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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Bolt Action - Gung Ho: USMC Raiders Theatre Selector for the attack on Makin Island, 1942



Up until August of 1942, The Japanese Empire had seemed unstoppable as it took Guam, the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies and other significant territories in the south pacific. Something needed to be done to halt the tide of invasion. While US Marine Corps invaded Guadalcanal, a secondary much smaller operation would be launched a thousand miles away against Japanese forces on the Makin Atoll. This operation was undertaken by the 2nd Raider Battalion, of the newly formed Marine Raiders, and was led by the extremely unorthodox Evans F. Carlson.

On August 17th, 1942 the 2nd Marine Raiders were secretly delivered to Makin by submarine and landed ashore at night using rubber rafts. Their mission was to wreak enough havoc that the Japanese would hesitate before sending reinforcements from the Marshal Islands to aid IJA forces on Guadalcanal.  Without outside support, these soldiers carried the weapons and equipment they needed to complete the mission. Despite being scattered by the surf on the way onto the island, leadership issues during the operation and problems escaping the island’s strong tide when leaving, the Raider’s hit and run mission was touted by Allied media as a success and proved that the unbeatable Japanese could indeed be beaten.

Many Marine Raiders "blackened" their uniforms for this operation (as seen above)

US Forces: Makin Atoll 1942 Reinforced Platoon
 1 Lieutenant – First or Second
 2 USMC Raider Squads


0-1 Medic team
             0-1 Artillery Observer (to represent limited fire support from the submarines)

 0-4 Infantry Squads: USMC Raider Squads
  0-1 Medium Machine Gun Team
              0-1 Mortar Team : Medium
              0-1 Sniper Team
              0-1 Anti-tank Rifle Team (See applicable entry in any of the “Armies of…” books)


Armoured Cars

Tanks, Tank Destroyers, Self-propelled Artillery and Anti-aircraft vehicles

Transports and Tows

Special Rules

Gung Ho: 
Raiders were carefully recruited and highly trained soldiers. Every unit using this selector must be Veteran.

The Element of Surprise:
Marine Raiders made good use of terrain to spring surprise attacks. During set-up, any USMC Raider Squad using Hidden Set-Up may start the game already in Ambush. In addition, in the first turn of the game, all USMC Raider Squads treat all ROUGH Ground and Obstacles as Open Ground for the purposes of movement.

Trial By Fire: 
Because this selector encompasses a force that saw such a limited deployment over such a limited period of time, a force taken from this selector should closely resemble the Marine Raider’s order of battle. Marine Raider units revolved around 3 x 3 man fire teams led by a sergeant and because of this: Marine Raider units can only buy 1 BAR, 1 pistol, and 1 submachine gun per three men.  In addition to this, the NCO may be armed with a submachine gun as normal. (i.e. a USMC unit of 7 men could have 2 BAR’s, 2 pistols, and 2 submachine guns as well as an NCO with a submachine gun.) Shotguns may be taken as an alternative weapon for the NCO.

Note: The USMC Raider unit entry can be found on page 104 of the Empires in Flames book.  

For those looking for additional information about this conflict or other battles that the US Marine Raiders were involved in, I HIGHLY recommend the following two books by Osprey Publishing: US Special Warfare Units in the Pacific Theatre 1941-1945 and RAID: Carlson's Marine Raiders; Makin Island 1942.

Please note: You will need the Armies of the United States and Empires in Flames Bolt Action books in order to use this theatre selector.

By: Old Man Morin


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