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AAR - Heroes of the Nam - The Cavalry

Dec 5, 2015
Setting: The Viet Cong move to find and capture the American air crew of a CH-46 helicopter while a hastily mobilized force of New Zealanders rushes to rescue the Americans. The Americans are moving south from the north end of the map. The VC led by Arnat approach the Americans from the southwest while the New Zealanders enter from the southeast corner of the map. Both factions aim to escort the American aircrew off the map from their respective entry points.

Nearing the vicinity of the Americans, WO2 Lovell takes two of his squads and moves double time northwest across a large brush covered hill toward the Americans. The other two Kiwi squads move west and skirt the southern edge of the hill along a wide trail. His scout moves to skirt the brush covered hill to the north. Meanwhile Arnat leads seven squads of VC equipped with a BAR northeast toward the American crew. The VC she leads are little more than farmers armed with AK-47s and they move cautiously and slowly the first two turns.

On turn 3 Arnat knows both the Americans and the New Zealanders are close. With some encouragement her troops pick up the pace and win the initiative. She first sends a single squad toward an area of light jungle she expects some of the New Zealanders to be. It's a gambit as those poor farmers will likely die, but it will allow a couple other squads pinpoint the location of the Kiwis and ambush them with a melee attack. WO2 Lovell takes the bait. As the single VC squad gets close his point man picks up their location. They're close, very close. When the first couple move into sight he gives the command and both squads open up, wounding and killing some of the VC while the others shake and look for cover.

The two VC squads Arnat designated to ambush the Kiwis now rush forward hearing the small arms fire. Because they started out of line of sight of the New Zealanders, they will take advantage of their ability to triple their firepower and inflict casualties first (not simultaneously as is normal, VC specific rules). Instead of concentrating their attack on one squad they try to engage both squads and Lovell. Fortunately for the New Zealanders one of their fire teams on the flank caught sight of the incoming VC and shouted a warning (VC failed to roll their melee kill number). The Kiwis shifted their attention from the reduced and shaken squad they were shooting at and turned aggressively to face the new threat. Surprise blown at the last minute, the VC ambush faltered under the unanticipated fervor of the New Zealander defense. The VC were beat back in close combat, sustaining heavy losses; the few remaining that could move melted back into the jungle and routed (NZ units target both VC squads and achieve their melee kill number, eliminating the VC).

The other two Kiwi squads kept moving west and then turned north after crossing the southern base of the brushy hill. They moved toward a point west of the sound of the small arms fire, hoping to catch a VC flanking or rear guard force by surprise. Instead, Arnat and the two squads in her immediate vicinity got the drop on them. The New Zealanders took heavy fire from those VC and their BAR. Ond squad shook and took cover while the other sustained a couple dead and wounded.

Arnat committed her last two squads to securing the Americans, just one hex north of Lovell's location. The American air crew was quickly captured by the two VC squads. The Kiwi scout moved west toward the gunfire and climbed the hill while the Medic, who had purposefully hung back a short distance from the two squads who were taking fire directly for Arnat's squads, moved to rejoin his men, knowing they needed his help.

On turn 4 the New Zealanders gained the initiative, fortunately for the American air crew. The medic was able to rally the whole shaken squad. To the north Lovell rushed his men a short distance north and engaged the two VC squads who had just captured the Americans in melee. With their location pinpointed and unable to avail themselves of their ambush ability, the VC took heavy casualties again. The few that survived and were ambulatory fled quickly, leaving the Americans to their rescuers.

Pulled in two directions and fearing her men to the northeast were in trouble, Arnat decided to first engage the two Australian squads (one having taken casualties and still shaken) her men were firing at. Though they would likely face opportunity fire from the rallied squad, she knew her odds in melee would be better and she ordered her squads to advance on the Kiwis they were shooting at. They double timed and made a right hook to approach through some heavy jungle which would afford them more cover. It was for naught, however, and her gamble failed. The rallied squad had anticipated Arnat's move and were waiting for her as she led her squads through the heavy jungle. At close range, a mere minute or two before they would have been able to enter melee, the two VC squads were cut down by extremely intense fire from the Kiwis. Most were killed or wounded and both squads were combat ineffective. Arnat herself was wounded badly.

The Kiwi scout, with small arms fire raging to his north and south, moved west and came upon the remaining half squad of diversionary VC that Lovell's men had halted ten minutes prior. Coming out of the jungle stealthily, the scout took out a couple of healthy looking VC. In shock, wounded, and surrounded by their fallen neighbors, the few remaining able bodied VC surrendered to him.

On turn 5 Arnat failed to rally and the Kiwis who had thwarted her ambush captured her.

The Cavalry Scenario.jpg
From left to right and taken at the beginning of each turn before the rally phase: Turn 3, Turn 4, Turn 5.​

This ended up being an overwhelming victory for New Zealand. They won with a score of 17-1, having suffered only one half squad worth of casualties. I actually thought the game was likely to go to the VC on turn three. Had the VC succeeded in their ambush (they only needed to roll a 7 or higher on 2d6) they would have eliminated Lovell and his two squads, thus basically ensuring a VC win. Though that failed and Lovell's men responded by wiping out the those two VC squads, they still would have had a decent chance to win had they won the initiative on turn 4 by either fleeing toward Arnat's squads with the prisoners or by executing them and fleeing. Instead the New Zealanders won the initiative which allowed Lovell to engage the adjacent VC squads holding the Americans captive on the first impulse of turn 4. They were outgunned and were eliminated without causing any casualties among the Kiwis. Thus rescued, and with 4.5 of the 7 VC squads eliminated, Arnat was forced into a bad position of meleeing Lovell's group or meleeing a the weaker force a couple hexes away.

Bearing in mind that I'm new to this system and had I the chance to do it over again for the VC I would have used Arnat to activate both groups of 1-4-3 MMC in the two hexes adjacent to her to advance into melee simultaneously against WO Lovell's squads, foregoing the attempt to capture the American aircrew on turn 3. That would have given the VC much better than the even odds they had to eliminate Lovell and his troops using their ambush ability. Instead my tactic was to divide the VC which halved their melee firepower and set them up for defeat.

I also ended up wasting the NZ scout. Because I separated him from Lovell, he couldn't keep up as Lovell was double timing the squads in his hex. I should have kept him with Lovell or attached him to the two squads and medic who skirted the southern edge of the hill. He ended up capturing (eliminating) a VC squad that was shaken and had taken casualties but by that time the battle was over for the VC and that squad never would have rallied to have become a threat.

This scenario was simple like the Friend in Need scenario I've been playing. It was a lot of fun to play this rescue/capture scenario. Just a brutal, quick contact scenario. It was nice to use the ANZAC forces as well, as they have slightly different qualities than the Americans.