Book Review by Greg
The first book for Flames of War's foray into the Pacific Theatre (PTO) looks at the long and distinguished history of the US Marine Corps, its involvement in the major engagements of the Pacific war and how you can field your own Marine Companies for use in Flames of War for either the PTO or LW. The 50-page volume, full colour as always, also gives you rules for Amphibious Assaults and a couple of new missions for using these rules, Island Landing and Atoll Landing, both similar but with subtle differences.
The volume is full of historical information on the Marine Corps itself, from its inception in 1775 through to WWI and also its organization during WWII. There is information on the whole Marine campaign in the Pacific as well. Even if you’re not a history buff, this makes for some interesting reading and is great background for anyone interesting in the Corps.
So, what kinds of forces will this let you field in Flames of War? Gung Ho effectively allows you to field three different companies; a Marine Rifle Company, an Amphibian Tank Company and a Marine Tank Company. You have the option of fielding the units as either PTO companies, with corresponding points, or field them in any LW period and again, the corresponding points are listed. This, in my opinion, is a great addition to the book and means that you’re not limited to simply running Marines against their Japanese counter-foes. You could look at all manner of different options in LW to pit the Corps against.
The Marine Rifle Company is just that. Marines with rifles, which you can upgrade to BAR teams. You also have the potential to upgrade the lot into amphibious assault units with the additions of Amtrak’s and/or DUKW’s. You have the full array of support options as well, from LMG/HMG options, mortars and AT guns to light tanks in the form of Stuarts. My particular favourite is the Marine Assault Section, which allows you access to either 1 or 2 squads each of which contain a Bazooka team, a Pioneer rifle team and a Flame-thrower team. The must be combat-attached in full to a Marine Rifle Platoon adding both additional stands and some extra firepower. There is also the likely popular Marine War Dog platoon, which again must be combat attached to Marine Rifle, or Scout & Observer platoons. These have the ‘War Dogs’ special rule keeping assaulting teams back 10”/25cm instead of the usual 8”/20cm, a very useful rule against those sneaky Japanese.
If you choose the amphibian tank company, you’re going to be making selections from either LVT(A)1 37mm or LVT(A)4 75mm Amtanks. Depending on the option you take, you’re getting between 2 and 6 Amtanks for your money and you need a minimum of two platoons. If you’re playing PTO, you’re paying about twice as much per tank to get them than you would in LW, with the 37mm version at 95 vs. 45 and the 75mm at 65 vs. 50.
Your support options for both Rifle and Tank companies are pretty similar. You can choose from either USMC or Army support for you Rifle Company if you’re wanting cheaper version with the Army coming in at CT rather than the FV of the Marines.
Your support includes: Flame Tanks (both Zippo and Satan versions), Seabees, Artillery (75mm, 105mm, 155mm and Long Toms) as well as NGFS. One of the coolest support options are the Buck Rogers Men and their truck-mounted rocket launchers. Air support comes in the form of the might F4U Corsair which you can even equip with napalm should you so need. Along with NGFS, you now have the option of Naval Air and Sea support as well. Taking this option allows you to either intercept their fighters if they have them or disrupt their NGFS. Fighter Interception is as described in the rules and disrupting NGFS is very similar.
All in all, this is a great volume and an excellent first course into the smorgasbord that the Pacific has to offer. The Marines have definitely been done justice here and given the amount of time people have been waiting to dive in and get some jungle thumpin’ done, I think they’re going to be pleasantly surprised.
For further reading, check out Breakthrough Assault's review of Gung Ho! here: