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"Two Brothers Fight #24, 1st Tour Prologue and 2nd Tour Plan" Topic


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933 hits since 19 May 2021
©1994-2022 Bill Armintrout
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Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2021 2:24 p.m. PST

All,

Well, here we are, the final fight of the boys' first tour!

1330 Local Time
26 September 1966
Near Mo Duc, Quang Ngai Province, RVN
Operation Golden Fleece

When Sergeant Little walked into the squadbay and announced the Warning Order on 14 September 1966, only 22 days before the boys were set to rotate back to the States, neither Nikki nor Danny said a word. First, Danny didn't care, running ops was why he was in Vietnam, and though Nik was pissed, he knew better than to voice it in front of the junior Marines. And he knew it wouldn't change anything anyway. Danny had kept bringing up the idea of shipping over for another tour, and Nikki had kept ignoring it or pooh-poohing it.

But Rob could tell Nik wasn't happy, so he pitched it the same way the Lieutenant had to him: Operation Golden Fleece is set to be a piece of cake. Eleven days in the field, down south, with 1st Battalion, 7th Marines and the ARVN, providing security in some village called Mo Duc for the annual rice harvest, no sweat! The squad packed its gear and reported in to 1/7, trucking down south to Mo Duc, approximately 170 kilometers down the coast from Da Nang, which brought Nik much happiness, as it was about as far away from the DMZ as a Marine in I Corps could get!

The Marines hit the ground running on 16 September 1966, working closely with the ARVN and local villagers to clean out suspected Viet Cong weapons caches and safeguard the rice harvest. Even Danny had to admit this was much more fulfilling work than anything else they'd done since arriving in Vietnam. They'd arrived young and idealistic, helping the people of Vietnam by keeping them safe from Communism; things hadn't really worked out that way, and the villagers they interfaced with on a regular basis sure didn't seem to appreciate the American's presence. But this was different: here the Viet Cong actually had a history of coming in, stealing the rice, and pressing youngsters into service, and so the Marines, actually keeping the villagers from being mistreated by the VC, were finally finding a local population that was welcoming and actually helping them to root out the Viet Cong. The villagers were actually pointing out Viet Cong cadre members, as well as booby traps and weapons caches! The Marines, working closely with the ARVN, would then cordon off the area and politely conduct a search of the area, with no preparatory airstrikes or artillery barrages, rather than their normal 'Hammer and Anvil' tactics on Search and Destroy missions. Hell, the docs and dentists were even here giving vaccinations, setting broken bones, stitching up lacerations, and checking teeth! Several times Nik actually caught himself smiling; he was helping people, and they were making a real dent in the local Viet Cong forces and infrastructure. Over the past ten days the battalion had arrested over 100 suspected Viet Cong members, people the locals villagers had pointed out, and had uncovered hundreds of weapons and tons of ammunition and explosives.

But with all that success, the Marines had to know the Viet Cong weren't going to take it lying down. The squad was out, conducting a presence patrol in one of the nearby villages; this village had been a problem for a number of years now. The ARVN had originally wrested control of the area back from the VC in 1962 and installed a militia unit there (known as "Ruff-Puffs"), which had fortified the village with bunkers and trenches. But the VC had infiltrated the village, killed the village chief and Ruff-Puff commander, and demanded fealty. There was an uneasy peace for a bit, a truce between the two sides or, closer to the truth, an agreement by the Ruff-Puffs not to interfere with the Viet Cong, but the problem was that every now and again ARVN infantry would return to the area, and fighting would again break out. Under one of President Ky's Pacification initiatives, the village was relocated and the area left unoccupied, with regular ARVN operations to ensure it stayed that way. The last ARVN operation had been more than a year ago, and it had been very quiet, but this morning villagers in the closest village reported Viet Cong activity in the area. The squad was dispatched to investigate…

picture

Overview, north is up, and back to the tropical tables again! There is a creek visible in the northeast (top right), which is the direction the Marines will enter from, and the fortified, abandoned village is visible in the southwest (bottom left). There are slight rises in the northwest (top left) and southwest, more important for their dense foliage than their elevation, with more dense vegetation spread around the perimeter of an area dominated by open rice paddies. You can see the VC occupying the fortified village at bottom left, and the Marines have reached the creek at top right.

picture

Sergeant Little gets the squad to the river and then calls a halt, pulling a set of field glasses up to his eyes. "Damn, I don't like the looks of this at all; look at those brazen bastards, you can see'em running back and forth, and lots of'em, like a damn ant colony. Lamont, give me the RT."

Rob got on the radio with battalion, then was handed over to a FAC. Twenty minutes later the Marines were treated to a good old-fashioned barbecue…

picture

The Marines cross the creek…

picture

And fan out into skirmish line as they approach the village. "God bless, it's hot, little brother," complained Nik (far right). "You bet yer sweet ass it is," Danny smirked back. Sergeant Little jumped in: "Knock off the chit-chat, ladies, stay frosty," he demanded, when something caught his eye. "Hey, I got moov…"

picture

But before he could even finish the word, the heavy, oppressive, still air was disturbed by the 'pop' of a B-40 rocket being launched, coming straight in at the squad…

To see how the final fight of the boys' 1st tour turned out, please check the blog at:
link

If you'd like to see my thoughts on the first tour, and where we're headed for the second tour, please check the blog here:
link

More coming soon, but first I have some other wargaming business to attend to. I hope you enjoyed the boys' first tour as much as I did.

V/R,
Jack

Personal logo Cardinal Ximenez Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2021 5:50 p.m. PST

Well done, Jack.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2021 8:08 p.m. PST

Thanks Cardinal, I appreciate it.

V/R,
Jack

Bismarck26 May 2021 12:42 p.m. PST

Hey Jack!
Figured this last one would be a little less intense. Pretty
hairy way to end the guys tour. Perfect scenario to conclude this first tour. Like you, I enjoyed Operation Utah and the
first operations where you used FMAK. Did a perfect job of
combining the tightness and characters of the squad during
the various scenarios. Taking nothing away from AR-16, it
brought you up to platoon level, but still kept some of
the character interplay that worked so well with FMAK.

I will be looking forward to their second tour in a
Combined Action Platoon. Some of the old line grunts
used to refer to them as "boy scouts with guns". From
this last scenario, doesn't look like this is going to
be exactly light duty!

I was so in hopes that you would do a recap of this first tour as to casualties, wounds, awards and where the survivors wound up. You didn't disappoint! :-). Loved
the prologue teasing us with what to look forward to and
easing us into the next tour.

Jack, this was a tremendous effort, an incredible amount
of "bench work" with table design and terrain work. Not
to mention the time put in creating the characters,creating the scenarios and writing those fascinating AARs that read like novels. Your entwining actual history throughout the
campaign and each scenario was also no small feat.

I can't say enough how much I have enjoyed these. With the
pandemic, this has been my go to wargame fix. I think
looking back at my past posts, I have run out of superlatives. All I can say is OUTSTANDING(or words to
that effect! )Just needs a familiar profane adverb
placed between out and standing. :-)

Thank you Jack for all your great work and entertaining,
and suspenseful reading. Thanks mostly for sharing these
with us.

Sorry to be late again with this. Today is the first day
I have felt almost like a human being in over a month!

Semper Fidelis, brother

Sam

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP27 May 2021 8:41 p.m. PST

Sam,

First let me say it's good to hear from you, glad you're still kicking! Hopefully things are getting back to normal for you.

Regarding the campaign, it was a tremendous amount of fun for me, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I greatly appreciate your support, our discussions really helped to keep my motivation up to finish up the tour (24 fights is a lot, probably too many).

I was very happy with how my solo system and 5MAK performed; KR-16 was fun, but I continue my quest for the perfect rules, particularly at platoon level. I just picked up some of the "Fistful of Lead" offerings and am looking forward to getting them on the table.

Work continues on new troops and gear for the 2nd tour; I'm almost finished, but I've got some other projects I've got to get to first.

Thanks again Sam!

V/R,
Jack

Bismarck28 May 2021 5:34 a.m. PST

Would any of these other projects perhaps be WWII Pacific?
:-)

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2021 9:36 a.m. PST

Sam,

Absolutely it is ;)

Here's where I'm at:

Americans and Germans for the Bulge – Done, played a few games already
Americans and German FJ for Tunisia, Sicily, and Italy – Ready to go
British/Canadians and Germans for Normandy – Ready to go
Troops and Gear for Two Brothers 2nd Tour – Ready to go
Marines and Japanese for Guadalcanal – Close, maybe another two weeks of painting/basing
British Airborne – 75% there, hopefully by end of summer
Soviets and Germans for Barbarossa – Almost there, probably by end of summer
Soviets and Germans for Typhoon – Close, but sort of back burner
Commonwealth, Italians, and Germans for Western Desert – About 75%, back burner
US Airborne – About 50%, back burner
US for Normandy – About 50%, back burner

I also bought into the Warlord ‘Epic Scale' ACW stuff and I'm dying to dive into that, but staying disciplined to at least finish up the Marines and Japanese before I tear open the box.

I've also got pretty big mountains of Napoleonic and AWI lead languishing in their boxes…

So that's what my wargaming projects look like, what about you?

V/R,
Jack

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP28 May 2021 6:47 p.m. PST

Here's a few pics of some test stands.

picture

Japanese riflemen "banzai-ing" the Marine command stand.

picture

The Japanese flashing some cold steel in this very poorly illuminated photograph.

picture

The valiant Skipper draws his sidearm.

picture

The intrepid XO stares on in disbelief.

picture

And the Company Gunny (Pop Haney?) directs traffic, barking out orders.

Just a teaser, more coming in a couple weeks (hopefully).

V/R,
Jack

Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2021 6:43 p.m. PST

As always great work Jack!. the vietnam tour and your new Pacific painting as well. You have too much energy my friend.

Joe

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP08 Jun 2021 8:12 a.m. PST

Thanks Joe, and maybe not as much as you think! Certainly not as much as I need…

V/R,
Jack

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