Monday, September 22, 2008

A Walk in the Sun

This evening we played the first scenario in Skirmish Campaigns Screaming Eagles at Hamburger Hill. I’ve had it for some time, but never got past this first scenario…. Thought I’d have another crack at it this fall.

The Skirmish Campaigns books are great inspiration for small skirmish war games. I have to say that after reading the world war two books (of which I have many) I wondered if they authors/publishers weren’t getting kick-backs from miniature manufacturers as there is a stunning variety of different equipment required for the different scenarios!! (Though Andy at Army Group North Miniatures assures me this is not really the case…).

The Vietnam book and the Colonial and Great War books I’ve picked up are nice as there is considerable less equipment required, as most of the scearnios are straight infantry battles.

They are available through Military Miniatures USA (a distributor to retail stores only) which has meant I have been able to order them in through my friendly local game store here in Saskatoon (the Dragon’s Den), though I think I may have picked up one or two at the Sentry Box

We are using Savage Worlds to play these games. For anyone interested in gaming modern games with the system I would highly recommend picking up Modern Ops and/or Tour of Darkness if you are particularly interested in Vietnam – though the latter does add an element of otherworldly horror to the setting (as if Vietnam weren’t horrific enough as it is!?)

600 metres west of the peak of Dong Ap Bia, 10 May 1969, 16:30


B Company, 3/187 Airborne has been tasked with securing the peak of Dong Ap Bia for the new battalion CP. 2nd Platoon is leading the way. They are not expecting any enemy forces in the area…


US forces must control both cross roads by the end of the game (ie. Have friendly troops adjacent with no active enemy troops within 10”) OR control one cross road and exit 3 troops off the east board edge.

North Vietnamese forces must prevent the US from achieving their victory conditions.

As with most Showdown scenarios, the game length is variable; ending somewhere between the end of turn seven and sixteen…


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

Squad Leader – Wild Card – M-16 and M1911

Squad Leaders Team – One rifleman with radio and one medic, both with M-16

Point Team (2) – Two riflemen with M-16s

2x Fireteams (3) – one assistant squad leader and one rifleman each with M-16, lus one grenadier with M-79 and M1911

North Vietnamese Forces
Trail watchers from the 29th PAVN Regiment

Sniper – Wild card – SKS

1x Fireteam (4) – Team leader and three riflemen each with AK-47

2x RPG teams (2) - One grenadier with RPG and one loader with SKS


Gary showed up this week (seems to be a pattern developing – Christian and Mr. Miller show up one week, Gary shows up the next… repeat…). Since he defended last time he volunteered to play the Americans which were more or less attacking. I thought this would be funner as well since the PAVN forces started hidden and he would have no idea what was out there. Had I played the Americans I still wouldn’t have know what was where – but I would have had an idea of what was out there.

Rolling for variable attachments… Gary got nothing (he had a 50-50 chance of getting an LMG team added to his force). I got an additional Sniper (in addition to the one listed above)

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

Little slice of the Ashau valley.

I set up my hidden markers first (three of the eight were blank, dummy counters).

Then Gary set up his squad straddling the pathway… though they expect no hostile forces in the area, you can never be too careful.


Team Leader Nguyen Vo Tim.


The Squad Leaders Team (the RTop and the medic) got a joker and rolled “hand of fate” for their fortune and calamity… I have yet to start a game of Showdown and not have someone get a joker on the first turn… when it’s more or less USELESS!!

One of the American fireteams moved, then I decided to get the action going…

…and had one of my snipers take a pot shot at one of his guys in cover… and missed… but it made him think about where he was moving. I probably could have put the sniper on hold and then caught someone the next turn making a careless move into or through a slightly less covered location… but this way he kept his guys well into the dense bush… and dense bush works both ways!!

The rest of the units and hidden markers moved and there was no other shooting.


Mostly moving about in the jungle, Gary being very careful to keep his guys out of the LOS of the sniper (not that he had much to worry about, he was a piss-poor shot!)


The PAVN fireteam shot up the squad leader pretty bad – four wounds!

Pa-POW! He soaked one (after burning two bennies on it – one to soak, one to re-roll the soak), so remained in the game, but only just barely.

At this point the Americans more or less went to ground and fired, pretty much blind, through the dense jungle at anything that moved or in the general direction of where they figured fire was coming from - with very little effect.


One of my RPG teams got a joker and rolled “Teamwork!” for their Fortune and Calamity Roll and so the other RPG team joined in on an ambush of the Americans (with +2 to hit!) The RPGs went wild and only managed to KO the Assistant Squad Leader of Fireteam A and shook the medic – who immediately burned a benny to recover. Later said medic hauled ass over to the downed Assistant squad leader and made his successful healing roll (at -2) and brought him back into the game shaken! (that’s the first time I’ve ever seen someone actually USE the “MEDIC!” edge/ability!

One of the American Fireteams also got a benny and returned fire, wounding one of the RPG-gunners (shaken). The other got a luck shot in with an M-79 and landed a grenade right in the middle of the bunched-up PAVN fireteam knocking out one and shaking two others (I wouldn’t be making THAT mistake again!!).


The highest card dealt was an eight…?! Very little happened – wild fire at ghosts in the jungle.


One of the RPG teams fired on and knocked out all of Fireteam B and the Squad Leader!!! This was a pretty major blow to the Americans. 60% of their force taken out in one shot.

The Assistant Squad Leader in Fireteam A recovered from being shaken, finally, and assumed command of the squad – not that it turned him into and instant wildcard or gave him the Command edge or anything… we just noted that he was theoretically “in charge” now.

Very little else happened. I continued moving troops around on one flank hoping to contest both forks in the path. Though Gary did start rolling for Game end… no such luck.


Fireteam A knocked out one of the RPG-gunners. His loader failed morale, but quickly recovered when his card came up. Lost more ineffective shooting and my one fireteam still slowly making it’s way along the flank laying down some harassing fire as they went.


My PAVN Fireteam ran through the jungle firing full-auto from the hip (why not eh? I get to roll a bucket of dice, one might get lucky…!?). I needed a 16 to hit (-6 for cover, -2 for running, -2 for full-auto firing) and I tagged the RTop! BOO-YAH!! He was only shaken but it was still a cool feat of arms (well a crazy lucky one…).

There was lots more ineffective firing and then Gary rolled an 8 for turn end which meant we would play one more turn (if there had been another player show up and I got to be the Ref I would have made the rolls secretly so neither player would know when the game would end until I said “that’s it, it’s over!” – not that either of us did any cheesy “last ditch” actions on the final turn…


The Squad leaders team pulled their second joker in this short game – rolling “close call” for their fortune and calamity, which meant my PAVN Fireteam would suffer a -2 to all trait rolls for this turn… ah well, might as well continue to blaze away on full-auto…

Somebody ( I think it might have been the RTop) took out the second RPG-gunner, and the Grenadier form Fireteam A took out a second member of the PAVN Fireteam with an M-79 grenade. Then the sniper shot down one of the members of the Point Team who had been exchanging fire with the PAVN fireteam now way off to their flank and making their way to the rear…

The Tally
I got 10 victory points (5 for denying the Americans their victory conditions, 5 for taking out five Americans). Gary only got 4 victory points for the four of my soldiers he took out. So the PAVN will get two “attachment credits” in the next scenario (they can be used to modify the variable attachment die roll at the beginning of the game).

I think I’m going to run the next couple of scenarios in the book over the next couple weeks… who knows maybe I’ll just work my way through the whole book!?

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Hmmmm… maybe I’ll start painting those PAVN…


  1. Damn RPGs! Now a chopper gunship would have been useful! Or some 'Predator' level camo. Thanks for the good game Tim.

  2. Predators, eh? Hmmmmmm... I've been looking for an excuse to pick up THESE!

  3. Sounds like fun - I would have made it, except for the plague.

    Well that's what it feels like, anyways.

    3 points -

    1. Did you try out the house rules from last week?

    2. Attachment points - is this going to lead to some one-sided battles, or is it reasonable?

    3. How did Gary lose with his insane luck, or is that only in CWC and BKC?

    I doubt I will be in next week, unfortunately, as I have to drive to Wainwright and back - and on my day off, too!

  4. 1. No, not really. I used the organizations presented in the book so the "units" were teams of two, three, or four. There was no blind corners or much maneuvering that would necessitate some sort of overwatch so we didn't use it.

    2. It is very reasonable. At the beginning of each scenario each side always rolls for a random variable attachment. They're usually all equally useful, occasionally there might be one that one might think advantageous and the attachment credit for winning a battle allows you to modify the roll by up to +/-2.

    For example in this scenario the US variable attachments were:
    1-10 1x LMG team - 1 M60 gunner and loader
    11-20 Nothing

    The PAVN - for this scenario were:
    1-10 1x sniper
    11-15 1x Claymore Mine
    16-20 1x Two-man Bunker

    The attachemnt credit DOES NOT give you additional attachements - it just lets you modify the roll a little.

    3. I don't know... I think he did pull more jokers than me - like maybe twice as many... I guess I got lucky with getting that RPG shot in... I don't know - you win some, you lose some - even GARY!

    Hope you're feeling better soon and can make it out next week!