Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tarawa Game

I scanned in a few old photographs of a wargame I played with some of my friends. This is the USMC raid on Tarawa in WWII. I read an article that had detailed maps and information on all the troops from both sides and we figured we had all the stuff we needed to play it as a game. They sent in Marine Raiders from two submarines. They went in by rubber raft, but they had trouble with the outboard motors and the reefs. The reef line is shown here by the little yellow string. Marines had to make a saving roll to get over the reef. Our Marines landed after taking several drowning casualties and then killed all but one or two of the Japanese on the island. Here you can see the Japanese reinforcements coming to the island in a landing craft. Coca-Cola is the wargamers choice of beverage at my house.

The B-17 represents a crashed aircraft that was in the lagoon. We had one Japanese sniper under the Airfix Bamboo House who sold his life dearly for the Emperor. He must have killed at least five Marines in the game. As in real life, the Japanese air support arrived and made several attacks on the ground. The Marines withdrew after having destroyed all the ground installations of consequence. As in real life a few of the Marines were left behind because they could not get to the rendezvous in time. They were killed by the Japanese in real life and in the game. We used Zulus! for the island natives as my collection of South Seas Islanders consists of Zulus. The terrain is Geo Hex with cake decoration palm trees for most of the trees, with a bit of lichen tossed in for scrub brush.
The roads were brown roofing shingles. Durable and cheap, cut them to shape and you are done. The aircraft are on wire coat hangers glued into wooden 2x4 blocks. We used a heavily modified Angriff! system using individually based troops firing individually. You can see the large poster we made for one of the firing charts. When using rules that require you to check charts over an over again, we found it helpful to make them into wall hangings and so we did not need to shuffle all that paper, and I can read them without my glasses. I made my own craters and cast them in resin for the artillery.


Bob G. said...

That's a pretty cool setup you had there...
I like the comprehensive aspect to it, because you covered all the bases with air, land and sea.

Tarawa was a deadly affair for both sides.
ANd seeing the civilians jump from the mountains to the rocks below, rather than question the propaganda their soldiers told them about being a prisoner of the Americans is disturbing.

A coke and a smile...helluva great way to win a wargame.

Carry on.

Bunkermeister said...

That's a pretty small set up for use, but most of my photos are not digital now. Perhaps next year.

Glad you liked it.

Karcuss said...

Bob G.

That is Saipan where they were jumping off cliffs a year later on.

Nice idea seen a big 20mm with all the trimmings about five years ago.

The Amtracs first real go and first combat landing (?) of tanks from LCT

how to make a reef even bigger!

Bob G. said...

MY bad on the Tarawa/Saipan gigs...You're correct.
Just watched a show on Tarawa AND Saipan, and at my age, some things love to blur together.


Prof. Daniel Rodriguez Peña said...

51Really, Tarawa was a hell on earth, and
I think your diorama of the island of Betio clearly shows why. Simply, It's excellent!
My curiosity is why you didn't include Bonnyman's Hill in your diorama. I think this bunker was the hardest point of the defense of Tarawa.

Mike Creek said...

We put this together with existing items from our collections. We did not build anything special for the game. The island was made from standard Geo-Hex terrain.

Harold said...

Really inspiring set up and game - thanks. I'm just turning my attention to the Pacific Theater. Nice bit of classic wargaming - the coke bottles date it if nothing else!

Mike Creek said...

Thank you for all your comments. Harold, the Coke bottles are always present at my games so they do serve as a time marker!