Desert War with my friend as well, and I need planes.
    Greetings Thorsten

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