Right, back to wargames posts now, after successfully regaining control of my blog from she-who-can’t-tell-a-Panzer-III-from-a-Panzer-IV!
Recently finished seven WW2 Japanese infantry. They look much the same as some of the figures posted here previously but, to me, they have more significance – collectively, they form only the second WW2 infantry battalion I’ve finished since I got married (and that was quite a few years ago)!
I use a 1 model = 20 figures/vehicles ratio for WW2 units, which combined with a scale of 1:72/76 means one metre on the wargames table represents about 1500m in real life, and that lets me fix weapon ranges for games.
Most early-war Japanese infantry battalions had four rifle companies plus supporting weapons and a headquarters, making them, like British infantry battalions, larger than most others. I use a points system to rate a real battalion and then divide it by 20 to arrive at a total for the wargames unit. In the case of a Japanese battalion, this lets me allow for the two 70mm infantry guns issued to the battalion but which I can’t represent accurately with models for a 1:20 ratio.
So this gives me three companies, each of one light machine gunner and seven rifleman, plus another eight-man company with two grenade dischargers and six rifles. Support is provided by a four-man platoon with a single medium machine gun and the unit is led by a two-man HQ. That’s 38 figures in total.
I can still have a 70mm infantry gun model in support by combining the heavy weapons from three battalions with their regimental gun company and representing the latter with a single 70mm gun. The Japanese were quite different in their provision of support weapons, in that they preferred infantry guns to mortars and issued grenade dischargers in significant numbers. After the escalation of the war in China in 1937, the Chinese also saw the value of grenade dischargers and started allocating them to infantry units.
Back in the early 80s I still used the 1:20 model:man/vehicle ratio, but concentrated on building a German panzer division and Russian tank corps, units that had 50+ vehicles and fought in big games laid down on living room floors! When I got married I scaled right back on games and gave a lot of my stuff away, deciding to concentrate on other periods and use up less room. But I kept a nucleus of my old WW2 forces for the odd game that came up and I always intended to come back to them!
And now I’m doing that! Forces are going to be built around an infantry battalion with recce, armour and artillery added as required. The first of my “new” WW2 infantry battalions to be completed was a Russian one, basically an old battalion re-based and tidied up, and the Japanese are the second to be finished. Others are being built up gradually, first as weak battalions and then expanded to full strength, with German, early-war US and Dutch East Indies infantry battalions next.
So, two down . . .