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"Two Brothers Fight #18" Topic


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Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2021 8:50 p.m. PST

All,

1045 Local Time
19 June 1966
5 Miles North of Phu Bai Combat Base, Thua Thien Province, RVN
Operation Dodge

Nikki and Danny were having a rough time, their first time back out in the field after being hit during Operation Utah, their bodies weak after their extended recuperation period. But here they were again, humping the bush for the past two days after having trucked up north of Phu Bai from Da Nang. Attached to 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment (2/4), the whole battalion had been scouring the area of operations without even a hint of the enemy, but that was all about to change. 2/4 was approaching a cluster of hamlets along the coast (dammit, I was supposed to use my beach mat, with dunes, but I was in a hurry and forgot!) and began fanning out to try and get in as quickly as possible, hoping to catch the Viet Cong before they'd made their escape. But the VC were crafty, had long played this game along the "Street Without Joy," and were already evacuating, leaving behind only a handful of fighters to harass the advancing Marines. And, or course, the squad was about to run into one such group of stay behinds.

Sergeant Little called a halt and motioned for his fireteam leaders to join him, briefing them on the situation. "So the El-tee wants us to split off to the northeast, so we are on the far left, there are no friendlies to our left. As usual, battalion wants us to rush in to catch Charlie before he dee-dees* outta the area, but we all know how that goes, so let's stay frosty and take our time on this." "Roger," replied Corporal Nelson. Sgt Little gave Cpl Nelson a furtive glance and murmured "I'm sorry brother, if there was anything I could do, I would…" "I know, Rob, and it's okay. Don't you jokers sweat me, I'm two days and a wake-up, I'll be back in the World in no time," replied Cpl Nelson. "No, it ain't alright," Nik erupted, "I can't believe battalion's got Rock out here humpin' with only days left in country! This is bull@#$%!!!" "Alright, alright, calm down, and get your @#$% together, we got a job to do, now move out!"

*"Dee-dees" is a bastardization of "di-di mau," which is Vietnamese for 'leave,' or something to that effect.

picture

Overview, north is up. The area is nice and flat, the river running from northwest (top left) to southeast (bottom right), with small villages dotting the area (top left, bottom left, top right, and far right), a hardball road running north-south west of the river (left), rice paddies dominating the north and northeast, and heavy foliage scattered throughout.

picture

The initial set up: Sgt Little and Nik's 3rd Fireteam search a ville (bottom center) as Cpl Nelson's 1st Fireteam (bottom right) and Danny's 2nd Fireteam (left center) pull security.

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The Marines warily cross the river.

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Where they set about searching the next hamlet.

picture

Nik (far right) takes a puff on his cigarette and tosses another stone at Danny (left) as 1st Fireteam completes its search an steps off (top left) for the next village.

picture

But the enemy is out there and about to act…

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And the VC (bottom center right) trigger the ambush, cutting loose with a long burst from the RPD at Cpl Nelson's 1st Fireteam (top left, with Danny's 2nd Fireteam at top right)!

picture

Once again things get bleak for the beleaguered Marines.

To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
link

Next fight coming soon.

V/R,
Jack

Bismarck31 Mar 2021 12:46 p.m. PST

Jack,
This was so representative of search and clear operations
just inland in Thua Thien against Viet delaying tactics.
Again, your terrain almost stole the show. Glad to see
palm trees that were much more common near the coastline. The whole table was a work of art!

Both your last two stories showed how that just a few well
placed NVA or VC could hold up and be some hard fought
opposition to even superior forces. Coupled with some
actual photos, this one definitely showed what it was like
eating the mud. Still say these would make a great short
novel. The Marines' dialogue is spot on.

Another great yarn. Still hard to believe these have been
solo game AARs. Now, I am definitely looking forward to
the squad's participation in Operation Hastings. Not to
mention how you portray the DMZ.

thanks again Jack!

Sam

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP01 Apr 2021 7:29 a.m. PST

Sam,

Damn man, thanks, high praise indeed coming from someone that was there. I suppose it just kinda proves the similarities of our wars… And glad the terrain is fitting; you won't see any palm trees where we're going for Hastings.

I've been quite pleased with how the tabletop fights have turned out; out of the entire 24-fight first tour there was only one that didn't feel right to me (still ahead of us). Regarding this fight, I was just happy to see Nelson make it outta there alive ;)

I'll admit I have no idea if it made sense for him to still be in the bush with only days left on his tour, and then for him to be pulled out in the middle of an op. For me personally, I'm Afghanistan I was on an individual rotation and was still doing stuff in the local area in the morning before I caught my flight out that afternoon, while in Iraq I was on a unit rotation and the whole battalion got pulled out of the field with about ten days left. Showers, hot chow, and by this time searches of your gear for contraband and talks with the headshrinkers about not killing your wife when you got home and such…

In any case, I appreciate talking to you Sam, and I'm glad you're enjoying these, they've been a lot of fun for me. More coming soon.

V/R,
Jack

Bismarck01 Apr 2021 12:10 p.m. PST

Jack,
From an old man, I think what you and your fellow Iraq and
Afghanistan veterans endured was in so, so many ways worse
than Vietnam. Kinda wondered how you were looking at and reacting to these scenarios. Different war, but so close. Time will heal some, but even in games, that feeling will sometimes hit out of nowhere, bring back memories, good and bad. That has to be an experience felt by every modern and WWII skirmish gamer whoever served in a war.

This isolation has probably intensified or made those old
feelings more frequent. I too have enjoyed talking through
these. It has been a catharsis and remembrance. Jack, for
these I will always be more grateful than you will ever know.

Thank you for this campaign and the homage you have paid to
all our brother Marines who were there.

Semper Fidelis,

Sam

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2021 7:33 a.m. PST

Sam,

"From an old man, I think what you and your fellow Iraq and
Afghanistan veterans endured was in so, so many ways worse
than Vietnam."
I dunno, the more I think about it the more it seems pretty much the same, certainly at battalion level and below. No way could I say we had it any worse; our body armor, comms, imagery, we had a lot of advantages. But still all came down to walking (or driving) around until you got shot at since you couldn't tell who the bad guys were until they started shooting at you…

In terms of how this campaign has been going for me, the games themselves are just pure toy soldiers, very little thinking or pondering ;) It's not until I'm writing them up, injecting dialogue and writing explanations for why things went the way they did, do I start actually thinking about stuff. And yeah, I figure it's probably pretty universal.

And you're absolutely right, Sam, writing these has definitely been cathartic for me, a very unexpected outlet. It makes perfect sense, I'd just never really thought of wargaming in those terms… So I'm very happy to be doing this, and sharing it with everyone, and for the discussions that have come about as a result.

This concept really was meant as an homage to the guys that served in Vietnam, funny how it's turned into having this side benefit for me, too ;)

V/R,
Jack

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