Japanese infantry were already conducting “human bullet” assaults (nikuhaku kōgeki) against Soviet armour in 1939. In the absence of better anti-tank options they continued this practice throughout World War II, whether in China, the Pacific, or Burma. The death of the individual was accepted as the necessary price for the destruction of the tank, in accordance with the Japanese doctrine of “one soldier, one tank.” The goal was to combine honorable suicide with definite military results.
I’ve had a go at gullies and depressions before. But they look too much like hills. So I decided to have another go modelling just the edge of the depression. Then I took this concept further and modelled a modular ravine system. I featured both of these when I asked, How does my Burmese battlefield look? In this post I share a bit more about how I make these features.
I am always impressed by Brett Simpson’s Pacific War tables for Crossfire. He inspired me to improve my jungle terrain. More jungle will be useful for Burma, Portuguese Colonial Africa, and Vietnam. I made some steps before we played the Pick up game in Burma, but I wanted to make my tables even better. So I’ve been bolstering my crossfire terrain and now have Pagodas, rice paddies, Bamboo groves, boulder fields, rock fields, palm trees, ravines, depressions, Burmese houses, jungle undergrowth (not featured here), crests (not featured here) and cliffs (not featured here). Some of these I’ve posted about previously, and some are yet to come. Now, after all that effort, I wanted to know two things. Do I have enough jungle terrain to fill a table? Does my jungle terrain look good enough? So I got it all out and threw it on a 6’x4′ table. I can definitely fill a table. And I reckon the table looks good enough, not perfect, but good enough.
Bishenpur is a large village on the Tiddim Road on the western edge of the Logtak Lake in the Imphal basin. In the three battles fought at Bishenpur the Japanese 33 Division battered itself to destruction against 17 Indian Light Division. This was all part of climatic finish of the Battle of Imphal. For this post I focus on the conflict in the plains, near the road and in the villages (Bishenpur, Potsangbam and Ningthoukhong), so gloss over the actions on the Silchar track and on the roadblock at Torbung. Although other nationalities are involved, the infantry in 17 Division were primarily Gurkhas, hence the title. Almost all of this material is from Ian Lyall Grant’s brilliant book, Burma The Turning Point: The seven battles on the Tiddim Road which turned the tide of the Burma war (Grant, 1993). I drew some maps.
I have already chosen my Anglo-Indian tanks in Burma and now I need a painting Guide for them. My guide is customised for the vehicles I want. If you want something wider in scope then I can recommend two invaluable sources for Anglo-Indian tanks in Burma, both by Mark Davies; British & Indian Armoured Units Of the Burma Campaign: A Painting Guide (V1.8) and his excellent series on the 14th Army on his Jemina Fawr website (lots of links below). I have used both for my own guide.
Commandos in the 14th Army. Yup. Commandos in Burma. What is that about? Some infantry units of the 14th army had commando platoons and/or companies. These are not the British Commandos formed to fight in occupied Europe. They were something else. The question is, what where they? Who were they? What were they for?
My British and Gurkha infantry in Burma will need some armoured support. Of course Shermans and Stuarts appeared in Burma, as they did everywhere. But Lee tanks did well in Burma and, unlike other theatres, were in service until 1945. And for armoured car support I’m going for the Daimler. Where possible I’m opting for Sikh units just so these vehicles are obviously different to the same vehicles fighting in other theatres – that Sikh turban (‘Puggaree’) will stand out. However, in Burma, the Lee tank was reserved for British units. This post covers my options and my choices.
I’ve got both a Welsh and a Gurkha battalion planned for the Burma Campaign. So I thought I should get a clear idea of their order of battle for Crossfire. Information is scarce, particularly for the Gurkhas. George Forty, in his “The British Army Handbook, 1939-1945”, lumps all British and Commonwealth battalions, in all theatres, together under a single order of battle. This corresponds well with the Crossfire rules themselves, which have a single organisation for a “Great Britain: Leg Infantry Battalion (1939-’45)”. However, I have found the British and Commonwealth formations in Burma were similar to, but not identical to, units in other theatres.
2020 is the year of the Rice Paddy – at least I’ve declared it the year of the Rice Paddy. So I thought I’d make a few. I need them for Burma Campaign, Portuguese Colonial War, First Indochina War, and Vietnam War. Mine are for 15mm wargaming figures, but the same principles apply for other scales.
Jamie couldn’t make it to our regular meet up, so Adam brought along his fresh off the painting blocks figures for the Burma Campaign and I set up a pick up game that I thought would be interesting. Japanese Imperial Army and British 14th Army. Adam doesn’t yet have enough figures for Mac’s Missions in Burma, so this is a fairly small game in Crossfire terms.
Adam is keen on the 14th Army in the Burma Campaign. Accounts of the campaign feature pagodas (i.e. temples) in the villages. Luckily you can buy roughly 1/100th scale pagodas from pet stores (or Amazon or eBay). Unfortunately, these are all Chinese or Japanese. And it doesn’t take long on google to discover Burmese pagodas are unique. They feature a golden umbrella in a variety of patterns but basically a spire with wider and narrower bands around the spire. Gold of course. And the base is a white dome. Hmm. I can’t buy one, so I’ll make one.
If you didn’t know, Balagan means messy or chaotic. And lately my head has definitely been balagan. I’m trying to justify building up a Japanese force for Crossfire. I’m trying to find ways to fit the Japanese into my Official Focus of Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, and Israel. I’ve got to say, it ain’t easy. But with quite a lot of mental gymnastics I might manage it.
John Moher’s post Modelling Japanese in Crossfire prompted me to think about the Crossfire order of battle for the Japanese. John highlights some ways where the official Crossfire order of battle is incorrect but he doesn’t write it out in full. So I set out to document a new Crossfire organisation for a Japanese Leg Infantry Battalion. Turns out it was more complicated than I anticipated. And I ended up diverging from John’s suggestions a bit.