Petri P
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BREAKING NEWS!

December 1969

The West holds its breath, as the largest communist aggression since the Korean War seems to be developing.

The intelligence services have noticed more North Vietnamese troops than ever seen before moving towards South Vietnam. This alarming development is entirely unexpected, in the view of the the last nine months. We have been winning this war so far after all, as everyone knows. We'll later see the most accurate map of the situation available to us, but the first things must come first.

The question burning on the lips of the public is - will our boys be safe? Let's ask the resident expert.

RE: "This is most likely a feint, to exercise some political pressure before North Vietnam starts the cease fire talks. This is clearly a display of desperation on their part, they have lost and know it, but they must posture to avoid losing face."

What leads you and the other experts to this conclusion?

RE: "This is an excellent question. The population controlled by South Vietnam and the morale of the United States are soaring, as the large majority of the population has now embraced the legitimate government of Thieu. You just need to look at the latest picture of the population loyalty, here, to see how little effect the communists still have:"



There have been rumors that ARVN is either in a state of panic, intoxicated, or on leave for the coming Christmas. Do these rumors cause any concern for the safety of our troops?

RE: "These rumors are just communist propaganda, we should not stoop so low as to repeat them to the public. In any case, the North Vietnamese Army has previously twice attempted to invade. In both times, our stalwart and effective allies, the ARVN, have decisively defeated them, with hardly any loss of US lives. I trust fully that this will happen again, if the invasion even comes. I find the "invasion" here to be very unlikely, haha."

Could you give us some background leading to the current situation?

RE: "Of course. The Viet Cong lost their will to fight after their last futile attempt in Spring 1969 was handled, in a very professional manner, by General MacArthur. Since then, we have not seen even a single viet cong operative inside SVN."

If our readers would like to see more detailed information about this, can you give them some references?

RE: "Naturally. Here is the full account of Summer 1969. Let's continue our discussion once those who care about such have had a chance to view it."

*****

Summer 1969

Pacification

-1 to An Xuyen, -2 to Binh Thuan. Positive column shift for SVN.

SVN gains +3, at 262 now. The going is slow, most provinces where population can be gained are at least half loyal to NLF.

No strategic war - an offensive is looming.

Politics

Replacing disloyal officers:

The fully disloyal I Corps leader: Replaced. The new leader is a B-2. So long 1st Corps. The 22nd division, led by a B7, could be moved there, to have someone able to Hold and Patrol at the capitals.

The fully disloyal Parachute leader: Becomes ineffective.

And the fully disloyal 3rd division leader: Stays, still effective.

No coup or instability. SVN morale does not change, at 144. B leaders increase in loyalty by +1.

US morale drops by -2, at 337 now. (+1 from population).

NVN morale rises by 36, at 501, 56 commitment available.

The next stage of the Thais is available - a regiment, a HQ and an ac battalion.

US withdraws the 199th Infantry Brigade (-5), the ac of 101st (-1), the armor of 25th (-1) and 48 air (-16).

The time for strategic bombing is over. The air will be topped before final withdrawal. For now, the remaining 8x 175mm artillery is brought in, as it cannot be shot down (12).

Also, 2 trans (1) and 35 ARVN supplies (5). And, the 26th Marine Regiment (3). US commitment will drop by -2, to 291. ARVN buys 17 sets of replacements for 17 draft and 34 supplies. 1 supply saved, 68 new repl. SVN draft now at 150. The marine regiment lands at Vung Tau. The artillery lands all over SVN ports. -2 new US commitment.

NVN purchases 55 VC trail supplies (5). NVN withdraws the surviving 2 battalions to save 2 personnel, then purchases 9 VC repl (3 personnel, 9 trail supplies) (1). NLF draft rises to 506. NVN purchases a mechanized division (16), the 7th. 4 political sections deployed to the trail, in that same box.

The VC supply pool reaches 147. NVN promises 5 commitment for trail supply for the next turn. (34) saved.

Infiltration: The 7th mechanized moves to the Trail box which leads to Pleiku.

ARVN is mostly effective, only three divisions are not.

1st & 2nd turns. No NLF presence. US/ARVN moves troops around to prepare for the coming offensive.

7th division moves to the II corps from the I corps. 22nd moves to the I corps from the II corps.

US Repl 13
ARVN Repl 90
VC Repl 24
NVA Repl 29
Trans 11
Air avail 118, total 118

US Morale: 337
US Commitment: 291
NVN Morale: 501
NVN Commitment: 467
SVN Morale: 144
SVN Draft Level:150
SVN Population: 262
NLF Draft Level:506
NLF Population: 98
NLF Supply Pool:147

*****

Thanks, that was pretty informative, at least for those who like numbers. How would you describe Summer 1969 to the the normal public?

RE: "It was a success, everything went according to the plans. US troops did their professional duty defending the population of South Vietnam, and just that presence alone was enough to scare all of the Viet Cong to keep a low profile. Also, ARVN was very effective this season. You'll see the what this led to, if you look at the Fall 1969 references:"

*****

Fall 1969

Pacification

VC is absent. A positive column shift for SVN.

SVN gains +3 population, now at 265. VC has only 95 left - 6 x 95 is 570. With a draft of 506, VC cannot have an offensive without using some amount of 2 recruits per NVN commitment. The final offensive must surely come now.

No strategic war. What would be the point?

Officer replacement: the disloyal leader of the 3rd division is replaced with a B0, loyalty 8. The disloyal parachute leader is replaced by a B-2, loyalty 9. The parachute division is likely ineffective for a long time now.

No coup or instability.

SVN morale does not change. C leaders get +1 loyalty.

US morale increases by +1, now at 338.

NVN morale increases by 36, 70 commitment available now.

Recruitment

The final stage of the Thais is not available yet. But US pays (2) to get the regiment, HQ and ac battalion which became available the last season.

US pays (2) for 14 SVN supplies. Commitment raises to 295. SVN buys 7 sets of replacements, for 28 new ARVN repl (14 supplies, 7 draft). Draft now at 157. ARVN repl at 118. The Thais arrive at Saigon. +4 new US commitment.

NVN buys the promised trail supplies, 55 (5). NVN buys a mechanized division (16), the 9th, and saves (49). 4 political sections to the second southmost trail box.

What!? No Offensive? NVN calculates that even if it needs to pay 10 or so more in the next season for recruits, savings will allow that offensive to be stronger, and in the end more profitable. Nothing promised for VC supply for the next season.

NLF supply pool at 202.

Infiltration: The 9th mechanized moves to the box which has a road leading to Hue.

ARVN effectiveness roll is a 1 - almost everyone is effective, but it does not matter, because nothing will happen.

US Repl 13
ARVN Repl 162
VC Repl 24
NVA Repl 29
Trans 11
Air avail 118, total 118

The Thais on the map move to Tam Ky and Chu Lai, while the 9th ARVN division from the 1st Corps moves to Da Nang, and a regiment of the 18th from Da Nang to Saigon, to join the rest of the division there. Otherwise, US is satisfied with the deployments from the last season, no NLF troops on the map, nothing happens.

US Morale: 338
US Commitment: 295
NVN Morale: 537
NVN Commitment: 488
SVN Morale: 144
SVN Draft Level:168
SVN Population: 265
NLF Draft Level:506
NLF Population: 95
NLF Supply Pool:202

*****

Thanks, I notice that the SVN population is not yet as loyal as in the picture we saw earlier? Will it improve much now?

RE: "Yes, I felt a warm flush of happiness two weeks ago, worth of +2. Did you feel it? That is the effect from over 270 loyal SVN population. It feels so good."

I already promised our viewers that we would show a map of the current situation. Is it included in the next detailed report we are going to show?"

RE: "Yes. (Under his breath: I hope it has been censored properly.)"

*****

Winter 1969

Pacification

SVN gains +8 (!) At 273 now. US will start to get +2 per season, unless US participates in S&D or C&S operations.

This is a catastrophe to NLF. For pricing of recruits, this is as bad as having recruited 48 personnel - without getting that personnel, of course.

No strategic warfare.

Politics

No officer replacements. No coup or instability. SVN morale increases by +1 from new US commitment, 145 now. A leaders get +1 loyalty.

US gets +2 morale, at 340 now.

NVN gets +37 morale, at 574 now. 86 commitment available.

Recruitment

US withdraws a cruiser (-1). The last Thai regiment is available. US purchases it (1). US also purchases 3 US repl (1), and 21 SVN supplies (3). Those supplies, with the last saved one, give 11 sets of replacements, 44 repl for 22 supplies and 11 draft. SVN repl at 162. Commitment now at 299. The Thai regiment lands at Hue. +4 new US commitment.

NVN has 87 population, draft at 506. 87 x 6 is 522: NLF can buy only 16 recruits at 3 per commitment. That is (5) commitment for 15 recruits and 15 draft. 72 more recruits at the more expensive price cost (36) and 72 draft. These 87 recruits give 70 VC battalions (140 supply pool, 70 draft) and 51 replacements (51 supply pool, 17 draft). 2 supply conduits (4 supply pool) to allow 69 battalions to be built inside SVN. 1 was built to Cambodia. 7 supply pool remain, draft increases to 593.

VC replacements increase to 75. (10) NVN commitment for the offensive, (34) for 102 NVA repl. NVA replacements increase to 131.

70 battalions and 15 political sections on the map.

Infiltration

All NVA and VC units leave the trail. For NVA, there are 6 full mechanized divisions, 8 artillery and 1 infantry regiment.

An Offensive is declared. A bonus infantry regiment appears at Chau Doc.

ARVN Effectiveness roll is a 6. (...!) There is exactly one effective ARVN division, the 2nd, in the IV Corps.

This is US and FWA (and one ARVN division) against the strongest offensive so far.



US Repl 16
ARVN Repl 162
VC Repl 75
NVA Repl 131
Trans 11
Air avail 118, total 118

-- to be played out --

*****

Thanks, that is so interesting. I am happy that you have shed some light on this fake "offensive", or even I would be slightly worried. Haha.

RE: "You are welcome. (Whispers aside, distracted: Hopefully no one paid any attention to the ARVN effectiveness roll!)"

We have got some statistical information, which I am told will be valid in any case, regardless of what happens. We will show it now.

RE: "Wait! Is this the declassified version!?"

The variables at the New Year Evening, after the Offensive, will be (as only the number of attacks can change):

US Morale: 340
US Commitment: 299
NVN Morale: 574
NVN Commitment: 574
SVN Morale: 145
SVN Draft Level:168
SVN Population: 273
NLF Draft Level:594
NLF Population: 87
NLF Supply Pool: 7
Attacks: ???

So, it is already possible to show the chart to the end of Winter 1968:



*****

Saigon and MACV would like to ask if the audience has any strategists? If so, it would be appreciated if those can offer insight, after viewing the map:

Are there any capitals which should be abandoned at the start of the turn? How to limit the damage? Currently US has 2 airmobile divisions, 2 infantry divisions, 1 marine division, and 1 marine brigade available. FWA has two Korean divisions, 1 Thai division, 1 Korean Brigade, the Australian and ANZAC battalions, and the Philippine CAG.

Even if VC would not patrol at all, the roads are unsuitable for long distance travel because of all of the ZOCs there. But, VC intends to Patrol with half a dozen battalions where needed, to protect the NVA target areas, and the NVA currently on the map, to prevent US Security operations. It will be impossible to move between Quang Tri and Hue, it will be impossible to reach the Chau Doc and Kien Kiang threatened areas (or to escape from those), and it will be impossible to hit the NVA units abroad with Security operations at the start of the turn. Tay Ninh could be evacuated, but the troops there would still be within suicide attack range of VC.
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Mark Evans
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petrip wrote:
Saigon and MACV would like to ask if the audience has any strategists? If so, it would be appreciated if those can offer insight, after viewing the map:

Are there any capitals which should be abandoned at the start of the turn? How to limit the damage? Currently US has 2 airmobile divisions, 2 infantry divisions, 1 marine division, and 1 marine brigade available. FWA has two Korean divisions, 1 Thai division, 1 Korean Brigade, the Australian and ANZAC battalions, and the Philippine CAG.


I like the stories and interviews you provided. It really brings it to life for me. After years in aerospace I need to see some money on the table before I am willing to do any kind of statistical analysis or probability modeling. So most of yours and Randy's session reports go over my head.

I clipped out this last bit from MACV. I thought I could answer the questions.

Question #1: No. Make him earn his capitals. Randy never gave me nothing.

Question #2: Limit damage by forming hedgehog defenses with interlocking artillery support. Use Defensive Reserve Operations to support weaker outposts.

I have a question for you Petri. Almost all of us here in the US know somebody who went to Vietnam. Though the memory of that war is fading, it still affects our foreign policy to some degree. All through US media before the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan you could hear the experts say Vietnam over and over. Vietnam is very personal to us and the French. You have a great passion for the game and I assume the topic it covers. I am excited to see your passion for the topic and the game. How did a guy from Finland acquire this kind of passion?
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Randy Knight
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Petri asks:

Saigon and MACV would like to ask if the audience has any strategists? If so, it would be appreciated if those can offer insight, after viewing the map:

Are there any capitals which should be abandoned at the start of the turn? How to limit the damage? Currently US has 2 airmobile divisions, 2 infantry divisions, 1 marine division, and 1 marine brigade available. FWA has two Korean divisions, 1 Thai division, 1 Korean Brigade, the Australian and ANZAC battalions, and the Philippine CAG.

Even if VC would not patrol at all, the roads are unsuitable for long distance travel because of all of the ZOCs there. But, VC intends to Patrol with half a dozen battalions where needed, to protect the NVA target areas, and the NVA currently on the map, to prevent US Security operations. It will be impossible to move between Quang Tri and Hue, it will be impossible to reach the Chau Doc and Kien Kiang threatened areas (or to escape from those), and it will be impossible to hit the NVA units abroad with Security operations at the start of the turn. Tay Ninh could be evacuated, but the troops there would still be within suicide attack range of VC.

Hey,

Here's some advice during US strategic movement:

1.) Don't leave any ARVN, US, or FWA units anyplace on the map unless they are in a red capitol or red major city. There is nothing else in South Vietnam to defend during an Offensive season.

2.) Put artillery into each threatened stack, and put enough ground strength so that any and all single VC battalion attacks will be at 1-5 odds. Make sure to have artillery of at least 7 post free fire in every threatened stack. Again, stacks should only be defending capitols or better. That way, even the 1-0-6s will be taking VC losses on the 8-14 column, at a -6 minimum DRM (a 3-1 VC battalion should be the prototype for these decisions, pretend every VC unit is a 3-1 battalion)
If at all possible, have MORE artillery than this, especially wherever the NVA units can reach. You need to be certain the NVA gets absolutely slaughtered during every possible attack they can launch. Anything else is simply unacceptable.

3.) If you do this, then at least the majority of the VC will die on the first attack, and the NVA will be bled white.

4.) I would save the US Air Points for use only against NVA attacks. Only against NVA attacks. Assign Free Fire to every province within reach of the NVA - this is mandatory.
You need to add enough support points (adding Air Points to any other artillery support) to make any 8-4-10 NVA attacking regiments losses take place on the 43 column, minimum.
So if an NVA mechanized regiment attacks during this offensive, be certain that it takes casualties on the 43 column. That requires a minimum of 35 support points and Free Fire.

5.) American orders to the Air, Navy, and Artillery is to make this happen. 43 Column against any NVA.

6.) The NVA must be bled white. Your orders are to make it happen.

Enjoying the Game!
Randy


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Petri P
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drmark64 wrote:

I have a question for you Petri...how did a guy from Finland acquire this kind of passion?


I am very interested in history and (obviously, being on BGG) also gaming. VG's Vietnam 1965-1975 is to me above all a game, with no emotions attached to the conflict it models.

The game is an intriguing and complex masterpiece from the 80's. It is one of the true classics, but one very little analyzed and discussed about, mostly forgotten. Thus, unlike e.g. ASL, there is an aspect of archaeology, or discovery, in going through it. An intellectual exercise.

What makes Vietnam so resistant to analysis is the scope - playing the campaign through on paper map and cardboard counters, like you have been doing, is a monumental achievement. So, there are very little to base analysis and opinion on. I am here trying to document a play through with enough details to serve as some kind of base data for someone else, possibly, who might at some point be interested in thinking about or playing this forgotten gem.

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Petri P
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aslredbarricades wrote:
Hey,
Here's some advice during US strategic movement:
...
Randy



Thanks.

Those are things I have been doing to various degrees, see e.g. the session report about the 3rd offensive, here: Summer to Fall 1968

I was thinking about using your "capitals can be abandoned" strategy, as discussed here: Is there a turning point?

That might, if it works out, be very effective. Or if it does not work out, doom the SVN.

Do you identify any capitals which should be abandoned in the current situation, to limit the number of attacks? (I don't see those, but this being an experiment, I also don't want to let a chance of trying something interesting pass without using it, at least without seriously considering it first.)
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Randy Knight
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petrip wrote:
aslredbarricades wrote:
Hey,
Here's some advice during US strategic movement:
...
Randy



Thanks.

Those are things I have been doing to various degrees, see e.g. the session report about the 3rd offensive, here: Summer to Fall 1968

I was thinking about using your "capitals can be abandoned" strategy, as discussed here: Is there a turning point?

That might, if it works out, be very effective. Or if it does not work out, doom the SVN.

Do you identify any capitals which should be abandoned in the current situation, to limit the number of attacks? (I don't see those, but this being an experiment, I also don't want to let a chance of trying something interesting pass without using it, at least without seriously considering it first.)


1.) Qui Nhon looks like a good candidate to abandon. But I would abandon it by retreating after the first VC attack.

That way your guys are still eligible to use security or regular operations after the VC run out of steam.

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Randy Knight
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aslredbarricades wrote:
petrip wrote:
aslredbarricades wrote:
Hey,
Here's some advice during US strategic movement:
...
Randy



Thanks.

Those are things I have been doing to various degrees, see e.g. the session report about the 3rd offensive, here: Summer to Fall 1968

I was thinking about using your "capitals can be abandoned" strategy, as discussed here: Is there a turning point?

That might, if it works out, be very effective. Or if it does not work out, doom the SVN.

Do you identify any capitals which should be abandoned in the current situation, to limit the number of attacks? (I don't see those, but this being an experiment, I also don't want to let a chance of trying something interesting pass without using it, at least without seriously considering it first.)


1.) Qui Nhon looks like a good candidate to abandon. But I would abandon it by retreating after the first VC attack.

That way your guys are still eligible to use security or regular operations after the VC run out of steam.



However, you will have to see if at the time you can get the 175mm heavy artillery far enough away so the local VC cannot suicide against it. If you can, thats one obvious place to leave to limit attacks. You can definitely airmobilize the units when they retreat and fly over the sea to get out during the first retreat; but you have to make certain the 175 can get completely away after the first (or perhaps acceptably the second) retreat round (ie; run as far as possible on round 1, then run out of there completely during a possible second VC attack operation.

Just dont run away with a huge stack during Strategic Movement, because that destroys the opportunity to return and punish the VC who you limited in Game Turn 1, defeating the purpose.

Maybe it better to suffer the 10 extra attacks, and kill them off in Game Turn 1 by stacking high 1-5 with at least -7 drm.

I cannot offer much else, as I cannot see what the US/ARVN/FWA stacks consist of around the map.

The mechanized NVA look like a threat everywhere. Juice them up to at least the 43 column so they bleed. It looks bleak for the US in my mind though. The NVA part of this offensive may work well… in terms of padding the attack count.
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Dave
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drmark64 wrote:
petrip wrote:
Saigon and MACV would like to ask if the audience has any strategists? If so, it would be appreciated if those can offer insight, after viewing the map:

Are there any capitals which should be abandoned at the start of the turn? How to limit the damage? Currently US has 2 airmobile divisions, 2 infantry divisions, 1 marine division, and 1 marine brigade available. FWA has two Korean divisions, 1 Thai division, 1 Korean Brigade, the Australian and ANZAC battalions, and the Philippine CAG.


I like the stories and interviews you provided. It really brings it to life for me. After years in aerospace I need to see some money on the table before I am willing to do any kind of statistical analysis or probability modeling. So most of yours and Randy's session reports go over my head.



I'm the same way. Some of our members are great at stat analysis, God bless 'em, but it's hard for me to absorb.

Dave
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