"Bad luck? Our mistake was to play like regulars..."
Sooo...to Vietnam, the border with Laos and "Playing The Beanball", scenario six from Surf's Up, Too Fat Lardies' scenario collection for Charlie Don't Surf.
The Free World mission? Evacuate the village, then deny Communists the future use of the hooches. The Communist mission? Ensure that at least some of the Hooches remain standing when the Free World depart, preferably after launching three successful ambushes.
It was going so well for the VC. The RVN police platoon had deployed in the depths of jungle and exhibited a great deal of hesistancy in leaving the cover it afforded. Not one but two US platoons had been distracted and drawn by a pair of retiring VC squads to the south-east, away from the village that was to be evacuated and destroyed. The remaining US platoon was unwittingly advancing towards to what would hopefully be a second successful VC ambush.
It then went all Du Long* for the VC, in a fit of uncharacteristic hubris...let's rewind and look at events from the Free World's point of view.
As stated previously, on their very first turn of the Free World Blind chip, the RVN police platoon chose to come off their blind and attempt to advance upon the village from the east, but they made exceptionally slow progress. The controlling player (Jerry) rapidly realised the benefits on remaining on blinds, but sadly in the manner of one who shuts a stabledoor after the horse has bolted. To compound matters, the RVN police found themselves to be hesistant in the extreme, and so played no part in the ensuing events!
A pair of Free World Blinds confidently advanced towards the village from the east, but along a clearer part of the jungle to the south of their RVN allies. Unfortunately, they got no further than 150 yards before they were revealed as US 1st and 2nd Platoons (controlled by relatively veteran CDS player Mr. Bowman). The VC CO deemed the time right to launch the first of his ambushes, and US 2nd Platoon began to take shock. The Free World were clearly riled by this, and both the platoons' COs ordered them to divert from their route in order to plunge into the jungle and seek revenge. To add insult to injury, the VC CO deemed the time right to bring a sniper into play, to harrass the blundering US platoons.
Quite rightly, the time came for the VC CO to begin the orderly withdrawal of his sole platoon to be revealed thus far. Fire was exchanged as each side advanced and withdrew by turns. Soon, two VC squads had made it to the outskirts of some hooches set apart from the main village, with one remaining squad just breaking free of the tree line. Two US platoons had been successfully diverted from the focus of their mission, and (despite efforts of COs) were struggling with shock amidst the dark jungle. Clearly, the VC were poised to continue their withdrawal, in order to launch another ambush....
In the meantime, US 3rd Platoon actually stuck to the plan (they were also controlled by Jerry, and providing him with a good deal more entertainment than the RVN Police). Encouraged by their CO and NCO, they rapidly made their way across towards the village, and began the process of gathering the various groups of villagers in preparation for their evacuation. At the same time, slicks were called in by the Company CO. Unfortunately, it was at this point that a VC MG opened up upon them from a concealed bunker.
Two successful VC ambushesAll their forces still concealed bare one MG-filled bunker and one platoon. What could go wrong for the VC now?
The title quote for this post is a clue. The VC platoon which had so successfully distracted two US platoons took us all by surprise by going on the offensive, and trying to meet the US in pitched battle. Suffice to say, this did not end well for said VC platoon. The brace of VC players were also rattled by being on the end of a highly-successful bunker-bustin' shot from US 3rd Platoon over in the village.
Their morale appeared to snap with the prompt arrival of the slicks. With AA fire found to be ineffective, another VC platoon revealed itself to the west of the paddy fields skirting the village, and it attempted to close with the squad from US 3rd Platoon. Unfortunately, the chips did not fall (literally) in favour of the VC.
To be precise, the slicks left - albeit with only half the villagers - only to be followed with frightening speed by a Hog, which unleashed firey doom upon the VC platoon that found itself out in open paddy field. Unleashing its entire payload in short order, the Hog zipped off as fast as it arrived; the US players were clearly satisfied by the havoc it had wreaked.
By now, the VC resolve had crumbled, and they began to withdraw. Remaining VC aggression took the form of their sniper having a couple more potshots before withdrawing, and US 1st Platoon finally contacted one of the VC minefields, but came through unscathed. It was time to consider victory, military and political...
In the end, military victory was deemed by all to have gone to the VC. Whilst terribly blooded, they had- by close of play- undertaken all their ambushes, and most of the village was still intact, perfect for a base of future operations. By contrast, the US had only evacuated half of the villagers, and only two hooches had been fired.
Politically, the US had this in the bag. They successfully policed the battlefield for various intelligence markers and managed to turn a number of estimated kills into confirmed kills. By comparison, for all the Shock successfully inflicted, the VC had very few kills.
Lessons learned? Well, to paraphrase the players...
Jerry: "Stay on blinds for as long as possible for cohesion; make sure Free World Big Men are where they can coordinate as many of their men as possible!"
Mr. Bowman: "Stick to the Free World mission, man! Don't be afraid to pour on the direct fire support when civvies aren't about"
Smallridge & Sharman: "VC are not Regulars; VC are not Regulars; VC are not Regulars**..."
*Not sure this is the correct spelling, but it does scan for the purposes of Mockney rhyming.
**Repeat as required.