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cromlechi
27 Nov 08, 16:56
Intro

I have always fancied having a go at writing an AAR and have decided to finally give it a go. I am new to Squad Battles only having played a few games. So, I am more than open to feedback and advice. This will be an ongoing AAR and I'll post updates as the game progresses. Hopefully my opponent will not mind, perhaps he'll even contribute!

Game

Squad Battles Vietnam

Scenario : The Battle of Ph Tnoat

Blurb: [Company, Helicopters] 10 May 1970. During the Cambodian incursion of 1970, the Army pursued the NVA through the border areas just across the South Vietnamese border. At the Cambodian village of Ph Tnaot, the NVA stood and fought.

Designer: John Tiller

PBEM

Options - all options on



Turn 1

As you can see from the screen shot I have a company of Infantry who are very well armed.

In total my strength is 90 men, 4 leaders, 156 weapons. In addition to this I have some support from Cobra helicopters that I will have to work out how to use!

The first decision I need to make is my broad, overall plan of attack. I have decided (see screenshot) to split my force into three squads, each led by a leader. Franks will probe towards the village in the south, Blake to the one in the north and Colburn the one in the middle. They have all, at this stage been advised to work their way through the scattered villages as much as possible as these seem to offer the best cover.

I do not think my opponent is back until after Sunday, so no immediate update expected.

Mike Cox
28 Nov 08, 23:16
Looking forward to it.

cromlechi
06 Dec 08, 05:12
After a little mix up with emails we are back on track.

Image shows the situation at the end of turn 2. There is no contact with the enemy but I presume there are defenders around each objective.

As you can see I have already changed my plan of attack. Having had more time to think about this I have decided that it would be better to take the objectives in sequence rather than at the same time. If I can isolate a pocket of the enemy then this will allow me to deploy superior fire power, eliminate the pocket and move on to the next one. This is the theory anyway. It may be that the defender is able to offer mutual fire support. This would certainly be the case if I launched an all out frontal assault. By trying to cut in from the side I think I have more chance of reducing the enemy's ability to deploy all of his fire power.

I imagine that objective 2 will be the hardest nut to crack because of the cover. However, if objective 1 can be neutralized I should be able to get in behind 2 and attack it from two sides. By this stage I should also have gunship support!

Having picked up some tips from recent games (thanks to this board and my opponents) I have decided to put everyone on hold fire for now. I am sure this may have some risks attached to it, but I want to make sure my shots count.

I see my opponent is starting an AAR too. I will resist reading it until the end of the game, but look forward to seeing the battle from the enemy point of view.


The attached image also shows the LOS from objective 1. I have a feeling I may be shot at. I didn't intentionally put a leader in the potential line of fire and only realized the error after moving him, sloppy I know. Hopefully, at this range he will encourage the enemy to reveal himself and survive the experience.

So, in we go. For now we are listening to 'Electric Lady Land'. But when the choppers come it will be 'This is the End' by the Doors. :laugh:

Ozgur Budak
06 Dec 08, 09:54
Looking forward guys :popc1:

cromlechi
07 Dec 08, 07:34
Situation report end of turn 3. O dear.

Blake, standing gung ho (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gung-ho) with his squad among a lot of prone soldiers was forced to duck by a mortar shell. This proved fortunate as the shelling was quickly followed by the sound of bullets parting air particles.

By the end of this turn four of our men lie dead. This is not really the time for a postmortem and we have to expect casualties. However, one can not help thinking a clearer plan from the beginning may have been less costly. Anyway, no time of negativity, we must carry on more determined than before.

As you can see from the image, I am trying to use LOS to my advantage as much as I can to isolate objective one. The guys in the North who are going to try and provide a base of fire are, I think, now mostly out of the line of fire from 2 and 3 except for one squad who are coming under fire from objective 2.

The squad highlighted are only being allowed to use their LMG. The reason for this is that I am working to the rule of thumb of firing weapons at less than half their maximum range if I can so that they are at their most effective. This is not set in concrete, but a general principle I am trying to adhere to for the time being. The men closing towards the defenders around objective 1 now have all their weapons cocked and ready to fire.

There is no sign of choppers and I have a feeling we are going to lose some more men as we close onto objective 1. The enemy is in prepared positions and I have not managed to ruffle their feathers yet. However, as my men settle into their positions they well start throwing stones back with a vengeance. Needless to say our stones are bigger and more sophisticated than their commie arsenal.

TheBigRedOne
07 Dec 08, 14:55
Good reading, keep up the good work. Might want to keep in mind that casualties in SB don't necessarily mean that your men are 'killed'. Don't know the historical figure for VN, but it is for every 8-9 wounded you have one man killed. It makes the numbers a touch more realistic when you think about it this way...

cromlechi
07 Dec 08, 16:29
Thanks BigRedOne, I didn't appreciate that, an important point. It's not quite as bad to think they may be airlifted out.

The battle is really heating up now. At the end of turn 4 I have 8 losses in men, and sad to report the loss of Franks as well. Not only this, but Blake has gone in to try and help extract a pinned squad putting himself in grave danger. On reflection I think it would be better if they had tried come to him.

As you can see, objective one is still the priority target and I am trying to get my men out of LOS of 2 and 3, though some still are in the line of fire all be it mostly at distance.

Objective 1 defenders are making me eat my words in regard to the quip I made about stone throwing. Their fire is proving to be effective and deadly. I desperately need to suppress them. I have managed to pin one squad but they are stacked with a leader. I have myself suffered a disruption in this area and I have a pinned squad that Blake is trying to help out.

I do not know if I have inflicted any losses on my opponent, nothing but question marks. I am currently on a minor defeat. Most of the squads attacking objective 1 have LOS to the enemy in one village or another and I am hoping they can make their (I guess) superior morale and fire power count.

As there are now spare weapons around, I am being a little more liberal with the fire toggle as I can always replace exhausted weapons by picking some secondhand ones from the ground. When the shooting gets this intense you cannot help just wanting to spray them back, with everything you got. If only the choppers would come.

cromlechi
08 Dec 08, 13:29
End of turn 5

Still sustaining losses, 12 men and 1 leader the new total. Blake managed to unpin the exposed squad and they are starting to move away from the LOS of the bunker and objective 2 and 3. Defenders around 2 and 3 are playing a bigger part than I hoped and still have LOS to some of my squads.

I am no where near being in a position to launch an assault on objective 1 and must content myself with trying to suppress the defenders there for the time being. I am reluctant for the bulk of my forces to leave the relative safety of the village for the rice fields as the single squad I have out there has suffered heavily. This means my attack is pretty much head on at the moment.

cromlechi
10 Dec 08, 17:20
Turn 6 and 7

With the site being down I managed to miss taking a screen shot at the end of turn 7. The image attached shows the situation at the end of turn 6.

I've noticed that part of the path is out of LOS and I intend using this to shuttle units into a position to assault.

Most of units in the North getting shot up by objective 2 and 3 defenders have now moved around to the South in preparation for the big push to take out objective1.

As I see it my opponent can either reinforce objective 1 moving units out of good defensive positions or defend objective 1 with those already assigned to the task. I think this could be a decisive call.

I feel more confident of being able to make an impact against objective 1 now as the choppers have arrived. My only dilemma is I do not know what sort of distance they should be kept at. They have already been shot at but without effect. They can fire at long range and I am trying to keep them at a reasonable distance for the time being. I need to get them to pin the nearest units next to objective 1 so that I can start my assault with every unti I've got. I see no other way of approaching this. It will be pointless exchanging fire with units in bunkers and improved positions without being in a position to press an attack. My little foray to the north has been mostly a costly waste of time and men. The question is do I still have enough to take out objective 1 and start to even this game up, maybe even retake the initiative. Only time will tell.

cromlechi
12 Dec 08, 08:42
End of turn 8


As you can see my men are poised to assault objective 1. I am acutely aware that time is ticking by and I will have to move soon. The Cobra Helicopters have made an impact this turn, eliminating one unit. The helicopters are directly south of objective 1 and slowly creeping closer.

A worrying note is that the NVA seem to be conscious of the build up around objective 1 and at least one unit has come to assist by moving to the edge of objective 2. I suspect more will arrive soon so I need to act quickly and I will start assaulting next turn.

I cannot work out why all my opponents units now appear to be spotted despite some of them not being in LOS of any of my units?

TheBigRedOne
12 Dec 08, 09:29
Might be the gunship.

cromlechi
14 Dec 08, 06:02
I can see now that the helicopters have a los sight that is different to that from the map. Thanks.

At the end of turn 9 you can see I have a downed chopper, it was unfortunate as it had successfully fired off all it's rounds and in an attempt to get out of hover mode I moved too close and got hit.

The assault on objective 1 is now fully underway. Given the amount of time left the success or not of this will determine the outcome of the game. I think the best I can probably hope for now is a draw given that I'm minus 1? and need above 0 for a draw, 20 for a minor.

The helicopters have done a good job so far, the defenders around objective 1 have taken a bashing. The NV commander has realised that there are no threats anywhere else and is sending reinforcements towards 1. It's now going to be something of a race and should be an exciting last few turns.

Time to pop a few amphetamines and throw caution to the wind, electric lady land. :smoke:

cromlechi
15 Dec 08, 12:38
Damn Commies have taught me a lesson. At the end of turn 10 things are looking grim. I'm -2?, three leaders including captain Salmon are dead. Only Blake is left to try and lead an heroic assault on objective 1.

Both my helicopters are now grounded and useless to me. I am sure they could have been handled better.

The only glimmer of hope is the fact that the immediate defenders are disrupted and could possibly be dislodged. Unfortunately, the trees to the North are filled with faces intent on joining in the fun. We need to try and quickly over run objective 1, dig in and hope for a draw, we have ten minutes.

:upset:

Mike Cox
16 Dec 08, 15:39
nevermind....

cromlechi
16 Dec 08, 15:55
Thanks for the sympathy Mike.:p

At the end of turn 11 I have cleared the defending unit from Objective 1. My opponent has cleverly chosen not to over stack this hex and punished my over stacked hexes with rockets at the same time. Unfortunately, I did not have enough movement left to occupy the hex, I almost got there with one unit but it was hit and disrupted 1 hex shy.

One of my helicopters rejoined the battle after a unit came into LOS and got pinned.

I will be interested to see if I can make any more progress on the last turn.

Mike Cox
16 Dec 08, 21:12
I was going to say something about LOS and helis, but the BigRed Mook beat me to it.

Helis are difficult to handle properly. They can get hit hard in SAW especially. Move - Fire - Move - Fire - Move - Fire - then run them back out to long range. Pay attention to facing. Fire weapons individually rather than together.

cromlechi
19 Dec 08, 13:49
Thanks for the tips on using helicopters Mike, much appreciated.

Well the end of the game is here at last and I clearly lost, see attachment. I failed to take one objective, although I came close to taking objective 1 on my last turn.

I am interested in feedback on tactics and strategy if anyone wants to share their views or say how they would have approached this one differently.

I was up against an experienced opponent who defended well. I think I made a few obvious errors. Poor planning, poor handling of helicopters being things that jump to mind straight away!

Quite an enjoyable, straight forward scenario (chosen for these reasons). I look forward to reading my opponents AAR now to see if I can learn a few things.

Well done to Phil for soundly beating me. :OHNO: But we live and learn and will fight another day :smoke:

jztemple
19 Dec 08, 15:03
Fire weapons individually rather than together.

Now this surprised me a little. Wouldn't firing weapons on a helo individually increase the chance of the enemy unit's automatic defensive fire being triggered? Or does it not make any difference?

cromlechi
19 Dec 08, 15:43
I'm guessing that by firing them individually you can target them at the most appropriate target, e.g. high penetration against bunkers etc. And it also gives you the option of once having caused a result moving onto the next target thereby disrupting as many different units as possible. I was firing them all at once before and seem to be getting better results with individual shots. But I'm only a novice. I'm beginning to learn it's a good idea to hold some weapons back so you can use them to maximum effect when appropriate. Though with helicopters I often get shot down before firing anything!

Mike Cox
19 Dec 08, 17:12
Each action causes a reaction check. So that is part of your mental calculation. Then again, maybe you want to draw long range fire.

However, on a helicopter you might have multiple loads - rockets for example. You don't want to waste shots.

You get three shots/weapon on a vehicle. As soon as you move, that drops to 2. You then can take a second shot in the "green" MP and the third in the "yellow" MP. You can spread your fire around more effectively by knowing where you are in your move.

Ozgur Budak
22 Dec 08, 19:20
Mike is right. In most of the cases one rocket round is enough to pinn the enemy down on that specific hex. So there is no need to empty all helicopter weapons on the same enemy. Pinn one unit and turn to another hex. Use minimum firepower to pinn that as well and move to another hex. Helicopters' first job is pinning the enemy down rather than destroying them so infantry can maneuvre. Yes this triggers more enemy fire but thats a risk you should take.

TheBigRedOne
23 Dec 08, 12:31
Thanks for the tips on using helicopters Mike, much appreciated.

Well the end of the game is here at last and I clearly lost, see attachment. I failed to take one objective, although I came close to taking objective 1 on my last turn.

I am interested in feedback on tactics and strategy if anyone wants to share their views or say how they would have approached this one differently.

I was up against an experienced opponent who defended well. I think I made a few obvious errors. Poor planning, poor handling of helicopters being things that jump to mind straight away!

Quite an enjoyable, straight forward scenario (chosen for these reasons). I look forward to reading my opponents AAR now to see if I can learn a few things.

Well done to Phil for soundly beating me. :OHNO: But we live and learn and will fight another day :smoke:

Been thinking about the game you guys played. By now I'm sure you've read FastPhil's AAR. The comments that he made about your lack of aggressiveness is what pretty much lost the match for you. Typical VC squads are much smaller in number than the US squads. The firepower a typical US squad is also superior. The main advantage the VC have is LOS and their positions. Violence of action, regardless of the objective you go after, is key in battle, especially in the VN scenarios. Now if this were an IJA objective in say Pac War, you'd want to approach it with a bit more care, but the US has to pick a plan, go after it strongly and be relentless.

It seems that you'd need at least two objectives to win this scenario, point-wise. I think you went after a good one. Going up the gut towards the wooded objective may have been tougher from the start.

If you were able to take one of the other objectives, then use your gunships to soften up the second objective, you might have had a easier run. I think I'd have gone after the far nothern objective first. Your squads would have had the cover of the buildings a little more, perhaps giving you a more focused attack.

Losing so many of you leaders also hurt. Your oponent wisely concentrated his fire on them with devestating effect.

Before you get too down on yourself, a look at the scenario database over on the Blitz shows only 2 US victories out of 9 logged games. You had an uphill struggle.

http://www.theblitz.org/scenarios/show_full_scenarios.php?scen=2520&game=53&ladder=10

cromlechi
24 Dec 08, 09:58
Thanks for the good advice guys. I am playing a lot of SAW at the moment and I imagine a similar situation exists in terms of tactics and weaponry.