From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli; Fielding Marines in Mid War

Today looks at how one can go about playing U.S Marines in mid-war using Fighting First

As everyone should know, Hobby mojo flows in peaks and troughs, with inspiration deserting at the wrong time as well as striking out of the blue. Such is the start of the story of my U.S Marine list.

I won’t hide that I’ve never really had much interest in the Pacific theatre. Living in England, it makes sense that the battle for Europe first captured my attention. Even watching The Pacific TV series didn’t make much of a mark. However, thanks to Flames of War, I’ve explored not only the East Front, Northern Africa but now, the Pacific.

The Gung-ho and Banzai books for V3 came out at a strange time for the FoW community. After calling for the Pacific to be released, they seemingly fell flat, releasing just after the last of the late war books, Berlin and Nachtjager. With the Pacific late war lists not really having the same punch as the rest of the game, they also passed me by.

Coming ‘back’ to the hobby, I’ve really enjoyed playing the lists in Fighting First with my Tank Destroyers, so much so that I’m also making a Sherman list. It was while flicking through the book I stumbled across the Rifle Company list. With the upcoming Stalingrad games most likely to have a heavy infantry focus, I started toying with an idea for using a US Rifle Company. I usually paint armies (at the last minute) for tournaments or challenges, so I was looking for a project that I could take my time over and try my best to paint really well… and then the mental image of the grizzled Marine with a camouflaged helmet popped into my hobby consciousness. And I was doomed.

So, how am I going to go about doing this? Let’s start with the Rifle Platoons!

Luckily the 10 stand rifle platoons are a direct port (the spare small base becomes one of the HQ platoon teams) into the Fighting First rifle platoon. The core list from Fighting First represents troops that have just landed in Tunisia, full of aggression and yet to learn the hard lessons of combat. To feel more like the ‘fearless veteran’ marines (and to make them a little different to a bog standard list) I’ll be using the ‘Always prepared’ command card to make them hit on 4+ and a skill of 4+. This makes them 12 pts for a full platoon, but much more survivable. Although you’ll need to find a Bazooka model…

Which luckily is included in the Marine 37mm Anti-Tank Platoon!

These also drop right into the list – although I’ll have a spare command stand! These will give some much needed AT punch to the army. To align them with the rifle platoons, I’ll be using the ‘No mission too difficult’ for these, making them hit on and skill 4+ too.

In fact, the same can also be said about the mortar and HMG platoons!

I could also add T30 75mm Self-propelled Assault guns and use the spare command figures as crew, or 105mm field artillery battery.

Of the units that I want to use but will be a bit more of a ‘proxy’ is the 20mm AA cannons:


These guys look awesome, but there isn’t any dismounted AA in the new book. The twin 20mm cannons stat line isn’t a million miles away from the T28E1 stats, and a 4+ save seems appropriate, however, the tactical move of 10” initially seems really wrong – unless you fudge that the guns are being towed by a truck and crash actioned into deployment. The bases also have a larger footprint than the halftrack model, so there is also that so bare in mind, but I think most opponents would be ok with it.

One of the key models that really makes me excited is to proxy Corsairs as P40’s, I love me a gullwing!

That just leaves me with what support options to pick… The first tanks the Marines used were M3 Stuarts, which can be made a little more ‘Marine’ by adding ‘Courageous and Faithful’ to make them hit on a 3+ and Trained 4+ skill.

However, I’m super excited by the modelling options by using M4A2 Shermans:

These models are a little late in mark for ’42-’43, but I already have the bulldozer M4 model and it’ll make a great platoon commander – two more with the improvised armour and I’ve got a sweet looking platoon!

All told, with two platoons and support, I’m running around 80 points – enough to get on the board and figure out how to round out the army. This will be an intentionally slow-grow project, as I really want to make these some models to be really proud of.

Semper Fi!