Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Two Brothers, Fight #10


1330 Local Time
31 January 1966
Song Ve Valley, RVN
Operation Double Eagle

Operation Double Eagle kicked off on 28 January 1966, with the intent to locate and destroy the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) 18th and 95th Regiments (which were believed to have infiltrated across the DMZ in December of 1965) and the Viet Cong 2nd Regiment in Quang Ngai Province, while the US Army and ARVN forces kicked off Operation Masher/White Wing just south of the Double Eagle area of operations to destroy the NVA and VC base camps believed to be located there.  On 28 January the boys' platoon went ashore with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (3/1) at Red Beach, spending a couple days patrolling in the local area without contact.

On 30 January the boys' platoon became attached to 2/3, while B-52 'Arc Light' strikes were carried out in the Song Ve Valley.  The intent was for the battalion to patrol the valley immediately following the B-52 strikes, but this didn't happen due to poor weather in the area, so the boys spent a restless day and night shivering and soaked under their ponchos.  The boys' platoon ended up getting sent back to 2/4, which was then lifted by helo into the west end of the Song Ve Valley, from which they began their search.

The boys' platoon has been humping the valley all day, walking the massive line of craters created by the B-52 bombers, while other platoons paralleled them on the ridgelines to the north and south.  The problem was that the boys' platoon was massively outpacing the flanking platoons as humping was ten times easier on the floor of the bombed out valley then it was on the heavily jungled ridgelines, cut a million times by jagged ravines.  The boys' platoon seemed to call a halt every ten minutes, trying to allow the flankers to catch up, all the while having that very uneasy feeling they were being watched from those very same ridgelines...

Overview, north is to top left, with the squad moving from west (bottom left) to east (top right).  At top left is Hill 175, while there's a low ridgeline running north-south at far right.  Other than that it's thick jungle broken up only by the craters, burned out areas, and rubble piles left in the wake of the B-52 strikes.

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 rice paddies are from Battlefront.
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 bridge is from Novus Design Studios.
The sandbagged emplacements are from JR Miniatures.
The railroad tracks are cheap, plastic jobs from Target.
The craters, burned out areas, and rubble piles are from Battlefront.

The Squad, now with ten Marines. 

Top (left to right): Sergeant Garcia and Pvt Jackson  
Center (left to right): Cpl Little, PFC Nelson (Grenadier), PFC "Nikki" Jacobs, and Pvt Rivera
Bottom (left to right): Cpl Zamora, Pvt Holmes, PFC "Danny" Thomas, and Pvt Tate

When Sergeant Garcia informed the squad of the new organization, Nik immediately leaped to his feet and exclaimed "well ain't that some bull@#$%!!!"  Danny quickly followed, albeit in a more tactful manner.  The boys had been in country for three months now and proven themselves in combat, which bought them the ability to voice their concerns, so Sgt Garcia patiently waited for Nikki's expletive-laden tirade to subside.  "Well, look at you, Boot!  It was only a month ago I can remember it was all I could do to get a 'gosh darn' out of you!  Alright, alright, simmer down!  Look, I know you two are buds, I get it, but we're short-handed, so stick it out and I'll get ya back together as soon as I can."

"Roger that, Sergeant," muttered Nik, sheepishly.

From the west (bottom left), Danny and one of the boots, Tate, are walking point for the squad.

They lead the way (center top) as the rest of their fireteam and Sgt Garcia and Jackson enter the area (bottom left).

Danny and Tate continue east (center right top), with the entire squad now in the area.  It's slow going as the point element takes many breaks to stop, look, and listen for signs of trouble, and the rest of the squad uses that time to search the area.  "Look at that, man, VC were definitely here!" said Nelson.  The squad was finding all sorts of broken weapons, ammo crates, fuel drums, pieces of bodies, even an overturned truck!  "Yeah,' replied Corporal Little, "looks like the Arc Lights hit a VC base camp.  Good on'em."

The squad continues to push east.

Fanning out to search as they go.  "It's really strange man, standing in lush jungle one minute, then a 6-foot deep crater the next, then a giant patch of burnt grass the minute after that," said Rivera.  "It's creeping me out!"  

"Shut yer face, Boot, and keep yer eyes peeled," replied Cpl Zamora.

The squad continues east, still no signs of any live enemy, the sun beating down on them, cooking in their steel helmets...

Danny and Tate (top right) are nearing the end of the debris field, with the rest of the squad pulling up behind them, eager to get out of the open area.  Nikki (bottom center) paused for a moment for another sip of nice, warm water...

At exactly the moment a burst of AK fire broke out from atop Hill 175 (bottom left)...

And it is immediately joined by another AK from the west (bottom left, with Hill 175 off camera to top left), firing on the Marines (top center/left) from behind!

As the 7.62mm rounds come in, they find flesh!  Nikki (bottom right) is struck, drops his canteen, and falls next to it on the jungle floor!  Rivera, next to him (red bead) is suppressed, while Cpl Little (yellow bead at top left) is pinned.

Danny and Tate (bottom right) immediately face about and begin working back, trying to find the threat, as Sgt Garcia, Cpl Zamora, Holmes, and Jackson (center/left) all hop into nearby craters, seeking cover, peering over the rim to try and discover the location of their tormenters.  

Boots and legs popping up into the air then quickly being replaced by helmets popping up (top center) draws fire from the VC in the west (bottom left, with Hill 175 at top left), but no one is hit.

Cpl Little is lying in the grass (yellow bead at far right), firing up the slope of Hill 175 (top left), as Nelson hops into a crater (bottom right).

The VC in the west (bottom left) keeps pumping out rounds as quick as he can reload, but luckily he's not much of a marksman.

Which allows Sgt Garcia, Jackson, Cpl Zamora, and Holmes (bottom left/center) to return fire, suppressing the VC in the west (top center, with Hill 175 at top right).

But now the VC atop Hill 175 decides to get back in the fight (far left), and he rips a long burst downhill at the Marines sheltering in the craters (far right/top right). 

Unfortunately, the VC on Hill 175 is up high, so the craters aren't providing as much cover as the Marines had hoped; Sgt Garcia is hit in the helmet and goes down, while Jackson and Cpl Zamora are suppressed (red beads) and Holmes is pinned (yellow bead)!!!

Cpl Little (yellow bead at center top) slaps a fresh magazine in and continues firing up hill as Rivera jumps into a nearby crater (far right, with Nikki lying there, bleeding, just to his right) and adds his M-14 to the volume of fire.

Further back up the trail, Danny comes hustling back, dragging Tate with him, reaching Holmes and Cpl Zamora.  "Cpl Z, I don't hear the Pig, where's Nik???"  "I dunno, ain't seen him since (rounds ZIP, SNAP, and POP past their heads, causing both Marines to involuntarily flinch and duck) the fight began.  He was at the rear of the column when the @#$% started!"

Nelson doesn't want to pop up, so he just kinda leans on the side of the crater, squeezes the M-79 close to his body, then bloops a 40mm HE round up Hill 175.  The explosion is close enough to suppress the enemy soldier up there.

But that lone VC in the west (bottom left) calmly continues to squeeze off burst after burst  at the Marines to the east (top right).

And it's ugly: the west VC is in an enfilading position, firing down the length of the Marine position (from bottom left to top right, while the VC on Hill 175 is off camera to top left).  Tate is pinned (top right), Rivera is suppressed (red bead at bottom left), Nelson drops his Blooper and cowers in the bottom of his crater (just above Rivera), and Jackson is feeling the heat badly enough that he actually falls back, into the trees (red bead at center right, from the craters above him)!

Homes (yellow bead at right top, with Tate below him) lays down fire, allowing Cpl Zamora to rally (red bead at center) and Danny to dash back and hop in a crater (left, from far right), where he sights in and cuts loose with his M-14.

Cpl Little (yellow bead at left) and Holmes (yellow bead at top center right) continue firing up Hill 175 as Tate (just right of Holmes) and Jackson (bottom right, in the treeline) rally.  Then Rivera (red bead at bottom center, with Nelson panicked above him) rallies as Danny and Cpl Zamora (right) lay down fire on the VC to the west.

Danny and Cpl Zamora dash up and grab Sergeant Garcia...

And drag him into the treeline, where Jackson is on the radio to Company, providing a SITREP and screaming for help.

Cpl Little (yellow bead at center top), Holmes, and Tate (top right) continue firing up Hill 175 (top left).

But the VC there (bottom left) calmly sights in and returns fire...

And Tate goes down, next to Holmes!

Rivera (bottom right, with Nelson and Cpl Little above him) swings right and fires up Hill 175...

But this draws the fire of the VC in the west (bottom center, Rivera and Nelson visible at top center).

But Rivera (top left) stands tall and returns fire as Danny and Cpl Zamora creep to the edge of the treeline (bottom center, from top right), cautiously peering through.  "Dammit, where the hell is Nikki?"

"I'm right here, @#$hole!" replied Nik (casualty figure at far left, just below Rivera).  Danny peered through the dense brush.  "Where, I can't see you?!"  "Right here, dammit.  Aww, @#$% it hurts."  "Where, oh, I gotcha.  Are ya hit?"  "Yeah, mother@#$%er, I'm hit, why the hell you think I'm layin' out here?"  "Is it bad?"  "Nah, I'll survive, it just hurts, and I can't walk."  "Where ya hit?"  "@#$% off!!!"  "What?  Where ya hit?"  "Dammit man... he got me in the ass."  "You're @#$%ing me," Danny replied, trying not to laugh.  "Well @#$%, you're right next to Rivera.  Hey, Rivera!"

"Yeah!?"  "Hey, grab Nik and drag him in, Cpl Z and I will cover you!"  "Bump that, how 'bout I'll cover you, and you come and get him!"  "Fine, I'll come and get him.  Stand by."

Danny and Cpl Zamora (bottom center) sight in and empty a couple magazines each in the direction of the VC in the west (top center).

But the VC in the west (bottom left) has a great position with plenty of cover and concealment, and is unfazed by the incoming fire.  He shifts his AK right and returns fire on the Marines in the treeline (top right)...

Danny stands there in shock as Cpl Zamora is hit and goes down!!!  "Dammit, this is quite a @#$% sandwich we've gotten ourselves into!  Hang on, Cpl Z, I'll be right back, let me get Nik outta the line of fire and I'll get you taken care of!"

Danny crawled on all fours through the thick treeline, suddenly popping through into the tall grass, feelig his way forward until he bumped into Nikki.  "Damn it's good to see you brother."  "Yeah man, no sweat, I gotcha," Danny said, grabbing Niki's flak jacket and preparing to pull him back.  "Wait!  Where's my Pig???"  Danny searched around in the grass, rounds still zipping and snapping overhead, until he found it and handed it to Nik. 

The VC atop Hill 175 (bottom left) spotted all the movement (top right) and cut loose with his AK-47...

Causing Rivera to panic and suppressing Danny (bottom center), as Cpl Little (left) and Holmes (top right) returned fire uphill.

Further back, Jackson continues his fight across the radio waves with higher headquarters, pleading for support, as he kneels down to check Sgt Garcia.

The VC in the west (bottom left) continues pouring fire into the Marine position...

As does the VC atop Hill 175 (bottom left)...

While Corporal Little, still lying in the tall grass, continues dueling with the VC atop Hill 175.  It finally occurs to him that a little cover wouldn't be so bad, as well as he needs to get his fireteam back into the fight...

So he falls back and jumps into a crater next to Nelson (center, with Rivera panicked at bottom right), where he rallies Nelson.

But accurate small arms fire from the west (bottom left)...

Immediately suppresses Cpl Little (red bead at left) and sends Nelson right back to the bottom of his hole, panicked!

With the fire shifted momentarily off of him, Danny grabs Nik and drags him back through the treeline, then over near Jackson (far right, from far left, with Cpl Zamora lying at bottom center)!

The VC in the west (bottom left) keeps up the pressure.

As Danny rallies.  "Danny," exclaimed Jackson, "I got great news, help is on the way!  Pass the word, get our people in and keep their heads down!"  "Gotcha man, good job!"

Danny passes the word, so further back, Holmes grabs Tate and brings him in.

But as he's coming, the VC in the west (bottom left) spots them (top right) and opens fire...

The rounds are dead on target, and Holmes actually feels 7.62mm rounds hit one of his canteens in the back and one of his magazine pouches in the front, and it's too much for him, he drops Tate and flops flat to the earth, praying for the Lord to spare him (bottom center, with Danny and Jackson behind the treeline at top left, Cpl Little, Nelson, and Rivera at top center/right)!  

Jackson was on the radio, and Danny heard the cannon cocker on the other end yell 'shot,' and Jackson reply 'shot out.'  Danny screamed to the rest of the squad, "incoming!!!"

WHAM!!!  Jackson was targeting Hill 175 and the spotting round fell well short. 

 Jackson called 'splash,' and the artilleryman replied 'splash out,' and then Jackson gave him corrections.  'Shot,' followed by Jackson, 'shot out.'

'Splash.'  'Splash out.'  'Stand by for adjust.  Up 50, left 100, fire for effect!'

Danny watched the round smash into the hilltop and gave Jackson a thumbs up.

"Splash out, Firedog Director, you're dead on, fire for effect!"

The Marines sat back for a couple minutes to watch the show, admiring Jackson's work as he pounded the the southeast finger of Hill 175, then walked the rounds south to where the Viet Cong soldier in the west was firing from.

The squad, with four of its ten Marines down, drew itself in behind cover, posting security and doing their best to stabilize their wounded.  In the overall scheme of things, they were very fortunate: Nikki was hit in the ass, earning him the Nickname "Two-Bung Jacobs."  It was painful and he couldn't walk, but he'd actually be back in action in almost no time flat; he was evacuated to the hospital at China Beach, but refused further evac to a hospital ship or Japan, as well as a longer rehabilitation period when he heard a big op was in the works.  

Likewise, Sergeant Garcia had a concussion, but otherwise he was fine, the round hit his steel pot at just the right angle and glanced off, knocking him out.  The Company Gunny and Platoon Sergeant gave Sergeant Garcia no end of grief for 'taking a nap' during the fight.  

Corporal Zamora, who'd previously been hit in the face (and stayed in the field) and now sported a mean looking scar on the left side of his face, now had another cool scar to show off: the AK round came in on the right side, hit his M-14, shattering the receiver, sprinkling the right side of his face and neck with metal fragments from his rifle while the seriously slowed-down round ricocheted and lodged itself in his right trapezius.   He didn't refuse evacuation this time, earning his second Purple Heart.

The only really bad news was the boot, Tate.  He was hit in the right side and had a sucking chest wound, which the squad was able to treat well enough to keep his lung from collapsing until a Corpsman could get there, but his war was over, he was heading back to the States.

"Stand by, fellas, I got help on the radio, they're bustin' brush for us, they're on the way, prob'ly about 45 mikes out," Jackson relayed to the squad.  They settled in and waited for the rest of the platoon to reach their location.

And the wait passed uneventfully.

The Lieutenant and Platoon Sergeant came and checked up on everyone as the other two squads fanned out to provide security and Doc Johnson went to work on Tate, letting the Lieutenant know they needed to clear an LZ so the wounded could be MEDEVAC'ed.  They also sent Marines out to check the VC defensive positions; nothing was found, but as beat up as the squad was, and with all the arty rounds expended, the Lieutenant dutifully reported to Battalion that at least 35 VC were killed in the engagemet.

As they waited for the MEDEVAC, Danny slid over and checked on Nik.  "Well, PFC Jacobs, it's another fine mess you've gotten yourself into!"  "You got that right!  And hell, if you don't like the whole 'getting shot at' thing, you REALLY ain't gonna like actually gettin' shot!"  The two boys chuckled a bit, before Nik broke into a fit of coughing.  "Damn man, it's getting dark, I'm actually gettin' cold."  "What???"  "Danny...  Danny," Nik croaked, closing his eyes.  "Hold me."  "Oh, don't give me that bull@#$%!" Danny exclaimed, as they both broke into laughter.  "Here, take a drink, and I'll get ya a smoke."  Nik smoked as Danny looked away; at first Nik got a bit scared, laying out in the open on a litter, thought Danny had picked something up and was scanning the treeline, but that wasn't it.  "You alright, little brother?"  "Yeah man, just checking things out."  "You know, I ain't goin' nowhere without you, particularly not back to The World.  I'm coming back man, be back in no time."  "Yeah, I know, just...  It's going to be different being out here without you."  "I know man.  You just keep your @#$% tight, this op will be over in no time and I'll see you guys back at Da Nang."

But Danny was right to be concerned; Operation Double Eagle was still slated to go on for another two weeks, and the squad, already beat to hell, was about to discover the VC weren't quite done with them yet.

On a side note, the Platoon Commander was very impressed when he was told how Danny had come all the way from the head of the formation back to the tail end, fighting and rallying suppressed Marines, dragging Sergeant Garcia and PFC Jacobs into cover, under intense enemy fire the entire time.  The Lieutenant told Sgt Garcia to write him, and he did, submitting Danny for a Bronze Star, but Battalion downgraded it to a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/V, commonly referred to as a 'Navy Comm' and a slap in the face to anyone that performed an act of valor in combat, but such is life.  Battalion tried to make it up to him by meritoriously promoting Danny to Lance Corporal.

Coming soon!



  1. Hello Jack,

    Full of drama. The top and tail story was very engaging! You are spending more time on these stories than the actual game :-)


    1. Shaun,

      Thanks man, and yes, I'm definitely spending a tremendous amount of time on writing these batreps, to include conducting research for the background, as well as getting down to the 'personal' level. I hope it's worth it ;)


    2. Hello Jack,

      Worth it for me at least! Enjoying the reads.

    3. Thanks buddy, glad to hear it!


  2. You, Jack, sir, are rather guilty. I started reading your blog posts on Vietnam, started checking into 15 mm Vietnam, realized just how much money I'd end up spending (I'm known for overdoing it when buying stuff) and then investigated 10 mm Vietnam. And three orders are now placed and at least some on their way to me courtesy of Pendraken, Minifigs, and Time Cast. I'm going for company sized actions so bought TFL's Charlie Don't Surf. And it's either all your fault - or I have to give you credit. Your choice? Well, it was a very long time itch in need of scratching, too. Dang, you cost me some coin, man! : ) Not the end, just the beginning (but hopefully either the end or close to the end of buying stuff - I bought LOTS, a battalion of infantry or better per side, maybe a bit understrength like it was often in reality. Yikes. Alas, I only bought one tank but a bunch of M113s, choppers, and a smattering of water craft. Im going to be busy.) Really "worth" it, I hope, in my case.

    Oh, another cool scenario.

    1. CiC,

      Well, you’re welcome or, I apologize! ;) I’m a big fan of 10mm as well, use it for company-sized operations, looks like you’re intending to go even bigger. I’ve got ‘Charlie Don’t Surf’ and it looks interesting, though I’ve yet to get it on the table. Someday!

      I look forward to hearing back about your exploits in the Nam, and hope to see them as well. Do you have a blog?