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Vietnam 1965-1975» Forums » Rules

Subject: Incidental Attacks rss

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Curt Chambers

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We had an interesting situation come up in our game the other day which involved rules relating to defensive reserves, incidental attacks, independant artillery support, and support losses.

Here's the situation:

The NLF is conducting an S&D against an ARVN held capital. The target hex is completely surrounded and occupied. After the 1st round of combat Erik calls in reserves. A medium U.S. independent artillery airmobilizes and lands 2 hexes south of the target, and within range of the target hex.

An ARVN armored battalion then moves up the road, through the VC cordon, and into the target hext. The NLF calls for an incidental attack as the ARVN moves through its hex. The independent artillery reserve is within range of this hex also.

Question #1 - Can the independent artillery support the U.S. incidental attack?

Question #2 - If the answer to #1 is yes, would it change if the artillery unit had not been assigned as a DR? (i.e. it just happened to be sitting there 2 hexes from the target)

Question #3 - Does the answer to #1 change if the artillery is a target unit itself? (i.e. it is in the target hex, instead of just in range of the target)

Question #4 - If the answer to #1 is no, is the U.S. player still subject to an airmobile loss during the incidental attack? (there are no other airmobile points involved).

We struggled with this for awhile, each taking a position that benefitted its side. My position was that the artillery could not support the incidental attack (uninvolved ind arty can only provide defensive support and interdiction). But I also believed that the airmobile loss was still possible since an airmobile point had been assigned to the operation (support points don't have to be involved in a particular battle to be subject to loss). Erik's position was that the artillery should be able to support the incidental attack because it had been assigned to the operation, much like an air point. But...if it could not support the attack then an airmobile point should not be at risk during that round.

We ended up compromising. The artillery was allowed to support the attack and an airmobile point would be at risk. Ultimately, the capital held out and no support points were lost so no harm no foul.

I checked the rules and errata and couldn't find anything that addressed this particular situation. Although many familiar issues are raised. Does assigning airmobile as a DR put a point at risk if it does not subsequently become a target unit? Can an independent artillery within range of a target hex fire in any capacity?

Any thoughts?
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Mark Evans
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I haven't played for a while, so somebody correct me if I am wrong here.

Raindem wrote:
...Question #1 - Can the independent artillery support the U.S. incidental attack?


YES, because it is assigned to the operation.

EDIT: So the real answer is NO. The Defensive Reserve artillery drops out of the operation after it finishes moving.

Quote:
Question #2 - If the answer to #1 is yes, would it change if the artillery unit had not been assigned as a DR? (i.e. it just happened to be sitting there 2 hexes from the target)


The answer would change. Not being assigned to the operation it would NOT be able to support the attack.

Quote:
Question #3 - Does the answer to #1 change if the artillery is a target unit itself? (i.e. it is in the target hex, instead of just in range of the target)


That is a tricky question. If it is a target unit, it is not "assigned" to the operation, so I would say NO.

Quote:
Question #4 - If the answer to #1 is no, is the U.S. player still subject to an airmobile loss during the incidental attack? (there are no other airmobile points involved).


Once an airmobile point enters the operation there CAN be an airmobile loss in the incidental attack.


Quote:
I checked the rules and errata and couldn't find anything that addressed this particular situation. Although many familiar issues are raised. Does assigning airmobile as a DR put a point at risk if it does not subsequently become a target unit?


YES.

Quote:
Can an independent artillery within range of a target hex fire in any capacity?


It CAN fire defensively any time it likes without being committed to the operation.

Edit: Two years later I am reading this and feel very uncertain about my answers.
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Curt Chambers

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Thanks for the response Mark. It certainly changes some of my assumptions.
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jorge sancho
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Well if a Defensive Reserve dosent manage to reach the target hex it is automaticvally un-involve from the operation, so in this case the US independt artillery could not support the incidental attack.
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Mark Evans
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You make an excellent point. I didn't consider that. I will amend my above responses.
 
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Curt Chambers

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Yes, that was basically my position. The defensive player does not "assign" units to an operation. A unit is either a target unit or it is not.

So, going back to the original situation, would an airmobile point be subject to loss...
- during the incidental attack?
- while providing defensive support in the following combat round?
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Mark Evans
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Yep, I see the sticky situation now. I need to meditate on this one and get back to you. thumbsup
 
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Roberto
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An airmobile point was assigned to the operation. Therefore, it is subject to loss at any time during that operation. It doesn't have to be involved in a particular attack. Rule 5.5 Support Losses. Keep it simple..
 
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Patrick Mullen
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I don't think the Artillery can support the incidental. Intent. Everything is happening simultaneously. The Artillery reacted as Defensive Reserves to get closer to the target of the NLF operation, not to support an incidental attack between two BNs in a "corner" of the battlefield who are skirmishing, not fighting a battle per se (what an incidental attack is). Sure, Defensive Reserve is an Operation to quote 5.7, but there is no target hex; it is considered an operation in the sense that the units who perform it are then ineligible for future operations.

As well, I'd say that, given the above, since no one remotely involved in the combat that is the incidental attack has Airmobile points involved, then none are lost.

I.E. Some Arty BN is setting up a Firebase to help defend a Provincial Capital. Simultaneously elsewhere, a VC BN forces an Armored BN to attack some roadblocks to get where it is going. Chaos. The helicopters moving batteries into position 10 miles away are...10 miles away...and not even in position to get hit by that VC BN's SAMs or MANPADS.
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Roberto
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I don't think the point losses are necessarily due to combat. The rules are clear. The airmobiled unit doesn't have to be near (I.e. involved in) the attack in question.
 
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Patrick Mullen
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So, per your logic - an NLF S & D on Can Tho spurs the movement of Defensive Reserves: 2 Armor BNs in IV Corps and 2 Airmobilized Ind Arty BNs in II Corps. On the Way to Can Tho, one Armored BN is forced into an incidental attack near My Tho. The Arty is moving from Quang Ngai to say 2 hexes East of Pleiku. The Armored BN takes a loss that call for an Airmobile loss. So it is taken, because the Arty (2 Corps Zones away) was "used in the operation"?

Think of the Defensive Reserves as a bunch of little operations. No support is allocated to the overall operation, unlike other operations. The section on Defensive Reserves even says:

"Defensive Reserves move once. If they end their movement in a hex containing target units they become targets themselves. Otherwise they become uninvolved in the operation (and are eligible for reaction if operating units move adjacent to them) Movement as a Defensive Reserve is considered an operation and makes a unit ineligible for future operations."

The underline emphasis is mine. The rules do *not* say "movement of Defensive Reserves is considered a single operation".
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Randy Knight
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Im not certain that I have a strong opinion yet on this- I have to think it through.

But I do know that proximity to the operation is irrelevant related to whther the airmobile point can be lost. It could be seventy hexes away from the combat and the airmobile point is still subject to loss ( maybe mechanical failure, pilot error, friendly fire, sabotage, or weather accidents ).

Any number of explanations could account for loss. So in the case of Offensive Reserves 70 hexes away from the target hex, they are subject to loss.

I will have to think through defensive reserves. Maybe the airmobile point is only subject to loss during the <round> that it flew as a defensive reserve, but not in later rounds (assuming it drops out of the operation per the former examples).

Randy
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Patrick Mullen
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"Movement as a Defensive Reserve is considered an operation and makes a unit ineligible for future operations."

To me the use of the singular tense above makes it pretty clear. Defensive Reserve is a status. It's not one "el Grande" operation. It's a bunch of individual movements anywhere in Theater. The game effect is that the FWA player can in theory move every single unit that hasn't been given an operation, either to reinforce a defense or just conduct movement from point a to point b. Very handy way to "pause" the NLF player's control of Operational tempo in the game.
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Roberto
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FWIW I reserve the right to be wrong so I'm not saying you are. What you say makes perfect sense. However, I believe the rules are clear in regard to airmobility losses. Once an airmobile point is assigned to an operation the US player is vulnerable to airmobility losses during that operation even if the airmobiled unit does not participate in that particular attack. Also, the airmobile point is assigned to the OPERATION not a specific unit (I believe this is clarified in an example). It is my belief that even if the defensive reserve is no longer part of the operation the airmobile point still is and can be used to airmobilize a different unit in a subsequent round of that operation (perhaps during a retreat for example). Finally, fwiw, I don't think airmobilty losses are necessarily due to combat (exc: the asterisk results for a Hot LZ WOULD represent combat losses). I think the airmobile loss mechanic is simply the designer's elegant solution showing the attrition of these assets (due to mechanical failure, accidents, downtime for maintenance, and also combat) therefore proximity to the battle is irrelevant.
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Roberto
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Navaronegun wrote:
"Movement as a Defensive Reserve is considered an operation and makes a unit ineligible for future operations."

To me the use of the singular tense above makes it pretty clear. Defensive Reserve is a status. It's not one "el Grande" operation. It's a bunch of individual movements anywhere in Theater. The game effect is that the FWA player can in theory move every single unit that hasn't been given an operation, either to reinforce a defense or just conduct movement from point a to point a. Very handy way to "pause" the NLF player's control of Operational tempo in the game.
I think a Defensive Reserve is joining the current operation. It is my contention, fwiw, that it is not a stand alone operation (regardless if the unit in question enters a target hex or not). I think this rule is simply clarifying the operational status of the unit in question (i.e. it is ineligible for future operations).
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Patrick Mullen
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pessimist wrote:
FWIW I reserve the right to be wrong so I'm not saying you are. What you say makes perfect sense. However, I believe the rules are clear in regard to airmobility losses. Once an airmobile point is assigned to an operation the US player is vulnerable to airmobility losses during that operation even if the airmobiled unit does not participate in that particular attack. Also, the airmobile point is assigned to the OPERATION not a specific unit (I believe this is clarified in an example). It is my belief that even if the defensive reserve is no longer part of the operation the airmobile point still is and can be used to airmobilize a different unit in a subsequent round of that operation (perhaps during a retreat for example). Finally, fwiw, I don't think airmobilty losses are necessarily due to combat (exc: the asterisk results for a Hot LZ WOULD represent combat losses). I think the airmobile loss mechanic is simply the designer's elegant solution showing the attrition of these assets (due to mechanical failure, accidents, downtime for maintenance, and also combat) therefore proximity to the battle is irrelevant.


On this (and your later post) I think you make valid points. The rules aren't lock-solid clear and leave enough room for some doubt due to the language used. On scale, the game abstracts plenty, but is fairly detailed and localized when it comes to operations (usually). As well, the example I used (defensive reserves moving on opposite sides of the country, and one getting an incidental attack and getting an Airmobile loss) would be a rare event indeed. Not a game-breaker for me (it's *one* Airmobile point) and either interpretation is fine with me. If I came across as kind of direct in my responses, mea culpa, I just enjoy that kind of discussion, I find it interesting.

As a newbie here in the Vietnam Community, it's interesting to see the consensus on rules interpretations and clarifications here. The game's operations mechanic is very complex, but very rewarding.
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Roberto
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I agree. Thanks for the polite discussion.
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craig grinnell
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pessimist wrote:
I think a Defensive Reserve is joining the current operation. It is my contention, fwiw, that it is not a stand alone operation (regardless if the unit in question enters a target hex or not). I think this rule is simply clarifying the operational status of the unit in question (i.e. it is ineligible for future operations).


Just to butt in where I'm not wanted ...
Defensive reserve isn't joining the current operation because the defender isn't the one operating.
But unless you are going to use it to help a defending unit, I wouldn't move it at all since it does make it ineligible for future operations during the turn.

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Randy Knight
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I agree with Craig for the most part. I feel strongly that Defensive Reserve is an operation unto itself in the sense that the non-operating player interrupts the operating player's Search and Destroy opertion.

If the defensive reserve makes it to the target hex, then it becomes a target unit- and by that status alone becomes part of that search and destroy operation in the case of vulnerabilities for airmobile point losses and other combat hazards.

The defending unit in any search and destroy operation is not an operating unit, just a target unit.

There are some other interesting tactical applications to defensive reserves.

Often when the US player is facing an Offensive season, he will find that he cannot provide artillery support where he needs it during the strategic movement phase. The VC can only perform one search and destroy action at a time. So during the first VC search and destroy operation, the US player may use the opportunity for defensive reserves to make those fine 155mm artillery or other HQ artillery airmobilized and fly them to the vulnerable spots where the VC planned future attacks.

This is a very valuable way to use airmobile defensive reserve flexibility to get into good supporting positions against all but the initial attack of an Offensive.

So perhaps you airmobilize three 155mm artillery and a couple US battalions and land them as defensive reserves in positions that they can support two or three other future VC Offensive attack targets. This can really add to the casualties and limit the consecutive attacks by causing terminal casualties to attacking VC.

The defensive reserve operation is a highly flexible and wonderful tactical option that once again illustrates the beauty and subtlety of this game.

Randy
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craig grinnell
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aslredbarricades wrote:

There are some other interesting tactical applications to defensive reserves.

Often when the US player is facing an Offensive season, he will find that he cannot provide artillery support where he needs it during the strategic movement phase. The VC can only perform one search and destroy action at a time. So during the first VC search and destroy operation, the US player may use the opportunity for defensive reserves to make those fine 155mm artillery or other HQ artillery airmobilized and fly them to the vulnerable spots where the VC planned future attacks.

This is a very valuable way to use airmobile defensive reserve flexibility to get into good supporting positions against all but the initial attack of an Offensive.

So perhaps you airmobilize three 155mm artillery and a couple US battalions and land them as defensive reserves in positions that they can support two or three other future VC Offensive attack targets. This can really add to the casualties and limit the consecutive attacks by causing terminal casualties to attacking VC.

The defensive reserve operation is a highly flexible and wonderful tactical option that once again illustrates the beauty and subtlety of this game.

Randy


Ah Ha! I never would have thought of that one. And it sounds so simple
 
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Curt Chambers

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I see this thread has sprung back to life.

The way I've been playing it since originally asking the question is that once the Defensive Reserve ends its movement in a non-target hex, it's involvement is over and the airmobile point no longer at risk.
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Randy Knight
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I agree with you Curt.

So in the instance where a 155mm artillery becomes an airmobilized defensive reserve and lands adjacent to the target hex… I would agree that it drops out of the operation at that instant.

So when the next immediate round of combat occurs (after pursuit), the artillery (which dropped out of the defensive reserve operation), can freely support the combat and it does not put any airmobile asset at risk.

This is true even though the adjacent artillery unit itself could indeed be eliminated as a result of that combat. (Remembering that any artillery unit in or adjacent to a target hex is indeed vulnerable to combat results/loss).

Details.
Details.

Late for my game!!!!
Bye

Randy
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Patrick Mullen
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Basically, I agree with Curt and Randy.
 
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Roberto
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Thank you gentlemen. You have enhanced my understanding of this great game. Thank you.



Edit: It just occurred to me that I lack the "necessary gray matter" to play these games. Now that is a depressing thought. I'm no good at something I enjoy!
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Mark Evans
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It has taken me some time to digest this one. After coming up with a suitable question we could see a poll.
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