Saturday, May 9, 2015

Battlegroup: 'NAM! Air Assault Part One

I played the first 6 turns of a platoon-sized air assault in the I Corps Tactical Zone in Vietnam around 1969 timeframe using the Battlegroup series rules and some of my own modern modifications.

The American mission was to disembark the helicopters at their Landing Zone (LZ) and push to a large wooded area to search for NVA weapons caches.  The Americans were facing a reinforced company although they didn't know it at the time of their landing.  The NVA launched heavy attacks into the flank of the American advance and vicious firefights have broken out along the dirt roadway as an NVA platoon crashes into the advancing American platoon.
NVA Scout Section keeping an eye out for the "sky soldiers"
 The US player rolls "ok" and rolls a 4, or 2 full squads (4 fireteams) on the first go.  He opts to take 1 LMG section with those squads instead of the B team for some added firepower!
Meanwhile a UH-1C fires some 2.75" rockets into suspected enemy positions to "make it rain"  Cool picture!

The first slicks land

US troops on the LZ begin their advance off the LZ.  It seems to take forever and the men all have an inkling they're being watched...

Move out people!!

The chopper crew notices what looks like 2 people in the paddies.  They check it out and the NVA scouts open fire on the helo!  A fatal mistake!
  As US forces start out, they receive reports from the gunship of NVA scouts engaged on the opposite side of the road as well as some HMG fire from the woods to the north.  Not a good omen - that hilltop is where the US forces are headed!

NVA Air Defense section, a 12.7mm on a small hilltop opens fire on the Huey.  

Let's get in the war fellas!

NVA squad on the other side of the creek takes up ambush positions!
 The forces are building up on both sides now as NVA units move into their battle positions.  They never expected the Americans this far into the boonies!

US Forces fan out and begin the advance.  The squad on the far left is about to take fire from the rubble pile and the woods to the left of it!
 The NVA forces on the American side of the creek begin to engage the American forces now as their carefully timed ambush is sprung.  2 squads of NVA reinforcements are sprinting through the woods and jungle behind them to assist, along with some broken-down support weapons.  An entire platoon attack would certainly have been more dramatic!  But the NVA goes in with what they have on hand.
A squad full of NVA troops opens fire on the US troops across the road

2 Casualties later.  This fight is on!

NVA reinforcements.

The US troopers take up position in the treeline and engage the NVA.  It's a knife-fight and at this distance, it's hard to miss.  The squad's B Team is non-mission capable at this point.  Get that dustoff here now!
 The US comes out on top of this firefight but there's more NVA coming out of the woods.  This fight is just getting started!

THe US forces call for gunship support and a MG run gets 2 more NVA.

Another NVA squad moves into position for the attack!  An officer grabs his pistol and whistle and gives 2 sharp pips.  The squad reacts instantly and charges the Americans on the small hill.

Private Jones and Private Fenstermacher fire their M60 until the barrel glows red.

Their parent squad moves up to support.  There's no shortage of targets.

An NVA forward observer crawls up to the riverbank to call in battalion mortars.  The spotting round lands wild and unobserved!  Drat!  

remember that NVA AAA section?  Yes theyre still there.  They fire a wild burst at the Huey and clip him again, but still no real damage.

The remaining NVA on the American side of the creek form up for an assault!  

An NVA squad pops out of the treeline and sprints straight at the American squad in the palm grove.  

The NVA platoon pushes on through the rice paddies to assault the Americans

Meanwhile an American squad begins searching for caches in the woods.  "No joy here sir."

American forces push on and defeat the second and third wave of the NVA assault.  But there's still much work to do.

The American battle line


This hard core NVA fighter with the RPD would pass morale check after morale check and exact a heavy toll on the American M60 sections, eventually taking both out.  Jones and Fenstermacher would both receive posthumous Bronze Stars for their heroic defense of "the little hill"

The NVA bring up their platoon support weapon and try to pin down the Americans.  The first few shots go wild.

NVA squad preparing to ambush the Americans
Thoughts on Battlegroup: 'Nam

Well if you made it this far I congratulate you on your tenacity!  I love the Battlegroup family of rules and it's only fitting that I "shaped" it to play some of my favorite periods in history, like the Vietnam war, which I believe it is well suited for.  This game captured all the excitement and fast-movement that you'd expect from a stand up eyeball to eyeball battle during the Vietnam war.  The infantry rules from BGK handled themselves very well and while I was fearful of excessive casualties, the terrain saves really have mitigated excessive casualties.

That said, the human wave assaults from the NVA took a horrible toll on them and 1 platoon is already non-mission capable.  The next round will see the Americans  cross "the blue line" and attempt to locate and destroy those cache sites unless the NVA can stop them!  Tune in tomorrow!


  1. Looks like a really great game - some very cool pics there!

    Clearly the experiment is a success in that its a lot of fun. I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on mechanics and such for BG. I was thinking that we could tinker with the BR values to reflect the US/Allies reluctance for casualties and the NVA/VC indoctrination.
    Probably lots of room for a special rule or two as well - maybe "Broken Arrow" for US ability to get lots of airpower and "Jungle Expert" for the NVA/VC.

    1. "Front Towards Enemy" is another special rule I was thinking about for US forces in defensive positions, to reflect use of claymores etc

    2. Paul,
      Yes tons of fun. Very seamless integration with the period. I will post a full analysis when I complete the AAR but so far it's been successful IMHO.
      I actually gave the antagonists some interesting capabilities.

      The US player could call for artillery or gunships with any leader stand, representing the proliferation and quality of radios as well as training for calling for art'y.

      The NVA player moved 6" standard - and the ambush placement rule was another special capability the NVA fielded.

      Also the masters of camouflage and deception - the NVA could claim cover as 1 greater when in cover. That really made it tough to kill them!

      More coming! Stay tuned!

    3. I had not even thought about claymore mines yet! Good one, Paul. That will come when I try the "iron triangle" battles!

    4. Excellent report. I need to take a look at the Battlegroup rules...both for Nam and WWIII.

      (love the helicopter shots by the way)

    5. Reminds me - there was a copy of the 'Modern Battles' Strategy & Tactics style magazine that focused on Iron Triangle battles in '67 / '68. I have a copy - I'll see if would offer any campaign ideas.

    6. Thank you Darren. The Battlegroup 'Nam and REFORGER rules are a modification of Battlegroup Kursk of my own invention with some help from Paul OG and a local play-testing buddy. Battlegroup's ease of play and its malleability enabled me to make it "modern" without too much difficulty (and the armor and penetration values come straight from "Team Yankee" and/or "Sands of War" which I will use when I try out "Battlegroup: Sinai"! Battlegroup is actually one of my favorite games to play.

      Also - I did purchase "3rd Generation Warfare" recently. A game you highlighted on your blog. It holds some promise for me!

      The Iron Triangle battles in 67/68 are among my favorite battles of the war! Anything you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Wow! Gorgeous table and a really fine AAR. Very much looking forward to more.

    I agree that Battlegroup has terrific potential for gaming the Vietnam conflict. You have clearly done some serious homework!

    1. Thank you Peabody! It has been much fun so far and I am looking forward to more games in the modern setting. Battlegroup: REFORGER was very successful and I will continue to play it until Battlegroup: NORTHAG comes out in print! Stay tuned! Some action in the Sinai coming up next when the Vietnam stuff is over.