Sunday, 8 October 2017

Um, would you believe, Vietnam?

I was in the attic this morning, rummaging around to find that one figure you know is in the lead pile somewhere, but seems to have mastered the art of hide and seek, when I came across some 1/72 Esci Vietnam figures I forgot that I had. There were about 20 US and 20 Vietnamese figures - all NVA, so obviously at some stage I had sorted them from the VC and parted with the extras to points unknown.

Now just before this I had been drawing up a grid on a basecloth for a contemplated Portable Wargame project (more on this anon). The two things came together and I thought I'd give the WW2 PW rules a spin for a search and destroy mission in South-east Asia.

The two small collections were sorted into fire-teams of 4 figures each. The US featured two squads, each of a support team with blooper and M60 which would fire with 3 dice, and a scout team that would have only 1 die. The Vietnamese had four teams of four as well, two of these having an automatic rifle which would give them 2 dice, the others having 1 die each. All teams had 4 strength points.

The set-up
The terrain featured forest, which was able to be occupied, and thick jungle which was impassable. Two hamlets (duly sourced from my daughter's wooden block collection) sat near a road, and the US troops had to search and secure both of these. The North Vietnamese would remain hidden until they were sprung from ambush. For this, each time a US unit moved, a card from an ordinary playing deck would be turned over. If it was a face card, then a Vietnamese unit would appear in ambush within 2-3 squares of the US troops springing them. They had to emerge from next to cover, and not from behind the US troops. This was all planned, of course, on the hoof, so to speak, so I was interested to see how it would work.

So, on with the game.
The first US unit is ambushed in its first move towards the hamlet and forced to retreat.

And the same happens on the left flank.

The fire support team comes to the rescue, knocking out some of the attackers, but then springing another ambush

The two sides pin each other down in a protracted firefight

On the right the scout team makes some impact.

And the US troops start to get the upper hand on the left, but as the scout team works its way through cover to outflank the enemy, they spring an ambush from behind them.

The fire support team on the right engages the Vietnamese at close range, while the scout team turns to deal with the new threat.

Having dusted off the enemy on the left and the right with some vicious fire from the support teams, the US troops force the last Vietnamese unit back until it has to retreat off the board. Just in time too, as in this turn both sides reached exhaustion point.
This was a really enjoyable little game, and has given me plenty to think about (like how long will it take to get these figures all painted...). I think that scope exists to give the US troops indirect fire support, helicopter insertion and armoured vehicles. In response, the Vietnamese could have a few more infantry teams and maybe include an RPG and HMG in there as well. Looking at the Britannia Miniatures figures, they also have a US medic figure, which could add another dimension to scenario conditions. I'm enthused.

Oh dear, this wasn't part of the plan...