They Came From the Sea – Part 2

They Came From the Sea: Amphibious Tanks in the Pacific

They Came From the Sea
Amphibious Tanks in the Pacific – Part 2
With Chris Townley

Few military operations are as difficult or risky as landing troops on an enemy beach. Landing infantry is only half the challenge as without adequate support on the beach to knock out enemy defences the infantry can be quickly pinned down and killed. This is where the amphibious tank can even the odds.

The Marine Tank Company in Gung-Ho includes an option to build an Amphibian Tank Company with LVT(A)1 or LVT(A)4 tanks, whilst the Japanese have a specialised Ka-Mi Amphibious Tank Company using the rather odd-looking Type 2 Ka Mi tank.

Looking through both Gung-Ho and Banzai, these lists really stood out to me due to their unique looking tanks and the island-hopping nature of the Pacific campaign the necessitated the design of these vehicles.

I talked about my ideas for the Marine Amphibian Tank Company in Part 1...

Banzai
The Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor has awoken the Americans.
Now they must fight with determination to hold their gains, to push the westerners back and consolidate Japanese control. Every inch of ground, each beach, village and airfield, are defended with a ferocity against which no enemy can stand.

Learn more about Banzai here...

Banzai – Imperial Japanese Forces in the Pacific
Ka-Mi Amphibious Tank Company (Sensha Chutai)

In 1940 the Japanese Navy took control of the process to build and amphibious tank from their counterparts in the Army. Within a couple of years they had come up with the Type 2 Ka-Mi. Its function was to support the Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF) for the invasion of Pacific Islands that did not have adequate port facilities for non-amphibious tanks to land.

They Came From the Sea: Amphibious Tanks in the Pacific

The design was based on the Type 95 Ha-Go light tank but with a water-tight hull and large hollow pontoons made from steel plates attached to the front and back to provide additional buoyancy. Once ashore these pontoons could be removed to allow the tank to operate normally. Armed with a 37mm gun (ROF 2, anti-tank 5) and a pair of machine-guns it is capable of standing up to other light tanks but struggles against Marine Sherman tanks, or other medium and heavy tanks that it might come across in a Pacific/Early War points game.

By the time the Ka-Mi made it into service the Japanese Navy had already executed successful invasions of the islands that the Ka-Mi had been designed for. Many were assigned to support naval garrisons where they were used as traditional tanks. There is one account though of an amphibious tank on amphibious tank engagement between Ka-Mi tanks and LVTs off the Philippine island of Leyte in 1944. Given their relatively similar stat line in Flames Of War this could make for an interesting and very unique game or scenario.

Type 2 Ka-Mi Amphibious Tank
They Came From the Sea: Amphibious Tanks in the Pacific
Type 2 Ka-Mi Amphibious Tank

A Ka-Mi Amphibious Tank Company (Sensha Chutai) is built around an HQ of two tanks, and two or three platoons of three to five tanks. You can choose to field them as Fearless Veterans or Confident Trained, representing their mixed quality of the units. To me since they are ‘heroes’ of the list I want to pack as many of them in the company as possible, whilst balancing the points cost of so many Fearless Veteran tanks.

Like the Marines, I think you cannot go past some infantry support, either for assaulting enemy units or providing a tough nut to emplace on one of your objectives.

In the Pacific points version I’ve included one Type 1 Ho-Ni 1 self-propelled gun. These are truly deadly in the Pacific (or Early-war) environment with an AT 10, FP 3+ gun. There are very few tanks that can stand up to firepower like this and since it is a Veteran team you can keep it hidden (in cover and gone to ground) until you need it. It also has a range of 32”/80cm allowing you to hit most targets that it can see. In the Late-war I’ve increased this to a unit of three, as this still costs less than one under Pacific points. I’ve also added a Heavy Field Artillery Battery with 150mm howitzers. These offer AT 5 in bombardments and AT 12 in direct fire (with a 24”/60cm range) making them a perfect choice to defend your other objective and dissuade enemy tanks and infantry from getting too adventurous.

They Came From the Sea: Amphibious Tanks in the Pacific

If you want some more variation you can reduce the size of your Hohei Platoon from 13 teams to 9 and add recon or air support, or even some more tanks using Late-points. Just like the LVT tanks from the Marines the Ka Mi is as tough as most other enemy tanks in the Pacific, but when playing against a wider range of opponents using the Late-war points the Ka Mi will need to carefully pick its battles, trust in your Veteran skills to avoid being hit and try to pick on the enemies softer units (like infantry, recon and guns) where its relatively low AT (of 5) will not be at such a disadvantage.


You can start your own Ka-Mi Amphibian Tank Company now, starting with the Type 2 Ka-Mi Platoon.

The other units in the list are:

And find out about all the other Japanese models which are available here...

Type 2 Ka-Mi Platoon

There you have my favourite list from Banzai, using a truly strange-looking machine, the Japanese Type 2 Ka Mi.

Have fun storming the beaches!

~ Chris.