Japanese Tank Hunter Teams in Crossfire

A few weeks ago I did some research on “Human bullet” assaults (nikuhaku kōgeki) – Japanese Suicide Anti-tank Teams. Now I have to decide how to simulate them in Crossfire. There are two parts to that: game effect of “Human bullet” assaults (nikuhaku kōgeki) and the organisation of Japanese Suicide Anti-tank Teams.


“Human bullet” assaults (nikuhaku kōgeki) in Crossfire

Crossfire has a mechanism for simulating troops with flame throwers, satchel charges and anti-tank mines. It gives these troops a bonus in Close Combat. Assault Engineers get a +1 in Close Combat, and might get +1 for being Veteran. US Marine Assault Squads get a +3 in Close Combat: +2 for their weapons and +1 for being Veteran.

I think Japanese “human bullets” would be similar, with a close combat bonus. But different tank hunters would have different benefits, some would be Assault Engineers and some would be just Engineers in Crossfire terms. These are the options:

  • Tank Hunter Squad: Squad armed only with anti-tank weapons e.g. satchel charges, pole weapons, anti-tank mines. Cannot shoot but get +1 in close combat with tanks.
  • Tank Hunter Rifle Squad: Normal Rifle Squad including small tank hunter team giving it a +1 in close combat with tanks
  • Tank Hunter Engineer Squad: Normal Engineer Rifle Squad but +1 in Close Combat against tanks
  • Tank Hunter Assault Engineer Squad: Normal Assault Engineer Squad (+1 in close combat) but +2 in Close Combat against tanks

Tank hunters can be the normal modifiers for troop quality. -1 for Green, nothing for Regular, +1 for Veteran. So a Veteran Tank Hunter Assault Engineer Squad will get +3.

For the Tank Hunter Squad all figures on the base should be tank hunters. For the others I intend to have two riflemen and one tank hunter on the base, or for a Covering Squad perhaps a LMG team and a tank hunter.

All Japanese are reckless in Crossfire. So they ignore PIN results from reactive fire when charging to close combat. But a SUPPRESS result kills them. The mechanism is particularly apt for the suicidal tank hunters.

Note: in my House Rules, I give any stand with an infantry anti-tank weapon a +1 in close combat against vehicles. The bonuses described here are aligned with that, but the Japanese stands cannot shoot with anti-tank weapons.


Organisation of Japanese Suicide Anti-tank Teams in Crossfire

Tank hunters appear in several organisations:

  • Rifle Platoon with Tank Hunters
  • Tank Hunter Engineer Assault Squad
  • Tank Hunter Engineer Assault Platoon
  • Tank Hunter Platoon
  • Tank Hunter Companie

Rifle Platoon with Tank Hunters

Each Japanese infantry platoon could have a tank hunting team (Military Intelligence Division, 1945). And tank hunter teams were often two or three men, so a relatively small proportion of the platoon. In Crossfire terms this is a normal rifle squad that gets a bonus in close combat against tanks (+1); I call this option a “Tank Hunter Rifle Squad”.

Rifle Platoon with Tank Hunters

  • 1 x PC(+1)
  • 2 x Rifle Squads
  • 1 x Rifle Squad or Tank Hunter Rifle Squad1
  • 1 x 5cm (Knee) Mortar Squad

Notes:
(1) A Tank Hunter Rifle Squad is a normal Rifle Squad that also gets +1 in close combat against tanks.

Tank Hunter Engineer Assault Squad

The Japanese engineers formed assault teams of 6-9 men (Military Intelligence Division, 1945). Each assault team attacked one tank. i assume these could operate independently or could be attached to rifle companies.

Tank Hunter Engineer Assault Squad

  • Tank Hunter Engineer Assault Squad3

Notes:
(3) A Tank Hunter Engineer Assault Squad is a normal Assault Engineer Rifle Squad that also gets a bonus +1 in close combat against tanks. This bonus is additional so it gets a +1 in close combat against any stands and a total of +2 in close combat against tanks.

Tank Hunter Engineer Assault Platoon

Several engineer assault squads could be deployed in depth in order to facilitate operations on successive tanks (Military Intelligence Division, 1945). I assume these had a three squad platoon organisation. I also assume they could be attached to a rifle company or operate independently.

Tank Hunter Engineer Assault Platoon

  • 1 x PC(+1)
  • 3 x Tank Hunter Engineer Assault Squads3

Notes:
(3) A Tank Hunter Engineer Assault Squad is a normal Assault Engineer Rifle Squad that also gets a bonus +1 in close combat against tanks. This bonus is additional so it gets a +1 in close combat against any stands and a total of +2 in close combat against tanks.

Tank Hunter Platoon and Company

The Japanese formed anti-tank platoons from non-engineers (Military Intelligence Division, 1945). These had mine laying capability so, in Crossfire terms, are counted as engineers. The platoons were made up of several land-mine squads (firing squads), several destruction squads, a reserve squad and an optional covering squad.

Tank Hunter Platoon

  • 1 x PC(+1)
  • 3-4 Squads chosen from:
    • 0-1 x “Covering Squad”: Tank Hunter Rifle Squad1
    • 1 x “Reserve Squad”: Tank Hunter Engineer Squad2
    • 1-2 x “Land-mine Squads”: Tank Hunter Engineer Squads2
    • 1-2 x “Destruction Squads”: Tank Hunter Engineer Assault Squad3

Notes:
(1) A Tank Hunter Rifle Squad is a normal Rifle Squad that also gets +1 in close combat against tanks.
(2) A Tank Hunter Engineer Squad is a normal Engineer Rifle Squad that also gets +1 in close combat against tanks.
(3) A Tank Hunter Engineer Assault Squad is a normal Assault Engineer Rifle Squad that also gets a bonus +1 in close combat against tanks. This bonus is additional so it gets a +1 in close combat against any stands and a total of +2 in close combat against tanks.

Tank Hunter Platoons could be organised into companies.

Tank Hunter Company

  • 1 x CC(+1)
  • 3-4 x Tank Hunter Platoons (see above)

Improvised Tank Hunter Company

On Okinawa the Japanese organised an independent antitank company (Military Intelligence Division, 1945). It was considered a suicide unit and was formed from 100 men pulled out of the line-of-communication troops. In this case they were only armed with satchel charges.

Improvised Tank Hunter Company

  • 1 x CC(+1)
  • 3-4 x Tank Hunter Platoons: PC(+1); 3 x Tank Hunter Squad4

Notes:
(4) A Tank Hunter Squad is only armed with anti-tank weapons e.g. satchel charges, pole weapons, anti-tank mines. Cannot shoot but get +1 in close combat with tanks.


Figures

I found only two companies that sell Japanese Tank Hunter in 15mm.

A pack of Flames of War: Nikuhaku Teams (JP706) has:
a. 4x Molotov cocktail figures in soft cap.
b. 4x Molotov cocktail figures in helmet.
c. 4x Advancing figures with pole charge.
d. 4x Stationary figures with pole charge in one hand.
e. 4x Standing figures with pole charge in two hands.
f. 4x Advancing figures with pole charge & foot in air.

Eureka Miniatures has only a single pose of a Japanese infantry with anti-tank weapon on pole, in kepi. And this particular pole weapon was only used in 1945. So get the Flames of War pack if you can find it.

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