The battles of World War Two ravaged the entire world. Where the Band of Brothers starter set is very much concerned with the European Theatre in the wake of D-Day, our brand new starter set shifts focus to the Pacific, pitting the United States Marine Corps against Japanese Island defenders in some of the most brutal and hard-fought battles of the War.
The Pacific Theatre
The US Pacific fleet was all but annihilated in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbour, which drew the Americans directly into World War II. The British fleet in South East Asia was similarly crippled. By mid-1942, the Japanese Imperial Army had conquered all of the Dutch East Indies, the British territories of Malaya and Burma, stopping at the very border with India, the US colony of the Philippines as well as the many chains of islands of the Pacific, including most of New Guinea, from which they had proceeded to bomb northern Australia. During these campaigns, the Japanese had inflicted on the British and Americans some of the worst defeats in their military history. And all of this while still maintaining their pressure against the Chinese. The Soviets, not very keen to open another front while desperately defending their homeland against the German invasion, kept their neutrality agreement with the Japanese.
The immense industrial might that America brought to bear, converting her massive economy to war production. Soon the Americans started sending wave after wave of new ships and fighting men against the Japanese outer territories, beginning with the Solomon Islands, where the US Marines for the first time inflicted a sound defeat upon the Japanese at the battle of Guadalcanal.
Eventually, the Japanese Navy, which for a while could arguably claim to be the best in the world, suffered decisive defeats at the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway, and later at Leyte Gulf, when the Japanese effectively lost control of the Pacific once and for all. The US started an ‘island-hopping’ campaign of amphibious invasions against key Japanese bases, choosing to bypass and isolate others. The Marines learned many a bloody lesson in the fighting against the stubborn Japanese soldiers, honing their waterborne assault tactics in the invasion of island after island – Tarawa, Saipan, Philippines, Iwo Jima, Okinawa.
The new starter set is focussed on the island hopping campaigns enacted by the US to reclaim Japanese advances. Unlike the land war that raged in Europe, North Africa, and the Soviet Union, where vast armies of tanks and infantry could manoeuvre and fight over large tracts of open ground, the Pacific campaign was fought mostly on a series of relatively small islands, densely packed with jungles and protected by the sea. Each island had to be landed on, fought for, and the defenders rooted out of, individually.
Containing two opposing forces set amongst the many islands in the Pacific theatre, Island Assault! contains the Bolt Action 2nd edition rules as well as a scenario booklet guiding you through your first steps in the game. Before long you’ll be adding to your new army and wreaking havoc on your foes be they fighting for Uncle Sam or the Emperor!
- Bolt Action A5 Rulebook
- Island Assault booklet
- 24 Imperial Japanese Army soldiers
- Chi-Ha tank
- 24 US Marines
- M3A1 Half-track
- Pin marker sprue
- Template sprue
- 1 Pillbox (exclusive to this set)
- 2 Spiderholes (exclusive to this set)
All pre-orders for Island Assault will earn special edition miniature – Cappy Devil Dog (previously available alongside pre-order of Campaign Marianas & Palau Islands).
We’ve also put together two special pre-order bundles. The first, Elite Intervention, gets you Island Assault as well as one of each of the new box sets (detailed below), or go all-in with Pacific Campaigns, netting you all the new boxes plus two Pacific-themed Campaign Books. Either way, you’ll get the Desperate Measures special miniature as well as Cappy – Devil Dog.
New Box Sets
We’re also introducing four new box sets, two each for the USMC and Japanese, to expand upon the contents of the core set. Indeed, adding just a support box to the forces found within Island Assault will form the nucleus of a core force.
Such is the nature of these Bolt Action that you can then build the type of army you want to play on the table; that can be representative of any of the actions fought by the US Marines or the Imperial Japanese across the course of the Pacific Theatre.
USMC Raider Squad
Formed from within the US Marine Corps in 1942 when the war in the Pacific was at a difficult juncture for the Allies, the US Marine Raiders were to act in a similar fashion to the British Commandos and other special forces. However, the war in the Far East was not the same as that in Europe or the Mediterranean and rather than fighting as small, lightly armed units deep in enemy territory the Raiders found themselves fighting alongside regular troops more often than not.
Two famous units of Raiders were named after the commanding officers charged with training them in hit-and-run tactics – Edson’s 1st Raider Battalion and Carlson’s 2nd Raider Battalion. For two years these elite units took the fight to the Japanese from Makin Atoll to Guadalcanal. The Raider battalions were amalgamated into the 4th Marines Division in 1944, acting as regular Marines for the duration of the war.
USMC Support Group
Few fighting forces rival the hard-won reputation of the US Marine Corps. Showing their mettle during the island-hopping campaigns in the Pacific, and then to pushing the enemy back to their homeland, the US Marine had few equals in WWII. Facing the deadly combination of the fanatical Japanese enemy and the sweltering jungle conditions in which they fought, the US Marine Corps triumphed in actions which have become legendary – Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and more.
Within the claustrophobic confines of the hills and jungle environment over which they fought, the marines were reliant more on support weapons than on tanks. Medium machine guns like the M1917 and the 81mm medium mortar were vital to their success.
Japanese Teishin Shudan Paratrooper Squad
Japanese paratroopers – Teishin Shudan (raiding group) – proved highly effective in the early years of the war. German successes with paratroops during 1940 encouraged the Japanese to develop their airborne arm as a constituent part of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force (IJAAF).
They were initially deployed in the Dutch East Indies during the Battle of Palambang in February 1942. A regiment of paratroopers dropped onto Palambang airfield, whilst another captured the town and its oil refinery.
High casualties amongst the paratroopers discouraged further deployment by air, and the Teishin Shudan subsequently fought as elite infantry formations – much as their German counterparts did.
Possessing the same fanatical will as other Japanese forces and hardened by the rigours of combat behind enemy lines, the last time they made an airdrop was during an assault upon US air bases on Leyte. Most of the force was shot down before reaching its target. Although the 300 men who landed at Leyte caused considerable damage, the small force was soon contained and destroyed.
Japanese Support Group
The men of the Imperial Japanese Army were excellent soldiers, with extraordinary devotion to their country and their Emperor. Battle-hardened by years of war in Manchuria, the Japanese army was well-disciplined, led by seasoned officers, and watched over by the dreaded Kempei-tei political officers. Japanese soldiers gained an air of invincibility in the early years of the war as they conquered Thailand, British Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong, the Dutch East Indies, and most of the American Philippines.
Fanatical loyalty and iron discipline were the core of the Imperial Japanese Army ethos, and although it didn’t have the same level of heavy weaponry and vehicles as their Allied opponents they were well supported by the likes of the Type 92 medium machine gun and Type 97 medium mortar.