Saturday, December 24, 2011

MILLENNIUMCON 14 AAR Part II: Too Fat Lardies - Charlie Don’t Surf

This was my first game that the convention and the one that I enjoyed the most of the two.  It was called “The Great Rice Hunt” and it is the first scenario from the TFL’s CDS scenario book, “Surf’s Up!”  It was run by Brian Weathersby and I think he did a pretty good job.  There were some rough moments where he was having troubles explaining thing, but he even admits to that on the TFL Yahoo Group, but I didn’t have too much of problem.  I was the one of the three US players and I commanded the 2nd Platoon.  While this was my first game of CDS, I had read the book and played in TFL games before, so I was sort of familiar with the rules and I had done some reading on Vietnam tactics in the past and even coached my follow US players on some tactics since neither were familiar with the rules or period.  However, I really didn’t use any tactics in this game…I was pretty much the proverbial bull in the china shop…but more on that later.  I pretty much know what I was thinking as the game progress, so I can only make comments about what I did and what was easily known on the board.  Also, I started to write this AAR weeks later, so I probably got some things wrong and only remember the highlights for me, sorry if it drifts too much from what really happened.
 
Overall picture of the game board
Originally, I was pushing for a two platoon push from one end of the board and my platoon acting as a blocking force on the opposite end to shoot up fleeing VC. We all agreed on that plan, but then told that we had to come in all on the side table edge, so we changed our plan.  We had four blinds: 3x platoons and one dummy blind.  The dummy blind was our far right flank, then 3rd Platoon, 1st Platoon & CO HQ, and then my 2nd Platoon on the far left flank, which also was large jungle area that I would had to move through.  The center of the village was in front of 3rd Platoon and the idea was that 3rd Platoon would move up through the rice paddies and take up positions to provide cover fire into the center to the village. 1st Platoon and CHQ would start sweeping through the right edge of the village looking for VC caches in the huts.  My platoon would move through the jungle and block the road out of the village between the jungles.  I failed to remember how hard it was to move through jungle, both in real world and in the system.  I also failed to remember that I could have gone into “Indian file” movement which would have sped up my movement rates.  I was barely moving 3” per turn that I moved.

Pretty much on the first turn, both 3rd Platoon & 1st Platoon were spotted by a VC machine gun team and a squad sitting in a trench in the wide open in the middle of the village.  Needless to say, they were notice too!  The CO requested authorization to use artillery right away and it was fast coming too.  

The VC MG trench in the middle of the village is to the upper left corner and my platoon is almost at the top center
A couple of turns passed with the two US platoons and the VC trench position exchanged fired before a second VC trench line with a VC platoon decided to open up on the US 1st Platoon  along the jungle edge that I was still moving through (very slowly, I might add.)  Then the artillery came down on the villagers (luckily none were harmed or that would have been bad for us in Political points!)  Artillery was eventually shifted on top of the trenches in the village.  The US 1st Platoon was really starting to lay down some serious fire on the VC platoon in the second trench line. 

Amazing, all this time and hits, no one was killed.  It was one of the most bloodless war games I have ever seen!  The VC was either not getting hit or only suffering a little shock.  Finally, the VC platoon in the 2nd trench suffered enough shock that they finally broke out of the trench to run away.  I was joking that they finally broke and fled because they knew my platoon would be on top of them soon…maybe in few days at the rate they were moving.  Of course everyone else was joking that this would be one roll that my platoon would finally move fast enough to seized the glory of claiming to have routed the VC platoon.  Wouldn’t you have known it, I did almost maxed out my movement roll, which got me to the jungle edge (finally) and to get one die of firepower shot off into the fleeing VC platoon!  So, yes, my Platoon Leader wrote in the official AAR that he routed the VC platoon.

2nd Platoon sneaking up on the entrenched VC's
2nd Platoon "routing" the VC out of their trenches
 By this point, I was forgetting period tactics and was more interested in getting prisoners to meet one of our Military objectives.  So, while I was waiting for one of my cards come up again, I was seriously debating my actions next.  I figured the VC had a company or only two platoons on board (note: I have not read the CDS scenario book yet, so I am making this estimation on what would be logical for this area of operations).  I knew we had this one platoon beaten and on the run, but they could escape under a “Di Di Mau” card if they got out of line of sight from me, plus I knew part of a weapons platoon was under an artillery barrage in the center of town.  I was fairly certain that there was another VC platoon on the opposite end of the village (note: after the game, the VC player confirmed that I was correct), so that left one platoon that I was not sure where it was located.  I figured that was more to the center of the village and directly opposite of 3rd Platoon.  I was convincing myself to do something that crazy and that was to launch a platoon assault across the opening and mix it with broken VC platoon to try to cripple it more and possibly capture some prisoners, instead of safely firing across the opening with full firepower and possibly only causing shock and driving them into the jungle, out of my line of sight, and possibly losing them for good.  My other option was to have my Weapons Squad occupy the abandon VC trenches and place them on over watch and had 3rd & 2nd squads fire full effect at the VC platoon and had 1st Squad charge across the opening to the jungle edge to keep an eye on the broken platoon if they fled backwards into the jungle.  I finally decided on a platoon assault as I did not want to have only a single squad crossing the opening.  Even when my card came up, I opening admitted that I believed it not to be a good idea, but I just couldn’t bring myself to possibly allow this broken VC platoon to get away.

So, I charged across…and the third VC platoon opened up just off to one side of the broken VC platoon.  Luckily for me, it did not come up on a VC Blind card, otherwise it would have been an Ambush and the amount of damaged suffered would have been worst…there was over 30 dice of damage as it was.  It was pretty bad.  Weapons Squad suffered the worst with 5 killed out of 9 men and 3rd Squad had 3 or 4 killed.  The platoon as whole had a lot of shock damage and suppressed.  Weapons Squad fell back into jungle and I left them there.  For the next few turns, both my LT and Plt SGT, along with the Medic, worked to get the shock off my squads, while they hunkered down in the opening.  

The effects of 30+ dice of damage
Once I was able to get 1st Squad down to a manageable level of shock, my LT decided he was going to give it one more “go” now that the nearby 3rd VC platoon was under artillery fire.  He order the LAW to used on a VC bunker that was seen in the opposite jungle line…and it missed.  Not to be deterred, my LT yells, “First Squad, follow me!  I am bullet-proof!” (note: quite literary, the LT had to roll three different times to see if he was hit when some of his men were killed in platoon, all three times I rolled a 10 on a d10!)  I overrun the bunker where both the VC commander and commissar were still hiding out and gunned them down (I really was trying to get prisoners, darn it) and shot up one the VC squads from the broken platoon.  I suffered one kill to 1st Squad.  And the next card was “Critical Wounded”…Yea!  Private Franklin might still live!  It was beautiful drawing of cards next was my NCO to pop smoke for the Medevac, then the Medic card came up so I could move him up and stabilize Private Franklin until the Medevac arrived.  That was pretty much when the game was called.

"First Squad, follow me! I am bullet-proof!"
Overrunning a VC bunker
Calling for a "Dust Off"
 My platoon was the only one to suffer casualties among the US players.  I believe all together, I lost 11 men and 1 critically wounded out of my 42. Yes, that is unacceptable, but I was also the most aggressive platoon and after the initial hit, I only suffered a couple of killed.  By being aggressive, I forced a whole VC platoon to disperse and prevented the other VC platoon to carry off their dead.  In the end, the US didn’t do so great on our Military Objectives with only meeting the secondary Military Objective of locating the cache of rice.  But even with all of my casualties, the VC’s were not able to meet their secondary Military Objective which was to inflict a certain percentage of casualties on the US forces.  Politically, the VC’s again did poorly, even with all of my casualties again!  Yep, I the US won a minor Political victory too.  So overall, this was a US win, a minor, insignificant one, but still a win.

At the end of the game, as I was voted the winner for the event’s prize of a 10 GBP gift reward for Too Fat Lardies products!  Hoo-Ha!

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