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Tag Archives: Pacific Theater

GrogHeads Reviews War in the Wind: The Battle for Attu Island, May 1943

The obscure WWII PTO shootout gets the GrogHeads once-over ~

Michael Eckenfels, 14 October 2017

In June of 1942, as part of the Midway attack plan, Japanese troops landed on the Alaskan islands of Attu and Kiska. These two inhospitable, mountainous islands were home to little but cold weather and leg-breaking slopes. The Japanese thought it prudent to occupy for…well, the reasons depend on what source you read. Some think they thought occupying part of a U.S. State would cause a tremendous morale drop among Americans; others thought it was meant to help ‘shield’ their northern flank, because both islands were closer to Japan than Alaska. Regardless of the reasons, the Japanese arrived, found little resistance, and after bombing Dutch Harbor to the east a few times, settled in for a long occupation.

American troops didn’t arrive until May 11, 1943, and were woefully unprepared for it.

That occupation lasted nearly a year. American troops didn’t arrive until May 11, 1943, and were woefully unprepared for it. The troops earmarked for the invasion were training in southern California for operations in the south Pacific – not for operations in near-Arctic mountainous conditions. The powers-that-be thought the attack would be brief, only lasting a few days, whereas when all was said and done, it took nearly three weeks. It might have taken longer had the Japanese not executed one of the biggest banzai charges of the war, costing them half their casualties. The number of troops they lost came close to 2400, with only 28 prisoners taken. The Americans suffered about 550 killed, 1200 wounded, and another 1800 or so wounded due to exposure, frostbite, trenchfoot, gangrene, and a number of other nasty, debilitating conditions. It was by no means a cake walk, though the result was inevitable.

Video: Conflict of Heroes Guadalcanal – First Look!

Cracking the shrink on Academy’s PTO wargame ~

Michael Eckenfels, 21 September 2017

Michael takes a look inside the COH box from the gang over at Academy Games.

More coming on this one in the future…


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GrogHeads Reviews Burma Road for Order of Battle Pacific

A worthy new addition to the Order of the Hex ~

Avery Abernethy, 16 September 2017

Inducted for impressive modeling of a wide range of military missions: revolt suppression, irregular forces to large scale battles.

Like most Americans interested in World War Two in the Pacific, my reading has focused on the US Navy, Marines, and Army operations. However, Japan focused more than half of her resources and the majority of her Army and Air Force on land operations in China and SouthEast Asia. Although the Japanese Navy, Air Force and Merchant Marine were eventually destroyed by the United States’ military, Japan held onto most of her gains on mainland Asia to the end of World War 2.

Likewise, wargames have focused far more on Europe and to a lesser extent the conflict between Japan and the United States in the Pacific. Burma Road is the second addition to Order of Battle World War 2 focusing on land warfare in Asia. In Burma Road the player takes the role of commander of British Commonwealth forces in Singapore, Thailand, Burma and India. The scenarios reflect the huge contribution of Indian, Australian and New Zealand forces. Like earlier releases in the series, Burma Road is turn based IGO-UGO.

Classic Articles: A Different Theory of the Japanese Surrender

Did the Soviet Union’s actions influence Truman’s decision-making? ~

Brant Guillory, 8 August 2017

Today is the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, which is alternately considered both controversial and essential to ending the war.

A few years ago, I had the good fortune to hear a talk at the Mershon Center at Ohio State by Dr. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, discussing the impact of the bomb on Japan’s decision to surrender.

INTRODUCTION

I attend[ed] a weekly seminar series at the Mershon Center for Security Studies and Public Policy here at Ohio State University. On some weeks, the seminar coincides with guest speakers. Last week, Dr. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa came to talk, and this is a summary of his narrative. But first, it may be helpful to introduce Dr. Hasegawa by way of his Mershon Center bio:
Tsuyoshi Hasegawa is professor of Modern Russian and Soviet History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His current research interests include the political and social history of the Russian Revolution, focusing on crime and police in Petrograd during the Revolution, March 1917 – March 1918, as well as Soviet military history, collecting materials on V.K. Bliukher. Hasegawa is also studying Russian/Soviet-Japanese relations, especially the Soviet-Japanese War of 1945, Soviet policy toward the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, and the Soviet-Japanese Normalization Talks, 1955-56. Hasegawa has published widely on the Russian and Soviet history, his most major publications being The Northern Territories Dispute and Russo-Japanese Relations. Vol. 1: Between War and Peace, 1967-1985. Vol.2: Neither War Nor Peace, 1985-1998 (UC Berkeley, 1998), Russia and Japan: An unresolved Dilemma between Distant Neighbors, edited with Jonathan Haslam and Andrew Kuchins (UC Berkeley, 1993), and Roshia kakumeika petorogurado no shiminseikatsu [Everyday Life of Petrograd during the Russian Revolution] (Chuokoronsha, 1989). His most recent publication is titled Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan (Belknap, 2005). Dr. Hasegawa received his PhD from Washington University in 1969.

THE PRESENTATION

Following the fall of Germany in May of ’45, the Allies turned their attention to the three-year old Pacific War. To avoid continued American causalities and bring World War II to a close, Truman ordered the nuclear bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Conventional American wisdom is that the atomic bomb brought about the fall of Japan, and few American textbooks challenge this idea. However, a Japanese scholar, Dr. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa of UC-Santa Barbara, has published an new book, Racing the Enemy: Stalin, Truman, and the Surrender of Japan, that re-examines the end of World War II through a new perspective on international diplomacy, and comes to the conclusion that although the atomic bomb was certainly a very important factor in ending World War II, it was not the most important one. In fact, it might have caused the U.S. to prolong the war longer than necessary.

Raid on the Marshall Islands – an Order of Battle Pacific AAR, part 4

The culmination of the raid on the Gilberts & Marshalls ~

Avery Abernethy, 30 July 2017

As introduced in the first episode – This is an after action report (AAR) from Order of Battle: World War 2 the US Pacific Campaign and the Marshalls – Gilbert Islands Raid scenario. I played this scenario as part of the US Pacific Campaign. 

On Turn 13 the Red Task Force air wings start the attack on the last major objective. It will be a tough nut to crack. There are at least three squadrons of Japanese planes including a highly dangerous torpedo squadron. My carrier will have to stand off at least two flight turns away to the East to avoid being hit.

Raid on the Marshall Islands – an Order of Battle Pacific AAR, part 3

The raid on the Gilberts & Marshalls is almost done ~

Avery Abernethy, 28 July 2017

As introduced in the first episode – This is an after action report (AAR) from Order of Battle: World War 2 the US Pacific Campaign and the Marshalls – Gilbert Islands Raid scenario. I played this scenario as part of the US Pacific Campaign. 

A lot happened on Turn 10. First, I received two US submarine units to the far Southwest. They spotted a Jap merchant. Subs have fairly damaging attacks but also take several turns to reload after firing.

Raid on the Marshall Islands – an Order of Battle Pacific AAR, part 2

Airboy’s raid on the Japanese, early in the war, rolls on ~

Avery Abernethy, 26 July 2017

As introduced last episode – This is an after action report (AAR) from Order of Battle: World War 2 the US Pacific Campaign and the Marshalls – Gilbert Islands Raid scenario. I played this scenario as part of the US Pacific Campaign. 

 

Objective Black 1 was hit by my air wing on Turn 2. The aircraft were on the ground and two Jap ships were at the island. Unfortunately, there is also a Jap coastal battery on the island. My air groups immediately sink one Jap ship and strafe the parked planes. My carrier must stand off until the coastal battery is taken care of.

 

By turn 4 the US Navy in TF Black has sunk two ships and destroyed the coastal battery. My ships can now shell the Jap planes on the ground and blow up the oil depot.

 

Meanwhile, TF Red’s combat air patrol spotted two Japanese merchants in-route to target Red 1. My air wings heavily damaged the Jap merchants while my two ships sailed closer to Red 1.

 

An overview of the situation is easily obtained by the game.

The distances are so great that the overview feature in the game is very welcome.

Objective Red 1 was really easy. No coastal gun, no anti-aircraft and no oil depot. My carrier air wing did the job really fast.

Objective Black 1 has been largely liquidated. The coastal battery, the AA gun and the Jap planes are all destroyed. My ships will shell the oil depot as they pass on their Southern heading towards objective Black 2. The dive bomber and torpedo plane landed to refuel and reinforce. My F4F Wildcat refueled last turn and is heading South to recon the next objective.

 

Objective Red 2 is going to be a lot harder. There is an airfield with Jap planes, an AA gun and an Oil Depot. My PT Boat will swoop in close to the island to bring the AA gun and any parked Jap planes under direct fire. The last Jap plane from Objective Red 1 was destroyed. Black Task Force is steaming South.

 

On Turn 8 my Red Task Force has liquidated the first target and is sailing West towards target Red 2. That is going smoothly. Black Task Force destroyed the Oil Depot and is heading South. Unfortunately, Objective Black 2 is even tougher than Black 1. There is a light cruiser, a heavy AA unit, a merchant ship and an unknown number of Jap planes as scouted by my F4F. It will take one carrier air wing, two destroyers and a cruiser a while to eliminate this target.

 

 

Turn 9 shows how my US battle plan is starting to unravel. I sent one destroyer from the Black Task Force due West in order to link up with the Red Task Force around the last objective. The Jap Light Cruiser steamed North at full speed and is attempting to engage the carrier with the Black Task Force. Target Red 2 is going to be easy meat. My PT boat damaged the Jap Squadron on the ground. My F4F did additional damage. I should be able to shoot down the Jap squadron next turn. The PT boat can easily take care of the light AA gun and my ships can blow up the Oil Depot as they sail West. So far, the Red Task Force is getting the easy opposition and the Black Task Force is engaging a lot more units.

How does the battle wrap up?  Come back and see later…


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Raid on the Marshall Islands – an Order of Battle Pacific AAR, part 1

After Pearl Harbor, it’s time for the US to strike back ~

Avery Abernethy, 24 July 2017

After the Japanese destroyed most of the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 the US Naval Command and President Roosevelt were under tremendous pressure to position the US Carriers into a defensive position. Some argued the carriers should defend Hawaii. Others suggested pulling the carriers back to protect the US West Coast. After taking command of the Pacific Fleet on December 31, 1941, Admiral Nimitz was responsible for how the US Fleet would be deployed.

Instead of a strict defensive deployment, Nimitz used the remaining US ships centered on the aircraft carriers to both ferry planes to Pacific outposts and also to launch raids against the Japanese. The decision to launch raids against Japan was a very ballsy move by Nimitz. The most famous raid was by Doolittle’s group from the Carrier Hornet. But a more extensive raid against the Gilbert Islands came first.

This is an after action report (AAR) from Order of Battle: World War 2 the US Pacific Campaign and the Marshalls – Gilbert Islands Raid scenario. I played this scenario as part of the US Pacific Campaign.