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Subject: Vietnam 1965-1975 ARVN Leadership Strategy rss

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Randy Knight
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Vietnam 1965-1975 ARVN Leadership Strategy (Initial Draft Article)

This is the beginnings of an article I was writing prior to beginning my Campaign Game with Mark Evans. As you will see, the plans laid out here are NOT what I actually did, but the idea is the same. The management of the SVN leadership has worked fairly well so far in our campaign game. Perhaps others will be inspired to try a version of this proposed ARVN strategy?

SVN Strategy

Playing the ARVN can be frustrating if they are plagued by an initial cadre of poor quality divisional leaders. I have developed a strategy to minimize ARVN divisional formations plagued by poor quality leaders. Poor quality leaders lead to ineffective divisions. Using my leadership policy will lead to much better ARVN divisional effectiveness. I like to think of these ideas the result of the professional advisors that the United States had committed to help the ARVN forces for several years before the Vietnam War began.

This strategy for ARVN purchases removes some of the effects of the luck-of-the-draw for the initial cadre of ARVN divisional leadership. The US advisors have demanded that the ARVN formations be given a trial period to test the effectiveness of the potential divisional leadership before mobilizing the divisional HQs and regiments into the conflict. This also allows the ARVN player an important flexibility to mobilize full divisions only after seeing the areas of operation where the Vietcong player has created his initial VC battalions. This flexibility, and the better divisional leadership for the ARVN formations, makes this strategic concept a solid building block on which to begin the campaign game for the ARVN/US player. The initial FWA player SVN campaign purchases outlined below are the first step to implement the US advisor trial leadership program.

Step 1: SVN Initial Purchases

Here are the SVN purchases I chose at the beginning of The Battle For South Vietnam 1965-1975 campaign scenario. Notice that no full divisions or HQ are mobilized during the initial SVN campaign purchases. Instead, all the SVN divisional armored cavalry units are purchased. Notice that in step 3 of the Campaign Scenario rules, a one-star leader is drawn for each division from which units were built. Therefore, by purchasing all of the divisional armored cavalry units, every division will have a one-star leader drawn for it during the initial setup.
Because no SVN divisional regiments are built during the initial purchases (with the exception of a single regiment from the ARVN Marine Division and the Paratrooper Division), it is important that the SVN player build ALL of the 18 independent ARVN infantry battalions, ALL of the independent armor battalions, and ALL of the independent armored cavalry battalions. These must be built to deny the NLF player the ability to deploy his initial purchases in capitals and major cities. The following 49 ARVN units are initially built and placed, prior to the NLF player's initial VC building phase:

Quantity / SVN Purchases / Supply / Personnel
------------------------------------------------------
18 infantry battalion 12 6
12 armored battalion 12 0
6 armored cavalry squadron 6 0
11 divisional armored cavalry 11 0
2 single Marine regiment & 4 2
single Parachute regiment
20 SVN replacement points 10 5
(total 55 supply spent) (total 13 personnel used)

Step 2: SVN Initial Placement

Here are my suggestions for the initial placement of the SVN initial purchases. It is critical that the 45 capital towns, major cities, and ports are garrisoned with the initially purchased SVN battalions. If this is not done, the Vietcong will setup in the capitals and can immediately place "captured capital" markers. This must be prevented. Of the 45 capital towns and major cities in South Vietnam, Da Nang can be ignored during initial ARVN setup as it will already contain the US 3rd Marine units (and so does not have to be garrisoned by an ARVN unit at this time). The Vietcong can only setup in unoccupied hexes on the map.

Here is a breakdown of the capital and other towns in South Vietnam, by Corps Zone.


Capitals & / other towns / ARVN independent deployments
Major Cities
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
I Corps 6 9 4 1-0-9s
II Corps 13 5 12 1-0-8s
III Corps 10 3 3 1-0-6s, 2 1-0-9s
IV Corps 16 4 15 1-0-6s
(total 45) (total 21) (total 36 units)

Because the US 3M units will occupy Da Nang, there are basically only 44 capitals to occupy during initial deployment.

Here are my suggested unit deployments.
Divide the 36 independent ARVN battalions that were purchased per the chart above. They are placed exclusively in capital towns and major cities.
Deploy the 11 divisional armored cavalry units as follows:
1st division - Hue (port)
2nd division - Nha Trang (port)
3rd division - Chu Lai (port)
5th division - Qui Nhon (port)
7th division - mountain 5631
9th division - mountain 5643
18th division - My Tho (port)
21st division - Can Tho (port)
22nd division - Saigon (port)
23rd division - Vung Tau (port)
25th division - Cam Ranh (port)

It will be very important to place new US units into each of the ports above that are initially occupied by the divisional armored cavalry units. These divisional armored cavalry units may not exist if they are removed during the Recruitment Phase of the Summer 1965 interphase. The flexibility to be able to withdraw any or all of these Divisional Armored Cavalry Battalions must be maintained for the ARVN leadership strategy to work. I will explain the process of deciding which ARVN divisions with HQ are to be mobilized, and which are not. Because all of the available ARVN divisions in the counter-mix have had an initial unit built (mostly the divisional armored cavalry units), every division will have a one-star leader assigned during initial setup.

Step 3 SVN US commitment to bolster ARVN supply points.

Here are some suggested purchases for the US player during the US Recruitment Phase of the summer 1965 interphase. The only important part of this for this example (to implement the ARVN strategy) is the 4 US Commitment for 28 SVN Military Supplies.


Commitment Spent
101st Airborne (full division) 11
1st Air Cavalry (full division) 10
28 SVN Military Supplies 4
18 US replacement points 6
2 SVN Economic Aid programs 2
30 Air Points 10
14 Airmobile Points 7
(total 50 commitment)



The military supplies to SVN will be used to mobilize select divisions. The ARVN divisions that drew the best one-star leaders are the only divisions that are to be built in the Summer 1965 recruitment phase.
The heavy US initial commitment to Airmobile points is due to my belief that the Us player's greatest asset is mobility. Airmobile points allow HQ artillery units to use pursuit, and will also help the US 3M units in DaNang to have a large range of operations. The helicopters can fly out over the sea and then back onto the land to avoid those pesky ZOC of VC units on patrol. The more flexibility the better. Air points and replacements points should be adequate for the Summer 1965 operations. The inherent airmobile capability of the 101st and 1st cavalry divisions is a true advantage to the US player, and so these divisions have been purchased first. Economic aid helps SVN morale to creep upward, which is important for long term pacification efforts.

Step 4 SVN Divisional Withdrawals and Divisional Mobilizations

During the Recruitment Phase of the Summer 1965 interphase, the ARVN player should withdraw all of the divisional armored cavalry units that belong to a division which has a divisional one-star leader with a zero or negative leadership rating. This represents the US advisor leadership filtering out the the less effective ARVN leadership. Those divisions with zero or negative leadership will not be mobilized at this time. These withdrawals must occur before any new units are built. When the last unit of a division is withdrawn, its one-star leader goes back in the pile of available leaders. The reasoning behind building only the divisional armored cavalry unit of each ARVN formation during the initial campaign purchases is that this is only a test mobilization. The armored cavalry units do not cost any personnel. They also only cost one supply point, which is not recovered when they are withdrawn. This is well worth the loss when set against the gain of having effective divisional leadership for mobilized formations. The US advisors are truly doing their job for the ARVN formations using this strategy.

ARVN divisions which have positive leadership from their one-star leaders are to be mobilized (purchased). Build all three regiments and the HQ of those divisions that have one-star leaders with positive values (up to a maximum of 8 divisions at this time due to limited military supplies). The decision where to build the new ARVN divisions will be a combination of where they can be most effective, both in terms of where the VC are concentrated, and where they will be effective under the existing two-star Corps leaders. This flexibility to deploy effectively led divisional strength ARVN formations where the enemy VC units are strongest is a secondary advantage of this strategy. The ARVN units will likely be able to contribute to the military efforts to search and destroy the Vietcong using this selective mobilization strategy.

Here are my suggestions for the SVN purchases during the Summer 1965 recruitment phase.

The SVN player will have 45 supply available that was not spent during initial campaign purchases. The SVN player will have an additional 28 supply available as a result of the US commitment spent in military supply for the ARVN. Therefore the supply available to mobilize ARVN divisional formations that have positive divisional leadership will be 73 total supply.

There are 20 one star leaders. Five of these are zero or negative leadership values. Fifteen of them have positive leadership values.
Therefore, on average, of the thirteen ARVN divisions (1st,2nd,3rd,5th,7th,9th,18th,21st,22nd,23rd,25th,Marine,Para), about 75% of them will have positive leadership values. These are the divisions that are to be mobilized. The others are to be withdrawn. So there should be 7 or 8 ARVN divisional leaders having positive values.

Let us assume that 8 divisions are to be mobilized, including their HQ. That will require approximately 24 regiments, and 8 HQ to be built.


Supply Personnel
24 ARVN regiments 48 24
8 ARVN HQ 24 8
(total 72) (total 32)

These ARVN formations should be reasonably effective, and will be deployed wherever defensive or offensive opportunities are available based upon the initial VC unit deployments or concentrations.

That is the general outline of the SVN leadership testing strategy as I have developed it. I hope that you see how the initial purchases and withdrawals, combined with specific and purposeful ARVN mobilization, will lead to more effective ARVN contributions to the military efforts against the NLF.

In subsequent Recruitment Phases, the SVN player should again build the previously withdrawn divisional cavalry units, and again only choose to mobilize those divisions that have positive one-star leadership during the following season, and withdraw those that have zero or negative leadership values.

Vietnam is a game that rewards planning ahead and using a combination of force advantages, which starts with having an effectively led ARVN force deployed. Enjoy!

Randy Knight
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Martí Cabré

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This strategy with one-star generals sounds good. Let us know when you achieve having a decent ARVN army.
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Mark Evans
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NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT RESPONSE

Randy has done an admirable job of maximizing his ARVN capabilities. They still look like a armed mob though. I am sure Randy has done the math, but it seems like ARVN leadership is a game of musical chairs and building units with a plan to retain the most loyal and effective leaders seems like a 2 to 3 year plan at best.
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Randy Knight
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The worst part, in my opinion, of dealing with the ARVN is that you have ***no control*** whatsoever over the two-star leaders. They just do what they do. I guess you could try to replace them if they are 7 or 8 morale. But I doubt that I'd do that for fear they would drop in morale and aid a coup.

I have two of my best two-star leaders locked into the NAVY and AIR FORCE. Leadership values of "+3" and "+4", just locked up in useless governmental positions. Meanwhile, 3 of the 4 CORPS leaders are 0 through -3. Good Grief.

Its too much like SVN politics, where everyone is plotting against everyone.

Love the game!
Randy
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Martin Isaksson
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Our house rule is that you have to build the ARVN divs "one by one" so you can´t fix bad 1* leaders. (You have to build the whole div, including HQ, before you can build a unit from the next div.)

And we also use the house rule mentioned before about not just building 1 brigade and HQ from US divs.


Feels better historicly for sure.


One US advisor from the era about the ARVN: "80% ineff and their ops are search and avoid" (No exact qoute)
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Randy Knight
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" Search & Avoid!!! "

I love that.

1.) Most of what I have read has claimed that the ARVN Division leaders, under pressure from their superiors, were rewarded more for avoiding casualties than for success in the field.

2.) Also, they were clearly awarded for loyalty, not competence.

It took the United States about 15 years to realize that you cannot change thousands of years of habits and create a political establishment based on merit rather than familial loyalties. Corruption was too widespread. Visionaries did not exist (except perhaps the Buddhists). Nationalism was forced on the South Vietnamese; I get the impression it did not burn in their hearts, like it did in Ho Chi Minh.

The United States never had a chance of achieving its vague objectives in Vietnam. Despite the valor of our Armed Forces, the entire effort was a liability, a misconception, a well-intentioned ideological adventure in a hopeless venue.

Randy

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Dave
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Randy,

Didn't you overpay for the airmobile divisions? I thought if you paid for all of the line battalions, you received the HQ's and divisional units for free.
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Mark Evans
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boyinblue1 wrote:
Randy,

Didn't you overpay for the airmobile divisions? I thought if you paid for all of the line battalions, you received the HQ's and divisional units for free.


I am sitting here with Randy right now, he amended the values below and apologizes for any confusion. Thanks for catching this.

Here is what Randy wrote:

101st Airborne (full division) 11
1st Air Cavalry (full division) 10


The correct values should be:

101st Airborne (full division) 10
1st Air Cavalry (full division) 9
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Dave
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drmark64 wrote:
boyinblue1 wrote:
Randy,

Didn't you overpay for the airmobile divisions? I thought if you paid for all of the line battalions, you received the HQ's and divisional units for free.


I am sitting here with Randy right now, he amended the values below and apologizes for any confusion. Thanks for catching this.

Here is what Randy wrote:

101st Airborne (full division) 11
1st Air Cavalry (full division) 10


The correct values should be:

101st Airborne (full division) 10
1st Air Cavalry (full division) 9


No worries. I just wanted to be sure that I'm playing it correctly. I assume the 101 ABN's cost was 10 because of the 101st's A/C BN, but he gets that free if he brings in the DIV HQ. I think each division has 9 line battalions. The old US needs all the commitment it can get!
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Bob Allis

North Carolina
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What about strong leaders who are mired in constant replacement rolls? They have a 30% chance of staying and being effective, 27% chance of being ineffective from replacement rolls alone, and 43% of just being replaced.

Do you just withdraw them as well?

The same for a parachute or marine regiment with the same problem? I just noticed that you didn't mention them. I have a pair of 4's but with loyalty 5 and 6, so without a really lucky roll, they stay in this range forever.

You get the personnel point back for withdrawing a regiment, right?
 
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Curt Chambers

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Yes, you get the personnel point back. And you only lose the 2 supply so withdrawing an ARVN regiment is not a big deal. I normally won't withdraw a good leader with poor loyalty. I'll let nature take its course and either let him get replaced, or see if his loyalty rises from good adjustment rolls.
 
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patrick Le Bloa
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aslredbarricades wrote:
Vietnam 1965-1975 ARVN Leadership Strategy (Initial Draft Article)


Deploy the 11 divisional armored cavalry units as follows:
1st division - Hue (port)
2nd division - Nha Trang (port)
3rd division - Chu Lai (port)
5th division - Qui Nhon (port)
7th division - mountain 5631
9th division - mountain 5643
18th division - My Tho (port)
21st division - Can Tho (port)
22nd division - Saigon (port)
23rd division - Vung Tau (port)
25th division - Cam Ranh (port)


Just 2 questions.
Why the 7 and 9 div in the mountains,Its could be more interesting to put them somewhere else.
1- for upgrade the def (with other units)
2- for occupy a town.
you drawn a good leader
So you can take take one regiment
The leader is bad as well
you can use the bat for save 1 Repl.

Can Tho is a harbor , but in my rule book it's not a reinforcement place.
Did i missed something ?




 
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Curt Chambers

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An ifern wrote:
Can Tho is a harbor , but in my rule book it's not a reinforcement place.
Did i missed something ?


You are correct. Either the rule book or the map is in error (or maybe neither. Maybe Can Tho was intended to be a sea movement embarkation hex but not a reinforcement hex). Anyway, this was brought up in the errata but there's no official ruling on it. I play as if it was a reinforcement hex.
 
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patrick Le Bloa
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Raindem wrote:
Maybe Can Tho was intended to be a sea movement embarkation hex but not a reinforcement hex).


I always have play as was a simple harbor.
May be the reason, i feel the set up without Arvn regt is not so nice.
 
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