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Old June 19th, 2014, 10:28 AM

jivemi jivemi is offline
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Default #271 Sting of the Militia

Another good one by Mr. Lundstrom. As the Vietnamese you're playing defense against a swarm of Chinese tanks and infantry, backed by the usual gob of artillery. (However they're the ones awarded arty overload since the Viets get a couple mortar sections and 2 152mm batteries to bolster their light forces). To combat them directly you've got 3 militia platoons, a sapper platoon, 2 RPG-7 teams, 4 RPG-2's, 3 recoilless rifles, 2 Malyutka teams, 3 snipers and 4 marksmen, along with a good FO, an extra militia squad, and 2 MG's (plus AO, natch).

There are 3 large objectives, 2 along the central east-west road and 1 along the diagonal road up north. The single north(western) VH is worth 1000, while the easternmost central one goes for 1250 and the second, western VH on that axis goes for 3000(!). Needless to say these objectives will be THE focus of the battle. Also, since the isolated northwest VH--a bridge defended by only one militia platoon with a couple RPG-2 teams and a marksman--is about one-and-a-half klicks from the others, making reinforcement practically impossible (ain't no mobile units on our side), you've got to manage the units on hand to the best of their ability.

The Chinese don't show up until about turn 4 or 5, but then they just keep on coming. As usual the AI charges its tanks (mostly Type-62's) ahead without infantry support, but their vanguard overruns the 1250-pointer and continues on to the narrow minebelt across the road about halfway to the 3000-pointer, where a tank gets immobilized but blows away a Malyutka team hiding in the treeline a couple hundred meters away--too close for the team to arm its missile in flight. Another one tries for the prize objective but it's blown up by an RPG-2 team hiding in the same treeline, closer to the road.

Meanwhile, up north(west), the single militia platoon has been savaging Chinese infantry attempting to advance. (Practically all enemy armor has been directed to the prime VH's along the central axis). The mortar sections (2 tubes each) join in, but even though one tube from each is switched off awhile their ammo situation gets critical, and it's clear they'll run out long before the 32 turns are up.

More tanks show up in the center, along with infantry. A couple are dispatched by recoilless rifles and one by the surviving Malyutka team, but there's an incessant stream of armor which keeps the Vietnamese commander guessing as it cuts between the 2 principal roads, pausing just east of a stream which essentially bisects the map from top to bottom and cuts through the 2 1000(+)-point objectives. Eventually they force their way across, blow away the militia defenders, and proceed towards the 3000-pointer. (BTW the militia are good to go--morale and experience are 80-plus--but without dedicated AT weapons their assaults invariably fail; ultimately it's the lower-rated AT and sapper units that decide the battle along the main axis.)

What to do? The 2 152mm batteries have already been employed to whomp the Chinese grunts, but except for one or 2 immobilizations the tanks keep coming. "Defend the main objective!" becomes the rally cry, as the sapper platoon and 2 surviving recoilless rifle teams are assigned to ambush the tank column as they come around a bend in the road (the last 2 RPG teams there are held back as a last-ditch AT reserve). They kill 2 but suffer a devastating return fire; on the next turn they kill another and (possibly--was it desperate close-in arty instead?) immobilize one more. Yet they suffer catastrophic losses, routing away as panicked rabble. An enemy tank (or two? or three?) manages to bypass the lurking RPG teams and seizes the 3000-point objective.

So now the Chinese have over 4000 points. Yet hope is not lost. A militia platoon, along with a sniper, emerge from their hiding places south of the main road. After dispatching some shell-shocked infantry--well, not all, some were merely faking it--east of the bridge they shrug off some long-range interdiction fire and head for the 1250-pointer. Further west, a marksman determines the enemy has vacated the main objective, and subsequently occupies it next turn. Up north the isolated bridge objective remains in Viet hands despite determined (and costly) infantry assaults to take it.

It's around turn 22 now, and it seems the worst is over. Having secured the main objective an RPG-2 team has been dispatched north in hopes of reinforcement, anticipating an armored assault there. But wait! A couple turns later--about a third of its way north--the team crosses paths with the T-62 that had (apparently) taken the 3000-pointer and headed for the last VH, but after recapture it had turned around, boiling mad and looking for payback. With alacrity and more than a little luck, the plucky team scores a direct hit at 100 meters on the second shot (the tank had been moving so fast it didn't fire back). The RPG team--not to mention its Godlike commander--heaves a sigh of relief, deciding to return to the main VH in case it becomes a magnet for more Chinese attention.

By this time (turn 26 or so) it appears the defensive battle is all but won. The southern militia platoon has retaken their bridge objective, the main one seems secure, and up north the single militia platoon there has foiled all infantry assaults on the nearby bridge. But then MORE tanks and infantry show up in the center, there's more infantry up north, and suddenly there's a Chinese APC staring down its AAMG barrel next to a dug-in militia squad just 150 meters south of the northern objective! Sheesh, what next?

OK, so suck it up. The mortar tubes have no HE left so they fire smoke to prevent enemy platoons massing up north from inflicting long-range fire on the depleted militia squads, 2 of which are now out of rifle and LMG ammo. Down south the militia platoon has used up most of its smoke to prevent pinned infantry and an exasperated immobilized tank from breaking their tenuous hold on the 1250-point bridge VH (at least the 152mm batteries are assisting, all tubes online now). The last 2 marksmen and surviving sapper squad (the only unit in that sector with AT ammo--a satchel charge and RPG-7) huddle with a recoilless rifle team sans AT around the main VH.

For a couple turns nothing decisive happens. Some pinned infantry fire at the platoon around the southern bridge, and while a couple squads finally break there are no mobile enemy available to take advantage. Somehow the enemy infantry and single APC fail to penetrate the feeble cordon up north (there's also a tank that broke through in the center and coming up from the south, but it doesn't move into killing range of a couple RPG teams--the last ones with AT--posted for such an eventuality), while the militia squad staring into the AAMG barrel manages to hang on a couple turns longer. Around the juicy 3000-pointer the sapper and its buddies wait for what they presume to be an inevitable last-gasp assault by any mobile armor in the vicinity (there's at least one more tank that's broken through the middle loitering a couple hundred meters up the road).

Hit the button for the last(?) turn, #32. Whatever happens this should be the end. Another militia squad around the southern bridge is blown away, but the last one holds. The APC up north finally dispatches the stubborn militia squad but declines to advance, no doubt sensing the RPG teams waiting in ambush; a couple infantry squads across the stream try but get hit and fall back, although another one makes it ADJACENT to the 1000-pointer before getting pinned; and once again the tank just south a couple hundred meters remains at a standstill, even though it's supposed to be "Ready."

And back down south, at the 3000-pointer? The lurking tank just up the road makes its move. It comes adjacent to the sapper squad and KA-BOOM! it blows up. The main objective has held. The Vietnamese win!

But wait a second. For some reason the AI prolongs the agony, perhaps on the assumption the crafty Vietnamese commander will blunder. Like, there's always the chance he'll fire sub-machine guns at distant infantry, or try to score a few more points by getting close and personal to the tank or APC with the RPG teams. Nothing doing pal! Sorry. So the battle ends on turn 33, without the AI taking any action (apparently the pinned squad adjacent to the northwest VH didn't get a lucky roll). The Vietnamese win after all.

Final score was about 7500 to 830, enough for a decisive win. You'd think I'd be fat-headed enough to make a save, and indeed I did. Unfortunately in the course of going back and forth to the scenario, the save, and so on I hit the save button accidentally while checking out the scenario beginning and lost it, so you'll just have to take my word for it .

One final thought: In the beginning I said this was a "good one." Upon deeper reflection please allow me to modify that as follows: This was TERRIFIC, full of surprises and suspense throughout. Thank you Mr. Lundstrom!

Last edited by jivemi; July 3rd, 2014 at 10:30 PM..
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