First off, this series is being done as a bit of a lark as wargaming has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas so if anyone is offended, please just stop reading now.

On the 1st day of Christmas War Gaming my true love gave to me…

A Spotter in a Smokestack

Saipan – The Bloody Rock from Compass Games is the first game to utilize the Company Scale System (CSS) designed by Adam Starkweather. The game covers the 1944 amphibious invasion of the small island of Saipan found in the Mariana Island archipelago in the South Pacific from June 15th to July 9th as part of Operation Forager.

During the battle, according to a Captain Carl W. Hoffman, Executive Officer of the 1st Battalion, the 6th Marines endured a mortar barrage that had uncanny timing and precision. He stated that “We entered a little village called Charan-Kanoa. We paused there to get some water. We had been pinched out of our zone of action. We were washing up and resting when all of a sudden mortar shells started to fall on us. We didn’t know it at the time, but in a tall smokestack nearby was a Japanese forward observer. He was directing the fire, looking right down on us. It didn’t occur to us that somebody could be up in that smokestack after all the preparatory naval gunfire and everything that had been fired into the area, but he was up there all right. He really caused a great number of casualties in G Company”.

Up until June 19th, the Japanese forward observer acting as a spotter and calling in these accurate mortar attacks evaded detection but once found the threat was removed. In several of the scenarios and in the Campaign Game, the Japanese player may place an Observer! marker into hex 34.36 in Charan-Kanoa. This allows a Japanese Line of Sight to all elevation 1 hexes within 8 hexes regardless of any Line of Sight obstacles that might normally block a Line of Sight. This marker will stay in place until the start of the 0500 Turn of June 19th. At that time, the marker is removed from play.

Here is our video review of Saipan – The Bloody Rock:

If you are interested in Saipan – The Bloody Rock, unfortunately the game is out of print but there are a few copies to be found at Noble Knight Games at the following link:—The-Bloody-Rock