Some random thoughts about Guadalcanal

En un jour en un lieu, un seul fait accompli

Doit tenir jusqu’au bout le theatre rempli.

A single plot, over the course of a single in a single place shall till the end keep the theater full.

Thus wrote XVIIth century poet Pierre Boileau in his “Art Poetique”. These rules were followed by playwrights such as Racine, Corneille and Moliere for their unending glory… Quoting Boileau about the naval campaign of Guadalcanal may seem far fetched, but, perhaps due to my upbringing, his words were the first that came to my mind when I first read on that subject. For when you come to think of it, over the course of a few weeks spead between August 42 and January 43, in a very small chunk of teh Ocean off the northeast coast of Guadalcanal, the Japanese and american navies deployed similar and limited numbers of equivalent units in a struggle where the objectives are easily identified… Unity of time, unity of place, unity of action, there we have Boileau’s rules…

These make the Guadalnal campaign a wargamer’s dream to design a simple campaign, uing quick and simple rules doing away with most of the book keeping I can less and less stand in a game, while retaining some of the operational decisions made above a tactical commander’s level. Geography, and the Cactus air Force, dictated that surface engagements would take place at night over the same stretch of water, to the point that particular spot got the name of “Ironbottom Sound”.

Be warned, I dropped all pretence of historical accuracy when I designed a system. I wanted to use my GHQ minis, and, even though most saw action in these waters, some would have been sunk by the time I set for the start, while others would not have seen action at the end. And they are way fewer than their historical counterparts too, GHQ is expensive. I haven’t tested it yet, but I’ll post it soon before I do.


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