Rising Sun Fun Under The Sun: Part Two
Tactical Tips on Fielding Japanese Forces in Flames Of War
with Russell Briant

Konnichiwa1. The new Japanese plays like no other force in Flames Of War. They do fight to the last man. They do succeed or die trying. In this article I will give you my take on the Fearless Veteran Infantry Company option, the 7th Division Hohei Chutai, building a 1500 point list and explain my force choices and how they use the Japanese Special Rules.

1 = Good Afternoon in Japanese.
Rising Sun
Rising Sun brings you into the Soviet Union’s wars with the Japanese and Finns on its borders in 1939. Take command of the Red Army’s tank forces, infantry or cavalry forces as you throw the Japanese back into Manchuria or fight the stubborn Finns to expand the Soviet border.

Learn more about Rising Sun here...
Rising Sun
Any list must have a Headquarters. The 7th Division Headquarters has a basic cost of 50 points which gives you a Company and a 2iC Command Sword team.

All Infantry and Gun Command teams in the Japanese forces are Sword teams. Sword teams shoot as Pistol team (Range 4”/10cm; ROF 1; Anti-tank 1; Firepower 6 and Tank assault 1). Offsetting those limitations, they have the Kendo rule which allows them To Hit on 2+ during Assaults, providing there is no Tank or Bunker within 2”/5cm of the Sword team.

The Hohei Headquarters has a very useful upgrade option which provides the 2iC team with the Regimental Standard for 75 points.

The Regimental Standard has miraculous qualities. For my force, any platoon with Hohei in its title automatically passes any Motivation Tests taken while they have been joined by the Regimental Standard. See the Regimental Standard rule on page 11 of Rising Sun for more details.

The Regimental Standard is also resilient. If the team carrying the Regimental Standard is destroyed, you may immediately destroy a Japanese Infantry team within 4”/10cm instead, leaving the Regimental Standard unharmed. Once this occurs the Regimental Standard no longer functions as a 2iC Command team, but remains a Warrior and a Regimental Standard Sword team. That distinction means the Regimental Standard team can continue to roam the battlefield removing all doubt of the divinity of the Emperor and the rousing platoons from dishonour, but the team won’t be able to appoint new platoon commanders or take a Company Morale check.

On that point, the Regimental Standard rules do not apply to taking Company Morale checks.

125 points used out of our 1500 point total so far.
Combat Platoons
The Hohei Chutai relies heavily on their indomitable infantry to be their cutting edge in the game. That’s a good thing because, compared to many other Flames Of War forces, this company is limited in the amount of gun or armour support.

The 7th Division Hohei Platoon Command Sword team can be joined by either three Rifle Squads for 335 points or two Rifle Squads for 230 points. Each Rifle Squad contains three Rifle teams and one Light mortar team. For an additional 25 points the platoon can be modelled with Banners.

Banners is another Japanese Special Rule. Japanese platoons with Banners ignore the first hit both in the Shooting Step and Defensive Fire step, so require six hits to become Pinned Down or be required to Fall Back. Similarly the first hit from Artillery, Flame-throwers or Air Support are ignored, so two of any of these are required Pin Down a platoon with Banners. This is useful for a force that is as assault orientated as the Hohei Chutai and works better with the Veteran 7th Division that are already harder to hit than the Trained 23rd Division alternative.

Banners make even more sense when you factor in that, for a part of all games involving the Japanese as the Attacker, will be conducted using the Night rules, during which the cover provided by Night will further increase the difficulty of scoring hits.

The Japanese have the Hell by Day, Paradise by Night rule. Its effect is to have Dawn rules applying when they are the Attacker. Our Hohei Company, not being a Fortified Company, may optionally choose to use the Always Attack rule.

Japanese are further advantaged at night by the Envelopment rule. The Envelopment rule allows Japanese Infantry, Man-packed and Light Gun teams to Move at the Double at night, and through Rough Terrain. In addition Japanese Tank teams can move at full speed at night.

So our Hohei platoon can be hard to hit, pin or made to Fall Back. Even if a Japanese platoon, not including Tank teams, is required to Fall Back from Defensive Fire they can then call on the Banzai Charge rule to attempt to continue the Assault by passing a Motivation Test. If they pass, the platoon is no longer Pinned Down and must immediately attempt to carry on the Assault. The enemy shoots again in Defensive Fire. If forced to Fall Back a second time the platoon remains Pinned Downed and Falls Back.

Back to the Hohei Platoon; a key component of a Hohei Company’s Anti-tank capability comes from within its Hohei platoons. Before deployment up to one Rifle team in each Rifle Squad can be upgraded to be a Nikuhaku team for no additional cost. A Nikuhaku team is a bees-knees special assault team tricked out to destroy tanks. They cannot shoot at all but can fight in Assaults with an Improvised tank assault rating of 4.

Nikuhaku teams use the Human Bullet rule. When fighting against tanks, surviving Nikuhaku teams in assault range always go in. Even if a platoon that includes Nikuhaku teams fails a Tank Terror motivation test, the assault may still continue. All teams apart from the Nikuhaku teams, however, become non-assaulting teams. If there are any enemy Tank teams within 6”/15cm of a Nikuhaku team then wondrous things happen to the platoon they belong to.

If after the Banzai test the platoon still incurs a Fall Back result from Defensive Fire then the platoon then the platoon still doesn’t Fall Back. Instead the Nikuhaku teams move in for the assault while the remaining teams become Non-assaulting teams and move back as if they did Fall Back.

Similarly, if a platoon fails a Morale test to Counterattack, then its Nikuhaku teams Counterattack and remaining teams fall back as if they if the platoon was forced to Break Off. If a Nikuhaku team is within 2”/5cm of an enemy Tank team when it Rolls to Hit in Assaults they roll four dice per team. Any hits may only be assigned to enemy Tank teams. If there is no enemy Tank team within 2”/5cm they roll one dice as normal.

So Nikuhaku with an Anti-tank rating of 4 can be devastating against tanks. They are none-the–less using Improvised anti-tank weapons when attacking tanks so any To Hit roll resulting in a 1 will destroy that Nikuhaku team – this is the leveller for these tank assault demigods.

You need have at least two Hohei platoons in the Company.

They are costly so I’ll go with the smaller two rifle squad versions with banners added to both platoons.

635 points used out of our 1500 point total so far.

Weapons Platoons
Japanese Hohei platoons are armed with rifles and have at least some teams that don’t shoot to boot, so they do need some firepower support. A Hohei Company can take up to two Hohei Machine-gun platoons. Hohei Machine-gun platoons can Combat Attach to Hohei platoons.

They have the obligatory Command Sword team and either four Type 3 HMGs for 160 points or two for 85 points. I’ll add one platoon with four HMGs to my Company bringing the total to 795 points.

Next the Hohei Battalion Gun platoon is a cheap 70 point option to provide some template pinning power to help prepare the Hohei platoons attack. I’ll also add the optional Observer Rifle team for a further 15 points.

The two Type 92 70mm guns in the platoon fill the role of medium mortars undertake in other forces. In direct fire they have a modest range of 16”/40cm, ROF 2, Anti-tank 3 and Firepower 3+. Bombarding they have a range of 40”/100cm, Anti-tank 2 and Firepower 6. They do benefit from the their own special Battalion Gun special rule that allows them to re-roll a failed first attempt to  Range In a Bombardment and they also use the Fire Bursts special rule which means these small batteries do not re-roll hits for having two or fewer guns. Single guns do still have a minus 1 when Ranging in.

Being a Man-packed Gun the Envelopment rules also applies to the Battalion Gun platoon allowing Moving at the Double through Rough Terrain and at night.

880 points used
out of our 1500 point total.

Regimental Support
In the Anti-tanks slot the Company list provides two options; a Hohei Rapid-fire Gun platoon with two light anti-tank guns or a Hohei Regimental Gun Platoon with two light artillery pieces.

The Rapid-fire platoon can have two Type 94 37mm guns for 90 points or one Type 94 and a captured 45mm obr 1937 for 110 points. Both guns share the same stats (Range 24”/60cm; ROF 3 and Firepower 4+) with the exception of Anti-tank. The captured 45mm has an Anti-tank rating of 7 as opposed to the 6 of the Type 94 37mm gun.

The Regimental Gun platoon is more of Takayoshi-of-all-trades. It has two Type 41 75mm guns with a direct fire range of 16”/40cm; ROF 2; Anti-tank 6 and Firepower 3+. It can fire bombardment, however, out to 64”/ 160cm with an Anti-tank rating of 3 and a Firepower of 6. The Fire Bursts rule applies to this platoon as well. Both platoons are Light Guns and therefore also get to use the Envelopment rule.

It’s a toss-up between the two but we already have a template platoon so I’ll go for the best Anti-tank capability provided by the Rapid-fire platoon with the captured 45mm gun.

990 points used out of our 1500 point total.

Divisional Support

There is a slot for Armour and Artillery. I’ve added a single platoon Light Sensha Company with three Type 95 Ha-Go tanks for 245 points. It can be useful to have some armoured support. The Light Sensha platoon comes from the 4th Sensha Regiment and so are Fearless Veteran tanks. They are Standard tanks for movement so can, care of the Envelopment rule, move around up to 12”/30cm at night when other tanks are restricted to no more than 8”/20cm of movement.

The Ha-Go’s other stats are fairly bottom draw; with Armour 1 all-round (Front, Side and Top). The main gun is a sub-par 37mm with a Range of 24”/60cm; ROF 2; Anti-tank 5 and Firepower of 4+. This already limited gun is further restricted by Limited vision and a One-man-turret rules; adding +1 to hit when shooting outside the frontal arc or after movement.

The main gun does benefit from the Hip Shot rule which allows re-rolling of a failed To Hit roll when the easiest team to hit is within 16”/40cm. Ha-Go’s also have a Hull MG and a Japanese Turret MG which cannot be used if the main gun is used.

Japanese Tank teams have one further special rule, Duty to the End. Unlike other tank teams that are Bailed or Bogged Down, Japanese tank teams count as still fighting when in those conditions for Platoon Morale tests and operational when an Assaulting enemy platoon checks to see if it has won. Bogged or Bailed Japanese tanks can also continue to shoot their Japanese Turret MG and fight in Assaults. As you would expect, they can’t, however, move to Counterattack or Break Off. Additionally they are not ignored when working out if an enemy platoon must take a Tank Terror tests.

1235 points used of our 1500 point total so far.
With the remaining points I’ll flesh out my force with a Engineer Platoon which has another Command Sword team and three Engineer squads totalling nine Pioneer Rifle teams. There is an option to add banners for 25 points to this platoon but they are Fearless Trained and that makes them less likely to get few enough hits to benefit. Also I don’t have the points.

As always Pioneers are useful when fortifications are deployed against the company. As Pioneer Rifle teams they have an Anti-tank rating of 3. Not being a platoon with Hohei in their title they can’t benefit from the Regimental Standard but, if their opponent is flush with tanks then, before deployment, up to two Rifle teams in each Squad can be exchanged for Nikuhaku teams. So this platoon has the option of taking up to six tank exterminating Human Bullet teams.

Final Total: 1485 points.

Hohei Chutai
7th Infantry Division (Fearless Veteran)
Company HQ
with Company Command Sword team & 2iC Command Sword team plus Regimental Standard.
125 points
Combat Platoons
Hohei Platoon
with Command Sword team & two Rifle Squads (includes two Nikuhaku teams) with Banners.
255 points
Hohei Platoon  
with Command Sword team & two Rifle Squads (includes two Nikuhaku teams) with Banners. 255 points
Weapons Platoons
Hohei Machine-gun Platoon
with Command Sword team & two Machine-gun Sections.
160 points
Hohei Battalion Gun Platoon
with Command Sword team & two Gun Sections plus Observer Rifle team. 85 points
Regimental Support Platoons
Hohei Rapid Fire Gun Platoon
with Command Sword team, one Type 94 37mm gun & one Captured 45mm obr 1937 gun.
110 points
Divisional Support Platoon
Light Sensha Platoon  
with one Light Sensha Platoons with three Type 95 Ha-Go.
245 points
Engineer Platoon (Fearless Trained)
with Command Sword team & three Engineer Squads (option to upgrade to six Nikuhaku teams).
250 points
Total Points: 1485 points
More Special Rules
There remain just two Japanese Special Rules to cover before I sum up how to use this distinctly different force.

Seishin or strength of will and purpose. Seishin is the rule that means Japanese platoons will fight to the last team. It goes like this. Japanese platoons that fail their Platoon Morale tests are not automatically destroyed. Instead, Tank and Independent teams are immediately destroyed and removed; Gun teams become Rifle teams for the rest of the game; and all other teams carry on fighting but in a - I will now die for the Emperor - way.

In the Movement Step a platoon that has drawn on its Seishin, that isn’t within 8”/20cm of either the nearest Objective that must be taken to win the game or defend to stop the enemy winning, must move their full movement distance towards either of those Objectives until they are within 8”/20cm of it. They can’t, however, Move at the Double, or ever Dig In.

In the Shooting step they follow the same process as in the Movement Step. Another round of moving to the nearest relevant Objective.

In the Assault Step, they must Assault if they can and they always Counterattack rather than Break Off. Assisting with this urge to throw themselves at the enemy is the part of the Seishin rule that says they automatically pass all Motivation Tests except a Sole Surviving Infantry Motivation test. This means a Platoon that has drawn on its Seishin will always pass all Tank Terror, Banzai, Counterattack and any subsequent Platoon Morale tests.

They can be halted, at least for this turn, by two lots of Defensive Fire both resulting in Fall Back outcomes, or by being destroyed by Shooting or, more riskily, Assaults and their predictable movement does allow enemy to manoeuvre to a position to cover them with fire. But until then they will keep on going until at least the last team.

The last Special Rule is No Surrender. Even when this Hohei Company fails its Company Morale test THE GAME IS STILL NOT OVER. Super Seishin for all! In this case, Independent but not Warrior Teams are immediately destroyed and then all Warriors and platoons draw on their Seishin as if they have failed a Platoon Morale test. Platoons can come on from Reserve as normal but they too immediately then draw on their Seishin. Only when all on table Japanese teams are destroyed does the game end using the rules for Failing Company Morale.

My Go To Guide For Using This 7th Division Hohei Chutai
So how do I use my seven platoon force? This is slightly mission dependent but in mission where the defender is half off it would seem to pay to choose to use Auto Attack and start the game at night.

With  two or even all three infantry platoons I would plan to seek to close on the nearest held objective as fast as possible, doubling through rough terrain probably in the first turn with all the man packed and light gun platoons steaming up behind in close support. The light tanks could be well employed chasing off any recce screen set to hold up the progress of the main thrust or provide some demonstration towards an alternate objective to discourage redeployment across to the point of focus.

The first assaults should be going in before the sun rises.

If the enemy is armour then the Engineers lead the way looking to destroy them by massed Human Bullet assault.

Otherwise, with Regimental Standard attached, the Hohei with the Banners I’d plan to lead the assault. With luck the Battalion guns and HMGs have Pinned the Enemy and remove some of the Defensive Fire threats.

Six hits at 5+ are needed twice to stop a Hohei Platoon Assault and once in, the Regimental Standard will ensure it won’t be the Hohei who Break Off.

Even when the enemy decide to tactically withdraw you simply pile on the pressure next turn, knowing your platoons will keep on going beyond breaking point, until the enemy stand and are overwhelmed or the objective is taken.

In a Defensive Battle or one that requires the Japanese to deploy no more than half their platoons, I anticipate combat attaching a pair of Heavy Machine Guns to each Hohei platoon.

My starting assumption is that all three infantry platoons start on table with one defending each objective and the other positioned in Ambush or positioned to move to support either other objective.

This then if my force and plan of operation.


~ Russell.

2 = Thank You in Japanese.

Last Updated On Thursday, August 8, 2013 by Blake at Battlefront