WWII British Infantry Battalion

I started this project with thoughts of putting together a late WWII British Infantry battalion at nearly 1:1 scale in 10mm. I then became interested in BKC which is 1 stand = 1 platoon, and went for for a couple of battalions as a reduced objective. I am now quite tempted by a full armoured division, which would need 4 battalions of infantry (inc 1 motor battalion). Which is pretty similar in requirements to a 1:1 battalion!

I have used bayonetstrength.150m.com as a source for the TO&E. For my diagram of the TO&E have a look here (this is a large image).

At the BKC scale I currently have painted an Infantry Battalion and a Motor Battalion, both will have markings as units from 11th Armoured Division.

British Infantry Battalion

Back Row - Support Company, 6 pdr AT gun, 3" Mortar, Carrier pltn, and Pioneers
Front - 4 Rifle Companies, each of 3 platoons, then on RHS CO and Recce stands

These units have Green 61s as tactical markings, and the Black Bull on a yellow background of 11th Armoured Division which makes them the 4th Bttn King's Shropshire Light Infantry. The carriers all have allied recognition stars applied. Although soon after D-Day tanks tended to have the stars on the sides painted out, most photos of soft skins and light tracked vehicles show quite large stars.

Battalion HQ Stand

In BKC this represents the Battalion Commander, obviously this will just be the forward tactical HQ, with rest of the HQ staff and other B echelon units further back, out of the firing line.

All Pithead figures, the carrier could well be a 3" mortar carrier (it has the mortar tube at the back).

Infantry Companies

Above are photos of the 4 infantry companies, each comprising 3 platoons. Each base has 5-6 individual figures. The bases have a mix of PIATs and 2" mortars. In BKC these light infantry weapons are regarded as part of the infantry platoon. But I have used these weapons at about the right ratio so the figures can also be used at 1 base = 1 section.

All Pithead figures, a mix of the Infantry and Command packs.

I forgot to take any photos of the backs of the figures, which show the realistically high level of kit these figures are carrying.

Support Company

By 1944 all the support weapons had been reorganised into a single support company, consisting of 4 different platoons.

3" Mortar Platoon

Pithead mortar carrier and 3" mortars. A particularly nice thing about the Pithead range is that the mortars come with several mortar specific crewmen. The full size unit consisted of 6 mortars with carriers for crews and ammo.

Carrier Platoon

The carrier platoon consisted of about 40 men and 13 carriers, with a HQ and 4 sections each of 3 carriers. The unit was heavily armed with each section having a 2" mortar, a PIAT and several Bren guns. Later in the war one section was often converted to Wasp flame throwers.

The Carrier Platoon is a bit awkward to represent in BKC as one vehicle can carry a full platoon. Therefore one choice is to make it a mobile infantry platoon using one carrier. Another option is to use it as a recce unit, but in the rules only one recce unit is allowed per 1000 points, and an infantry battalion will typically only cost 300 to 400 points.

Here I have gone for an infantry stand and two carriers, and Wasp carrier as the third carrier (LHS).

Anti-Tank Platoon

Pithead 6pdr ATG (with the addition of dug-in Bren) and Loyd carrier. The full platoon had 6 x 6pdr ATG and 12 Loyd carriers plus a HQ section. I have used 4 as the standard factor for dividing guns and vehicles into platoons for representation in BKC, this means that when fielding more than 2 bttns of British infantry it would be perfectly reasonable to add a 3rd 6pdr ATG.

Pioneer Platoon

Pithead jeep and trailer (the trailer is the 4.2" mortar one). The stand of engineers is mainly Pendraken, as engineers are one of the few gaps in the Pithead British infantry range. The marching rifleman is Minifgs, and the RHS soldier is Pithead.

British Motor Battalion

The Motor Battalion was an armoured infantry battalion within an Armoured Division (and some Armoured Brigades) for details of the organisation see my British Motor Battalion page. In the 11th Armoured Division the motor battalion was the 8th Motor Bttn The Rifle Brigade with a serial number of 54 on a red background.

The full motor battalion. Support Coy on the LHS, 3 infantry coys in middle with M3 half-tracks behind, and combined carrier platoons on the right. Bttn HQ in front, this probably should be replaced with one using a half-track.

Support Coy details - 6pdrs in front row, second row LHS 3 x Loyd carriers to tow the 6pdrs, and 2 x Universal Carriers with Vickers MMG mounted, back row 3" mortar and carrier.

The infantry are finished but most vehicles need completing with highlighting, decals and flocking on the bases.

Rifle Company and transport

Motor Battalion rifle Company, 3 rifle platoons (pithead figures) 3 x M3 half-tracks (pendraken), scout platoon of 2 universal carriers, LH one is pendraken (with molded camouflage) RH one is MiniFigs Wasp (flamethrower). I have made the half-tracks without the 0.50 cal HMGs as was standard British practice. But from recent reading it seems that 11th AD took the 0.50s from their Shermans to mount on their half-tracks.

Support Company

The 6pdr Anti-tank guns of the support company, with their Loyd carriers. All Pithead figures and vehicles.

Vickers MMG mounted on Universal Carriers, both Pithead models. These are very nice, the vickers and crew is a separate peice that mounts on the top of the carrier. In the motor battalions the Vickers were mounted so they could be fired from the carriers. I'm not sure why the TO&E only had two platoons of these to support the 3 rifle companies?

3" mortar platoon and carrier, this unit is an amalgamation of the mortars that were present in each Coy HQ.

Independant MG Company

An infantry division had a full MG battalion, but armoured divisions only had an MG company. In the 11th AD the unit was the 2nd Coy Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, the serial is 64 on a black background.

4.2" mortar at back left with Loyd carrier and trailer, other stands are Vickers MMGs with universal carriers. All figures and vehicles are Pithead. The front left carrier has a special MMG load on the back. I will have to check if I have others for the other 2 carriers.

Brigade HQ

In the 11th AD the infantry were under the command of the 159th Infantry Brigade, the HQ had a serial with a 60 on a green background.

The brigade HQ stand, this represents the forward TAC HQ of the brigadier. This is a Beford 3 ton radio truck, with various officers and a dispatch rider. All the figures are MiniFigs mainly from their command set, I espically like the chap with the mugs of tea! A brigade defense platoon may be a sensible addition, with all the rest of of the HQ units being off-board.


Various extra soft-skins:

3 ton trucks, all Pendraken, mainly Befords, with 2 Matadors at the back left (these were typically heavy artillery tractors). Front row has had decals, back row is only part finished. Each 3 ton truck could carry a full platoon of intantry, or 3 tons (!) of stores.

Pendraken 15 cwt Morris trucks and two unpainted Perrin 3ton CMP trucks, these are rather small which is why I missed them when putting the 3 ton photo together. 15 cwt trucks were widely used, each coy had 3 as part of is HQ, mainly to carry the kit of the soldiers, who were expected to walk. They were also used as radio trucks, workshops and general light transport duties.

Loyd carrier towing 6pdr, Loyd carrier with 4.2" mortar trailer, Loyd carrier, jeep with trailer and universal carrier (all Pithead)

Side shot of the above Loyd carrier towing 6pdr (the 6pdr is actually an airborne one).


4.2" mortar and 3 engineer stands

HQ stand with Morris 15cwt truck - infantry Pithead truck Pendraken.

Extra infantry stands, LHS 3 stands of troops in foxholes. 6 stands of infantry, and a 3" mortar stand at the back. This could be the start of another battalion of infantry.

I had initially intended to swap these for dug-in bases. But I am now wondering if I should re-base them on pennys to be used as markers, to go next to a normal stand.

Storage Board

An older photo, showing the Infantry Battalion and extra carriers and AT guns on their storage board. This is a sheet of 3mm MDF cut to fit in a box file to give a second level of storage within the box file, it has steel paper covering the surface, the base have magnetic sheeting on the bottom.


Infantry are based 6 figures on a 50x30mm base, guns and command on 40x40mm, and carriers on 40x20mm. All bases are 2mm MDF from East Riding Miniatures.

Paints are mainly Tamiya.

The ground is a Javis hairy grass mat (I think the spring colour).

The figures and vehicles are all from Pithead Miniatures. Their 50 figure infantry pack and command pack provide a good variety of poses, and figures that paint up easily. Pithead also have an extensive range of carriers, which all come with inserts to go on the back of the carrier, which allow the carriers to be customised for different uses, eg 3" mortar, MMG both carried and deployed, infantry equipment, FAO.


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