War in the Pacific Admiral’s Edition. Game vs Herb

27th May 1943

1st Marine Regiment supported by three tank battalions had finally fought their way past the jungle and Japanese rearguards to the small settlement at Tassafaronga on the Northern end of Guadalcanal. The remnants of the Lunga garrison had retreated here and intell had also identified a further Japanese Naval Guard unit. Since Lunga and Kira Kira had secured their planes had been daily bombing the Japanese positions around Tassafaronga and recon planes had kept a careful watch over any and all movement that had been spotted. In all honesty the dense jungle had been the Marine’s worst enemy but by the 25th May the 1st Marines reported that they were in position ready to commit to the assault. A preliminary bombardment was ordered for the 26th May but disturbing news was brought back by the daily recon photographs recorded on the 26th May. Japanese units had seemed to abandoned their positions en mass and had melted away. Submarines did not come into contact with any fast moving transport vessels nor had radio intelligence picked up any inkling of a withdrawal. Commanders on the ground suspected some sort of charge on the Marine line during the night of the 26th/27th May. As such they prepared for said eventuality. Stuart and Sherman tanks were spread out along the line with their 75 and 37mm guns facing the tree line. Between the tanks fire teams dug in around 30 and 50 cal machine gun positions that encased the main marine bivouac in a wall of fire and steel. The hours after sundown were tense and nerve racking. Many a Marine wished the Japs to charge just to break the monotony. They had their wish granted at 1:45 am when a swarm of Japanese soldiers with drawn bayonets and their officers brandishing their wickedly curved swords broke through the tree line in an almighty roar and charge. Bravery and elan however are no match for hot lead and steel as first the Marine machine gunners began to reap a terrible toll on the Japanese attack only to be joined by the boom of the 75mm guns on the Shermans firing at point blank range. Three human waves broke their backs against the withering fire the Marines were able to call upon. Mortars and regimental field guns added to the slaughter. No mercy was given and when the sun rose and the dense clouds of cordite and gun smoke lifted nearly 3,000 ton Japanese bodies lay in front of the Marine position. The killing ground between the first fox holes and the tree line was covered in heaps of mangled, bloody bodies torn about by shot and shell alike. Here and there a wounded man moaned or still crawled stubbornly towards the American guns. The shock on the faces of the Marines, already veterans of Lunga and Tarawa was plain to see. What had the Japs wanted to achieve? What was clear was that Japanese presence on Guadalcanal was destroyed in one night of destruction. Mopping operations would begin as soon as the Marines had replenished their ammunition. Was Tassafaronga just a herald of what awaited them further to the North???

Marine tankers pose in front of their tank on the morning of the 27th May

Ground combat at Tassafaronga (113,137)

Japanese Shock attack

Attacking force 4167 troops, 40 guns, 0 vehicles, Assault Value = 161

Defending force 5273 troops, 94 guns, 370 vehicles, Assault Value = 299

Japanese adjusted assault: 20

Allied adjusted defense: 406

Japanese assault odds: 1 to 20

Combat modifiers
Defender: terrain(+), preparation(-), fatigue(-)
Attacker: shock(+)

Japanese ground losses:
2894 casualties reported
Squads: 109 destroyed, 64 disabled
Non Combat: 75 destroyed, 23 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 0 disabled
Guns lost 15 (8 destroyed, 7 disabled)
Units destroyed 1

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