1130 Local Time
22 October 1965
Phu Gia Peninsula, RVN
Operation Red Snapper
Having patrolled for two weeks in the Da Nang area without finding even a hint of the enemy, the boys are excited out of their minds, taking part in their first combat operation. It seems the Viet Cong (VC) have been making trouble up on the Phu Gia Peninsula, about 36 klicks north of Da Nang, hitting Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and Regional Force/Popular Force (RFPF, a type of South Vietnamese militia, commonly referred to as "Ruff-Puffs") base camps and threatening to cut Route 1 between Da Nang and Phu Bai. So III Marine Amphibious Force (MAF) HQ decided to do something about it: in conjunction with four ARVN-RF/PF battalions, two companies from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment (2/3) and one company from 3rd Bn, 4th Marines (3/4) launched Operation Red Snapper. The ARVN forces set up the anvil west of Route 1 while Fox Company, 2/3 (F/2/3) trucked up from Da Nang and G/2/3 came ashore from landing craft on Orange Beach, forming the hammer and pushing west to east, with a rifle company from 3/4 scheduled to helo down on G/2/3's right (northern) flank the following day.
The boys' platoon ended up being attached to G/2/3, getting quite seasick in the flat-bottomed landing craft before finally putting ashore about 0600 local time. Excitement was high, very adventurous times for the two young Marines, with grunts running to and fro, landing craft and Amtracs zipping up to/along the beach, trucks and tanks coming up the road, helicopters thwacking and fast movers zooming past overhead. Everything was there... except the enemy. The Marines formed up and began pushing east, careful to mind their phase and control lines so as to avoid any friendly fire incidents, which is always a risk when units are maneuvering about without having been afforded the opportunity for reconnaissance (which couldn't be done, for fear of tipping the operation to the enemy).
At about 1045 the platoon was called to a halt. Sweaty and breathing hard from the exertion of humping through the broken terrain with all their gear, they took a knee and rested. And with that they could just hear it; the distant 'pop-pop-pop' of gunfire. The boys inched closer to PFC Griffin, the squad's Radio Telephone Operator (RTO), who whispered updates to them: "Golf Company's 2nd Platoon is taking fire, about a klick up ahead... Golf's CO is trying get a SITREP out of them, but the Lootenat pretty much told him to piss off, he's busy... The CO is trying to get 3rd Platoon over to them... The Lootenat says he's got four men down, needs MEDEVAC... The CO says the LT's gotta get them outta the kill zone... The Lootenat says he can't, they're pinned down... Uh-oh!"
Nikki asked, "what's uh-oh?" Griffin responded: "uh-oh is, they wanna call in arty on the VC, and Lootenat Ward (the boys' platoon commander) wants us to escort the FO (Forward Observer) team up there!"
And here came the Platoon Sergeant, Staff Sergeant Dunn, to confirm that. He grabbed Corporal Little, the Squad Leader, and the two Fireteam Leaders, and briefed them up. "As soon as the FO gets up here, you boys head out." "Aye-aye, Staff Sergeant." A few minutes later the FO, 1st Lieutenant Dyson and his two RTOs showed up. "I hear you fellas are my escort?" "Yes, Sir," replied Cpl Little. "3rd Squad, saddle up!"
The Marines are from Jimmi's Flashpoint Minis.
The Viet Cong are from Martin's Peter Pig.
That's the movement at the end of the Marines' activation in Turn 1. Once they've activated I pull a card to see if the enemy shows up. Nothing in Turn 1.
*Yes, I know 40mm grenades don't trail smoke like that, but I just want to show what's going on.
"Oh, you can kiss my ass, I'll..."
"Ah, don't sweat it Rob, these three are just gold-bricking! Yeah, you three need to get your crap together, you're not going anywhere!"
It turned out all three were only lightly wounded; they'd be heading to China Beach for a bit, but all three would be returning to duty in less than two weeks! Yes, that was a helluva series of casualty rolls; I actually rolled '31' twice on my D100 (using two D10s).
Pvt Hendricks: Light Wound, took stone fragments in the face when enemy fire struck the village shrine he was taking cover behind, will return in 7 days
They did as told, humping it back to the company area, wolfing down some cold C-rats, then helping to dig-in, fill sandbags, and string wire. At 1700 they were kicked back on their packs, partaking in their newfound smoking habit, when all of a sudden Corporal Little came dashing up: "3rd Squad, on your feet, there's been another SNAFU..."
Next fight coming right up.