Earlier this year I arranged an impromptu gaming session with one of my regular opponents. When I asked him what he fancied playing, his response was to ask if we could play an opposed landing, US Marines vs Japanese,  in the Pacific. At the time, my answer was very much "no we can't", as I had neither any beach-y terrain nor any US Marines.

Salute this year, however, changed all that. First up, one trader was running amazing offers on both the Battlefront Amtracks box set and the Battlefront LCVP box set. I snapped up both, then noticed that a company called Tiny Wargames had some lovely beach-based battlemats. Okay, so the mat cost more than the Amtracks and the LCVPs put together (which shows you how cheap they were) but looked fantastic.

I then got lost in Poland (the scenario pack not the country), leaving my purchases to the lead mountain. All that changed a couple of weeks ago, when I came across the mat looking for something else, idly flung it on the table to see what it looked like, then ended up spending an hour or so building the terrain and designing forces for a Pacific beach assault game!

Below you'll find enough information to allow you to run the scenario yourself, followed by the usual epic after action report

The Scenario

The scenario was essentially very simple: the Japanese were defending works at the top of the beach, the Marines would need to land, advance up the beach, and evict the Japanese from their works. Rather than producing written briefings, I ended up letting the players know what the situation was verbally, giving them only a list of their forces and the key stats they would need to play the game. The below should allow you to do the same.

Note that rather than gaming the run in to the beach, the Marines arrive on the table under Blinds as the LCVPs and LVTs hit the shore.

The Cards

Game Cards

  • Tea Break

Japanese Defenders

  • Blinds
  • Big Man 1-4
  • FOO
  • Platoons 1-2
  • Tank 1-2
  • Anti-Tank 1-2
  • MMG 1-2
  • Off Table Mortars
  • Dynamic Commander
  • Heroic Commander
  • Rally
  • Banzai!

US Marine Attackers

  • Blinds
  • Big Man 1-8
  • FOO
  • Company HQ
  • Platoons 1-3
  • Amtrack HQ
  • Amtrack Platoons 1-2
  • Off-Table Naval Guns
  • Rapid Deployment
  • MMG Bonus Fire
  • Rally
  • Heroic Leader

The Terrain

The terrain was based on the rather splendid beachfront battlemat that I bought at Salute from Tiny Wargames. This gave me a nice big area on which to base the Japanese defences, which consisted of a series of gun pits and trenches fronted by a line of barbed wire. There were minefields and booby traps interspersed with the gunpits and, at the back, near the watchtower to the left in the picture below, a command post. At the back to the right in the picture below was the small village in which second platoon were billeted.

US Marines

Company HQ

  • Big Man 1 (Level IV)
  • Big Man 2 (Level II)
  • Naval Liason FOO
  • 3 x Bazooka Team (2 men each)
  • 2 x MMG (5 crew each)
  • in Naval LCVP #01

1st Platoon

  • Big Man 3 (Level III)
  • 3 x Rifle Squad (12 men each)
  • in Naval LCVP #02, #03, #04

2nd Platoon

  • Big Man 4 (Level III)
  • 3 x Rifle Squad (12 men each)
  • in LCVP #05, #06, #07

 3rd Platoon

  • Big Man 5 (Level III)
  • 3 x Rifle Squad (12 men each)
  • in LCVP #08, #09, #10

Amtrak HQ

  • Big Man 6 (Level III)
  • 1 x Amtrak LVT(A)1 (Stuart Turret)

Amtrack Platoon 1

  • Big Man 7 (Level II)
  • 3 x Amtrak LVT(A)1 (Stuart Turret)

Amtrack Platoon 2

  • Big Man 8 (Level II)
  • 3 x Amtrak LVT(A)4 (M8 HWC Turret)

Off-Table Artillery

  • Unlimited fire missions from 4 x 11” Naval Guns via Naval Liason FOO (2D6+8 damage)

You have seven Blinds and three Dummy Blinds at your disposal.

You may land up to six Blinds on the beach at any one time


  •  It costs one Action to disembark from an LCVP
  •  LCVPs activate on the card of the platoon they are carrying.
  • Marine LCVPs are armed with two MMGs: each fires at 3D6 when beached, 2D6 if the LCVP moves in any way that turn
  • An LCVP MUST return to sea (i.e. be removed from the table) if they activate when empty i.e. have disembarked all the troops they were carrying
  • All other rules for amphibious warfare can be found in the Rising Sun theatre pack

The Japanese

MMG Bunker (left)

  • 1 x MMG (5 crew)

MMG Bunker (right)

  • 1 x MMG (5 crew)

Watchtower (either)

  • 1 x FOO
  • 1 x Sniper

Central Trenches

  • Big Man 2 (Level II)
  • 1 x Type 41 75mm Infantry Gun (4 crew)
  • 1 x Type 89 Chi Ro Medium Tank
  • 1 x Type 91 105mm Infantry Gun (5 crew)
  • 3 x Infantry Squad/LMG (10 men each)
  • 1 x Infantry Squad/Mortars (10 men)


  • Big Man 3 (Level II)
  • 3 x Infantry Squad/LMG (10 men each)
  • 1 x Infantry Squad/Mortars (10 men)

Command Area

  • Big Man 1 (Level III)
  • Big Man 4 (Level II)
  • 1 x Type 89 Chi Ro Medium Tank

Off Table Artillery

  • Unlimited fire missions from two 81mm Mortars


All units begin the game under hidden Blinds.

The platoon in the village spend their first two activations waking up and getting ready for battle.



The Battle

Somewhat ironically, Bevan, who had been the person who asked to play a beach assault in the first place, was late, so John and Dave took the US Marines (John playing the Amtracks, Dave playing the PBI) and I filled in with the Japanese.

The Marines elected to send in their armour first: intending to use it as both a shield for their infantry and to get it up the beach as fast as possible in order to clear the wire in front of the Japanese positions. The first turn therefore saw a mass of six US Blinds arrive on the beach stretching from the centre of the table out to the marines' right.

The Japanese immediately began spotting, revealing that the Amtracks were concentrating their assault on the far left of the Japanese line (i.e. on the American right) and that the Blinds in the centre were dummies.

The Amtracks ground up onto the beach and immediately took fire from the Japanese artillery pieces in their two gun pits. One LVT A(1) was bashed about so badly that the crew immediately bailed, another just took some Shock.

John was somewhat perturbed to find out exactly what 'Slow Tracks' meant (i.e. -2 per dice used for movement) but decided to slow the command vehicle and 1st Platoon down even further by returning fire. The second Amtrack platoon, however, moved towards the barbed wire as fast as they could.

As there were very few cards in he pack at this point, the next wave of US Blinds appeared almost immediately behind the Amtracks, with one platoon of infantry in their LCVPs being soon being spotted by the defenders.

The Marine infantry quickly disembarked and began to make their way up the beach, trying to keep behind the Amtracks as much as possible.

On the Marine right, 1st Platoon formed line behind the three LVT(A)4s, and advanced slowly forward, their speed limited by the lumbering armour. Behind them were the infantry command element and support weapons: three bazookas and a couple of MMGs. The bazookas would advance with 1st Platoon, but the MMGs would get entangled with 2nd Platoon, on the centre/right, with a traffic jam quickly forming behind the remaining LVT(A)1s. On the Marine left, 3rd Platoon would advance in rushes up the beach, but come under heavy fire from the centre and right of the Japanese line.

All the above was accompanied by a massive amount of fire from both sides.

The LVT(A)1s of 1st Amtrack Platoon were quickly knocked out, immobilised or rendered toothless: mostly by the 70mm infantry pop-gun in the left hand gun pit. That was quickly reduced down to one crew member by concentrated American fire, but would remain a thorn in the Marines' side for most of the game.

The Japanese sniper was doing a sterling job: pinning an infantry squad every time he fired. He would continue to do this until a string of doubles took him off the board.

The Japanese off-table mortars had arrived, but were having difficulty zero-ing in on anything useful...but the threat was there.

Meanwhile, the Marines were having difficulty doing significant amounts of damage to the well-protected Japanese. Their main success was on their right: where the MMG in the bunker had been taken out by concentrated fire from the three LVT(A)4s advancing towards it.

Help was at hand, however, with the naval liaison officer calling in fire from four 11" guns from a nearby battleship. These soon found their range, and began pummelling the trenches in the picture above, incidentally forcing the crew of the Japanese tank to bail out after the huge shells rattled them around like stones in a tin cup.

Battleships can't take land, however, and the Marine advance in the centre was definitely stalled. The big Japanese howitzer was blowing big holes in 3rd Platoon, who by now were really acting as a distraction from where the main US attack was going in on the Japanese left.

The three LVT A(4) Amtracks, along with 1st Platoon, had managed to reach the wire, with the lead Amtracks starting to break their way through.

It now looked as if the Marines would get behind the Japanese trenches, presumably rolling them up with ease...but there were those two Japanese Blinds lurking on the other side of the small patch of jungle at the back of the beach. These were, of course, the second Japanese infantry platoon and the other Japanese tank.

The Japanese infantry charged forward, surrounding the lead amtrak and, with sticky bombs, forcing the crew to bail. The 1st Marine platoon countercharged, and a massive, and bloody, melee broke out. Fortunes swayed backwards and forwards until only one squad on each side remained capable of any actions.

Meanwhile, the second Japanese tank had crept up the side of the jungle and blown one of the LVT A(4)s to pieces...but was now being stalked by one of the Marine bazooka teams.

At this point, unfortunately, Dave and John had to go. We looked at the table and, after some discussion, declared that although the Marines had made great in-roads on the Japanese position, and would probably eventually prevail, as it stood at the moment, the game had to be declared a narrow Japanese victory.

The Marines were slightly frustrated, as they felt that their initial deployment and decision to shoot back rather than just get the Amtracks up the beach as fast as possible contributed to the traffic jam that built up around the right/centre area of the beach, leading to further delays in getting to the wire and therefore stuck in to the defenders.


So after John and Dave had departed, Bevan and I decided to play on for a couple of turns: just to see what would happen. I moved around the table and took on the job of Marine commander, Bevan stuck with the Japs.

Well it was a walk-over for the remaining Marines!

The bazooka team took out the Japanese tank in the patch of jungle with one shot from a distance of about 4", with the remaining Marines of 1st Platoon chasing their former opponents of Japanese 2nd Platoon off the table.

Meanwhile, the second Marine platoon poured through the gaps in the wire now made by the Amtracks, and captured the right hand side of the Japanese trench without losing a man. Next turn, they drove off the Japanese squad on the other side of the bailed out tank. At this point, the table was effectively in Marine hands...which shows you how close John and Dave had been to victory.

An interesting example of how much the mental game effects things. John and Dave were (relatively!) happy to accept that the Japs had held the table and earned a small victory, but hindsight showed that they were really only one turn from a comprehensive victory.

They were keen to criticise their own tactics, but had actually done just the right thing. Okay, so things got a bit tangled and bogged down for a moment, but their battle plan worked, and worked well.

All in all, a great and well-fought game on both sides.

Robert Avery