The Battle of Eniwetok Atoll was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought between 17 February 1944 and 23 February 1944, on Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The invasion of Eniwetok followed the American success in the Battle of Kwajalein to the southeast. Capture of Eniwetok would provide an airfield and harbor to support attacks on the Mariana Islands to the northwest.
Parry Island Map
This map and historical action can be found in Lone Canuck Publishing’s Advanced Squad Leader module: Breaking Heartstrings.
Battle of Parry Island, February 1944
“Operation Catchpole”, and was a three-phase operation involving the invasion of the three main islands in the Enewetak Atoll: Engebi, Eniwotek, and Parry.
Parry island was smaller than Eniwetok and more heavily defended and was the HQ of 1st Amphibious Brigade commander General Nishida. When the invasion began the Japanese had 1,115 troops and 250 other personnel on Parry, equipped with 36 heavy grenade launchers, 36 light machine guns, six heavy machine guns, ten 81mm mortars, three 20mm automatic guns, two mountain guns, one 20mm cannon and three Type 95 light tanks. The island is tear-drop shaped with the larger end to the north, facing the lagoon. The Japanese defences consisted of a series of eight strong points along the beach, protected by trenches and a network of foxholes.
Based on experience at Eniwetok, the American naval bombardment of Parry Island was more thorough. On 22 February, the battleships USS Tennessee and USS Pennsylvania and the heavy cruisers USS Indianapolis and USS Louisville and the destroyer USS Hailey delivered more than 900 tons of explosive onto the island, with the 104th Field Artillery on Eniwetok and the 2nd Separate Pack Howitzer Battalions on Japtan providing additional fire support.
The invasion force consisted of the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 22nd Marines, the veterans of Engebi. The 1st Battalion advancing on the right and the 2nd Battalion on the east. The landing occurred at 09:00, with a combined force of Marines and tanks advancing rapidly past Japanese positions once machine gun fire had been suppressed, followed by demolition and flame-thrower squads clearing out spider holes and Japanese defenders who had been bypassed, followed by three-four men squads mopping up any survivors.
At 10:00, remaining Japanese artillery was suppressed by naval bombardment, and by 11:55, the 1st Battalion reached the ocean shore, and with the 2nd Battalion taking the northern tip of the island by 13:00. The 1st Battalion then turned to the southern tip of the island, reinforced by the 3rd Battalion along the lagoon shore. At 19:30, the regimental commander radioed “I present you with the island of Parry”, though operations continued through the next day. U.S. casualties included 73 killed and missing plus 261 wounded. The vast majority of Japanese soldiers were killed, including General Nishida, although 105 survivors were captured.
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ASL Map Spotlights are meant to be quick history lessons on available historical Advanced Squad Leader actions. These short articles are meant to highlight both a short history of the battle portrayed for players unfamiliar with the setting, as well as show the ASL map on which it plays out.Citation: “Battle of Eniwetok.” Wikipedia, 24 Oct. 2022, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Eniwetok..
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