The scenario used a company of 173 Brigade infantry reinforced by three ACAV tracks and three M48A3 tanks searching for the newly arrived NVA 95B regiment that was establishing a base in South Viet Nam near the Cambodian border. It is unusual in that the PAVN forces are strong enough to put up a semi-conventional fight combined with guerrilla tactics.
Terrain is very simple with triple canopy tree cover punctuated with areas of tall grass. The grass is light cover. Among the trees spotting is heavy cover while movement isbroken ground due to lack of low growth beneath the trees. The table was 6 x 5.
Date: May 1968
US Mission: Search and Destroy
The infantry – armor company (Frontier) can enter the table only after at least one of two LRRP teams (Dogpatch 1 & 2) on table report spotting a PAVN platoon size force. Triple canopy prevents air support but there are two Huey slicks available for extracting compromised LRRP teams and Medevac can land in tall grass. A full battery of artillery is in support with no fire authorization required.
You must cause PAVN forces at least 40% losses causing survivors to flee back into Cambodia. You have a blocking force on one side of the table. Only the two LRRP teams are on Blinds.
PAVN Mission: Three Strong
You have five platoons of NVA regulars (replace the 60mm mortars with one RPG in the company Support Platoon) , one reduced VC guerrilla cadre (two squads), one platoon of three 81mm mortars and one platoon of three HMG’s. A Level II Commissar is present.
You are to hold a base area in the South by causing unacceptable losses to the US force making them break off the operation. You have eleven Blinds.
The first couple of turns saw Dogpatch 1 & 2 (LRRP) enter the table searching for PAVN. One team searched the NW, the other ESE table sections. Contacts were made and reported quickly but each team took two casualties before evading. All casualties were carried off by the teams.
First infantry platoon (Frontier 1) withACAV 1 & M48 Tank 6 (T6) entered the ESE side of the table quickly becoming engaged by an NVA platoon. Instead of hit & run the NVA stood. The fight was fierce.
ACAV 1 was taken out by an RPG but the badly shocked crew escaped without losses. T6 fired canister and infantry fire was brutal. An NVA squad assaulted a US squad leaving only two survivors on each side but the US fell back six inches.
The end result was the total destruction of the NVA platoon, with the US forces losing one ACAV & twelve men.
Policing the area, Frontier 1 recovered nineteen NVA bodies including a Big Man, two PW’s, one LMG & one RPG.
While this fight was being resolved 2nd Platoon (Frontier 2) entered to the right of Frontier 1 and came under ineffective fire from another NVA platoon. Fast reaction by Frontier 2 quickly eliminated an NVA squad and caused the rest of the platoon to break contact.
US Battalion Command (Big 6) came on the air asking for a sitrep (situation report). The infantry CO (Frontier 6) reported the contacts and that he was reorganizing before pushing on. Big 6 was unsympathetic, “Well get moving.”
PAVN command was caught with forces scattered to cover all possible US entry points. PAVN Blinds were being rapidly moved to confront and hopefully ambush US forces. The mortar FO had been badly placed and was hurrying to reach a good observation position.
Frontier Six Reacts
Frontier 6 called his 3rd Platoon (Frontier 3) forward to replace the battered Frontier 1 while Frontier 2 covered the right flank. Then, irritated by Big 6 prodding, Frontier 6 led a squad of 1st platoon forward and spotted more NVA. The squad fired and T6 roared upshooting canister then going on Rock ‘n Roll. End of game for another NVA platoon.
Meanwhile 2nd platoon was probing with a squad. More NVA spotted! ACAV 2 came up but misjudged distance and was immobilized by an RPG. Crew okay, so it continued to fire. Frontier 2's Big Man led two squads onto the NVA flank and rear and assaulted. The NVA took losses and ran, with the only US casualty being, sadly, Frontier 2's Big Man.
With only one intact NVA platoon, the reduced VC platoon and the HMG’s and mortars left, PAVN command ordered a withdrawal. Unfortunately for them the table side they chose as a safe exit was the same one the Free World blocking force was covering.
A clear US military and political victory with thrity-six confirmed, and at least sixteen estimated enemy KIA; together with three MG’s, two RPG’s and a rice cache taken against the loss of eighteen men, one Big Man, and two ACAV vehicles.
The military victory was a bit incomplete since the PAVN HQ escaped, but luck was against regiment 95B, they only achieved one real ambush.
As for the game, the methods of LRRP teams don't fit standard rule procedures so we adjusted how cards and rules are used for them. In fact, the LRRP activities were almost a game in themselves: much as the patrol phase is in CoC.