17th May, 1967.
Contact: Easy Company, 42nd Airborne
Coming back from a pleasantly routine patrol, Easy Company, 2/42nd Airborne reunited at the hamlet of Bad Phuc (bottom of the map). Little did they know that Colonel Luc Fan Huc of the District Local Force was plotting their demise...
Something must have warned them, because they left Bad Phuc cautiously, scanning the fields and jungle around them for any sign of enemy movement. There were two possible extraction zones in the area, the steep Qong Lang, which could only take one Huey at a time, or the flatter, more distant Long Phuc which could take two.
As the Yanks moved north, a platoon of local VC moved into Bad Phuc, and sent a squad after the Roosters to check their whereabouts inside the jungle. That squad, while valorous, was very much shot to death by Lieutenant Carlos' platoon, which they stumbled upon at the jungle's edge. Their mistake cost the lives of several of their compatriots in Bad Phuc too as 3rd platoon extended their field of fire to encompass the village.
With 3rd platoon forming a rearguard, the rest of the company pressed on for Qong Lang. Hearing Carlos' men open fire, Captain Rodgers called for air support, while the FO Lt Janvier called the brigade's 105mm battery for cover. The hill loomed ahead of them as 2 platoon spread out, checking for ambushes. A Cobra/Loach Pink Team roared overhead, cheering that Saigon had very quickly given the go-ahead to strafe civilian areas, and mini-gunning the ever-loving thatch off the hamlet to Qong Lang's south-west.
The thing about calculated risks is that sometimes the maths are wrong. The first Huey had come down to Qong Lang, and 2nd platoon and 3rd platoon had things well in hand, especially with Pink Team's assistance. Captain Rodgers therefore decided to strike out for Long Phuc, opening up a second LZ for the transport helicopters. In the middle of the jungle however, the Roosters were suddenly swarmed by native fighters, egged on by their commanders. Captain Rodgers himself was shot down in the crazed melée, and a dozen of his men fell too. The two sides fell apart, both retreating in the melée, but Captain Ngu Hien had come south specially to fight the Roosters.
Captain Hien chased his men into a semblance of good order and followed the Roosters towards Qong Lang, but an enfilade by 3rd platoon put paid to his notions of grandeur.
It was now Commissar Hong's time to shine. He had been left behind by Colonel Huc, the old warrior having no time for Peking's puppets. But now, he hustled the platoon he accompanied up Qong Lang. The Huey had left, the Cobra was busy, and now they fell upon the remnants of 1st and 2nd platoons with a vengeance, slaughtering yet more Americans. This exposed spot would be his men's death as over the next few minutes, more and more of the US assets were turned upon them. But for now, all was glory, and Hong pocketed a lieutenant's butter bars as a trophy.
The rest of the battle was goriness, as shots were exchanged throughout the jungle, and Hong's men grimly clung to Qong Lang. Hien and Huc held Long Phuc too – the Americans were trapped for now.
But casualties were mounting, too fast to be worthwhile. Night was falling. Better to live to fight another day. Uncle Sam already knew that Bad Phuc wanted nothing to do with him.
N.B. It was later discovered that Hong's assault on Qong Lang had sent the survivors of one Rooster squad fleeing desperately through the jungle and into the waiting arms of the mortar squad.
This was my first game of Charlie Don't Surf, and also my first game using flats and mostly flat scenery, made from paper, rubber tiles from Poundland and flock. It all went pretty well, and both was and wasn't as bloody as we thought it would be. Finances being as they are right now, I'll certainly be doing a fair bit more of this to try out new games. We didn't finish this one as everyone had places to be, but we all enjoyed it, which is par for the course for a Lardie game.
Man of the Match goes to Staff Sergeant Rock, who was the only Big Man to activate regularly. As a whole, 3rd Platoon were on it like Grommit, doing incredibly well over the course of the game.
We did preliminary VPs for both sides, and it came to 25-10 militarily and 52-50 politically, both in favour of the VC. Of course, had we played longer, no doubt more of the Roosters would have gotten out, and the balance would have shifted accordingly.
All in all, excellent fun, and I'm seriously considering spending part of my upcoming tax rebate on Vietnam kit from Heroics & Ros.
The Vietnamese called the 101st Airborne “Roosters” because they'd never seen an eagle, and a chicken was their closest point of comparison. The scenario title comes from the Alice in Chains song “Rooster”, which was written by Jerry Cantrell for his father, whose stick-up hair earned him the same nickname on two combat tours in the conflict.