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Tarawa - Japanese and US Forces in the Pacific Theatre 1942/43
by Alex B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/08/2020 19:08:26

Not particularly good, though some effort has been made to make sense of the battle.

In the first place, there are numerous typos. Which are somewhat forgivable given that English is apparently not the author's first language. However, the book is promoted as if it contains scenarios and information for fighting the battle, or perhaps fighting a campaign based upon the Betio portion of the Tarawa Campaign. The problem is that none of this actually appears in any useful capacity.

There is one generic scenario, not specific to Tarawa. There are no Orders of Battle. Army lists use the "Flames of War" format, right down to the rating of units per morale as "Trained/Veteran/Conscript," or "Confident/Reluctant/Elite." The units given aren't specific to Tarawa, either, though the authors do name units that were on Betio or Maki and used similar organizations. Most of the Japanese armored vehicles discussed (the Ka-Mi, the So-Ki, the Type 89) have nothing to do with Tarawa.

The images are mostly rendered, and someone clearly put a lot of effort into them. However, it would be nice to see actual miniatures in action.

In sum, this appears to be an unofficial Flames of War "Army Book," named for Tarawa but actually focused upon generic island landings circa 1943-44. There isn't anything, beyond the timeline, that absolutely "screams" Tarawa, and that information would be much more useful if placed in a context with scenarios, campaigns, etc. The lack of an Order of Battle is particularly frustrating.


[1 of 5 Stars!]
Tarawa - Japanese and US Forces in the Pacific Theatre 1942/43
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for your review.

 First of all, we agree that everybody has his own opinion about this book and that’s even good as we can learn from it and make it even better. We are a bit sad that your rating of the book led to such a poor rating (in your opinion) as there is (as you even said) so much effort in it, but it is nice you found the time to write something.

 But to start our detailed answer, there are three aspects where we want to go a little deeper into and we maybe can clarify some general misunderstandings. 

 a.) The book does not contain a complete ‚campaign‘ and it does not promote that in any line. We have put in a brief history of the battle and you are right, we’ve put in one scenario. There is enough material in it that players can create their own campaign. 
That’s how we play it and how it is meant and in our videos you can find many ideas based on the book and our rules: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPUzgLOQY8I&t=21s

 b.) The army lists are completely our own format and contain our ratings, the TL, Trainingslevel, and ML, the Moral level (from 1-10 in numbers). All other moral ratings (Confident/Confident trained/Reluctant trained) are just for a better graduation and to make it possible to use other rules than ours. c.) We have made two additions to the Japanese army lists as we wanted to give players the possibility at hand to play „what if“ armies. Especially in case of the KA-Mi tank, this in an interesting aspect as it was planned to send KA-Mi tanks to all island garrisons. 
In case of the SOKO tank we are convinced (there is no proof) that they had some of these vehicles, as the 111 Naval pioneer company might have used them on the island. 
And there were many more other vehicles on the island, but most of them were completely destroyed. 

In the book you even find the LVT-A1 which did not play a role on Tarawa, but it is available in the US army listing because it was available at that time, but not used in the battle. Besides, there are still many open points from historical sight. As a matter of interest, we are about to do some more research as even not all of the M4 Sherman tanks and their fates are 100% clear until now.
 A personal note about our intention, our ideas and aims why to write a Pacific book line:
 We are tabletop gamers since a very long time. Besides other scenes, we think the setting of the Pacific in WWII is very interesting and, seen from the historical view, it is worth to learn a little more about it. We dived into the theme and figured out the historical background, then made it playable for all gamers. As the range is very wide, we figured out different settings, highlighting the two important land battles of Tarawa and Guadalcanal. In fact, we made a range of 4 books, plus a rule book especially for the Pacific & South East Asia Region. So we cannot see your point that this would be an ‚unofficial FoW‘ book. In sum, we think WWII in the Pacific belongs neither to us nor to others. We focused on the historical background and put lots of effort and time in research, plus adding what if-models, to make this time period accessible for many interested gamers. We do excuse for any typos and are always glad to get some hints. We hope our efforts to make complex history contexts understandable and to produce beautiful maps, cards and images will make up this point a bit. 

 Cheers, Britta & Ralph
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