For the Home Guard: US units in the invasion of Britain

US Warlorder Jon Russell brings some good old US ingenuity to the table with the Eagle Squadron for Bolt Action and the invasion of Britain campaign!

Answering the Bugle Call

Jon: Like their fathers and brothers from the First World War, Many Americans were chaffing at the bit wanting to get involved in the fracas happening across the big pond. They read every story, listened to the infrequent live radio broadcasts and watched the latest news reels at the picture shows. They wanted a piece of the action and were very afraid it would be over before the US shook off the cobwebs and got its lethargic self-mobilized in time to do something against the Nazi menace.

A plethora of schemes was dreamed up and tried, many just fanciful thoughts of young minds but a few were successful. What started as a trickle through ports in Canada and the United States turned into a steady stream of willing “volunteers” ready to fight and even die to keep the United Kingdom out of the grip of Hitler and his fascist goons. What follows in the next few paragraphs are the adventures of one of these American families joining the flow of fighters from the United States to Great Britain. Without further ado, we would like to introduce you to the Sweeney’s.

Who Are the Sweeney’s?

The Sweeney’s have always been involved in Trailblazing across the United States. Zebadiah Sweeney arrived just after the Colonies settled their differences with Great Britain and were now known as the United States. Zeb was amongst the flood of folks looking for a new life in the brand new country. He settled in Virginia and tried his hand at farming, working the land growing tobacco and whatever he could to feed his family and stay competitive with his neighbours. The wanderlust was passed onto Zeb’s descendants leading them on a multiple of adventures to be told at a later date. His Great Grandson Ezekiel ended up in a covered waggon with his family watching the sun brighten up the morning of 22 of April 1889 on the border of Indian Country, waiting for the sound of the cannon to begin the great Land Rush.

Like his ancestors, he was looking for a better life for his wife Barbara, sons Harold, George and Noah. With the crash of the cannon, they were off and became one of the founding families of the new town called Clayton. The Sweeney’s did well in Clayton and several branches of the family took root in the red dirt of the new territory called Oklahoma. With the drum sounding the War to End All Wars pounding in their ears several new sons from the Sweeney family, Jonathan, Christopher and Gabriel, left to find their place in the wandering family history of their family, leaving their worrying mother standing at the window watching them disappear in a cloud of dust from the horse drawn cart. Two of these sons came back while the third is remembered with a gold star in the Sweeney household window. The winds of war blew again several years later and we find two of the Sweeney’s again in Europe, one on the ground (Robert) and the other (Charles) in the air, ready to defend freedom any way they can.

Somewhere in the Midlands with the Home Guard…

A certain Robert Sweeny, Nephew to the American mercenary Colonel Charles Sweeney, gathered his Ex-Pats about him. “Fellas looks like this is the real deal, paratroopers are landing all over Dover, big tanks are hitting the beach and a little man with a funny moustache is wanting to play Caesar all over again!” The hodge-podge platoon of Yanks Robert organised had come over through Canada as part of the secret Clayton Knight Committee. You could never have guessed when they were forming this Home Guard Unit in London they would be preparing to fight Nazi troops near Canterbury. Dressed and equipped like their counterparts, none of the locals could spot them as different except for the odd bit of cloth they all wore and the clearly unique bit of American swagger all Yanks seem to carry, just like in all those Cowboy movies.

How to play these Volunteers

Armed and Equipped as Home Guard. Inexperienced, Fanatic (They’re American, young, idealistic)
The 2nd Option is to treat them as Regulars and treat them as Old Soldiers Volunteer Section – Vets of Great War.

BEF Infantry Section

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In an RAF briefing room in a suburb of London…

“Gents, we’re grounded but we can still take the fight to Jerry!” spoke Colonel Charles Sweeny, noted American Mercenary living in greater London. He had organised and convinced the RAF to accept qualified American Pilots as Volunteers during the defence of Britain but the Invasion of the Coast has stopped all dog fighting for now. Without planes, the pilots now had to put away their flight suits, find fatigues and rifles, form scratch platoons and go find the enemy on the ground. Originally, they were going to be No. 71 Eagle Squadron, now they’re still calling themselves No. 71 Eagle Squadron!

How To Play These Volunteers

Armed and Equipped as Home Guard. Inexperienced, Fanatic (They’re American, young, idealistic)
Or again the 2nd option is to treat them as regulars and treat them as Old Soldiers Volunteer Section – Vets of Great War.

Other American Units In England

True US Army Units didn’t arrive until Jan-Feb 1942, 34th “Red Bull” ARNG Infantry Division. Still, it is just 16 months after D+1 for this Campaign Book. Who says it couldn’t have been pushed up a bit due to the invasion? Even a Regiment or two in order to assist? The 134th Infantry Regiment could have been rushed or even one of the “Regular” bunch from 2nd Infantry Division already on active duty and slated for Europe – 9th, 23rd or 38th Regiments.

American Infantry

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How To Play These Volunteers

Armed and Equipped as US units. Can be Green or Inexperienced depending on if they are from the 2nd (green) or the 134th (inexperienced)

Other Foreign Units In England

During the Second World War, thousands of refugees, war-workers and troops arrived from all parts of Europe and the British Empire. In 1940, six European Allied contingents were stationed in Britain: Belgian, Czech, Dutch, French, Norwegian and Polish.

French Army Infantry section

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How To Play These Volunteers

Armed and Equipped as found in their respective Army books. They would be classed as regulars and maybe even a few as veteran having already clashed with the German Juggernaut. You might even consider fanatic for some, like the Poles, due to them itching for revenge from losing their beloved homelands and desperate to get back into the fight any way they can.

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Gigant front cover 72dpi

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