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Vietnam 1965-1975» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Doves in Charge - 1965 rss

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Curt Chambers

Arizona
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Introduction

This is the first installment for an AAR in a game I have going with Pat Mullen. I am playing the Allies and Pat has the NLF. This is a game that we started face-to-face a few months back, being that we live reasonably close to each other. Recently, we decided to transfer this game to Vassal and use our face-to-face time for other shorter duration games (like Victory Games Korea). Since Vassal makes it much easier to do screen shots, and this match promises to be an interesting one, I decided to do an AAR.

If you’ve read my previous AARs you know that I don’t do a play-by-play. I update them a year at a time, commenting generally on what happened. They are usually pretty short reads. Once in a while I’ll detail an interesting battle but for the most part I like to focus on grand strategy. This AAR will follow the same pattern. Thus the first installment will cover Setup and 1965.

Year start vital stats?

U.S. Morale - 520
Commitment - 25
SVN Morale - 65
SVN Draft level - 0
Controlled Population - 217
NVA Morale - 10
Commitment - 0
VC Draft Level - 0
Controlled Population - 143

SETUP AND PLANNING

The name of this AAR is “Doves in Charge” because I decided to follow a minimalist approach with the U.S. The official policy of the United States is to comitt as little as possible in Vietnam, but still keep the country from being overun by the communists. Pat’s game with Randy (see his AAR “Sweet Soul Music”) features the opposite approach - an aggressive and fast U.S. buildup. I thought this would provide a nice contrast.

For the ARVN I purchased all the battalions and a couple regiments. Just enough to garrison every capital. They will be built slowly, about 1 division per season depending on leadership. Since I’m in no hurry with the ARVN I will implement the leadership training program. I find the ARVN Rangers extremely valuable. But, alas, they too will be built slowly since my minimalist approach does not provide much initial support for SVN.

The U.S. will build at a rate of 25 CPs per season for 1965. I’d like to keep comittment at < 150 for as long as possible. I do not like defending against NLF Offensives, be they suicidal or conventional. U.S. divisions will be built, and then partially withdrawn, in order to get all their infrastructure in place. By mid-game I do plan on increasing spending and the divisional ranks can be filled out.

The air force will be used as “pocket change”. If I find myself with 1 or 2 extra CPs I can purchase air points. Conversely, if I find myself short during the recruitment phase I’ll withdraw air points to make up the difference. Like the ground forces, I do plan on building up the air force eventually. It’s just going to have to wait for now.

SUMMER

NOTE: I don’t have many screen shots for this initial report since most of the first year was played face-to-face, and I didn’t think to take any pictures of the map.

Interphase

The doves in Washington DC released just enough funds to send the airmobile division and some support to Vietnam (25 CPs). The country was “covered” in that there were no open capitals. But I was weak everywhere and the NLF would have no problem taking a few capitals if they choose to do so.

Operations

And indeed, they chose to do so. Heavy NLF attacks in I and II Corps took down a couple capitals. At first I thought I was going to get off easy since there were not that many VC units on the map. But then I realized that many of them were regiments, some with HQ support. The ARVN used up most of their replacements defending against these attacks, meaning they had little left to assist the U.S. with. Accordingly, U.S. offensive operations were very selective. The fact that so many VC elected to attack meant that 1) they were in an exposed position, and 2) I knew what their combat values were (at least the ones I didn’t forget!). So my attacks, though small in number, were largely successful.

The Allies were able to KIA 15 battalions. But casualties were relatively high - 10 US repl, 7 ARVN repl, 1 air, 2 airmobile.

FALL

Interphase

Nothing of great interest occurred during the interphase. The Allies spent another 25 CPs, which brought in the 101st, the rest of the 3rd Marine, and some more support.

Operations

I had left IV Corps devoid of U.S. units since the ARVN were fairly effective down there. However, for the second season in a row I under-purchased ARVN replacements and the pool was drained once again by aggressive VC attacks. 4 battalions had to be taken as casualties due to lack of replacements.

On the U.S. side things went a little better. For about the same U.S. casualty rate as last season I was able to destroy 30 battalion equivalents. The VC continued hitting my capitals with their heavy units, and several more VC regiments were identified. The NVA 1st division, which had been lurking unmolested in western Kontum, made a run for the coast and captured the capital of Quang Ngai. Thus, my morale bonus for KIAs was offset by the morale penalty for captured capitals. Thus it is in Vietnam.

WINTER

Interphase

The battle for the hearts and minds is going fairly well considering the number of capitals that have fallen so far. Last season I increased control by 4 points and this season I picked up another 3. This brought SVN controlled population to 224. It’s important to get above 221 as quickly as possible so that the U.S. doesn’t have to prop up the Saigon government with strategic bombing (which I had been doing up to this point).

For recruitment 24 CPs were invested, which mobilized the 23rd division and some independent artillery. Supply shipments to SVN were increased slightly to allow the mobilization of some effecive divisions.

A note on ARVN leadership. For this point in the war the Officer Corps is in not too bad of shape. I would have prefered a better CoS but overall loyalty is pretty decent. The “Doves in Charge” strategy does not rely heavily on the ARVN for the first couple years so at this point I’ll gladly sacrifice effectiveness in favor of loyalty.



Operations

The VC continued their aggressive posture by attacking isolated elements of the 101st in Phu Bon, and an independent artillery battalion in Khanh Hoa. The U.S. was able to avoid unit losses in both battles. But it certainly put me on notice to be more careful in the future. I knew, from playing the NLF in previous games, that opportunities exist to destroy U.S. units. But when playing the Allies it is just too easy to overlook them and not properly prepare.

During the 2nd game turn we had our first large scale operation against NVA forces. An NVA regiment, two independent artillery, and VC battalion had gone on Hold in Con Thien. The 3rd Marine mustered up its armored assets, all available artillery, and a few nearby ARVN battalions, and attacked the position. The battle went two rounds at which point the NVA artillery were taken as losses since they were unable to retreat. The regiment attempted to retreat but did not get far enough away from the border. It was eliminated on the third round. Total cost to the Allies was 2 ARVN replacements and an ARVN battalion.



With the arrival of the 23rd Division we went a long way towards bringing IV Corps under control. VC groups in Kien Hoa and Bac Lieu were successfully attacked. The large VC concentration in the northwest corner of the delta was scattered sufficiently to reduce the threat to the population.

Summary

Year End Stats:

U.S. Morale - 511
Commitment - 99
SVN Morale - 81
SVN Draft level - 47
Controlled Population - 224
NVA Morale - 38
Commitment - ?
VC Draft Level - ?
Controlled Population - 136

For an opening book, the U.S. built up slowly and methodically against an aggessive VC opponent. The trick to surviving the first year under these conditions is to be very selective with the U.S. The VC body count was a result, not a goal. The goal of operations was to remove the VC from selected provinces. Thus, I had to resist the temptation of going after large groups of VC on the border, but which offered no serious threat to the population.
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Patrick Mullen
United States
Arizona
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Great AAR, Curt!

Not much to add from the NLF POV as of yet, I think you have enunciated what I was doing well. The why is simple; get the US to do what he doesn't want to do. In this game, that is increase commitment.
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patrick Le Bloa
France
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Have Fun .

Did you use the normal VC Hq value ?

 
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Curt Chambers

Arizona
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I forget what we used for the first 3 seasons of face-to-face. But in our Vassal game we are using the printed value of 6. We probably should have used the correct value of 4, but decided to stay consistent with all the other Vassal games going on.
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Patrick Mullen
United States
Arizona
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We stuck with 6 because we had used 6 as the value for 5 seasons face to face earlier in the game.
 
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Bob A

North Carolina
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Yay! So glad to see another game go up here. Obviously, I'm not checking too often but I love reading others' works.

Pat - you going to keep updating the other game? Honestly, it looks like a bear seeing how much you put into it!

Curt - I often decide to sacrifice ARVN battalions in the first rounds in lieu of RPs since they don't cost any personnel to replace if I think it is a lost position anyways. Every person helps ;-)

Looking forward to more!
 
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Patrick Mullen
United States
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mrboba1 wrote:
Yay! So glad to see another game go up here. Obviously, I'm not checking too often but I love reading others' works.

Pat - you going to keep updating the other game? Honestly, it looks like a bear seeing how much you put into it!

Curt - I often decide to sacrifice ARVN battalions in the first rounds in lieu of RPs since they don't cost any personnel to replace if I think it is a lost position anyways. Every person helps ;-)

Looking forward to more!


Thanks, Bob. SSM slowed down a bit due to scheduling this summer, but should pick up in September. I'll probably switch to a yearly update template, so the next one for '66 should be out soon.

Pat
 
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