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Friday, May 24, 2013

Vietnam AAR: Here comes the Cavalry!

Our good buddy Brian Fuller was visiting Richmond recently and swung by for a game. He was curious to give Vietnam a shot, so I whipped up 2 lists that featured basically everything I had painted, and came up with a quick and dirty scenario.

Brian's US Airmobile Infantry
  • HQ + Medic + Medevac
  • Airmobile Infantry Platoon + Aviation Platoon w/ 4 Slicks
  • Aeroweapons Platoon: 1 Hog
  • Rocket Artillery: 1 Frog
  • Armored Cavalry (CT): 4 M113s, 2 M48A3 Pattons
Steven's PAVN Infantry Battalion
  • HQ + 2 HMG Nests
  • 1 Platoon Strong Company w/ LMG
  • 1 Platoon Strong Company w/ LMG
  • 6x 75mm Recoilless Guns
  • 3x Type 54 Dshk AAA MGs
  • 3x 130mm Artillery (off board)
Choppers approaching the LZ

The ad hoc scenario we came up with was to use the whole table, with a single objective in an LZ on the far side.  The US would start with their airmobile infantry and the Hog.  The Frog and Armored Cav were placed in Delayed Reserve.  The Armored Cav had to arrive last.  The PAVN started with 1 platoon on the board (to be deployed from Guerilla Reserve), and the rest of the army in Guerilla Reserve.

The primary objective for the US was to hold the LZ.  The Secondary objective was to get the Armored Cavalry up the road, clear the down, and link up with the Airmobile Infantry on the LZ.

Elephant Grass is only knee high, much to the PAVN's chagrin.

Slicks set down on the LZ.
And the first PAVN Platoon shows up!
They rush the LZ, but don't cause any damage to the Slicks.

The Airmobile infantry dismount
The Hog moves to support the just landed troops.
Rockets slam into the PAVN position
The PAVN are weakened but continue their advance
Knocking out 1 US infantry stand and wounding several others.
The Medevac sets down on the LZ.
The US infantry dig in.  Editor's note- I forgot about my HMG nests!  I should've sprung them before Brian had a chance to dig in.  D'oh!

HMG Nests: Better late than never!
The PAVN infantry is destroyed, but the nests on either side of the LZ cause a handful of wounds.
Finally more PAVN reserves arrive!
Type 54 Dshks show up to the party
The wounded find themselves sitting on a booby trap.  Editor's note: You can't place booby traps under dug in teams.  We're still learning!
The Type 54 AAA bring down the Hog!
The LZ.
The Heavy Hog arrives from reserve.
Concentrated fire takes its toll on the advancing PAVN.
The LZ is holding strong.
"Joker 1 9er this is Variable 1 4, do you copy over?"  The Armored Cav shows up.
The Pattons line up shots on the Type 54s, and nail one!
PAVN Reserves have been AWFUL.  One per turn thanks only to the "if you rolled more than 3 dice..." rule.  This gives the US time to focus on the nests.  The US fire their LAWs at the nests and manage to knock one out!
The LZ is relatively quiet.
Seriously, the PAVN reserve rolls have been so bad- but finally Cambodia gets on the line and the observer has a perfect shot to the LZ!  Roll to range in...
hrm.  Okay, no artillery this round!
Uh oh... we shouldn't have veered off the road...
Medevac lands to pick up wounded
While the ACAVs figure out how to deal with the booby traps...
Recoilless Rifles ambush them from the village!
Turns out ACAVS are kinda squishy.  Three go down hard.  The M113 commander was killed here, and we realized that meant they weren't going anywhere!  We decide to let Brian appoint the last remaining ACAV as the new commander in the spirit of having a fun game- but wow!  That would've hurt.
The Pattons immediately redeploy to counter
Clearing the village
The Frog shows up behind the RcLs.

Beehive, Rockets, and MG fire completely decimates the RcLs.
But a lone DsHk is able to move and barely eke out a shot on the Frog.  2 shots for moving...
Direct hit!  The Frog goes down outside the village.
Chopper down!
Finally 130mm artillery ranges in!  Despite Brian failing 2 saves, I roll nothing but 1s for firepower.  The Airmobile infantry keep their heads down!  editor's note- the Medevac sat there for a while waiting for more wounded... not sure that's possible or not?
The developing situation.  The US is down 2 choppers and 3 ACAVs.  The PAVN are down 3 companies with 3 on the board.
The Pattons spot a fresh infantry company and take the fight to them!
In a bold move, Brian assaults!
The Pattons are quickly swarmed with previously unseen enemy in the trees!
Leaving one tank burning.
One Patton and one ACAV are all that remain of the Armored Cavalry.
As the game winds to a close, there is one more PAVN assault on the LZ.
Meanwhile the PAVN assault the Armored Cavalry.  This is the final attack!
The ACAV burns!
But the Patton survives.
The final PAVN assault rushes the LZ, but is handily stopped in defensive fire.
The last remaining Patton on the road.

The US met their major objective but failed their secondary.  The LZ was solidly held with no real chance of being lost anytime soon.  The Armored Cavalry, however, was nearly wiped out.
Having destroyed 4 PAVN companies, the US earn 4 Victory Points.

The PAVN could not destroy the LZ, but did manage to prevent them linking up with the Armored Cavalry, and destroyed a good many vehicles as well.  With 2 destroyed units (The Aeroweapons and Rocket Artillery), the PAVN score 2 points.  They score an additional bonus point for having destroyed 2 choppers.  They also score a bonus point for the one destroyed patton tank, and the 3 destroyed ACAVs.

With such a close result, both sides claim victory.

The game plays like normal flames of war but has a balanced and novel feel to it. While the americans have lits of cool toys they are surprisingly squishy. When nam first came out I really had no interest in playing the communist forces. However they have a cool mix of tricks that will have even a vet player surprised at how fun they are to play. Overall i am still on the fence when it comes to making my own army but i will be the first to admit my first game was a ton of fun.

Okay, I'm going to brain dump a bit here and discuss units and 'Nam overall.
First up- US infantry is tough as nails once dug in!  US ACAVs... not so much.  I think the ACAVs really need to be used like recon and not tanks.  They probably need to stretch their command distance to both cover more ground and mitigate being ambushed.  The RcLs really chew them up.  The Pattons are pretty cool, but with the proliferation of integrated AT, they need to be careful.  The Gunships went down hard to the Type 54s.  We probably need to be more careful about their placement, but with Guerilla Reserves they have a great chance of showing up right where they need to be.

The PAVN infantry definitely needs to be doubled in size.  This is just a function of my not having enough painted.  Being able to assault with "Quality of Quantity" would make such a big difference!  The Type 54s were awesome.  The 130mm artillery should've done a bit better but it wasn't cutting it.  The RcLs!  Wow.  ACAVs beware!

I am really enjoying Vietnam.  It plays a lot differently than FoW, and consequently I certainly approach it differently.  We fudge things left and right in the spirit of making for a fun, cinematic game and I really like that.  We have yet to dive into the "official" missions, but will soon.  Tournament worthy?  No idea.  I don't have much interest in 'Nam as a tournament game I don't think.  But for fast, fun, and friendly gaming- it's top of my list right now.

The shacks are made by Paper Terrain and the rice paddies are by JR Miniatures.

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