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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Banzai Charge - US Marines and Japanese Infantry in Action

Guadalcanal, Fall of  '42. The American Marine garrison is isolated in this far away island. The Japanese high command wants to quickly eliminate this thorn on its side and severely underestimates the American capabilities which have improved substantially since Wake Island and the Philippines campaign. The Japanese military doctrine, built around the ancient Samurai code of Bushido, believes that fighting spirit alone is enough to overcome their 'softer' adversaries and fails to understand that weaponry, logistics, tactics, and leadership also play a very important role in 20th century warfare. As such, they send thousands of their countrymen to their deaths in full-frontal atacks which are terribly costly relative to the damage that they cause. These attacks became known as Banzai Charges because of the Japanese battle cry 'Banzai!'. Here is how one might have unfolded.
American Marines, aware of the Japanese tendency for surprise attacks, watchfully man their perimeter.

Japanese Infantry, experts in infiltration techniques, stealthily approach the American lines.

A few Marines pick up some light sounds and begin to get ready for what might be coming up.

Suddenly the jungle explodes with cries of  'Banzai!!' and bursts of gunfire.

The Japanese officers lead from the front, sables in hand, like their Samurai forefathers.

Their colors follow shortly behind, corageously heading into what might be their last charge ever.

The American men, hearing the sounds of battle, rush to man their positions.

However, it is hard to see the enemy through the dense jungle.

The Marines take some random shots into the jungle.

And throw grenades in the direction of the oncoming cries and enemy fire.

Suddenly, the first Japanese soldiers appear in front of them.

They come charging with fixed bayonets...

Taking shots....

And firing from the hip as they rush forward.

In a few seconds they are on top of the Marine outposts...

...and a savage  life and death struggle ensues.

Luckily, the outposts have managed to call back to the Marine's main line of defense.

But within a few minutes it's all over for the men at the outposts.

Nonetheless, the struggle at the outposts has bought the Marines enough time to shift men from another sector of the line to meet the Japanese attack.

A .30 caliber machine gun is rushed to the threatened sector.

And the men at the line are ready.

The Japanese continue to press forward with the attack, at the height of their battle fever.

Suddenly they come into full view of the defenders.

Where they finally meet their end.

Featured figures: Airfix Japanese Infantry, Atlantic Japanese Infantry, Glencoe Japanese Infantry, Marx Japanese Infantry, MPC Japanese Infantry, Toy Soldiers of San Diego Japanese Infantry, TSSD Japanese Infantry, BMC Marines, Glencoe Marines, Marx Marines, Toy Soldiers of San Diego Marines, TSSD Marines. Not featured: BMC Japanese Infantry and CTS Japanese Infantry.


  1. Once photo taken of soldiers "out in the backyard grass" simply suck IMHO. These however are GREAT!!!!

  2. Thanks a lot. It took a lot of shots to get a few good ones. Plus these were some of the hardest pictures I've taken. It was in the midst of summer and the Tiger mosquitos were all over me... In order to avoid blurry pictures I had to stay still and let them bite me!

  3. By the way the BMC Marines and Japs were copies under license from King and Country. Gain have to say the photos are great!!

    1. Thanks for sharing that. You can definitely tell that they were sculpted by a better hand. They are so much better than the BMC German Infantry or the BMC GIs for instance.

  4. I was a kid in the 60s and about 64 or so there were these large , hard plastic, almost as big as a GI Joe soldiers of all major combatants in ww2. the Japanese were tan , and the detail on the uniforms and equipment was excellent. I have been trying to find photos of these and so far not been able. they were neat. any ideas? I don't believe they were marx, but who knows? I had the Japanese, Russians and British. the primitive , dime-store where they sold them , they were loose, individuals, in a rack on the shelf, like eggplants in the produce section . no packaging. :) I think they were either a quarter or 50 cents us each.

  5. I know exactly which ones you are talking about. I had a bunch of those as well! If I am not mistaken, they were made by Marx. There were abotu six poses of each nationality about 6 inches tall each. They had the main WWII nations, as well as cowboys, indians, spacemen, etc. I still see them every now and then advertised online, so you could get them again if you wanted to.