So I played my biggest game yet with my battalion/company system. I had 2 US, 1 ARVN and 2 NVA companies on the board at the same time. This was a air, land and sea game. It was great fun and only took 30 miutes more than my other games, I am getting quicker.
LtCol Du received a call from Corps. Intel had pinpointed the where the NVA that attacked Rock Hill had gone. They had headed west/northwest about 2 klicks to the Dole plantation. He was to coordinate with the 1st Cav Units nearby and destroy whatever the enemy was hiding up there. He would have artillery and ACAV support. Rangers would be on call if things got hot but don't push it with asking for too much. He hung up the phone. He didn't like this new way of waging war. It took time and wasted precious resources. While he wouldn't tip the enemy off, he was too smart for that, he figured someone else would. With any luck there wouldn't be anyone at the plantation when his battalion arrived. He pressed a button on his desk, please get me my american advisor. He would play to the american's ego. With luck he could get the 1st Cav to do all the heavy lifting for this operation.
LtCol Duval sat his young captains down. "They think they found Charlie. He is resting at some pineapple plantation 2 clicks from rock hill. Supposedly the hills around there have tunnels with supplies so this time he has to fight! Here is a aeral photo from yesterday...
Now I have marked where we think tunnels are in blue...
here, here, here and up at the plantation. [ 4 blue markers on picture. 2 north and 1 south of river.] We have to play nice with ARVN so they will attack the plantation. When they fail we can help them out. Chuck, you take "B" squadron and land north of the river with all 3 platoons in between the 2 blue markers. Search both areas. If it is hot we have air and can bring you more bodies. Jaroze, since you were banged up a bit around rock hill I am giving you only 1 spot to search; south of the river. You will land 2 full platoons about 10 minutes after Chuck and search. If you need your third platoon or help just call. There are some riverine craft helping land ARVN so they are around call sign Neptune. Questions? Good, now lets go get some bad guys!"
For those of you with Grunts Forward this is a variant of "Village Sweep" upscaled for a battalion game.
You might want to get a flavor for the characters by reading the last 3 Rock Hill posts but if you don't I will list them all here again.
1 Cav trained
A Squadron Capt Theodore Jaroze commanding New in country Avg ldr
1st Sgt Mathews Avg ldr
1st Platoon Lt Hendricks Father a 2 star general. Moved pretty slow last mission Avg ldr
2nd Plt Lt Alvarez from the wrong side of the tracks. ROTC grad New Mexico State U. Platoon shot up last mission, down to 2 squads. Avg ldr
3rd Platoon Lt DeRoos ROTC Iowa. Saved Jaroze last mission with timely artillery call. Good ldr
B Squadron Capt Chuck Rainer commanding ROTC Georgia Tech can be foolish sometimes Avg
1st Platoon Lt Robertston football star at West Point. thinks he is God's gift to the Army. poor ldr
2nd Platoon Lt Carlson Up from the ranks. Doesn't really like anybody Good ldr though
3rd Platoon Lt Schaffer Drafted after completing engineering degree from Colorado School of Mines. Doing his 2 years and going home. poor leader
3rd Division, Army of South Vietnam Raw except for armored units are trained
A company Capt Ly Tong commanding Avg ldr
1st Platoon Lt Pham Chu poor leader
2nd platoon Lt Dan Tong avg ldr
3rd platoon [under strength] Lt Tran Can poor ldr
1 platoon of Walker bulldogs attached. ACAV on call.
Capt Ly's plan was to make a frontal assault of the compound with 1st platoon and the tanks. Meanwhile, 3rd platoon would ride the riverine craft and flank the compound from the left. 2nd platoon with Dan, his best leader, would be held in reserve.
Temple not in play today but I thought it looked cool.
B Squadron's LZ looking back towards the river and the 2 areas of jungle they will need to search
A squadron's LZ looking towards the river and the hill on the right that they will need to search.
A shot of the back of the plantation looking towards the river.
My ARVN HMG unit I painted up. This is actually a resistant rooster japanese unit. I sanded down the one helmet to look more like a bush hat.
An ARVN officer ( Lt Dang) recently painted. I think this is old glory.
An NVA officer. The picture doesn't do it justice. These are the new peter pig sculps and they are nice.
Lay out my blinds as per Grunt Forward. I then rolled for each blue marker to see just if it was real or not. If real each blind in that section would have a +1. If fake then a -1.
NVA battalion HQ ends up at the plantation which makes sense. They roll up 2 platoons and a RCL.
Capt Ly arrives at the plantation. The bulldogs scan for enemy while the 1st platoon offloads. Where are those boats? [ not enough orders!] He will send 1st platoon towards the right and hope the boats show up.
Meanwhile key Ride of the Valkyries!
Capt Rainer quickly sends 1st platoon under his football star to check out the jungle to his right. They don't want to tarry with patrols as Charlie could slip away. He also sends 2nd platoon under his grumpy Lt Carlson to check out the jungle to his left. Lt Schaffer, sets up a perimeter.
Lt Robertson's 2nd squad is cut down by a VC ambush! 1st squad quickly becomes pinned. This wasn't in the playbooks at West Point.
Capt Jaroze once again drops down into Indian country!
A cold LZ. He deploys Hendricks on the left and DeRoos on the right. The hills look ominous.
About 30 minutes after B squadron touches down...
Capt Rainer has his hands full. 2nd platoon has taken some LMG fire from the left but they are progressing nicely into the jungle. 1st platoon is stuck. He calls in some hogs to rocket the tree line. He tells Lt Robertson to assault the trees right after the rockets but it becomes clear 1st platoon isn't going anywhere. " Schaffer! Our star is stuck. Take your platoon and hit the right edge of the tree line with your squads. You should be able to roll up their line from there."
Lt Schaffer takes 3rd platoon and assaults into the VC. His platoon becomes strung out but it works! He has a foothold in the jungle.
Meanwhile, back at the plantation...
1st platoon has hit the first NVA line and is doing well.
1st platoon is hit by mortars. Lt Pham is wounded but carries on.
Situation 40 minutes after battle started. Sq B (top) Lt Scaffer is battling VC in the jungle upper left hand corner with hog support and making progress. Lt Robertson has rallied his platoon and is starting to assist. Lt Carlson is clearing jungle in center and starting to search for tunnels.
Sq A (bottom) Lt DeRoos is moving to top of target hill on right. I have rolled up 2 platoons of NVA, 1 on each hill with LMGs and a 60mm mtr. Jaroz is sending a combat patrol [ green marker] to scout the hill to his left.
ARVN is stalled at the entrance to the plantation. A NVA squad has advanced to attack the tanks from the flank.
Capt Ly can't wait for the PBRs anymore. 1st platoon is stuck at the wall. He still can't reach the 105 battery and now RPG teams are advancing on the tanks! He sends out Lt Dang and 2nd platoon to sweep left.
As he is doing this the NVA morale breaks in front of 1st platoon and they gain the wall uncontested! Lt Pham, wounds bandaged, rallies the rest of his platoon.
Meanwhile on Hill 424 Sq A...
Lt DeRoos' squad makes it to the top where they are met with a withering ambush.
Lt DeRoos, rolls up an extra action because he is a good leader, and uses it now to bring up some M60s! They keep Charlie at bay.
Charlie, sensing blood, moves up additional squads as a fierce firefight develops on hill 424. Lt DeRoos rallies the original squad. Capt Jaroze tells DeRoos to get out of there and they will just bomb the hill.
As 3rd platoon breaks contact Lt DeRoos goes down, hit in the chest. Morale plummets in 3rd platoon as their beloved leader falls. NCOs step up and move the platoon off hill 424.
Jaroze is nervous now. Even 1stSgt Mathews agrees they need to bring in 2nd platoon as their combat patrol confirms NVA on the hill to their left. Lt DeRoos is loaded on a chopper out. 105s hit hill 424 while Jaroze waits for an air strike.
Meanwhile, Sq A is having a better time of it. Lt Carlson has completed his sweep of the central jungle and found nothing. The VC have broken contact from Lt Schaffer and 3rd platoon so he is actively searching the jungle up at the corner of the AO. Lt Robertson, his platoon rallied is back on perimeter defense. At the plantation...
the PBRs finally deliver 3rd platoon and skirmish with some NVA, pinning them.
Just at this time 2nd platoon shows up. The NVA squad is caught in a cross fire.
ARVN troops in a close assault! They carry the day. Lt Dang is genus. At this point Capt Ly has cleared the first line of NVA. He hasn't entered the plantation proper yet. 1st platoon is beat up and 3rd platoon is understrength. Before crossing the open ground he will flank the house with the ACAV!
A platoon of ACAV with supporting 106RCL arrive!
The NVA RCL has been waiting an hour for this moment! They miss and are actually wiped out by MG fire.
Now this is what is facing the NVA battalion commander. He has a platoon left. I know they are ARVN but that is still a lot of firepower.
Meanwhile, back at hill 424...
The LZ is now under fire from both hills and mortars are dropping. Phantoms are on the way which is good, because the 105s don't seem to be doing much. Capt Jaroze finally overcomes his dread of asking for help from Duval and radios for reinforcements. Duval sighs and says, "Don't worry son. Chuck is bored across the river. We will send him over to play." Well at least I will get some help thinks Jaroze. Suddenly a roar is heard across the valley...
A grunt's most beautiful sight...
From Jaroze's viewpoint. 3 squads KIA.
Hill 424 is quiet after the phantoms leave. There is still firering from the other hill but Charlie keeps his head down.
Sq B arrives. Jaroze agrees to guard the LZ while Capt Rainer will go back up hill 424. What they find are dead bodies and a few NVA too far gone to leave.
Meanwhile back at the plantation...
Capt Ly sends 3rd platoon up around the left of the plantation to encircle it from the left.
A firefight breaks out pinning 3rd platoon. At this point ACAVS are circling from the right as is 1st platoon. A combat patrol is moving up to the front of the house. The NVA battalion commander realizes he needs to leave before he is surrounded. Their best chance is to make for the jungle to the left. He gives the word...
With 3rd platoon pinned there is little to stop the breakout. A couple of tank shells whine overhead in protest.
Great game! As Capt Ly's forces searched the plantation they never found any tunnels. It was still a win as they met the NVA forces and won. A much needed boost to morale and LtCol Du was happy. Post game Lt Pham makes his leadership role and becomes average. Also 2nd platoon under Lt Dang's leadership make their roll and become trained. Capt Ly is ready for a leadership roll but you can only roll for 1 leader per game.
For the US nothing changes for Squadron B, Lt Roberson is still not liked, Lt Schaffer did well but did not make his leadership role. For Squadron A, tunnels are found on hill 424 along with significant equipment. LtCol Duval realizes that Jaroze had his head in a hornet's nest. It is a win for 1st Cav [and the USAF]. 1st and 2nd platoon did fine but nothing special. Lt DeRoos is hurt bad requiring operations and is invalided home. He will be sorely missed. Since he was not involved in a close assault he doesn't make the die roll for a Bronze Star. LtCol Duval knows of him however even before Capt Jaroze so he promises that he will make it happen.
A fantastic, complex game! Using Grunts Forward as a template for Battalion Forward seems to be working. The scenario with sites to search and unknown enemy worked well. My fog of war events haven't translated though. Will need to come up with new events appropriate to company level. More to come for sure as this is a blast!