On Sunday morning we met at the club to play a new battle with Charlie Don't Surf, the TooFatLardies Vietnam-era wargaming rules. This was our fourth game and most of my gaming mates seemed now quite familiar with the mechanisms and are progresively turning their attention to tactics. The other piece of news is that (at last!!!) I did not act as umpire and I could finally play a full game. Not that I dislike umpiring, but after three games I was eagerly looking to take a command.
The scenario this time was not a mainstream search and destroy operation: a US helicopter had crashed near the Cambodian player, next to a well identified supply trail of the Vietcong, and the the American player was in a race against the clock to locate the crash site, blown the remants and rescue the survivors or their bodies.
The map layout is presented in the following illustration, indicating also the US main forces entry point (to the East) and the area were the last radio contact with the helicopter took place (a may-day signal).
The game resulted into two different actions, as we will see: the rescue mission itself, undertaken by a highly trained special commando force (LRRPs), and a major (and bloody) battle between the US infantry elements coming in support of the commando team and some Vietcong forces aiming to infiltrate in South Vietnam.
|General view of the gaming table (East to West)|
|First LRRP successfully arrving at LZ|
|Charlie column deploying from blinds|
|Bravo and Charlie teams arriving at LZ|
A second US blind (another patrol/dummy) uncovered the second blank blind, which was not the crash site but remained in a forward position to retard the arrival of a second VC unit, focing an automatic spotting and then again disappearing when the enemy goit close enough...
... while the main commando force finally arrived at the crash site, finding the whole helicopter 4-man crew only slightly injured (incidentally, I introduce in this photo our latest painted model, a 1/48 Huey; some details still to be finished).
With the crew safely rescued, the commando team mined the helicopter and then run to the top of the ridge to join with the reinforcements LRRP teams just arrived.
|Helicopter burning and crew safely rescued|
At the other side of the table, a different battle was brewing. In principle, the idea was that a full infantry Company supported by a mortar battery, would enter the table after the 4th turn (tea break) to help in the rescue operation undertaken by the LRRP teams.
What happended finally was that the Vietcong players, once they realised that the main objective was lost (capturing the helicopter crew) , decided to go for a secondary mission, consisting in crossing the table along the Ho-Chi Ming trail to infiltrate in South Vietnam.
|VC and US players totally detached from the fight around the helicopter|
It was at this point that the umpire decided to conclude the game, with the US players achieving a massive: in addition to accomplishing our main mission, we denied the VC from fulfilling his secondary objective conditions (retiring more than 60% of their troops through their tactical edge) while inflciting a significant amount of casualties.
Overall I'm quite happy with the game and personally with the way that I handled my troops in conditions of local ovelwheming superiority of the VC players (initially facing two full platoons with my 5-man LRRP team!!). Good lessons learned about the effective use of blinds to cover your main force flanks and to delay enemy movements, as well as practising the hit and run tactics (quite useful when playing VC, which is my preference in CDS because of the challenge).