|Game Name: Guadalcanal Skirmish – Battle of Edson’s Ridge
Game System: Chain of Command
Game Type: Participation
Duration: Players can ‘drop in & drop out’
The first Allied counter-offensive on land in the Pacific commenced in August 1942. The 1st Division U.S. Marine Corp achieved surprise under the cover of a storm, and landed almost unopposed on Guadalcanal, capturing a nearly completed Japanese airfield, re-named Henderson Field and a defence perimeter was established. The naval battle of Savo Isand was a Japanese victory and the Allied fleet withdrew, leaving the USMC to fend for themselves. The first Japanese attack by Colonel Ichikis force was decimated at Alligator Creek on the east flank.
A more sustained Japanese attack was mounted 12th-14th September and the key line of advance was by the Kawaguchi Force from the south after forced march through heavy jungle. Their intention was drive north along a ridge without jungle and cut through the weakest sector of the American defences to capture Henderson Field. Colonel Edson USMC had a hunch this area was vulnerable, and had convinced General Vandergrift to allow his battalion of Raiders and a battalion of marine paratroopers to position there for a rest, as the east and west flanks were seen as more vulnerable by the Division HQ. The regiment sized Kawaguchi force mounted their attack on the southern end and flanks of what became known as Bloody Ridge on the night of 13th September 1942.
The game abstracts a platoon sized action within this engagement as B Company of the Raiders tries to fend off elements of Major Tamuras 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regt.
The offensive nearly captured 1st USMC Division HQ at the head of the ridge, less than a mile from the airfield. However it was repulsed in close quarter fighting and this defeat convinced the Japanese area command in Rabaul that re-taking the strategic Henderson Field, was more important than their advance in New Guinea towards Port Moresby, and they began diverting troops and supplies to The Solomons.
The Bloody Ridge Peace Park on Guadalcanal is well worth a visit and there are battlefield tours.
Bloody Ridge National Park Friends Facebook Page