Today I’m going to look at the second of the new Pacific books, Banzai the Japanese book. This book coupled with Gungho is Battlefront’s first dip into the Pacific and a series of books I have been waiting for since Rising Sun gave us our first taste of Japenese in Flames of War. Anyone who has faced the Japanese in Early War will see a familiar foe in this tome. Battlefront kindle gave us the book a little early to review and of course throw in some spoilers, so lets get on with the review.
The book is up to the high standard you’d except from Battlefront. The book comes in at 49 pages which maybe a little small compared to the normal Flames of war books, but these are 49 very full pages, with four army lists, a big special rules section, history, painting guides and two campaign histories with some nice ideas for linked campaigns (more on these later). The four lists give you an infantry company, fortified company and two different tank company’s, most of these lists have the option for Confident Trained or Fearless Veterans. Also this is a book of two periods, on one hand we have the Pacific Theatre (which isn’t split up) and along side this all the units have points for Late War. This means if you want to play the Pacific as it’s own self contained theatre you can, but if you want to collect Japanese or US Marines army and lack a historical opponent you can play with your toys.
The special rules section is pretty much the same as Rising Sun, Hell By Day, Paradise By Night (Auto Attack and Night Attack), Regimental Standards, Seishin (when they platoon goes berserk if they fail a platoon Morale Test), etc are all still there. But there is one expect, Nikuhaku teams are now Team Assault 5! Yes 5! They still have all the special rules ignoring Tank Terror and failed motivations to Counter Attack and yes they still have four dice but blow up if any of them are a one; but Tank Team beware of coming too close.
There are two new special rules for the Yosai Hohei Chutai Company (the fortified company), these are Dug-In Tanks, which lets your tanks start the game…. well in Tank Pits. The other new rule is Prepared Defence, with lets your Infantry and Gun Teams start the game Dug-In even in missions without the Prepared Positions special rule.
The final bit in the special rules section covers the Pacific Theatre and Late Wars points in the lists. It does say that the Pacific Era is based on the same formula as Early War, but it makes it clear most of the equipment used is not suitable for Early War games. I would think with a lot of restriction for the US and a small amount for the Japanese you could get the book to work for Early War. I will quickly give an overview of the lists, but next week we’ll have a more in depth look at them.
Hohei Chutai Infantry Company
The Hohei company looks very similar to the list found in Rising Sun, bar the Fearless Trained option being Confident Trained as I talked about earlier. You get a lot less tank support, a maximum of 8 tanks and 3 tankettes, but the amount of options has improved, with Chi-Ha’s, Chi-Ro’s and Ha-Go’s being joined by Kai Shinhoto Chi-Ha’s, captured Stuarts, Type 1 Ho-Ni’s 1 and Type 4 Ho-Ro’s. The biggest difference is you now get Recce, both armoured and foot, and smoke! The last two are massive and a big reason why I think the Japanese infantry might be better in Pacific and LW than they are in Early War.
Sensha Rentai & Ka-Mi Sensha Chutai Tank Company
Again the Sensha Rentai tank company looks similar to the list in Rising Sun. The tank company does get Fearless Trained option unlike the infantry. The units themselves are a lot more flexible. You can have 3 to 5 tanks in a platoon and you have the choice of Chi-Ha’s, Chi-Ro’s, Kai Shinhoto Chi-Ha’s and Ha-Go’s. Also the Chi-Ha or Kai Shinhoto Chi-Ha’s are now the main tank and the Ha-Go’s are an option for the light tank company in an optional slot. Like the Infantry the tanks get recce and smoke. I will hit on this a bit more in the in depth look next week, but I think this is a very strong list in LW.
The Ka-Mi Sensha Chutai Tank company is an interesting list. The support is basically the same as the normal tank company, the difference is you get Ka-Mi tanks. This is an interesting design, it’s based on a Ha-Go but made amphibious… its truely something that you need to see with your eyes, I have added a picture below.
Yosai Hohei Chutai Fortified Company
The last company represents the forces around Airfields and on the shore lines. Like the normal infantry they are either Confident Trained or Fearless Veterans. I struggle to describe fortified lists, it looks like the Aussie list from Hellfire and Back. Basically smaller infantry platoons with HMG nest, wire and trench lines is the normal “platoon”.
Overall I like this book a lot. If you have a Japanese army you don’t need to add much to get a Late War or Pacific Era army. If you haven’t got an army yet but think they could be a fun army to use, go order the infantry now! In Early War they are my favourite army bar none, I cant wait to try them out in the Pacific and Late war!
Expect a few Pacific themed AAR’s and other posts very soon!