The Pacific - The Geeklist
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In continuation of a previous geek list that I had created
Band of Brothers - The Geeklist, I decided to create a second Geeklist in tribute to the newly minted mini-series depiction of WWII-the pacific theater.

A different point of view is provided in this series as it focuses on 3 marines, instead of an entire battalion as was in Band of Brothers.

The Pacific is based primarily on two memoirs of U.S. Marines, With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene Sledge and Helmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie.

The series will tell the stories of the two authors and Marine John Basilone, as the war against the Empire of Japan rages. It also draws on Sledge's China Marine and Red Blood, Black Sand,the memoir of Chuck Tatum, a Marine who fought alongside Basilone at Iwo Jima.

The series will feature well-known battles involving the 1st Marine Division, such as Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, and Okinawa, as well as Basilone's involvement in the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Hugh Ambrose has authored the official tie-in book to the series, which follows the stories of the three men featured in the series as well as stories of their fellow Marines.
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1. Board Game: Axis & Allies: Pacific [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:1611]
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Part 1

The Battle of the Tenaru, sometimes called the Battle of the Ilu River or the Battle of Alligator Creek, took place August 21, 1942, on the island of Guadalcanal, and was a land battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, between Imperial Japanese Army and Allied (mainly United States (U.S.) Marine) ground forces. The battle was the first major Japanese land offensive during the Guadalcanal campaign.

In the battle, U.S. Marines, under the overall command of U.S. Major General Alexander Vandegrift, successfully repulsed an assault by the "First Element" of the "Ichiki" Regiment, under the command of Japanese Colonel Kiyonao Ichiki. The Marines were defending the Lunga perimeter, which guarded Henderson Field, which was captured by the Allies in landings on Guadalcanal on August 7. Ichiki's unit was sent to Guadalcanal in response to the Allied landings with the mission of recapturing the airfield and driving the Allied forces off of the island. Underestimating the strength of Allied forces on Guadalcanal, which at that time numbered about 11,000 personnel, Ichiki's unit conducted a nighttime frontal assault on Marine positions at Alligator Creek on the east side of the Lunga perimeter. Ichiki's assault was defeated with heavy losses for the Japanese attackers. After daybreak, the Marine units counterattacked Ichiki's surviving troops, killing many more of them. In total, all but 128 of the original 917 of the Ichiki Regiment's First Element were killed in the battle.

The battle was the first of three separate major land offensives by the Japanese in the Guadalcanal campaign. After Tenaru, the Japanese realized that Allied forces on Guadalcanal were much greater in number than originally estimated and thereafter sent larger forces to the island for their subsequent attempts to retake Henderson Field.

For the U.S. and its allies, the victory in the Tenaru battle was psychologically significant in that Allied soldiers, after a series of defeats to Japanese army units throughout the Pacific and east Asia, now knew that they could defeat Japanese troops in a land battle. The battle also set another precedent that would continue throughout the war in the Pacific, which was the reluctance of defeated Japanese soldiers to surrender and their efforts to continue killing Allied soldiers, even as the Japanese soldiers lay dying on the battlefield. On this subject Vandegrift remarked, "I have never heard or read of this kind of fighting. These people refuse to surrender. The wounded wait until men come up to examine them...and blow themselves and the other fellow to pieces with a hand grenade."

The battle was also psychologically significant in that Japanese soldiers believed in their own invincibility and superior spirit. By August 25, most of Ichiki's survivors reached Taivu Point and radioed Rabaul to tell 17th Army headquarters that Ichiki's detachment had been "almost annihilated at a point short of the airfield."

Reacting with disbelief to the news, Japanese army headquarter's officers proceeded with plans to deliver additional troops to Guadalcanal to reattempt to capture Henderson Field. The next major Japanese attack on the Lunga perimeter occurred at the Battle of Edson's Ridge about three weeks later, this time employing a much larger force than had been employed in the Tenaru battle.
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2. Board Game: Campaign for Guadalcanal: Long Lance & Henderson Field [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:8799]
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Part 2

The Battle for Henderson Field, also known as the Battle of Henderson Field or Battle of Lunga Point by the Japanese, took place October 23 – October 26, 1942 on and around Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. The battle was a land, sea, and air battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II and was fought between the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy and Allied (mainly United States (U.S.) Marine and U.S. Army) forces. The battle was the third of the three major land offensives conducted by the Japanese during the Guadalcanal campaign.

In the battle, U.S. Marine and Army forces, under the overall command of Major General Alexander Vandegrift, successfully repulsed an attack by the Japanese 17th Army, under the command of Japanese Lieutenant General Harukichi Hyakutake. The U.S. forces were defending the Lunga perimeter, which guarded Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, that had been captured from the Japanese by the Allies in landings on Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942. Hyakutake's force was sent to Guadalcanal in response to the Allied landings with the mission of recapturing the airfield and driving
the Allied forces off of the island.

Hyakutake's soldiers conducted numerous assaults over three days at various locations around the Lunga perimeter, but all were repulsed with heavy losses for the Japanese attackers. At the same time, Allied aircraft operating from Henderson Field successfully defended U.S. positions on Guadalcanal from attacks by Japanese naval air and sea forces.

The battle was the last serious ground offensive conducted by Japanese forces on Guadalcanal. After an attempt to deliver further reinforcements failed during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in November 1942, Japan conceded defeat in the struggle for the island and successfully evacuated many of its remaining forces by the first week of February 1943.

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3. Board Game: War in the Pacific (second edition) [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:6447]
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Part 4

The Battle of Cape Gloucester was a battle in the Pacific theater of World War II, which took place between late December 1943 and April 1944, on the island of New Britain, part of the Territory of New Guinea. The battle was a major part of Operation Cartwheel, the main Allied strategy in the South West Pacific Area and Pacific Ocean Areas during 1943-44, and it was the second World War II landing of the U.S. 1st Marine Division, after Guadalcanal.

The main objective of the American and Australian allies was the capture and expansion of the Japanese military airfield at Cape Gloucester. This was to contribute to the increased isolation and harassment of the major Japanese base at Rabaul. A secondary goal was to ensure free Allied sea passage through the straits separating New Britain from New Guinea.

United States Marines fend off a Japanese counterattack.
Supporting operations for the landings in Cape Gloucester began on December 15, when the U.S. Army's 112th Cavalry Regiment was landed at Arawe on the south-central coast to block the route of Japanese reinforcements and supplies from east to west.

The main operation began on December 26 with a naval barrage on the Japanese positions on Cape Gloucester by U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) warships, followed by air attacks by planes from the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). These attacks were followed by the landing of the U.S. 1st Marine Division, under the command of Major General William H. Rupertus.

The Marines were opposed by the Japanese 17th Division, commanded by Major General Iwao Matsuda, which was augmented by "Matsuda Force" — the 65th Infantry Brigade and elements of the Japanese 51st Division, the main body of which continued to resist Allied offensives on mainland New Guinea. Matsuda's headquarters was at Kalingi, along the coastal trail northwest of Mount Talawe, within five miles (eight kilometres) of the Cape Gloucester airfield.
 
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4. Board Game: Stocks & Bonds [Average Rating:5.59 Overall Rank:11055]
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Part 3

War bonds are debt securities issued by a government for the purpose of financing military operations during times of war. War bonds generate capital for the government and make civilians feel involved in their national militaries. This system is also useful as a means of controlling inflation in such an overstimulated economy by removing money from circulation until hopefully after the war is concluded. Exhortations to buy war bonds are often accompanied with appeals to patriotism and conscience. Government-issued war bonds tend to have a yield which is below market value and are often made available in a wide range of denominations to make them affordable to all citizens.

By the summer of 1940, the victories of Nazi Germany against Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and France brought urgency to the government discreetly preparing for possible United States involvement in World War II. Of principal concern were issues surrounding war financing. Many of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's advisers favored a system of tax increases and enforced savings program as advocated by British economist John Maynard Keynes. In theory, this would permit increased spending while decreasing the risk of inflation. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. however preferred a voluntary loan system and began planning a national defense bond program in the fall of 1940. The intent was to unite the attractiveness of the baby bonds that had been implemented in the interwar period with the patriotic element of the Liberty Bonds from the First World War.

Cover of the August 1943 issue of the 4 Favorites showing "War Bond" beating Hirohito, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.
Morgenthau sought the aid of Peter Odegard, a political scientist specialized in propaganda, in drawing up the goals for the bond program. On the advice of Odegard the Treasury began marketing the previously successful baby bonds as "defense bonds". Three new series of bond notes, Series E, F and G, would be introduced, of which Series E would be targeted at individuals as "defense bonds". Like the baby bonds, they were sold for as little as $18.75 and matured in ten years, at which time the United States government paid the bondholder $25 Large denominations of between $50 and $1000 were also made available, all of which, unlike the Liberty Bonds of the First World War, were non-negotiable bonds. For those that found it difficult to purchase an entire bond at once, 10 cent savings stamps could be purchased and collected in Treasury approved stamp albums until the recipient had accumulated enough stamps for a bond purchase. The name of the bonds was eventually changed to War Bonds after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December, 1941, which resulted in the United States entering the war.

The War Finance Committee was placed in charge of supervising the sale of all bonds, and the War Advertising Council promoted voluntary compliance with bond buying. Popular contemporary art was used to help promote the bonds. More than a quarter of a billion dollars worth of advertising was donated during the first three years of the National Defense Savings Program. The government appealed to the public through popular culture. Norman Rockwell's painting series, the Four Freedoms, toured in a war bond effort that raised $132 million. Bond rallies were held throughout the country with famous celebrities, usually Hollywood film stars, to enhance the bond advertising effectiveness. The Music Publishers Protective Association encouraged its members to include patriotic messages on the front of their sheet music like "Buy U.S. Bonds and Stamps". Over the course of the war 85 million Americans purchased bonds totaling approximately $185.7 billion.

National Service Board for Religious Objectors offered civilian bonds in the United States during World War II, primarily to members of the historic peace churches as an alternative for those who could not conscientiously buy something meant to support the war. These were U.S. Government Bonds not labeled as defense bonds. In all, 33,006 subscriptions were sold for a total value of $6,740,161, mostly to Mennonites, Brethren and Quakers.
 
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5. Board Game: D-Day at Peleliu [Average Rating:8.24 Overall Rank:3400]
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Part 5

The Battle of Peleliu, codenamed Operation Stalemate II, was fought between the United States and the Empire of Japan in the Pacific Theater of World War II, from September to November 1944 on the island of Peleliu. U.S. forces (originally consisting of only the 1st Marine Division, but later relieved by the Army's 81st Infantry Division), fought to capture an airstrip on the small coral island.

Major General William Rupertus, commander of 1st Marine Division, predicted the island would be secured within four days. However, due to Japan's well-crafted fortifications and stiff resistance, the battle lasted over two months. It remains one of the war's most controversial because of the island's questionable strategic value and the very high death toll. Considering the number of men involved, Peleliu had the highest casualty rate of any battle in the Pacific War. The National Museum of the Marine Corps called it "the bitterest battle of the war for the Marines".

The Marines landed at 0832 on September 15, the 1st Marines to the north on "White Beach", and the 5th and 7th Marines to the center and south on "Orange Beach". As the landing craft approached the beaches, the Japanese opened the steel doors guarding their positions and let loose with heavy artillery fire. The positions on the coral promontories guarding each flank punished the Marines with 47 mm antiboat guns and 20 mm machine guns. By 0930, the Japanese had wiped out 60 LVT's and DUKW's.

The 1st Marines were quickly bogged down by heavy fire from "The Point". Puller narrowly escaped death when a high velocity shell landed a direct hit on his LVT. His entire communications section had been wiped out on its way to the beach by an identical hit from a 47 mm round. The 7th Marines to the south faced similar problems with gun emplacements on their flank. Many of their LVT's were knocked out in their approach, leaving their occupants to wade ashore through the coral reef in chest-deep or higher water while being raked by Japanese machine guns; casualties were horrific and many who did make it to the beach alive had lost their rifles and other essential gear.

The 5th Marines made the most progress on D-Day, due to their distance from the heavy gun emplacements guarding the left and right flanks. They pushed forward toward the airfield, but were met with Nakagawa's first counterattack. His armored tank company raced across the airfield to push the Marines back, but were soon assaulted by every available tank, howitzer, naval gun and dive bomber. Nakagawa's inefficient tanks were quickly wiped out, along with their accompanying infantrymen.
At the end of D-Day, the Americans held their two mile (3 km) stretch of landing beaches, but little else. Their biggest push in the south managed to move a mile inland, but the 1st Marines to the north made very little progress because of the relentless attacks from The Point. The Marines had suffered 1,100 casualties on D-Day, with about 200 dead, and 900 wounded. Rupertus had believed the Japanese would quickly crumble since their perimeter had been broken, still unaware of his enemy's change of tactics.
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6. Board Game: Task Force [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked]
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Part 6

The Marines move to capture Peleliu's vital airfield.

On D+1, the 5th Marines moved to capture the airfield and push toward the eastern shore. They quickly raced across the airfield under heavy artillery fire from the highlands to the north, suffering heavy casualties in the process. After capturing the airfield, they rapidly advanced to the eastern end of Peleliu, leaving the island's southern defenders to be wiped out by the 7th Marines. This area was hotly contested by the Japanese, who still occupied numerous pillboxes.

Temperatures remained around 115°F (46°C), and the Marines soon suffered high casualties from heat exhaustion. Further complicating the situation, the Marines' only available water supply was contaminated with oil. Still, by D+8 the 5th and 7th Marines had accomplished their objectives, holding the airfield and the southern portion of the island.
Having quickly captured the airfield, the American forces put it to use as early as D+3. The "Grasshoppers" (VMO-1) soon began aerial spotting missions for Marine artillery and naval gunfire. On September 26 (D+11), the Corsairs of the VMF-114 landed on the airstrip. The Corsairs began dive-bombing missions across Peleliu, and also brought two more useful weapons to the fight against Japanese fortifications. Corsairs fired rockets to blow open cave entrances for the infantrymen, and also delivered napalm attacks—only the second time the weapon had been used in the Pacific. Napalm proved useful, burning away the vegetation hiding spider holes and usually killing their occupants.
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7. Board Game: Bloody Ridge [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:7571]
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Part 7

Bloody Nose Ridge

After capturing The Point, the 1st Marines moved north into the Umurbrogol pocket, named "Bloody Nose Ridge" by the Marines. Puller led his men in numerous assaults, but every attack was quickly neutralized by the Japanese. The 1st Marines were trapped within the narrow paths between the ridges, with each ridge fortification supporting the other with deadly crossfire. The Marines took increasingly high casualties as they slowly advanced through the ridges. The Japanese again showed unusual fire discipline, striking only when they could inflict maximum casualties. As casualties mounted, Japanese snipers began to take aim at stretcher bearers, knowing that if two stretcher bearers were injured or killed, more would have to return to replace them, and the snipers could steadily pick off more and more Marines. In place of their banzai attacks, the Japanese would infiltrate the American lines at night to attack the Marines in their foxholes. The Marines built two-man foxholes, so one could sleep while the other kept watch for infiltrators.
One particularly bloody battle on Bloody Nose came when the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, under the command of Major Raymond Davis, attacked Hill 100. Over six days of fighting, the battalion suffered 71% casualties. Captain Everett Pope and his company penetrated deep into the ridges, leading his remaining 90 men to seize what he thought was Hill 100. It took an entire day of bloody fighting to reach what he thought was the crest of the hill, but ending up being the nose of yet another ridge, occupied by more Japanese defenders. Trapped at the base of the ridge, Pope set up a small defense perimeter, which was attacked relentlessly by the Japanese throughout the night. The men soon ran out of bullets, and had to fight the attackers off with knives and fists, even resorting to throwing coral rock and empty boxes of ammunition at the Japanese. Pope and his men managed to hold out until dawn. When they evacuated the position, only 9 men remained. Pope would receive the Medal of Honor for his actions.

The Japanese eventually inflicted 60% casualties on Puller's 1st Marines, who lost 1749 out of approximately 3000 men. After six days of deadly fighting in the ridges of Umurbrogol, General Roy Geiger, commander of the III Amphibious Corps, sent elements of 81st Infantry Division to Peleliu to relieve the regiment. The 321st Regiment Combat Team landed on the western beaches of Peleliu, at the northern end of Umurbrogol mountain, on September 23. The 321st Regiment, and the 5th and 7th Marines all took their turn attacking the Umurbrogol, and all suffered similar casualties. By mid-October, the 5th and 7th Marines both lost around half their men while clawing their way through the ridges. Geiger then decided to evacuate the entire 1st Marine Division, to be replaced by more 81st troops. The 323rd Regimental Combat Team landed on October 15, and by the third week of October, most all of the Marines had been evacuated back to Pavuvu. The Army troops headed off to battle the remaining Japanese on Bloody Nose Ridge, fighting it out for another month before finally securing the island. At the end Nakagawa proclaimed "Our sword is broken and we have run out of spears". He then burnt his regimental colors and committed ritual suicide. He was posthumously promoted to Lieutenant General for his valor displayed on Peleliu.
A Japanese lieutenant with his twenty-six 2nd Infantry soldiers and eight 45th Guard Force sailors held out in the caves in Peleliu until April 22, 1947 and surrendered after a Japanese Admiral convinced them the war was over. This was the last official surrender of World War II.


The reduction of the Japanese pocket around Umurbrogol mountain is considered [who?] to be the most difficult fight that the U.S. military encountered in the entire Second World War. The 1st Marine Division was severely mauled and it remained out of action until the invasion of Okinawa on April 1, 1945. In total the 1st Division suffered over 6500 casualties during their month on Peleliu, over a third of their entire division. The 81st Infantry Division suffered over 3000 casualties during their tenure on the island.

The battle was controversial due to its lack of strategic value. The airfield captured on Peleliu was of little use for the attack on the Philippines. The island was never used for a staging operation in subsequent invasions; the Ulithi Atoll, in the Caroline Islands north of the Palaus, was used as a staging base for the invasion of Okinawa. In addition, few news reports were made on the battle. Due to Rupertus' "3 days" prediction, only six reporters bothered coming ashore. The battle was overshadowed by MacArthur's return to the Philippines and the Allies push towards Germany in Europe.
The battles for Angaur and Peleliu showed Americans the pattern of future Japanese island defense which would be seen again at Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Naval bombardment prior to amphibious assault at Iwo Jima was only slightly more effective than at Peleliu, but at Okinawa the preliminary shelling was superb. Frogmen performing underwater demolition at Iwo Jima confused the enemy by sweeping both coasts, but later alerted Japanese defenders to the exact assault beaches at Okinawa. American ground forces at Peleliu gained experience in assaulting heavily fortified positions such as they would find again at Okinawa.

On the recommendation of Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., the planned occupation of Yap Island in the Palaus was canceled. Halsey actually recommended that the landings on Peleliu and Angaur be canceled, too, and their Marines and soldiers be thrown into Leyte Island instead, but was overruled by Nimitz.
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8. Board Game: The Sands of Iwo Jima [Average Rating:6.49 Unranked]
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Part 8

The Battle of Iwo Jima (February 19 – March 26, 1945), or Operation Detachment, was a battle in which the United States fought for and captured Iwo Jima from Japan. The battle produced some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific Campaign of World War II.

The Japanese positions on the island were heavily fortified, with vast bunkers, hidden artillery, and 18 km (11 mi) of underground tunnels. The Americans were covered by extensive naval and air support, capable of putting an enormous amount of firepower onto the Japanese positions. The battle was the first American attack on the Japanese Home Islands, and the Imperial soldiers defended their positions tenaciously. Of the more than 18,000 Japanese soldiers present at the beginning of the battle, only 216 were taken prisoner. The rest were killed or were missing and assumed dead. The U.S. invasion was charged with the mission of capturing the two airfields on Iwo Jima. Despite heavy fighting and casualties on both sides, Japanese defeat was assured from the start. The Americans possessed an overwhelming superiority in arms and numbers—this, coupled with the impossibility of Japanese retreat or reinforcement, ensured that there was no plausible scenario in which the United States could have lost the battle.

The battle was immortalized by Joe Rosenthal's photograph of the raising of the U.S. flag on top of the 166 m (545 ft) Mount Suribachi by five Marines and one Navy Corpsman. The photograph records the second flag-raising on the mountain, which took place on the fifth day of the 35-day battle. The picture became the iconic image of the battle and has been heavily reproduced.
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9. Board Game: Iwo Jima: Rage Against the Marines [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:5131]
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Part 8 continued...

At 02:00 on February 19, 1945, the formidable 16-inch battleship guns from USS North Carolina, USS Washington and later added USS West Virginia signaled the commencement of the invasion of Iwo Jima. American naval craft used nearly everything available in their arsenal to shell the island, from the main guns to the antiaircraft flak cannons to the newly developed rockets. Soon thereafter, 100 bombers attacked the island, followed by another volley from the naval guns.

Although the bombing was consistent, it did not deter the Japanese defenses, since most of the Japanese positions were well-fortified and protected from shelling. Many were sheltered by Mount Suribachi itself, as the Japanese had spent the months prior to the invasion creating an elaborate system of tunnels and firing positions that ran throughout the entire mountain. For instance, some of the Japanese heavy artillery were concealed by reinforced steel doors in massive chambers built inside of Suribachi, which were nearly impenetrable to projectiles from the American bombardment.

At 08:59, one minute ahead of schedule, the first of an eventual 30,000 Marines of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions, under V Amphibious Corps, landed on the beach. The initial wave was not hit by Japanese fire for quite some time; it was the plan of Japanese General Kuribayashi to hold fire until the beach was full of Marines and equipment. Many of the Marines who landed on the beach in the first wave speculated that perhaps the naval artillery and air bombardment of the island had killed all of the Japanese troops that were expected to be defending the island. In the deathly silence, they became somewhat unnerved as Marine patrols began to advance inland in search of the Japanese positions.

Only after the front wave of Marines reached a line of Japanese bunkers defended by machine gunners did they take hostile fire. Many cleverly concealed Japanese bunkers and firing positions suddenly lit up and the first wave of Marines took devastating losses from machine guns.

Aside from the Japanese defenses situated on the actual beaches, the Marines faced heavy fire from Mount Suribachi at the south of the island. It was extremely difficult for the Marines to advance because of the inhospitable terrain, which consisted of volcanic ash. This ash allowed for neither a secure footing nor the construction of defensive foxholes to protect the Marines from hostile fire. However, the ash did help to absorb a portion of the fragments that were expelled by the Japanese artillery.[13] The Japanese heavy artillery in Suribachi would open their reinforced steel doors to fire and then immediately close their doors following to prevent counterfire from the American forces. This made it extremely difficult for American units to destroy a piece of Japanese artillery.

To make matters worse for the American troops, the bunkers were connected to the elaborate tunnel system so that bunkers that were cleared with flamethrowers and grenades became operational shortly afterwards. These reactivated bunkers caused many additional casualties among them as Marines walking past these bunkers did not expect them to suddenly become hostile again. The Marines advanced slowly while taking heavy machine gun and artillery fire. Due to the arrival of armored units, and heavy naval artillery and air units maintaining a heavy base of fire on Suribachi, the Marines were eventually able to advance past the beaches.760 Marines made a near-suicidal charge across to the other side of Iwo Jima that day. They took heavy casualties, but they made a considerable advance. By the evening, the mountain had been cut off from the rest of the island, and 30,000 Marines had landed. About 40,000 more would follow.

In the days after the landings, the Marines expected a banzai attack during the night. This had been the standard Japanese final defense strategy in previous battles against enemy ground forces in the Pacific (such as the Battle of Saipan), during which the majority of the Japanese attackers would be killed and the Japanese strength greatly reduced. However Kuribayashi had strictly forbidden banzai charges because he considered them futile.

The fighting was extremely fierce. The Americans' advance was stalled by numerous defensive positions augmented by artillery, where they were ambushed by Japanese troops who occasionally sprang out of tunnels. At night, the Japanese would leave their defenses under cover of darkness to attack American foxholes, and battleships fired star shells to deny them cover of darkness. Many Japanese soldiers who knew English would deliberately call for Navy corpsmen, and then shoot them as they approached. The Marines learned that firearms were relatively ineffective against the Japanese defenders and effectively used flamethrowers and grenades to flush out Japanese troops in the tunnels. One of the technological innovations of the battle, the eight Sherman M4A3R3 medium tanks equipped with the Navy Mark I flame thrower ("Ronson" or "Zippo" Tanks), proved very effective at clearing Japanese positions. The Shermans were difficult to disable, such that defenders were often compelled to assault them in the open, where the Japanese troops would fall victim to the superior numbers of Marines.

Close air support was initially provided by fighters from escort carriers off the coast. This shifted over to the 15th Fighter Group, flying P-51 Mustangs, after they arrived on the island on March 6. Similarly, illumination rounds (flares) which were used to light up the battlefield at night were initially provided by ships, shifting over later to landing force artillery. Navajo code talkers were part of the American ground communications, along with walkie-talkies and SCR-610 backpack radio sets.

After running out of most water, food, and supplies, the Japanese troops became desperate towards the end of the battle. Kuribayashi, who had argued against banzai attacks at the start of the battle, realized that Japanese defeat was imminent. Marines began to face increasing numbers of nighttime attacks; these were only repelled by a combination of machine gun defensive positions and artillery support. At times, the Marines engaged in hand-to-hand fighting to repel the Japanese attacks.

With the landing area secure, more troops and heavy equipment came ashore and the invasion proceeded north to capture the airfields and the remainder of the island. Most Japanese soldiers fought to the death.

Of the 22,785 Japanese soldiers entrenched on the island, 21,570 died either from fighting or by ritual suicide. Only 216 were captured during the battle. The Allied forces suffered 26,038 casualties, with 6,821 killed in action. The number of American casualties was greater than the total Allied casualties on D-Day (estimated at 10,000, with 125,847 American casualties during the entire Operation Overlord).

Iwo Jima was also the only U.S. Marine battle where the American casualties exceeded the Japanese, although Japanese combat deaths numbered three times as many American deaths. The escort aircraft carrier USS Bismarck Sea (CVE-95) had also been lost, sunk by kamikazes on 21 February 1945, taking with her 318 US sailors to the bottom. The Bismarck Sea would be the last US aircraft carrier lost in WWII.
Because all the civilians had been evacuated, there were no civilian casualties at Iwo Jima, unlike at Saipan and Okinawa.

After Iwo Jima was declared secured, the Marines estimated there were no more than 300 Japanese left alive in the island's warren of caves and tunnels. In fact, there were close to 3,000. The Japanese bushido code of honor, coupled with effective propaganda which portrayed American G.I.s as ruthless animals, prevented surrender for many Japanese soldiers. Those who could not bring themselves to commit suicide hid in the caves during the day and came out at night to prowl for provisions. Some did eventually surrender and were surprised that the Americans often received them with compassion, offering water, cigarettes, or coffee.

The last of these stragglers, two of Lieutenant Toshihiko Ohno's men, Yamakage Kufuku and Matsudo Linsoki, lasted six years without being caught and finally surrendered in 1951 (another source gives the date of surrender as January 6, 1949)
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10. Board Game: Okinawa [Average Rating:5.77 Overall Rank:12080]
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Part 9

The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa and was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific Theater of World War II. The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June, 1945.

The battle has been referred to as the "Typhoon of Steel" in English, and tetsu no ame ("rain of steel") or tetsu no bōfū ("violent wind of steel") in Japanese. The nicknames refer to the ferocity of the fighting, the intensity of gunfire involved, and to the sheer numbers of Allied ships and armored vehicles that assaulted the island. The battle resulted in one of the highest number of casualties of any World War Two engagement. Japan lost over 100,000 troops, and the Allies suffered more than 50,000 casualties, with over 12,000 killed in action, while hundreds of thousands[citation needed] of civilians were killed, wounded or committed suicide. Approximately one-quarter of the civilian population died due to the invasion. Five divisions of the U.S. Tenth Army, the 7th, 27th, 77th, 81st, and 96th, and two Marine Divisions, the 1st and 6th, fought on the island while the 2nd Marine Division remained as an amphibious reserve and was never brought ashore. The invasion was supported by naval, amphibious, and tactical air forces.

The main objective of the operation was to seize a large island only 340 miles away from mainland Japan. After a long campaign of island hopping, the Allies were approaching Japan, and planned to use Okinawa as a base for air operations on the planned invasion of Japanese mainland, coded Operation Downfall. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Soviet entry into the war caused Japan to surrender just weeks after the end of the fighting at Okinawa.

Ninety percent of the buildings on the island were completely destroyed, and the lush tropical landscape was turned into "a vast field of mud, lead, decay and maggots".

The military value of Okinawa "exceeded all hope". Okinawa provided a fleet anchorage, troop staging areas, and airfields in close proximity to Japan. After the battle, the U.S. cleared the surrounding waters of mines in Operation Zebra, occupied Okinawa, and set up the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands, a form of military government. Significant U.S. forces remain garrisoned there, and Kadena remains the largest U.S. air base in Asia.

Some military historians believe that Okinawa led directly to the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as a means of avoiding the planned ground invasion of the Japanese mainland. A prominent holder of this view is Victor Davis Hanson, who states it explicitly in his book Ripples of Battle:

"...because the Japanese on Okinawa, including native Okinawans, were so fierce in their defense (even when cut off, and without supplies), and because casualties were so appalling, many American strategists looked for an alternative means to subdue mainland Japan, other than a direct invasion. This means presented itself, with the advent of atomic bombs, which worked admirably in convincing the Japanese to sue for peace, without American casualties. Ironically, the American conventional fire-bombing of major Japanese cities (which had been going on for months before Okinawa) was far more effective at killing civilians than the atomic bombs and, had the Americans simply continued, or expanded this, the Japanese would likely have surrendered anyway. Nevertheless, the bombs were a powerful symbolic display of American power, and the Japanese capitulated, obviating the need for an invasion of the home islands."
In 1945, Winston Churchill called the battle "among the most intense and famous in military history."



Cornerstone of Peace Memorial with names of all military and civilians from all countries who died in the Battle of Okinawa.

In 1995, the Okinawa government erected a memorial named Cornerstone of Peace in Mabuni, the site of the last fighting in southeastern Okinawa. The memorial lists all the known names of those who died in the battle, civilian and military, Japanese and foreign. As of June 2008 it contains 240,734 names
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11. Board Game: Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:1826]
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Part 10

The surrender of Japan in August 1945 brought hostilities in World War II to a close. By August 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy had effectively no capacity to conduct operations, and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent. While publicly stating their intent to fight on to the bitter end, Japan's leaders at the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War (the "Big Six") were privately making entreaties to the Soviet Union to mediate peace on terms favorable to the Japanese. The Soviets, meanwhile, were preparing to attack the Japanese, in fulfillment of their promise to the Americans and the British made at the Yalta Conference.

On August 6 and 9, the Americans dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. Also on August 9, the Soviet Union declared a war on Japan and launched a surprise invasion of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo, in violation of the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact. These twin shocks caused Emperor Hirohito to intervene and order the Big Six to accept the terms the Allies had set down for ending the war in the Potsdam Declaration.

After several more days of behind-the-scenes negotiations and a failed coup d'état, Hirohito gave a recorded radio address to the nation on August 15. In the radio address, called the Gyokuon-hōsō (Jewel Voice Broadcast), he read the Imperial Rescript on surrender, announcing to the Japanese populace the surrender of Japan.

On August 28, the occupation of Japan by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers began. The surrender ceremony was held on September 2 aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri, at which officials from the Japanese government signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, officially ending World War II. Allied civilians and servicemen alike celebrated V-J Day, the end of the war. However, some isolated commands and personnel from Japan's far-flung forces throughout Asia and the Pacific islands refused to surrender for months and years after, into the 1970s. Since Japan's surrender, historians have debated the ethics of using the atomic bombs.

Hostilities formally ended when the Treaty of San Francisco came into force on April 28, 1952.
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12. Board Game: Coral Sea: Campaign Commander Volume II [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:5271]
 
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Solomon & New Guinea campaigns at Operational level.
US Marines are the best fighting units in the Allied OoB.
Integradted air-naval-ground system.
Second Volume in Campaign Commander Series.
 
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