Tuesday 3 January 2012

“Bowling With Claymores” an FNG 2nd Tour AAR

"You know, I never thought I’d be back in The Nam. But, here I am. After 60 days back in The World the call of the jungle finally broke me down. The First Sergeant thought I was nuts, told me I’ve done my tour. He told me to sit back and just collect a check for a little while, without anyone shooting at me. I guess that’s just not me. I think he would rather have given me a Section 8, but rubber stamping my request for combat was far less paperwork…”

So here we are, back In Country! Since FNG 2 will be released just in time for Tet, I figured I would through out some AARs of my current solo campaign, and highlight some of FNG 2’s new mechanics along the way.

My story begins with one of the men from my previous campaign returning to Nam for a second tour. He was a REP 5 Jr.NCO with the Medic and Agile Attributes when he left in early ’67 (my last campaign was actually set from January1966 to January 1967), so I figured he’d get a promotion to SGT upon his DEROS and then decide to come back for another tour (for whatever reason). That would make him a squad leader. I usually start my Stars from REP 3 bottom-rung riflemen and work their way up, but since it is 2nd Tour…

In order to get the campaign going, I had to first generate my entire platoon. Yep, I said it: the whole platoon. The reason is simple: there will be times that a reinforcement roll may call for the rest of my unit to come on table, and rather than wasting time mid game to roll them up, it’s easier to do it ahead of time. Since we track not just REP in FNG 2, but also DEROS (how much longer a soldier has in their tour of duty) we can now show how a unit changes over time with the veterans leaving (hopefully) for home and the FNGs coming in to fill their slots. Now, I like a detailed game, so I gave Attributes to all of the HQ personnel and attachments as well as all of my squad members.

I got reasonably lucky with the rolls, with my LT being a REP 5 marksman and his RTO being REP 4 and fluent in Vietnamese. This will come in handy in encounters with civilians. My LT also has 5 months left in his combat command, so he’ll be around for a good while. My platoon sergeant is somewhat less impressive at REP 3 and 3 months till DEROS, but he is Tough.

For the rest of the platoon I rolled a total of 26 men, splitting them with 9 in 1st squad (my squad), 8 in 2nd, and 9 in 3rd.

My Squad rolled up as follows:

NCO: SGT Star, REP 5, Agile, Medic, DEROS 12

Jr.NCO: CPL Andrus, REP 3, Slight, DEROS 10

Jr. NCO: SPC4 Brookes, REP 5, Stealthy, DEROS 5

LMG: SPC4 Carlton, REP 4, Unlucky, DEROS 4

Gren: PVT Durant, REP 3, Quick Reflexes, DEROS 10

Gren: PFC Ellis, REP 4, Lucky, DEROS 5

Rif: PVT Flint, REP 3, Trap Finder, DEROS 8

Rif: PVT Giles, REP 3, Crack Shot, DEROS 11

Rif: PFC Hill, REP 4, Pointman, DEROS 6

With my Star now acquainted with his new charges, it was now mission time. Just 364 and a wake-up…

The FNG 2 campaign breaks down into a 12 month tour (13 months for USMC) with each month divided into 2 turns. At the start of each turn you roll to determine if your squad makes contact with the enemy during the course of whatever it has been ordered to do. It is actually possible to go several turns without contacting the enemy, which is great for survival, but probably not all that fun… If contact is not made, you move on to checking who has hit their DEROS, checking for Short Timers, and trying to fill vacancies within your platoon.

However, if you make contact you must first run a mission before running administration!

My first turn is Early April, 1967, and I do indeed make contact! Now, there are a number of things you have to decide upon for your FNG2 campaign, such as where your unit is stationed. My campaign is taking place in III Corps, as I like the variety of possible terrain, and I figure they are (at this time period) probably posted near Saigon, counting their AO (Area of Operations) as III Corps Interior on the terrain tables. Why is this important, you may wonder… well, your AO determines what possible missions you may be assigned. I mean, you’re not very likely to be inspecting civilians in a Free Fire Zone, right?

Ok, so I’ve made contact. Now I determine some important factors: my AO turns out to be Contested, but not populated (this means no Civies will appear in this mission). My Support Level is 2 (not all that great, as though I have some support I can call on, nothing is dedicated to my mission) and I will be facing MFVC with am Enemy Activity Level of 3. Hmm, this means that there is a better chance that enemy reinforcements may show up in the course of the mission than help for me. My mission will also be taking place just before dawn (3 turns of night before full daylight) with clear skies. I check for possible attachments from my HQ section, and get none. To top things off it appears that my mission is Ambush. Uh-oh. This could be bad, as this mission has a chance that I may be the ambush-ee rather than the ambush-er! Luckily, it’s Charlie that will be on the receiving end this fine morning! As the platoon RTO is not with me, I decide that my troops would most likely be issued a radio for this operation, so I let Andrus hump it.

Now it’s time to generate terrain. Rolling on the tables gives me a bit of an odd scattering of terrain so I do a little “common sense” fudging and end up with a table that looks like this:



The clear area between the hills is a bit interesting, but I reason that when it rains, the paddy probably overflows and drains along this swale between hills. Also, I combine the hills on the bottom left so that we end up with a two-tiered hill, the lower part forested and the higher part scrubbed. As instructed by the mission a d6 roll determines that I setup in sector 6, in the best cover. I choose the forested hill, as it has a good view. I then lay out my claymores (I have 2, as well as 3 LAWs) within 12” of my troops with one out front and another at the rear with a pair of troops to watch my back as a rear-guard (this is important, as you never know from where reinforcements might arrive in an Ambush mission!). I know that according to the mission the ambushed must be setup in the worst terrain, as well as within LOS of ALL of my troops, so this tells me they will be on the paddy dike, just ditty bopping along… I now roll for how many PEFs there will be, and I will be facing 2. Not too bad. …BUT!… The mission says that I since I setup with both sides already within LOS there are no starting In Sight rolls! So, the PEFs must be resolved and placed. Well, when you first contact the enemy you must roll for their posture, and I roll badly with the EAL going up by +1! This not only ups their chances of reinforcements, but also allows the MFVC to roll from a different table. My little squad could be facing 2 platoons of MFVC!!! Luckily I will be encountering a ½ squad and a Political Officer and his 2 bodyguards. Political Officers are VERY interesting, as they sometimes take command of nearby units, even if their leader has a higher REP than the P.O.s! It can make things very… interesting!

Ooooo! I smell a story line!

Mission brief:

“Intel has come down that a VC bigwig spends his nights in a nearby vil, returning to his unit before first light. He has a small detachment guarding him, and there are always enemy units transiting through the area so there is no chance of some spooks being able to snatch him out of bed. Your platoon is to divide up and ambush likely approaches to the village complex in hopes we can catch or blast this sucker.”

With this in mind, I set up the bad guys along the dike, 12” from my ambush position on the hill. I figures that with an EAL of 4, the VC would be feeling pretty confident, and that this daily jaunt was probably such old hat that they’d be a little lax, so their line of march is: Guard 1(REP 4, SKS), Political Officer (REP 3, pistol), Guard 2 (REP 3, SKS), then the squad with SKS (REP 3), NCO (REP 3, AK47), AK47 (REP 4), Medic (REP 5), LMG (REP 4), and finally another SKS (REP 4).

US position above the paddy

The little triangles are the claymores (there is 1 extra on accident)

So here is how it played out:

Turn 1

Activation: US 5, MFVC 3

This is good, as my troops are all lined up as a group and can activate based on my Stars’ REP of 5. It also means that the MFVC won’t get a chance to try and spot my ambush before I can hose them. I must now nominate the targets of all troops (before shooting starts!), so I’ll start from my positions left and move down the line to right.

Hill will target the first 2 men, Durant will lob a 40mm kiss towards the PO (man #2), I will fire my claymore, Carlton will spray 3 and 4, Ellis will bloop at #6, and Giles and Brookes will take the tail 2. Andrus and Flint will watch the rear.

The unsuspecting VC column

The claymore fires off with a roar, blasting into the enemy column! The VC NCO is obliterated (OD) while Guard 2 is mangled (OOF) by the blast. The Politico finds himself knocked down and breathing his last (KD, resulting in OD), and the medic and an AK troop are also taken out (KD resulting in OOF). An SKS troop caught in the blast is miraculously untouched, just knocked down and stunned.

Almost got them all!

Before their compadres can react my squad takes the cue and blasts away at the kill zone. Hill kills the leading Guard while the stunned SKS troops is minced by the M-60. The VC machine gunner is killed by a burst from Giles, but misses the last man in line, who ducks back behind a nearby paddy dike and out of LOS. Oddly, both M-79s land well long of their targets.

In just a few seconds, the MFVC patrol is down to just one man.

Turn 2

Activation: US 3, VC 5

In the deathly silence that follows the initial firing I move most of my squad down to check the bodies. Carlton and Durant stay on the hill to provide cover while our rear guard stays in place. The lone VC can do nothing but cower behind the dike. For now.

Turn 3

Activation: US 2, VC 4

The surviving VC crawls south along his dike, keeping low in the dark. If he pops up, my troops are close enough to see him, and probably pop him. When I activate, my guys start to gather up and disarm the wounded while searching the corpses. As the game length is only 6 turns it’s just about time to get out of dodge.

Turn 4

Activation: US 3, VC 1

The sun rises! This is a mixed blessing as now I can see the last SKS troop, but most of my guys are out in the rice paddy, and any baddies nearby have a good view of their rear ends hanging out in the breeze.

So, the increased LOS means that 2 of my guys on the hill can see the last VC (the rst cannot as he is too close to the paddy dike from their angle), and he can see them! In Sight is rolled with the VC losing a d6 for my guys being in cover. Carlton scores 3 successes, Durant only 1, and the VC scores 2. Carlton goes first and goes on rock-and-roll, firing all 5d6 worth. He riddles the unlucky VC to death, but also runs out of ammo! With that taken care of we continue to police up the kill zone.

Turn 5

Activation: US 6, VC3

No big deal. I cannot activate, but there are no bad guys around to bother me either. My LMG reloads, but that’s about it.

Turn 6

Activation: US 3, VC1

I was worried here for a minute. If a PEF had appeared, we might have had a real fight on our hands and an extended game, as at EAL 4 the chances of an enemy platoon appearing are pretty good. Luckily though, none arrive. I have my guys on the hill come on down and link up, just in case. Also, it’ll make it easier to extract, as I expect a helo will probably be dispatched to collect these POWs.

So, that’s the game. My first mission is a success! Let’s tally up the Victory points for this mission and see what the result is:

5 confirmed kills @2 VP= 10 VP

3 wounded POWs @3 VP= 9 VP

1 unconfirmed kill @ 1VP= 1 VP

total= 20 VP

Well, that’s a pretty dang good score! No WIAs or KIAs on my part, but it doesn’t cut the grade to count as a Good Mission, so no perks for us. However, in the after game administration I do discover though the platoon gets no replacements, PFC Hill has increased his REP to 5! That is good news! A REP 5 Pointman is as good as gold.

As we saw, being ambushed is not something you want happening to you. It could very easily have been MY squad caught in that tempest and left shredded.

Stay tuned for more AARs!


  1. Great AAR. Looks like Mr. Charles got it handed to him this time round. Looking forward to more.

  2. Feel free to release the rules and I will write so many BATREPs you'll get sick of them!