Petri P
Finland
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Note: click on the magnifying glass icon of the figures, if too small otherwise.

The war started in Summer 1965, after years of North Vietnam attempts to encourage unification through revolution and limited armed support.

The South Vietnamese Army, ARVN, bore the brunt of the fighting. If it had not been divided by the factional policies and distrust, it would have been a force to be reckoned with. Alas, the effectiveness of it was far from perfect during the war.

[House rule assessment: ARVN divisional units were only effective if in the same Corps as their HQs, but they had a limited capacity to cross Corps boundaries, just to be able to reach the corps of their HQ. This worked extremely well. It prevented the exploit of keeping all HQs in the best Corps, but did not prevent ARVN divisions from being effective in the well-led Corps.]



The United States had already sent troops to the help of the South Vietnamese government. At the beginning of the war there was series of military coups, which saw the ultimate winner, Thieu, in power for a while before he was ousted, only to return to power later for good.

[House rule assessment: There was a coup protection modifier equivalent to the negative number of previous coups. This gave a quite historical result - no coups or instability after the unstable beginning. But, from game balance view, it might be better to reduce the coup protection modifier by one for each coup it prevents.]

For the first three phases of the War (hunting the VC, offensives, lingering US presence), there were a lot of dynamics in the various important tracks. Worth of especial note here is how the South Vietnamese population control started to rise after massive US economic aid. Of course, if there had been a better leader than Thieu, that aid would not have been needed.



After US left, these tracks did not move much. Yet, some population ended up in NLF control, and the SVN morale started to collapse when NVA captured capitals.



During the War, North Vietnam lost a huge amount of commitment. Very little of it to strategic warfare.



But there is a definite difference between the commitment lost before US withdrew:



and after US withdrew:



The NVA replacement losses were caused mostly by air strikes after US withdrew.

During the War, US spent (lost) a total of 185 commitment. US units are not included, as they just visited SVN, giving commitment bonuses for their HQs when they withdrew.



Meanwhile, US gained 25 morale, mostly from the population, before withdrawal.



Before withdrawal, US lost morale (total 257) mostly to the Offensives. There were no invasions of the other countries before withdrawal.



[Edit: the 1st edition of this post had an incorrect picture and number here, it was missing morale lost from one offensive.]

During the war, US and ARVN losses before final withdrawal were to a degree caused by the offensives. Afterwards, as NVA started to gain strength, ARVN losses soared. ARVN lost three divisions before the collapse started in Winter 1974.



ARVN was unable to replace its losses after Winter 1974. The population control had not reached a high enough peak. Maybe earlier economic aid, assuming Thieu, would have been needed.



Meanwhile, NLF losses were mostly by their own choice. Offensives, and then the fight against ARVN and Air after US ground troops had left.



The losses to the air attacks were staggering. This prevented NVA from building much strength - Saigon fell to little over five NVA divisions. But 14 HQs, 7 artillery. [NVA needs more artillery than they get from full divisions and independent artillery units. This means extra HQs, or smaller divisions. The only limitation is the need of two mechanized regiments to motorize the HQ.]




SVN considerations learned from this game:

Get to 140 morale column as fast as possible, for peak population, and thus replacements.

NVA considerations learned from this game:

Prepare to use almost all of your commitment to replacements in the endgame. Use divisions of different configurations when needed - 2 mechanized regiments and HQ for a division which is not supposed to take unit losses. 2 mechanized regiments and an infantry regiment for a division which needs to be able to outflank, and take cheaper casualties. Full mechanized divisions are a too expensive luxury, better to have just two regiments. Do not be afraid to purchase HQs just for the artillery, without a single regiment.

Balance considerations:

SVN leadership - this is very volatile, and affects directly the peak population. What to do?

US Air - after withdrawal, US air points are very, maybe even too, effective. Should there be an upper limit, also for historical reasons?

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Randy Knight
United States
Westerly
Rhode Island
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Thanks for this report. Some shrewd insights from the pie charts.

The charts insinuate much that the US should perhaps do, and much it perhaps should not have done.

Thanks again Petri for the hard work and recording everything.
Randy
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Petri P
Finland
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Thanks. I originally did not record all of the data into the spreadsheet, for instance the exact causes of morale losses were not there, just the total remaining season by season.

I had to fish for the missing details from the session reports. And the first attempt for that missed the effect of one Offensive on US morale - fixed now.

After that fix the figures now match reasonably well. The "Where Did US Commitment Go?" chart is strange looking, as it does not show anything but the final destination of the commitment, destroyed points and economic aid, ground units are not mentioned at all.

Ground units would actually appear as negative commitment if they were shown here, for the HQ bonuses.

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Mark Evans
United States
Berlin
New Hampshire
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I like the pie charts.
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