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Friday, January 17, 2014

Tieu Doan Dia Phuong Quan (Local Forces) Battalion Army List Review
By Jeff "SonBae" Flint

Alright you lot...listen up! There is a new force you might be facing in the jungle...this block of instruction will give you just that little bit of an edge you will need to come out victorious.

Until now, you have only seen 2 Local Force Companies at most in a PAVN list.  Well, these black pajamas boys...and gals...have started taking to the field in full battalions.  This creates a whole new set of issues that you need to be ready to face.

Yesyesyesyesyesyes and YES!!!!! I have been waiting for this PDF since I first opened Battlefront's Tour of Duty force list for Flames of War. In Tour of Duty, you could take a Tieu Doan Bo Binh Infantry Battalion with up to two Local Force Companies as Support Platoon options. I know, as of the writing of this article the list is still “Under Review,” regardless, I just couldn't contain my glee and had to share my thoughts and wanted to see if I see what y’all see.

OK, why does the Dia Phuong Quan (Local Force) Company in Tour of Duty sing to me? It’s the sneaky feel they have…from the black pajamas…to the Resistance Teams…to the Booby Traps…to the special rules.  Everything just screams “NAM!!!!!” to me, more so than the Bo Binh Infantry list.

This goodness gets ramped up in the Battalion list. So let’s look at the differences between the Bo Binh PAVN List and the Local Forces list. Comparing the Ironclad Battalion list is just too different and is a topic for later discussion.

Let’s look at the differences between Local Force and PAVN Bo Binh lists:

Local Forces PDF
    - Bo Binh is FEARLESS TRAINED, while the Local Force Battalion is CONFIDENT TRAINED
    - NO ARMOR!!!! (Also no Local Forces in the Tieu Doan Thiet Giap Ironclad Battalion)

HQ options
    - HMGs. Both options can take 3 HMG teams and convert them to bunkers.  The Local Force however has a third option…they can convert one of the teams to an AA HMG.  This is key because this is the only dedicated AA the Local Forces get!
    - Mortars and RRs….Both lists the same options….3 each.

Combat Platoons
     - Each list can take up to 3 line companies.  Either 3 Local Force Companies or 3 Bo Binh PAVN Companies
Weapons Platoons
    - No Sapper Platoon in the Local Force list so you cant make a list with up to 3 Pioneer units like you can with the Bo Binh
    - There are no AA, Recoiless Gun, or Mortar Companies as Weapon Platoons.  You have to use the Battalion HQs options to make the best you can.  Your 2iC is key here.  Use him to make a platoon with either the mortars or the recoilless guns and attach the other options to the combat platoons.

Support Platoons
    - 1 vs 2 Dac Cong (Special Task) Company
    - Both lists can take up to 2 of the other’s line companies.  The local Forces can take up to 2 Bo Binh Companies and the PAVN Bo Binh can take up to 2 Local Force Companies.
    - No Armor for the Local Forces
    - No Divisional Mortar, Recoilless Gun and AA Companies

Same Units
    - Both lists allow access to Artillery… cannon artillery and rocket artillery
    - Both lists allow access to Local Resistance teams
    - Both lists allow access to Booby Traps and Minefields

Special Rules
    - All the special rules are the same

Man…this sounds like the Local Force Battalion has it rough options-wise….and they are CONFIDENT TRAINED as well?  Well, that’s what this article is about…to show that all is not doom and gloom and that this force can lay down the smack.

The biggest advantage they have is their special rules.  The Local Forces CONFIDENT TRAINED is balanced by the Local Forces Special Rule, which makes these units “Disguised” Teams.  This makes all Local Force Companies and Bn HQ elements, non-combatants and cannot be targeted by ground troops, artillery or air, until the shooting team makes a skill test prior to shooting...sort of like a free "Eyes and Ears" roll before the Local Force unit can be shot.  This helps to delaying any Morale Tests you might have to take.  Add to that, the “Charlie Owns the Night” rule that can make all Meeting Engagement missions a Night Fight.  This gives you a +1 concealment bonus, which makes you as hard to hit as Veteran units in daylight.  Both of these should allow you to get in close!

A Bo Binh Company is a little bigger and can have an AK Command, 3 LMGs, 12 AK, and 9 RPG teams for 505 points, whereas a full up Local Force Company only has an AK Command, 1 LMG, 1 60mm Mortar, 12 AK and 3 RPG teams for 360 points.  That lower cost is going to help you field more and still lay down a significant punch
Grand Strategy

The rule here is to maximize your stealth.  The Local Force special rule making your teams “disguised Teams” is perfect…use it.  Also use “Charlie Owns The Night” to make the Meeting Engagement missions a night fight.  These should allow you to get in close…half of the ‘Nam missions are Meeting Engagements after all.

Add to this, use the tricks of the Local Resistance teams to guide your Reserves as close as possible to the enemy.

Guiding Reserves:

“In the Nationalist player’s Starting Step, instead of Rolling for Reserves, the Nationalist player may make one attempt (regardless of the number of Resistance teams available) to Guide Reserves. To do so, select a Resistance team and roll a die.
On a 4+, replace the Resistance team with the Command team of a Địa Phương Quân (Local Force) Company and the rest of the company immediately appears from Guerrilla Reserves (with the usual restrictions on distance from enemy teams) so that they are In Command. Any teams that cannot meet these restrictions are removed. 
Otherwise, the Resistance Team’s efforts were too obvious and it is Destroyed before it can guide the reserves into place.”   (The People’s Liberators Official Briefing)

Don’t forget to use the Local Resistance Team’s ability to move the objective away from the Free World player and into a position favorable to you

Moving Objectives:

At the end of their Starting Step the Nationalist player may make one attempt (regardless of the number of Resistance teams available) to Move an Objective (other than the LZ Objective selected by the Free World player, see page 107). To do so, select a Resistance team within 8”/20cm of the Objective and roll a die.
On a roll of 4+, the Objective is moved to the location of the selected Resistance team, and the Resistance team is removed. 
Otherwise, the Resistance team is caught in the act and Destroyed before it can move the Objective. 
Once moved, an Objective cannot be moved again (The People’s Liberators Official Briefing)
HMG Nests, Booby Traps, and Minefields are a must and their hidden nature fits right in with the tricksy nature of the list

The Dac Cong’s (Special Task) Company screams STEALTH (well not scream…that wouldn’t be stealthy at all…whispers emphatically maybe?) Its their unique special rule of “One Slow, 4 Quick” that makes them unique and lets them get in real close and crack open the enemy’s defences for the rest of your force to flow through.  First of all, it gives them Recce and get all those special rules…but WAIT!  It also lets them get to within 2” away from all teams instead of the normal 16” when using their Rcon movement in Darkness or at Dawn.  Add to this that they also get Guerilla Reserves…some more stealthy goodness.  Sadly they don’t get “Born in the North to Die in the South” so they wont be coming back once they die…but if used properly, you wont need them to come back.  Oh, and did I mention they also get a form of “Mission Tactics” and can replace killed Platoon Command teams…well they can.  Oh yeah I like this unit.

Even the artillery options are stealthy as only the observer is on the table and these guys hit hard (AT 4 and FP 2+).  Use them to do what artillery does the enemy and pound dug-in units!!!!

Against armor, maximize your AT assets and use booby traps and minefields to funnel those foul creations called "Tanks" and "APCs" to their death.
Locally, we have been doing a slow grow with our Nam forces.  We started with 1000 point lists with a goal to field 1500 points (and maybe more…it’s a sickness I know).  We have played at 1000 points and look to play 1200 and 1500 points in the future.

So….what does a Local Force Battalion look like at these point levels (I apologize, but since this isn't in EasyArmy yet, I have to do this the old fashioned way):

1000 Points:

1200 Points: 

1500 Points:
Take the 57mm Recoilless Guns as the 4th platoon under the CiC

I am painting like mad to get my Tieu Doan Dia Phuong Quan (Local Forces) Battalion done and ready and on the table. I think they are a viable force and their tricks will give a Free World player no end of trouble. Against armor, the RPGs and Recoilless Guns become key…you don’t have as many as the Bo Binh do, but your have your tricks…booby traps and minefields to help funnel them to your guns…and artillery to hit them if they stay still.  Now its your turn….am I off my rocker?  Let me know as we continue our discussion in the WWPD.

SonBae (AKA Jeff Flint) is a long time gamer and painter and runs a blog at Journey Back To The Table where he posts photos of his work, reviews, BatReps and the “Painting Miniatures Declassified” modeling and painting tutorials.

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