When I think about the British in Late War, I group their tanks in to (generally speaking) three different types; Shermans, Churchills, and Cruisers (Cromwells/Comets). With a Sherman force completed, and the Churchills underway and on the painting table, I am already starting to think about how I would build a force based around Cromwells.
I initially thought about painting up a Desert Rats force. Phil has had some success in the past running Cromwells with little red Jerboas on them, so they must be good. However, with the strong 11th Armoured Division feel to my army, and their distinctive yellow and black divisional markings looking so good on the tanks I didn’t want to break the colour/markings scheme. Luckily for me, the 11th were supported by the 2nd Northhampton-Shire Yeomanry and then the 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars, working as their Divisional Reconnaissance Regiments, so I could keep the theme running through all the models I paint!
Looking at the Cromwell Armoured Recce Squadron list, it will be easy to start painting up the basics and building upon the models I already have! Starting with the HQ, much like the Churchill force, I can have a pair of Cromwell CS (95mm) tanks, along with a single Cromwell (75mm). This will give me some nice light artillery, and a small amount of painting variety.
I can then fill out the Squadron with four (or five) more platoons of three Cromwells, alongside a platoon of Stuarts and the always useful, Crusader AA platoon. All of this comes to 96 points, so doesn’t leave much left for Divisional Support, assuming I want to run LOTS of Cromwells!
Keeping my options open and looking back to the Desert Rats Cromwell Armoured Squadron you can build and HQ with two 75mm tanks and two CS tanks, and then up to four platoons of Cromwells, each with a Firefly included! A full-strength HQ, and four platoons, plus the Stuarts and Crusader AA do come in at an unfortunate 101 points, but by dropping a platoon you pick up enough points for a variety of support options. Sounds interesting!
So, where does that leave me now? Well, I am definitely going to paint up enough models for a full HQ and four platoons of three Cromwells, each with a Firefly. Here however (please don’t judge me) is where I am going to diverge from history, for the sake of having a nice looking and thematic force. I’ll paint the whole force in my usual way, but when it comes to the markings I am going to go a little rogue – the Cromwells will have 11th Armoured Division and 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars markings, with white triangles for the Armoured Recce Squadron. My Firefly tanks will get the usual 11th Armoured Bull markings (along with bridge weights and serial numbers), but that may be where I leave it, with no Regimental Flash or Squadron markings…
It is all a little hinky and the purists may not like it, but with this plan I get the best of all worlds. I can field them as the his historically accurate 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars, but I will also have the extra models so I can field them as a different Formation from the book – and when I have a painting plan for the D-Day: British book that is around 60+ models, what’s the problem with adding another four!
*Merebimur (We shall be Worthy) – the moto of the 15th/19th The King’s Royal Hussars