Green Berets: Vietnam AAR Part 2

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Green Berets: Vietnam AAR Part 2

Postby gocamels » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:28 pm

(Part 1 is in the Solitaire Wargames area. This report picks up several missions after that AAR ends - but I managed to screw up the pictures I'd made of those missions, so I decided to try something different. Hope you like it.)

The resupply had gone even better than expected. Bravo Two had returned with the food and medical supplies we’d been desperately needing, plus a little surprise. Two beautiful cases of Kentucky’s finest had been nestled in among the bandages, a gift from Col. Banks. Even though he’d been retired for several years, he still had a soft place in his heart for those of us carrying on his legacy.

Needless to say, the celebration for this mission was just a little bit raucous. Unfortunately, it was short-lived for some of us. Somewhere around 2300 a Jeep came limping into camp, carrying just the driver and a soldier who was looking pretty rough. He wouldn’t let anyone take him to the medic’s tent until he’d seen the CO, though. The Major marched out to the Jeep, chewing on his ever-present cigar butt. Within ten minutes, he’d heard all he needed to hear and accepted a leather-wrapped package from the Corporal, who finally allowed himself to be hauled to see the medics.

“MACK!” The Major’s gravelly voice carried above the sound of the party, immediately capturing the attention of Sergeant Major Mack McDonald. Mack immediately dropped his glass and sprinted to the Major’s tent, which he’d just seen the CO enter. Thirty minutes later, Alpha One and Bravo One teams were assembled in the mess hall, waiting for a mission briefing.

“Twenty men died to bring us this intel,” Mack began. “Now, it’s up to us to make sure it gets to Saigon, so these boys didn’t die for nothing.”

Everyone knew what that meant. Neither of our base camps were situated on good transmitting ground. The nearest mountain tall enough to transmit a signal to Saigon was about two clicks east. It had a fair amount of jungle cover leading up to the summit, and the ground in between was mostly elephant grass. With any luck at all, it would only take a few hours to hustle a team out to the mountain, transmit the intel and hoof it back in time for dinner and the second case of bourbon.

We set out two hours before dawn, hoping that the cover of darkness would help with the only really tricky part – the bridge. With the right camo and muffled weapon systems, we could slip through jungle and elephant grass like ghosts, but there is no magic invisibility shield to help you jog across a bridge unseen. We stopped once we got to the mountain, found a nice little gully to hunker down in and waited for 30 minutes to make sure Charlie hadn’t spotted us crossing the river. Once Mack was sure we were clear, he led Bravo One on to the top of the mountain with the radio while the rest of us set up a perimeter to watch for company.

Waiting is the hardest part of any mission. Your imagination starts to run away with you, and you start hearing VC behind every tree. It took Bravo One about three hours to hike up the mountain and radio out the intel, and another hour back. Another half hour of waiting to make sure they weren’t spotted up there, and we struck back out towards home.
Even Army beans go down pretty easy when you chase them with bourbon. Needless to say, the party picked up where it left off. Alpha Two and Bravo Two had even left the second case unopened. At least, this party made it through the night before life got dragged back to business as usual.

Actually, it was a couple of days later when we got word that Charlie was massing somewhere east. The best intel available said they were somewhere near an abandoned riverside village and a hard-packed, one-strip airport. Obviously, I use the term airport loosely. A few huts and a dirt landing strip cut into the elephant grass would hardly be worth noticing if there wasn’t a war going on. That little strip of bare dirt was better than a gold mine to an army, though.

Now, though, it was going to be our job to get eyes on just how many men and vehicles Charlie was massing over there. Corporal Lewis volunteered to pilot rafts downriver to act as our extraction team, and so Alpha One, led by the ever-present Sgt. Major McDonald set out for what would prove to be a 3km hike.

All in a day’s work, right?

Turns out, it wasn’t VC after all. The NVA had apparently been flying cargo planes in at night, and they had a pretty good buildup. If Saigon didn’t find out about this in time to send troops in force, there were enough North Vietnamese soldiers – and enough Chinese weapons – to make more trouble than a little bit.

I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. Ten Green Berets only wipe out armies that size in the movies. John Wayne isn’t in our outfit. As soon as the team had counted the last helo and box of ammo as best we could, we high-tailed it out of there and back to the Corporal and our ride home. Now, one man hauling rafts downriver is pretty easy, as Green Beret life goes. A whole team piloting those same rafts back upriver, however, can be a bit hairy. Those little motors are loud, but all in all, fast enough to make the trade-off worth it.

Most of the time.

Fortunately, we found a nice, quiet place to pull off the river for an hour or so to make sure we weren’t being watched. Once Mack was satisfied that nobody had heard the engines, we hopped back in and completed the mission.

A few days later, Major Danvers called us all together to announce that we’d been ordered down to the south camp. In their rush to build up forces to the east, it seemed that the NVA had left their largest airfield, just a couple of clicks from our south camp, with a skeleton crew. We had been tasked with scouting the situation, and if the field was indeed vulnerable, of forming the advance team to take it and call in reinforcements to hold it.

My job was to pack the flares and the radio. It’s a mostly thankless job, but one you’d never forget screwing up. IF you survived to remember screwing it up, that is. Without being able to signal for the main army to come in and hold the area, we’d be toast within hours.

There’s a thought that will sober you up pretty quick.

The team strapped our packs on and headed out just before dawn. The airfield was only a couple of km from South Camp, so, with any luck, we’d be sleeping in our own cots in a day or two. Sure enough, the field was very lightly guarded. So lightly, in fact, we were afraid at first that it had to be a trap.

But it wasn’t. It took less than an hour, and no gunfighting, to capture the airfield. Mouse – that’s Private Helms, but everyone calls him Mouse because that’s how quiet he can be – had a hand over the sentry’s mouth and a knife in his kidney before the man could even look surprised. The six or seven other NVA we found were scarcely any more trouble, and it wasn’t long before the All Clear had been called over the radio and flares were painting the airstrips. It seemed like only a few minutes before the first H-34 set down, and as we were heading back for camp, we heard the rumble of an AC-47 coming in for a landing.

The roar of the helos and planes converging on our new airfield was more than enough to cover our retreat back to camp, and Alpha One melted into the jungle almost like we’d never even been there.

When we arrived, the Major was grinning from ear to ear. HQ had called, begrudgingly allowing as to how we’d been doing a heck of a job the last few months. The boss was so tickled, he granted us all 48 hours of downtime.

Which usually means trouble. But that’s another story for another day.

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Re: Green Berets: Vietnam AAR Part 2

Postby Whiterook » Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:09 pm

Oh man, this is cool! I love the idea of an extension of a played game into a story!!!! I never thought of that! You may have found the true purpose this board was really meant for!!!
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Re: Green Berets: Vietnam AAR Part 2

Postby gocamels » Sun May 01, 2016 7:57 am

I'm glad you like it. I think some games lend themselves to this better than others. The fairly quick missions in Green Berets make for several interesting story possibilities. You can give quick overviews strung together in a story like this, or you can go more in depth into one or two missions at a time, depending on your interest.

I think most squad level or below games can be the basis of interesting stories. As you move toward operational or strategic level games, your story is going to sound less like story and more like history. Although, a general's eye view of some campaigns might make interesting stories.

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