Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Force on Force battle report - Hue 1968

White die tracks hits on the squad.
So we finally got the ball rolling on our Hue mini campaign this week. The first scenario is a fictional one based on an assault by US Marines across the Dong Ba canal in Hue in February 1968. This is actually loosely adapted from a fire fight involving different Marines, in a different war (Iraq, 2003), but I've pasted it into Vietnam and it seems to work well.

I took command of the Marine platoon with Kelvin taking the Viet Cong. The communists were highly motivated (d12 morale) and dug in on the opposite side of the canal, and in ambush positions with pre-registered medium mortars. Nasty.

For this engagement we are using Force on Force from Osprey, with some of the special rules from Ambush Valley, their Vietnam War supplement. The Marines have 10 turns to get across the canal bridge, which has been damaged by VC sappers, while keeping American losses to less than 10% killed or seriously wounded.

The Marines entered by squads with an additional support team carrying an M60 'pig' LMG. They also had a Huey 'slick' gunship on call. Problems started early as the VC decided to open up as soon as they sighted targets moving among the buildings. One US squad took some light wounds (see pic above) and sought refuge in a house while another was forced to evacuate a building they were moving through as it caught fire.

First squad moving up, shortly before they took heavy fire from the VC.

Looking at the evolving tactical situation, I moved my CO to a good position overlooking the canal where I could put his squad on overwatch, and where he could relay instructions to the helicopter. This is ALWAYS a good tactic in Force on Force as it lets you put down fire all over the field. Problem is, you can end up an obvious target if not careful. Still, he's in a good observation position for the time being.

The chopper flew off-station to assist other units for one turn, which was a pain (this is a mechanic called Fog of War in the game which seeks to reproduce the chaos of the modern battlefield). When it returned, the VC unit my CO spotted took the opportunity to go hide in a house so the Huey buzzed the canal before circling around again. Luckily, on the other side of the water, Kelvin's forward observer (FO) was having problems with his cheap Chinese radio and could not get his mortar battery to respond.

Blue bead represents a pre-registered VC barrage point.

To take the bridge I realised the Marines were going to have to bite the bullet and get across that canal in the face of a torrent of enemy fire, which was not going to be comfortable. This involved charging down an alley and over the bridge into the face of an entrenched enemy position.

Bridge assault begins!
The first squad to get into position took fire and had one soldier killed and another seriously wounded. A second squad took over.

Plenty of US fire was now focusing on the VC in positions on the other side of the river and that hail of bullets was beginning to make a difference, especially once the M60 team (5d8) set up on a roof and started blazing away.

The first squad onto the bridge was pinned down halfway over with RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) hitting the bridge from two sides. One Marine went down seriously wounded. My corpsman didn't fancy his chances out on the bridge. My sergeant is now leading a second unit onto the bridge as the gunship comes around for another pass.

We are five turns into the 10 turn game. The Marines need to establish and hold a position on the other side of the bridge by turn 10 to win. They have taken three serious casualties so far, although a number of other soldiers have taken light wounds. I'm hoping that my gunship will get a chance to bring some heat in the next session and that those communist mortars keep quiet. All to play for.

1 comment:

  1. It could go either way, but I do think the US marines' superior resilience is beginning to show; one of my units has been wiped out, another is down to one man, and those mortars just won't fire!