Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Disposable Heroes Vietnam: Battle at Renegade Woods

This sounds like a fictitious battle however it actually happened.  I drew my inspiration for fighting this battle after the exploits of the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry (mechanized) in Vietnam during a part of larger Operation Toan Thang (3rd BDE, 25th Infantry Division).

This particular engagement saw a mech platoon advance to contact with 2 squads, a headquarters, and weapons section. The overall objective of the battle was to reach the "hardpoint building" and flush out enemy personnel while destroying weapons caches.

Well the NVA 271st Regiment / 9th VC & NVA Division was not just going to let them walk in un-opposed!
Battlefield.  Americans starting in the upper right corner.  The PAVN would remain behind the road for the most part with the exception of a scout team.
Things started off well enough for the Americans.  They took fire from an NVA scout team on the right flank and immediately suppressed and maneuvered against them in close combat.  It was a quick affair and the team was eliminated but not before an American GI was knocked out.  And all this while the vehicles and platoon HQs were still at the jumping off point.

After a few turns of "no joy" the US grunts mounted up in their tracks and moved out towards the road.
NVA Scouts moving out towards the Americans


US squad on left moves out towards the tree line
Meanwhile on the right, US Squad engages scout patrol...

resulting in the destruction of said patrol...

US M113 moves out

Grunts get fed up with the slow foot slogging through rice paddies and move out towards the road in their M113s

Squad on the US right is "Charlie Mike" towards the road way. They would hit heavy contact soon.
One of the things I love about Disposable Heroes is the flexibility it gives the players.  I was able, as the NVA player, to fire a devastating volley, and break contact into the jungle.  By doing this, the US squad on the right was drawn, eventually, across the road, and wiped out in a massive hand to hand melee.

The US Squad on the right advanced up to the road and was met by a large NVA fireteam.  They exchanged fire and the US player got the worst of it.  After 1 turn, the NVA beat feet and withdrew into the jungle...

Around the same time, the US M113s reached the road with the platoon headquarters, weapons section, RTO, and the right squad.  They were greeted by a hail of RPG fire, RPD fire, and AK fire...What a mess!

US Platoon Leader dismounts under heavy fire.

Headquarters section taking casualties from a dug-in RPD gunner...that Morale Modifier from the RPD is nasty!

US squad advancing to flank the trenchline that's giving the left platoon such a hard time...

and are greeted with a human wave counter attack next turn! Fanatical!

meanwhile the Platoon Leader's track is suffering from CSS...Cant See Sh*t
The RPD gunner lays on fire on the Americans in the kill zone...

Melee breaks out!

The US forces do the best they can but ultimately it's a game of numbers here...
US left squad dismounts and tries to suppress the NVA dug-in in the tree line. Meanwhile the M113 is acquiring with it's .50 caliber machine gun.  This baby is my new favorite system in Disposable Heroes...NEVER LEAVE THE FIREBASE WITHOUT ONE!

view behind the fanatical NVA charge.  

"heavily dug in" NVA troops.  They would be annihilated by the M113's .50 cal machine gun in 2 short turns... The RPG missed every time also.

US Platoon Leader and RTO move to the other side of the M113 to try and suppress the NVA and get away from that damned RPD gunner who has it in for them!!

Post melee carnage...

Holding the line

Holding the line
The game ended with a Pyrrhic victory for the Americans.  The NVA were pretty much wiped out (with a few aces up their sleeves) although they never did manage to get to the hardpoint building on the other end of the board.  The NVA Counter attack was deadly and I found a new tactic for Vietnam games!  Also i learned how mean the fifty caliber is in DH skirmish games.  Even with dug in troops, when they get hit - they die.
This all being said, the US lost an entire squad, half of the Platoon Headquarters, and wouldn't dare cross the road for fear of what might be on the other side.  So they hunkered down and waited for their relief to show up.  The NVA counter attack never materialized but both sides got a good wake up call - and so did this wargamer/blogger!


ON BOARD MACHINE GUNS:  mounted .50 Caliber Machine Guns are your platoon's weapon section - they range everywhere on the board and a hit pretty much equals a kill.  Wow.  I was stressing about that NVA squad in the treeline - not after 2 turns against the M113.

BREAKING CONTACT: If you're on the defensive, trade space for time and bleed the enemy.  It's a skirmish game, not the Fulda Gap.  Remember in Disposable Heroes you can fire and move or move and fire.  If you have the right weapons, fire a lethal burst at the enemy with AKs or M16s, then immediately break contact into cover.  The US player was not able to return fire at the NVA player numerous times from this sneaky little trick...

USE THE PERIOD RULES - I kept an SKS armed sniper in a "spider hole" waiting for the right opportunity to strike.  Unfortunately in all the chaos I forgot to use him but would have been a crappy day for the Americans if an NVA sniper popped up behind them and took one or two out...

USE YOUR RIDE: If you have transport, use it - better to get to the battlefield and dismount than to attrit yourself on the way there.

DONT BE TOO EAGER TO GET INTO COMBAT - ESPECIALLY WITH SMALL SECTIONS OR TEAMS: It could be that their whole purpose in life was to lure you into their boss's ambush.  Remember that.

All in all, what an awesome game.  I cannot wait to put together that M48 tank and try some more Disposable Heroes Action.  My only beef is that once you start controlling large units, it gets hard to remember all of the small rules and procedures when you're playing solo, but a Quick Reference Sheet mitigates that.  Great time and I can't wait to play again.  Huzzah!


  1. Very nice AAR, with beautiful photos!

    1. Thanks, Phil! I like to try to include alot of eye candy!

  2. Sounds excellent. I'm torn between DH and Ambush Valley for my Vietnam games.

    1. Thank you Stuart, I own both rules sets and I personally prefer DH over Ambush Alley for a couple reasons. Firstly, I like how DH is simple and you can learn it in about 15 minutes with minimal questions. Additionally I like the flexibility you have in your turns.

      AA has its advantages though, like minimal downtime and lots of action. Tough decision.

  3. interesting game you had there, the NVA was awsome in that hand to hand combat, just goes to show how useful a bayonet or knife can be... actually I guess the NVA would have had machetes or other more improvised melee weapons

    1. Thanks for commenting, Gowan. Yeah, the NVA had an ace up their sleeve - I kept a small squad for counter-attack and when that depleted US squad crossed the road into the jungle, I thought it was the perfect time to use them. I like the way Disposable Heroes handles its hand to hand combat - brutal but pretty realistic. Knives, grenades and anything else the combatants can get their hands on!

  4. Good AAR Steven, some great photos and narration. As usual a solid lessons learned outcome as well.

    1. Thanks, Paul. The eye candy is what keeps people coming back I hope!