Sunday, May 4, 2014

"In Country," Game 1 (25 Sept 1967)


Got the Vietnam figures painted up yesterday, let's get it on!  It's September 25, 1967, the Brigade has been on the ground in the 'Nam for four whole days and has troops out on patrol.  Someone up high is looking at for them, so the squad is sent east along Highway 20 (made up) instead of west, where all the recent contact has been.  SSgt Bleier is able to muster a full complement of troops, and so all eleven men are on the move.

The squad has been in a Ranger file coming down Hwy 20, but up ahead it opens up for a bunch of rice paddies and the village of Ap Bac 14.  SSgt Bleier gives the hand signal and Sgt Greene begins fanning fireteam 1 out into skirmish line to the north of the Hwy, while Sgt Russell continues with fireteam 2 down Hwy 1.  SSgt Bleier is standing in the road, kind of scratching his head at the sight of all the locals didi mau-ing out of the area.  It doesn't take him but a second to realize this coincides with his making a tactical error, a rookie mistake, 'getting caught with both feet in the air."  SSgt Bleier's squad has hit a likely ambush site and has both of his fireteams on the move in the open...  He had just opened his mouth to holler when the first shots rang out...

Overview, north is up.  The US squad is at left (west), moving east on Hwy 20, near the intersection with Hwy 30  At top right (NE) is Hill 25, bottom right is the village of Ap Bac 14.  Fireteam 1 is north of Hwy 20 in skirmish line, while fireteam 2 has moved south off the road but is still in file.  SSgt Bleier is standing on the road.  Civvies are trying to leave the area via the west, north, and south board edges.  Enemy forces are present in north (on board edge, just west of Hwy 30), on Hill 25, and in the ville.  They are all unspotted.

NE corner, showing two Viet Cong riflemen at top, and a VC LMG and SMG on hill at top right.

Looking west, this is the SE corner in the ville, where there are two VC riflemen and a 50mm mortar.

Looking east, with fireteam 2 on left, SSgt Bleier on road, and fireteam 1 on right.

Tm1, consisting of (from left to right) PFC Swann, Spec4 Harris, Sgt Greene, PFC Blount, and Pvt Greenwood.

Fireteam 2, moving east (right), with (left to right) PFC Stallworth, 'Doc' White, Spec4 Ham, Sgt Russell, and Pvt Holmes on point.

At right (on road) is SSgt Bleier.  To his left is PFC Swann, to his right is PFC Stallworth, and behind him is a boy from the ville trying to get his water buffalo out of the way before the VC open up...

The VC team leader, on Hill 25 (foreground), kicks off the ambush with a long, sweeping burst from his submachine gun.  Which hits SSgt Bleier (light wound) and PFC Swann (serious wound) (both are at top, Bleier on the road, Swann just to his right).

Bleier tests morale and drops prone (far right).  You can see the stress racking up already because of the injuries.

Then the VC light machine gun opens up with a hellacious burst, putting the 'Pig' (Spec4 Harris) and 'Blooper' (PFC Blount) out of action...  The die rolls to hit so far have been 18, 20, 20, 17, 3, and 18, the only miss coming against Sgt Greene, who stands in center with eight stress...  Greene tests morale, drops prone, screaming to Pvt Greenwood (far left) to do the same.

Things heat up from the ville, where a rifleman (foreground) pops up and takes a shot at fireteam 2's pointman, Pvt Greenwood (top left), missing.

Greenwood tests and is good to go, so he sprints up to the embankment at Hwy 30 (bottom center), goes prone, and spots the VC in the ville (top center-right).

Spec4 Ham fires his M-79, hitting just to the left of the left-hand man, not hitting anyone but causing some stress.  Ham goes prone and reloads his grenade launcher (I'm making the grenadier spend an action to reload, since it's a 'break-down' weapon).

In response, the VC mortar in the ville pops three rounds out.  Here's how I'm handling this: I put up an aqua bead for each intended impact (the other two are off camera to bottom).  At the end of the turn I will determine if the rounds hit where they intended (15+, 18 plue S&D of 3), if not, roll scatter and take care of casualties as normal.  I figure this makes sense as the mortar is on table and the rounds will hang forever.

Sgt Russell rushes forward next to Pvt Greenwood, takes a couple shots, misses a VC rifleman and the mortar in the village.  The remaining VC pops up and fires, lightly wounding Russell and missing Greenwood.

'Doc' White sprints across Hwy 20 (off camera to left), yells encouragement to Swan (bottom left, hit pretty bad), grabs Harris, and drags him to the safety of the tree line (top center).

One of the VC rifleman near the north end of Hwy 30 hops up, sprints to the road embankment (top center-left), and fires at Greenwood (bottom left), missing.  Greenwood tests and passes.  He goes prone, fires at the LMG on Hill 25, missing, but then drills the VC leader on Hill 25 (top) right between the eyes!

Swan drags his seriously wounded self (red bead) towards the US base edge, with Doc White and Harris to his right.
The other VC rifleman near the north end of Hwy 30 sprints up next to his partner (bottom center) and takes a shot at SSgt Bleier (top, on road), but misses.

PFC Stallworth (Tm2) moves left to Hwy 20 (SSgt Bleier is just off camera to rear left).  Stallworth opens up on the two VC at the north end of Hwy 30 (top center), putting one out of the fight.

Everyone has acted, so the civvies depart the board and the mortars start landing...

The first two hit harmlessly right next to each other in the middle of the paddy (that's Ham at left, Stallworth at top left, Holmes at far right, and Russell at top right).  The third round lands right between Russell and Holmes.  Luckily neither is hit, but both take some more stress.

Ham activates and fires another grenade at the ville; he aimed at the mortar man (middle), but missed.  But the round landed right on top of the far left guy, putting him down, and giving the mortar man a light wound.  Ham reloads and fires at the LMG on Hill 25, not even close...

The VC rifleman in the ville (bottom right) tests and has to drop prone (Russell and Holmes at left).

While Greenwood (top left) fires twice at the VC at Hwy 30 (center), missing twice, then fires at the the LMG on Hill 25 (far right), missing once.  The VC at Hwy 30 tests and fails, drops prone.

But I got really steamed when the VC machine gunner (far right) not only passed his morale test, but then opened up and put Sgt Greene (the new wounded guy at left) down...

Then turned the weapon on Pvt Holmes (bottom right, with Sgt Russell) and put him down too...  The VC then shot at Sgt Russell, but missed (rolled an 18, but because of the foliage, embankment, and lack of assistant was a miss, but pretty damned good rolling).

Sgt Russell tested morale and failed miserably, deciding to run.  Since I was getting my ass kicked I decided to cheat a bit...  Instead of 'just' running, I decided to have Sgt Russell grab Pvt Holmes on his way for the door.  So Russell (bottom center) grabbed Holmes an sprinted west (left in this photo, with Ham at center left, Stallworth at top right, and Bleier at top left on road).  Because Russell is chickening out I let him run a few inches further than he should have been able to while carrying someone...

Another thing that burned my ass was when the VC mortar man (center), who had about a dozen stress on him, managed to do well enough on his morale test to just drop prone, as opposed to running for the hills, which I was sure was going to happen...

Doc White sprints back out into the paddy, grabs Sgt Greene, and drags him back to safety, while PFC Swan drags himself over to Doc (I'm treating this as a pseudo-casevac point, out of LOS of the bad guys).  Stallworth, previously sitting at the embankment for Hwy 20, sprints across the highway out into the paddy, grabs PFC Blount, and drags him back to Doc.

SSgt Bleier (bottom center) fires the last rounds of the day, getting a very lucky hit and seriously wounding the VC machine gunner on Hill 25 (top center).

Bleier stood on the road and sprayed automatic fire in the enemy's general direction, while Russell (bottom left), Ham (center left), and Greenwood (top right) fell back.  Once all his men were out of danger Bleier got on the horn with Firebase Garbo and called in 105mm arty on Hill 25 and Ap Bac 14...

The enemy wasn't in much better shape: at Hwy 30 (left center), one rifleman was out of the fight.  On Hill 25, the leader was dead and the machine gunner seriously wounded.  In the ville, one man was down and the mortar man was lightly wounded.  They decided to withdraw before the Yankees dropped their bombs...

Bleier was pissed and sad and scared and elated and frustrated, all at the same time.  His first taste of combat didn't go as planned, and he and his men suffered for it.  To be honest, I wish I'd have started the withdrawal sooner than I did, and in reality it was sort of force on me when Greene went down on the left and Russell decided to flee on the right..

Sgt Greene - Three rounds in the chest, Killed in Action
Spec4 Harris - 7.62mm round through arm, Evac to Battalion Aid Station, out for 9 days
PFC Swan - 7.62mm round through calf, Evac to BAS, out for 6 days
PFC Blount - 7.62mm round in foot, Light duty for 5 days
Pvt Holmes - 7.62mm round in hand, Light duty for 3 days
SSgt Bleier - 7.62mm round grazed neck, Light duty for 1 day
Sgt Russell - Numerous 50mm mortar fragment wounds, Fit for duty.  Could have taken light duty, but really ashamed at bugging out and wanted to get back to the squad.

Pvt Dwight "Doc" White was recommended for the Bronze Star for making two trips into the fireswept rice paddy to secure Sgt Greene and Spec4 Harris.

The squad is pissed and looking for payback...



  1. Great report - I am currently finishing my own 10mm Pendraken VC and US forces for some company level games so your pics are a great motivator.

    Cheerio !

  2. Jack, lovely looking game that gives a really nice narrative - excellent outing for your newly painted troops.

  3. Thanks guys, I appreciate it! If these rules hadn't have come along these troops would still be languishing on the shelf, funny how life works out.