Thursday, June 5, 2014

"In Country," Game 15 (7 January 1968)


Operation Heartbeat City is under way.  The Brigade (-) moved north and dug into two mutually supporting firebases, linking up with troops from the 25th Infantry Division as well.  25th ID is moving on Kham Duc, which the NVA have wrested from the ARVN, from the north, west, and south, but having a rough time as the enemy is continuing to reinforce from the west.  1st Battalion's task is to take up blocking positions to the west of Kham Duc, to seal NVA outsiders out and keep the NVA in Kham Duc trapped there.  To maximize speed and shock, the battalion will be heli-lifted into position, but there are two big problems.

First, because of the speed of the operation, no physical recon has been carried out, so no one has any idea regarding what shape the LZs are in, nor do they have any clue as to enemy dispositions.  To help offset this, gunship support will be stripped from the priority (support to 25th ID attacking Kham Duc) to prep the LZ, but will then revert to 25th ID.

The other problem is that, because the whole country has lit up, there isn't enough airlift to get the whole battalion in at once.  The squad is once again at the tip of the spear, and they land in the initial wave with about half of Alpha Company, but they land in the center of the NVA so it's pretty much every squad for itself...

Overview, North is up.  This is Highway 14 (I made that up, don't look for it on a real map) running east/west, and it heads west (left) straight into Kham Duc.  There is a small hamlet at far right, and the LZ is at bottom center.  You can see NVA and VC all along the top of the board.

NVA in the northwest.

VC in the north, a couple rifles with four porter teams bringing up heavy weapons (mortars/MGs).

And NVA in the northeast, all moving west to reinforce their comrades in Kham Duc.

The squad's helo, inbound.

The bird touches down and Banaszak leads them out: from far left, Sgt Malone leading Team 1 to the left (replacement for Sgt Russell, KIA; Malone is a 'real' NCO, not 'Shake and Bake,' returned for his 2nd tour in the 'Nam), Bradley (w/M-60, now a S&D4), Bradshaw (if he keeps it up I'm going to make him S&D4), Thomas, and Kruczek, then Sgt Banaszak in the middle, with replacements Abercrombie and Hinkle, Clack, Kolb, and Sgt Ham leading Team 2 to the right.

The fight starts with Bradley (using his S&D4) sprinting north, flopping prone, and getting the Pig in action, putting a VC rifleman down and laying some stress on the nearby porters.

Ham (also S&D4), sprints right, moves to wall, and fires at the NVA in the northeast, missing.

Banaszak sprints left to the top of the knoll (bottom center, with Thomas to his left and Malone to his right); because I wanted him to fire (he missed), I had to forgo him going prone, thus making him harder to hit...  Malone and Thomas join him, and a fierce firefight breaks out, though so far no one is hit.

Bradshaw, the A-gunner, sprints forward and joins Bradley (bottom center right).  He opens up on the RPG gunner (top left), who tests and goes prone, then fires at Banaszak (far left, blue bead).  The rocket flies straight into the bush Banaszak is sheltering behind and he is seriously wounded.

Kruczek (bottom center, with Malone at bottom left and Bradley/Bradshaw off camera at bottom right) sprints forward and opens up, receives return fire, no one hit.

The NVA in the northeast begin moving forward and firing, and Ham (bottom right on right) is hit, lightly wounded.  Clack joins him, and is also lightly wounded, though he lightly wounds an NVA rifleman.

Kolb (bottom center left) sprints forward to support Ham and Clack (far right), goes prone, and fires a grenade which lightly wounds two NVA.

An NVA fires and hits Ham a second time, seriously wounding him, while Hinkle (bottom, guy on right) joins Kolb (bottom, guy in center) and fires to the northeast, missing, while Abercrombie moves up (bottom, guy on left) fires, seriously wounding an NVA rifleman, who drags himself off table.  You can see the VC rifle and porters at top left.

The remaining VC rifleman (top right) moves up and fires at Abercrombie (bottom right, Bradley at bottom left), missing, while the porters have to test: one drops prone while the other three move left.

The Chinook gets outta Dodge.

Bradley (bottom right, with Bradshaw, and Kruczek to left) starts it off again, firing to the NW at the RPG gunner, missing three times...  Thomas (off camera to left) and Bradshaw trade fire with the NVA at top left, but no is hit.

However, Thomas tests and legs it back to the LZ (usually the guys run off table, but this time there was actually enough room to have him run the proscribed 12 inches).  He started at the hill on the left (Ban is atop the hill, Malone and Kruczek to his right), and ended up at bottom right...  Bradley and Bradshaw are above him.

The NVA leader tests, goes fetal, while Malone (bottom left) is good to go, fires, and puts the RPG gunner down!  One of the NVA rifles sees that and runs for his life.  Kruczek goes prone and fires, missing.

On the right, Kolb (bottom center) fires his M-79, direct hit!  One NVA down.

Kolb (bottom center, flanked by Abercrombie on left and Hinkle on right) reloads and fires again, lightly wounding the VC rifleman.  These well-placed grenades have the lovely effect of causing the NE NVA leader and the VC riflemen to run!

Hinkle sprinted up to Ham and Clack, fired at NE NVA, missing, but NVA tests and runs!  Clack tests and decides he's parched, really needs a drink of water.

Abercrombie (off camera to right) fires at the porters, but misses, but they have to test: one team drops prone, one drops its load and skedaddles, one was already prone and decides that is its happy place, and the last team moves left (west).

Banaszak, abandoned by Thomas, drags himself towards the LZ.  Ham does the same.

Bradley is burning the barrel out of that Pig.  He keeps that trigger back, and another NVA (top left) goes down, though he misses the porter teams right in front of him...

Malone (bottom left) and Kruczek (bottom right) move up and take on the last NVA.  Kruc gets him.

Bradley (bottom center) covers while Bradshaw, Abercrombie, Kolb move up and police up the porter teams.

Clack and Hinkle bring Ham back to the LZ for MEDEVAC.

Whle Thomas and Kruc bring Banaszak in.

A helluva fight, but once again I made a tactical error that really cost me, this time with my favorite dude.  As soon as I had him shoot instead of go prone I knew something bad was going to happen, and that RPG landed right on top of him...  That's right, the Magic Dice gave it up; Ban took the brunt of the RPG round in the face, neck, and chest, and he's lucky to be alive.  He's on his way back to the States.  Ham took a couple round, he's at China Beach until 27 January.  Most impressive was Clack, who stayed in the fight despite the fact he was hit bad enough to be evacuated to Japan.  He should return at the end of March.

The NVA/VC had three wounded that got away, but they lost 5 KIA and had 6 men captured, along with several machine guns and mortars.

Anway, no rest for the wicked, Operation Heartbeat City is a huge fight, with the NVA still in control Kham Duc, and the US Army bent on ending its reign there.  Sgt Malone, with Banaszak and Ham both gone, assumed the squad leader position, and tomorrow he'll be leading a push to enter the town.



  1. Noooo....Not Banaszak. Can you go back to "cheating" again :-) Although, with the number of heroic acts you put him through, it was bound to happen. Great read as always and inspiring; I don't do skirmish with only a few soldiers but am about to setup a game.

  2. I feel the same way. Apparently the magic has worn off the dice...

    I can't wait to see your 20mm singletons going at it! But I really want to see your 6mm, company level stuff going again.


    1. I am looking forward the most to the 20mm single figures too as I have never done anything like that before. And I guess as I only thought of it three days ago and everyone like new projects! I actually miss using the 6mm figures I have so looking forward to that too. And my ancient figures are getting lonely so need to get back to that too. I have a feeling my plans will not survive contact with real life.

      (I emailed this comment to you by mistake from gmail - it belongs here)