River of Perfume [Examination of tactical choices]

This could be a battle anywhere, any time. The choices in warfare with modern weapons remain the same. The combatants change, the result rarely does.

Here the out gunned VC fight a much smaller better trained force of USMC in Hue during the Vietnam War.

The VC have a game advantage where if they do not move or fire they cannot be spotted. Nice. However. The USMC is coming to town. Their intent is to clear every building. Either the easy way or the hard way.

The USMC will send a probing squad to the building corner, where the RPG is situated (upstairs), the US enter the building and immediately take fire from the squad upstairs.

Whilst the VC fire is savage these are Marines. They are shaken by the fire but take no casualties. They are now not only adjacent but have exposed a squad for their team mates to fire at.

Sgt Ash with his two powerful squads and M60 in overwatch plough rounds into the building across the street.

With the number of VC squads in building the lone Marine unit stands a chance of being eliminated whilst shaken if they are close assaulted. Ash needs to get some support on deck ASAP.

Ash’s squads shake or suppress the VC. The VC hero moves to those men to aid recovery during the coming rally phase. Meanwhile the 2nd squad (3-6-4) crosses the street un molested. providing welcome relief for the other Marines in the building.

The VC on the other side of the building low crawl back from the building frontage, to avoid being melee’d by Regin. He instead rushes the building, storms upstairs (using doubletime ) and sets up his men to either initiate a firefight next turn or storm the gutless VC.  He smells blood!

The rest of the forces move closer to the other end of the building to provide fire support next turn.  The VC have more men but they are all spread out and hunkered down.

Turn 2 rolls around and the USMC luck holds with first initiative. Regin and his men light up the VC at close range but the heavy building protects most of the VC from serious casualties.  They are all shaken and 2 squads are reduced. This has the desired effect.

The VC attempt to back out of the building and get to some support.  At the other end the Hero and USMC melee. Its all or nothing if the VC win the USMC are in trouble.

The superior numbers and fire power prevent the VC’s from doing any damage.

Regin and Ash melee aggressively. Using melee in WWII and beyond sometimes sounds weird. But I think of this given the scale as where the real firefights take place. Close combat, assaulting buildings, in a 50m-75m area should be deadly and effective, but sometimes things can go wrong.

So the first building is cleared with no losses, Ash is however in the open. The next turn allows him to get upstairs on the same level as the VC, but they take opportunity fire. This is ok, as it exposes the VC to Regin and his men. Another choice that is a damed if you do, damed if you dont one.

Ash is wounded one squad is reduced. Regin rushes the far end of the building taking on the 2 squads there in a vicious hand to hand fight  that is not resolved by turn end.

With 2 fireteams looking for trouble at the edge of the U shaped building waiting for Arnat to show her face Ash runs for it into the building by the pool. Once again even with losing initiative enough Marines survive the combat to fire at Dobie San and his men.. The US sniper now see an opportunity and enters the fray shaking Dobie San..

The beginning of next turn The VC pour all the fire onto the USMC who largely shake it off and pursue the isolated and weakened VC.  With 5 buildings in the hands of the USMC and their forces decimated the VC player concedes defeat.

What could the VC have done differently?

They have weaker units. They really need the jungle bonus for melee. They are spread out.

The VC player could have taken his units at the forefront of the buildings in the U shape and bailed out. Or he could let tehm buy time, hoping for a reduction here or there.

Whilst that was going on he could reinforce one of the two rear buildings. Especially once he  knew how the Marines are going to move. By bringing an extra leader and maybe the hero into the broken V shaped build set back, the VC player has a clear LOS, lots of open ground and more “mass” in melee. Taking shots whilst the USMC are in the open is key as well.

This can be a tough scenario if both sides fight to their strengths.

3 thoughts on “River of Perfume [Examination of tactical choices]

  1. I think in urban warfare, distances of less than 20 feet are actually pretty common. Eric Hammel has a good book called “Fire in the Streets” about the Battle for Hue. He wrote that one of the problems the Marines initially had was adjusting to close range fighting and clearing buildings room by room. I don’t think it’s out of place to have this kind of fighting post-WW2.

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