Banzai: Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific Hit the Beaches – Banzai
Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific
With Wayne Turner

The second Pacific book is Banzai, covering the Imperial Japanese forces in the Pacific. Japan’s rapid conquest of a large proportion of the Pacific and Southeast Asia came quickly after the bombing of the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. They quickly seized the Philippines from US forces, drove the British from Malaya and took most of Burma, as well as defeating the Dutch forces defending the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). This was all quickly achieved by surprise and with veteran troops with years of experience fighting in China.

Inside Banzai you will find history and background on Japan’s Pacific War, Japanese tactics, the full Japanese National special rules, and four intelligence briefings. There are also more detailed accounts of two battles, Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima, with background and scenario ideas for both.

Check out Banzai: Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific in the online store...

Flames Of War Pacific

Gung-Ho and Banzai mark our first step into the Pacific Theatre of Operations (PTO) since the first release of Flames Of War in 2002. Some long-time players will no doubt be thinking, “About time!”

The new books mark a change in format, concentrating on one nation rather than offering two opposing nations. With this format we are able to offer more intelligence briefings, options, and background in two 48-page books than we could in a single 72-page book.

You can read about the other Pacific briefing, Gung-Ho: US Marine Corps in the Pacific, here...
Japanese National Special Rules

The Japanese special rules capture the feel and nature of the Japanese way of war with rules like Banzai Charge; Kendo; No Surrender; Seishien; Human Bullet; Banners; Regimental Standards; Hell By Day, Paradise By Night; and Envelopment. These rules make the Japanese a tough opponent that are hard to break and give them key advantages in the right circumstances. They also have a number of rules covering their unique tactics and weapons.

Banzai: Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific

Banzai contains four intelligence briefings covering a Hohei Chutai (Infantry Company), a Sensha Rentai (Tank Regiment), a Yosai Hohei Chutai (Fortified Infantry Company), and a Ka-Mi Sensha Chutai (Ka-Mi Amphibious Tank Company).

Banzai: Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific

The Hohei Chutai is the backbone of the Japanese Imperial Army. Their infantry are aggressive on attack and stubborn in defence. They have a core of Hohei (infantry) Platoons made up of Rifle teams and Light Mortar teams. They can utilise Banners, making them harder to Pin Down, and can swap some of their Rifle teams for Nikuhaku (human bullet) teams. Nikuhaku teams are teams for assaulting armour armed with anti-tank mines, pole-mounted lunge mines, and Molotov Cocktails (Improvised Tank Assault 5).

A Hohei Chutai can be rated either Fearless Veteran as a combat experienced unit, or Confident Trained as a freshly raised or garrison unit. Machine-guns, battalion guns, anti-tank guns and regimental guns all add additional support firepower to a Hohei Chutai. During the Pacific war a number of improved weapons were introduced to the infantry’s arsenal, including the improved Type 1 37mm anti-tank gun (anti-tank 7), and the Type 1 47mm anti-tank gun (anti-tank 8). The Hohei Weapons Platoon is equipped with machine-guns and Type 97 20mm anti-tank rifles (anti-tank 5). 

Banzai: Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific

The Sensha Rentai can be equipped with a variety of Japanese, and even some captured, tanks. Due to the elite nature of the Japanese tank corps a Sensha Rentai can either be rated Fearless Veteran or Fearless Trained. By 1943 the mainstay of the Japanese tank forces was the Type 97 Chi-Ha medium tank and its up-armed variant the Type 97 Kai Shinhoto Chi-Ha. Older Type 89 Chi-Ro medium tanks were still in service in Southeast Asia and the Philippines and are included as well. Light tanks are also available as one of your combat company options and are equipped with Type 95 Ha-Go light tanks. One platoon in this company can be equipped with captured M3 Stuart tanks.

The Type 97 Kai Shinhoto Chi-Ha is an improved version of the Type 97 Chi-Ha medium tank. It is fitted with a new turret with a more powerful Type 1 47mm gun (anti-tank 8, firepower 4+) than the 57mm Type 90 gun (anti-tank 5, firepower 4+) of the original Type 97 Chi-Ha.

The Yosai Hohei Chutai represents Japanese forces that have prepared defensive positions on an island, around an airfield, or in a strategic position. Like the Hohei Chutai, the Yosai Hohei Chutai can either be rated Fearless Veteran or Confident Trained. Your combat platoons are in fortified positions with trenches, machine-guns nests (that can be upgrade to other weapons and pillboxes), and barbed wire. 

Additional anti-tank and minefield obstacles can be added and gun platoons can be placed in gun pits.

The final briefing represents the tank forces of the Japanese Imperial Navy’s Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF). These troops with their Type 2 Ka-Mi amphibious light tanks were often stationed on islands as part of the defence, sometimes dug-in as part of a defensive force, or keep in reserve for a counterattack. The Type 2 Ka-Mi is fully-amphibious and can be used as part of a Japanese force doing an Amphibious Assault. This tank is armed with a Type 94 37mm gun (anti-tank 5, firepower 4+), and has a co-ax MG rather than the Japanese Turret MG (that has to be operated separately from the main gun) of other Japanese tanks.

Banzai: Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific
Japanese Divisional Support

All of these Japanese forces are supported by a selection of platoons from their division’s support companies. Other new weapons to see action in the Pacific with the Japanese were the Type 1 Ho-Ni and Type 4 Ho-Ro self-propelled guns. Both self-propelled guns are based on the Type 97 Chi-Ha medium tank hull. The Type 1 Ho-Ni mounts a Type 90 75mm field gun which has good direct fire capabilities (anti-tank 10, firepower 3+) and can be fired as artillery. The Type 4 Ho-Ro mounts a Type 38 150mm howitzer. This howitzer has a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) round that gives it anti-tank 13 against armoured targets. It can also fire bombardments.

Banzai: Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific
Banzai: Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific

The support Tank Platoon offers the non-armoured forces tanks in support and includes all the tanks available in the Sensha Rentai, plus the Type 97 Te-Ke tankette. The Type 97 Te-Ke can be either armed with a machine-gun or a Type 94 37mm gun (anti-tank 5). The Type 97 Te-Ke tenkette also equips the Recon Tankette Platoon.

The Scout Platoon offers an infantry reconnaissance option, while engineering support comes with the Engineer Platoon. A mix of artillery options are also available from the 81mm and 90mm mortars of the Medium Mortar Platoon, to the guns and howitzers of the field artillery batteries.

The Field Artillery Battery can be armed with Type 38 75mm field guns or Type 91 105mm light howitzers. The Field Artillery Battery uses the Fire Bursts rule that means each gun counts as two weapons when firing bombardments. 

Banzai: Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific

The Heavy Field Artillery Battery can be armed with either Type 96 150mm howitzers or long Type 92 105mm guns.

Anti-aircraft guns played an important part in many battles as they were pressed into use against ground targets. In Banzai you can support your force with Type 88 75mm and Type 98 20mm anti-aircraft guns. These can both be either Gun teams or Nests.

Like the US Marines, the Japanese can call on Naval Gunfire Support. The guns of the ships offshore can break up enemy attacks or defences. They also get Naval Air & Sea Support, which can interrupt your opponent’s air power or naval gunfire support.

The mighty Mitsubishi Zero also makes an appearance over the battlefield to strike at the enemy positions with machine-guns and bombs.

Banzai: Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific
Banzai: Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific
Points Pacific War Late War  

The isolated nature of the Pacific Theatre of Operations and the slow development of weapon technology by the Japanese meant the power and effectiveness of the weapons in the Pacific seem somewhat out of balance with what was being used in Europe at the same time. This led to some weapons, like the Sherman tank, having a greater impact for a longer time than in Europe.

We realised many gamers will also want to pit their Pacific forces against forces from Europe. To cover this you will find two point levels for each platoon, one for the Pacific War, intended for playing games within the context of the Pacific Theatre, and Late-war, with points compatible with any other Flames Of War forces with Late-war points.

Pacific War Points are also compatible with Early-war Points, although not all the equipment was available in the Early-war (1939-1941). Whatever points option you select, you and your opponent’s forces must be entirely selected from that points option.

Banzai: Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific

As you can see, Banzai provides you with everything you need to get started as a Japanese commander in the Pacific!

~ Wayne.

Last Updated On Wednesday, April 6, 2016 by James at Battlefront