Heroes of the Nam - River of Perfume, Player vs. AEO

Discussion in 'LnLT After Action Reports' started by Ryan Shannahan, Feb 28, 2018.

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  1. Ryan Shannahan

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    Cross posted from: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/237247/item/5999567#item5999567
    Other related discussion and the same story here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/185155/item/4425776#item4425776

    First scenario using Lock n Load Tactical Solo to play as an artificial opponent. I'm playing the USMC, the Artificial Enemy Opponent (AEO) is controlling the VC.

    The USMC must advance and control 5 of the 6 buildings pictured by the end of turn 7.

    Turn 1
    [​IMG]
    River of Perfume, Hue South Vietnam, February 1968. Beginning of Turn 2

    On the first turn, three USMC squads individually make opposed crossings from the wood buildings they start in to the U shaped two story stone building in the center of the map. One squad is shaken but without casualties. Two of the squads run through withering fire and make it inside the 1st floor of the west wing of the building, directly below two VC squads.

    One the east side of the map, Lt. Reagin low crawls with one squad carrying an M60 machine gun to a light jungle hex between the two buildings. Sgt. Ash is able to lead 3 USMC squads south, double timing with assault movement across the street, unopposed, to the 1st floor of the U-shaped building. There they conduct an adjacent attack against the VC upstairs but were ineffectual.

    The VC units to the south attempted some long range fire attacks against the 2 USMC squads on the west side of the U-shaped building to no effect.

    Turn 2 will start with the potential for close range fire attacks or melee attacks as the USMC and VC fight for control of the central building.

    Analysis: The USMC was very lucky crossing the street. I was surprised there wasn't another squad shaken in the street. Sgt. Ash's attack with his 3 squads was a complete waste of effort. I dithered; I could have conducted a blistering melee against the VC on the east side of the building at 35/36 odds of eliminating them, but in doing so I was likely to suffer the loss of one USMC squad. I conservatively opted to double-time assault move to the base of the building and make an adjacent fire attack against the VC hero and squad on the east end of the building. I was hoping to shake the VC squad and wound the hero to limit my odds of taking casualties during the melee which is bound to occur on turn 2. Instead I basically wasted a turn, though at least they're inside the building and across the street.

    Turn 2

    [​IMG]
    River of Perfume, Hue South Vietnam, February 1968. End of Turn 2

    The Viet Cong win the initiative. VC Hero Quan fires into the 1st floor at the three USMS squads and Sgt. Ash for no effect. In the light jungle adjacent to Quan, Lt. Reagin and his USMC squad with M-60 machine gun make a fire attack against Quan and the VC squad above Sgt. Ash. Their fire is effective and Quan is wounded and the VC squad is shaken and takes casualties.
    One of the VC squads on the 2nd floor in the western half of same building fires at the two USMC squads below it for no effect. Those squads hold tight, planning to weather an attack from the last squad above them able to fire. If that attack is repulsed, both squads plan to assault move into the courtyard outside the building to the northeast, positioning themselves to attack the VC squads above them with both a fire attack and an ordnance attack from their LAW.

    Sgt. Ash, who might care too much about his men, chooses to make a fire attack at the shaken VC half squad and their hero, Quan. (Quan, being a hero, has decent chances to inflict casualties on the large USMC group, disproportionate to him being horrendously outnumbered by the USMC. The shaken half squad would have no effect on melee combat and is inconsequential at this point.) Their attack is devastating, and the wounded Quan and the half squad are eliminated with grenades and small arms fire.
    The two USMC squads on the western half of the building exit the first floor via assault move and execute their plan to perfection. Small arms fire from the courtyard inflicts casualties and shakes both VC squads above them. Their LAW attack fails to connect, but the VC inside are no longer a threat and should be eliminated next turn when the Marines reenter the building.

    The VC still have several groups ready to act in the two southernmost buildings. A sniper also makes his presence known. All fire is directed at Lt. Reagin and his squad in the light jungle hex. Most is ineffective, but Dobie San and his two VC squads, one with an RPD machine gun, lay a withering fire on the Americans. Lt. Reagin once again demonstrates his affinity with Lady Luck (expends his one time use "Lucky" skill counter); the fire attack would have shaken him and inflicted casualties on the USMC squad, but the only negative effect is that his squad is shaken.

    During this VC fusillade, the shaken USMC squad moves to the rear away around the back of the wood structure and rendezvous there with the chaplain, hoping to rally at the start of the next turn. Arnat's VC group, hidden in the pagoda on the southwest corner of the map, end up having no viable targets when ready to fire this round and they hold position.

    Turn 3

    [​IMG]
    River of Perfume, Hue South Vietnam, February 1968. End of Turn 3

    The Viet Cong win the initiative. They focus their turn on individual squads taking shots at the Marines in and around the U-shaped building at the center of the battleground. Most fire attacks are ineffective, but they do manage to shake one squad that moves south in the building. Though the squad is pinned and shaken due to close impact small arms fire, one of them steps up. A hero, Lance Cpl. Wasiaki, exerts some leadership from below. Lt. Reagin and his squad in the jungle hex come under heavy fire from a couple of separate VC squads in the objective building to the south. Lt. Reagin is pinned and shaken when the RPD machine gun hits their location, but the USMC squad maintains composure and reenters the building to their east.
    The Marines spend the turn consolidating their hold on the central U-shaped building. One squad enters the upper floor of the western end of the building and takes the shaken VC half squad prisoner. Other elements move south, including Sgt. Ash and his squads. They assault move and fire on the VC in the building to the south and manage to shake Dobie San and one VC squad.
     
  2. Ryan Shannahan

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    Turn 4
    [​IMG]
    River of Perfume, Hue South Vietnam, February 1968. End of Turn 4

    The Viet Cong win the initiative again. Dobie San fails to rally and remains shaken, along with one of his shaken squads. Lt. Reagin rallies.

    The VC, largely outgunned by the USMC and holding the remaining objectives which offered favorable defensive ground and excellent positions from which to fire on the advancing Marines, continue to hold their positions and fire in small groups at the Marines.

    Lt. Reagin joins the squad in the wood building to his east. Sgt. Ash and the Marines in the U-shaped building consolidate their position in the building. Two squads on the west end of the building enter the light jungle hex southwest of the building. One squad caries a LAW rocket support weapon, and the other carries some VC RPGs they liberated from the VC half squad that they captured. The squads split their fire, sending small arms toward Arnat's VC forces to the SW and firing their rockets at Dobie San's group, a closer target, to the southeast. The Marines deliver effective attacks this turn, wounding the shaken Dobie San, eliminating the shaken half squad, and shaking and inflicting casualties on the full squad. The two squads holding position just to the east of Dobie San are shaken and one suffers casualties due to fire from the squad holed up with Lt. Reagin. Arnat's VC squads are able to shake the USMC squad carrying the VC RPGs.
     
  3. Ryan Shannahan

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    Turn 5
    [​IMG]
    River of Perfume, Hue South Vietnam, February 1968. End of Turn 5

    The Marines win the initiative. The Chaplain helps to rally the shaken USMC squad in the light jungle hex. Dobie San and his remaining squad fail to rally, and the wound Dobie San has suffered prevents him from utilizing his Charismatic skill to try to rally the shaken squads next to him.

    With only one active hostile VC unit in the building to the south, the sniper, the Marines only have to worry about Arnat and the three untouched VC squads holing up with her. The Marines in the jungle hex with the Chaplain open up on the shaken and wounded VC to their south. The Marines are able to eliminate Dobie San and the shaken half squad with an attack from their captured RPGs.

    However, Arnat's squads deliver revenge upon that Marine squad, first inflicting casualties and shaking both of the other Marine units in that hex. The squad with the RPD machine gun is then able to knock out the Marine squad carrying the RPG.

    On the east side, things are not going so well for the VC. Though the Marines on the west end of the battle have taken heavy fire and casualties, they absorbed the fire that otherwise may have been used to stall their southern advance. Sgt. Ash orders a single USMC squad south across the open ground to building controlled by the VC. The VC sniper takes the bait and pinches of several rounds that fail to connect. The Marines, surprised and grateful to have survived crossing open killing ground against a VC sniper, take position in the lower floor. The VC have now committed all their force to bear and the rest of the Marines advance south. Lt. Reagin leads his squad with an M-60 machine gun south double time and is able to climb the second story and kill the sniper in melee combat. Sgt. Ash's power group of threes squads is able to enter the top floor of the building and verify that Dobie San and his troops are indeed dead.
     
  4. Ryan Shannahan

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    Turn 6

    [​IMG]
    River of Perfume, Hue South Vietnam, February 1968. End of Turn 6

    The Marines win the initiative. The Chaplain and the shaken squad in the jungle fail to rally after the heavy fire they just took and have been doing what they can to help the casualties of the squad they were with.
    Sgt. Ash starts the turn by having his large stack open up with tremendous firepower on Arnat's position. The entire group is shaken and casualties are inflicted as well. The USMC hits Arnat a moment later and wounds her in the shoulder. The VC are now effectively out of the fight and can do nothing. Lt. Reagin and his squad move west toward Sgt. Ash and force the surrender of the last couple VC half squads in that building. The Chaplain and the shaken squad move north into the better protection of the U-shaped stone building. One USMC squad advances southwest to the open ground outside of Arnat's building.

    Turn 7

    The VC win the initiative. The two Marine units in the U-shaped building rally. The wounded Arnat rallies, but both half squads with her fail to do so. Since the squad with the RPD is shaken, she cannot take the RPD from them.

    Sgt. Ash has his three squads open fire with devestating results, killing Arnat and eliminating the last two shaken VC half squads on the map. The Marine squad outside the building enters it, taking control of the last building and exceeding the objectives required for victory.

    Analysis: The Marines were able to bring the benefit of their heavy firepower to bear fruitully on the VC. I had been pondering the best way to take the fifth building, the one that Dobie San was in. In the essence of time I was conteplating making a bold charge, perhaps piecemeal, across the open ground to try to take the building at close range. Instead I opted to have the Marines concentrate their superior firepower on the VC. It worked well and exceeded my expectations.

    The Solo System: I think the solo system did pretty well. In fact, I don't know if I would have done anything drastically different, aside from now and again choosing to fire a different unit than the system selected. The system directed the VC to fire at Marine squads moving in the relative safety of the stone buildings. They fired because they had a chance to hit, but as a player I may have had them hold their op-fire in those situations to concentrate fire once I was sure the Marines wouldn't be able to make it across open ground. I likely would have passed a bit more often than the solo system dictated the VC to pass. Because there were always Marines within range of VC units, the VC often just attacked with a single unit. For most of the battle this seems to make sense as the VC are really hoping to opportunity fire at Marine units that must cross open ground or at least leave the protection of the heavy construction buildings to achieve their objective.

    That's why, as the Marines, I ultimately opted to consolidate and bring concentrated combined fire to bear on the most threatening VC hexes. This worked well as the die rolls tended to slightly favor the Americans during the high firepower attacks, exacerbating the difference in firepower between the two sides.
    I think this was probably an easy battle for the solo system to handle as the VC start in the objective hexes which offer the best defensive modifiers available. They literally sit there, largely no need to move, and take pot shots at the Marines, forcing them to occasionally move squads across open ground to draw fire. Aside from some small differences in how I anticipate I may have directed the VC, overall their behavior was similar to what I would expect from a person. They were able to have some small success with their orders, mostly shaking Marines and once eliminating a squad.

    Overall, I am pleased with not only how the solo system worked in regard to dictating my opponent's behavior, but I was impressed with how easy it was to come to grips with implementing the cards and flowcharts. I played turns 1 and 2 each on two successive nights, but then was able to play the remaining 5 turns in one sitting. Some of this had to do with the diminishing VC forces, but resolving the AEO cards became noticeably easier with just a bit of time.
     
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