The TooFatLardies Yahoo group is tremendously useful for anyone who plays any of the rulesets available from the TFL stable.  It's also very welcoming and an endless fount of knowledge on subjects wargaming-wise and otherwise.  Having taken the plunge and posted a few comments on Charlie Don't Surf and the various reactions it had got at shows over the last few months, I found myself arranging a CDS game for one of that list's fine denizens, Nick, who'd played I Ain't Been Shot Mum but not CDS.

So, having schlepped over to us on Friday night, Nick found himself commanding a full strength US infantry company, more than ably assisted by a potential new recruit to the club, Reg.  As ever, Mr. Smallridge leapt at the chance to play the role of the Communists.

The Game

Bravo Company advanced to the edge of the rubber plantation that lay to the west of the Da Ban creek.  Taking their time to ascertain that Charlie was nowhere to be seen, the company began to break down into platoons to carry out the mission.  Yellow Platoon headed south-east, looking to sweep the jungle that came perilously close to the hooches on the creek's western bank.  Red Platoon did likewise to the north-east.  With its flanks hopefully secured, Blue Platoon advanced on the hooches.  

Clearly keen to get the job done and enjoy some R&R, its LT wasted little time searching for hidden rice caches or tunnels.  Instead, after a cursory glance, Blue Platoon's squads had soon fired almost half of Da Ban hamlet's hooches.  

With events unfolding according to plan, Blue and Red Platoon's LTs were somewhat concerned when they noticed that Yellow Platoon's veteran CO- as well as Company HQ- seemed reluctant to advance.  What did they know that Blue and Red didn't?

The answer to that was various Communists scuttling backwards and forwards in the jungle ahead.  Despite the discretion being shown by their more experienced counterparts, Red and Blue Platoons aggressively advanced eastwards across the creek, eager to reach the hamlet's remaining hooches.

At this point, a Communist sniper opened up to the north of the hamlet, catching one poor member ofBlue Platoon utterly off-guard.  First blood had gone to the Communists.  

Encouraged by their Company CO, Blue Platoon continued to pound forward, with their MG squad looking to take Gold in their platoon's race to reach the hamlet.  In the meantime, Red Platoon's LT took the initiative to try and flush out the sniper who lay ahead in a cunningly concealed bunker.  With covering fire being laid by 2nd Squad, 1st Squad rushed the bunker, only to find that the sniper had bugged out.  The wily Communist had clearly been in a rush to leave, for 1st Squad found a wealth of Communist arms and ammunition.  This would be an added bonus to a mission that seemed to be shaping up well.

However, either the sniper had a change of heart or a chum.  A second bout of sniper fire broke out to the south, on Yellow Platoon's right flank in the jungle.  Once again, Blue Platoon bore the brunt of this sustained fore (albeit more erratic in effect), and with a herculean effort, Blue Platoon's MG squad hurled themselves into the nearest hooch, whilst the rest of the platoon hunkered down behind the berms of nearby paddy fields.

Unfortunately, it was not the MG squad's lucky day.  To the east of their position, a fine French colonial dwelling sat atop a rise, commanding excellent views to the rest of the hamlet.  Without warning (the US having advanced at the expense of careful spotting perhaps?), a significant quantity of fire was poured from the hilltop into the MG squad's hooch, the one saving grace being perhaps the range at which the Communists were firing.  Blue Platoon's medic soon found his hands full with a severely shocked and wounded squad.  

The recollection of the combat photographer accompanying Bravo Company became a little hazy at this point.  He suggests that Yellow Platoon's LT came to the conclusion that it was more important to engage the enemy platoon atop the hilltop, rather than flushing out the undeniably closer sniper.  Although the US fire may not have had much ferocity (perhaps one Communist was estimated to have been killed), it nonetheless seemed to encourage the Communists to begin a general withdrawal from the area.

Bravo's CO looked around with some satisfaction.  The village clearance was now underway without any more interuptions, and no evidence had been found of enemy rice caches or tunnels.  The bodycount was low for the US losses sustained, but that surely compensated for by Red Platoon's weapons haul?  All in all, this looked like it might be a good war....

[A little while later]

The VC emerged from the jungle and approached the smoking remains of Da Ban hamlet.  Lieutenant Dinh was perplexed by Captain Tran's cheerful demeanour.  What kind of victory could possibly be conjured from these embers?

"Why the long face, Dinh?  Forgotten Mao's words, have we?  If I may misquote him- we give the Americans this village now; they will give us a united Vietnam in the future."

A triumphant yell went up from a section that had been digging in the ashes what once was a hooch.  A large concrete slab had been unearthed and lifted, allowing the now-grinning section to access a singed but otherwise intact riche cache of substantial size.

"You see, Dinh?  It's just a matter of patience." 

The game seemed to be enjoyed by all concerned (despite an error with regard to the results of one search on my part - mea culpa!).  As I Ain't Been Shot Mum veterans, Nick and Reg seemed quite taken with how the same Lard trademarks were present - Big Men, Action dice, Blinds etc - yet CDS captured the distinct period feel of Vietnam.  I believe one quote summing this up from the US players was something along the lines of "Where are the b*****s hiding?!"

All good fun, and we'll hopefully see you chaps back at AWC in the future!