Saturday, September 10, 2016

South Leon DMZ Prelude III


This is the third fight in the initial trading of blows on the DMZ between Communist guerillas of the Fédération Socialiste Nationale de Leon and the Marines of Task Force Fulgencio.  Amid almost a month of monotonous patrolling in the sweltering African heat there have already been two short, sharp fights between the two sides, resulting in moderate casualties for both.  In both cases the Marines carried the day, though 2nd Platoon's fight (the more recent) was in less than exemplary fashion.

It is now 10 June 1990, and Lt Rodriques leads his 3rd Platoon on yet another patrol through the jungle, hunting guerillas which have infiltrated across the border between South Leon and FSNL.

One last fight on this table, which is 2' x 2', just spun one more time.  I screwed up, so north is right, and again the Marines will enter from the south (left).

So far I've fought the table as seen here (north is up) and with north to the left.

The opposing forces, with Marines on the left and FSNL troops on the right.  There are a total of 13 Marines, and don't worry, they won't be fighting all those bad guys.  I have simply lined up all the bad guys that are available.  As I'm taking this picture, I don't yet know the enemy force size or composition, that will be figured out once the table is set (I'm using the blinds system from Joe Legan's "Platoon Forward").

Thirteen Marines will take part in the fight.  This has no bearing on any T/O; what I'm doing is fighting a roughly squad-sized skirmish, so the only Marines on the table is basically the 1st Squad of the platoon and some Plt HQ guys.  the concept is the fight is short and sharp, and the other two squads are maneuvering to the flank(s).  The Platoon leader is in the fight because he's up front with the point squad (and because I want the platoon leaders in the fight as they are the named characters in my campaign).

These minis are all 15mm US Marines from Jimmi's excellent Flashpoint Miniatures, resplendent with their M-14s.  I went with all the riflemen having M-14s as I was shooting for some very early Vietnam War (1965) feel, facing off against the Viet Cong.

So we've got the Lieutenant (bottom left, the knucklehead brandishing a .45 pistol), his Radio-Telephone Operator (RTO, just above him), seven riflemen with M-14s (one is the squad leader, a Sergeant, rifleman in 2nd row at far right, and one is a Corporal, rifleman in 2nd row, 2nd from left), an M-79 grenadier (2nd row, 2nd from right), a two-man M-60 machine gun team (top row, two on right), and the platoon Corpsman (top row, far left).

And yes, for the Sergeant and Corporal I'm again going with Sgt Garcia and Cpl Benavides.  I can't keep coming up with discrete names!!!

The enemy force: these are all Viet Cong from Martin's excellent Peter Pig line of figures.  There's a boatload of riflemen, a few RPDs, a few RPGs, a few NCOs, a Goryunov machine gun, a recoiless rifle, and an 82mm mortar.  However, on second thought, the table is too small and so I won't include the mortar in the possible enemy forces.

The Marines enter the table, north is up.  Lt Rodriques and his RTO are leading Cpl Benavides and two other Marines across the foot bridge at bottom left.  In the center is M-60 machine gun team (in trench), with the platoon Corpsman just to their left.  Sgt Garcia is leading the grenadier and three riflemen at bottom right.

At left you can see the LT leading four Marines across the foot bridge, Doc is at right.

A look at the center, with the MG team in the trench and Doc standing outside it.

And on the right we have Sgt Garcia and his team.

With north at bottom we see the enemy troops.  There are three riflemen in the paddy at far left, a rifleman at far right (he's in a hole obscured by the coconut palms at far right), and a two-man machine gun team in the trench at center (next to the bright green palm trees between the paddy and a thatch hut).

An NCO and two riflemen on the enemy far left.

The lone enemy scout on the far right.

And the enemy machine gun team in the center.

Nice pic...

Another look at the MG team (bottom left) and far left riflemen (top center).

Yay, two blurry pics in a row. Sorry...  If I may, please recall the last batrep didn't have any blurry pics ;)

And then a pic showing the enemy scout (bottom left) in relation to the machine gun team (top right).

The enemy troops are spread pretty thin, won't be able to support each other, and their left flank team is not in very good spot.  Sure, the treeline and paddy dike offer decent cover, but forced back there is nowhere to go.  Such is life when playing solo with blinds.

Lt Rodriques, having heard about the rampage the company commander, Lt Ordonez, went on regarding Lt Lupe's less than stellar performance, is actually walking point across the foot bridge!  The Marines push forward, unaware an enemy scout is in a hole within spitting distance (top left).  But the enemy scout is also unaware of the Marines' exact location, as there is a retaining wall between the two.  The enemy machine gun team is off camera to top center left.

On the right, Sgt Garcia has his team up to the east-west (top-bottom) running stream.  The enemy's left-flank team is behind the trees at top left.

The enemy machine gun team is a bit jittery; they should have let the Marines push forward further, but they're staring across the way at the Marine machine gun team, which has taken up position in a formerly FSNL trench.  The guerrilla machine gunner can't take it anymore and cuts loose a short, halting burst, almost by accident...

The round are high, and the Marines get the gun going, spitting a long burst back at the enemy machine gun team, suppressing them.

I screwed up earlier, stating the enemy's left-flank team was three riflemen.  It's actually an NCO, a rifleman, and a light machine gunner with an RPD.  The RPD fires on Sgt Garcia's team...

But these rounds also miss!  A Marine rifleman cuts loose with his M-14, but he misses too.

At least I survived the initial salvo, after the last fight where the enemy dropped five Marines in the first few seconds.

I roll up activation for the Marines and get a random event, which is 'abort mission.'  Yeah, I don't think so.  If it had happened later I would have done it, but we just started.

God bless, another damn blurry photo.  In any case, hearing the enemy machine gun (top right) open fire, Lt Rodriques and his RTO (center left) dash forward to get into action.

But he's been a bit hasty; Lt Rodriques has thrown caution to the wind and rounds the corner of the retaining wall.  He doesn't even see the enemy scout in the hole until he hears the crack of his rifle...

But the enemy scout was just as startled as Lt Rodriques, and his bullets sail harmlessly by!  Lt Rodriques quickly turns and charges the guerrilla, .45 pistol in hand!

The enemy scout is no more...

I absolutely cannot believe the enemy scout missed, I gave him 2K 2S, didn't get a single result!

Having dispatched the scout (bottom left), the Lieutenant charges (center) towards the enemy machine gun team (top right), emptying his .45 at them...

The enemy assistant gunner goes down!

Lt Rodriques jumps in the trench (bottom left) and  hurls a grenade at the machine gunner (blue bead)...

As the grenade rolled into the trench, the guerrilla abandoned the gun and hauled ass out of the trench (red bead at top right) as the grenade detonated harmlessly.

*For story purposes I changed the narrative up a bit.  I rolled for the grenade and it came up the enemy gunner received a 'hunker' result.  As he was already 'hunkered' he was forced to fall back and hunker, so I changed it to 'he saw the grenade roll in and ran before it blew up.'

*Also, I suppose I cheated a bit in this sequence.  This started with the Lieutenant wanting to move up on the enemy machine gun.  Now, as the player, I know the enemy scout was on the other side of the wall, but the LT did not, so I resolved to play it fair, have the LT move up and take his lumps via enemy reaction fire.  When the enemy scout missed, I'm not sure I cheated, I simply let the LT change his direction of travel and move into close combat with the enemy scout.  And when you win a close combat you're allowed to make another move to consolidate (I forget how far, but I generally give them up to a full move).  So I let the LT, who in my mind now has his blood up for a fight, continue on his original direction of march, towards the enemy machine gun.  What I shouldn't have done is allow him to fire his pistol while making this move.  Also, the enemy gunner was suppressed so he couldn't react fire, and I gave it a 50-50 chance the assistant gunner might react fire.

My line of reasoning was, he's assisting the gunner, and with the nature of the trench being perpendicular to the field of fire his field of vision is a bit obscured, not to mention he'd have to reach over, pick up his rifle, shoulder it, sight in, and fire.  So I figured 1-3 he fires, 4-6 he doesn't; dice said he didn't.  Then the LT's pistol fire killed the assistant, so I figured why not let him continue on his rampage?  So I let him throw the grenade, though it only achieved a second suppression result.

The RTO (center) bravely follows his Lieutenant (in trench at top left).

Cpl Benavides leads two riflemen up behind the LT and RTO (left, from bottom left at foot bridge).

Back on the right, Sgt Garcia moves up and hops in the stream.

The enemy NCO (bottom right) spots him and fires...

But the rounds miss.  Sgt Garcia calmly shoulders his trusty shootin' iron and fires...

The enemy NCO is down, and his rifleman is suppressed, falling flat in the paddy.

The enemy RPD gunner (bottom right) opens fire on the Marine grenadier, pinning him.

But the M-60 team (bottom center) has its head up and eyes down.  The gunner steps on the gas and puts a good 50 rounds into the enemy treeline, pinning the RPD gunner.

The FSNL machine gunner gets his marbles back, rallies himself back into the fight.  But now what?  That crazy-ass Lieutenant is still nearby (just off camera to top right); there's no way he can get back to the gun (top left).

Cpl Benavides (center, just above the palm tree) leads two Marines past the LT (in trench at bottom) and RTO (bottom right) to finish off the machine gunner (top left).

But Lt Rodriques isn't finished yet: he sprints out of the trench (bottom left) to top right, where he can get enfilading fire on the enemy's left-flank team currently engaging Sgt Garcia's team.

The LT takes up a firing position (with his pistol!) behind a palm tree (bottom center left), next to the abandoned enemy machine gun and empties another clip at the enemy troops...

Killing the enemy light machine gunner!

*I gave him only 1K, didn't even give him any Shock dice as I figured the enemy was in 'death ground' and wasn't about to be further cowered (they were already in bad shape, with the rifleman suppressed and the RPD gunner pinned).

Sgt Garcia leads his team up, ready to eliminate the enemy's left-flank team just on the other side of the treeline.

It's do-or die time: the enemy machine gunner clutches his assistant's rifle and steps out from behind the hootch to fire...

But Cpl Benavides (center left) spots him and fires...

Putting him out of his misery.

Followed by Sgt Garcia's team moving up and capturing the cowering enemy rifleman on the left flank, game over!

Wow, I needed that!  ZERO casualties for the Marines, the Lieutenant was a beast, and the enemy was eliminated (five KIA and one captured)!  I hope the fight didn't seem cheesy to you guys; I know anytime a fight is this one sided it runs the risk of looking 'meh,' but I'm telling you, it didn't seem that way to me until Benavides popped the enemy machine gunner.  With these rules, you are always only a single die roll away from a catastrophe.  I'm not saying the enemy would have won, but one set of bad dice and now I win but with three or four casualties (especially with the way my guys got bunched up over there next to the enemy machine gun position).

Lt Rodriques was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on 10 June 1990.  His decisiveness and personal bravery broke the back of the enemy defense and saved lives.

Thus ends the three fight initial flurry of clashes between the Cuban Marines and FSNL guerillas.  Like I said, I've got some modern Middle East stuff going on currently, and I'm working on a raid in the Caribbean and some paratroopers in South Leon's capital (using 'Boots on the Ground,' a boardgame recommended by the good Mr. Peter Cooman), but then I'm planning on coming back to these Marines on the DMZ.  My plan is to base the next round of fights on platoon fights based on the Vietnam War's "Operation Starlite."  I'm doing some research right now.  If this goes as planned, the Marine war on the DMZ in South Leon will culminate with my Dai Do project, which I believe I'm going to do in 6mm.



  1. Good stuff Jack! It does seem one sided - as the story progresses, everything goes right for your side. I know what you mean as you said at the end of the post - you are always only one dice roll away from snatching defeat from victory. Especially with small boards and small forces. But that is part of the fun of small table gaming!

    1. Absolutely, and I only cheated a little bit ;). Small games is where it's at; I'm struggling right now to finish a bigger game started a couple weeks ago...


  2. Lt Rodriques; ? WTF ?...we are going to have to give you a Silver Star , but if I ever hear of you doing anything like this again....

    Loved it ! .... what a great game !

    1. Jimmi,

      I appreciate it man! Yeah, the LT kinda went a little crazy, didn't he, and it was all downhill from there.

      I need to finish up the rest of the terrain tiles and head back to Nam, I mean South Leon ;)