Thursday, May 29, 2014

"In Country," Game 12 (25 Nov 1967)


For the squad, Happy Thanksgiving!  It's 25 November 1967 (I didn't look at a 1967 calender to see if it's correct, but close enough for me), and the squad is enjoying a day on base with turkey and stuffing.  But they're not off the hook; the Brigade has several patrols out, still trying to find those damned HMGs, which have put another helo two days ago, and the squad is on standby as a Quick Reaction Force should something go awry.

Which is exactly what happened.  On of the the Corps-level 'Lurp' (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols) teams has gotten itself into a @#$% sandwich out on the border; they stumbled onto an NVA base camp, called in air, which saturated the place, but a lucky NVA walked into them during exfil and compromised them.  They went in the run, trying to make it two klicks to the LZ, but the NVA did some damage.  The Lurps are in a bad way, holed up on Hill 65, about 300 yards from the LZ.  They've to heavy NVA pressure from the northwest, at least company-size, and four of their seven-man team are out of the fight.  The squad is heloing out to the LZ, its mission to secure the Lurps, move them to the LZ, and exfil everyone.

As soon as the squad's helo, a Chinook (because I don't have any Hueys...), touches down, fast movers are gonna drop Snake and Nape (500-pound 'Snakeye' retarded bombs and napalm) to the northwest of Hill 65 to help the Americans break contact with the NVA pushing there.  It's up to Banaszak's boys to get the Lurps back to the choppa and thus to safety.

Overview of board, north is up, LZ at bottom right, Lurps at top left.

The "Alamo," atop Hill 65 three Lurp troopers fighting off NVA (off camera to top left), protecting their four downed buddies, praying for help.

Screaming in low over the rice paddies from the south comes a lone CH-47 (sorry for using an unfinished model, it's only been spray-painted green, I really need to finish it).

The Chinook sits down and Banaszak (far left) leads his boys out:  Thomas (M-79) top right, Stallworth to his left, then Bradley, Ham next to Banaszak, Kolb to his right, and Swan just exiting the helo.

And then, from the northeast (top right of board), NVA arrive.  The squad had been detached from the NVA attacking Hill 65 from the northwest, with the intent on flanking them, when the Yankee steel-bird descended onto the paddy field to their south.  The NVA leader makes a snap decision: half will focus on the Yankees to the south, the other half will push west (left) to flank the Yankees on Hill 65.

Hauling ass and busting brush, Banaszak, Kolb, and Swan sprint up Hill 65 to link up with the Lurps (top left).

Spotting the NVA in the northeast (top center right), Stallworth (bottom center) sprints ahead, goes prone, and gets the M-60 into action (red dice are Stallworth's misses causing stress).

Ham (bottom center, with Stallworth to his right), having just received a bump to his 'Skills and Drills' level, now gets to activate pretty early also, so he sprints up, goes prone, and fires a grenade (blue bead at top center) at the enemy team moving towards Hill 65 (off camera at left).  The round is waaaay off target (cottom puff at to left)...

The other grenadier, Thomas (bottom center right, next to Stallworth, with Ham at far left), also sprints up, flops prone, and fires a grenade (blue bead at top right).  His misses also, but several inches to the rear, hitting right on top of one of the NVA RPG gunners, seriously wounding him (yes, Panda, Magic Dice)!

An enemy rifleman moves up (far right, behind bushes) and fires at Thomas (red dice) missing, while Bradley joins the fight to the right of Ham (bottom left) and right of Stallworth and Thomas.  He fires at the NVA pointman and lightly wounds him (yellow bead at top center)...

Which causes him to run!  The NVA leader next to him goes fetal position, and another NVA rifleman, having seen his partner run and his boss stop, drop, and sob, runs for it too!  This leaves only one NVA rifleman (bottom right) and his leader (center) on this side, all others moving towards Hill 65 (top left).

The other NVA leader and two riflemen sprint to the base of Hill 65 and begin firing uphill at the Lurps (you can barely see them, as well as some garbage off table, at top).  They don't hit anything but do rack up some stress.

You can barely see him, but if you blow up this photo and look at top left, you can see an enemy RPG gunner hiding in the bushes.  He was originally on his way to Hill 65, but saw the multiple grenades landing on his buddies and several of his friends run away, decided to cut left and engage the Yankees on the landing zone.  He fires a rocket at them (blue bead targeting Stallworth, Bradley, and Thomas); it misses, long by a few yards (another few yards and it would have hit the helo!).  But Bradley is lightly wounded (yellow bead) and Stallworth is down!

Looking from the opposite direction, an NVA rifleman moves up next to the RPG gunner (bottom right) and fires at Ham (top left, with Bradley, Stallworth, and Thomas off camera to left), lightly wounding him.

Banaszak yells to Kolb and Swan to get up Hill 65 and get the Lurps on the move to the LZ, then sprints right (bottom center) and opens up on the NVA coming up the hill (top), hitting nothing.

Swan gets to the top of the hill and yells to the Lurps to start grabbing wounded and get moving to the LZ.  He pulls up next to the Lurp with the red dice (top left) and fires down the hill, putting one NVA down (far right, with Banaszak in between).  The first two Lurps and Kolb all grab wounded and begin moving them down the hill (bottom left), but the third Lurp has stress and doesn't do well on his morale test, so he can't move.  He goes prone and fires down the hill, not hitting anything.

The NVA leader on Hill 65 (bottom right) tests, drops prone, and fires at Banaszak (center, w/red dice) missing three times.  The other NVA fires at Swan (top center, with prone Lurp and wounded Lurp), missing him.

Back on the right, Ham (bottom right) fires a grenade at the RPG (top center) missing badly at far left.  "Dammit!!!" He reloads and fires again, right on the money!  The RPG gunner is down and the rifleman seriously wounded.

The far right NVA (far right behind bush) fires at Ham (bottom right), missing three times.  Bradley (bottom center) intends on crawling right to Stallworth and taking over the M-60, but he sucks on his morale test and can't move, so he fires at the NVA leader (top center), missing three times, but causing him to remain in the fetal position.

Thomas, bottom center, want to help his buddies on Hill 65 (top left), and he's staring at the back of two NVA firing uphill.  He takes careful aim and fires (blue bead), and misses horrendously (off table at top)!!!

NVA seriously wounded crawl towards their baseline.

On Hill 65, Banaszak (far left) passes his test and fires downhill, lightly wounding the NVA leader (top right w/red bead) and missing the other (just below him).  Swan, who was off camera at left atop Hill 65, passes his test and sprints downhill (top right, next to NVA leader), firing twice at the NVA leader, seriously wounding him.  The remaining NVA tests, goes prone, and fires at Swan three times: miss, miss, hit, lightly wounding him.

Lurps and Kolb on the move, carrying the wounded, heading left to right (north to south) towards the LZ.

Ham (bottom right) passes his test and fires, lightly wounding the NVA rifleman at far right (cotton puff).  The NVA rifleman fires at Ham but misses, while Brad (left of Ham) and the NVA leader (top center) exchange fire to no effect.

Thomas (bottom left) fires at the NVA leader, lightly wounding him, while the seriously wounded NVA crawl off-table.

On Hill 65 the fight comes to a close as Banaszak (far left) fires downhill, seriously wounding the remaining NVA rifleman (bottom guy with red bead, with Swan next to them).

Swan finished the two seriously wounded NVA on Hill 65 then sprints ahead to the east (bottom left) and fires at the NVA leader there (top left), missing (down RPG gunner just right of Swan, with LZ off camera to right).

The Lurps and Kolb keep moving the wounded towards the LZ (top center).
Then Ham (bottom right) works a little magic.  He fires on the NVA rifleman (far right), hit and down, reloads, and fires at the NVA leader (top center), hit and down (the hits were great rolling, the casualty rolls not as impressive as both NVA were already wounded, which really helped).

Ham (top right) and Thomas (top left) stand guard while Bradley carries Stallworth to the helo.

Ham and Thomas are still on guard as the last of the Lurps gets the wounded aboard the helo (far right) and Swan comes sprinting in (top left).  "Where's Banaszak?"

As three NVA enter the board from the west side of Hill 65.

Banaszak (center) is sprinting towards the helo (bottom), as the three NVA (top center) open up.

Ham and Thomas both fire, but as the grenades are in flight Banaszak stumbles and goes down, then Ham's round explodes right in the middle of the three NVA (1 down, two lightly wounded).

Banaszak picks himself up and Thomas helps him aboard the helo, quickly followed by Ham.

And the helo lifts off as the remaining NVA fire after it.

"Whew, we made it, holy cow!  I can't believe it, those NVA almost got me!" Banszak said, pulling a demolished Claymore mine out of his buttpack, which had stopped an enemy rifle slug (he was lightly wounded in the fight, then after the fight I roll on a casualty table to see what happens for the campaign, and it was a 20, good to go.  Last fight the roll was light duty for five days.  I know, Magic Dice.).

"Hey, where's Stallworth?"  Ham didn't answer, just looked away.  "Who's in there?" Banaszak asked, pointing at a zipped up body bag on the floor of the chopper...

The NVA suffered 5 KIA and two WIA that escaped.  But the squad lost another friend, with Stallworth, a stalwart of the squad since Day 1, succumbing to his wounds.  In the time before their next fight, the squad would lose two more friends:
SSgt Bleier, who had been convalescing in Japan, was promoted on 1 December 1967 to Sergeant First Class and transferred to the Battalion headquarters, while Pvt Swan had received his third Purple Heart, earning him a transfer out of the line into a rear echelon job as a 'Three-Time Loser."  Thomas took some shrapnel, got a Purple Heart, spent five days on light duty.

The squad is getting perilously short of experienced men; there are rumors of a Christmas cease-fire, and they're really hoping just to make it til then.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"In Country," Game 11 (22 Nov 1967)


Following the Brigade's initiative to relocate various smaller villages into fewer large ones, it opened up the opportunities for the use of greater firepower, particularly to the west, nearer the Cambodian border where the NVA frequented.  Due to this, the Brigade stepped up its use of B-52 'Arc Light' strikes.  As these occurred, frequently a patrol would be sent out to conduct a "Bomb Damage Assessment," that is, patrol up the length of the airstrike in an attempt to ascertain if the enemy suffered any casualties.  The vast majority of the time nothing was found, just a massive string of 500-pound bombs ripping the jungle open.  But every once in awhile...

It's 22 November 1967, and the squad is on patrol near the Cambodian border, conducting a BDA for an Arc Light that occurred earlier this morning.

Overview of board, right is North.  The squad entered from the left (South), the NVA from the North.  It's dense, trackless jungle on each side of the Arc Light strike, with bomb craters running from south to north.  Interestingly, a small, bombed out structure is noted atop a knoll up ahead.

The squad, down to seven warm bodies, from right to left: Swan on point, followed by Stallworth (M-60), Bradley (with his brand new PFC stripes, courtesy of running last fight), Thomas (M-79), Sgt Banaszak, Ham (M-79), and Kolb bringing up the rear again.

Swan (bottom left): "Holy Crap, Sarge, take a look at this!  We've been on how many of these, ain't seen a damned thing!  Check it out, looks like the flyboys finally hit something!"  Banaszak: "Yeah, looks like a comm site, got fresh bodies and everything."

Swan and Banaszak move up to the comm site.  Banaszak: "Hell, I imagine when they figure out this thing ain't transmitting anymore they'll be sending someone up to check it out.  What was that?"  Please take a look to the right of the comm site.

Swan (bottom center) moves over, and spots five NVA moving down the Arc Light track.  "Damn, they really should be busting brush, not walking down the damn highway."  Banaszak whispered back, "Yeah, they're lazy just like us," then cut loose, lightly wounding the NVA pointman (bottom right).

Thomas sprints to the right of the comm site (bottom center), flops prone, and pops an M-79 grenade at the NVA leader (blue bead and cotton at top center), lightly wounding him.

The enemy point man (bottom center) goes prone and fires at Banaszak and Swan in the comm site, missing.

While Stallworth (bottom center) sprints left of the comm site (far right you can see Banaszak and Swan, with NVA pointman just above them), goes prone, and gets the Pig in action, hitting... nothing.

NVA Tail-End Charlie (bottom right) sprints right into the bush, goes prone, and takes a shot at Stallworth (top right), missing.  Looking at top, you have Thomas on left, Ban and Swan in comm site at center, and Stallworth at right.  The puff from Thomas' M-79 round is at bottom left on the NVA leader, with the NVA pointman just above that.

The next NVA in line (bottom left, just behind NVA point man) goes prone and fires at Thomas (top left center), missing.

Bradley (top center), trying to make up for letting the squad down last fight, sprints left, passing Stallworth, running all the way up the left side until within just yards of the NVA Tail-End Charlie (bottom center).  Bradley fires but misses...

The NVA leader recovers from the grenade that landed at his feet (top center) and sprints to his left, going prone in the bushes (bottom right).

Ham (bottom left) sprints up next to Stallworth on the left side, and takes a shot with his M-79 at the NVA Tail-End Charlie (top center), which was a real dangerous proposition  for Bradley (hidden in the bushes at top left) given how inaccurate the grenadiers are generally, but this one landed short by one inch, lightly wounding the NVA.

The last NVA (top center) activates, dropping prone and curling into the fetal position due to all the death and destruction around him.  Kolb sprints into the jungle on the right (bottom center right) and takes a shot at the center NVA (w/red dice), but misses.  The NVA pointman is at far left, with comm site off camera at bottom left and NVA leader in bushes to right of NVA with red dice.

Banaszak (far left, in comm site) passes his test and opens up, putting down the NVA pointman (center), but missing his partner (far right).

Stallworth (bottom left, with Ham) fires at Tail-End Charlie (top left), missing.  Then he turns the gun right and unleashed hell: the next two NVA are lightly wounded (you can see the yellow beads in center), and seriously wounding the NVA leader (red bead at far right).

Kolb sprints ahead to the seriously wounded NVA leader at far right (he was previously off camera t bottom right, comm site is off camera at bottom left) and fires, seriously wounding the NVA at center, then firing again and putting down the NVA at top center.  Tail-End Charlie (far left) surrenders to Bradley.

That's how we like them, quick and painless!  The BDA showed a destroyed comm site and three KIA, and the squad added another 2 KIA and three captured (2 were seriously wounded), with no casualties themselves.

Banaszak: "Call in the extract, let's get the hell outta here before they send more troops!"

Despite Swan's earlier, ahem, inconsistencies, he's done a great job the last two fights and is turning into a steady hand, as has Ham, so I'm bumping both of them to S&D 4.  Don't let me down...