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"Two Brothers Fight #6" Topic


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Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP27 Jan 2021 8:33 p.m. PST

All,

1230 Local Time
10 December 1965
Que Son Valley, RVN
Operation Harvest Moon

While the boys were cavorting on Operations Red Snapper, Black Ferret, Blue Marlin I, and Blue Marlin II, the Viet Cong 1st Regiment had reconstituted itself, dodged various US/South Vietnamese sweeps, and concentrated in the Que Son Valley, which comprised the west end of the area of operations for Blue Marlin I. During Blue Marlin I, the Marines swept east of Route 1 and the ARVN swept west, extending their area of control out to Hiep Duc, where they established a Ruff-Puff base. The Marines pulled out on 12 November and pushed south, and that is when the 1st VC Regiment struck. On 17 November the ARVN base at Hiep Duc fell; the ARVN counterattacked the next day and by 19 November 1965 they had retaken Hiep Duc, killing 141 Viet Cong while losing 33 of their own.

The two counterattacking ARVN battalions were pulled on 20 November to go deal with another emergency; the security situation in the Que Son Valley immediately deteriorated. III MAF met with ARVN commanders and began planning a joint operation to neutralize Viet Cong forces in the Que Son Valley. US Marine forces would be 3/3 and 2/7, while the South Vietnamese would contribute the ARVN 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment, the 3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment, 1st Battalion, 6th Regiment, and the 11th Ranger Battalion.

Operation Harvest Moon kicked off on 9 December 1965, and it was a disaster right from the start. The Viet Cong launched attacks on the ARVN 1/5 and 1/6; the latter was repulsed, but the former overran the ARVN infantry and killed their regimental commander. The ARVN 11th Ranger Bn was also ambushed and lost over a third of its strength in less than an hour. The US Marine 3/3 was lifted in and set off to assist them but ran into a battalion-strength strength defensive position that cost the lives of 11 Marines before the VC withdrew. The boys had gotten their first helicopter ride, landing further west with 2/7, and walked all day without seeing anything or firing a shot.

Because things were going poorly, the US Marines committed 2/1, which attempted to land near Cam La, but the LZ was hot and the helos were shot up badly enough that only one rifle company (Fox Company) was landed and the remainder were put down in alternate LZs further west. The rest of the day was spent trying to link up and cost 20 more Marines killed in action (I would loved to have gamed this but I cannot find any H-34s in 15mm-1/100 scale… If someone can point me in the right direction I'd greatly appreciate it).

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Overview, north is up. The Marines are entering via the road at bottom center left, with the Song Ly Ly on their left flank and a couple hamlets on their right. The hamlets are separated by some rice paddies, and there are several more in the north end of the area. The squad is on the far left flank of the company, with the entire company on line (off camera to bottom right) extending to the southeast; one could argue the company should be in a bit more of a tactical stance, but they have a lot of ground to cover, a lot of areas to search, and so far they haven't run into any contact, despite what happened to the ARVN yesterday and what 2/1 was currently going through on their LZs at Cam La.

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The Marines search a hamlet for signs of the Viet Cong.

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The search complete, they move out to search the next one.

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The Marines (top left) come under heavy fire at from VC at point-blank range (bottom right)!

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As VC in the northwest (bottom left) launch a rocket at the Marines (top right, with the VC element that initiated the ambush at top left).

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Marines are dropping like flies (casualty figures at center and bottom left)! With the bulk of the squad falling back under heavy fire, only Corporal Zamora and Washington bottom left hold their ground and return fire!

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The squad is disintegrating under intense enemy pressure, but one Marine refuses to leave his wounded brothers in the line of fire, dashing through heavy fire to retrieve Deleon, saving his life…

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And helping the rest of the squad get its marbles back, at least enough to make an orderly withdrawal.

To see the actions that saw a squad member awarded the Navy Cross, please check the blog at:
link

Next fight coming soon.

V/R,
Jack

Bismarck28 Jan 2021 3:08 p.m. PST

Jack,
You were not kidding about an even "worse" nail biter. Great
details and gritty descriptions. This board looks more like a diorama than game terrain. Wonderful job. Vivid coverage of air support and the arclight.
As to draftees, I was going through staging and an old high school friend looked me up. He was drafted into the Corps and had just got Westpac orders. Scared to death he was headed to Vietnam. This was November '67.Reconnecting years later at a class reunion. He spent his entire overseas tour in Hawaii. We both got a good laugh.

Another great piece of work. Still say connecting these would make a great graphic novel. Keep 'em coming.
Semper Fi,
Sam

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP28 Jan 2021 6:54 p.m. PST

Sam,

This was one of my favorite fights, definitely one of the tougher ones. Lucky anyone got out of there in one piece!

And that is funny, drafted to go sit in Hawaii. That's one helluva break!

Thanks for the kind words, it's much appreciated, and maybe I'll check with Wolf about the graphic novel thing after we get through the first tour.

V/R,
Jack

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