Saturday, July 7, 2012

March 12th: A New Beginning

The 5th campaign turn, 3rd in game month, resulted in Coop's squad having their precious rack time interrupted. They were now under Lt. Moore's command, Schaeffer's replacement. Moore had a reputation as a hard ass and possessed this aura of passion and fervor that the men were not used to. Their immediate reaction was shock, later it would turn to respect.

Anyway, R&R was interrupted to radio chatter from the nearby coast. A recon patrol from a 2nd Company squad ran into a small NVA force and engaged. Thanks to several well timed tac-air strikes, they pushed the larger enemy group back, forcing them to flee up the coastline North.

Sgt. Cooper immediately knew this enemy force had to be linked to the NVA activity in the Highlands they had spotted the previous month. When his squad was ordered to board Huey's and immediately deploy, he was salivating. 1st squad would chopper up the coast and cut off the retreating NVA (Scenario - Firefight)

The table consisted of single canopy jungle and bamboo on the Eastern side, with large sprawling rice paddy fields on the Western edge. Several hooches littered the area of operations and civillians were working in their fields, oblivious to the distant gunfire so many had gotten used to.

View from the Eastern edge. a PEF lurks in the jungle nearby.

The Western side of the table (facing South). Cooper's squad deploys against the rice paddy berm in the foreground.

A second PEF is hightailing it towards the American squad.

Cooper was not the man leading this mission. It would be Platoon Sgt. White, who was a universal mystery to the squad. No one knew where he was from, what he did in his previous life, and where his allegiances lie. He served Lt. Schaeffer but he seemed to distance himself from the inept CO and the men didn't know how to square him up.

(White is Rep 3, which caused us some activation problems)

Relying on patience, a virtue not often displayed by his men, Cooper had the GI's sit tight. Sgt. White decided it would be best to approach a male civillian on the opposite side of the paddy in an attempt to coax information about the approaching enemy and where they were headed. He took Jonesy and two new grunts with him (Jonesy was the final remaining member of the original squad, besides Stars Sgt. Cooper and Pfc. Samuel).

Approaching the civillian, no information could be gleaned. Meanwhile, the PEF's were approaching fast, the one in the Eastern Jungle splitting into two. Sgt. White threw the civillian underneath the raised floor of his hooch and settled his detachment down. Jonesy gave the men a chuckle as he spotted a Vietnamenese villager enter some kind of tunnel across the field, despite his poor vision he was positive what he saw.

While Sgt. Cooper took his detachment towards the tunnel entrance, the rest of the squad locked and loaded, ready for action.

The two PEFs emerged from the Eastern jungle, resulting in a 3 man Political Officer team, and a 3 man AK-47 element. Pfc. Samuel opened up with his M60, cutting the NVA down before they could find adequate cover. Cooper sent two men up to cut around the flank and make sure they were dead. This resulted in some swift close combat, grenades being tossed, and several NVA captured without a single scratch on an American.

North Vietnamese regulars scream for aid as their blood coats the jungle. Four prisoners would be taken.

Meanwhile, Sgt. White took his men into the tunnel entrance to investigate (our first actual occurrence using the tunnel rules).

White would prove himself, emerging with an enemy radio and a blood-stained bayonet (acquiring 13 VPs!). However, he had split from Jonesy and one of the new recruits and wasn't sure what happened to them. It would turn out that the two ran into a nasty punji stake trap. When they made it back to the surface, Jonesy lasted only a minute or two before succumbing to his punctured lung. The squad would fall 3 VP short of a Major victory. Damn them all for killing Jonesy.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

February 23rd - Lt. Schaeffer bids farewell

1st Squad took to the field, patrolling a quiet sector of II Corps in the Highlands. A local contact provided information on North Vietnamese Army regulars moving supplies through the area and Sgt. Cooper's squad drew the short straw. The fact that Platoon Commander Lt. Schaeffer would be accompanying the group as one of his last missions before heading stateside had the entire squad on edge. We weren't sure what the hell the tired bastard was up to, but no matter his purpose the men's superstitious nature took over and no one wanted to stand near the LT.

Thick jungle layered the highlands, providing shade and stealth for the American GI's.

Fanning out, it was a chore to keep the LT and Platoon Medic Needles (at least that's what we all called him) from bunching up with some of the young recruits. The whole thing was an accident waiting to happen. Our pointman with an M79, T.J., made contact with what he believed to be movement up near the marsh. Coop pushed forward with M60 gunner Samuel, attempting to cut off the possible enemy contact before they could get out of the marsh and into the cover of the jungle. Fortunately for the group, the LT sprained his ankle as the squad was moving at double-time through the brush. While Needles tended to the commander, the rest of the squad pushed forward - shaking their heads at their Platoon Leader. While they despised his lack of commitment and brotherhood, they were secretly thanking the Lord for the opportunity to ditch the short timer.

The squad pushes forward in the distance as Lieutenant Schaeffer and Needles stay behind.

The PEF lurks in the marsh.
As the squad booked it across the table, TJ's sharp eye on point uncovered nothing in the sprawling marsh except a cacophany of toads and lizards peppering the group with their aggravating symphony. Pushing East, the group attempting to complete the sweep of the area as they were eager to return to their bunks as quick as possible and without incident. Unfortunately, the sounds of nature would be quickly interrupted by the distinct chugging of AK-47's, bursts of fire erupting from a spider hole directly to the front of TJ, slightly off the trail.

While TJ took cover, putting his dick in the dirt, Samuel pushed forward opening up his M60 like Charlie Parker working over his sax.

With over a hundred rounds traded by each side, the sound would soon die off as the enemy was silenced. As Samuel cleared out the hole, it was discovered that NVA were occupying the area as the distinct tan uniforms could not be mistaken. While the mission was a modest success (enemy contact was made and the GI's were victorious), the men couldn't help but return to camp with their heads hung low. Not one of the members of the squad wanted to see their sorry-ass LT end his tour with even a credit to his name.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

February 3rd: The Walking Wounded

1st Squad was "lucky" enough to pick up another assignment patrolling the central highlands of II Corps. Sgt. Cooper and his two remaining veterans lead 6 FNG's into the jungle where they would pop their cherries and make contact with the enemy. Coop was becoming cynical at this point and it was beginning to affect his leadership. A heavy blanket of dread had settled over the men and he gave up trying to tear a hole through it. At least they'd suffocate together. February 3rd was another rainy day, slogging heavy gear through thick mud under dense canopy jungle. Connecting up with a shallow stream, the squad pushed up along the flank of a river bed.

View from a Huey.

With a meager Support Level of 1, and an Enemy Activity Level of 4, the mission could go either way. 2 PEF's started on the table and we agreed on a 16 turn limit (added 2 additional turns due to larger than default table size) in order to patrol each sector and eliminate any enemy forces. No buildings or civilians were present, which was abnormal for our Platoon's experiences thus far.

One of the contacts lurked on a hill in the North-west sector of the board, not far from our initial deployment.

We decided to split into two groups from the start, as a cluster of hills lay between us and the nearest PEF. One group was lead by Cooper, consisting of mainly riflemen, and would push directly towards the PEF to draw it out. The second group (M60 and M79 included) was going to head up the middle of the table to the right, and engage the enemy from the flank. This was slightly risky as a PEF on the Eastern end of the map could possibly hit the second group from their own flank.

The second PEF, entrenched on the East side of the table.

Contact was made briskly, despite the fact that vision was limited due to the thick undergrowth in the double-canopy jungle. The first PEF ended up being an NVA squad led by a VC guide.

After several short bursts of fire between the front ranks of the squads, green point-man Jefferson was down, but so was the lead VC. Jefferson's screams are still haunting some of the new recruits, but luckily he ended up surviving and earning a Purple Heart.

Our men seized the initiative and formed a firing wall that cut through the NVA, piece by piece, forcing them back behind the crest of the hill they had occupied. Knowing all too-well the limits of mission length and pressure of time, we left the NVA to scatter in the jungle while we pivoted East towards the remaining PEF.

The remaining PEF peers across the riverbed, clearly reacting to the sound of automatic fire and dying screams of Vietnamese.

We fanned into another line so that we could hit the PEF head on when it crossed the riverbed.

When the rustling in the brush ended up being a false alarm, the men let out a huge sigh of relief. With only a single Free World Forces casualty, and several NVA (including a prisoner we were in the process of escorting off the table in the rear), it looked like we may actually accomplish a mission. As we were booking it across the jungle to patrol the remaining areas of the table, a nearby Huey came screaming overhead, acting as a spotter for a mortar barrage. This took Sgt. Cooper's men by surprise as the Platoon RTO was not on the mission and none of the squad members called it in.

When the 3 mortar rounds landed amongst the retired NVA squad, only smoke and charred corpses remained.

With the clock ticking down, we escorted our single casualty off the table along with an NVA prisoner and called it a day. 19 victory points was our only positive score thus far in the campaign and it was just shy of (6 points) of a major victory. This led to McDonald, our Pigman, receiving an increase in Rep from 3 to 4. This was sorely needed as the vast majority of our squad was Rep 3, which was hurting our firepower. 1st Squad finally found its sweet revenge.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

January 22nd: 1st Squad Out On Patrol

We played campaign turn 2 with 1st squad making a reappearance last night. It was a sweltering day and the squad only found relief due to the thick jungle canopy blanketing the field.

After being absolutely butchered on their last mission, 1st Squad received several FNG replacements who were accompanying the group on a Patrol through the highlands of II Corps.

Word was it was a quiet AO and no contact was expected (Psst - the EAL was actually 6!), which is all the more reason it was quite suspicious that Platoon Sgt. White linked up with the squad just before heading out. He would be taking charge of the patrol and there was nothing Cooper could do about it. It couldn't be confirmed, but it seemed mighty clear that the new Platoon Commander, Lt. Schaefer, was already mucking things up. Word around the FSB was that Schaefer only had another month on his tour, so why the hell did he give a shit about a simple patrol? Something wasn't adding up.

The jungle was thick and towering over the understrength American GI's.

Two PEF's began on the Eastern half of the board, while the squad entered from the South.

Entering the center of the table on the Southern side, the American GI's leisurely advanced under Sgt. White's command

On the Eastern side of the table, something was rustling in the underbrush.

Taking cover behind a small abandoned hooch, the PEF advances towards the squad at a remarkable pace (PEF's with Rep 6 are rough!)

Before FNG Private Hiller could warn the group, contact was made. A small enemy encampment was spotted near the visible hooch. The camp was reinforced by 2 VC log bunkers which immediately opened up.

Caught with fire pouring in from two angles, the blood curdling screams of fresh American meat echoed over the barking automatic fire

Pvt. Hiller fell to the dirt involuntarily, 7.76mm FMJ's opening up several holes in his flesh. Sgt. Cooper had several rounds zip by his head, including a graze off his backpack which forced his chin into the mud.

Meanwhile, the remaining PEF split into two which was even worse news...

Smelling blood, the MFVC pushed out of their defensive positions trading fire and casualties with the American squad.

A definitive round of fire leaves the GI's cut to pieces; several VC caught bullets as well.

Fleeing for their lives, the squad limped off the field like wounded rabbits. Cooper noticed on the way back that PFC. Samuel was eyeing the back of Sgt. White's head with such fury and indignation that normally was reserved for the enemy. Cooper felt like he should say something to cool the squad down but quickly dismissed the idea: he wanted the son of a bitch along with the entire brass to burn.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

January 11th/January 20th - 2nd Squad Sees Action

I had a new player so we rolled up the 2nd Squad of our Platoon. We ended up with the following Stars:

Sgt. Samson
Rep: 5
Attributes: Unlucky, Marksman

Pvt. Walther
Rep: 5
Attributes: Quick Reflexes, Born Leader

Rest of squad:
Corporal Benton (Rep 3, Slow)
PFC. Siever on the M60 (Rep 3, Dumbass)
Pvt. Peters M79 (Rep 5, Lucky)
Pvt. Bama (Rep 3, Crack shot)

Yes, only 6 members (we rolled a 1 to see how large our squad was). On top of that we have an M60 with the Dumbass attribute - which means he won't activate roughly half the time when he otherwise would. If it's even possible, it looks like we were setup to have an ever tougher time than 1st Squad's previous mission.

January 11th - Campaign Turn 1
Our first mission was set in the first campaign turn, two days after 1st Squad's horrific outing. We made contact, and were assigned a Recon mission in the Interior. To our surprise the EAL ended up being 1 with a Support Level of 3! We had a free Helicopter mission we could call in and only had a single PEF and PC to deal with.

The PEF was roughly half the table distance away (in a Bamboo thicket) while the PC was at the far end of the table near a cluster of Rice Paddies.

The Rep 1 PEF lurks in the grove

With only 12 turns (plus the possibility of additional turns based on a D6 roll) we had to book it quickly to reveal both targets. Pushing through double canopy with a Slow NCO and a Dumbass M60 made for poor travel. It took us far too long to get into LOS of the PEF and we had no help as it did not move the entire game (due to its Rep/EAL of 1).

When we finally spotted the PEF, it ended up being just noise and no enemy contact.

Meanwhile, the PC did manage to move towards us, crossing the dikes of a Rice Paddy

Moving full speed we made contact with the PC, revealing a hooch in the distance and not an enemy to be found. Alas, there would not be enough time to get out and successfully complete the mission. While it's believed Lt. Steele's demotion was already in motion, this mission certainly did not aid his case as his Platoon continued to struggle to make a positive impact on the war.

January 20th - 2nd Campaign Turn

2nd Squad was given the opportunity to redeem itself after receiving bad intel and chasing shadows through the jungle earlier in the month. The second mission would be a Fight in the Coastal AO. EAL and SL were both 2 on this mission.

The squad emerged onto the battlefield in the middle of a bamboo grove, not far from an isolated group of buildings and Rice Paddies. Civillians were working the fields while the American squad pushed through their bamboo cover.

Due to the low EAL (2), we only had a single PEF on the table which deployed behind one of the hooches overlooking the Rice Paddies.

Moving as quick as possible to conserve time (12 turn limit again), the squad pushed hard towards the isolated remnant of civilization. The lone PEF proved rather active this go around, pushing forward into a Paddy and taking cover against one of the dikes.

When our platoon emerged at the edge of the bamboo forest, the PEF was revealed to be a lone Rep 5 NVA Sniper. He won the In Sight and utilized his trusty SKS as he dropped Savard (a fresh recruit). After a violent exchange of fire, Sgt. Samson pushed to the front and unleashed a wall of 5.56mm rounds cutting the lone NVA gunman down.

We confirmed the kill and then high-tailed it home. All seemed well until Benton tripped a booby trap in the bamboo grove, resulting in a large explosion that also claimed Johnson's life (another FNG replacement).

Rough outing again as we lost 3 men and killed a lone NVA sniper.

Random Thoughts

I'm digging FNG2T. I'm really liking the unpredictability of the enemy and there's a palpable tension on the table when encountering PEFs and rolling up Random Events.

It is worth noting that these two missions made me mildly concerned with the EAL system. By rolling 2D6 and taking the lowest, you will have a 1 or 2 EAL more than 50% of the time. With that low an EAL it seems like it would be impossible to string together successful missions with any regularity. Most missions require you to kill or capture the enemy in order to score VP. You need a minimum of 8 VP to secure a normal victory, otherwise the mission result is bad or horrible.

When the EAL is so low it makes it more likely that the PEF is going to be either nothing or possibly a PC. PC's are more likely than PEF's to have no enemy forces.

Also, lower EAL means less PEFs on the table at start. Which makes it easier to survive but again, harder to score VPs since there are less enemies to kill.

I'm not saying this is a problem, just an observation at this point. We're not gaming 'Nam with the expectation to win the war so no complaints here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

FNG 2nd Tour Campaign - Intro and 1st Mission

Long time between posts but I'm ressurecting this blog to record our 20mm Vietnam campaign using Two-Hour Wargame's FNG 2nd Tour ruleset. This campaign will feature several different players so we decided on a Cooperative format, running multiple missions per Campaign Turn (bi-monthly).

Our beleagured Platoon led by Lt. Steele (Competent hardass with a Rep of 5) belongs to the 4th Infantry Division, 2nd Brigade, operating in II Corps. Generating our HQ section and 1st Squad we ended up with a variety of Reps. This session in particular featured 2 Stars in 1st Squad:

Sgt. Cooper
Rep: 5
Attributes: Swimmer, Nerves of Steel

Pfc. Samuel
M60 Gunner
Rep: 5
Attributes: Born Leader, Agile

The rest of the squad was built as follows:
Corporal Tyrene (Rep 5, Crackshot, DEROS 5)
Private Thump - M79 (Rep 5, Stealthy, DEROS 7)
Private McDonald - M79 (Rep 3, Hard As Nails, DEROS 12)
Private Jonesy (Rep 3, Shortsighted, DEROS 10)
Private Yardbird (Rep 3, Marksman, DEROS 7)

Spoiler - don't get too attached.

We picked up on June 8th, making enemy contact in our first bi-monthly campaign turn. Our mission ended up being in the Coastal AO. An ARVN unit operating not far from our FSB had come in contact with the enemy - suffering heavy casualties. Hunkering down near a small village, they awaited extraction by helos. Our squad was air-lifted in where several bodies were evac'd. 5 wounded remained and our 1st squad was baby-sitting. We set up in a hooch near a clearing that would serve as our LZ.

Sgt. Coop, Samuel, and Jonsey set up in a hooch overlooking the clearing

Things started off bad and just got worse. Support Assets assigned to the mission were nil as our Support Level was a 1 (ouch). This meant calling in any type of support would cost us 7 VPs minimum and even contacting the support could be problematic. Even worse, the Enemy Activity Level (EAL) in the area was 5! This was going to be a rough go for our first mission and introduction to FNG.

We huddled the wounded together and prepared for a long afternoon waiting for the damn choppers.

It did not take long for the enemy to swarm our position. Cpl. Tyrene and Mcdonald setup in a forward position and would make contact with the enemy first. The first PEF encountered turned out to be nothing but an animal rustling in the bushes, and the second was an enemy constructed log bunker which appeared abandoned. When the third PEF moved into LOS on the third turn our boys shit their fatigues. A wall of Charlie appeared at the edge of the bamboo grove, and all hell broke loose.

After a massive exchange of fire, casualties litter both sides.

The MFVC platoon returns fire with unrelenting fury

We gave them hell but they tore us up bad. As American blood stained the grass, we were forced to book it out of the LZ on foot as we could not wait for the Hueys. GI KIAs would include:

-Cpl Tyrene

With half the squad exterminated and the mission a complete failure, morale was low. Going on a bender back at base, word would eventually reach 1st Squad that command was so enraged with the Platoon's performance that Lt. Steele was being reassigned. Not a proud day for the United States Military.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


We stopped our Necromunda ATZ game after 1 additional session following the last session posted. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera at the time so we couldn't snap any pictures.

I don't think you will be seeing any future ATZ games from our group but the Necromunda terrain/minis will be making a comeback. I think their next stop will be a firefight with an organized group of Necromunda gangers against some AT-43 UNA troops using the Stargrunt II ruleset.

Stay tuned.