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Vietnam 1965-1975» Forums » Rules

Subject: Interdiction and Free Fire rss

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Mark Evans
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Berlin
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Feel free to discuss the question in this thread.

Poll
When interdiction is placed in a hex containing a regional boundary and only one side of the boundary is under free fire, is the US controlled artillery halved for this purpose?

Yes
No
Other
Not Sure
      16 answers
Poll created by drmark64


 
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Fred Buchholz
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Middleton
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You have to answer other: Page 8 rule 4.3 states it is "the defending player's choice" which side of the border they are on for free fire distinctions.
Thus it is never always yes, or always no, it is the defenders choice,
Makes a difference on who's defending, NVA and VC will probably declare to be on the non-free fire side, US or ARVN will probably declare to be on the free fire side. But technically they get to choose if they are the defender.
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Patrick Mullen
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Agree with Fred. The NLF picked his poison when he decided where to defend.
 
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Mark Evans
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4.3 says the defending player gets to select where his unit is for free fire purposes. What if there is no unit?
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Richard Kirk
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drmark64 wrote:
4.3 says the defending player gets to select where his unit is for free fire purposes. What if there is no unit?


I thought that might be your angle, Mark: What if the interdicted boundary hex is not occupied by a defending NLF unit? I've been working on a solution.

First, let's include international-border hexes as well. A region in South Vietnam bordering on Laos or Cambodia might not be a free-fire zone, but that restriction doesn't apply to NLF units in the latter countries. So this problem could arise along the international border.

Assume the US player wants to interdict an avenue of retreat that is a hex with restricted fire to one side and unrestricted to the other, and that is not occupied by a target unit (that is, it is not occupied by a defender). Rule 4.3 should still determine the result if a defending unit moves through such a hex.

I suggest that if a defending unit skirts the border, then the defending player can choose which zone applies. But if a defending unit crosses from a restricted-fire region into an unrestricted one, then that unit is subject to the level of interdiction resulting from the full firepower committed for that purpose.

In other words, the US will have to commit firepower according to its best estimate of the defending unit's retreat route. If the US only commits enough to interdict for a free fire zone and an NLF unit skirts along the border, then the retreating unit gets the advantage of the lower level of interdiction: a one or a zero depending on the amount of firepower. On the other hand, if the US commits enough support to ensure interdiction at a particular level for non-free fire and the NLF crosses into the unrestricted area, then the US has over committed and gets no additional benefit from the firepower.

Another aspect of this is that it gives the US a tool with which to channel NLF movement in response to an attack.

What the NLF does not get by this solution is the best of both worlds. The NLF cannot dictate that the interdiction level be determined for a non-free fire region and then scoot into an unrestricted region despite the US committing a potentially higher amount of support for non-free fire than for free fire.

Example 1:
In this example, the VC battalion is skirting the border between Tuyen Duc, which is a free-fire zone, and Phu Bon, which is not.

If the US has committed 7 support points from the 6/32 in Ban Me Thout to interdict the VC route, then the resulting interdiction level is 1 whether the VC follows the indicated route or turns southwest into Tuyen Duc. If the US commits only 3 support points and the VC skirt the border as shown, then the effective interdiction is 0.

Example 2:
In this example, the VC battalion is crossing the border into Tuyen Duc, a free-fire zone. The NLF does not get to claim the firepower restrictions for Phu Bon. If the US has committed 7 points from the 6/32, then the resulting interdiction level is 2. If the US had committed all 10 points from the artillery unit and say 4 air points, then it overcommitted and the interdiction level would still be 2.

If the US had committed 14 support points (all of the artillery plus 4 air) in either example, then the interdiction level would be 2 regardless of the VC route.
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Patrick Mullen
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I see your point now Mark (good illustration, Rick). Ultimately, though, in practice, 14 Angels (support) dance on the head of this pin.
 
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Mark Evans
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I understand what you are saying Richard. I just don't think that is supported in the rules. It is just your house rule to deal with the ambiguity which I believe exists here.

Thanks for the extensive discussion on this and the illustrations.
 
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Curt Chambers

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I voted Other.

This has come up a couple times in the game between Randy and I. We agreed that in these situations the Free Fire status of the interdicted hex would be the same as the target hex (assuming that the target hex was in one of the provinces that straddled the interdicted hex).

The problem with using 4.3 to answer this is that it is referring to combat, by virtue of the phrase "defending player's choice". What if it is a U.S. unit using pursuit movement? Does the NLF target unit (which by now has retreated several hexes away) get to decide which side of the border the U.S. is pursuing on? The same situation can arise during an NLF operation (defensive interdiction). Who is the "defending player"? The U.S. or the NLF unit using pursuit movement to pass through the interdicted hex?

While not perfect, our house rule is simple and easy to implement. Of course, it doesn't cover all possible situations (e.g. multiple target hexes) but has worked well for us so far.
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craig grinnell
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I'm gonna throw out a really stupid question...

Is it even allowed to interdict a non-occupied hex? I can't find anything regarding it either way, but virtually all references regarding the use of firepower (arty, naval, air, ground strength) in any way requires it to be used on a hex containing an enemy unit.

Just a thought...
 
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Richard Kirk
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drmark64 wrote:
I understand what you are saying Richard. I just don't think that is supported in the rules. It is just your house rule to deal with the ambiguity which I believe exists here.

Thanks for the extensive discussion on this and the illustrations.


You're welcome and thank you, Mark. I have to say, it's not so much a house rule as my on-the-fly analysis, which is admittedly just my triangulation of what's explicit in the rules.

Taking a look at this again, I wonder if Rule 7.6, Free-Fire Zones, doesn't provide a direction. (It also demonstrates that I was wrong in my discussion of international-border hexes.) The rule states, "No free-fire distinction is made . . . outside SVN borders (both sides' support functions at full effectiveness). Border hexes are considered part of SVN for this purpose." (Emphasis added.)

A solution that is at least consistent with an expressed rule, then, is to play regional-border hexes as non-free fire if at least one of the bordering regions is not a free-fire zone.

It seems likely that this situation came up during the design of the game. If it did, it's a shame they missed getting an express instruction in the rules. "Free-fire zones" in the game are abstractions of the overall effects of what MACV quickly renamed "specified-strike zones." (Because of the bad press. Go figure.) These zones were local, not regional. But their cumulative effects, the death, injury, devastation, and displacement they caused, were regional and country-wide.

As I write this, I'm coming down on the side that hexes bordering non-free-fire regions are automatically non-free fire themselves for interdiction. Remember that H&I fires, harassment and interdiction, were deliberately even less restrained than firing for effect. The US should have to pay the political cost of firing blind.
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Mark Evans
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That is how I have been reading it. I more or less wanted to see how people interpret these gray area of the rules.
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Patrick Mullen
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RichardKirk wrote:

A solution that is at least consistent with an expressed rule, then, is to play regional-border hexes as non-free fire if at least one of the bordering regions is not a free-fire zone..


This is what I meant earlier by the "14 Point Angels" on the head of this pin.

Since international borders count as part of SVN for free fire purposes, this solution comports with the spirit of the rules, namely that in this case, you are handling the boundary hex in the same fashion as you do an international hex (using the most restrictive free-fire interpretation). The addressed pseudo-loophole only applies to the interdiction of regional border hexes that are *not* NLF occupied, practically speaking, as the NLF player would always opt to be on the non-free fire side of the border (unless he felt particularly sporting that session).
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Curt Chambers

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Navaronegun wrote:
...(unless he felt particularly sporting that session).


I seriously doubt I'll have any such luck.
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