After a very looooooong spell (our last game was in March this year) we decided to take a short break from Chain of Command and to play a Vietnam game with Charlie Don't Surf this weekend. I chose to replay Rawhide, scenario 8 of the companion book to CDS called Surf's Up, following the disaster outcome to the Free World Forces of the last time. This time they played much more cautious and that paid off in the end with a double military/ political victory awarded.
In this scenario an US armoured infantry platoon riding M 113s should escort 3 ARVN infantry platoons to the fishing village of Mi-Sac, with orders to put it under the control of the Republic of South Vietnam authorities. The Viet Cong mission is to frustrate the plans of the imperialist Yankees and their puppet forces, ambushing them at least twice (main military objective) and destroying as many APCs as possible (secondary military objective).
The VC forces are made of a platoon of local cadre forces armed with obsolete rifles, supported by an HMG, a RPG and a recoilless rifle fire teams. The VC also has two mines available to deploy any place on the table.
All VC units deployed hidden hopping to ambush the enemy and the approximate locations are marked in the map below:
The US player strategy was to make a strong recon effort with infantry first and only after grabbing a clear picture of the location of the VC line, to release the armoured platoon. He launched two platoons in line to the north of the road aiming to sweep the table from west to east.
But soon, they were close enough to the VC infantry squads as to be ambushed although with only with light casualties. One of the squads disappeared in a tunnel but the second did not have a chance and was quickly chased by the enraged ARVN forces.
Immediately after the first shots were fired, the US commander launched the armoured platoon, who added the fire of the fearsome 0.5 cal HMGs; outnumbered and outgunned, the VC squad took a severe hitting and after one more turn, broke away leaving their dead behind.
The platoon located in the extreme left of the FWF line arrived to the area where the ambushing fire parted and made a reconnaissance of the area, finding a wounded VC soldier and the tunnel entrance. A helicopter was called and the prisoner sent to the base camp for interrogation, while one of the squads entered the tunnel to chase the remaining VC forces.
In the meantime the M 113s (flanked by infantry) entered a narrow stretch of the road and once in the LOS of the recoilless rifle, the vehicle at the head of the column was fired... but luckily enough for the Americans suffering only on net hit: slightly shocked, the infantry squad debussed and established a defensive perimeter around the M 113. The VC AT team did not have any more chances to repeat their feat and was wiped out in the following turn.
More action took place in the left flank, where the two remaining squads of the ARVN platoon made a full sweep of the forest and then turn south to the area of elephant grass, contacting the second infantry platoon advancing along the edge of the road. The squad in the tunnel bumped into the VC forces inside the tunnel and a vicious fire exchange followed, with significant casualties on both sides.
The final act of the game started when the two ARVN platoons came into sight of the VC HMG hidden in a bunker at the other side of the road. Following a first fire exchange, two ARVN squads charged forward... and the FWF almost lose the game with this decision: they were defeated with very heavy losses and shocks (actually breaking); however they caused enough shock to the HMG crew as to force abandoning the bunker and the weapon, running to their tactical edge (the eastern edge of the table).
After 3½ hours playing and with lunch time now close enough, it was time to stop and take balance: the VC only had one infantry squad intact, the big man and the RPG team; the FWF were still far from the village and despite the possibility of losing some vehicle to the mines or the RPG, it clearly outnumbered the communist forces. Reaching the village was very likely this time. Therefore the military victory was probably to end up in a draw at worst.
On the political front, the capture of the prisoner, plus several VC bodies and a rice cache added enough points as to award the FWF the political victory, with a great advantage over the communist players.
Bottom line, a a double win for the Free World Forces!
The game was played in my wargamer colleague Alf's house. I'd like to thank specially to his lovely wife Clara for the gargantuan breakfast supplied to the gamers!
Alf and Clara are behind the design and the manufacturing of many of the scenery elements used in the game, and in particular the warmats, hooches, roads and boats showed in some of the photos. This will be available to the general public very soon under the Barrage Miniatures brand.