Again, no VC, a positive shift.
SVN gains +7 population. Now at 241, bonus morale for US and SVN! Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Kontum, Tay Ninh and Phuoc Long are fully NLF controlled. Twelve provinces are fully SVN controlled.
55 air bomb the north for 2 hits, 2 air points destroyed. +2 SVN, -1 US morale.
No disloyal leaders. No coup or instability.
SVN loses -1 morale (Thieu, new US commitment, population.)
US morale does not change (new commitment, population.)
NVN gains 35, giving 44 commitment available for this turn.
More Thais are not available yet.
US/ARVN buys nothing.
Checking the tracks vs. what has been written down, for errors:
The SVN accountants, obviously collaborating with NVN, point out that ARVN has been using a few supplies more than they have had. Who would have benefited from this, it makes no sense at all? Stealing supplies is normal, but adding them? Anyway, US burns one commitment to calm things down. For it, 3 air points are secretly withdrawn.
Meanwhile, NVN finds two commitment in the rail yards - these were paid, but could not fit the schedule for trail supply, and have not been converted to VC supplies. A clerical error. Two more NVN commitment available.
NVN buys 80 VC trail supplies (8), (2) commitment were destroyed by bombing. (23) commitment buys 92 draft - still barely below 4:1. (10) is reserved for the offensive. (3) saved.
69 battalions cost 69 draft, 138 supplies. 23 draft and 69 supplies buy 69 VC repl. 18 supplies remain for the next season.
VC draft is now 451. NVN morale is 359, commitment 356. 5 commitment for sea (!) supply is promised for the next season. (18 pool is too little.. the valuable provinces are next to sea now.)
VC could not build all of the battalions inside SVN because of population limits. One had to be built in Cambodia. Yet another sign of VC losing the population fight - but it cannot win it. This is expected.
As the situation gets worse, supply depots could be needed for the next offensive.
The NVA regiment goes to Hau Nghia - one of the two capitals having insufficient artillery coverage is located there - but this is not on a road, and has been pretty well isolated from likely defensive reserves by normal, non-patrolling, VC battalions.
4 political sections appear in Vinh Binh, it is a battleground province with just one SVN population left. And 4 new political sections ZOC roads in the II corps.
Infiltration: The mechanized divisions leave the trail.
The best possible security operation would be a fair trade of replacements, if almost all air was used to increase NVA casualties.. and if the Cambodian neutrality was violated. Even if such an operation were done, it could only kill NVA artillery units, the rest of the attacked stack could retreat back to the trail - and then VC would not need to worry about air points for their offensive.
ARVN effectiveness roll is a 2. All but one division effective.
At the start of Summer 1968:
US Repl 21
ARVN Repl 75
VC Repl 105
NVA Repl 34
Air avail 116, total 172.
ARVN Holds some units on capitals. No NLF patrolling or holding. No security operations.
The occasional printed +1 pursuit bonuses of VC battalions seem to correlate quite well to the time they survive in offensives. Maybe that is the reason they have them. Especially a 3 strength battalion with a pursuit bonus can except to see several attacks, with any luck.
Let's track attack totals by area:
The battalions south of the Mekong generated 27 attacks before being destroyed - 12 bn, 24 VC repl. 5 ARVN repl.
Elsewhere in the IV corps, 23 attacks - 11 bn, 19 VC repl.
Too many attacks - US starts to allocate more air, to 7 air/artillery (after halving), instead of 5. This kills more 1 strength battalions. Also, if already at 8 column, and it would be reasonably cheap to go to 14 column with air, that is done too, it kills more battalions of any strength.
19 attacks, 13 bn, 11 VC repl
31 attacks, 21 bn, 17 VC repl
28 attacks, 12 bn, 1 NVA regiment, 23 VC repl, 4 ARVN repl
The NVA regiment attacked at one point - and was taken as a casualty in the first attack, after facing 15 effective air support (30 air points). Air was already getting sparse here, as seen by the increase in attacks vs destroyed battalions in III corps. But why did NVA sacrifice the regiment instead of burning repl? It would have lost only 4 repl in the first attack?
The NVA staff are so proud of their new mechanical toys that they again forget to follow The Book. They want to see their tanks in action, not content in just withdrawing them to the trail. Dang.
The 2nd mechanized NVA division declares an operation against Dak Song - a weak position. The last air goes there, to limit odds and thus pursuit. Instead of attacking, the 2nd mechanized moves to the trail.
At this point, 134 attacks, 69 VC battalions, 94 VC, 9 ARVN repl lost. All US air used.
The 1st mechanized division surges forward and attacks Tay Ninh. 3 NVA, 2 ARVN repl, -1 pursuit. Bad luck here for NVA. US 4th division HQ and 2nd Brigade move in as defensive reserves. Odds get worse, but +2 pursuit kicks in. 2 NVA, 3 ARVN, 1 US replacement point (only 3 ARVN strength available to take losses).
The Koreans were there originally, now at the top of the stack in this picture.
US/Koreans/ARVN retreat far enough for NVA to be unable to pursue. Fighting here would just allow more attacks, and trading of replacements. Neither is a good idea. US will be back with vengeance, with a security operation, in the next turn. The mechanized regiment advances to the capital using its pursuit, it can still escape to the trail next turn from here, if it survives. One captured capital.
The 3rd NVA division retreats back to the trail. The urgent messages from the Party Defence Committee have restored some sanity.
NVA has actually entered SVN territory again! A security operation could destroy two mechanized regiments and a division HQ without even violating Cambodian neutrality on the next turn. (Worth 11 NVN commitment - about the same as NVN has lost previously in repl during an offensive.. but 5 repl were lost already. A bit more expensive than before, a few less attacks, but a clear signal to the SVN population - Uncle Ho remembers them.)
Of course, this will not help in actual pacification. But, I wanted some excitement here, robotically sacrificing VC for the 3rd time got too boring, even if it is quite effective. Depending on what happens, this can also be a taste of the problems facing NVA in the next phases of the game.
And of course, I could claim that as the VC are soon spent (true), it is time for NVA to take some responsibility of the fight. Yes, that sounds good. I'll claim that. This was totally planned, a fabulous success, a capital for the new government of SVN, a sign of the military genius of NVA and Uncle Ho, etc, etc...
ARVN destroys two political sections in Vinh Binh/Vinh Long. FWA and the Navy destroy two political sections in Khanh Hoa. Korean CA and ARVN 25th divisions move to Saigon. So do two ARVN artillery units. They'll participate in a massive security operation next turn.
NVA regiment on Tay Ninh Holds. Maybe it can take some enemy repl with it.
Security operation by ARVN 18th, 25th and Korean CA divisions, with 155mm and 175mm ARVN artillery, and 82 air for ground support. Free Fire to Tay Ninh. 44 + 132 vs 16 + 24 = +4 -1 for terrain. 68 vs 100+ for casualties. 2 ARVN repl, one mechanized regiment destroyed. (13 repl hit to a single regiment).
Next attack is on the border, +5 -1 for terrain, 64 vs 100+ for casualties. 4 ARVN repl, one mechanized regiment, 1 HQ destroyed. (13 repl hit to NVA regiment and HQ.)
The stack moves around the clear roads of SVN. The ARVN divisions are dropped to Saigon (18th) and Tay Ninh (25th). Korean CA to the II corps, artillery to the IV corps and Tay Ninh.
11 NVA commitment and 5 repl to kill 11 ARVN repl, 1 US repl, and to cause a Free Fire zone. A bit high price here for this NVA operation, but not totally unreasonable.
The remaining NVA escape to the trail. US did not violate Cambodian neutrality - US could have killed 9 NVN commitment, but that is < 1% of what NVA will still get, while each US morale point is now precious.
Australians, Koreans and ARVN destroy the remaining political sections.
Total losses: 69 VC bn, 8 political sections, 94 VC repl, 1 NVA infantry regiment, 2 NVA mechanized regiments, 1 NVA HQ, 5 NVA repl, 20 ARVN repl, 1 US repl.
(Air and chopper losses cannot happen when the combats are at -6 or so. Combats against NVA did not roll air losses, and did not involve choppers.)
At the end of the Season:
US Morale: 384
US Commitment: 299
NVN Morale: 359
NVN Commitment: 356
SVN Morale: 146
SVN Draft Level:133
SVN Population: 241
NLF Draft Level:451
NLF Population: 119
NLF Supply Pool: 18
Now, US has had a full year of not participating in morale loss causing operations. Savings of about 12. Meanwhile, there have been two offensives during that time. Including morale loss which comes this turn, they are worth 82 US morale.
VC is now pretty spent. There will be an Offensive, but before it NVA needs to ready itself for combat. The loss of almost a full division last season does not help here.
The new strategy for VC will be to build a mixture of battalions, regiments and political sections to the battleground provinces. The regiments are expected to cause repl, air and chopper losses, and to require US participation in the operations, causing US morale losses. Meanwhile, NVA will build up.
When NVA is sufficiently strong, a possibly last VC offensive will be made, even if the draft level is over 6:1, ending this phase of the game.
Tayn Ninh has -2 (free fire). No other negative modifiers. Positive column shift for SVN morale.
SVN gains 7 population, now at 248. Still 8 to go for the next goal.
Strategic war: Trail bombing, 109 air points. 4 hits, 1 permanent damage, 1 air point lost. Trail at 9/4. SVN morale is high enough to not bomb the north now. VC will receive 40 sea supplies for 5 NVN commitment this turn.
No disloyal officers. No coup or instability.
SVN gets -2 morale (Thieu, population.) At 144 now. B leaders get -3 loyalty! A snake eyes, -1 from the offensive.
The I corps leader is now disloyal. 1 good, 2 excellent, and 1 bad division leaders are disloyal. In addition, the parachute division leader is disloyal.
US gets -39 (population, attacks in the offensive.) At 345 now.
NVN gets +35, now at 394, 38 commitment available.
US withdraws the 1st Infantry Division (-14) and brings in the 82nd Airborne division (9) and the 11th Armored Cavalry brigade (3). Commitment drops by -2, 297 now, no harmful effects for SVN morale next season.
The 82nd Airborne goes to Saigon, the 11th Armored Cavalry to Vung Tau.
The next stage of the Thais is not available yet.
ARVN recruits nothing.
NLF draft is 451, population controlled is 112 - 4:1 has been reached. Now a commitment gives only 3 recruits.
NVN buys 40 VC sea supply (5), the lost units of the 1st division (11), 18 recruits for 2 regiments and 10 battalions (40 sea supply, 18 draft) (6), 6 battalions (12 supply pool, 6 draft) (2), and a supply conduit (2 supply pool.)
Trail repairs (5), and one mechanized regiment for the next division (5). All commitment used.
VC draft rises by 24, now 475. Supply pool is now at 4. NVN promises 10 trail supply, 5 sea supply for the next season.
A VC regiment goes to Long Khanh (with a supply conduit), 2 political sections also go there. 2 battalions to Binh Hoa and Tuyen Duc. All of these are randomly deployed to protect the identity of the regiment, near the common borders of these provinces. Except the supply conduit - it can't move, so US pretends to not know what it is, yet. (There is a bit of randomness here, which could make the deployment technically slightly illegal, but that is worth it to keep the suspense).
Khanh Hoa gets 4 battalions. Binh Dinh gets a regiment, 2 battalions, and a political section. Vinh Binh 2 battalions and a political section.
Six battalions elsewhere in SVN.
The 1st division consolidates itself, again at full strength, with 2 artillery.
ARVN effectiveness roll is a 6 - two divisions are effective. Nothing else is. Looks like US operations will be needed now.
At the start of Fall 1968:
US Repl 20
ARVN Repl 55
VC Repl 11
NVA Repl 29
Air avail 63, total 171
The VC are in good terrain, usually adjacent to roads, so they quite often Patrol, if they can.
The solitaire house rule of considering all unknown target VC units as "2 strength battalions", unless it is really obvious they are not, is of course in effect. Expect to see someone (me?) colliding with the regiments.. and I don't know exactly where they are now.
82nd division strat moves to Long Khanh / Tuyen Duc / Binh Thuan.
1C destroys a battalion and a political section in the IV corps, losing a trans. 11th AC fails to catch a battalion in Long Khanh. 101 destroys it, losing a trans.
101 catches a regiment in Vinh Binh, with rangers, 2 ARVN repl, dispersal and +4 VC repl. 23rd destroys a battalion in Quang Nam, losing 1 air, 1 trans.
Koreans and a brigade of 23rd, with rangers, destroy a battalion in Binh Dinh, at the cost of 1 ARVN repl. Koreans, Australians and rangers destroy a battalion in Phu Bon without losses.
Koreans fail to catch a battalion in Binh Duong, it escapes to a road, and survives a US security operation, losing 1 VC repl.
US operations with airmobilized troops and artillery destroy a battalion and a political section, losing a trans.
11 bn equivalents destroyed in the first turn. 4 trans lost.
VC decides to concentrate the surviving units to Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa and Long Khanh - all are low loyalty, and presence there could help with the pacification
82nd division, a brigade of 101, 11th AC, a battalion of Australians and some ARVN rangers destroy 2 VC battalions, 2 political sections and a supply conduit in Long Khanh, losing 1 ARVN repl, 1 US repl, 1 air. (The battalion was a nasty and strong one, requiring an extended hunt and offensive reserves.)
The lack of ARVN artillery (ineffective) and using 2/3 or air to trail bombing makes itself felt. There aren't many helicopters left unused either.
The Thai regiment destroys a battalion in Khanh Hoa, losing a repl.
23rd destroys a battalion in Quang Tin, no losses. 101st destroys a battalion in Phy Yen, no losses.
Khanh Hoa and Phy Yen are still going to get -1 for VC. 6 VC counters left. US passes, but VC moves a few counters to cultivated in Khanh Hoa - it will now get -3. There is no longer sufficient strength to attack them, US passes again, NLF passes.
This was a long season - almost totally ineffective ARVN, but over five divisions of US troops and most FWA troops, together with little available air, meant that the operations required a lot of thought.
21 bn equivalents destroyed, +7 VC repl (dispersals), 2 US repl, 4 ARVN repl, 4 trans, 3 air lost.
At the end of the Season:
US Morale: 345
US Commitment: 297
NVN Morale: 394
NVN Commitment: 394
SVN Morale: 144
SVN Draft Level:133
SVN Population: 248
NLF Draft Level:475
NLF Population: 112
NLF Supply Pool: 4