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Desert Rats - British Forces In The Desert 1942-43
British Forces In The Desert 1942-43

Desert Rats
British Forces In The Desert 1942-43

The Desert Rats are the only thing standing in the way of Axis conquest of North Africa. Despite suffering repeated defeats at the hands of Rommel’s Afrika Korps, they remain undaunted. Their speedy Crusader and Honey tanks can run circles around their opposition, backed up by the heavier Grant squadrons. Their motorised infantry are equally adept in attack or defence. With support from the Royal Artillery and the Desert Air Force, they are a formidable and versatile force.

Desert Rats (FW241)...


Monty's Desert Rats (BRAB09)

The eyes of the world are on the complex and bloody campaign unfolding in the Western Desert of Egypt and Libya. If the Axis can succeed in pushing the British out of Egypt, there will be nothing keeping them from the rich oil fields of the Middle East, and the strategically vital Suez Canal will open the back door to the Far East. The brave but battered soldiers of the Eighth Army hold the last line of defence against fascist conquest.

Monty's Desert Rats (BRAB09)...
Monty's Desert Rats (BRAB09)
Desert Rats Paint Set (CWP131)

Desert Rats Paint Set (CWP131)

Painting your Flames Of War miniatures for 4th Edition couldn’t be easier with new Colours of War Desert Rats Paint Set. Used in conjunction with the Quartermaster Paint Set, it has everything you need to get your Mid-war desert vehicles ready for the tabletop.

Desert Rats Paint Set (CWP131)...

And to get your new British vehicles painted quickly and easily, Crusader Sand is also available as a 400ml spray can which exactly matches the bottled colour in the Desert Rats British Paint Set.

This product is only available in North America, the UK, and Europe.

Desert Rats Spray Can (CWP231)...

Honey Armoured Troop (BBX32)

The M3 Stuart Light Tank is the first American-made tank supplied to the British Army under the lend-lease programme. One of its intended roles was infantry support. But to the British, infantry tanks are slow and heavily armoured, so the Honey is employed in the same way as the British-built cruisers. Compared with earlier British-designed tanks, it is much less prone to breaking down—so reliable that its drivers call it a ‘Honey’.

Honey Armoured Troop (BBX32)...
Honey Armoured Troop (BBX32)
17 pdr Anti-Tank Troop (BBX41) 17 pdr Anti-Tank Troop (BBX41)

In the ongoing race between tank armour and anti-tank guns, even the 6 pdr would not be powerful enough for long. The answer was the huge 17-pounder. The barrel was ready by May 1942, but the carriage still needed work, so in an effort to rush the gun into service to deal with the arrival of heavy German panzers like the Tiger, a tempory hybrid solution was created by mounting the gun on a 25 pdr carriage. 

The resulting 17/25-pounder, codenamed the 'Pheasant', first saw action at the Battle of Medenine in March 1943. 

17 pdr Anti-Tank Troop (BBX41)...
Grant Armoured Troop (BBX37)

British armoured regiments were delighted to receive the new American-made M3 Grant tank, which gave them a tank with a gun as good as those on the German panzers, with armour to match. Rushed into service to meet the urgent need for a heavy 75mm-armed tank it took the Germans by surprise. Its thick armour and powerful 75mm gun are superior to most of the German panzers.

Grant Armoured Troop (BBX37)...
Grant Armoured Troop (BBX37)
Crusader Armoured Troop (BBX37) Crusader Armoured Troop (BBX39)

The light squadrons of the armoured regiments embody the dash and daring of the British cavalry. Fast and manoeuvrable but not as heavily armoured as the enemy panzers, they use speed and cover to protect themselves. They are often relegated to scouting or protecting the flanks of the regiment while their heavy cousins, the Grants, take the fight to the enemy.

Crusader Armoured Troop (BBX39)...
Motor Platoon (Plastic) (BR753)

In the fast-moving environment of the desert war, it is the tanks that usually get all the glory. But the hard work still belongs to the PBI, the ‘Poor Bloody Infantry’. For such a small unit, a motor company has plenty of firepower at its disposal. Their machine-guns, anti-tank guns, and mortars can deal with almost any opposition.

Motor Platoon (Plastic) (BR753)...
Motor Platoon (Plastic) (BR753)
25 pdr Field Troop (BBX33) 25 pdr Field Troop (BBX33)

The versatile Quick-Firing 25-pounder entered service just before the war began, and remains the main British field gun and howitzer throughout the desert war.

Its main ammunition is an 11.5kg (25lb) 87.6mm high-explosive shell, with solid armour-piercing rounds also available. 

25 pdr Field Troop (BBX33)...
Universal Carrier Patrol (BBX35)

Each motor company includes a scout platoon of Universal Carriers. This versatile vehicle is commonly called a Bren Gun Carrier, which was the first variant developed, even though it has since evolved into a more general-purpose vehicle. Their usual job is scouting No Man's Land to reconnoitre enemy positions. They are also good for protecting the flanks as a mobile reserve, delivering extra firepower where it is most needed.

Universal Carrier Patrol (BBX35)...
Universal Carrier Patrol (BBX35)
6 pdr Anti-tank Platoon (BBX38) 6 pdr Anti-tank Platoon (BBX38)

The Quick-Firing 6-pounder is a 57mm anti-tank gun which made its combat debut in the Gazala battles in May and June 1942. Dug-in and firing at only point blank range, these guns are deadly to enemy tanks. 

6 pdr Anti-tank Platoon (BBX38)...

MMG Platoon & Mortar Section (Plastic) (BR754)

Machine-guns used to be grouped together in the battalion support company, but by 1942 each motor company has its own attached machine-gun platoon. Each motor company also has a section of two 3-inch mortars for close support. They fire a 5kg (10lb) high-explosive bomb which can knock out enemy gun positions or break up attacking infantry units. While not as deadly as its big-barrelled Royal Artillery counterparts, the 3-inch mortar is a more portable alternative.

MMG Platoon & Mortar Section (Plastic) (BR754)...

MMG Platoon & Mortar Section (Plastic) (BR754)
Humber Armoured Car Troop (BBX34) Humber Armoured Car Troop (BBX34)

The Humber is one of the most successful British armoured car designs. While its real job is reconnaissance, its 15mm Besa machine-gun poses a serious danger to lightly armoured targets.

The Humber is fielded in North Africa by several cavalry units, including the 11th Hussars, one of the units that cut off the retreating Italian Tenth Army at Beda Fomm back in 1940.

Humber Armoured Car Troop (BBX34)...
Bofors Light AA Troop (BBX36)

The open desert offers precious little cover from the Stuka dive-bombers of the Luftwaffe. The quick-firing Bofors guns can be relied on to drive away the harassing Axis aircraft before they have a chance to do too much harm.

Bofors Light AA Troop (BBX36)...
Bofors Light AA Troop (BBX36)
6 pdr Anti-tank Platoon (BBX38) Hurricane Tank-Busting Flight (BBX40)

Based on the Royal Air Force's most numerous single-seat fighter, the Hawker IID tank buster is nicknamed the ‘Flying Can Opener’. A
Vickers S gun beneath each wing fires 40mm armour-piercing ammunition. Each is mounted under a machine-gun firing tracer rounds to aid with sighting, making them accurate and deadly.

Hurricane Tank-Busting Flight (BBX40)...
Desert Rats Token Set (BR901)

Even though they are toy soldiers, your troops react to heavy fire like real soldiers. Sometimes they get pinned down or bail out of their tanks. They can dig foxholes for protection or go to ground, hiding from the enemy. Tokens help you keep track of the state of your troops.

Desert Rats Token Set (BR901)...
Desert Rats Token Set (BR901)
Desert Rats Dice Set (BR900)

Desert Rats Dice Set (BR900)

The eyes of the world are on the complex and bloody campaign unfolding in the Western Desert of Egypt and Libya. If the Axis can succeed in pushing the British out of Egypt, there will be nothing keeping them from the rich oil fields of the Middle East, and the strategically vital Suez Canal will open the back door to the Far East. The brave but battered soldiers of the Eighth Army hold the last line of defence against fascist conquest.

Desert Rats Dice Set (BR900)...

Desert Rats Command Cards (FW241C)

Command Cards provide Flames Of War generals with a way to further personalise and enhance their forces.

Desert Rats Command Cards (FW241C)...

Command Cards


Desert Rats Design Notes

Desert Rats Design Notes
with Phil Yates

Phil takes a quick look at the Desert Rats book and talks about some of the changes that the new version of Flames Of War has wrought in them.

Desert Rats Design Notes...

Tally-Ho!:
British Tank Tactics in Mid-war
with Ben Polikoff

The British Eighth Army has a plethora of armoured options in Desert Rats, which may confuse somebody new to Flames Of War who is trying for the first time to create a balanced force on the tabletop. Each of the British desert tanks can play a specific a role in attaining your objectives on the battlefield, Ben examines each one in more detail.

Tally-Ho!...

Tally-Ho!

A Newbies Guide To British in 4th Edition Flames Of War: Part One
Which Army To Collect
with Jonathan Peace

Jonathan has wanted to get into Flames Of War for many years, having a long held yet never fully explored interest in World War Two history. Thankfully, starting to work for Battlefront last year gave him an opportunity to look up close at the rules, the armies and the many different models before committing fully to an army.

A Newbies Guide To British in 4th Edition...



Boot Camp Battle Report
Afrika Korps vs. Desert Rats
To conclude the lessons laid out in the 4th Edition Boot Camp, Phil and James put the theory into practice by playing a 62-point game using the Free For All mission.

Boot Camp Battle Report: Afrika Korps vs. Desert Rats...

Boot Camp Battle Report: Afrika Korps vs. Desert Rats


Last Updated On Wednesday, June 21, 2017 by Chris at Battlefront