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Vietnam 1965-1975» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Second Clash - 1974 rss

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Curt Chambers

Arizona
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This is the next installment of the AAR “Second Clash”. It covers the entire year of 1974.

Year start vital stats:

U.S. Morale - 389
Commitment - 347
SVN Morale - 94
SVN Draft level - 266
Controlled Population - 265
NVA Morale - 1074
Commitment - ?
VC Draft Level - ?
Controlled Population - 95

SPRING

A decent interphase overall for me. SVN lost 3 population points and Erik finally rolled a 6 for effectiveness. However, even with that there are still seven effective ARVN divisions, plus all the artillery. So I can expect continued Allied attacks on anything that moves.

I rebuilt most of what was destroyed last season and sent them down the Trail to the Iron Triangle region, where III Army is to reform. At the same time I infiltrated 13 indpendent NVA regiments in the southern half of the country. I’m trying to shift the focus of the campaign closer to Saigon. I kept enough force in I Corps to occupy a few Allied units but most of the central highlands are free of NVA troops now.

The operations phase started with aggressive Allied operations. After losing two NVA regiments south of the Mekong (where I thought they were relatively safe) I decided to change tactics. I had been keeping the NVA in defensive terrain hoping that the Allies would wear themselves out attacking them. That has not happened. Although ARVN casualties were significant last season they just weren’t enough. I had to do more.

So part way through the 1st game turn I decided to loosen the leash and let the NVA attack, even if it was at poor odds and meant putting them out in the open. I was done sitting by idly while my regiments got picked off one by one. At the same time I made a mental note to augment more units during the next interphase. If I’m going to be conducting desparate attacks I need the mechanized pursuit bonus. It was also apparent to me by this time in the turn that my strategy of spreading the NVA out in order to stretch Allied defenses was not working. I never realized what an easy target an isolated NVA division is for U.S. forces. That will change for next season.

Anyway, back to the action. I conducted four attacks and they all went OK. Captured Quang Tri capital and eliminated 9 ARVN repl in exchange for 20 NVA. I didn’t leave myself in too horrible of a position, but that didn’t stop the Allies from eliminating serveral regiments during their counterattacks.

Seasonal casualty report:
U.S. - no units, 7 repl, 3 air, 1 airmobile
ARVN - 10 btn, 20 repl
NVA - 2 HQs, 11 regs, 62 repl
VC - 3 HQs, 13 btns, -8 repl (gained +8)

SUMMER

I withdrew all the surviving independent regiments (their job was done), and rebuilt most of the destroyed divisional regiments and HQs. I reorganized my OOB a little bit. I and II Armies, in Quang Tri and Thua Thien respectively, were combined into a single army, the Northern Army. It was too late to redeploy them to a more important sector. They will be the first ones withdrawn if I need to tap into more replacements.

The NVA divisions that moved down the trail to the Iron Triangle area last season will reform as the Southern Army. This will be the main, and final, effort. All destroyed regiments from the divisions in this army were rebuilt and moved down the Trail. In the following photo all of the NVA infiltrated to start the operations phase:



As you can surmise from the photo the Allied force that faced the Southern Army at the start of the operations phase was enormous, and for all practical purposes insurmountable. Nevertheless, the NVA followed orders and proceeded with planned attacks. I conducted 2 major offensive operations with the northern army and 4 with the southern army. The northern army attacks went OK and achieved their objectives. The southern army was stalled at all the major crossings. Of the 4 operations planned none gained any ground and the average loss ratio was 7:1.

Then the Allies counterattacked. The ARVN invaded in the parrots beak to destroy a VC that was on patrol there. Then the U.S. followed to go after an NVA regiment in the same vicinity. That blossomed into a full blown invasion all along the Cambodian border and the destruction of five HQs and mechanized regiments. This surprised me since the Allies already had the game won and there was little need for such massive maneuvers.

So lest I lose my entire southern army the remaining NVA regiments pulled back to the trail to regroup while the VC provided a rearguard. In the north I had planned on pulling back also but the Allies retreated first and left a small force in Hue. I conducted a couple operations which were successful in capturing both Hue and Phu Bai.

Meanwhile, back in III Corps, with the NVA gone the Allies moved into Cambodia and once again blocked the exit from several trail boxes. This time it didn’t matter. Even before he did this I had decided not to re-invade here. With the unexpected victory in Thua Thien the northern and southern armies have in essence switched roles. The southern army became the diversion, tying up Allied forces, while the northern army became the spearhead. Accordingly, plans were laid to reinforce the northern army.

Here’s what III Corps looked like after the Allies finished their ninja trail-blocking move:




Seasonal casualty report:
U.S. - 4 repl, 4 air
ARVN - 9 btn, 17 repl
NVA - 5 HQs, 5 regs, 59 repl
VC - 12 btns, -7 repl

FALL

With only three seasons left and most of their Trail exit boxes blocked, I accepted the fact that the entire southern army was now out of the fight. I decided to leave them where they were, withdrawing what was needed to pay for expenses, and throwing everything I have into the northern army’s drive through Thua Thien. I'll be surprised if I even make it into Quang Nam.

We achieved some success the first game turn, rolling the Allied front lines back a couple hexes. The unavoidable stacking of NVA in clear prompted fierce U.S. air attacks which drained my replacement pool. The 2nd turn consisted mainly of maneuver and bombardment. Here’s a shot of the northern front at the end of the season:



Seasonal casualty report:
U.S. - 0 repl, 5 air
ARVN - 8 btn, 28 repl
NVA - 1 reg, 92 repl
VC - 2 btns, - 19 repl

The casualty report reflects the fact that most of the free ranging NVA regiments are gone, and the remaining NVA are attacking en masse across a single front.

WINTER

A quiet interphase with no changes in the critical indices.

As per plans made the previous season, I withdrew all of the southern army except for a small core of four HQs and regiments. All available resources were then dumped into the northern army to try and cover as much terrain as possible during the time that’s left. However, I’m not going to get suicidal during these last two seasons. That would be too gamey and not my style. Historically, the NLF’s final campaign, which began in Winter 1974, was expected to last two years. The sudden collapse of the ARVN in Spring 1975 took everyone by surprise and the rest, as they say, is history. So I’m going to play this out as if it was the start of a two year campaign.

The Allied positions did not change much from last season. Essentially, they have light ARVN battalions screening the front lines backed up by regiments and infantry battalions on Hold. And everything is within range of 80-100 artillery points. So my losses would be practically the same whether I was attacking a single battalion or a stack of regiments. The only difference was the amount of force I would have to bring to the fight. Accordingly, we fired up the battering ram and started moving forward. By the end of the 1st Game Turn I had reached the outskirts of Phu Loc in southeastern Thua Thien, but didn’t have enough resources to take the town. By the end of the 2nd turn we had taken that town but had not yet crossed into Quang Nam.

A tactic being used extensively by the Allies now is putting a single ARVN battalion in the front lines, backed up by 100+ artillery points. I attack the battalion and eliminate it (with no ARVN replacement loss), but then he’ll bring up another single battalion as a defensive reserve. And he’ll just keep feeding single battalions into the fight like that. Eventually I’ll take the hex but will have spent 30 replacements knocking off a few ARVN battalions. I'm sure Erik has "run the numbers" and this is the more efficient way to do it, but it does takes the fun out of it.

Seasonal casualty report:
U.S. - 2 repl, 5 air
ARVN - 3 regs, 13 btn, 28 repl
NVA - 1 HQ, 2 regs, 186 repl
VC - 6 btns, 0 repl

Summary

The progress made in I Corps has been slow and bloody. But’s that’s to be expected given the situation. If you look at the year end stats below you might notice something extraordinary. U.S. morale rose +12 points during 1974. That is from the morale bonus for destroying all those NVA regiments.

Year End Stats:

U.S. Morale - 401
Commitment - 350
SVN Morale - 94
SVN Draft level - 266
Controlled Population - 264
NVA Morale - 1230
Commitment - ?
VC Draft Level - ?
Controlled Population - 96
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Bob A

North Carolina
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New to the site, and I've been reading all these AARs with reckless abandon this past week. I haven't posted in others because several are 3 years old, and that'd just be kinda weird

I applaud your effort to keep pushing forward and giving us the results. I'm a bit surprised you haven't at least tried for some offensives lately to try to tear through some of the US Morale.

Any reasons you haven't set up VC to block a route out for the south and declare an offensive, especially in the spring?

On another note, I haven't played this game in 25 years, but I'm looking forward to trying out Vassal to see how well it works for me, since I don't have a good place for a game board this big with the animals I have.
They tend to destroy Vietnam even more effectively than napalm did.angry
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craig grinnell
United States
speer
Illinois
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mrboba1 wrote:
New to the site, and I've been reading all these AARs with reckless abandon this past week. I haven't posted in others because several are 3 years old, and that'd just be kinda weird

That's not weird, it's dated.
2-5 year old posts are merely "aged"
5-9 year old posts are "classic"
while 10+ are "ancient"

I respond to ancient and classic posts fairly often. You would be surprised at the discussions that come about after reviving a dead thread.

Welcome aboard, bye the way!

Oh, and if I sound like I know what I'm talking about, I don't
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Curt Chambers

Arizona
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Hi Bob, welcome to the site.

An Offensive would cost me over 100 comittment (60 for the VC, 20 for supplies, at least 20 for replacements, and 10 for the Offensive). With the last season promising to be an especially bloody one I figure my available comittment would be better spent on NVA replacements. I'll discuss Offensives further in the post-game analysis after next season. We're playing tonight but I doubt we'll finish.

I'm a big fan of using Vassal for this game. Having the ability to play this through against a quality opponent online is a real treat, considering that the game sat in my closet for 20 years for lack of a local opponent.
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Petri P
Finland
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A way of possibly limiting US morale gains in a situation like this, could be to declare offensives without any attempt to build or use VC.

An offensive costs 10, but gives a regiment worth of 3. For the price of 7, US will not gain morale from killing NLF forces for the season. Maybe might even lose a point or two from the limited amount of attacks NVA does alone.
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Bob A

North Carolina
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petrip wrote:

A way of possibly limiting US morale gains in a situation like this, could be to declare offensives without any attempt to build or use VC.

An offensive costs 10, but gives a regiment worth of 3. For the price of 7, US will not gain morale from killing NLF forces for the season. Maybe might even lose a point or two from the limited amount of attacks NVA does alone.

That's kind of more along the lines of what I was thinking. Buy just enough VC and deploy in Cambodia to patrol and keep your exit points safe for your NVN to infiltrate and not get slaughtered on invading security ops, a couple less regiments (net) and you have paid the difference in commitment.

Taking the above spring as an example:
Then the net US morale from just the one season is -9 based on a conservative estimate of:
+6 from NLF destruction no longer applied during an offensive
-3 for seeing 10 attacks from VC (from the 13 bt equivalents (assumed 4 were Pol Secs) and 1 attack from each of your 11 lost NVN regiments totals 21 attacks

This alone is not a ton of help, but for the same results as above, US morale is 9 points lower. And if you can get the southern army to get off a good number of attacks as you were planning to do, this number would grow quickly.

I could be ignoring other factors, since I'm still in the setup phase of my game and I haven't faced any intricacies that this game holds in over 2 decades. I'm just now getting the SVN divisional AC's put in their proper places
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Curt Chambers

Arizona
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Petri and Bob, I think both you guys are correct on this. There are other uses for Offensives besides morale reduction. During 1974 alone the U.S. received 20 morale bonus points from KIAs. A couple Offensives would have all but wiped that out. Something I shall keep in mind next time I'm in that siutation as the NLF.
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