Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Recon in Force

This is the second scenario in Skirmish Campaigns Screaming Eagles at Hamburger Hill.

Dong Ap Bia, 11 May 1969, 1600 hours


After the previous day’s skirmish, Col. Honeycutt has decided to send B Company back up the hill to do a Reconnaissance in Force.


US Forces- Elements of 2nd Platoon may start anywhere within 12” of the West board edge or 20” if on the trail. Elements of 4th Platoon enter on the West board edge on turn 3. The US players objective is to exit 10 unwounded soldiers off the east board edge before the game ends OR spot/locate 5 bunkers

PAVN Forces – All forces must be set up within 36” of the east board edge. At least three bunkers must be placed more than 12” from the east board edge. Their objective is to prevent the US victory conditions.


US Forces
Elements of 2nd Platoon, B Company, 3/187 Airborne, 101st Airborne Division

Lt. Charles Denholm – Wild Card – M-16 and M1911

Platoon Sergeant – Wild Card – M-16

Radio Operator – Radio and M-16

1x Rifle Squad with:
- Squad Leader – Wild Card – M-16
- 2x Fireteams (4) – one assistant squad leader and two rifleman each with M-16, plus one grenadier with M-79 and M1911

1x Heavy Weapons Squad
- Squad Leader – Wild Card – M-16
- 2x Fireteams (3) – Gunner with M-60, Asst. Gunner and one rifleman each with M-16

Elements of 4th Platoon, B Company, 3/187 Airborne, 101st Airborne Division

1x Rifle Squad with:
- Squad Leaders – Wild Card – M-16
- 2x Fireteams (4) – one assistant squad leader and two rifleman each with M-16, plus one grenadier with M-79 and M1911

North Vietnamese Forces
Elements of 7th Battalion 29th PAVN Regiment

2x Sniper – SKS

2x Infantry Squads each with:
- Squad Leader – Wild Card – AK-47
- Fireteam with: Gunner with Chicom 52 LMG, Asst. gunner and two riflemen each with AK-47
- Fireteam with: Gunner with RPG, and three riflemen each with AK-47

6x Two-Man Bunkers


7PM rolled around and no one showed. I figured no one would; John is crazy busy trying to get a house built before it snows, every second Monday Gary’s out with another Group, Christian had to drive to CFB Wainwright to return kit borrowed for an exercise this past weekend, and Mr. Miller was in a car accident that totaled his car on Thursday….

So I decided to go it alone. This was tough as I would have run it with hidden markers to have the size and disposition of the PAVN forces be unknown to the American player. I briefly considered drawing random chits whenever a hidden marker had LOS to an American player to determine what war there…. but that got a little too confusing so I just decided to set them up as I would if I had been the PAVN player and said they would all start the game on hold and I could decide what I thought they would do when they spotted an American….

I rolled for variable attachments for both sides. The US forces didn’t get any sort of attachment per se… They got an additional victory condition; Prisoners – “The Colonel wants intell!” If the US player captures any NVA soldier they receive 3 additional victory points. The PAVN got an HMG team. I actually rolled 17, which would have been a couple of claymore mines and an additional bunker, but I used one of my “attachment credits” from the previous scenario.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

The table set up. The picture is taken from the “West End” of the table and the terrain rises to towards the “East End”. The near half of the table is “Dense Jungle” and the far half is “Light Jungle”. There is no LOS beyond 24” anywhere on the table and the templated areas are areas of denser wood that block LOS and incur higher shooting penalties for targets within them… With the exception of the path, and the burned out sections from the previous evenings air strikes, everything is “bad going”.

I set one team of Americans up on the path and the rest were pushing through the jungle.

You can sort of make out my crude “bunkers” that the PAVN set up in.

That Cunning Devil; Captain Nguyen Vo Tim

Commander of US forces.


I dealt in the Americans (all Vietnamese started the game on hold). Right off the start the platoon commander was dealt a deuce, dropping him an ammo level (“whoops!? I think I left my spare mags back at base!?”). The leader of First Squad got a joker netting him an extra benny but little other benefits as everyone spent the turn advancing through the jungle without any contact.


The Radio operator also hung back a moment to search through is ruck to confirm his worst fears… he too left his spare ammo back at camp… (another deuce). This turn saw the first contact. First a sniper on the North end of the table took a pot shot at some of first squad’s Fireteam A, missing. Then the sniper on the souther part of the table took a shot at the leader of Fireteam B (which was heading up the path) hitting him but failing to cause any damage (zinged it off his helmet!). THEN a B40 rocket sailed over in the general direction of one of the LMG teams – exploding harmlessly off in the jungle – but that certainly got everybody’s attention!


Just as I was dealing out the cards for Turn Three the dogs started barking and in walked Mr. Miller! Despite being a little stiff and sore and without a car he made it over. He actually bussed it from about as far away from my house as you can be and still be in the city of Saskatoon… Now that’s dedication! Kudos to Mr. Miller!

1st Squad’s Fireteam B moved up and fired on the bunker where the B-40 rocket had come from and actually K.O.ed the loader! They then started taking fire themselves and one member was shaken. The took further fire later in the turn including a shot from one of the snipers which K.O.ed. The Gunner from LMG team B set up his M-60 to give some fire on the bunker with the rocket.

The squad from 4th platoon arrived, charging onto the board in a grand manner!


Whoops… it seems I lost track and wrote down Turn Three twice. So this was really Turn Four but I wrote it down as another Turn three… so there it is... another Turn Three…

The Platoon Sergeant drew a joker this time, and rolled “Rally!” for his fortune – which conveniently sorted out the shaken lad in Fireteam B of the 1st Squad (“from somewhere back in the there was a thunderous roar, “PRIVATE JENKINS YOU GET OFF YOUR ASS AND GET IT BACK INTO THE FIGHT OR I WILL KICK IT CLEAR TO THE TOP OF THIS DAMN HILL!” Poor Private Jenkins didn’t even kow how the Platoon Sergeant knew he was hiding behind that big log….).

Another B40 Rocket went sailing harmlessly off into the jungle.

Automative Rifle fire from spider holes flanking the Bunker with the B-40 Rocket Launcher K.O.ed another soldier from 1st Squad’s Fireteam B. The Grenadier from Fireteam B fired at the bunker. The grenade was close enough to make the B-40 Rocket gunner to dive for cover in the bottom of his bunker as well as one of ht riflemen in the spider-hole (both shaken). Unfortunately this drew much fire from another bunker and series of Spider-holes off the left which K.O.ed the remaining members of Fireteam B!?

LMG Team B opened up on the bunker to their front, which had been firing rockets in their general direction and K.O.ed the gunner, causing the rest of the team to fail morale! With no other targets in LOS they considered whether to remain here another turn to try and pick off anyone else trying to reoccupy the bunker or to pick up and move on…


A PAVN sniper got a joker. For Fortune and Calamity he rolled a “Quick and the Dead” stealing an ace from the American’s platoon commander. There was much maneuvering and firing this turn, but with little effect.


The Lieutenant got a Joker this turn and a bonus benny to go with it. The Section Commander from the PAVN 1st Section fired on and K.O.ed the grenadier in 1st Squad’s Fireteam A (I think in the previous turn he had a near miss with a grenade which brought this fire on him…). The remainder of Fireteam A fired on a Vietnamese sniper and knocked him out. Finally fire from in and around the central bunker took down the rifle man from LMG Team a (I guess that would be the ammunition bearer…).

There was lots of other firing and maneuvering about this turn, as every turn … I just didn’t note it down…


The other sniper K.O.ed the gunner in LMG Team B just as he was setting up his ’60 again. An LMG in a bunker in the second line of defence opened fire on The squad from 4th Platoon – thus giving up the position of a third bunker. 1st Squad’s Fireteam A concentrated thir fire on another riflemen in a spider hole and took him out1


Mr. Miller the mastermind behind the PAVN’s defence strategy…

Lots of running about and shooting without any results.


The game did not end… Somebody got a Joker… The remaining riflemen from LMG Team B (the loader and ammunition bearer) charged forth into the jungle and gunned down the remaining sniper. This also conveniently took them out of the LOS of the bunker to their front – but unfortunately brought them into LOS of two other bunkers – which was too good an opportunity for Mr Miller to pass up. He revealed the location of a fourth bunker in the process of firing B-40 rockets out of it at the riflemen form LMG Team B!


The game rages on! The two remaining riflemen from LMG Team B were taken out and their immediate superior, the squad Leader from the Heavy Weapons Squad was wounded.

1st Squad’s Commander got to the body of one of the snipers and searching it found he was still quite alive and only lightly wounded – so he took him prisoner!!

I seem to recal there was much grenade throwing from the Vietnamese over the last turn or two….


The last turn, unfortunately Mr. Miller had to run off to catch the last bus out of Riversdale before we could play it out together. So I finished it off.

Suddenly remembering my victory conditions, I had all my wildcard/leader-types with anything close to LOS of the two remaining bunker try to spot them – without any success.

One of the PAVN fireteams got a joker (and a benny) and fired on the Heavy Weapons Squad Leader and took him down!

The Squad leader from the 1st squad dragged his prisoner out of LOS and thus harms way!

The PAVN 1st Section Commander rolled a grenade down the hill and K.O.ed a soldier from 4th Platoon. Returning fire, the squad from 4th Platoon K.O.ed the last rifleman in the PAVN 1st Section and caused the section commander to dive for cover in the bottom of his bunker (shaken).

And that was it…. both sides disengaged, dragged off their casualties and got out of the way of the incoming airstrikes….

The total Buchers Bill, when all was sorted out afterwards:

US Forces:
2x KIA
3x Seriously Wounded (cases that would require immediate evacuation to a full field hospital in the rear, or perhaps even to Japan – they would be out of action for some time, if not right out of the war)
7x Lightly Wounded (cases that would probably be evacuated as far as a field dressing station and likely be out of action for a day or two)
1x Walk Away (this guy wasn’t even evacuated – I think it was a grenade casualty so the concussion from the grenade probably knocked him right out, but miraculously didn’t even leave him with a scratch!?)

Vietnamese Forces:
1x KIA
3x Seriously wounded
4x Lightly Wounded (including one that was MIA and assumed taken POW)
1x Walk Away

As for Victory Points

+3 for capturing a prisoner and +9 for enemy taken out of action.

+5 for thwarting the US victory conditions and +13 for enemy taken out of action

So another victory for the Vietnamese. They now have three attachment credits (two for this victory and one left over from last).

I should have got the platoon leader up to the front earlier and had him trying to spot the last two bunkers… I had held him back a couple turns, as I didn’t want to bunch him in the firing line, which was already a bit bunched up…

Good Fun. Next week’s scenario: Firebase Airborne!

I gotta get working on some sandbag bunkers!?

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