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Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored?

 
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Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 2:06:28 AM   
KG Erwin


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Consider this -- WWII could be considered to have started when the Japanese invaded China in 1937. This was followed by the battles between the Japanese and Russians at Nomonhan in the summer of 1939. In between all this, American gunboats were attacked, and a strained relationship between the US and Japan started on the inevitable downslide to war. All of this happened BEFORE the Germans invaded Poland.

As for the Pacific campaign itself, most folks only associate it with the famous island assaults of the US Marines, but SO much more was happening simultaneously. The jungle combats in New Guinea and elsewhere ultimately involved over 1 million men and 18 US Army infantry divisions. Add to this the continuing war in China, in which Chiang Kai-Shek established his reputation. Let's not forget the combat in Burma/India, which led to some legendary reputations for men like "Vinegar Bill" Stilwell and Lord Mountbatten.

The Pacific Theater was THE largest combat theater of WWII, encompassed half of the world, and involved many nations' armed forces. IMHO, this needs to be addressed by the scenario designers -- the multi-national nature of the war has many possibilities here.

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 2:38:37 AM   
BulletMagnet


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May be the largest, Mr Jarhead but its just not as fun as Tigers,T-34's and Shermans. I have found slogging one hex a turn with ass tons of infantry to be the recipe for a boring game. I think it could be better if someone did a squad leader type game, busting bunkers and taking beaches.

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 3:40:30 AM   
soldier

 

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Probably because of the non event of armour vs armour and AT/TDs in the pacific. I actually find infantry combat more interesting now but initially i liked driving tigers around and blowing things up (no germans in the pacific). For those that like tank vs tank the japanese (although having strength in other areas) leave much to be desired.
On a personal level, I find the PTO as interesting as anywhere else and don't ignore it if a doco or book is around and there are some good scenarios in the game (Brave men at Betio was my first PTO experience in wargaming) but my favourite theatre is the Eastern front. All the major battles have a very unique flavour being fought amongst open land, trenches and defences or the unrivalved infantry Hexenkessel Stalingrad. On top of that it has all the coolest toys (US & UK weapons very much included historically) and an utterly ruthless no holds barred nature also common in the PTO.
How is the Pacific the largest theatre, it must be in geographical terms ? I would have thought the largest theatre in terms of men, machines and casualties involved would have been the eastern front.
Having said that I always wondered why there is no Japanese campaign ? (much overlooked). I started designing a hypothetical campaign as Australia under invasion from the IJA in 42 but it was too grandiose for a first attempt at designing and i lost the maps (had some good ideas though knowing Australia like i do )

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 3:57:03 AM   
soldier

 

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quote:

Consider this -- WWII could be considered to have started when the Japanese invaded China in 1937. This was followed by the battles between the Japanese and Russians at Nomonhan in the summer of 1939. In between all this, American gunboats were attacked, and a strained relationship between the US and Japan started on the inevitable downslide to war. All of this happened BEFORE the Germans invaded Poland.



I agree and all this is true but when i open my old kiddies encyclopedia it says WW2 started when Germany invaded Poland as do many other books which totally ignore what Japan was up to and consider the conflict only European in origin until Pearl harbour. Anyone who has studied the war a little deeper knows different but not so the man on the street.

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 4:00:05 AM   
plloyd


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I think it may also be visibility issue. Often you can only see one or two hexes. That can make for a lot of apprihension. After all, do you want to move when you know you get to play target for someone?

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 4:10:35 AM   
FlashfyreSP


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"Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored?" Compared to the North African Theater, it isn't. Look through your scenario lists and count how many scenarios take place in the desert of 1940-1943. Then compare that to the number of battles in the Pacific.

According to the latest Scenrio List by dutchiexx, there are 104 Mediterranean/North African scenarios available, and 284 Pacific ones. This out of 903 scenarios and campaigns.

So I would say it's high time for the designers to step up and help me correct this injustice!

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 4:35:17 AM   
Wild Bill

 

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Injustice, huh?

Why I did a whole mega-campaign on NOrth Africe, dozens and dozens of scenarios! Just kidding Flashfyre. Hey, I bet if you look at who did the majority of those Mediterranean and North African scenarios...well, you know

Of course, you could say the same thing about the Pacific, I guess. That one is my favorite too.

And while I might agree in part with my colleagues who speak in favor of western Europe, East Front, there are dozens and dozens of scnarios on the Pacific that are so different and challenging. They are NOT the assault-defend in dense jungle scenarios at all.

Let me point out a few:

012 Did you Hear That
014 A Rough Rescue
042 Fading Light (Wake Island)
047 A Surprising Rescue
052 Hospital Heroes
063 Bigger Troubles
069 Los Banos
071 Sniffin 'em out
328 Lazy River

At least for me they are different, challenging and fun.

But I understand your points. I love tank fights too!

WB

Still, you've stirred me up. I may just do some now on NA and also Italy, truly neglected in this game. I'm on it.

WB

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 6:43:19 AM   
sabrejack


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I've tended to stick to European battlefields for a number of reasons.

I prefer games where I get to move more than 1 or 2 hexes per turn. I enjoy making use of mobility, which allows for more fluid battles (in my opinion). The Pacific Theatre often restricts that, hence my avoiding it in the main.

I've only recently gone back to the North African Theatre, as the dust trails put me off for a long time. I'm now looking at various tactics to avoid telegraphing my every movement to an opponent (once again, not so much of an issue against the AI, but in PBEM can be a real problem).


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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 8:11:35 AM   
FlashfyreSP


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Wild Bill

Injustice, huh?

Why I did a whole mega-campaign on NOrth Africe, dozens and dozens of scenarios! Just kidding Flashfyre. Hey, I bet if you look at who did the majority of those Mediterranean and North African scenarios...well, you know

WB


Ahh...MegaCampaigns. Those are horses of entirely different colors.
Some of my scenarios in the NA/Med theater:

Knives in the Night
Race for the Bridge
The "Kasbah"
Gardner's Horse
"Clear That Pass!"
The 'Rats' Are Born

And of course the 'Raiders of the Sahara' campaign.

And I am working a few more.


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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 10:18:14 AM   
m10bob


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I play the ETO (on land anyway) 'cuz Dad was there, as was my Uncle Frank, Uncle Ed, Uncle George
Obvously, as a kid, I took pains to study Dad's exploits more. (Like most vets, he would not discuss much of them to me till I "joined the club")
Uncle Jim was in the Pacific, as was my Dad-in law, but with Uncle Jim "out-numbered" 4 to 1, and my Dad-in-law entering my life late, I just did not share the enthusiasm for the PTO.

Then again, there IS that whole "tank thing"..........

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 3:23:01 PM   
Colonel von Blitz

 

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quote:

I agree and all this is true but when i open my old kiddies encyclopedia it says WW2 started when Germany invaded Poland as do many other books which totally ignore what Japan was up to and consider the conflict only European in origin until Pearl harbour. Anyone who has studied the war a little deeper knows different but not so the man on the street.


Before Germany began their assault in Poland in 1939, the action in the pacific alone could not be said to be 'a world war', but rather a more local war. Afterall, it was going on only on one continent. After 9/39 this conflict started to escalate throughout the europe and world, culminating late 1941, after Pearl Harbor and after Germany also declared war on USA.

I'd say that it's not false statement to say that the WW2 itself started 9/39 when Germany invaded Poland. This is just a short way to describe the events and also, there has to be some date, that can be said to be the first day of a major conflict. What kind of historical accuracy would it be, if we said that WW2 took place somewhere around 1930 - 1950 ?

-Colonel-

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 4:33:04 PM   
Poopyhead

 

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Actually, the "tank thing" works in the PTO long campaign just fine. If you haven't tried your combined arms skill against the Japanese, then you are missing a real challenge. The Japanese are the perfect choice for the AI. Even in a jungle, I was still able to employ sweeping movements to outflank the AI or a mobile defense in depth. Add an AI force of maddogs and you've got a great game. Just do it!

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 5:05:59 PM   
Swamprat


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It's no accident that WWII is seen as largely European centred. In the 19th and 20th Century, the 'West' was the powerhouse of the world, with a hegemony that extended (almost) globally. The two world wars were when Europe tore itself apart, ultimately losing it's top seat in the world, whilst handing the baton of the West permanently to the US.

The war in Burma and Africa were fights over the west's possessions. But the ETO was a fight in the west's back-garden, and indeed the lounge and kitchen. That's why the war is considered to have started in 1939.

The US could have gone to war against Japan in '37, but if Hitler hadn't attempted to dominate Europe then it would just have been seen as another war, like countless others.

Roosevelt recognised the tipping point of history taking place in Europe, which is why he wanted to get involved, but many at the time in the US had good reason to wonder why so much attention was being given to defeat a nation that, although having declared war (rather pointlessly), had not attacked the US, whereas Japan appeared to be on the verge of doing so.

The US could have lost all it's influence (which is what the PTO was all about, ever since US gunboats sailed into Tokyo harbour with guns blazing in 19th Century) in Pacific Asia, without threatening US completely, since the US was not reliant on it's possessions in SE Asia, and it was still only a growing power, so didn't have much to lose.
Britain and France, on the other hand, were on the verge of being knocked off the world throne, so weak had they become. Thus Stalin, Hitler and Roosevelt took very great interest in a throne that was about to become vacant, at a time when it wasn't clear which nation would get his ass on the seat. In the end Hitler got beat, Stalin beat him but still found himself 'outside' of Europe's heart, and Truman (since Roosevelt didn't quite make it) got the throne, plus the debt of the old Kings (England and France) which yielded much to the new power in the world.
And the Japanese got settled in the end too, in spite of the lower priority, which saved the new power from having to go to war again to take it's lost possessions back.

The fighting was done all over the world, and everything was interdependent, but History is cruel, and while all battles or campaigns influence events locally and in the short term, only a few have a truly long term effect on the passage of history (not always realised at the time), and it's these that future historians remember the most.

One day, when China, India or even Africa (in about 200-500years time) are the ruling powers in the world, and Europe has fallen to the state that other once great civilisations (Greece, Egypt, etc) occupy, THEN, a war of total ferocity in Europe will be shrugged off as just another squabble among degenerate states (which is how we see Somalia and Sudan now) that will barely raise eyebrows in Beijing or wherever the world's biggest stock exchange ends up.


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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 6:35:13 PM   
Nikademus


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Probably because Steel Panthers largely attracts people who love to fight tanks and see them fight. The pacific offers a much more limited ability in this regards vs. Western europe, Russia, or the Desert.

By "limited ability" i mean that Pacific battles, at least the majority of historical created battles tend to have few tanks and even when they do it is in terrain that limit's alot of their abilities. There are also rare historical opportunities for tank vs tank battles and where there are, its usually a lopsided matchup. Japanese tanks were built with dependability at the forfront. the need to pile on bigger guns and armor were not as necessary for them as they were fighting primarily an infantry war in China agianst ill equipped troops or later in WWII, in restricted terrain where massed tank tactics were impractible.

This viewpoint is all from a 'game viewpoint'. As a taste of something different, i like to occasionally do a Pacific or China scenario but its rare in comparison to the other types of engagements described. It can be slow and tedious to fight battles with tanks vs fortifications (though challenging too) Japanese tanks that show their snouts have a typical result. (but again, the challenge factor if playing Japan can make it fun)

Infantry heavy battles also tend to take longer....the majority of historical scenarios i've played pacific tend to be drawn out slogging matches wth slow careful infantry advances.

on a side note....i think too, that despite the massive improvements to the infantry component in the game that the Japanese infantry tend to get represented least well in terms of the game's mechanics. Their big squads are formidable but they tend to evaporate very quickly under fire...even in cover terrain. Its better than before though...before the "no surrender" aspect of them had the squads sitting in the hex getting chewed up to nothing. Now they can retreat a little but they still often suffer massive casualties first.

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 7:53:01 PM   
Wild Bill

 

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I remember playing a couple of these, flash. Good scenairos. Knives in the Night sticks in my mind.

I recommend them to all of you. Good stuff!

WB

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 7:54:51 PM   
Wild Bill

 

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I have not checked but I think you can turn it off by clicking off the smoke thing.

WB
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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 8:11:23 PM   
greg_slith


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Isn't it "Vinigar JOE" Stilwell?

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 10:43:28 PM   
KG Erwin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ecwgcx

Isn't it "Vinigar JOE" Stilwell?


You are correct, sir! OOPS -- I was thinking of Wild Bill's great Pacific scenarios, so it was a Freudian slip. Sorry.


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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/22/2005 11:53:10 PM   
Nikademus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Wild Bill

I remember playing a couple of these, flash. Good scenairos. Knives in the Night sticks in my mind.

I recommend them to all of you. Good stuff!

WB


Oh certainly WB...dont get me wrong....I'm not knocking em they can be helluva fun.....very challenging too. I've junked more Shermans in the jungle than probably anyone d=*(&@ Japanese fortifications and INF AT teams!!!!

However one good game of that usually has me pining for nice open tank country after that..... easier on my blood pressure.

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/23/2005 12:29:25 AM   
KG Erwin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Nikademus

... I've junked more Shermans in the jungle than probably anyone d=*(&@ Japanese fortifications and INF AT teams!!!!

However one good game of that usually has me pining for nice open tank country after that..... easier on my blood pressure.


What's interesting is that I'm just the opposite -- I prefer the confined terrain of the jungle over "open tank country". One reason for this is that I play with human-controlled op-fire "ON" -- this makes for reaally-looong turns in open country. "Jungle fever"? Maybe.


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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/25/2005 11:00:27 AM   
SiG

 

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I don't know if the PTO as a whole is overlooked, but the Japanese perspective certainly is. Scenarios designed to play as Japan are allmost inexistant, especially after mid-1942. (which I find quite annoying since I usually enjoy playing as the underdog - my personal dream campaign would be the Gulf War playing as Iraq in SPMBT)

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/25/2005 8:47:25 PM   
Puukkoo


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Japan did not much conduct offensives after 1942. Amphibious landings always require a human player to do the attackers part.

SPWW2 has a Jap campaign in China 1937. SP1 had Philippine Campaign from Japannese viewpoint. Battles of Guadalcanal and the capture of Singapore might also turn into Japannese campaigns.

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/26/2005 12:08:49 AM   
SiG

 

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Perhaps the battle for the Philippines in 1944/45 would be suitable for some scenarios playable from both sides. There was not much fighting onthe beaches there. most of the battles were fought inland.
What do you think?

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/26/2005 1:50:09 AM   
Nikademus


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There was (is) an excellently rendered amphibious assault on Corregidor. Played from the Japan side it was challenging (a human player as US would make it more so)

For a chinese scenario to be sufficiently interesting for the Japan player, it should probably either be a city type fight or have them face a numerically superior Chinese force (by a wide margin), sort of similar to early Russia where small but experienced Germans face hordes of conscript Russian troops.

A PI scenario depicting US attempts to clean out the islands would be a challeging scenario for both sides. While the US owned the coastlines thx to crushing air and naval superiority it was a bit of different story in Manila and the foothills of the mountains.

How about this...a few scenarios depicting the Akyab battles and the Japanese offensives during U-GO at Imphal and Komina would prove interesting. Granted..no tanks as the Japanese had to foot it over the mTns limiting them to very few heavy weapons...but the battles were fiercely contested non the less.





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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 11/26/2005 3:04:56 AM   
KG Erwin


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Yes -- presenting battles from the Japanese side in the Burma/India campaigns is a good idea. Even a reversed role in the USMC vs Japanese battles in the south Pacific 1942-43 (Guadalcanal, New Georgia, Bougainville) would give the Japanese plenty of chances to take the offensive and reverse history.

By the time of Peleliu (September 1944) , there was NO chance for the Japanese to reverse the tide. This is when they reverted to the suicidal but costly method of static fortifications and defending to the death. The PTO DOES offer plenty of what-ifs.

The BIGGEST what-if has not yet been completed, and that's the invasion of mainland Japan in 1946-47. Roland Rahn started it, but never finished it. THIS, IMHO, would be a horrific hell-on-earth. You'd have civilian militia, veteran troops, kamikazes galore and a fight to the death that would dwarf the costs that the Russians paid for taking Berlin in 1945. I briefly considered taking it up, but it is the stuff of nightmares. We should be thankful it never happened, so perhaps it should be left alone.

< Message edited by KG Erwin -- 11/26/2005 3:06:06 AM >


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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 12/4/2005 12:16:52 AM   
Randy

 

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Fighting in the Philippines would probably be a combination of fighting in the jungle and in the city. Manila was quite a blood bath, since it was the only real urban fighting in the Pacific War. One area that is rarely ever covered is the Aleutian campaign. While it is rarely covered, it was pretty brutal also. I think that it was here that we saw how fanatical the Japanese would fight.

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 12/4/2005 2:42:22 PM   
Warrior


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quote:

ORIGINAL: FlashfyreSP

"Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored?" Compared to the North African Theater, it isn't. Look through your scenario lists and count how many scenarios take place in the desert of 1940-1943. Then compare that to the number of battles in the Pacific.

According to the latest Scenrio List by dutchiexx, there are 104 Mediterranean/North African scenarios available, and 284 Pacific ones. This out of 903 scenarios and campaigns.

So I would say it's high time for the designers to step up and help me correct this injustice!


I'll hop right to it.


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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 12/12/2005 12:25:23 AM   
Wild Bill

 

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Ah, that means good stuff coming our way! Warrior has left the building and is churning away

WB

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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 12/12/2005 4:44:14 PM   
DoubleDeuce


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SiG

Perhaps the battle for the Philippines in 1944/45 would be suitable for some scenarios playable from both sides. There was not much fighting onthe beaches there. most of the battles were fought inland.
What do you think?

Sounds good, OR even some Singapore area fighting.

< Message edited by Double Deuce -- 12/12/2005 4:46:59 PM >


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RE: Why is the Pacific Theater So Ignored? - 12/12/2005 4:58:39 PM   
Wild Bill

 

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There is a Singapore Scenario already in SPWAW, called "Singapore Sling." I won't even say who designed it. The Corregidor Scenario should be in there, too. It was done by Stuart Millis and received recognition in Bill Trotter's old column in times past.

The numbers are:

Singapore: 044

I can't find Stuart's scenario but I'll see if I can get it from him.

WB

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