Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Two Brothers, Fight #4


1130 Local Time
11 November 1965
Near Tam Ky, 15 miles north of Chu Lai, RVN
Operation Blue Marlin I

Two days ago the boys boarded landing craft, which deposited them at 'Green Beach' about 15 miles north of Chu Lai Airbase yesterday (don't worry, the Corps brought out enough with the nightly resupply helos for everyone to get a couple bites of cake and a warm beer).  The squad was now attached to 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, which was working in conjunction with the Vietnamese 2nd Marine Battalion.  Once ashore the US Marines peeled left and began pushing southeast between the Song Tam Ky and Song Truong Giang (Song = River), parallel to Route 1, while the Vietnamese Marines were lifted by US Marine helos (yeah, that caused the US grunts a little heartache) west of Route 1, where they begin their sweep to the southeast.  The boys walked all day, passing numerous villages and locals, but not seeing a single Viet Cong or hearing a single shot fired.  They stopped multiple times to search for weapons caches, boobytraps, even villages that seemed to have 'too much' rice, but nothing of interest was found.  As usual, about an hour before sunset the sweep halted and the Marines dug in to their night defensive positions and ate their evening chow.  The boys spent a long, uneventful night, including being out together for a couple hours on OP/LP.  The next morning the Marines got up, pissed and brushed their teeth, ate morning chow, stomped in their holes, and set off in search of the Viet Cong again.

This morning the squad is walking point, escorting a team of Combat Engineers that are sweeping the road for mines ahead of the tanks and tracks.  They've been on the road for five hours already, having started at 0630, but are behind schedule as the Engineers have had to stop and remove several mines already.

North is DOWN, the convoy is moving on the road from northeast (bottom left) to southwest (top right).  At bottom right is a tributary of the Truong Giang River, while at top right is a small village, and at top left is a small rise/ridgeline.  A couple small rice paddies dot the landscape, as well as patches of thick jungle.

A couple admin notes: I'm playing this game using a modified version of Ivan Sorensen's "Five Men at Kursk," but I've also modified Joe Legan's "Platoon Forward" to a card version to figure out the US mission, assets available, enemy location, strength, activity, etc...  I'm playing this game solo.

I'm playing in lovely 15mm with individually-based troops.
The Marines are from Jimmi's Flashpoint Minis.
The Viet Cong are from Martin's Peter Pig.
The mat is from The Wargaming Company.
The roads are from Fat Frank.
The fields are from Hotz Mats.
The villages are from Flashpoint Minis, as are the bamboo thickets and most of the trees.  The rest of the trees were bought off some cake decorating shop on Ebay.
The sampans are from Flashpoint Minis.
The rivers are from Wargamers Terrain.

The Squad is a bit short-handed, with only eight effectives in the field.

Top (left to right): Corporal Little, Squad Leader, and PFC Nelson, Grenadier
Middle (left to right): Pvt "Nikki" Jacobs (sporting his new M-60), PFC Griffin, and LCpl Devers
Bottom (left to right): Pvt "Danny" Thomas, Pvt Hendricks, and PFC Marks

The three-man Combat Engineer Team: Cpl Lazard, LCpl Rogers, and PFC Trubisky.

Initial deployment: the three engineers are in the lead (top left), followed by 2nd Fireteam, then Cpl Little and Nelson, and 1st Fireteam bringing up the rear.  Nelson asked Cpl Little, with Marks and Devers standing there: "Rob, don't you want the teams out on the flanks, off the road?"

"Negative, the Lootenit is up my ass to get us to hurry up, we gotta keep everybody on the road.  Keep your eyes peeled."


Cpl Little motioned the Combat Engineers to start sweeping again and off they went.

Pushing on down the road.

And pushing...

And pushing...

Far enough now that the first tank is visible.

They keep going and now we can see an Amtrac...

And another Amtrac...

And now the Company Commander's Jeep.

I have quite a penchant for getting the Marines almost all the across the table before they run into contact, don't I?

And now we can see more Marines moving on foot, before we get to some more vehicles.

But there it is, contact! From the north side of the river, a rocket pops and comes hissing in!

The tank is struck by the RPG...

The Tank Commander pulls himself out of the burning vehicle, then falls off the rear deck, mortally wounded

The Tracks back up on the road as the Jeep pulls off and the dismounted Marines from 1st Squad rush forward (center) to engage the Viet Cong across the river (far right), as 3rd Squad (top center, above the burning tank) has its own problems to deal with...

An understrength enemy squad is present in the south...

And they (bottom left) open fire on the squad (top center/right) just as it's entering the village.

And the torrent of fire is hellacious!  Devers and Hendriks go down, Nelson, Griffin, and Nikki are suppressed (red beads), and Danny, Marks, and Cpl Little are pinned (yellow beads) as the Combat engineers dive for cover (bottom left).

Cpl Little (bottom right) rises up to his knees and returns fire, screaming at his men to get in the fight: "Now would be the perfect time to get your @#$% together, Marines!  Let's go, bust some caps!"  Nikki, Danny, and Marks gird their loins and prepare to join the fight.

But the VC (bottom left) keep up the heavy rate of fire...

Suppressing Danny again, pinning Marks again, and causing Griffin to panic and fall back off the road, diving face first into the rice paddy (bottom center right).

Nikki (bottom right) pops up and gets the Pig in action, sending a flurry of red tracers into the enemy treeline (top left), suppressing three of the four bad guys!

Then he falls back, looking for cover and to help Griffin get his marbles back.

Cpl Little and Marks do the same, moving up and helping Nelson and Danny get back in the fight.

The enemy fire (bottom left) has slackened noticeably after Nikki began laying it down with the M-60.

And  Nik (bottom center, with Griffin) keeps the gun going, keeping the enemy's heads down.

The enemy (bottom right) returns fire, pinning Griffin (top left).

Cpl Little (bottom right) gets back in the game...

And then Nelson pops up and fires a 40mm HE round from his M-79.

The grenade is a little short and only manages to suppress one VC soldier.

And while they're doing that (Nelson and Cpl Little at far left, with the burning tank above them, the enemy position at top right), Marks and Danny push up the right side (right center bottom, between the hootches, with the Combat Engineers taking shelter behind the hootch at center bottom), looking to flank the VC position.

The VC (bottom left) don't see Marks and Danny (top left) and continue to direct their fire on the road (top right)...

Suppressing Nelson and keeping Cpl Little pinned (right), but Nikki (bottom right, with Griffin) keeps his M-60 going, suppressing two of the enemy.

The enemy (bottom right) shifts fire to take out the American machine gun (top left), pinning  Nikki.

But while their attention is occupied (top right), Marks and Danny continue working around their flank (bottom leftt).

Cpl Little keeps up his rate of fire as Nelson rallies.

But the VC (bottom left) return fire and suppress Nelson (top right) again!

Nikki (bottom left), always steady, keeps the gun going, keeping the bad guys' heads down (top right).

As Cpl Little (right, with Nelson next to him, Nikki and Griffin below them, and the Combat Engineers above them) continues exchanging fire with the enemy treeline (top left)...

But they're able to pull off some fancy shooting (bottom left) and he comes off with the worst of it, suppressed (top right)...

But the moment of climax has arrived: Marks and Danny push ahead and swing left (bottom center), flanking the enemy position (top right)...

But they're gone.  The two Marines are dumbfounded; they signal for the rest of the squad to cease fire, then move up, finding nothing but spent brass...

Back north of the river, that fight is wrapping up as well, in much the same way: the Marines of 1st Squad cross the river, only to find their foes have withdrawn.

Th squad rallies just south of the village, pulling security, checking ammo, and getting the wounded looked after.

Doc comes running up the road and begins triaging the wounded as Griffin and Cpl Little look on; "dammit!!!"  "What, what's wrong, Doc?"
"Devers is dead, Rob, and we gotta get Hendricks out of here ASAP or he's gonna be dead, too, he's got a sucking chest wound."

Danny and Nikki link up: "Holy @#$%, Danny, you hear the Doc?  Devers is dead man!  What the hell?  I didn't think he was hit that bad, man."  "Yeah bro, the Doc said he bled out there on the road."  "I can't believe it man, I can't believe they killed one... of us.  Sure we've been whacking them, but I, it just didn't seem like..."  "Yeah, Nik, I know brother.  I thought I'd had it too man, I ain't never felt like that before.  I mean, I was just laying there, looking at them, I couldn't move.  I was just watching the rounds come in, kicking up gravel in my face, watching them zip past, so close I could feel them man, but I just couldn't do anything.  Ed saved me, he pulled me off the road and shook me back to life."

Danny looked over at Nikki and smiled; "not like you man, you're a damn rock, just steady keeping that Pig going."  "Shoot, I don't mind them shooting at me, I just don't want to be alone.  I don't know how you do that stuff where you just go running off on your own.  Hell, that trick you pulled off that night we were defending that hill with the old French building, where you were by yourself out on the right flank and just went out there to get that VC with the B-40, man, that's like my worst nightmare."

"Well, don't you sweat that man, us two, we need to stick together, no matter what."  "Amen to that, little brother!"

The convoy re-formed and got moving, the Tracks going through the rice paddy to get around the burning tank.  They were told an Armored Recovery Vehicle (ARV) was on the way to pick up the tank and drag it back to base.

The column pushes up to the village and halts.

The Squad watched as the column passed by; the convoy dropped off a few more casualties and the Squad was going to sit tight until the MEDEVAC chopper arrived and took them away, then babysit the tank until the ARV arrived, then catch up once all that was done.

The combat Engineers resume their sweep, leading the convoy south.

All events transpired as planned, with nothing noteworthy occurring, with Operation Blue Marlin I ending the following day.  They caught up to the convoy without incident; they stopped multiple times to search for weapons caches, boobytraps, even villages that seemed to have 'too much' rice, but nothing of interest was found.  As usual, about an hour before sunset the sweep halted and the Marines dug in to their night defensive positions and ate their evening chow.  The boys spent a long, uneventful night, including being out together for a couple hours on OP/LP.  The next morning the Marines got up, pissed and brushed their teeth, ate morning chow, stomped in their holes, and set off in search of the Viet Cong again.  They humped until about 150, at which time they re-boarded the landing craft and headed to Chu Lai.

"Hey Corporal, why are we headed to Chu Lai instead of heading back home to Da Nang?"  "Because we're not done."  "Whaddaya mean we're not done???"  "I mean, this was Blue Marlin I, and we're going to be part of Blue Marlin II, so we're heading up to Chu Lai.  Don't worry, we'll get our chow, showers, beach, and beer, up there, before we head back out."  

"Hey Corporal, do you think they've got girls up there in Chu Lai?"  "Griffin, what the hell would you do with a girl if they did?  Anyway, rest up, Gyrenes, I heard Blue Marlin II kicks off on 16 November."  "Hell, Corporal, what's today?"

Coming right up.



  1. A visual spectacle that captures the feel of the jungle. Your narrative is riveting and pulled me straight into the action. Excellent prose.

    1. Hey Jonathan, thanks man, I’m glad to hear that. This concept is definitely meant to have more of an ‘intimate’ feel.


  2. That's a great looking board and I love the pyro effects.

  3. Great looking game, terrain is really nice 👍love the care on the visuals and photos well done and thank you for sharing 😀

    1. I appreciate the kind words, Matt, and will do. Twenty more to go, even have almost all of them typed up.


  4. Excellent looking tabletop and as other have said a narrative that sets the scene.

    1. Thanks, Peter, I’m trying. Definitely spending more time on historical background and personal interaction than I have before.


  5. Another superb, and engrossing game and report with some amazing 'special effects'. That exploding tank is something else. Simple, but so, so effective!
    Regards, James

    1. Thanks James, and thanks have a habit of exploding on my table! ;)