Welcome to “Sand & Snow” a themed HASL issue of From the Cellar, which examines two critical battles that the United States Marine Corps fought in WW2 and in Korea. The two battles (Tarawa and Toktong Pass) that this pack looks at could not be more different in geography, weather and enemy capabilities. As an ASL player you will have to adapt to the changing conditions just as the Marines who participated in these battles had to do.
In order to play the scenarios in FTC 10, you will need the map of "Blood Reef Tarawa", as well as its non-official extension, downloadable at the end of this article and the "Fox Hill" Historical map, provided within the booklet itself.
FT294 Cannonball & Company’s Run vs. 5,5 turns
Betio, Tarawa atoll, Gilbert Island, 20 November 1943 : By midday the Marines form the initial Battalion Landing Teams were pinned down close to their beaches. Marine commanders hoped that the M4A2 Sherman tanks landing in the fifth wave would assist them in getting off the beach. Four of the five tanks from 2nd Platoon, C Company, 2nd Marine Tank Battalion were able to make it to Red Beach 3. The fifth tank was lost to a submerged shell hole in the lagoon. Once ashore, the Platoon Commander, 1st Lt. Largey in his tank named Cannonball, was ordered by Major Crowe, commanding Read Beach 3, to have his tank platoon drive across the width of the atoll and destroy targets of opportunity. With their orders in hand, tanks Cannonball, Condor, Colorado and Charlie began their run south.
FT295 A Toe Hold on Red Beach 3 vs. 8 turns
Betio, Tarawa atoll, Gilbert Island, 20 November 1943 : Major Crowe, in command of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, landing on Red Beach 3, was able to reach his beach with the majority of his force mostly intact, suffering only 25 casualties on the run in, despite enfilading fire from portions on the pier, yet to be cleared by the scout-snipers and combat engineers. Red Beach 3’s defenses were also not as formidable as those on the other two beaches to his right, in large part because the seawall was not fully completed. This enabled his Marines to make headway over the wall and even to proceed southwards, although coordinating tank-infantry teams was impossible, and Crowe had to settled for sending a platoon of tanks on a search and destroy mission south. Meanwhile, Crowe’s Easy Company, in three LVTs, under the command of Lt. Edmonds, a veteran of Guadalcanal, came ashore along the right flank of Red Beach 3 and was able to sweep aside the enemy defenses along the north shore sand berm. The LVTs then moved inland to unload his company near the main runway. To Crowe’s left however, Japanese defenses thwarted all efforts to expand his beachhead in that direction.
FT296 “Go Get Your Feet Wet, Boys !” vs. 4.5 turns
Betio, Tarawa atoll, Gilbert Island, 21 November 1943 :
On Red Beach 2, Captain Williams, leading Baker Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd
Marines, with no working radio had ordered a wire-party to lay a landline from
his position back to Colonel Shoup’s CP so as to find out what orders the regimental commander had for him. No sooner had the connection been established, than William’s heard the distinctive booming yells of Major Culhane, the regimental operations officer, in the earpiece to his handset. “Go get your feet wet, boy !” Culhane was ordering an attack to the south. Williams organized his forty to fifty odd men. To follow the orders he had been given he would have to cross a large swath of wide open ground, with no cover in immediate sight. Their only hope was to catch the enemy off guard.
FT297 “Black Beach Rendez-Vous” vs. 6 turns
Betio, Tarawa atoll, Gilbert Island, 22 November 1943 :
Major Kyle and Capt. Williams and their small command numbering less than fifty men had cut the island in half on D+1. However, with no working radio and their position too exposed to send out runners to alert Col. Shoup to their location, the force spent a harrowing night alone and isolated and awaiting a Japanese night counterattack, which fortunately never materialized. With the breaking dawn, the machine gun duels versus scattered Japanese positions, which had characterized much of the previous day’s fighting, renewed their deadly staccato. Unbeknown to Major Kyle, a relief force was preparing to get underway on Green Beach to drive from west to east along the southern shore of the atoll.
FT298 Finishing off the Tailenders vs. 8 turns
Betio, Tarawa atoll, Gilbert Island, 23 November 1943 :
By D+3 the end of the fighting on Tarawa was within reach. Lt.Col. McLeod, in command of the fresh 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, was to pass through the lines of Major Jones’ depleted 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, and attack eastwards down the tail of the island to finish off the Japanese in this area, some of whom, at low tide, had been streaming off the island along a sand spit to establish new fighting positions on Bairiki, the next atoll in the Betio chain about a mile and a half to the east of Tarawa. Whereas early in the battle, the confusion of the time prevented effective tank-infantry coordination, by D+3 this friction was no longer rearing its ugly head, as it had earlier with tragic consequences from some Marines. McLeod had all available tanks at his disposal to complete the objective assigned to him.
FT299 The Pocket vs. 7.5 turns
Betio, Tarawa atoll, Gilbert Island, 23 November 1943 :
The final holdouts of what would be the 76 hour battle for Betio were those Japanese elements located in the concave portion of the atoll located between Red Beach 1 and Red Beach 2. In this area, “the pocket,” the rikusentai of Commander Sugai’s 7th Sasebo Special Naval Landing Force, the best unit on the atoll, fought their remaining weapons, limited to light AA weapons, machine guns, rifles and grenades, with skill and tenacity, aided by infiltrators, who by night, who had made their way out to wrecked and abandoned LVTs to establish machine guns nests and sniper posts to provide enfilading fire to their comrades ashore. To seal this pocket, the Marines launched an attack in the morning in a double pincer movement off Red Beach 1 and Red Beach 2. In order to help pin the defenders in place a pair of M3 halftracks, mounting 75mm guns, were landed on the off-shore drying reef to the north of the pocket, along with a platoon of infantry and a machine gun section.
FT300 Fox in the Cold vs. 6 turns
Toktong Pass, North Korea, 27/28 November 1950 :
As the 5th and 7th Marines worked their way northwards from Hagaru-ri following a single
lane gravel road that lead along the western side of the Changjin Reservoir, which the Japanese had called Chosin, Col. Litzenberg CO of the 7th Marines detailed Captain William Barber’s Fox Company, 2nd Battalion to guard the pass at Toktong while the rest of the two regiments moved on ahead some seven more miles to Yudam-ni, which itself was approximately 60 miles short of the Yalu River-the border with China. Captain Barber and his 246 Marines and their weapons did not reach their assigned position until late afternoon on November 27th. This did not allow Barber sufficient time to reconnoiter the entire ground in his area of responsibility, which comprised ground near the confluence of three hills, all at over 4,800 feet, which overlooked the main service road, designated NK72 on US maps, that ran between Yudam-ni and Hagaru-ri.
FT301 Chinese Machinations vs. 6 turns
Toktong Pass, North Korea, 28/29 November 1950 :
Captain Barber spent the daylight hours of the 28th reorganizing his perimeter for the
renewed Chinese attacks he was sure would come with darkness. To this end, he was re-supplied by airdrop with ammunition, grenades, medical supplies and coils of barbed wire. His men used the time to dig in further, even stacking enemy dead to act as quasi-sandbags around their fighting holes. A light helicopter dropped off vital batteries for the radio that gave his forward observer a link to a battery of 105mm howitzers in Hagaru-ri. Barber ensured that these guns were pre-registered. From the enemy’s perspective, it was vital that they secure the pass so as to bottle up the 5th and 7th Marines to thus enable their comrades in arms to destroy some 7,000 Marines in detail. The only means of escape for the Marines was through the pass that Fox Company, now at just over half-strength, guarded. At 2200 hours the crackle of a loudspeaker brought with it a patronizing voice in near perfect English calling on the Marines to surrender. After several minutes of this speech a large bonfire erupted along the enemy tree line near the rocky knoll. In the firelight could be seen the silhouettes of dozens and dozens of Chinese soldiers clad in their distinctive quilted jackets and trousers carrying out some form of war dance. As the embers died down to a glow so too did the Chinese political officer’s heated psychological warfare efforts.
FT302 “We Will Hold” vs. 6 turns
Toktong Pass, North Korea, 29/30 November 1950 :
Dawn on the 29th brought with it the reappearance of Corsairs to strafe and napalm the enemy positions around Fox Hill. In addition fresh airdrops resupplied the Marines. Fox Company, which had entered the line two days earlier with 246 Marines, after two nights of battalion-sized attacks against it was down to under 150 combat effective men all of whom were cold, hungry and most of all exhausted. Col. Litzenberg in communication with Barber by radio informed him that Fox must hold. Barber answered, “We will hold, sir.” The losses to his command in dead, wounded and frostbite cases forced Barber to shrink his perimeter, but even with a reduced area to cover there were still serious gaps in his line here and there. If the enemy could find and exploit these, Barber would not be able to fulfill his words, worse he would consign the some 7,000 men of the 5th and 7th Marines to a bitter fate. The captain bore his burden stoically, just like the hip wound he had received in the previous night’s fighting.
FT303 Ridgeline Rendez-Vous vs. 7.5 turns
Toktong Pass, North Korea, 2 December 1950 :
Though the men of Fox Company had suffered grievously from three nights of Chinese attacks, it was nothing in comparison to the tenfold decimation the Chinese had suffered at the hands of Marine riflemen. Over a thousand Chinese lay strewn dead across the hillsides surrounding Fox Company. This grim toll forced even the Chinese to pause to re-group. However, both Col. Liztenberg and Capt. Barber knew the enemy would not quit the field, they understood that whichever side could reinforce first would come to control Toktong Pass. Therefore, it was imperative that Fox Company be reinforced. The only way this could be achieved was to detach a force from the 7th Marines and send them on a very difficult wintry cross-country march across rugged hills at night and amid enemy controlled territory. Col. Liztenberg tapped Lt. Col. Raymond Davis and his 1st Battalion, 7th Marines to reach