Island Assault! Starter Set – United States

Box Contents

The US half of the Island Assault! Starter Set is an all plastic force containing:

  • x4 US Marine sprues (24 Infantry) – Plastic
  • M3A1 Half-track – Plastic
  • US Weapons sprue – Plastic

The All Tooled Up For Assault List

Standard Reinforced Platoon
2nd Lt (SMG) – Veteran – 65
Buddy (SMG) – 13
Veteran Marine squad (Mid/Late) – 10 men – 130pts
x2 SMG – 6
x3 BAR – 15
x3 Pistol – 3
x2 Shotgun – 6
Veteran Marine squad (Mid/Late) – 8 men – 104pts
x2 SMG – 6
x2 BAR – 10
x2 Pistol – 2
x3 Shotgun – 9
Bazooka Team – Veteran78pts
Sniper Team – Veteran67pts
M3 half-track – Veteran119pts
Total6 Order Dice639pts


  • Rifle – 2
  • SMG – 8
  • BAR – 5
  • Shotgun – 5
  • Sniper – 1
  • Bazooka – 1
  • HMG – (1)

(x) denotes a vehicle-mounted weapons.

Notes and Analysis

The objective of this list is two part – 1) use as many of the components from the Starter Set as possible and 2) make a List that is an ‘even’ match to the Japanese side. Please keep in mind, this List was written using only the content of the Starter Set.

Unlike Starter Armies, Starter Sets are built to provide two forces to be used against one another. Because I wanted to create two even forces that used as much of the Starter Set as possible, the point total of the list is completely arbitrary. Thus, this list (like the Japanese one) uses all 24 bodes, the vehicle and all six Order Dice. With all the preamble out of the way, we are looking at a 6 Order Die, 639pt. Vet. USMC list. Let’s break it down.

With this list, the name of the game is assault. You want you two big Infantry squads moving up and moving up fast. I’d put the 10-man Vet squad into the half-track, possibly with the Bazooka Team along for the ride as well. This will depend on the mission, terrain and your opponent. You may want to deploy that Bazooka and the 10-man squad on foot, it’s up to you!

For the two Vet Marine squads, let’s take a look at the weapons. Both of these squads are 100% tooled up for close combat. Besides the men with rifles, each member of that squad is a Tough Fighter. For each man with a BAR, give him a pistol as well. That will give them Tough Fighter in close combat along with the shotguns and the SMGs. You will be rolling in with a lot of close combat swings. And when you are facing Vet Japanese, you need all the close combat punch you can get.

To support your big Infantry units, use that Sniper Team to eliminate enemy HE and Snipers. The overwhelming majority of your points are tied up in those two units and you need to protect them from those big HE threats. A Sniper Team cannot eliminate an Artillery unit in one shot, but you can apply pins and knockout the crew. Don’t forget, Snipers ignore the Gun Shield – you’ll be hitting on 3s almost always.

So, you have a USMC list that is combat focused with a few support items. When facing off against the Japanese Island Assault force, focus on one target with your ranged weapons, eliminate the target and then use assault to clean up the rest.

In closing, how does Island Assault! compare to Band of Brothers? I think it’s a massive improvement. The two forces included in Band of Brothers are not event and do not give you enough options to build compelling forces. The contents of Island Assault allow you to build two forces that look and feel like true Bolt Action armies. I am impressed with this set and highly recommended it to any new Bolt Action players.

What’s Next?

If you want to expand your USMC from the Starter Set, maybe push up to a 1,000pts List, I would recommend a few additional items:

  • Get more infantry – The 24 Marines you start with are excellent! One of the best plastic infantry sets Warlord has produced, you just need more. Especially if you want to run Regs. Like, Airborne, USMC have many unit options. You can run Engineers, Beach Assault Squads, Early War, Late War, Scout Teams, the list goes on. And with the additional units and Theater Selectors provided by the multiple South Pacific focused books, there are plenty of was to add more unique and thematic infantry to your collection.
  • Add HE Support – Light Howitzer and/or Mortar (Light or Medium Mortars will work). Depends on how mobile you want to keep the force. But the point is, you need some HE support.
  • Swap the half-track for a Truck – The half-track is fun, it’s thematic, it’s cool but it’s not effective. If you want to move troops quickly to where they need to be, use a truck. Slap a MMG on the truck and put the petal to the metal!
  • Add a Tank – Not only are Shermans and Stuarts a thematic addition, they are highly effective on the table! You’ve got many, many options for armored support. One of my only critiques of this set is the omission of a tank for the US instead of the half-track.
  • Flamethrower – The Flamethrower is one of the most effective weapon system in the game. There are very few weapons that have a high chance of destroying their target in one hit. If a Flamethrower hits, the odds are in your favor to destroy that target. If not from the hits themselves, it’ll be from the forced Morale check. Not only that – but they are super thematic for USMC! I US Marine toting a man-pack flamethrower is an enduring image from the Pacific Theater. You can rock a Flamethrower as a support team and in an Engineer squad. If you don’t have one, get one.


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