Japanese! Japanese!
I Have A Few Ideas For Those!
with Wayne Turner

The release of Battlefront’s new Early-war handbook for Flames Of War, Rising Sun, sees the arrival of the Japanese on the scene. While the Japanese forces in Rising Sun are intended to be used for the Nomonhan / Khalkin Gol conflict with the Soviet Union, it is not the only conflict you can use the new Japanese Intelligence Briefings and miniatures.
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
What Are The Japanese Up To?
So let’s first briefly establish what the Japanese were up to between 1937 and 1941 in East Asia and the Pacific. As noted above they were engaged in border battle with the Soviets in 1938, but during that time they were also engaged in China in the Second Sino-Japanese War, which began on 7 July 1937 and continued through World War Two. The Japanese occupied French Indochina (modern Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia) in September 1940 after the French were defeated in Europe. In the same month they also formed the Tripartite alliance with Germany and Italy.

On 13 April 1941 the Japanese concluded a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, which ended hostilities on the Manchurian border temporarily. During the rest of 1941 relations with the US broke down leading to the Japanese attacks on Malaya, Pearl Harbor, and the Philippines. On 10 December Japanese troops land on Guam and in Northern Luzon in the Philippines, beginning a full-scale invasion. Thailand joined an alliance with Japan on 14 December before the Japanese attacked both the British and Dutch regions of Borneo. On 24 December the Japanese took Wake Island from the US garrison. The following day they took Hong Kong. This wave of success then continued into 1942.
Elephant Grass
If you want to add further interest to your early war battles in Asia, try playing your games with the Elephant Grass rules from Tour of Duty (FW901).

Away from the villages, and even in gaps in the jungle, rice paddies give way to ‘elephant grass’—the soldier’s universal catchall for tall grasses. This ranges in height from knee high to well over a man’s head. The ground beneath can range from hard-packed earth to flooded and muddy depending on the season.

Elephant Grass Table
Knee High
2 or 3
Waist High
4 or 5
Head High

When present, elephant grass usually covers the areas of the table that aren’t covered by other terrain. It is easiest to have the elephant grass the same height across the whole table. You can either select the height of elephant grass at the start of the game, or roll a die and use the Elephant Grass Table (an option we found added an extra challenge!) Make up some patches of elephant grass and scatter them across the table to indicate the nature of the terrain.

All elephant grass is Slow Going.

■ Knee-high grass has no effect on visibility whatsoever.

■ Waist-high elephant grass does not limit visibility, but is Concealment for troops and guns moving on foot (although not vehicles).

■ Head-high elephant grass allows vehicles to see and be seen, although everything is Concealed, but limits visibility to 6”/15cm between troops on the ground.

■ Taller elephant grass hides vehicles and limits visibility to 6”/15cm like a wood.

With A Little Imagination!
As you can see there are plenty of opportunities to use the Japanese in the Early War period, whether you want to kick off your Pacific war experience or fight the conflicts in mainland China.

A lot of the forces the Japanese faced from 1937 to 1941 can we represented from Early-war forces already available for Flames Of War. Chinese forces ranged in quality from dedicated revolutionaries to conscripted peasants handed a gun that day (if they were lucky), leaving the creative gamer plenty of scope to improvise. A lot of the Nationalist Chinese forces had older German equipment, so you can use Hungarian models. You may like to try using the Italian Battaglione Fucilieri Intelligence Briefing from Burning Empires as a starting point, taking advantage of the variable ratings of the 8 Million Bayonets rule or you could use the Soviet Strelkovy Batalon from Rising Sun to represent the Chinese. There are
a number of interesting Osprey books on the conflict in China to guide you on your way.

Malaya offers you an opportunity to use British and Australians from Blitzkrieg and Hellfire and Back against the Japanese. The Australians, Italy and 8th Army miniatures from the British Flames Of War range all offer a good options to field troops in the Malaya and Borneo. We also have a Dutch Briefing that could be adapted for their colonial troops in Borneo using the Romanian miniatures.

US troops in the Philippines consisted of marines and army troops. As there are not any Early-war US Briefings yet, so a little more improvisation may be in order. I’d suggest using Early-war British for the moment. A bit of research and some educated guesses should give you the basis for some gaming forces.

All of these are just ideas thrown out to get you thinking about the Japanese. What I’m saying here is that don’t be limited in your Flames Of War gaming by the books that are available. If you have a passion for a particular battle or campaign involving the Japanese a little extra effort and some additional thought is all it takes to get it on the table for Flames Of War. Of course all these ideas are not just applicable to the Japanese, but anything to do with wargaming pet projects.

Having said this, we at Battlefront still plan to get to the Pacific War in the future. I hope to see some interesting and creative uses of the new Japanese miniatures in the near future.

~ Wayne.
Timeline (Click on the image to view a larger version)

Last Updated On Wednesday, May 7, 2014 by Blake at Battlefront