Sunday, April 5, 2015

Imperial Japanese Army Force for Bolt Action

Because I ended up with a fair few Japanese (this comes of buying things that are on sale with no real plan…) – a bit too much for a single platoon… but not enough for a full company… and far too many officers… I’ve more or less tried to organize my force as an under-strength Company. Probably later in the war, seen lots of action and not nearly enough reinforcements to cover the losses due to combat or disease.

I suppose if they’ve seen a lot of action I could have made them veterans, but I figured I’d go with regulars imagining those that have seen a lot of action, have also seen a lot of hardship and it’s been telling – also the influx of not-so-experienced replacements (though not nearly enough to keep things up to their authorized strength) would also lower the overall effectiveness of the squads.

I’ve also gone with the optional later war dual weapon squads – but could just as easily set these up as two Rifle squads and one Grenadier squad…

The entire force (so far…)

Company Headquarters

Company Command
(Regular Captain +2 Regular Men) 130 Points

1st Platoon

The entire platoon. 

Platoon HQ:
Platoon Commander (subaltern), Platoon Sergeant, Runner
(Regular First Lieutenant and two other regulars) 95 points

3x IJA Infantry Squads, each with:

First Squad
(IJA Infantry Squad – 8 Regulars, LMG, Light Mortar) 125 points

Second Squad
(IJA Infantry Squad – 8 Regulars, LMG, Light Mortar) 125 points

Third Squad
(IJA Infantry Squad – 8 Regulars, LMG, Light Mortar) 125 points

2nd  Platoon

The Second Platoon is currently organized with two rifle squads and a mortar squad – mostly because I don’t have a third LMG team for this platoon yet (there’s one on order, should be here this week… but I thought I’d show them organized as such… because… well… because they CAN be organized as such…

The entire platoon (pictures from a previous post)

Platoon HQ:
Platoon Commander and Runner
(Regular Second Lieutenant +1 Regular Soldier) 60 points
Though there is only the officer pictured here I DO have a runner figure for the platoon HQ... he somehow just didn't end up in the picture.... 

3x IJA Infantry Squads:

First Squad
(8 Regulars + LMG) 100 points

Second Squad
(8 Regulars + LMG) 100 points

Third (Grenadier) Squad
(6 Regular soldiers + 3 light mortars) 135 points

Other Supporting Elements Attached Battalion/Regimental/Divisional Assets:

Medical Officer and Orderly
(Regular Medic + Extra Man) +40 points
I seem to have lots of extra Officers… rather than making ANOTHER platoon to make use of them I decided to use them… elsewhere… so here is a battalion medical officer with his family’s sword – ready to use if for expedient battlefield amputations!

81mm Type 97 Medium Mortar Team and Observer
(Regular Medium Mortar Team + Spotter) 60 Points
Medium Again with the spare officer…

Type 92 Medium Machine-Gun Team
(Regular Medium Machine-Gun Team) 50 points
MMG team from the Battalion’s MG Platoon. AGAIN with the spare officer… the MG team is supposed to have a crew of three... I only had two – but I had this spare officer… so…

Suicide Anti-Tank Teams
(2x Regular Suicide Anti-Tank Teams) @ 20 = 40 points

Forward Observer teams
(Regular Artillery Forward Observer + extra man) 110 points
(Regular Air Force Forward Observer + extra man) 85 points

So if I fielded this entire force that would be about 1400 points - could be more if I made them veteran, less if I fielded not so many observers and/or support stuff and/or made the first platoon commander a 2nd Lieutenant... or simply fielded ONE platoon... I guess what I am saying is there are a LOT of different ways this force could be fielded - the above organization (the one I would default to) is but one way of doing things...

If I ever got to doing a defence of Okinawa (or some “What If” scenarios involving an invasion of Japan) I could field a couple of Inexperienced Bamboo Spear Fighting Squads…

Bamboo Spear-Fighter Squad
(15 Inexperienced Infantry with Bamboo Spears) +75 points.
Yes they're samurai-era peasants from my Ronin Peasant Buntai, but really, how much would the dress of the average rural Japanese peasant have changed from the Sengoku period...?


I’m pretty much done with these… I DO have one last LMG team for the second infantry platoon on the way and I ordered a squad of Japanese infantry on bicycles (because… I am a bit of a Bike Geek…) – perhaps they could be fielded as a regimental scout squad…? I don’t know…
(12 Veterans, LMG, Light Mortar, Bicycles) +213 points

Perhaps SOMEDAY it might be nice to pick up a few other things:

TANK(s) – I might like to pick up a Type 95 Ha-Go Light Tank and/or a Type 97 Chi-HA Medium Tank – they seem to be the most numerous tanks fielded by the Imperial Japanese Army, and thus the most likely to be supporting any particular company…

Light Artillery – I also wouldn’t mind picking up either a Type 92 70mm Infantry Gun or a Type 41 75mm Mountain Gun (does anyone even make such a thing?!) for some organic light support from the Battalion Gun Platoon.

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:


  1. I did a game of the invasion of Chiba in 1946 using IJA infantry and Samurai figures. Out in the countyside sometimes families would have their ancestors armor or like my inlaws could have been in Kendo

    1. I do have a lot of unarmoured ronin as well... armed with swords and spears and bows...

  2. Nice work. One of my favourite gaming memories (maybe the first year of the EWG in 2004) was watching a gamer spend a whole game moving a line of Japanese infantry through the jungle to prep a charge. As he crossed the river, deviating naval support fire blew them to smithereens. He was very upset!

    1. Friendly Fire isn't...

      Though I've got forward observers for most of these forces, I'm not entirely sure I'd ever want to use them in Bolt Action. It looks like there's basically a one in six chance that your opponent gets to decide where the artillery or airstrikes come in!? The way i roll d6s that's like 100% chance I'd be hitting myself!

    2. My last 3 games my Ai observer has rolled a one and been single handily responsible for losing me the game.

    3. Oh dear! It's been a long time since I've looked at the rules, let alone play the game, but one thing I do recall was thinking "why would anyone want to take those!?" Seems like such a crapshoot?

  3. Very impressive collection :)

  4. Fantastic work on your WW2 forces. You don't play WW2 much? Could have fooled me.

    1. Thanks!

      I have been painting and planning a lot lately - but I haven't actually PLAYED with them... last WW2 game I played was... two years ago...?

  5. There is a kickstarter from Wartime miniatures (from Oz) covering IJA and SNLF troops and th e type 41 75mm mountain gun is about to be unlocked.

    1. Thanks for that James! Not going to Kickstart it... because... well... I just don't need anymore infantry right now!! But I'll keep an eye out for them when they (hopefully) go into regular production!

      I have a feeling Company B might make one too...?