Basilone was a United States Marine Gunnery Sergeant, and was the only Marine in World War II to receive both the Medal of Honour (for his actions on Guadalcanal) and the Navy Cross (for his actions on Iwo Jima).
He served three years in the US Army in the Philippines before joining the Marine Corps in 1940. At the infamous battle of Guadalcanal, his isolated unit of two machine guns were mostly responsible for holding off a regiment-size Japanese assault for two days.
In the middle of the night of October 24, 1942, the Japanese launched a regiment-strong full-frontal Banzai attack through ankle-deep mud and driving rain, in an attempt to take the Henderson Field airfield beyond the American line.The fearless Japanese infantry were backed-up by a seemingly endless torrent of mortars, artillery fire, and hand grenades raining down upon the heavily-outnumbered American positions.
The Japanese assault lasted for more than 72 hours – day and night – with the Marines going without food or sleep, and running pitifully low on ammunition.
With Japanese troops appearing from the jungle all around, Basilone picked-up the white-hot gun with his bare hands – resulting in third degree burns on his left hand and forearm. He lugged the gun from position-to-position, often firing from the hip – maintaining a constant torrent of fire – while also ensuring that the other Browning M1917 Machine Guns in his squad remained operational – clearing jams and keeping them firing.
The attack took its toll on the Basilone’s men – and, with just two survivors in his squad (one of whom had lost a hand,) Basilone continued to fight. Running out of ammunition, and almost entirely over-run, Basilone fought his way back through Japanese-infested territory in the pitch black armed only with his pistol. He got back to the airbase, grabbed as much ammunition as he could carry, and then fought his way back through the enemy-held territory to his men – single-handedly.
After a brief period back in the US on war bond tours and as an instructor, he couldn’t stand being away from his men – and was back into action at the Battle of Iwo Jima, where he again distinguished himself for bravery and fighting spirit – earning the Navy Cross before being killed in Action.
To this day, his home town of Raritan, New Jersey hold ‘John Basilone Day’ every September – and have a memorial, showing John carrying the M1917 Machine Gun.
Bolt Action rules for John Basilone can be found on page 90 of the ‘Empires in Flames’ Theatre Boook.
Team: He is not a team, but instead may be added to one of your MMG teams, replacing the gunner, for the cost listed above.
Special Rules: Gunny: Though he is a sergeant, John Basilone confers friendly units within 6” a +1 morale bonus, just like a second lieutenant. In addition, his MMG team does not have the Team Weapon and Fixed rules!
This pack contains:
- 1 metal figure
Note: Models supplied unassembled and unpainted. Metal parts.