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Xenophon's Ghost covers military history and wargaming from the ancient period to modern times.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Armies of Imperial Japan

My hotel wifi is unreliable, so I will be disciplined and brief in this review. Interestingly, I am writing this post from a joint US-Japanese base near Tokyo.


The Imperial Japanese Army supplement for Bolt Action captures the essence of the Pacific War in its equipment, unit, and theatre selector lists.


The supplement captures the spirit of the Japanese well in its National Characteristics, and I think the key infantry formations were covered effectively. The equipment list is quite comprehensive. If you want strong tanks, the IJA is not for you.

The progression of theatres from the Japanese thrust into China, SE Asia, and finally the Pacific Isles captures the state of the Japanese forces well. Likewise, the defensive campaign, to include home island defensive plans, hits the key battles effectively.


If the theatres were expanded, I would have appreciated more coverage of China, Early fights with Russia, and New Guinea. I also think the bicycle rule should be limited to theaters were bikes were used.

There were a few typos for transliterated Japanese.

As you can see, the strengths clearly outweighed the weaknesses.  I will be buying figs soon to get started on a Guadalcanal-focused set of armies.

Starter List

Here's a 500 point list based on that critical island fight.

(R)egular 2d Lt + 2 riflemen   70 points
R 1st IJA squad (NCO, 6 riflemen, 2 man LMG team)    90
R 2nd IJA squad (NCO, 6 riflemen, 1 ATG rifleman)    82
R IJA Grenadier Squad (NCO, 5 rifles, 2 2-man knee mortar teams) 150
R Sniper team   50
(I)nexperienced Type 92 70mm Infantry Gun.   32
(I)nexperienced Light Truck (for Tow).  25

Total 499 points


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