02 February 2016

Gung Ho! Book Review

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.

With the new missions, you’ve now got the opportunity to re-fight the island engagements that are the hallmark of the PTO. In fact, you’ve got suggested missions in the book to enable you (in conjunction with Banzai) re-fight The Battle of Saipan and Operation Iceberg; the invasion of Okinawa.

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.

The Marine Tank Company offers you two choices, amphibian or land-based. Your choices in terms of mandatory combat platoons is the determined by whether you’re running in PTO or LW.
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.

For you land-based tankers, it’s a slightly different story. You get the choice of M4A2 or M4A3 (late) Shermans and if you’re playing PTO, you’re definitely getting them at a premium. Platoons have a maximum of 2 tanks, with each tank costing either 500 points for an M4A2 or 620 for an M4A3 (late). Remember though, these things are almost indestructible against the relatively weak Japanese AT offerings. They’re pretty much the JagdTigers of the Pacific!

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:


  1. With MW getting a revisit later this year, I'm sure that there will be PTO MW points, just not now.

  2. Then why does it mention Guadalcanal?

  3. Guadalcanal was a pivotal operation in the PTO and for the USMC. Excluding it from this volume would be a significant omission. Regardless of it's relation to the MW dates, it's still part of the PTO.

  4. No M2A4 or M3A1 Tanks?

    1. None of the rather rare M2A4 tanks (Guadalcanal only if I recall correctly), but they are practically M3s for all intents and purposes, which you can take in addition to M3A1 and the M5s.

  5. Thats too bad. I've been wanting an M2a4 model for many years. Would be nice also for someone to FINALLY make Marines with Springfield 03s and minus helmet covers, but that's a different subject. Anyway, super excited to see BF enter the PTO. Was hoping they would since the first edition rules came out.

    The comment in the above review about the M4 being the JagdTiger of the PTO is a little concerning since Japanese AT guns were actually pretty effective against them.

  6. at any rate, have to wait and see whats actually in the book.

  7. When is all this for sale? Sorry, I seem to have missed the actual launch date somehow.