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"Two Brothers Fight #3" Topic

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Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2021 9:37 p.m. PST


1330 Local Time
4 November 1965
Tra Bong River, 10 miles south of Chu Lai, RVN
Operation Black Ferret

Yesterday the boys were trucked down Route 1 and dropped about ten miles south of Chu Lai Airbase, near the Song Tra Bong (Tra Bong River). There they were attached to 1st Bn, 7th Marines (1/7), for the duration of the operation, pushing southwest along the river with 3/7 on their right and the ARVN 4th Infantry Regiment on their left, across the river. Intel had said a Viet Cong battalion-sized base camp was located in the area, but the boys had walked all day long and hadn't seen anything. As usual, about an hour before sunset the sweep halted and the Marines dug in to their night defensive positions and ate their evening chow. The boys spent a long, uneventful night, including being out together for a couple hours on OP/LP. The next morning the Marines got up, pissed and brushed their teeth, ate morning chow, stomped in their holes, and set off in search of the Viet Cong again.

They've been walking all day so far, lots of stopping to search for VC/munitions, but so far nothing and no contact. They've crossed numerous tributaries of the Tra Bong River, and now they find themselves coming to another, with a village nestled against. Lt Ward called a halt and for his squad leaders. He explained that 1st Squad was going to circle around to the south of the village to isolate it, 2nd Squad was going to head straight in to search it, and 3rd Squad was going to cut north to search some sampans beached nearby, make sure they're not hiding any enemy soldiers or contraband.


North is up, the US entry is in the southwest (bottom left). The fishing village is located in the southeast (bottom right; that's just the northern tip, it is much larger to the south/southeast, off map, and that is what 2nd Squad is going into and 1st Squad is going south of). In the northeast (top right) is a tributary of the Tra Bong River, where the three sampans to be searched are located. In the northwest (top left) is a slight rise/ridgeline, and their is a hardball road running east into the village and north to the next village. The center is dominated by rice paddies offering very little cover, and the landscape is dotted by a few patches of dense jungle.


The Marines fan out into skirmish line and begin crossing the rice paddies to search the sampans.


When a Viet Cong sniper (bottom left) opens fire on them!


Devers grabs Griffin and gets on the radio: "we're pinned down by two snipers, Echo Four Lima is down, we need air or arty, pronto!" The Platoon Commander says he's working on it, but probably going to be awhile as they're in contact, too.


The Marines pinned in the rice paddies raise up and return fire on the VC on the north side of the river.


As Nik gets the M-60 going (bottom right), engaging the sniper in the northwest (top left).

To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:

Next up, the squad is kicking off Operation Blue Marlin, coming soon.


Bismarck18 Jan 2021 9:45 a.m. PST

Jack, this one was a nail biter! Your scenario, table and AAR
surpassed the first one. Still say this reads like a novel instead of an after game AAR. This would have been great to play. Still say Wolf's KS idea isn't far off the mark. I remember the old Dragonlance trilogy was based on D&D games.

Interesting how your Tra Bong river seems similar to Song Thu Bon and that island reminiscent of either Go Noi or Football island. :-)

This is just great. Wonderful work. Please keep sharing them with us.


Wolfhag18 Jan 2021 1:43 p.m. PST

Think about it – an excellent and immersive storyline, in-depth character development, historic tactics and weapons systems, nail-biting scenarios, and the eye candy illustrations using miniatures and terrain. It's the best of a novel and comic book. This could be a new genre of publications. You don't need a whole novel. Each scenario is done somewhat like a classy magazine/comic book format for easy and fun reading. You have a gift Jack, you can't ignore it.

You could use a Print on Demand company for fulfillment so you don't have to worry about the sales and shipping end with minimum investment. I'd be glad to introduce you to a good friend of mine with a successful 30+ years of historical magazine publishing, war game publishing and multiple successful KS projects. He'll make sure you don't make the mistakes others do. You'll be able to collaborate with one of the top war game graphic designers too.

Graphic novels are big right now. Check out some successful KS ones: link

In addition, you have direct personal experience and credibility to author something like this, not many people can make that claim. I think it's worth checking into.

I'm sure there are other ways to do it. This is a start.

Semper Fi,

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2021 7:44 p.m. PST

Sam and Wolf,

Thanks guys, I greatly appreciate the kind words and support. I'm so glad to hear you guys are enjoying the batreps, I love your enthusiasm, but I don't know about the graphic novel stuff, I'm just playing the games and having a good time. I'm just focused on getting these 24 fights written up and posted, and getting the stuff for their second tour ready. And as much as you guys are enjoying these, I can tell you there doesn't appear to be many folks reading them.

Regarding the Song Tra Bong, it's a real river in Quang Ngai Province. I'm familiar with Go Noi Island, but not Song Thu Bon or Football Island, I'll have to do some reading on that. Lots of reading to do, actually, and the green Marines in Vietnam books have been a tremendous help. I read "Magnificent Bastards/Battle of Dai Do a couple years ago and want to game it, but I think the boys will be with 3rd Recon during that time (as a side note, my last float, back in 2003, was with BLT 2/4), and I read Operation Buffalo awhile back, really need to re-read that again (as a side note, the book mentions an incident where 1st Lt Libutti pulls his sidearm to stop a tank from retreating; there was an NCO call in 1999 where I ended up next to General Libutti in the club on Camp Hansen. He was quite surprised when I asked him if the book was accurate, and he didn't answer).

And you guys may be in luck this week: my sons and I didn't play another Battle of the Bulge game, so I may end up posting another of these batreps Thursday.


Wolfhag18 Jan 2021 8:28 p.m. PST


Some other good books are "Don't Bunch Up"

and "Force Recon Command, 3rd Force Recon" is excellent:

Here is a link to the 1:50000 topo maps the Marines used in VN. You could pick one for the scenario AO and then check off patrol routes, battles, engagements, etc. This is what I'll be using for my Marine Firebase role-playing operational game.

Good luck,

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP19 Jan 2021 8:16 a.m. PST

Thanks for the link to the maps, and the book recommendations. I was just looking at the Force Recon book on Amazon the other day, hadn't heard of "Don't Bunch Up" before.

If you're familiar with the books "Force Recon Diary 1969" and then "…1970," I actually met Doc Norton and got to speak to him quite a bit. During Mess and Maintenance Week in Boot Camp I was assigned to work at the Marine Corps Museum at MCRD San Diego. I'd clean up in the morning, polish the cannon, and mostly had afternoon's free, where sometimes I'd get to go listen to Doc Norton tell sea stories ;)


Wolfhag19 Jan 2021 10:25 a.m. PST

I live about 30 miles from the Marine Memorial Hotel in SF. They have many functions throughout the year. My son and I had the opportunity to meet Sgt Major Bradley Kassel who signed his book for me, Cpl Kyle Carpenter and Chuck Tatum that was with John Basilone on Iwo Jima and many other Iwo and Okinawa vets. I also met Jim Swett and Jeff DeBlanc Guadalcanal MOH aviators. Sadly, most WWII vets are not with us any longer. Someday people will be coming to functions to honor Vets like you Jack.


Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP19 Jan 2021 8:24 p.m. PST


That's awesome man, I would love to have talked to some of those WWII aviators. It just hit me that all the vets I've talked to were ground pounders, would have loved to talk to a Wildcat or Corsair pilot.


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