Thursday, 1 January 2015

Pelelui - AAR

Our second Christmas game took place today, an amphibious landing by the Americans on the Japanese occupied island of Pelelui.

Ian was the umpire whilst Phil and Mark teamed up with the Americans.

Jon and I took control of the Japanese forces defending the island.

A few shots of the table prior to the start of the game...

Turn 1 - The Invasion begins.

U.S landing craft approach the reef......
Mark is eating invisible chips out of bubble wrap and I think Phil is practicing his new role in the remake of the elephant man.
First Wave!
It did not take long before the boats were up the reef.

The Americans call in their off table air support in what was the first attempt to take out our artillery batteries hidden deep in the jungle.

Back on the beach and the American's now have to deal with hidden mines which caused a great deal of damage. Any vehicles moving across would be destroyed on a 6 and suppressed on a 4 or 5

Unfortunately for the American's my dice rolling was exceptional on the day and the sixes just kept on rolling...........
First wave makes it on to the beach!

Back out beyond the reef more landing craft prepare to assault

View from the Japanese side, the first American platoons can be seen making their way through into " no mans land"

Japanese airfield, one of the key objectives for the Americans.

Ian's very nice Timecast palm trees....

Mark's battalion were making good ground. Our plan was to defend in depth and before the game started Jon and I were allowed up to 12 spider holes which we secretly noted on skitch. These were invisible to the Americans and we were to use these to our advantage later on......

Phil's battalions took a bit of a hiding on the first wave and he was left having to make a morale test early on but as his troops were all veteran a pass meant they would fight on to the death. Phil made the roll so despite a weakened force on the beach he still was able to use the depleted platoons to pin our forces.

More of Phil's second wave makes it to the reef. Phil was quick to learn not to cross the beach with what landing craft he had preserved.

Mark's LVT approaching..... This was loaded with a squadron of Sherman tanks

Jon and I were both pleased with our initial defense, the mines made easy work of 2 thirds of the U.S landing craft and our machine gun bunkers were able to kill of several platoons before being overrun.

We knew that once the Americans had secured the beach it would possibly be all downhill from here on in....

Mark's battalion was already up to their initial order objective but he was unaware of a hidden mg bunker and a 20mm machine cannon bunker on the hill at our base line. Unfortunately for us it only managed to kill one of his platoons before it was close assaulted!

View from across the airfield, Mark's weakened second battalion is slowly making it's way across the table, little did he know that our spider holes were about to come into play....

A few turns on and Mark lands his Sherman Tanks

This was the only one left on the table after the other 4 ended up getting mined to death.

Mark decides to re enforce with his RHQ battalion.

This nearly cost the American's the game and Mark must of sacrificed several sheep earlier as the gods were on his side.

Once his RHQ passed over and on to the airstrip we sprung our spider holes and began piling on fire on Mark's position. He quickly realised he was in trouble and ordered a break off but with the weakened orange battalion. This left his RHQ battalion in the open and unsupported.

We had a battalion of tanks hidden in the jungle which were only a move away from Mark's RHQ. If we could just get an order change in then the tanks would be sure to overrun the RHQ in the open and if we could kill the HQ then the American's would loose all command and control for the attack, a sure victory for the Japanese!

The problem was we could not roll the 5 or 6 for the order change and after 11 turns of trying it was all too late! we did try a few close assaults on the RHQ but we got thumped. It was very close but Mark managed to get away with it this time..........

A few turns on and the American's have swarmed on to the airfield. We had a slim chance left to force a few morale tests but at this stage our tanks were our last hope

U.S destroyer off shore.... a few miles further of the the coast were 6 U.S cruisers which poured down a lot of heavy off table artillery support throughout the game which really hurt the Japanese. I think the America's needed these guns!

Our second (blue) battalion was now taking casualties. Mark had virtually overrun the airfield and our left flank

Our tanks made a last dash attempt to overrun some American platoons but were aptly "Whooped" in the process. This caused a morale test and the tanks failed. It was curtains for the Japanese!

Final position of forces on table at the end of the game

The American's won the day but it was a lot closer than we thought. They attacked with 5 battalions and 3 of these had taken heavy casualties. They lost a lot of landing craft too and their tank battalion was taken out. The Japanese defended with 2 battalions plus a very small tank battalion. We had the benefit of the minefield plus 6 mg bunkers not including our 20mm canon's and 105 / 75mm artillery battery.

I think Ian got the balance spot on here and this was a fine example of how to re enact an amphibious assault. It proved that we may be able to do a Normandy game in the future.

Mark gets to celebrate with his corn on the cob pipe and tin of spinach

Well played to the American's and thanks to Ian for a great game.


  1. That was close, Too many GI's going home in body bags. Excellent game as always Ian thank you.
    Nice pictures Russ, makes a difference using your fandango camera.

  2. Excellent AAR and superb photos. It was great to see all the technology in play; Blog, digital camera, projector, internet, digital sound and i-pads which all helped to enhance the game (I need to blog this as part of my new years resolution). However, we all know the rules very well and that made the game play as well as it did; it meant both sides could look at the battlefield, their forces and interpret a plan very well and quickly. It was a great game to umpire!

  3. Like the Tarawa game I learnt a lot about the best way to fight these troops,this time as a defender . Were I to play this or another pacific amphibious landing as the Japanese again I would fight it slightly different. The American forward observation officers were the most powerful units on the table .excellent game in great company. Thanks chaps

  4. Great pictures and a great AAR Russ. Ian put together a cracking battle which looked good and I'm glad the pictures do it justice. Our plan was to bombard the hills on either side of the beachhead (obvious places to stick artillery or troops to hit the flank once we landed - I'd seen Letters From Iwo Jima a couple of days before). Then hit the beach in force with the first wave holding defensive positions to act as launching pads for the second wave. As it was the plan turned to crap as I lost most of my first wave of Amtracs to mines and so didn't have a secure base to launch from. Mark on the other hand strolled onto the beach but managed to a) lost all the Shermans immediately and b) put the C in C in the front line ("Follow me, men!"). It could have gone tits up there and then but luckily for us the Japanese only (only!) managed two close assaults on his HQ stand. The luck was with us - but more importantly the ships guns and FOO's were with us and Russ was right that they saved our bacon. They took out more stands than anyone else including the stubborn dug-in beasties that would have required more troops than we had to winkle out. We learned the importance of smoke from Tarawa and that also helped keep a couple of tricky nests quiet. The trick was to get troops ashore - I learned in the second wave to use the landing craft as the Amtracs just wanted to get blown up. I kept mine back on the beach as machine gun cover against spider holes but also from fear of moving them again and hitting more mines! Once we had plenty of troops on the island it was pretty much in the bag but had the Japanese tanks started off earlier (like when the C in C was in the open and batting away all-comers) it could have been a very different outcome. At least the aircraft finally did something by taking out two tanks in the last turn! Great fun - thanks boys!