Saturday, 15 April 2017

Deep in the Jungles of Vietnam with the Men of Company B part 2

Venturing yet deeper into the jungles of Vietnam with RFCM wargames rules "Men of Company B".

Continuing on from last post, this second part tells of the fate of our intrepid American platoon commander; leading his men on a search-and-destroy mission through the hamlets that make up the village of "Nha Lam Bang Go" [translates as: little wooden houses].

By now the  Americans, in spite of early successes - uncovering valuable supply caches - found themselves in the midst of firefights that slowed progress further up the valley.

Faced with Dense jungle, laced with the uncertainty of thickets of bamboo, between them and the next hamlet, First Squad proceeded to follow the trails through the jungle to skirt this obstacle. Carrying their prized cache of enemy radio equipment, they pressed on : risking booby traps in an effort to approach the next hamlet. But their run of good fortune abruptly ended and they were stranded among the trees and undergrowth.

Second Squad, still beset from all directions, focused their firepower to inflict casualties on the V.C. unit to their rear.
V.C. in the central hamlet, awaiting the approach of Second Squad (seen at the top of the picture), noted their movement along the jungle trails and opened fire; inflicting casualties. An attempt to add more fire resulted in "a fail" and the remaining V.C. were left with just one dice for actions.

Another unit of V.C., that had been waiting off table, came into the table and, following the footsteps of the American Platoon commander, moved to the nearest hamlet. There, they recruited local villagers and began to open fire on the Americans just outside the village.

3rd squad now joined the table from further up the valley and began by searching the nearest hamlet. As they advanced down the valley, they located "Victor Charlie" in the hamlet ahead and opened fire across the paddy fields; causing further casualties to this unit -already suffering from the earlier artillery strike and, as yet, unable to disappear "off table" to temporarily lick its wounds.

Still caught in the triangle of enemy fire, Second Squad moved aggressively forwards: attempting to assault the softened V.C. in their next target hamlet. Out on the road, however, they were caught in a crossfire and pinned down (by a "failed" result).

Disaster now befell the Americans: the V.C., converging in larger numbers on the village at the bottom end of the valley continued its firefight with the American platoon commander - both bases of which became casualties!

More V.C. approached from up the valley and now engaged 3rd squad in a fire fight from a second direction.

When the V.C. in the central hamlets broke off from their firefights and disappeared, 1st squad finally moved into their next hamlet objective; there to respond to the civilian casualties from the earlier Artillery strike.
With the platoon commander down, second squad, in spite of being pinned down in their exposed roadside position, managed to step up and found a leader to take charge once more.
Grouped in the middle of the valley, the Americans attempted to hold off V.C. attacks: seemingly from all around them. 3rd squad engaged the V.C. in the hamlet up the valley. In the exchange, they receive casualties of their own, but proceed to inflict a high body count on the enemy.
V.C. continued, however, to approach from all sides, pushing forwards through the hamlets and squads were in firefights up and down the valley.
Trying to coordinate some action from the platoon, the new leader struggled to call in fire support, in spite of the artillery liaison officer in the LOACH above the battle.

With the game clock running down, second squad advanced down the valley under fire to secure the dropped cache and the American casualties.

 The platoons new leader comes under intense fire and again, both bases are rendered casualties!

Yet more V.C converge on the battlefield: entering the table from further up the valley, keeping 3rd squad occupied. 1st squad is in its own firefight across the road
Second squad battles forward to secure the caches and the casualties, just outside the hamlet as the game ends.

Victory points amass for the Americans, thanks to the high proportion of  high value caches and the number of villages searched. The V.C. had many points for both the civilian and the white star casualties, but not enough to avoid a really good win for the Americans!

Well I think I got a good flavour of the game rules. The pace of the game got the better of me on  several occasions; with me missing many details and been unwittingly generous to both sides with their action dice.

I was happy with the look and feel of the game... plenty of jungle (maxed out!) and plenty of uncertainty - V.C. were able to both feed units to points all around the table and to disappear, then return from a different direction!

The tactical decisions are plentiful, but it will take me more attempts at play testing to get the hang of these! All in all I was more than happy to indulge a period of preparation for basing, model and terrain making. In a the mean time, the jungle is always out there!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Venturing into Vietnam with the Men of Company B

A return, for me, after a couple of decades, to 15mm Vietnam, courtesy of Peter Pig's latest version of their MoCB rules.
I had a go with Martin and Stewart at Alumwell Wargames show in March and succumbed, not too unwillingly, to the lure of another - intended to be small - project.

So with new terrain: jungle, dense jungle/bamboo, villages (with customary wooden hooches), paddy fields and some adjusted basing of my very old Nam figures, it was off to the boonies!

Some pictures follow of my first working through the rules...

The village of "Nha Lam Bang Go": a string of Hamlets along the valley, either side of the road.

The game pits five units of Vietnam Cong Guerrillas: each of up to 6 bases, against three squads of Americans and a platoon commander in a search and destroy mission

The village of "Nha Lam Bang Go": a string of Hamlets along the valley, either side of a small road.. A light, observation-and-command helicopter (LOACH) flies an Artillery liaison officer over the intended area of operations. Also in the air is a HUEY having just inserted the platoon.

The platoon prepare to leave the L.Z. and move off into the jungle.
Having picked their way across country, the Commander (on the road, sends his first two squads right and left into the nearest hamlets. The small stone - as yet unturned - shows that this village has not yet been searched for caches of supplies or weapons.

V.C. gather reinforcements from the villagers and head along the jungle trails to intercept.
Others occupy a hamlet and round up the villagers as potential recruits.

First squad, having found a strategically important cache of radio equipment, moves off through the jungle toward the next hamlet.

The platoon commander searches and finds a cache of weapons, and ponders whether to destroy these in place or carry them out to the pick up L.Z.

Second squad moves cautiously into the village, their search yields supplies of rice, that are destroyed in place. This takes longer than planned and the squad takes no further action.
The V.C. Converge on the hamlets further up the valley.

And wait to confront the advancing Americans.
The LOACH spots this target- rich environment but fails to heed the civilian peasants among  the hooches. Artillery lands as directed, and hammers the Vietnamese. The Americans, already notching up the victory points for caches, relish the V.C. casualties but are then struck by the horror of so many civilian bodies.

Second squad advancing through the jungle opens a firefight with V.C. in the hamlet.
The V.C. unit, now reduced to just two bases, disappears into the surrounding boonies, its casualties disappearing with it, but another, incoming unit comes to the hamlet ready to stand in the Americans' way.
As the Americans direct their attention to the contact to their front, another unit of V.C. emerge from the village to their rear and second squad is now in the midst of the firefight!

A seemingly simple search and destroy has now escalated to fierce fighting.... part two to follow!

Monday, 19 September 2016

Two Princes: Ancient Greek Saga

Using the saga "escort" scenario, this game had an Athenian Royal family, along with their bodyguards, as the precious cargo being escorted from the shrines.

civilian members of an Athenian Royal family, along with their bodyguards, in three groups
Haemon, Athenian Warlord had the job of protecting these precious celebrities. His force of six points had three points of Athenian Hoplites in to groups, two points of Peltasts in two groups and a point of missile armed Levys in one large group.
Ready to strike a decisive blow in the ongoing struggles between their nations was Spartan Warlord, Lebotas with six points to capture for ransom - or  kill - the Royal family:
his force had two points of Noble Fanatics in one, menacing group, two points of armoured, Noble Citizens in one group and two points - two groups of Warrior Citizens.

Seen from the Levy's position on the shrine hill, the Athenins edge forward into the temple valley; hoplites lead the way for the royal family, slit either side of a small wood.  Haemon, with his Peltasts, cover a small hill on the left flank.
Using their "composite bows"  the Levy shoot at long distance and cause casualties among the spartan warrior citizens
Crossing their path, Noble Spartan warriors emerge from the woods across the valley.
The Athenians Hoplites edge forward, hoping to establish a protective shield behind which the civilians could move forward...
As the Spartans advance the Peltasts shower them with Javelins, but to no avail...
When the armoured, noble Spartan warriors rush forward, the Peltasts are forced to fight for their lives; but their tenacity almost wins them the ground. They withdraw but leave Spartan bodies beside their own. 
the Spartans threaten to sell their lives more dearly and make an "Implacable Advance" to force the Athenian Holpites to give ground. This left a stubborn body guard to protect the now exposed royal family   
In the centre, the Spartan fanatics make a ferocious charge and almost annihilate the small, Athenian Hoplite shield wall. The one survivor retired to stand between them and the civilians.
Using "Phalanx" to increase their armour, the larger Athenian Hoplite group crash into the  flank of the Spartan fanatics killing half  without losses to their own: changing the balance of play.
Bloodied, the Spartans use their "Iron Constitution" to rally themselves and charge again with their utmost ferocity. In the ensuing slaughter, just two Athenians survive: their Spartan adversaries wiped out.
The Athenian Royal family's bodyguard stands firm against the now desperate onslaught of Spartan warriors and beast them off
Lebotas commands his Noble followers to force their way across the hill: pushing the Athenian Peltast back at heavy cost to both sides.
Haemon knows the fate of the Royal family stands atop the blade of a knife and gathering his few troops between them and the Spartans, pleads for them to run to the valley's far side. The Levy again use the longer range of their "Composite Bows" to clear Spartans from their path.
With "iron Constitution", Lebotas orders his last group of Spartan Warriors to rush along the valley to fall upon the civilians. As they close with their prey, the Athenian Hoplites dash to stand in their way and in the flurry of stabbing spears, the Spartans are forced to retire.
The Royal family flee
Spartans assail them as they run, but the bodyguards fight like tigers to fend off the attack.
At last, Lebotas himself unleashes his spite and brings his sword upon the women and children. 
Weeping for the fall of their family, the Athenian bodyguards are able to usher them beyond the reach of the Spartans.
Haemon had succeeded - but at woeful cost. his retainers' blood stained the valley floor alongside their Spartan foe