Japanese grenade launchers

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JOHN BOND 001
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Japanese grenade launchers

Post by JOHN BOND 001 »

Need help with the following, some of the questions are obvious but I need to have clarification in light of the upcoming Event at CANCON to reference when asked by competitors.
Thanks in advance.
cheers John :)

A Japanese Grenade Discharger Section has a Junior Leader, 3 Mortars each with one grenade launcher and 4 crew.

1. Acts as a Section with Junior Leader? can it be split into teams and did this happen Historically, or did they always stay as a Section?
2. Activated on a Command Dice of 2 or 3?
3. Must fire all Grenade Launchers at the same target?
4. Can switch to using their rifles but must fire at the same target?
5. Can split the 3 grenade launchers and leave only 3 crew to fire the mortars while the rest of 9 men move or fire at other targets. ?If one man is activated by the Junior Leader to move to gain LOS to a target then it counts as the whole section has been activated?
6. If the section does not have LOS to target but the Junior Leader uses an Activation to gain LOS to an enemy target , then uses his second Activated to get the section to fire its Grenade launchers do they fire at Close range or Effective range?
7. Do all the grenade launcher team need to have LOS to target to fire as CLOSE range?

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oozeboss
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Re: Japanese grenade launchers

Post by oozeboss »

JOHN BOND 001 wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:54 am
Need help with the following, some of the questions are obvious but I need to have clarification in light of the upcoming Event at CANCON to reference when asked by competitors.
Thanks in advance.
cheers John :)

A Japanese Grenade Discharger Section has a Junior Leader, 3 Mortars each with one grenade launcher and 4 crew.

1. Acts as a Section with Junior Leader? can it be split into teams and did this happen Historically, or did they always stay as a Section?
It depends on which list you actually use.

In the Japan 1941-42 list saved elsewhere on these pages, it is clearly denoted as a section with three separate teams, as it is in Len Tracey's list published in his excellent article, Malaya 1942. The IJA and SNLF "indicative" lists for Cancon 2019 are far more ambiguous, and do require clarification from the TO, but logic and precedent would make one think that they will fall in line with the previously published ones.

JOHN BOND 001 wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:54 am
2. Activated on a Command Dice of 2 or 3?
Yes (while the JL is still living & breathing). Or a 1, for a single tube being activated as a team.
JOHN BOND 001 wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:54 am
3. Must fire all Grenade Launchers at the same target?
4. Can switch to using their rifles but must fire at the same target?
In both cases, this is simply as per the rules in the book for sections splitting fire.
JOHN BOND 001 wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:54 am
5. Can split the 3 grenade launchers and leave only 3 crew to fire the mortars while the rest of 9 men move or fire at other targets? If one man is activated by the Junior Leader to move to gain LOS to a target then it counts as the whole section has been activated?
Both moves seem to be cases of playing the rules more than the game. If my opponent attempted to pull that first stunt, our game would end right there and then. These are gun crews, not single man weapons with riflemen in support. The second is almost as dodgy, and is not something that I would do with my Japanese. Simply, I would not fire any mortar team at close range (instead of effective) where the figure actually firing the tube did not have direct LOS.
JOHN BOND 001 wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:54 am
6. If the section does not have LOS to target but the Junior Leader uses an Activation to gain LOS to an enemy target , then uses his second Activated to get the section to fire its Grenade launchers do they fire at Close range or Effective range?
7. Do all the grenade launcher team need to have LOS to target to fire as CLOSE range?
Again, I would not fire any team at close range (instead of effective) where the figure actually firing the tube did not have direct LOS.

As neither you nor I are the TO at Cancon and as neither of us are actually playing Japanese, neither of us should expect to be "asked by competitors". I am very confident that Steve will be able to handle inquiries like these in his sleep. ;)

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MLB
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Re: Japanese grenade launchers

Post by MLB »

I cut and pasted this quote from Len, but I can’t recall where he posted it, but this is how I’ve been playing them:

Tactically, the Japanese viewed the GD Section as the fire support element of the Rifle Platoon and used it to pin/supress the target while the other Squads manoeuvred to attack. However, they were also riflemen and expected to act as such if required.

Rules wise: I would use them as light mortars but ignore the out of ammo rules. The four-man teams for each GD carried plenty of ammo, as compared to the two-man teams for the British 2" mortar (on which the rules for light mortars seem to be based). The Japanese GD Squad also had a very different tactical role - target suppression. The Squad activating and firing its 3 GD at the same target represents this role well. I'd allow them one smoke barrage per game to represent the limited smoke ammo. When firing the mortar, the remaining riflemen do not get to shoot. However, the Squad can choose to shoot as a Rifle Squad rather than firing their mortars, in which case all soldiers get to shoot. They can assault as well. Note that this Squad cannot break into smaller fire-teams.

I'd model each GD team as a single soldier with the GD and three other riflemen grouped with him. three teams and the Squad leader make up the Squad.
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MLB
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Re: Japanese grenade launchers

Post by MLB »

I think the best way to view the squad is as one large team, rather than a squad of three teams. They all do the same thing together, there is no flexibility. This is historically correct. As the war progressed this squad shrunk in size as the men were siphoned off to make up numbers in the rifle squads, but the individual GD teams were never separated. By the late war this ‘squad’ was often just a single GD team due to manpower shortages, but its role remain unchanged as a suppression weapon.
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JOHN BOND 001
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Re: Japanese grenade launchers

Post by JOHN BOND 001 »

Ok thanks guys.
So to some it up:
• Acts as one Large Team with Junior Leader even though they are classed as a Section, (no flexibility cannot be broken down into smaller teams)
• Activated on a 3 or 2
• Activated to fire as Grenade launchers or Rifles not both.
• Grenade launchers with LOS to target fire at Close range
• Grenade launchers without LOS to target fire at Effective range.
• Unlimited HE, one round of Smoke per tube, can resupply with Smoke from JOP.


My last question?
If all the grenade launchers do not have LOS to a target but the Junior Leader of the Grenade Launcher team uses one activation to move 3D6, so that now he has LOS to the target.
With his second activation (as he is still in Command radius), he orders the Grenade Launchers to fire at the target.

Now I know that any friendly troops that have LOS to the target would allow the Grenade launchers to fire at Effective range but would it make a difference if it was their our Junior Leader that had LOS to target.

Would it be considered as Close or Effective range? :)
Last edited by JOHN BOND 001 on Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Japanese grenade launchers

Post by Peter »

Effective. The shooters don't have line of sight.

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Re: Japanese grenade launchers

Post by MLB »

I know I said to treat them as one large team, but I should have said, think of them as one large team in terms of what they can do. I’d say they activate as a squad on a 2 or a 3.

You could possibly consider allowing a single team to fire on a 1, but the other two teams could not be activated separately. If you were to activate another team with a 1, it could only do exactly the same action as the first team (but why would you, might as well combine the 1s and activate the whole squad).
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Re: Japanese grenade launchers

Post by jdg »

One point on the GD squad firing their rifles. According to the US Army handbook on the Japanese Army the grenadiers themselves didn't carry rifles. That is backed up by the fact that they didn't have ammo pouches for rifle ammo. So when the squad uses it's rifles you should subtract the grenadiers from the total number of figures.

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JOHN BOND 001
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Re: Japanese grenade launchers

Post by JOHN BOND 001 »

Thanks Mark edited my previous post to Section,activate on a 2.

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Re: Japanese grenade launchers

Post by Len Tracey »

G'day all,
Apologies for late reply on this, but have been away supporting a wargaming seminar.
With regard to the above questions, hopefully this will clarify things:
The IJA did not break its squads down into tactical teams; they operated as squads only. Therefore they would activate on a 2 or 3 (as long as the JL is alive).
The LMG Squads (we'd refer to them as rifle squads) had a JL (Gocho) and a LMG crewed by three or four men (depending on which source you use), with the remainder being riflemen who supported the LMG fire. They retained the option for one rifleman to have a rifle grenade launcher. In battle, the LMG would engage the target supported by the riflemen. The additional two/three soldiers helping to crew the LMG obviously did not fire as they were preparing or reloading magazines.
Although not divided into tactical teams, the Japanese did deploy a three man scout team from a squad if directed by the platoon commander. This would required a CI from the JL in the game.
The GD Squad likewise operated as a squad only. Doctrinally, each GD was crewed by two soldiers - one firing and the other fuzing ammunition. The remaining soldiers were ammunition carriers. When in action they were busy preparing the bombs they carried and passing them to the ammo fuser. These remaining soldiers were usually allocated on a pro-rata basis to each GD. The squad Gocho controlled and directed the fire.
Initially, the GD carriers were not armed with a rifle but only a bayonet and the GD. However, by the second half of the war nearly all were carrying a rifle as well. As indicated earlier, the GD squad was primarily deployed to deliver HE on the target, but could act as riflemen if required. I agree with earlier points that the squad should have the option of one or the other, not a mix of both. So, the squad either engages with the three GD only, or it can fire its rifles.
Individual GD were not normally split from the squad as the doctrine emphasised concentrated fire on the target designated by the platoon commander, so I would not allow detaching GD teams. Also, all GD should engage the same target.
Cheers.

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