Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"In Country," Game 18 (10 Jan 1968)


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...

Overview, north is up, squad enters on the right, NVA own the rest of the map.

NVA to the north of the crossroads; there is a 12.7mm HMG in the top building, and an RPG in the ruins just below it.  All other NVA in the picture have rifles.

NVA  to the south of the crossroads.  Position at top right has an RPG, all others are rifles.

NVA at the west end (far left): top left is an 82mm mortar, top right are rifles, and bottom center is a recoiless rifle.

Looking east at the squad, just coming onto the board.  From left: Nickerson (replacement that ran last fight), Sgt Malone (been here for about three missions), Hoge (with M-60, brand new replacement), Worley (brand new replacement), Kruczek (been around a few missions), Bradley (been around awhile, started as a Sgt, busted down due to cowardice, worked his way back up, very reliable as the M-60 gunner of late, just worked himself back into a team leader position), Brister (brand new replacement), and Lipps (brand new replacement).

Sgt Malone's spidy sense is up, so he moves quickly up to the wall (bottom center) and scans intensely (two actions), and sees... nothing.

On the left, Bradley, taking Malone's lead, does the same.  And I mean exactly the same: one action to move up, two actions to spot, sees nothing.

Then the enemy HMG (top left) spots Nickerson (far right center) and opens up, missing but adding a lot of stress.  The remaining NVA positions in the north go on overwatch (white beads).

Hoge (bottom right) tests and goes prone, crying for his mama.  Worley (left, with MG belts) tests and is good to go, moves up, spends two actions, and sees... nothing.  Nickerson tests, and runs!

Kruczek (bottom center) moves up in the center, spots twice, once again, sees nothing...

On the left (you can see Kruc at far right), the NVA (top left) spot Lipps (bottom left) and Brister (at left end of wall, next to Bradley), and open up, but miss.  Lipps sprints up and flops in a shellhole (when he was spotted he was actually off camera at bottom left), and, Holy Guacamole, we've spotted our first enemy trooops!  Brister was also off camera, and this is when he moved up next to Bradley and fired his M-79, missing badly (you can see the cotton puff 5 inches past the enemy emplacement at top left).

The NVA rifleman (at top center with black bead) opens up on Brister (far right, center, flanked by Bradley and Lipps), missing.  The NVA with the RPG (top left) moves back to remain unspotted (i.e., away from his AK-firing partner).

Then Tiger 1 and Tiger 2 come on, with SFC Bleier following immediately behind T1, talking on the phone to the tank commander.  Kruc is at bottom left, Hoge at top right, Worley to his left.

Then the enemy recoiless rifle (bottom center) fires, and hits T1, seriously damaging it (main gun KO, lotta stress).

NVA in building (foreground) on US left open up, missing Lipps several times (top right).  Then his partner fires, aiming at Bradley and Brister.

And this crap got ridiculous: Bradley is hit, seriously wounded (red bead), then Brister was hit, lightly wounded.  Then Brister was hit again, down...  In these rules you use a D20, and you roll to hit, then you roll to see how effective your shot was, higher is better (for the shooter) in both cases.  The die rolls were as follows: (on Bradley) 19, 13; (on Brister) 20, 5, then 20, 20.  I've never seen anything like it.  On the heels of six failed spotting rolls for the US, the recoilless rifle firing and hitting (needing a 15+) then getting serious damage (13+), and now this, something tells me things aren't going my way...

Then one of the NVA in the center (center left) opened up on Kruczek (just to the right of the tank): miss, miss, hit-down (19-20).

But at least the other NVA missed Bleier several times (behind the tank, with Kruc at bottom left).

Then the enemy 82mm mortar fired (blue beads)...

In the 'turnabout is fair play' department, a mortar round landed practically on top of Bleier, but he was uninjured.

Lipps (bottom right) fires a full mag at the guys at bottom left, hits nothing, while Bradley, himself badly wounded, starts dragging himself and Brister away from the fight.

Malone (bottom center at wall, on right) manages to spot the HMG and the RPG positions, fires, and misses.  Hoge (very bottom) tests and again remains in the fetal position.  Worley, just left of Malone, opens up on the HMG and gets a light wound, then fires at the RPG position, missing.

Bleier crawls out from behind T1 to Kruc, fires at some NVA up the street, missing.

One of the NVA in the building at top left fires at Bleier three times, misses three times.  His partner moves up to the corner of the next building, fires twice at Bleier, misses twice.

The NVA recoilless rifle fires, misses (top, next to Hoge), reloads, and fires again, missing (just behind T1).  The RR is spotted, and T1 crawls forward, firing its coax MG, missing.

Then the NVA RPG gunner on the south side steps into the street and blows a big hole in T1...

Tiger 2, a little scared of the RPG gunner that just took out Tiger 1, but also worried about room to maneuver with T1 blocking the road, moves right and fires its 90mm main gun at the HMG (top right), missing, then fires its coax MG at the RPG (to the left of the HMG), missing.

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 enemy mortar fires twice (for shame, I didn't paint under my tank's turret!)...

NVA in the building in the south (foreground) again go after Lipps (top right), the only healthy American troop on this side.  They miss five times, and the sixth hits him, light wound.  They're spotted.  Further forward, three NVA test: two go fetal, but one passes...

Charges ahead (bottom center), and throws a grenade at Lipps (blue bead).

The first track comes on and opens up with its .50 cal HMG, firing at the two NVA on the 2nd floor (top center): one is down, the other okay.

The other track comes on (far right) and fires at the RPG (far left center), missing the gunner putting the rifleman down.  At bottom left, one of the NVA goes prone while the other runs.

Then the mortars hit, and Worley is seriously wounded (red bead).

And the NVA rifleman's grenade rolls long, and Lipps is okay.

Lipps (bottom left) shoots the NVA, then sprints right to help Bradley and Brister (both badly wounded) into the track.

Then Lipps covers as Bleier drags Kruczek over into the track.

Then Sgt Malone throws Worley on the back deck of the tank, while Hoge (far right) watches dumbly...

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 ;)



  1. Great reports, really enjoying hearing about how the squad gets on.

    Keep 'em coming.

    Cheers, Andy

  2. Looks great Jack…love the ruined buildings…very enjoyable as always

  3. Well done again Jack. I think I mentioned recently the squad was up to replacements of replacements but I think we are entering into replacements of replacements of replacements. The dice were definitely against you (or maybe you are reading them correctly now :-) ). It was a tough scenario - I am not sure how anyone made it out really.

    Oh, and I have had no free time this week to move any further with my campaign, not even reading rules! Maybe the weekend. Maybe. I realise the deadline is close for you and I am trying to get it all together soon.