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Rolling Hot: CoC Vietnam Mini Campaign UPDATED February 7

PostPosted: Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:51 am
by Dog who drinks paint
Based on David Drake's 'Hammer's Slammers' novel of the same name, this campaign consists of four linked scenarios covering the actions of an armoured cavalry troop fighting its way from a rear echelon base to the relief of Hue during the Tet Offensive. Drake served with 11th ACR in Vietnam in 1970. The novel is based on accounts he heard from those he served with who had been there in 1968.

The scenarios were written for my Vietnam-modified version of Too Fat Lardies' ‘Chain of Command' (CoC) rules. A set I call Fudged Fighting Season, in honour of the Afghan rules that never were and the all-important acronym. They owe a great debt to Jason Sendjirdjian’s excellent DMZ modifications, but are tweaked to reflect my own prejudices (derived largely from Hollywood and pulp fiction rather than historical research).

Before the pedants attack, I know that the Sheridans should be M48s. What can I say? Back when I started collecting these forces Airfix kits were easily available and no one made M48s in 1/72. I just squint a bit and/or relocate the action to 1973.

Scenario 1: Attack on Camp Progress


Camp Progress is a rear area repair facility. It is manned by engineer and maintenance REMFs, and is currently hosting a number of vehicles from various armoured cav units. When the NVA launches its Tet offensive, Progress becomes the target for a nighttime assault by a regular force of infantry and sappers. As the initial salvo of mortar shells rains down, the ranking cav officer, Captain Ranson, is getting orders to pull every vehicle that can move out of Progress, and head for Hue to support relief efforts as that city comes under effective siege from NVA forces.

US Forces

Camp Progress Garrison - Green - 4 Command dice

1 Senior Leader w/M16
RTO w/M16

2 M60 teams of 2 crew

2 rifle sections of 5 M16, 1 M79, 1 shotgun, 1 Junior Leader w/M16

1 ‘Green’ die that only counts for 5s and 6s

Task Force Ranson - Regular - 5 Command dice

M113 ACAV with Senior Leader (Captain Ranson)
3 M551 Sheridan with Junior Leaders
3 M113 ACAV with Junior Leaders

NVA Forces

Rifle Platoon - Regular- 5 Command dice

Senior Leader w/SKS
Runner w/SKS

3 Rifle Sections each:

Junior Leader w/AK47
RPD team w/2 crew
RPG7 team w/2 crew
4 riflemen w/AK47 or SKS

3 Sapper teams, elite, veteran, 2 sappers with satchel charges and wirecutters, AK47

Pre-Game Barrage

1 ‘Red’ die. This only counts when a ‘1’ is rolled, to give the elite sappers a little more aggression

Turn 1

The razor wire cast jagged shadows across the blank look on Nhung’s face as another mortar shell exploded on the American base. “Wire cutters!” hissed Duc again, though the chances of anyone hearing him over the cacophony of detonations were slim. “I thought you had some”, Nhung hissed back, “I gave mine to Hien.” Before Duc could express his fury at his partner’s stupidity, the roar of a machine gun sent both sappers sprawling in the mud, desperate to avoid the stream of tracer ripping the air just above their heads.


Things started well for the NVA, with two sapper teams deploying in the first phase and a full squad joining on phase two. Unfortunately, the start of a run of poor rolls saw them fail to make any impression on the razor wire defences. Meanwhile the pre-game barrage stopped any cav deployment, but in phase 2 an M60 team braved the mortar shells and, despite the dark, inflicted a shock and a kill on one of the sapper teams.

Phases 3 and 4 saw the NVA bring on another squad, but continued to make no impression on the wire. The M60 team continued to blaze away in the dark, but were unable to repeat their initial success. However, a garrison squad braved the barrage and added to the volume of outgoing fire, achieving only a single shock on the second sapper team. The pre-game barrage still kept the cav from deploying.

No one likes being rudely awakened in the middle of the night, especially when the alarm takes the form off a salvo of 82mm mortar shells. Fortunately for Captain Ranson, he had already been roughly shaken out of his fitful sleep by the duty clerk when the first explosions shook the base. The staff officer, who’s urgent call had summoned the still-drowsy captain, sounded panicky through the radio static. But his message was clear: pull every track that can move out of Camp Progress and head north for Hue.

“You can hear we’re under attack here? Over” said Ranson, as calmly as he could manage. “Not your problem Ranson. Get that armor headed north. Out.” Ranson dropped the radio mic and headset and ran for the door, only to be flattened by a soldier headed fast in the opposite direction, as more shells shook the bunker. Lying, winded, under a couple of hundred pounds of GI, Ranson wondered if things could get any worse. As the contents of a sandbag, torn open by shrapnel, started to cascade onto his face, he considered that, on balance, they probably could.


In phase 5 the remaining NVA forces deployed but still no luck with the wire. Ranson finally convinced some crew to leave the safety of their bunkers for the dubious protection of their ACAVs and Sheridans, with 2 vehicles deploying. The garrison, with the help of a double phase, deployed a second M60 team and wiped out both the ineffectual sapper teams. NVA Force Morale dropped by 1 to 10.

In phase 6 the NVA returned fire, inflicting 2 shock and a kill on the US squad, who could only achieve one shock in return. Ranson deployed two more ACAVs and used a CoC dice to end the turn, in the hopes of ending the pre-game barrage. I decided to allow the NVA to burn a CoC dice of their own to keep the barrage firing. Not strictly RAW, but at this stage I felt they needed all the help they could get.

Turn 2


Thanh and Hien crouched by the wire, grateful that the green and red tracer filling the night air was not coming in their direction, yet. Thanh held out the wire cutters to Hien, only to realize his comrade was holding a pair in each hand. The awful implication of this over abundance of equipment struck them both at the same time. They glanced involuntarily to their right, where the rapidly intensifying firefight marked the place where their fellow sappers should have been slicing through the American defences with the very tools they were holding. Then, without a word, they set to work.

The NVA started with a double phase, and whilst they continued to make no impression on the wire, the two squads in support managed 2 shock and 3 kills on the American defenders, despite the darkness and hard cover. Return fire from the M60s went high and wide in the dark, but the rifle squad was more accurate and inflicted 1 shock and 3 kills on the enemy. When the second squad deployed it added another 3 shock. Ranson continued a fruitless search for more vehicle crew.


In Phase 2 it all kicked off. The last sapper team finally cleared a section of wire. The NVA Lieutenant removed shock from his squads and their Junior Leaders led two squads into close combat with the American defenders.

That was a mistake.

The US got more than double the dice of the NVA assault, which was effectively wiped out with the 3 survivors (of 18 attackers) heading for the jungle. However, they did inflict damage, wiping out an M60 team and breaking a rifle squad. NVA Force Morale dropped to 6, the US Garrison to 7 from 9. Meanwhile, Ranson had deployed all but one vehicle and his own, but none of them had started moving.

The NVA then chose to end the turn with a CoC dice to rout the broken squad, dropping Garrison Force Morale to 6 but finally ending the pre-game barrage.

Turn 3

Phase 1: the NVA tried some ineffective rifle fire and an RPG flew wide of an ACAV, but attracted the attention of the surviving M60 gunner who scored a shock and a kill. Ranson finally had all vehicles deployed and the first tank left the compound.

In Phase 2 the NVA lieutenant busied himself removing shock, the sappers crept forward and another RPG round narrowly missed an ACAV (rolled 7, needing an 8 because it’s nighttime). The M60 fired and missed while the armour all started heading out.


In phase 3 the remaining NVA squad headed for the gap in the wire and the M60 finished off the RPG team. Then in phase 4 the Vietnamese lieutenant led his remaining troops in a final assault on the US defences. Both sides inflicted 5 kills, wiping out the American garrison (apart from the senior leader and his RTO who were still cowering in a bunker) and breaking the NVA. At which point it was time to bring down the curtain.

With all 7 vehicles leaving the table unmolested, this was definitely a US victory. That said, the garrison was effectively wiped out and things could have been even messier if only the sappers had got through the wire sooner.


With dawn light creeping over the horizon and a modicum of order descending on the newly christened Task Force Ranson, the Captain took a deep breath, released his hold on his .50 cals’ grips and surveyed his command. To the left, the smoking remains of Camp Progress seemed devoid of life. Ahead lay ‘Happy Days’, the settlement which had provided R&R facilities for the men of Camp Progress. Only this time, judging by the night’s events, they were unlikely to be greeted by anyone offering to “love you long time, GI!”

Re: Rolling Hot: CoC Vietnam Mini Campaign

PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:40 am
by Dog who drinks paint
It took a while, what with one thing and another, but the second ‘Rolling Hot’ scenario made it onto the table. Not the best game ever, but it sets things up for the next couple of scenarios to be interesting.

Scenario 2: The Hills are Alive

Task Force Ranson is now on the road to Hue. As it crosses the hills north of Camp Progress it can either head through the settlement dubbed ‘Happy Days’ by the troops of Camp Progress, or take the longer route through the hills, potentially bypassing an NVA blocking force.

US Forces

All vehicles that exited from the table in Scenario 1, which in this case are 4 ACAVs and 3 Sheridans.

The Task Force must cross the table, following a road at all times, and exit as quickly as possible. Select the eastern or western route at random. Keep a count of the turns required to exit all vehicles.

NVA Forces

There is no Patrol Phase for this scenario, so the NVA player deploys 12 ‘Possible Enemy Force’ (PEF) markers: 6 section sized and 6 team sized. The former can be activated on a roll of ‘2’ on the Command Dice, the latter on a roll of ‘1’. Once the Senior Leader is deployed, he can activate other PEFs within his command radius.

US vehicle crews can spot PEFs at 18” in light cover or 12” in heavy cover if they are moving Slow. These distances are halved for Fast movement and no spotting can be done going Flat Out.

When a PEF is activated or spotted, roll on the table below to reveal what it is. If the PEF is spotted by the US player, then there is a chance they have made a mistake. The US player will react according to the initial roll, but when that unit is activated by the NVA player roll a d6, and on a 5 or 6 roll again and replace the unit with the new result. Once a result has been rolled, if it comes up again ignore it and roll again until you get a new result.

Section PEFs
1 Nothing
2 Nothing
3 VC Section
4 NVA Section
5 NVA Section
6 NVA Section

Team PEFs
1 Civilians
2 Civilians
3 DSHk
4 Sniper
5 Recoilless Rifle
6 NVA Senior Leader and Runner

I decided to skip the Patrol Phase for this scenario as it would be clear far too early on which route Task Force Ranson was taking (blame my terrain tiles for not allowing a subtler arrangement of road junctions). That would allow the NVA to concentrate their deployment unfairly, so a pre-set deployment with some uncertainty as to the exact make-up and a genuinely random choice of route for the US seemed like an appropriate solution for a solo game.

Unsurprisingly under the circumstances, I split the NVA starting positions evenly between 3 locations: 3 section PEFs and 2 team PEFs in Happy Days, the same on the eastern route and then the two remaining team PEFs in a central location. (PEFs marked by white cards in the picture below.) I was hoping that at least one of those would turn out to be the recoilless rifle or DSHk, allowing the NVA to engage the Task Force as it appeared on the road. If the Senior Leader was in that central location then at least he could redeploy to the scene of action more easily.
Right, we have an all armour force ambushed by a guerrilla opponent in the late 1960s, all using a rule set designed for conflict between symmetrical infantry forces in the 1940s. What could possibly go wrong?

Trung úy Hien was nervous, and with good reason. Left behind with a ragbag collection of soldiers and vague instructions to ‘provide rear area security’, while the main force had headed south to assault the American base, he had done his best. With two roads north to cover, and only his own platoon and a group of local viet cong to do it with, he had split his forces between ambush locations on each route. Knowing that the base was full of tanks, he had placed his recoilless rifle at the junction where the routes split in the hopes that it could block the road and give his forces time to converge. Now he worried that the anti tank group were too isolated, that his forces too far apart to provide mutual support, that if the Americans did come it would mean disaster had befallen the attack on the camp. He spent the night shuttling back and forth between his troop locations, but when the mortar barrage heralded the assault to the south, he lay down in the eastern ambush position and fell into an exhausted sleep.

When he woke, it was dawn and the mortars were silent. No one in the position had any news of the fighting which apparently had lit up the sky to the south, but then they all heard the sound of engines. Hien had spent enough time in the area during the build up to recognize the distinctive grumble of American armour. That could only mean the attack had gone badly. He waited for the noise of the recoilless rifle engaging targets at the junction, but all he heard was the chatter of heavy machine gun fire. His own ‘dushka’ was further back, in the settlement, so those must be American guns firing.

Turn 1

Both sides began at Force Morale of 8, so everyone is feeling a bit fragile for this encounter.

As the attacker the US got to go first and rolled a double phase. Ranson activated and brought on the first three vehicles: a Sheridan, an ACAV and his own command track. I also rolled for the route chosen, and Ranson clearly decided that driving through a built up area like Happy Days was asking for trouble and took the eastern route over the hills. The Sheridan entered fast to create space on the road for the rest of the Task Force and therefore spotted nothing. The ACAV came on at slow speed and identified the 2 PEFs in front of the junction as civilians and the recoilless rifle. Spotting had used the vehicle commander’s second action, but that wasn’t a problem with a second phase coming and the NVA not on overwatch. Ranson deployed at the table edge.

The next roll produced another double phase, but the only activation was a JL. So the ACAV fired its 50 cal at the recoilless rifle. Unfortunately the civilians were within 4” so shared casualties, that being one kill on each team.

The next US phase rolled activation for 3 Junior and one Senior Leaders, what a way to round off a run of three phases! The Sheridan kept on along the road, the ACAV shot again, wiping out the civilians (which dropped US Force Morale to 7) and inflicted 1 kill and 2 shock on the recoilless crew. Ranson spotted a PEF in the plantation but it turned out to be a sniper, so he couldn’t engage. Instead he fired his 50 cal at the recoilless crew, killing one and breaking the survivors who ran for the hills (though Vietnamese Force Morale held steady). The final junior leader activation brought on another Sheridan.

Finally the NVA got to have a phase, but rolled no 1s or 2s, so couldn’t activate anything! The pattern continued for another couple of phases with the US vehicles advancing along the road and the Vietnamese deploying nothing except blanks. Things were not looking good for them as the lead US tank approached the eastern ambush position.

Finally, the NVA rolled a 1 and a 2, activating more civilians and the local VC section, who promptly fired an RPG at the Sheridan and missed! It was turning into a really bad day for the forces of communism.

The lead Sheridan responded with HE (or was that a Beehive round, at 13 d6 who cares?) getting 3 kills 3 shock on the VC. One of those hit was the unit leader, who was reduced to 1 activation, but in the next turn he put it to good use, ordering his RPG gunner to fire again.
This time there is no mistake. 3 net hits, its puny armour is no protection and the Sheridan explodes. US Force Morale drops 2 to 5! Even though the other NVA activation reveals another blank, things are looking up!
Next US phase the lead ACAV turns and fires its HMG at the VC but misses completely!

An NVA section deploys behind the hill in support of the VC, and the VC leader again uses his sole initiative to fire their last RPG round at the ACAV. It hits, but only a glancing blow causing 2 shock but no casualties.

Stung, the ACAV pulls forward to close range and fires. Despite its own shock, it does 3 shock and 2 kills, including the valiant leader who succumbs to a second wound! The VC is pinned, and Vietnamese Force Morale drops to 6. The US advance continues.

Next phase, the final PEF on the eastern road is revealed as the Senior Leader. Trung úy Hien unpinned the VC unit and withdrew it from its exposed position. The Junior Leaader brings up his NVA section to replace them, but only advances 3”. The other two NVA sections deploy in Happy Days, much too far away to be of any help. For the US, only Ranson activates and he keeps the Task Force moving.
Next phase the NVA section moves up to a position overlooking the road, but the US play a CoC die to interrupt and the ACAV fires, getting 3 shock and a kill. The NVA reply with an RPG scoring 2 shock and immobilizing the vehicle for the rest of the game.

Just when things might be swinging back the Vietnamese way, the US got a double phase, with plenty of activations. The NVA interrupted with a CoC die of their own to fire another RPG at the ACAV, knocking it out but failing to inflict any casualties on the crew, or any damage to US Force Morale

The second Sheridan fired its main gun, causing 6 shock and 3 kills, pinning the NVA. The commander then added the fire of his 50 cal, breaking the unit with another shock and a kill. Vietnamese Force Morale dropped to 5, on a par with the US. Ranson used his activation and the subsequent phase to continue the advance.

In the NVA phase both the Senior and Junior Leaders reduced shock, but the section was still pinned. The two sections from Happy Days headed towards the sound of firing at the double, but were still much too far away.

This pattern was repeated for the next pair of phases, then the US got a double phase. Ranson himself drove up the road, onto the ridge and fired at Hien, first stunning him, and then killing him and his runner. Vietnamese Force Morale dropped to 4, then 2 and it was time to say ‘game over’.

All in all, a little disappointing. The solo mechanism produced a poorly deployed and disjointed Vietnamese defence, though they still managed to take out two US vehicles. The armour on ACAVs and Sheridans is really no match for the RPG-7, I believe that to be realistic? Having the Vietnamese only activate the PEFs on 1s and 2s was very limiting. Whilst the US, who can only activate on 3s and 4s because they are all vehicles, were much more responsive. Being able to add a couple of low scoring dice to get a 3 or 4 really helps.

I thought CoC held up well under all the misuse I heaped on it. I never got a turn end but that really didn’t affect things (the recoilless crew would have routed, but Force Morale was never the Vietnamese problem), nor did I get to try out my misidentification mechanic. The problem was really my deployment mechanism, which I could tweak endlessly, but instead it’s on to the next scenario, as a slightly reduced Task Force Ranson attempts to reach ‘A Bridge Too Near’.

Re: Rolling Hot: CoC Vietnam Mini Campaign UPDATED July 27

PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 6:05 pm
by Dog who drinks paint
You would have thought that between a spell of Covid-induced unemployment, seemingly unending lockdowns and the Canadian winter, I would have plenty of time for gaming. Turns out, real life doesn’t work that way. So after a 6 month break, we return to the hills south of Hue to catch up on the adventures of the rapidly shrinking Task Force Ranson. Worth the wait though. Things certainly didn’t go the way I expected, and there was a real cliffhanger of an ending to boot.

Scenario 3: A Bridge Too Near

Once through the hills, the somewhat reduced Task Force Ranson now has to swing east and cross the river that lies between it and Hue. The good news is that the river crossing is still held by a force of the USMC. The bad news is they are under concerted attack from the NVA and the Marine CO seems to think the armour is there to help him, not the defenders of Hue. The further bad news is that the bridge is not in the best condition. No one is sure how many armoured vehicles it will support.

I set up the table for the ‘Attack on an Objective’ scenario with the bridge as the objective. The table orientation is the wrong way round, but then the scenario does not envisage the arrival of an armoured troop on the attacker’s flank.
The under strength USMC platoon has so much by way of entrenchments and barbed wire that it ends up being at +12, so by the time I had rolled 10 for the attacker supports, the NVA platoon had plenty of support to choose from. It being daylight and the US well dug in, I figured a lot of long range firepower with the ability to reduce cover by one level was called for. That still left enough support points for three sapper teams for when the time came to breach the wire and get up close and personal.

Task Force Ranson enters the table (from the bottom right corner in the picture above) after both other forces have had at least one phase of the second turn. At the bridge, the USMC CO can use a CoC dice to halt TF Ranson, and Ranson must use a CoC dice to overcome this and move on across the bridge. Each vehicle that crosses the bridge rolls a d6 and adds the score to a cumulative total. When the total exceeds 14+1d6, the bridge collapses.

USMC Platoon - Regular - 5 Command dice

1 Senior Leader w/M16
RTO w/M16

1 Senior Leader w/M16

2 M60 teams of 2 crew

2 rifle sections of 8 M16, 2 M79, 1 shotgun, 1 Junior Leader w/M16

Task Force Ranson - Regular - 5 Command dice

M113 ACAV with Senior Leader (Captain Ranson)

2 M551 Sheridan with Junior Leaders

2 M113 ACAV with Junior Leaders

NVA Forces - Rifle Platoon - Regular- 5 Command dice

Senior Leader w/SKS
Runner w/SKS

3 Rifle Sections each:

Junior Leader w/AK47
RPD team w/2 crew
RPG7 team w/2 crew
4 riflemen w/AK47 or SKS

3 Sapper teams, elite, veteran, 2 sappers with satchel charges and wirecutters, AK47

2 82mm mortars - on table

1 DshK HMG w/5 crew

1 57mm recoilless rifle w/5 crew

Patrol phase

Short and sweet, the NVA got 4 free moves, and after that it only took one move by each side to lock down each other’s patrol markers. (NVA have the ‘Jungle Fighter’ attribute, so patrol markers move 14” and must remain within 14” of each other.) The USMC were restricted to dug in areas around the bridge, so I placed the JOPs as far back as possible as they were unlikely to want to deploy outside the wire, and the JOPs were just a risk to Force Morale. The NVA ended up favouring their right flank, not knowing that this is where Task Force Ranson would be appearing. (Being absent minded really helps with solo gaming.) That said, I doubt the TF will be bothering to stop and seize JOPs, so if anything it will favour defence against the unexpected arrival of armour in their rear.

The NVA and Marines both start with Force Morale of 9. TF Ranson, still licking their wounds after the ambush in the hills start with morale of 8.

When you’re a colonel and you get orders to hold a bridge, you expect a battalion task force at the very least. The fact that all I had were the remnants of a rifle platoon had army fingerprints all over it. Only those idiots could screw up this badly. If the bridge was so goddam important, why not give me a proper force to defend it with?

Eventually, once everything had gone to ratshit, I figured out the method in their madness. In the chaos, it was going to take a senior officer to bring some order to the scene and make sure all the stragglers and REMFs who tried to cross were organized into a proper defence. That was my job, and no one, not Charlie and not some horse jockey, were going to stop me doing it.

The NVA opened by deploying two squads on overwatch in the tree line overlooking the bridge. The marines responded by deploying into their entrenchments, and got the better of the resultant firefight. So the NVA commander pulled his infantry back behind the hills and let his mortars go to work. This left the US defenders with little to do but remove the odd point of shock, count the gradually accumulating casualties and pray for more 5s or 6s to bring an end to the turn.
In the end a triple 6 for the US was followed immediately by another triple 6, so that it was Turn 3 by the time Ranson got to deploy. By then the NVA had deployed a third squad on their right (it was where the US defences looked weakest), rather too close to the Task Force’s entry point.

Ranson hadn’t let the troops rest after the ambush. They had picked up the few survivors, but had no time to bury the dead. Not that it looked like there was much left to bury. The burning wrecks were a salutary lesson in the devastating effects of an RPG on the vehicles of his command.

Pushing on towards Hue, Ranson had just reminded the TC of the lead Sheridan to look out for the junction where they would head east to the river, when he heard small arms fire and mortars in the distance. Before he had a chance to alert the Task Force he saw an RPG streak from a wooded hillside and glance off the turret of the lead Sheridan. The ACAV ahead slammed to a halt in alarm, so Ranson yelled at his driver to go round it. As they did the right side gunner yelled “Incoming!” A hammer blow struck Ranson’s turret. His right arm went numb. He knew the dark patch spreading down his sleeve must be his blood and that pain was coming, but he rode the shock to slew his turret and spray the hillside with 50 cal bullets. So he was looking straight at the recoilless rifle when it fired a second projectile at his track.

Ranson’s bad day was about to take a turn for the worse.

TF Ranson rolled three 6s on its first phase, so his remaining dice just allowed him to deploy the lead Sheridan. The NVA then used a CoC dice to interrupt and fire an RPG at the tank, but only achieved one net hit, inflicting 1 shock and damaging the gun sights. With his next phase (it’s now Turn 4) Ranson could only activate himself (6, 5, 5, 4, 1) so I allowed him to deploy off the road, even though he was not next in the order of march, and fire at the NVA, getting 1 kill. He also activated the lead tank to advance further.

That’s when things got messy. Both NVA squads on this side of the table fired RPGs and both missed. The NVA recoilless rifle deployed, fired at and hit Ranson’s ACAV, inflicting 2 shock and wounding Ranson, costing him 1 command level. In his next phase Ranson removed 1 shock and fired at the recoilless crew but missed, the tank fired HE at an NVA rifle squad but only got 1 kill from 13 HE dice and the next ACAV deployed and managed to kill one member of the recoilless crew with its 50 cal.

Unfazed, the recoilless rifle fired again at Ranson’s track, knocking it out without it actually exploding, while another RPG sailed harmlessly over the lead tank. The Sheridan responded in style, wiping out one of the infantry squads with an HE round, while the commander got 4 kills on the recoilless crew with his 50 cal, wiping them out. The celebrations didn’t last long as the remaining infantry squad fired their last RPG round at the tank and 5 net hits turned it into a ball of flame. 
As the dust settled on this action, both the NVA and Task Force Ranson saw their Force Morale fall to 5. I had allowed Ranson himself to use his remaining activations to crawl out of his ACAV and into the back of the following vehicle, while the NVA survivors used the ‘Tunnels of Chu Chi’ rule to exit via deployment points, ready to redeploy in later phases.

There then followed a bit of a lull as the remaining vehicles of TF Ranson made their way to the bridge, the NVA redeployed on their left wing while continuing to lob mortar shells at the marines, who had nothing to do but remove shock and collect CoC points. (In all, Turn 4 had 52 phases!) By the time Ranson made it to the bridge the Marine CO had a full CoC dice to stop him heading across.
A few phases later, Ranson acquired a CoC dice of his own, brushed aside the Colonel’s objections and headed over the bridge and off the table. But the next Marine phase generated another complete CoC dice and the Colonel stopped the remaining vehicles of TF Ranson from following their commander. Under his orders they reversed out of the fortifications and headed for the NVA positions.

The NVA, knowing this was their last chance, responded aggressively. The sapper teams advanced tactically towards the wire, making slow progress but keeping some level of cover. The DshK deployed in the tree line and fired on the Marine section nearest, getting a kill and 2 shock, enough to break the section, already depleted by mortar fire. Marine Force Morale dropped to 8, and when the NVA played a CoC dice to end the turn it dropped to 6 as the remains of the squad routed across the bridge and off the table.

The Marines started the next turn with no 3s for activating the vehicles, so had to be content with the M60 team inflicting 1 kill and 1 shock on the DshK while the CO redeployed the remaining rifle squad to cover the threatened sector. The DshK responded with a shock and a kill on the M60 team while the sappers continued to creep forward and the rifle squad with the sole remaining RPG reload headed for the crest of the hill between them and the US armour.

Next phase the US could activate the ACAV, and while its commander could only get 1kill on the DshK with his 50 cal, the M60 gunner behind him got 2 kills and a shock, pinning the heavy machine gun. But the NVA were not finished, rolling two double phases and getting the RPG armed squad to the crest of the hill, from where they could see the US armour.

That’s when things got frantic. The US interrupted with a CoC dice and the tank fired HE at the squad in the trees on the crest of the hill. Four kills meant only one survivor, but was that the Junior Leader or the RPG gunner? A roll of 2 meant the RPG gunner was unhurt, but could the JL activate him? A roll of 5 meant his wound cost him one command level, but his remaining one was enough to order the RPG gunner to fire his final round at the Sheridan....
Thanh peered between the trees, and was horrified to see how close the American vehicles were. The Trung sĩ was yelling at him to fire at the tank, so he brought the RPG launcher to his shoulder and squinted down the sights. Which meant he would have had an excellent view as the gaping muzzle of the tank’s gun swung towards him and belched fire and smoke, but Thanh had already thrown himself to the ground, pressing himself into the tree roots in a desperate attempt at survival. When he looked up, most of the trees had disappeared, along with all the members of his squad who had survived the American bullets earlier that day. Almost all.

The Trung sĩ, blood streaming from a gash in his head, was yelling at him again to fire his last remaining rocket at the tank. Reluctantly Thanh kneeled up and aimed the launcher at the tank, which seemed far too close. The machine gun mounted on top of its turret was swinging in his direction, so without bothering to aim, he squeezed the trigger and didn’t even wait to watch the missile arc harmlessly over the tank, before running back down the hill as fast as he could.

With the last anti tank weapon in their arsenal having missed, I decided the NVA would not try making any further attempts on the bridge and called it a day. Another really unpredictable battle, with the US getting the better of the initial firefight, the arrival of the armour distracting the NVA from mortaring the Marines, Ranson suffering another two losses and barely escaping with his life and then the Marine CO managing to hijack two of the Task Force’s vehicles to save the bridge, which otherwise looked in real trouble. The fact the whole outcome rested on that final RPG shot was a hugely satisfying Hollywood ending. 

So Ranson can now recover from his wound as the remaining 3 vehicles under his command head to the siege lines around Hue. He has no idea what awaits him there, but here’s a clue.