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US Army 1st Lt Comps woke early that morning with a bad feeling... the briefing last night left him unease. He had to help an ARVN company to reach the hamlet of Mi Sac, reportedly to be a major centre of recruitment for Charlie, to interrogate the population and gather intelligence about the enemy forces operating in the valley.

"This is not looking good, definitely..." he told to himself while boarding his M 113 ACAV and leading his armoured platoon out of the safety of the American base.

Mi Sac was at the end of route 19 in theory under control of the Free World Forces but the last track was located between two dense masses of jungle, and dominated by a steep hill looking into the road: "Charlie's favourite terrain to play cat and mouse... even if we are mouses clad in steel" Comps found himself thinking.

The road to Mi Sac village 

The trip was incident-free when the armoured and lorry column reached the dreaded area. An air recon mission early in the morning indicated no sign of enemies and the only visible activity that of the peaceful villagers tending the rice fields to the east of the village.

Natives attending their own business

1st Lt Comps ordered the column to stop. He talked briefly to the officer in charge of the ARVN troops and suggested him to wait there, while he placed the ACAVs at the head of column in a recon mission. The US vehicles reached the first bend of the road...

.... when among the noise of the engine Comps could hear the dreaded hiss of an RPG grenade moving straight into the first vehicle of the column. It missed by a very narrow margin, but before they could react and deploy to face the enemy, a second grenade made a direct impact on the flank of the leading M 113...

...bursting into flames and killing the driver. The infantry squad could bail out of the vehicle before getting another hit, but severely shocked and taking with them the lifeless bodies of two troopers. The remaining vehicles left the road and tried to manoeuvre to face the threat but to no avail, as a third rocket came out of the jungle...

.... hitting Comps' M 113 and immediately bursting it into flames...

... and rendering practically hors de combat a second squad. A third vehicle turned to face the enemy to the front, offering a less vulnerable target. The .50 calibre HMG blazing and the vehicle speeding forward crossing the road when ... Ka-Boum!!...

... a hidden mine exploded beneath the vehicle taking half of the crew with it. Any appearance of order vanished by now, 1st Lt Comps heroically could rally a couple of squads and put suppressing fire on the anti-tank enemy unit, killing one man and severely shocking the remainder who disappeared in the jungle.

However the driver of the last intact vehicle went AWOL and disobeying Comps' orders, charged forward along the road. Nobody knew what motivation was behind this foolish action: fleeing from the hot zone in panic? Or looking to attract enemy fire while their comrades rally and reorder?

But its fate was sealed. After a couple hundred meters forward, and to the horror of the surviving American soldiers, another explosion engulfed the vehicle in flames and while the terrorised and badly mauled crew attempted to bailout, from the fringe of the jungle came running uncountable shouting men clad in black pajamas, shooting at short range the few survivors and taking the bodies with them.

Lts Comps and Tellez... just read their faces 

The late arrival of the ARVN motorised column was just useful to finish the body count and place some pickets around the destroyed vehicles littering this hellish road, while the most serious wounded were Medevaced to base. Comps had survived another day... but at what price.

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This scenario was played as usual with Charlie Don't Surf and saw the worst defeat of the Free World Forces since we start gaming Vietnam. A major military and political victory for the VC player. This was the second time using armoured vehicles in a game and I believe the players have painfully learned the vulnerability to RPGs and AT fire in general. 

Benito