Tuesday 18 August 2015

2015-08-16 WW2 Rapid Fire Pacific game

The big day arrived and the forces assembled and were re-organised. There is nothing like re-sorting your troops and somebody else's in to a division with a time deadline at the venue, plus gluing the inevitable breakages on the ships from transit!

Pete organised the event and supplied a lot of the US Marines plus Amtracs and variants, and a lot of the Japanese troops and equipment. I supplied the other half of the Marines and some Jap vehicles. Dave supplied the US armoured vehicles and more Amtracs and the majority of the landing craft plus a lot of Japanese troops and vehicles. I supplied the US Navy. The Japanese patrol boat was Dave's, and the jetty and sampans mine. The terrain was from Pete's and Dave's collections with Mel contributing a half the sea.

The Scenario
 Dawn Okinawa. A combined US task force of Navy, Marines and Army had the following objectives (Pete supplied a more expanded description but I left mine behind):
Take the radar station
Set up a fire base on the eastern landing zone
Find the Kikka

I didn't get to read the Japanese objectives, but let us assume it was to make the US pay dearly for their invasion so that they think twice about invading the home islands.


The force organisation was taken from a Rapid Fire scenario found of the web for the invasion of the Philippines which had a mix of US Army and Marines (I'd turned up with a force organised for Iwo Jima hence the frantic reorganisation).

US Task force
Wave 1 - Marine General Ian
2 x US Marine regiments in amtracks (20 Marines per amtrack)
3 x 37mm amtracks
3 x 75mm amtracks

Wave 2 Marine General Ian
1 x US Marine regiment in DUKWS (10 Marines) and 1 Amtrack
3 x Shermans and 1 Sherman dozer in a LVT

Wave 3 Marine General Ian
75mm recoilless rifle battery in 3 landing craft
1 x armoured dozer in a landing craft
3 x Stuarts in 3 landing craft
3 x M8 HMC 75mm

Wave 4 US Army General Dave
half US Army division in landing craft
3 x Shermans and 3 jeeps in a LVT

Wave 5 (didn't appear due to time) US Army General Dave
Rest of US Army division in landing craft

Navy - US Admiral Mel
Rocket ship - turn 1 only
Bombardment each turn
2 air attacks each turn.

I didn't see their organisation chart being a US player. My guess is that we faced:
1 x Tank Regiment
4 to 5 x battalions of infantry
1 x IJN crew for patrol boat - who started on shore

All the infantry and guns were in hard cover which could only be spotted once they opened fire.

The Japanese were not subjected to any morale rules except if they were surrounded they had to test if they fought on or committed hari kari.

Unknown to the Americans a battalion of Japanese paratroops were scheduled to reinforce the defenders.

The Board

Approx. 12ft x 6ft board

Japanese right commanded by Pete  had the radar station
Japanese centre commanded by Dickie, later helped by Tony held a the jetty and a command bunker
Japanese left commanded by Alex held the air strip, fuel depot and another large bunker.

The sea was 30" from long table edge to beach which was about 1"

The Game
Since this was a large game we opted to have movement and firing as simultaneous, with the caveat that if you wanted to fire before moving it was declared first. This replaced the reserved fire rule.

Flamethrowers had their range increased from 6" to 9" since  an Arnhem game many moons ago where we found we couldn't shoot across a street. This is more a terrain we own problem rather than a rule problem.

I'd love to recount the game turn by turn but I lost track of turn numbers, and with the simultaneous fire and movement I didn't see everything.

So what did I see..

The Japanese ready for the invasion. US Admiral Mel had unleashed the rockets and naval bombardment and hurt nothing.

Japanese infantry well dug in
Fuel depot in focus

Type 4 Ho Ni II (105mm) 
The Japanese centre and the US navy (a British Intrepid class gun boat) cruises in shore (for show rather than play, in fact it was holding the curly sea mat down) plus a patrol boat

Close up of the jetty with the Japanese patrol boat, 2 landing craft and the 2 sampans

Japanese centre - the command post
The Japanese right - the radar station. Radar supplied by Pete's young son who is now missing a bit from his Batman set.

Japanese defences from right or West 
The US admiral about inflict a devastating number of misses on the defenders

View from the gunboat

The jetty - everything survived the game!
The US carrier aircraft set fire to a building. No one is home

Central defences

The US Marine general deploys wave 1

... in a very neat line

Last call for Wave 1

1 move forward. It's like a parade ground

Morning calm

US carrier aircraft flies in low to bomb the defences
Wave 1 had arrived. Now to test for mines

looking good so far
A jap truck burns in the distance

The US plan is to land waves 1, 2  and 3 on the eastern beaches and draw the defenders out. Landing in the east will enable the fire base to be set up. Then waves 4 and 5 will land on the western beaches - these can then move to capture the radar station. We don't know where the Kikka is. To be honest we didn't know what a Kikka was, but I'm sure it'll be obvious when we find it.
A Marine battalion fitted in 2 amtracks.

Another carrier aircraft strike goes in flying low over wave 1 which is now short 2 37mm amtracks 

Radar station defenders

Radar station
Japanese artillery

More mines. 2 amtracks immobilised and troops debus. 1 75mm amtrack destroyed

2 more amtracks destroyed and another immobilised. Bad news one had units from across the heavy weapon companies that didn't fit their units' amtracks. In the hurry to get out of the burning vehicle they lost all their heavy weapons mainly mortars.

The Marine right flank advances OK
Wave 2 approaches

The LVT - second time I've used it

The island hazy in the distance - photo taken before hall lights found
The heavy weapons infantry

Sun has risen higher and the battle becomes clearer

Japanese right wondering when they'll see any action

Japanese centre and left. 
The IJN crew didn't make it to their patrol boat and held up in the centre front line defences

Wave 1 moving off the beach. An amtrack has been turned on its side to mark it's destroyed.

A Japanese armoured car advances to the beach to take on the dismounted Marines. It is supported by a tank that has taken position on the hill to the right of the picture. I believe US aircraft caused it heavy damage at this point.

A immobilised amtrack
The lone armoured car ignored by Wave 1

Wave 2 approaches

Then wave 3. 1 DUKW hit a mine and was destroyed and another was immobilised.

The east beach is getting busy
LCM's carrying M8 HMC 75mm's
LCM's with Stuarts and an armoured dozer

The 75mm recoilless gun battery going in 

Wave 1 moves further in land and begins to debus to assault the first line defences

The IJN crew decide to banzai charge to the upset of the Japanese Army commanding the centre as it means his troops have to go with them! The eastern beach commander indicates the crew he controls. For added irony the army troops taken up in the frenzy of their navy counter parts were the anti tank team. The Japs didn't have a lot of antitank capability and a good section of it was happily Banzai! charging in to 2 companies of Marines

The US starts taking a  lot of casualties

Waves 1 to 3 making progress. Only 1 75mm recoilless gun makes it to the beach. Not much of a fire base to meet the objective requirements
Just above the Shermans the IJN and Army fight to the death with the US Marines. Very poor dice throwing by me meant the Marine flame thrower failed to stop the charge.

Heavy weapons successfully landing
The armoured car survived multiple grenade attacks. The tank on the hill was destroyed by a Sherman allowing amtracks full of Marines to advance safely

The moment the Marine far eastern flank lets loose 2 flame throwers clearing the defenders from the south side of the airfield
Centre of the picture the Banzai charge continues it's melee with the same, but reduced, 2 Marine companies. In the meantime the majority of the Marine battalion take the first line of the defences.

The US plan is working as the Japanese move troops and armour from west to east. Here the Japanese commander under the most pressure desperately looks for an advantage in the rules. 
All quiet of the western front except for some naval aircraft bombing and bombardment. The 2 Jap tanks coming down to the beach have come from the central command and start flanking fire on the advancing Marines

Jap tanks sally forth commanded by Tony

Not many Japs left in the east
On the right are the Jap centre's second line of defences. The US Army general in the background contemplates finally unleashing his troops now that the Marines have sucked the Japs in and are clearly making good progress

In the east and centre the Japanese first line defences are cleared

Wave 4 arrives at the western beach. Since time was flying we skipped the 2 moves on the sea, and went with the reserves being launched early and arriving to grab some glory.

However things did not go well and large casualties were taken including most of the Shermans

The central battle was quite heated with an armour vs armour duel, artillery vs armour duel and good old fashioned melee.
Despite repeated attempts the US Navy had failed to hit anything. The carrier aircraft was much luckier

US recon shot central beach. By the point the far left Marine battalion from wave 1 had taken so many casualties from mines, gun fire and the IJN led banzai charge that it failed it's morale and became pinned.

US recon shot central and western beach

US recon shot eastern beach. The 2 amtracks in the middle still have their Marine battalion on board. As the game busied up I delegated command of the eastern beach to the US Admiral while I took the centre of the east beach, the US Army general assisted with the Marines left flank until his troops arrived. This command flexibility resulted in the Marine battalion remaining embarked until the end because the Marine General forgot to inform the US Admiral they were still on the amtracks. Oops

You can just about see a line of Japanese coming out of their trenches in the centre readying to charge the lost first line. The rule about being surrounded and testing for hari kari gave concern to the Japanese players that their troops would fail the test and commit suicide before inflicting any real damage on the Americans. I  think this was an interesting psychological effect on the players as I believe they would have been served better by keeping their troops in hard cover shooting at the assaulting Marines in the open.


The Kikka is spotted - and it turns out to be a Jap jet copy of the German ME262
The centre fighting is heavy. The US marines debussed once the last Jap tanks were taken out. They were faced by 2 banzai charges which resulted in 1 and a half Jap companies being toasted by flamethrowers and the remainder shot down

The yellow truck is a very lucky Japanese one
US Marines consolidate the eastern beach

Not a Jap in sight

Wave 4 advance off the beach much depleted

The Japanese Army West commander counts dice to unleash his now depleted fire power from US naval air strikes

What a great day.

We ran out of time to reach a proper conclusion as technically the US hadn't met any of their objectives, but there was no doubt that they would. The only objective in doubt was the radar station. I think more Marine battalions would start having a morale problem fighting from the east to the west, especially as there were still some defences to over come in the eastern and central section.

The US wave 5 didn't get time to arrive. In the last move the Japanese Raider battalion attempted to parachute in and lost all planes but one, and they dropped in the jungle with massive casualties. Although the US Army had lost most of their Shermans the Marines' were still intact, as were their Stuarts and M8 HMC 75s while the Japs had 2 tanks and very little else with anti tank capability.

I hadn't played using Rapid Fire rules for 7 years so I was a bit rusty, especially around IDF. I got used to the club rule amendments quickly and they definitely speeded up the game, but I did find myself getting lost in which step we were on. Luckily Pete who organised the day and umpired with the help of Dave kept us all on track. On the whole the rules worked well for this size of game.