Monday 10 March 2014

Slaughter somewhere in Vietnam

This weekend the Rejects got together in the Shed-o-War to fight a rather bloody skirmish in the forests and clearings of Vietnam. This game was put on by Mark who has been collecting and painting his 15mm Vietnam figures for a while now. This game was a test of marks rules and a first outing for the models and on the whole it went very well.

Initial Setup
The Viet Cong, supported by the NVA are setting up a base in a small village somewhere is the south of the country. A US Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol has been watching the area and now a small collection of units have been gathered to take out this base and kill as many Viet Cong and NVA as they can...if they can find them that is.

Order of Battle
US/UN Forces - Commander Staff Sargent Lewis
  2 US LRRP Patrols (Total 9 men)
  1 US Army Rifle Squad (10 Men)
  1 US Marine fire team
  1 Australian Rifle Squad (10 Men)
  1 US Army Mortar & Crew
  1 ARVN Rifle Squad (9 men)
  1 .50cal HMG and Crew

Communist Commander Lieutenant Huang
Viet Cong
   3 Squads (total of 18 men)
   1 82mm Mortar & Crew
NVA Troops
   1 Squad (12 men)
   1 12.7mm HMG & Crew
   1 57mm Recoilless Rifle and Crew

The Action
All deployment and initial movement was hidden so the table started pretty empty. 
The only troops visible at the start of the game, three Viet Cong patrol the village. 
All deployment and initial movement was plotted on maps with the use of erasable markers. Units only became visible once they were within Observation range after a dice roll. 
My Squad of Australian Rifles moves through the woods on the left flank and gets into position ready to assault the village from the west. These guys came within inches of an NVA bunker and never saw it until it opened fire! 
The bunker itself wasn't exactly small but worse still it concealed a 57mm Recoilless Rifle.
The Australians and a squad of US Marines converge on the village from two sides. Taking the village was a lot easier than holding onto it and by games end there are a lot of bodies littering the streets. 
The Australian Rifles are slaughtered, almost to the last man. Meanwhile a squad of poorly equipped ARVN's enter the fray. These were supposed to be a reserve force but ended up in front line hand-to-hand combat with the enemy. 
Bodies begin to pile up in the village and slowly the US Marines are killed one-by-one. 
The Viet Cong and NVA players fought a good battle, drawing the American's and Australian's deeper into an enveloping ambush. 
Fresh but poorly equipped Viet Cong now attack the ARVN's in the flank. Had this been a regular game I would have thrown in the towel at this point (our victory objectives were unachievable now) but as this was a 'test' of the new rules we fought on to the bitter end and an even bloodier crescendo in a round of vicious melee. 
The Americans and Austrians were annihilated pretty much to the last man. The most deadly weapon on the battlefield has to go to the Recoiless in the hands of the NVA. Having failed to spot it the Australians walked themselves into a trap and were unable to hit back before they were wiped out. The consequences for the rest of the force were dire. 
The Tactical map showing our opponents positions. We literally missed spotting that bunker by a few inches and that sealed our fate. 

Well that was a complete disaster for the Americans and Australians. On reflection there were three factors that sealed our fate. Firstly we (the players) failed to properly grasp the observations rules and were far too cautious with our movements early on in the game. As a result we missed an opportunity to 'sweep' the woods more fully. Secondly the scenario didn't give the US players any of the big hardware (Helicopters, Artillery and Air Support) that could have turned the battle in their favour. And Thirdly we were unfamiliar with both the period, the equipment and the rules while also trying to grasp the hidden movement rules and so were were not as focused on the tactical side of the game as we could have been. 

On the whole I thought Mark's rules worked really well and we all thought the tactical challenge that hidden movement brought to the game was unique and interesting. Having said that I did think the size of this first game put a huge 'administrative load' on the four players (maintaining the tactical maps, passing orders and tracking the woulds and equipment used on 40+ individually equipped soldiers and was hard work!) and maybe in future games we could use smaller forces or utilise more people so that each player only has to keep track of one or two squads for instance. It may be a good idea for the commander to do the tactical maps and issue orders but leave the movement and individual team records to his players. That would certainly make it easier to handle the workload better and allow players to utilise the full range of equipment within their teams. Also a few clipboards and some extra dry wipe pens would have helped make things flow a little better, but that's a minor issue and easily resolved next time. 


  1. Excellent batrep, this is not a period we play in miniatures (I played the boardgame "Vietnam"), and you did a great work, love the table! Revenge soon for for the Americans and Australians?

  2. Looked fun. I've always enjoyed Vietnam games and that was a neat one, thanks.

  3. Replies
    1. It felt pretty 'hot' from where I was standing!

  4. Brutal! A few B52s will no doubt be paying that village a visit...


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