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Bougainville: Defending the Lodgment Virtual Staff Ride

Bougainville VSR
Bougainville VSR

This Army University Press (AUP) virtual staff ride examines the XIV Corps defense of the Bougainville lodgment, with its three newly established airfields, as part of OPERATION CHERRYBLOSSOM in 1943-44. The airfields were critical to the larger campaign, CARTWHEEL, in the isolation of the Japanese air and naval base at Rabaul.

The study begins with a brief examination of the campaign, the Marine amphibious assaults, and the establishment of the lodgment. The study continues with a detailed study of the relief in place of the Marine force with the Army’s 37th and Americal Divisions through the Japanese counterattacks to defeat the invasion. The study contains a separate add-on module on health service support for interested organizations.

The primary learning objective is to discuss the insights and lessons learned in conducting a defense in a jungle environment, especially at the brigade/regimental level and below.

The Bougainville VSR is fully exportable to any organization that has access to the Army-authorized gaming software, Virtual Battlespace 3 (VBS3). Each exportable package includes full instructor support materials, participant readings, and instructions on how to use everything. Please see below.

Bougainville Virtual Staff Ride Material

Hamburger Hill VSR Introduction

Bougainville VSR Introduction

This file provides an overview of the VSR, what products comprise the VSR, how to download the products, and how they are used to conduct the VSR. The exportable VSR contains all the elements of a “ground” staff ride, but with the terrain being presented with a computer in a classroom environment.

Download the VSR Introduction

Virtual Battlespace 3 Instructions

Virtual Terrain for Bougainville

The VSR runs off the Army’s games-for-training platform, Virtual Battlespace 3 (VBS3). Only current license holders with a CAC enabled computer can operate VBS3 at the present time. New license download authorizations are unavailable due to contract restrictions with the software manufacturer. Use this link to access the Army’s Milgaming site for the Bougainville terrain files. After downloading VBS3, the user must download the terrain and model files and then upload them into VBS3. Detailed instructions on how to complete this process are at the Milgaming link. For technical questions or issues relating to VBS3, contact customer support at Bohemia Interactive Simulations at (866) 755-5127.

Army Milgaming Site

Preliminary Study Materials

Preliminary Study Materials

These materials help prepare staff ride participants for their virtual visit to the campaign area. The Bougainville read ahead is compiled from a variety of sources, to include the Center for Military History Publication 72-10 (Northern Solomons).

Download the Read Ahead

Field Phase and Materials

Field Phase and Materials

These resources are for the staff ride facilitator or instructor. The notes are the materials the instructor uses to tie the terrain, the historical narrative, and the visual aids together. The visual aids help keep the participants oriented to the virtual terrain and to the historical context of the operation.

Download the Instructor Notes

Download the Operators Notes

Download the Visual Aids