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I ran my first game of CDS at Mid Somerset Wargamers last night and did the usual trick of getting too much on the table at the first attempt so the game ran a little slowly, for a first go.

One US infantry company plus one Aero-rifle platoon were tasked with sweeping a village, getting some confirmed bodycount and checking out a ford across a river. They were faced in the end by two companies of NVA plus an attached AAA HMG platoon (3 HMGs). The VC objectives were to down a US aircraft of any type, to ambush US ground forces and to prevent a friendly VC base from being discovered.

The three infantry platoons advanced in indian file from a short edge of the table, spotting and moving on Blinds. This went on for a few turns until the right hand platoon deploying, in line came within 4" of a hidden VC platoon but didn't spot them. The next card was the VC Blinds and the VC player deployed his troops on the table, spotted the US troops and opened fire causing some shock.

The next card was the VC Human Wave and the VC player sent in the whole platoon along with another close by for the first close combat of the day. Vast numbers of dice ensued:  US rolled something like forty-two dice (defending hard cover, defending lmgs, attackers moved with three dice, US big man present) and the VC had forty (two platoons worth). Net result was six US dead to five VC dead, with bits of shock distributed around. US retreated 6".

Feedback from the group was that this was quite a lot of dice rolling.

Next turn the first card over was the Human Wave again and the VC went for it a second time. This time, though, bad rolling combined with moving in the heavy terrain and most squads being on two shock points mean that the only VC squad that got into contact lost four dead although they managed to kill three US. The whole VC platoon DiDiMau'd back onto Blinds and the US air support card came up meaning the Huey Hogs had arrived. They promptly spotted the Blind and prepared to fire. Most of the VC squad had so much shock that they couldn't drive off the ‘copters. This left four squads who between them managed to get the two 11's needed to indeed scare away their aerial threat, much to the US player's annoyance.

They weren't to be undone a second time though as the air support card came up again and the gunships basically dropped the lot onto this target-rich environment. I played them as heavy hogs, fourteen points of ordnance each, so for each one it started out at 14D6. Then it said add 3d for each unit in the target area, which had grown by 1" radius per point extra fired so was 15" radius circle and contained two VC platoons or six squads. I therefore added in another 15D6 for the other targets. So with twenty-nine dice they caused sixty-five hits which converted to only five killed but ten Shock scattered about the large group. Again a lot of rolling, so rather than do it all again for the other gunship I simply doubled everything.

Everyone was happy enough with this on this occasion.

Incidentally that left most of the squads in the area with three to five points of shock each and pretty much up the creek with regard to movement in this heavy terrain, whilst not on Blinds, and only one Big Man amongst them. This group of VC did cause the US platoon that they had killed ten of to retreat off the table though, taking the FO for the US with them!

Elsewhere the other two infantry platoons, rather than coming to the aid of this right hand platoon, marched off up the table looking for the enemy in the village (empty) and then sweeping through the village and picking up their primary objective. Higher up the table the Aerorifle platoon came in to land and one squad promptly discovered some VC by failing to spot them and then walking right into them:  four US casualties led to the remaining four men falling back past the LZ to the river bank. A VC Blind opposite them on the other side of the river (stream, dry season) rolled outrageously high movement dice and came bursting out of the jungle there and ended up with twelve men in contact with this spooked group on the river bank. They promptly turned the tables in the close combat (defending an obstacle, four dice of enemy movement) and killed three VC for only one shock, sending the VC platoon back into the edge of the jungle where it wanted to be in the first place.

On the left of the table past the village, the other two US platoons finally came off Blinds. One had a firefight with a VC weapons squad and kept on getting its cards and firing. Finally after about three turns of this I remembered the bit about any units not fired so far may do so on the Time Out card so the weapons squad could have done more damage than it did, but everyone was very understanding of the odd little mistake.

We called it a day then.

The US got their major and tertiary objectives although didn't ever wipe out a squad so no confirmed bodycount. The VC failed to down an aircraft: I forgot to hover the transport helos on the first turn in before unloading so the AAA never had a chance to fire on them. They achieved their secondary objective by ambushing the unlucky US right platoon early on and they kept their hidden base a secret. Still the US won militarily. It was another matter politically though.

Fourteen US dead converts to twenty-eight points compared to the around twenty VC dead so the VC could sing victory songs that night.

Graham Nolan