Thursday, February 20, 2014
I love watching movies, particular war movies. This one is one of my favorites, even though it is primarily the US Marines. As an old soldier I would rather see Army movies, generally, but William Bendix is great in any picture and the role of the Army in the real Battle of Wake Island was secret for a long time.
There was a small detachment of US Army soldiers on Wake Island, they were either operating a beacon for the B-17s to use to navigate across the Pacific Ocean to the Philippines or they were conducting electronic eavesdropping on the Japanese, or both, depending on the sources.
From a wargame perspective this is a great battle because the land mass is very small, the Japanese are mostly off board, and there were so few troops on the island you might be tempted to game them one on one. Ironically, in the real battle the Americans were actually winning and repelling the invasion but communications were so poor the commanders thought islands they had lost contact had fallen to the Japanese. In real life many of the Marines were shipped off to terrible conditions as POWs and the civilian construction workers were beheaded by the Japanese. The only happy ending is the Americans did win the war.