06 April 2016

Why Japanese Tanks?

with Damian

The release of the Pacific War books couldn’t have come at a better time for me.  I’d been looking for a new Flames of War army to do for a long time and when the guys at Behind Enemy Lines were offered the chance to jump on-board and help out, I found myself really excited about the opportunity. (Even if I found a week later than the others!) Clutching my copy of Banzai with feverish hands I skimmed through the army lists...

My choice for a new army?  A Sensha Rentai (Tank Regiment.) -Japanese tanks!  Lots and lots (and lots!) of tanks.  I’ve always loved running hordes of tanks since I first started playing in 2002-2003.  Of course, way back then I only had an Italian tank force of underpowered, outgunned and slightly mad L3-35 tankettes and M40/41 “medium” tanks to compete versus other better mid war forces.  So I thought to myself why change what I’ve always loved to play with now?  I’ve always relished the challenge of using slightly off the wall, unbalanced lists that people wouldn’t really consider using themselves, and a Sensha Rentai with no infantry or artillery barreling across the table as fast as their outmoded engines could go made me laugh.

In 1940, Japan fielded the fifth largest tank force in the world (behind the USSR, France, Britain and Germany, but ahead of Italy.)  Of course by 1943 the designs they had in the 1930’s were horribly obsolete.  Sounds like fun to me.

A Sensha Rentai’s main strike weapon is the Type 97 Chi-Ha (a 1937 design) with the Type 95 Ha-Go (a 1935 design) in support.  Perfect.  This force needs a HQ and one combat company as a compulsory starting point, so that’s where I’ll start.  I’m looking to cram as many tanks into my new force as possible so it’ll be interesting to see where this list takes me.

A nice twist in the new Japanese book is the ability to field my tanks as a straight up Pacific War force vs the capitalist Marines of the evil USA or, should I want to, as a Late War force enabling me to pit my tanks versus any other late war force out there.  With that in mind I’ve decided to build up an army capable of being fielded at a myriad of points values for both theatres of war!  1000pts for the Pacific and 1500pts for Late War seems about right.  I’m basically trying to get as many “treads on the ground”, as I know the list(s) I’ve chosen definitely will not be a combined arms option.  The trick will be to try to “even out” the amount of tanks in each list as the points values radically change from the Pacific to Late War.  I expect my lists will have different ratings as I attempt to keep the numbers of tanks about the same.

I might have some (not so) nice surprises for my opponents as my army takes shape and grows. There might even be some non-tank support options.  It’s going to be tough keeping track of what I’m doing and matching up the two lists I’m creating but I’m really looking forward to it. Now I realise that the force I want to build and use did not historically take to the field of battle as a whole unit but I’m just completely stoked to put it together and roll around the table. I hope it inspires many of you to have a go also.

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