It's mid-morning, January 10, 1968. After their probe from the south yesterday, the squad was relieved by members of the 25th ID, then pulled back to their battalion positions in the east. The remainder of the day and all night saw US air and artillery pound Kham Duc. The squad replacements, but the Brigade is so short of bodies that SFC Bleier is sent back down to command the squad, and they're still two bodies short!
Nevertheless, they are on point once again, leading the attack into Kham Duc from the east (25th ID is pressuring from north, west, and south). The squad has two M-48s and two M-113s attached, but that's because enemy resistance is expected to be very tough once again. And it was...
Apparently the NVA don't like being fired at by tanks, because the RPG tests and goes fetal, as does his rifleman partner, and the HMG runs for the hills!
Then the three armored vehicles slowly reversed out of Kham Duc, with Malone, Bleier, and Lipps walking beside them. "What the @#$% happened, man, I ain't never seen some @#$% like that!" Well, that was a common theme this day. Ultimately it was as simple as the squad walked into a buzzsaw, a healthy, cohesive, well trained, well supplied, and well disciplined enemy unit in covered and concealed positions with ample anti-tank and anti-personnel capability. The squad took horrendous casualties in very short timeframe (maybe 5 minutes?), then pulled back. As soon as they were clear, US air and artillery once again pounded the town of Kham Duc, and it didn't let up for almost 48 hours.
In game land, I went too far in trying to create a tough scenario. Ultimately the NVA had three leaders, an HMG team, a recoilless rifle team, an 82mm mortar team, two RPGs, and nine riflemen. And they all started concealed, and in heavy cover. A little too much, I guess. That and the dice gods were smiling on the NVA with quite a run of hits and bad wounds. In the end the NVA suffered 3 KIA and one WIA. The squad:
Brister - KIA
Kruczek - Hit bad enough to be evacuated to the US, tour over.
Worley - Same as Kruc.
Bradley - Evac to China Beach, return 25 Jan 1968.
Lipps is good to go for action.
Oh, and we had a tank knocked out...
It's really funny because we've been having an interesting discussion on TMP regarding the use of supporting fires in my games. To tell you the truth, I should have pulled the trigger a bit earlier on falling back and calling in air/arty, but it just felt too much like I was bowing to peer pressure ;)