Ashigaru Infantry

Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

Ashigaru Infantry

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“Though we command the power of many mighty machines of war in the service of Her Divine Majesty, always remember that it is still the humble Ashigaru who forms the beating heart of the Three Armies. By his skill and courage are battles won, ground held, and enemies kept at bay.”

-Tetsuo Kojima, High General of the Crucible Army, ‘Reflections on Military Life’, 1868

Ashigaru Infantry Artwork

Many years ago, the term ‘Ashigaru’ or ‘Spear Carrier’, denoted a rather humble soldier in the armies of Japan. Not so in the Sturginium Age. The modern Ashigaru infantryman is a tough, highly trained and supremely motivated fighting trooper.

As with their large war engines, the infantry and light armoured forces of the Empire of the Blazing Sun represent a unique combination of an ancient martial traditional paired with some of the most cutting-edge weaponry in service anywhere in the world.

Although not wholly eschewing conventional rifles, most Ashigaru are armed with the Kawachi-Kanpon Type 4 automatic shotgun. Nicknamed the ‘Dragon’s Breath’, this fearsome drum-fed weapon fires a hail of shells filled with incendiary materials developed by the Imperial Alchemical Institute. The ‘Dragon’s Breath’ is very short-ranged compared to conventional rifles. However, within that distance, it is one of the hardest-hitting infantry small arms currently in service anywhere in the world.

The limited range is not normally an issue in the circumstances under which the Ashigaru are most often employed – namely, supporting more heavy armoured units in close terrain or urban areas. The Type 4’s burst fire and destructive projectiles make it very forgiving of being fired from the hip when the soldier is moving. This means it is perfect for the kind of hard-hitting assaults favoured by Blazing Sun military doctrine.

Ashigaru Infantry

Like the Americans, the Blazing Sun military also favours high mobility warfare, but they prefer a far more aggressive approach. They are not berserkers, however, and attack with a great deal of cunning and foresight, making maximum use of terrain and environmental features to win out over their opponents.

Blazing Sun infantry attacks frequently consist of simultaneous assaults on multiple fronts. Some of these attacks will be feints, intended to draw the enemy’s attention away from the true objective at the key moment, allowing the true attack to break through.

The Ashigaru, like many other Blazing Sun units, also bring the most deadly of the Imperial Alchemical Institute’s offensive weaponry to the fore, in the form of poison gas grenades. Although infantry-issued gas bombs cannot match in any way the terrifying destructive power of massed gas bombardments by heavy artillery, they are certainly capable of causing localised panic amongst opposing infantry, light vehicles and gun crews. The insidious vapours give the Ashigaru a vital edge, especially against well dug-in or heavily armoured enemy troops.

Blazing Sun troops have traditionally fought in many areas where heavy armour has not played a key role. Although increasingly equipped with armour of their own, Ashigaru are taught to face enemy tanks without fear, even when lacking their own armoured support. Ashigaru sections almost always contain specialists trained in the use of the notorious Type 7 Rocket Projector.

Ashigaru Infantry

Called the ‘Okha’ or ‘Cherry Blossom’, this tubular weapon projects a powerful explosive warhead capable of cracking open a tank or blowing apart a machine gun nest. Combined with the Dragon’s Breath and gas weaponry, this allows well-led Ashigaru to make short work of most opponents.

Tactical Use:
The Blazing Sun Ashigaru are at their best in a well-defined role: getting up close to the enemy, and letting rip with their mighty “Dragon’s Breath” shotguns!

These weapons, when in Effective Range, are the most deadly of the standard small arms currently employed by any nation’s Mainstay Infantry. However, their raw power is offset by their very short range.

Therefore the main tactical focus for any commander is to get your Ashigaru into close range fire-fights with the enemy without taking too many casualties on the way in.

Ashigaru Infantry

Thankfully, the Ashigaru go into battle with the best armour protection of any Mainstay Infantry, making them quite resistant to long range pot-shots by the enemy.

However, no matter how well protected, if a Section of infantry takes fire every turn it will quickly lose potency, and so making effective use of terrain and movement bonuses is vital.

Using their ‘Banzai!’ and ‘Double TimeGame Cards, Ashigaru Sections will soon make their way across the Game Board. Such speedy advances will quickly confound opponents who rely too much on hunkering down.

Ashigaru Infantry in action

When they have closed to Effective Range, the Ashigaru should blaze away with their shotguns, brutally eradicating exposed targets. However if they find their enemy loitering behind Hard Cover, or a useful combination of Game Cards presents itself, a supported Charge using their Gas Grenades can be decisive.