Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cold War Commander Vietnam: Operation Attleboro

Just finished a large Cold War Commander game featuring my 15mm Old Glory Vietnam figures that were painted back in 2007 (that's my excuse for their poor quality LOL!)

I randomly put terrain out and diced for the start-point (SP).  US Forces were tasked with seizing key terrain and clearing out VC weapons and supply caches to erode their capabilities in the "Tropic Lightning" Area of Operations.

US Forces approached on foot from the South with 1 platoon of M48 (90mm gun) in support.  The Task organization was as follows:
1st Battalion, 27th Infantry (Wolfhounds) (minus)
BN Hqs
Command Stand
Battalion Commander & FAO
Bravo Company, 1-27 INF MAIN EFFORT
4 Stands INF
1 SPT Stand (HMG)
BN Command would travel with B Company

3 Stands INF
1 SPT Stand (HMG)
M48 Platoon cross-attached
Roughly 1000 points.
B Company visible on the left would advance as far as the River and swing right, towards the orchard.

The plan was simple.  A Company would advance via the "highway" towards the bridge / orchard complex in the center of the map.  B Company would advance to the left of A Company as far as the river, then swing right and meet A Company, thus clearing the jungle.  

While B Company was slow to get going, A Company's armor and its 20cm movement sped off down the road without infantry support in hopes of securing the Bridge and the right side of the map prior to the end of the first turn.  The infantry, without any mechanized support, trudged on, using the road (first mistake) and were greeted by a horrifying VC ambush complete with automatic weapons, RPGs, and mortars.  
Ambush!  VC pop out of the rubble and engage the M48 Platoon with RPGs

VC ambuscade along the road.  These troops would engage the American infantry at point-blank range!

The M48 Platoon was close-assaulted and knocked out.   2 American infantry platoons are pinned down, suppressed, and have taken bad casualties (hits) on the road.  A very dangerous situation is developing on the American right flank...
Contact!  Troops!  East!

Another VC unit close assaults the stricken tank platoon.  Its infantry support is having problems of its own down the road...

The VC win the close assault.  The 2 American platoons down the road are fighting for their life on the end of turn 1

Bravo Company's movement to contact was not as eventful but the Battalion Commander was starting to lose his nerve.  Should they move to reinforce Alpha Company?  A Company didn't have alot of troops to begin with.  Their main purpose was to contact the enemy so B Company could swing in.  However the Jungle made progress slow.  To make matters worse, A Company could have used Artillery support, however the FAO was with B Company.  The targets for the "fast movers" were too close to initiate Close Air Support (CAS).
The VC move in for the kill during their command phase

The US platoons are forced back...but this may be their salvation!
The VC move in for a massive close assault to destroy Alpha Company on the road, flush with success from their victory against the impetuous yankee tank platoon.  They succeed in pushing back the American defenders but this is their doom - with the withdraw of the Americans from the road and a command failure, they open the way for a FAC to call in fast-movers and an F4 is orbiting at 11,000 feet waiting for the call!  Despite AA fire from a VC command post in the rubble, the Americans pull their "danger close" card and are saved from disaster as 2 VC platoons are virtually annihilated by aerial bombs and strafing attacks along the road.

B Company deploys

Contact!  An element of B Company spots the enemy

Meanwhile, on the left, action is heating up as a VC blocking force is destroyed in a firefight and B Company deploys.  While the FAO was supposed to engage with the Artillery, the tubes remain silent as B Company gains and maintains contact.  This wasn't part of the plan but B Company became decisively engaged and was forced to assault through.  They didn't have to wait long as they sprung the second VC ambush in the clearing on the map.  Things went wrong for the VC after this point however, as the Americans deployed smartly for both close combat and firefights with their platoons in mutually supporting positions. 

American units reach the knocked-out M48 platoon and the bridge literally on the last  successful command roll of the turn.  This is a minor American victory.

 The VC ambush was discovered and superior firepower of the US Stands literally saved the day as each VC assault element became suppressed prior to its close assault.  The VC force hit its breakpoint and B Company broke through to the orchard on the last turn, turn 8. 
Still however, with the destruction of the VC force opposing B Company, they kept rolling snake eyes for their breakpoint rolls and would not quit the battlefield.  With Alpha Company pulled back into the jungle south of its contact point, they provided a base of fire while Bravo Company swept through the orchard and reached the bridge.  The remaining VC elements called it quits at this point.

Learning Points from the Battle:
CWC, as always, is a great system.  I think it's realistic and alot of fun.  While I had some questions and had to re-fight some close combats after re-reading the rules, it's still a winner with me.

Artillery & Supporting Arms:  I need to deploy the FAO closer to the front.  If you aren't shooting artillery EVERY TURN when you have it available, YOU'RE WRONG!  He serves absolutely no purpose at the Battalion Headquarters and it's a waste of assets if not used.  The original plan called for B Company to gain contact, then suppress with Artillery whilst maneuvering my infantry around for a close assault.

On the VC side, the plan was to lure the American units into well-defined kill sacs, which worked on the road but not as well in the jungle.  While they purchased 2 minefields also, these should have been placed within the kill sac originally but were never entered by US forces as they were north of the river...

Additionally, the VC only used their 82mm mortar once!  This is an outrage and luckily the NLF Field Force commander was killed during the battle or he would have faced a court martial.

Combined Arms Combined Arms Combined Arms!  The "impetuous" armor came as a result of its 20cm movement.  Remember, just because you CAN move twice as fast, doesn't necessarily mean that you SHOULD!  Large sprints may work in NOrth Africa, the Sinai or Fulda, but they don't work in the jungle.  The Armor was there to assist and protect the infantry, eliminate strong points, and draw enemy fire, not to roll onto the objective without any infantry support.  Tanks get chewed up in this game without their "crunchies" having their backs :)

Close Air Support & AAA:  Money well spent.  I would purchase these assets again in a second.  That being said, the VC player should have purchased a AAA unit to supplement his ground defense as well as protect his troops. I had plenty of points to buy a 23mm cannon and should have done so.

Do I even have to mention the intelligence of moving my forces down a road, single file, in Vietnam?  :)  

Great game and I was surprised at the outcome.  I thought for sure that the Americans would have been wiped out but there was a dramatic reversal of fortunes after the F4 Phantom strike.  Hoping the next time I play CWC it will be a modern-Iraq or Afghanistan game.  This was lots of fun and a great way to spend half of my day off!  HUZZAH!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Finally got an opportunity to get in a quick series of CROSSFIRE-VIETNAM games.  My first, even though I've owned Vietnam Minis for years.  I played a quick game in 15mm and then a game with my neat-looking 20mm Italeri guys.
US Squad Attempting to Cross the Road to flank the Church

From the 20mm Game, US Platoon moves out towards known VC positions

Although the single soldier bases represented fire-teams, I think they came off rather well and the game was fun and also slightly aesthetically pleasing as well.  Also - scenery is Pet Store Aquarium foliage.  I think it makes nice jungle.  the Palm trees are too expensive to fill up a table.
Sergeant Salisbury screams at his team "Get your asses up into that  brush NOW!"

Scenario:  Alpha Company, 1st Battalion 27th Infantry Regiment (Wolfhounds) and hard fighting during Operations Attleboro as the US Army and its allies attempt to drive Charlie out of his safe-havens and destroy almost a division's worth of stockpiled supplies.

This scenario saw first A Company in 15mm (stands represent squads) and then 1st Platoon, A Company (figures represent fire teams) attempt to take a destroyed church or plantation building or whatever.  The VC are expecting them and mount a hasty defense to deny the area to the US Army.  In the first scenario they pay the price!  Second scenario, US loses 1 fireteam knocked out and that's about it.  The rest are suppressions and pins that are easily remedied.

There is also some heavy metal mixed in for sport.  Enjoy.  Huzzah!
Heavy Metal
US Platoon enters the brush. Platoon leader is chatting away on the radio in the background. 

First Squad fans out to the left.

US Squad occupies the Church and finds the VC main force commander in the open!

US Forces quickly come under fire but the church bricks and rubble offer decent protection from small arms fire and they come out unscathed.

From the 15mm game, US Forces attempt the road crossing to assault the VC element.  Those 2 red dice with "6's" on them are bad news!
Towards the end of the 20mm game, the US Reserve Squad emerges from the orchard next to the church and  flanks the remaining VC elements.

Final Combat!

US Platoon Leader along with an M60 section, M79 Section and a rifleteam.  All this for a Platoon Leader!? 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a happy Saint Stephen's Day to you!

Ours was great and while I am working on my feast day, I am fiendishly planning future hobby endeavors and games...

While the AWI Project is still at about 80% and almost done, the US Modern Infantry in 1:72 scale is picking up steam for Iraq and Afghan Skirmish Games.  I received lots of beautiful gifts from family to include 3 boxes of Caesar Miniatures Modern 1:72 Scale Troops:

US Elite Infantry: Outstanding because the "elite" guys have all the SAW Gunners and M203 Gunners to round out my Fireteams and weapons sections!  I can modify some of them to wear pro-tec helmets and become instant "Tier 1" SOF guys for daring, mountain-top raids in Afghanistan, or prisoner "snatch and grabs" in Iraq.

Modern British Infantry:  Perfect for Southern Iraq and Helmand Province Skirmish games against the Muhj and Badr Corps!

Israeli Defence Force Infanty:  Need I say more?  They will be used patrolling the contentious Bekaa Valley against PLO fighters!

I am also working on my 15mm WWII Crossfire US Forces and German Forces as well as my 15mm Vietnam forces for modern crossfire.  Lots of hobby and life stuff going on to keep me busy.  Huzzah! 

May you all keep Christmas and its true meaning in your hearts!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

US Rifle Squad, 4th Infantry Division, 1944

Finished a US Rifle Squad for Crossfire recently.  I wanted to post the results!  Troops are Battlefront and Old Glory.  Painting up Allied WWII Troops is usually a fairly quiet and lucrative affair as there is a universal assortment of colors.  Much quicker than my Germans!  Just not as quick as my Russians.  I wonder if that says something about national philosophy?

Anyways, I am painting these units up for Crossfire however they will work for almost any WWII game I currently have rules for to include Blitzkrieg Commander, Command Decision, Spearhead, and GHQ's WWII MicroArmour The Game.  Luckily I have a ton of troops both painted and unpainted so logistics is not a problem!

One thing I'd like to do is play the same scenario with all of the different rules systems I have and see which ones play out differently, then post the analysis on this blog.  I will play the Scenario highlighted on the Blitzkrieg Commander "download"s section entitled "If you go down to the woods today" however I'll name it after one of my FAVORITE Squad Leader scenarios entitled "GERMANS IN THE WOODS"

The Scenario is infantry heavy and simulates a German infantry assault with armor support to seize a village that serves, operationally anyways, as the shoulder of a thrust during the Battle of the Bulge.  The Americans have 9 Infantry Stands (platoons) and the Germans field a total of 11.  The Americans have a handful of tank destroyer platoons available as do the Germans.  Should be a good time as the scenario is fairly balanced giving either side a chance for victory and is heavily dependent upon the arrival of reinforcements.  This game would be suitable for literally any time period as well from horse and musket up to ultra modern and sci fi.

The cool thing is, I'm going to paint up some of my units in snow camo (ie white painted helmets and sheets).  that will make for a fun time, I think.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Progress Pictures: Battle of Hubbardton Project

Hello Everyone,
Lots of pictures coming as I finally got around to snapping some pics of the new Hubbardton (Saratoga Campaign) troops.  Troops are mostly Musket Miniatures with a splash of Minifigs thrown in for good measure.

I apologize for the dubious quality of the pics.  I tried to keep the quality at a low resolution so these wouldn't take up much space and also would be quick to upload.

Only troops missing are the British Lights and Hessians.  All the Continental Forces are complete for this engagement!  Huzzah!
British Combined Grenadier Battalion #1, Saratoga Campaign

Combined Grenadier Battalion #1, Saratoga Campaign

British 24th Foot Marching

British 24th Foot (South Wales Borderers)

2nd NH Line

2nd NH Colors

A minifigs trooper of the 2nd NH Infantry

11th Mass Infantry

11th Mass Infantry ca 1777

Green Mountain Boys Right Flank

Green Mountain Boys

The officers

Major Acland (British Army) and Colonel Nathan Hale (New Hampshire)

Colonel Ebeneezer Francis and Colonel Seth Warner

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Progress Update

There always seems to be ten million things to do.  I have not had much time to paint lately, but when I have painted something, it's been a unit from the AWI Battle of Hubbardton Project.  I am pleased to report the following readiness status:

British Forces:
Grenadier Battalion is Complete
24th Foot is Complete
Major Acland is Complete

American Forces:
2nd New Hampshire Infantry is Complete with Colors
11th Massachusetts Infantry is Complete with Colors
Colonel Nathan Hale is complete.
Colonel Ebeneezer Francis is Complete.

Green Mountain Boys are 65% complete!!!  (very excited)
British Light Infantry Battalion is prepped and ready for their first slab of paint.
Brigadier General Simon Fraser is prepped and ready for his uniform

Still need to paint up:
Indian Scouts
Loyalist Scouts / Canadian Sharpshooters