01 February, 2009

Battle of Peleliu - redux

On the Sunday of Warpcon last week I ran the Battle of Peleliu scenario once more. Here is the result:

Day 1

Viewing Orange1 as a place for massive exploitation due to the scarcity of defenders close to the beach, the Marine commander puts major effort in getting the first wave ashore quickly. From there they can assault the bunkers over looking both White beaches.

Marines storm ashore near airfield

Over at The Point, the Marines come ashore in great numbers and threaten to overwhelm the Japanese immediately

Mass landing at The Point

A Marine battalion sweeps past the emplaced artillery on the hill leaving the final clearout of those positions to the second wave.

Marines sweep past bunkers

The armour company comes ashore to sharp resistance but it should be in a good position to make for open ground to its right.

Armour comes ashore to sharp resistance

Despite their overwhelming numbers and their success in knocking out the artillery position on The Point, the casualties amongst the Marines are very high indeed. A sniper unit of the Japanese is causing havoc against incoming landing craft.
Despite the potential of an armoured company inland, it goes after the Japanese snipers in the elephant grasses and palm trees along The Point, taking hours in the hunt, even with air support.

Carnage of Marine casualties

A second line of Japanese infantry awaits in the barracks at the airfield and at the jungle edge adjoining.

Second line of Japanese defenders

Coming ashore at Orange2 armour with attached flame-throwing tanks wreak havoc with the emplaced Japanese positions there, now occupied by infantry. But seeing the advance by the Japanese light tanks decides to engage them, with telling effect against the inadequate armour of the Type 95 Ha-Go.

Armour engagement

As the second wave of Marines come ashore on Orange3 a counter-attack by two scratch companies has astounding success, but this is only temporary.

Japanese counter attack on Orange3

At Orange1 also, Japanese success is turned, as their position is surrounded. One company is wiped out, and another high-tails it at breakneak pace down the airstrip!

Marines surround Japanese on Orange1

Back at Orange3 the Marines heavy artillery comes ashore and with infantry support pushes inland to take control of the village overlooking the mangrove swamp on the other side of the island.

Heavy artillery pushes inland with infantry support

The crafty Japanese have camouflaged their position and the Marines must close with them in order to fix their positions to bring in effective artillery fire.

Defenders of Mangrove Village camouflage themselves

The Night

Just as the Marines set up position for the assault night falls. Despite the known skill of the Japanese during darkness Colonel "Chesty" Puller personally leads a company (with two in support) in close to smoke them out with bayonets and grenades. They run into a devastating ambush, wiping out the company to a man. Puller escapes but the two companies in support are mauled by the devastating banzai charge which follows up the ambush.

Devastating Banzai charge

Back at The Point, using cover of darkness the Japanese have had huge success in pushing the Marines back from their position of strength and retaking The Point.

Japanese retake The Point

The battle really did swing one way and them another. During the outstanding early manoeuvring and concentrated fire of the early game, the Marines were having good success in taking control of the dominating positions over the beaches. 4 of the first 5 Japanese units wiped out were artillery.
Despite some success in Japanese counter-attacks, the Marines were in a good position to win the game, and were trailing 12-16. But some conservatism in laying low, retreating and regrouping off the beaches allowed the Japanese to strike late in the day, and them assault all-out come nightfall to win 23-12 in the end.

It's a good job the 81st won at Angaur, as following this battle, the Marines were going to need all the help they could get to take Peleliu.

I've just posted this game we played last March of the Battle of Angaur here as well.

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