After a little break we are back! Today I’m going to take a look at Japanese lists in Late War. I decided to start with Late War as most of you play this period and it means you will surely have a good understanding of what these lists will be facing.
You might know from listening to the podcast and reading the blog I’m a bit of a die hard Japanese fan in FoW. They strike that right balance between being tactical to play with combined arms and also an extremely aggressive army. It is the army I have had the most fan using and one of the few armies I can take to tournament after tournament, play game after game and not feel as if I need to change my army to keep things fresh. So when I heard the Pacific books were Late War compatible, I was a very happy Benny!
Getting back to the point of this post, I’m going to focus on the Infantry and Tank lists. I have never used a fortified company so I have no idea how to make a good list for them. I’m also not going to look at the amphibious tank list as it basically writes itself and I feel it’s probably better in the Pacific era, not Late War.
It’s important to note that I design all my Japanese lists to attack, I feel that’s their biggest strength and I would only think about defending against something like a Soviet Tank Horde. I truly live by the mind set of greeting my opponents at a tournament by saying “Hi, my names Ben, I’m playing Japanese and I’m attacking at night. What’s your name and whats the mission?!”
I’m going to start with a Fearless Veteran infantry list at 1420pts (I might do Confident Trained in another post), the
same as this years UK GT. The list looks very similar to my Early War list I first used last year (check it out here) before I settled on my final list. The core of the army is the two large infantry platoons with banners. The banners are an important upgrade as it means your opponent needs 6 hits to stop you with defense fire. I would almost always take the 3 Nikuhaku as long as the opponent has some armoured support (you probably won’t miss 3 rifle shots after all).
To save some points I have dropped the Regimental Banner from the HQ. This was a tough choice as I really rate the banner for keeping you moving, but at 75pts in a 1420pts list it had to go as I needed the points for my anti heavy armour option, more on that in a little bit…
Next up is one of the biggest differences between EW Japanese and LW Japanese – recce! I can’t wait to start using this in games. The recce is two Te-Ke tankettes, one upgraded to have a main gun as I had the points left over, but I plan to rarely use this as the recce is really just there to do the ‘recce job’. Just because it has a gun doesn’t mean you need to use it (looking at you Winner and your Pumas!). The last of the ‘must haves’ is smoke/artillery, I did want something a little longer range and heavier than the Type 92 70mm’s but I had to be lean. Oh and yes, the Japanese now get smoke! Once night clears you have a back up plan to be safe. I will probably use these progressively as I couldn’t find the points for an observer, so move them forwards for the first two turns and then dig in ready to smoke on turn 4.
Now on to the fun stuff, the tanks. You might think it’s mad having armour 1 and 2 tanks in Late War, and if you thought that is mad wait until we get onto my tank lists! However, using night to keep them safe and utilising the very useful Hip Shot these guys will pick out gun teams to let the infantry assault. Even in Early War, Japanese tanks aren’t great against other tanks. It’s the Japanese infantry that is there to deal with enemy armour. Your tanks are there to clear the way for the infantry. Gun Teams are their prey, then enemy infantry in assault. For this list I have 4 Chi-Ro’s (I wanted Chi-Ha’s as they move 12 inches, but again points!) and three Ho-Ni 1’s. The Ho-Ni 1’s can be used for some anti-tank capability, but I was still use these to remove enemy gun teams.
The last slot is for what might now be the most cost effective plane in Late War, a Limited Zero with close air
support. This for me has a dual role; To A. keep enemy infantry coming on from reserve pinned and B. Take out heavy tanks you can’t already get to. Now I did almost not include this. It would free up points for better artillery, tanks or the regimental banner and if you don’t want a plane in a night attacking force, and I completely get that, it could be dropped. But once night lifts I think this will be a very valuable unit.
|Platoon 1||Full infantry + Banners||360|
|Platoon 2||Full infantry + Banners||360|
|Platoon 3||1x Te-Ke (MG) + 1x Te-Ke (37mm)||100|
|Platoon 4||4x Chi-Ros||140|
|Platoon 5||2x Type 92 70mm||65|
|Platoon 6||3x Type 1 Ho-Ni 1||205|
|Platoon 7||Limited Zero + Close Air Support||140|
The 1750pts version basically adds in everything I had to drop for the 1420pts list, anyone would think 1420pts made you make tough choices or something! The Regimental Banner is added back in, the tanks are now 5 Chi-Ha’s and while the Type 92 70mm’s do stay, I have added some bigger artillery for more smoke and a better bombardment. I was added an aa unit, while AOP’s aren’t probably a problem for you with night attacking and the Zero, it makes a very cheap 8th platoon.
|HQ||HQ + Regimental Banner||125|
|Platoon 1||Full Infantry + Banners||360|
|Platoon 2||Full Infantry + Banners||360|
|Platoon 3||2x Te-Ke (MG)||90|
|Platoon 4||5x Chi-Ha’s||200|
|Platoon 5||2 Type 38 75mm + Observer||150|
|Platoon 6||3 Type 1 Ho-Ni 1||205|
|Platoon 7||2 Type 98 20mm AA||55|
|Platoon 8||Type 92 70mm||65|
|Platoon 9||Limited Zero + Close Air Support||140|
So thats the infantry. I do need to play test these, and I’m looking forward to that, but I think the core is there no matter what the list ends up like. If you want to try these out yourself, just remember to be aggressive! Your tanks are great but also suck at same time! Enemy tanks are more scared of your Nikuhaku teams than you are of them.
So the tank list and I need to start with a confession. I honestly believe this is a very strong list, especially at 1420pts. You may call me mad, which is probably true, but this list has a lot going for it once you get past the fact all your tanks are Front Armour 2. I’m going to take
Corrivalry as a prime example of why I think this is a good list. The top lists there were mostly Infantry, bar one U.S. 7th Armored list, one Tiger company (which was just 10 Tigers and nothing else!) and one Cossack list the other 7 lists were British and U.S. infantry; you have to drop to 13th before you start seeing a good number of tank lists. These allied infantry lists tend to rely on artillery and an AOP. Well 20 tanks attacking at night, moving 12 inches, re-rolling failed hits and which are veteran will work their way through artillery pretty quickly. Add to that a Chi-Ha saves just as well from artillery as a Panther or Sherman thats one of the main problems sorted. Another popular list are auto defending German tanks, well again not a problem. The tanks can deal with the support quite quickly and the infantry’s Nikuhaku teams and their four TA 5 attacks will open up a Jadgtiger or King Tiger with ease. This list might struggle to win 6-1 every game, but with the Japanese rules for tank morale, large platoons and being veteran, they will take some killing.
The list is pretty straight forward. Two platoons of 5 Chi-Ha’s and 2 HQ Chi-Ha’s make up the very cheap core. I have then added two platoons of 4 Kai Shinhoto Chi-Ha’s as I feel you need something that can worry the flanks of a Sherman or Panzer IV.
As always an infantry platoon for the combined arms approach and because you need the Nikuhaku teams to kill enemy tanks and recce as per the infantry list.
|Platoon 1||5x Chi-Ha||200|
|Platoon 2||5x Chi-Ha||200|
|Platoon 3||4x Kai Shinhoto Chi-Ha||240|
|Platoon 4||4x Kai Shinhoto Chi-Ha||240|
|Platoon 5||1x Te-Ke (MG) + 1x Te-Ke (37mm)||100|
|Platoon 6||Full infantry + Banners||360|
I have opted for no artillery support as I would have nothing to defend it and I already fear winning 6-1/5-2 will be hard without having two gun teams I’m going to struggle defending in the back field. This list needs to move forward, mass at one point and then wait. Yes that’s right, wait; you want to give your opponent two options, each not great. If you move about 13 inches away from the enemy and don’t shoot you don’t give away your position so the enemy has to roll to see you, so half of their shots will be fail to see you. If they do see you, you are concealed up night and can shoot back at full rate of fire. Also your recce should be in possition and so you can lift Gone To Ground on any gun teams that don’t shoot… That’s the theory anyway.
The last list is the 1750pts version. Like the infantry this is similar to the 1420pts lists and rounds out the options I
was missing. Firstly it has 9 platoons so you can hopefully reliably get those 6-1/5-2s you need to win a tournament. I had added the HQ platoons in to the core options to get little tank platoons. I wouldn’t do this for any army but Japanese, as a bailed and a dead tank doesn’t take a test because bailed tanks count as active. These two mini platoons give you the option of firing after the main units and adding additional fire where it is needed. The other unit is a platoon of artillery. While in 1420pts I don’t like the artillery, in 1750pts you have more tanks to cover the board. I could be tempted to swap the artillery out for a Zero, but as you will be so close to the enemy the zero might not be the best bet.
|Platoon4||2x KS Chi-Ha||120|
|Platoon5||4x KS Chi-Ha||240|
|Platoon6||4x KS Chi-Ha||240|
|Platoon8||Full infantry + Banners||360|
I’m planning on taking the a Sensha Rentai tank list to the GT. I will be doing a series of posts about getting the army painted and how it changes during play testing, so keep your ears open for that.
Next week we will take a look at some Japanese lists in the Pacific Era.
Thanks for reading and until next time