Memoir’44 is a game which with its expansions not only gets better, but also transforms into completely new wargaming experience. I have recently started to appreciate more and more its Pacific Theater expansion. I have already played Guadalcanal 1942 Japan offensive with Lukasz, followed by Guadalcanal 1943 US attack with Marcin. Both engagements were in break-through format, consisted of 3 scenarios and were blast to play.

Other prominent Memoir’44 session reports:

Having really great time with those campaigns, we decided to play all the regular, Pacific Theater scenarios. As you know, we like it played in some thematic and campaign like mode – even if scenarios are not necessarily linked. And we decided to play it that way – me leading the US Marine Corp (or sometimes US Army) while Lukasz having Imperial Japanese army under my commend. On a side note, those armies have very interesting characteristics, important to know before reading through the session reports:

Without further delay welcome to first three session reports! I hope you will enjoy animated AARs!

Wake Island – Dec’1941

Historical background:

A coral atoll lost in the vast expanse of the North Pacific, Wake Island was home to “PAAville”, a small stopover on Pan American Airways’ U.S.-China route during the 1930s. In the military build-up to the war, the US Navy began building an aero-naval base. By August of 1941, a small garrison composed of elements of the 1st Marine Defense Battalion was in place, although armed inadequately with old 5″ cannons and 3″ AA guns.

On December 8, 1941, one day after Pearl Harbor, a flight of medium Japanese bombers took off from the Marshall Islands, rapidly bombing the bulk of the Marine Corps VMF-211 fighter squadron located on Wake into the ground. Three days later, the garrison repulsed a first Japanese landing attempt by the South Seas Force. On December 23, a second Japanese attack wave, augmented with 1,500 Japanese Marines from the Special Naval Landing Forces, landed in the predawn darkness. Following the late night and morning of ferocious fighting the garrison was forced to surrender.

For their heroic defense, the men who defended Wake Island during those fateful two weeks would receive the Wake Island Device, a campaign clasp to the Marine Corps and Navy Expeditionary Medals.

Session report:

Feel free to click on picture to enlarge it.

The detailed, animated report of our first engagement.

So how did it go? Lukasz Imperial Army started to advanced steadily, mainly on their left flank. The losses were inevitable, but the march was not stopping. Even under the Firefight action! The decisive moment came when Japanese forces used the Infantry Assault, managing to achieve a local break-through, grabbing town, bunker and airfield.

The final result was Japanese victory – it costed a lot of casualties, but the results was not in doubt:

  • Michal (US) 4 vs. Lukasz (JPN) 6

Mabatang – Jan’1942 (Bataan Campaign)

Historical background:

The capture of the Philippine Islands was crucial to Japan’s effort to control the Southwest Pacific, seize the resource-rich Dutch East Indies, and protect its Southeast Asian flank. After Japanese carrier planes attacked the US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Taiwan-based aircraft, within seven hours, pounded the main American bases of the Philippines, at Cavite. Many American planes were caught on the ground and summarily destroyed. In one day, the Japanese had gained air superiority over the Philippine Islands.

General MacArthur intended to move his men with their equipment and supplies in good order to their defensive positions. The first major battle of the “Fighting Retreat” occurred south of Calaguiman River. Supported by artillery, the 57th Infantry, set up a line of defense extending from Manila Bay through Mabatang across open ground. The Japanese 65th Brigade and 9th Regiment, also supported by artillery, along with the 7th Tank Regiment slowly approached from the north. The Filipino-American forces were outnumbered and only because they had time to dig in and register their artillery, did they have a slight chance to stand up to the Japanese attack.

Session report:

Feel free to click on picture to enlarge it.

Our second game was very exciting and finished in most unexpected way.

As this was beginning of the War on Pacific, I was again on the defending position. This time Philippines and one of the delaying actions by US Army. As it occurred, Lukasz had much harder nut to crack then before – he tried first on his left, under heavy fire from my artillery. After some local successes, I managed to destroy two of Japanese tank units. So he tried on the other side. The Imperial Army advancing on the right managed to overrun the first line of defense, but was checked and destroyed in the center by precise artillery fire.

This time the final result was in my favor – close game but US held the ground:

  • Michal (US) 6 vs. Lukasz (JPN) 4

Tenaru – Aug’1943 (Guadalcanal Campaign)

Historical background:

The Japanese did not expect an invasion of Guadalcanal in 1942. On August 7th, the 1st Marine Division landed unopposed and occupied the partially built airfield. The Japanese defenders, caught by surprise, fled into the jungle. From there, Japanese commanders on Guadalcanal began planning a counterattack to recapture the lost ground.

During the night of August 20-21, Marine scouts on the east bank of Alligator Creek detected the movement of a large body of Japanese troops. Col. Kiyonao Ichiki ordered his infantry troops forward, using “human wave” tactics, but the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines of Colonel Edwin A. Pollock would not be dislodged. Using canister fire, Pollock’s guns decimated the Japanese wave. Ichiki than sent part of his force upstream to outflank the Marines, but after a fierce fight this attempt also failed.

Session report:

Feel free to click on picture to enlarge it.

In our third play the pure melee force of Imperial Japanese Army prevailed.

It was a tough, close-quarters struggle in the jungle. A lot of melee in which Lukasz’s Imperial Army had a decisive advantage. It started from the infantry onslaught on the right – but was quickly checked by my artillery and tanks – 3-1 for US Marine Corp. But then the center moved against me and the problems started. The engineers were a fantastic fighting force and the speed of Japanese attack did not allow me to redeploy enough forces to the left flank.

The final result was another Japanese victory – Lukasz made great use of their close-quarter advantages:

  • Michal (US) 3 vs. Lukasz (JPN) 6


The Pacific Scenarios do not fail to provide exciting and interesting narrative and gameplay. The set-ups are pretty thematic and well historically established. You need to know strengths and weaknesses of your troops as well as opponent and make best of it. So for it is pretty balanced, although some scores were surprising.

The results tally after 3 scenarios:

  • Michal (US) 13 vs. Lukasz (JPN) 16

I hope to play more in that format! You can count on further session reports!