26 February 2016

Mike's Marines (Part 1: The Beach Assault List)

by Mike

At long last I finally had the pleasure of sitting down and writing my first Pacific army list! I’ve had over ten years to think about what list I wanted to build first. I’ve gone back and forth but in the end there was really only one real choice to begin with: USMC.

There was little debate in my mind that I want to do a Marine Rifle Company. It’s an iconic force, riding ashore in barely armored (if at all) LVT amtrac carriers, hitting the beach under murderous defensive fire, and fighting tooth and nail against a determined enemy, both displaying true grit in the bloody island hopping campaign.

The Gung Ho book has two points variations, one for Pacific War (PW) and one for Late War (LW). The Pacific was a self-contained system with only a slight increase in technology from beginning to end, hence things like Sherman tanks were nearly unstoppable beasts straight through the campaign. So the Pacific points reflect that, with the venerable Sherman costing about 500 points apiece! The Late War points are also provided so you can field them against European Theatre troops.

Pacific War Lists
This is where it’s at. I’ll happily live in this points bracket forever because it means I can focus my Marines to do the task they were called upon to do: island hopping. I don’t need to worry about all the things that I usually do making Late War lists. Instead it’s all about getting ashore, establishing or widening a beachhead, or pushing inland to secure an airfield. So to that end, I’ve created three lists to do just that. Let’s have a look at the first one!

"The Assault” - 1875 Points

The Island and Atoll Landing missions grant the attacker an additional 25% points to bring to bear on the defenders. With that in mind I’ve created an assault force with an amazing amount of firepower behind it!

I’ve taken two full strength Marine platoons to simulate a (re)fresh unit. Space is cramped in the LVTs so I’ve put the M1919s in their own landing craft to arrive in the second wave. The 60mm mortars will be attached to the the platoons in the first wave. The Engineers are geared up to clear bunkers and blast open holes for the infantry. All four of these platoons are recyclable.

Marine Rifle Company (Amphibious Assault)
Marine Rifle HQ
Marine Rifle Platoon (full strength)
    add 2x LVT(4)
Marine Rifle Platoon (full strength)
    add 2x LVT(4)
Company Machine-gun Platoon (with 4x M1919 LMG)
60mm Mortar Platoon (2x 60mm)
Marine Assault Engineer Section
Marine Amphibian Tank Platoon with 6x LVT(A)4 (75mm)
Naval Gunfire Support (Destroyer)
Air Support (Priority)
    add Close Air Support
    add Napalm

The six (six!) LVT(A)4 “Amtanks” are there to offer some immediate firepower, smoke, and single-gun bombardments if really needed. As amphibians, they will arrive in the first wave of the assault offering a ton of firepower. They also operate as independent teams if they swim ashore, making them extremely handy to support the troops with HE. Alternatively, I suppose I could bring them on as a single platoon in a later wave, which would have it’s uses as well, especially in assaults.

I remember using my Sherman DDs in my annual Normandy beach games, and they were always useful. I’d usually lose one or two to swamping, which made me nervous initially about committing 400 points to them, but when I had a look at the landing missions I found that the rule that gives the DDs the chance to swamp on the approach was no longer in play here. The closest you can get to swamping a tank is if you bog down in the Lagoon or if you roll 1 in the Movement Step while providing full ROF fire support from the surf or lagoon zones.

I’ve backed the assault with a Destroyer to provide some serious artillery support because no self respecting beach assault planner would carry on without naval gunfire! The support is rather expensive, so I opted for the Destroyer, which still gives a respectable AT4/FP3+ 4-gun bombardment.

The final component to my beach assault is the Marine Air Corps with a tooled up F4U Corsair. Like many, I love this plane dearly, but I’ve also got a family connection to it. My grandfather was an aircrew engine mechanic in the Korean War on a the US Navy Escort Carrier, USS Mindoro (CVE-120). After the war he worked on converting Avengers into fire bombers. He's always loved the Corsair and it's stayed a family favorite since, becoming something of a Haught icon and I intend to field one on the tabletop (USN, of course!) I’ve given it Priority level and reinforced it with Close Air Support, meaning that I start with seven dice in my Air Support Pool and can roll two aircraft dice and choose the best result, which will hopefully bring in flights of three Corsairs each turn to bomb or napalm stuff.

That’s all I can fit in at the moment, so there’s nothing for it but to climb aboard the Amtracs and kick the shit out of those unlucky bastards on the beach!

Next up, Beachhead!


  1. Will the F4F Wildcat be available for 1942 ???

    1. Currently it's just the Corsair but aircraft in FoW are just markers if anything. So you could put a Wildcat on a stand instead and call it good.