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John Basilone: Empires In Flames

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When you buy one of our Theatre Books direct through the Warlord webstore you get an exclusive FREE Miniature (not available anywhere else!) specifically for that book.

For our forthcoming ‘Empires in Flames’ Pacific and Far East-themed book, the exclusive model is the heroic character John Basilone winning his Medal of Honour at Guadalcanal.


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.

John Basilones Medal of Honor Citation reads:

For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action against enemy Japanese forces, above and beyond the call of duty, while serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Lunga Area, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 24 and 25 October 1942. While the enemy was hammering at the Marines’ defensive positions, Sgt. Basilone, in charge of 2 sections of heavy machineguns, fought valiantly to check the savage and determined assault. In a fierce frontal attack with the Japanese blasting his guns with grenades and mortar fire, one of Sgt. Basilone’s sections, with its guncrews, was put out of action, leaving only 2 men able to carry on. Moving an extra gun into position, he placed it in action, then, under continual fire, repaired another and personally manned it, gallantly holding his line until replacements arrived. A little later, with ammunition critically low and the supply lines cut off, Sgt. Basilone, at great risk of his life and in the face of continued enemy attack, battled his way through hostile lines with urgently needed shells for his gunners, thereby contributing in large measure to the virtual annihilation of a Japanese regiment. His great personal valor and courageous initiative were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


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

Basilone Monument

In Bolt Action

Rules for John Basilone can be found on page 90 of the ‘Empires in Flames’ Theatre Boook – however, the model’s so good that we couldn’t resist a special preview….

Cost: +60pts

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.

Weapons: MMG!

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!

Pre-Order your copy of Empire In Flames to get John Basilone FREE for your USMC

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With the release of ‘Empires in Flames’ practically around the corner, now’s the perfect time to call-in reinforcements to bolster your existing USMC army…

US Marine Corps