Rolling Hot: CoC Vietnam Mini Campaign UPDATED July 27

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Rolling Hot: CoC Vietnam Mini Campaign UPDATED July 27

Postby Dog who drinks paint » Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:51 am

Based on David Drake's 'Hammer's Slammers' novel of the same name, this campaign consists of four linked scenarios covering the actions of an armoured cavalry troop fighting its way from a rear echelon base to the relief of Hue during the Tet Offensive. Drake served with 11th ACR in Vietnam in 1970. The novel is based on accounts he heard from those he served with who had been there in 1968.

The scenarios were written for my Vietnam-modified version of Too Fat Lardies' ‘Chain of Command' (CoC) rules. A set I call Fudged Fighting Season, in honour of the Afghan rules that never were and the all-important acronym. They owe a great debt to Jason Sendjirdjian’s excellent DMZ modifications, but are tweaked to reflect my own prejudices (derived largely from Hollywood and pulp fiction rather than historical research).

Before the pedants attack, I know that the Sheridans should be M48s. What can I say? Back when I started collecting these forces Airfix kits were easily available and no one made M48s in 1/72. I just squint a bit and/or relocate the action to 1973.

Scenario 1: Attack on Camp Progress


Camp Progress is a rear area repair facility. It is manned by engineer and maintenance REMFs, and is currently hosting a number of vehicles from various armoured cav units. When the NVA launches its Tet offensive, Progress becomes the target for a nighttime assault by a regular force of infantry and sappers. As the initial salvo of mortar shells rains down, the ranking cav officer, Captain Ranson, is getting orders to pull every vehicle that can move out of Progress, and head for Hue to support relief efforts as that city comes under effective siege from NVA forces.

US Forces

Camp Progress Garrison - Green - 4 Command dice

1 Senior Leader w/M16
RTO w/M16

2 M60 teams of 2 crew

2 rifle sections of 5 M16, 1 M79, 1 shotgun, 1 Junior Leader w/M16

1 ‘Green’ die that only counts for 5s and 6s

Task Force Ranson - Regular - 5 Command dice

M113 ACAV with Senior Leader (Captain Ranson)
3 M551 Sheridan with Junior Leaders
3 M113 ACAV with Junior Leaders

NVA Forces

Rifle Platoon - Regular- 5 Command dice

Senior Leader w/SKS
Runner w/SKS

3 Rifle Sections each:

Junior Leader w/AK47
RPD team w/2 crew
RPG7 team w/2 crew
4 riflemen w/AK47 or SKS

3 Sapper teams, elite, veteran, 2 sappers with satchel charges and wirecutters, AK47

Pre-Game Barrage

1 ‘Red’ die. This only counts when a ‘1’ is rolled, to give the elite sappers a little more aggression

Turn 1

The razor wire cast jagged shadows across the blank look on Nhung’s face as another mortar shell exploded on the American base. “Wire cutters!” hissed Duc again, though the chances of anyone hearing him over the cacophony of detonations were slim. “I thought you had some”, Nhung hissed back, “I gave mine to Hien.” Before Duc could express his fury at his partner’s stupidity, the roar of a machine gun sent both sappers sprawling in the mud, desperate to avoid the stream of tracer ripping the air just above their heads.


Things started well for the NVA, with two sapper teams deploying in the first phase and a full squad joining on phase two. Unfortunately, the start of a run of poor rolls saw them fail to make any impression on the razor wire defences. Meanwhile the pre-game barrage stopped any cav deployment, but in phase 2 an M60 team braved the mortar shells and, despite the dark, inflicted a shock and a kill on one of the sapper teams.

Phases 3 and 4 saw the NVA bring on another squad, but continued to make no impression on the wire. The M60 team continued to blaze away in the dark, but were unable to repeat their initial success. However, a garrison squad braved the barrage and added to the volume of outgoing fire, achieving only a single shock on the second sapper team. The pre-game barrage still kept the cav from deploying.

No one likes being rudely awakened in the middle of the night, especially when the alarm takes the form off a salvo of 82mm mortar shells. Fortunately for Captain Ranson, he had already been roughly shaken out of his fitful sleep by the duty clerk when the first explosions shook the base. The staff officer, who’s urgent call had summoned the still-drowsy captain, sounded panicky through the radio static. But his message was clear: pull every track that can move out of Camp Progress and head north for Hue.

“You can hear we’re under attack here? Over” said Ranson, as calmly as he could manage. “Not your problem Ranson. Get that armor headed north. Out.” Ranson dropped the radio mic and headset and ran for the door, only to be flattened by a soldier headed fast in the opposite direction, as more shells shook the bunker. Lying, winded, under a couple of hundred pounds of GI, Ranson wondered if things could get any worse. As the contents of a sandbag, torn open by shrapnel, started to cascade onto his face, he considered that, on balance, they probably could.


In phase 5 the remaining NVA forces deployed but still no luck with the wire. Ranson finally convinced some crew to leave the safety of their bunkers for the dubious protection of their ACAVs and Sheridans, with 2 vehicles deploying. The garrison, with the help of a double phase, deployed a second M60 team and wiped out both the ineffectual sapper teams. NVA Force Morale dropped by 1 to 10.

In phase 6 the NVA returned fire, inflicting 2 shock and a kill on the US squad, who could only achieve one shock in return. Ranson deployed two more ACAVs and used a CoC dice to end the turn, in the hopes of ending the pre-game barrage. I decided to allow the NVA to burn a CoC dice of their own to keep the barrage firing. Not strictly RAW, but at this stage I felt they needed all the help they could get.

Turn 2


Thanh and Hien crouched by the wire, grateful that the green and red tracer filling the night air was not coming in their direction, yet. Thanh held out the wire cutters to Hien, only to realize his comrade was holding a pair in each hand. The awful implication of this over abundance of equipment struck them both at the same time. They glanced involuntarily to their right, where the rapidly intensifying firefight marked the place where their fellow sappers should have been slicing through the American defences with the very tools they were holding. Then, without a word, they set to work.

The NVA started with a double phase, and whilst they continued to make no impression on the wire, the two squads in support managed 2 shock and 3 kills on the American defenders, despite the darkness and hard cover. Return fire from the M60s went high and wide in the dark, but the rifle squad was more accurate and inflicted 1 shock and 3 kills on the enemy. When the second squad deployed it added another 3 shock. Ranson continued a fruitless search for more vehicle crew.


In Phase 2 it all kicked off. The last sapper team finally cleared a section of wire. The NVA Lieutenant removed shock from his squads and their Junior Leaders led two squads into close combat with the American defenders.

That was a mistake.

The US got more than double the dice of the NVA assault, which was effectively wiped out with the 3 survivors (of 18 attackers) heading for the jungle. However, they did inflict damage, wiping out an M60 team and breaking a rifle squad. NVA Force Morale dropped to 6, the US Garrison to 7 from 9. Meanwhile, Ranson had deployed all but one vehicle and his own, but none of them had started moving.

The NVA then chose to end the turn with a CoC dice to rout the broken squad, dropping Garrison Force Morale to 6 but finally ending the pre-game barrage.

Turn 3

Phase 1: the NVA tried some ineffective rifle fire and an RPG flew wide of an ACAV, but attracted the attention of the surviving M60 gunner who scored a shock and a kill. Ranson finally had all vehicles deployed and the first tank left the compound.

In Phase 2 the NVA lieutenant busied himself removing shock, the sappers crept forward and another RPG round narrowly missed an ACAV (rolled 7, needing an 8 because it’s nighttime). The M60 fired and missed while the armour all started heading out.


In phase 3 the remaining NVA squad headed for the gap in the wire and the M60 finished off the RPG team. Then in phase 4 the Vietnamese lieutenant led his remaining troops in a final assault on the US defences. Both sides inflicted 5 kills, wiping out the American garrison (apart from the senior leader and his RTO who were still cowering in a bunker) and breaking the NVA. At which point it was time to bring down the curtain.

With all 7 vehicles leaving the table unmolested, this was definitely a US victory. That said, the garrison was effectively wiped out and things could have been even messier if only the sappers had got through the wire sooner.


With dawn light creeping over the horizon and a modicum of order descending on the newly christened Task Force Ranson, the Captain took a deep breath, released his hold on his .50 cals’ grips and surveyed his command. To the left, the smoking remains of Camp Progress seemed devoid of life. Ahead lay ‘Happy Days’, the settlement which had provided R&R facilities for the men of Camp Progress. Only this time, judging by the night’s events, they were unlikely to be greeted by anyone offering to “love you long time, GI!”
Last edited by Dog who drinks paint on Tue Jul 28, 2020 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rolling Hot: CoC Vietnam Mini Campaign

Postby Dog who drinks paint » Tue Jul 28, 2020 2:40 am

It took a while, what with one thing and another, but the second ‘Rolling Hot’ scenario made it onto the table. Not the best game ever, but it sets things up for the next couple of scenarios to be interesting.

Scenario 2: The Hills are Alive

Task Force Ranson is now on the road to Hue. As it crosses the hills north of Camp Progress it can either head through the settlement dubbed ‘Happy Days’ by the troops of Camp Progress, or take the longer route through the hills, potentially bypassing an NVA blocking force.

US Forces

All vehicles that exited from the table in Scenario 1, which in this case are 4 ACAVs and 3 Sheridans.

The Task Force must cross the table, following a road at all times, and exit as quickly as possible. Select the eastern or western route at random. Keep a count of the turns required to exit all vehicles.

NVA Forces

There is no Patrol Phase for this scenario, so the NVA player deploys 12 ‘Possible Enemy Force’ (PEF) markers: 6 section sized and 6 team sized. The former can be activated on a roll of ‘2’ on the Command Dice, the latter on a roll of ‘1’. Once the Senior Leader is deployed, he can activate other PEFs within his command radius.

US vehicle crews can spot PEFs at 18” in light cover or 12” in heavy cover if they are moving Slow. These distances are halved for Fast movement and no spotting can be done going Flat Out.

When a PEF is activated or spotted, roll on the table below to reveal what it is. If the PEF is spotted by the US player, then there is a chance they have made a mistake. The US player will react according to the initial roll, but when that unit is activated by the NVA player roll a d6, and on a 5 or 6 roll again and replace the unit with the new result. Once a result has been rolled, if it comes up again ignore it and roll again until you get a new result.

Section PEFs
1 Nothing
2 Nothing
3 VC Section
4 NVA Section
5 NVA Section
6 NVA Section

Team PEFs
1 Civilians
2 Civilians
3 DSHk
4 Sniper
5 Recoilless Rifle
6 NVA Senior Leader and Runner

I decided to skip the Patrol Phase for this scenario as it would be clear far too early on which route Task Force Ranson was taking (blame my terrain tiles for not allowing a subtler arrangement of road junctions). That would allow the NVA to concentrate their deployment unfairly, so a pre-set deployment with some uncertainty as to the exact make-up and a genuinely random choice of route for the US seemed like an appropriate solution for a solo game.

Unsurprisingly under the circumstances, I split the NVA starting positions evenly between 3 locations: 3 section PEFs and 2 team PEFs in Happy Days, the same on the eastern route and then the two remaining team PEFs in a central location. (PEFs marked by white cards in the picture below.) I was hoping that at least one of those would turn out to be the recoilless rifle or DSHk, allowing the NVA to engage the Task Force as it appeared on the road. If the Senior Leader was in that central location then at least he could redeploy to the scene of action more easily.
Right, we have an all armour force ambushed by a guerrilla opponent in the late 1960s, all using a rule set designed for conflict between symmetrical infantry forces in the 1940s. What could possibly go wrong?

Trung úy Hien was nervous, and with good reason. Left behind with a ragbag collection of soldiers and vague instructions to ‘provide rear area security’, while the main force had headed south to assault the American base, he had done his best. With two roads north to cover, and only his own platoon and a group of local viet cong to do it with, he had split his forces between ambush locations on each route. Knowing that the base was full of tanks, he had placed his recoilless rifle at the junction where the routes split in the hopes that it could block the road and give his forces time to converge. Now he worried that the anti tank group were too isolated, that his forces too far apart to provide mutual support, that if the Americans did come it would mean disaster had befallen the attack on the camp. He spent the night shuttling back and forth between his troop locations, but when the mortar barrage heralded the assault to the south, he lay down in the eastern ambush position and fell into an exhausted sleep.

When he woke, it was dawn and the mortars were silent. No one in the position had any news of the fighting which apparently had lit up the sky to the south, but then they all heard the sound of engines. Hien had spent enough time in the area during the build up to recognize the distinctive grumble of American armour. That could only mean the attack had gone badly. He waited for the noise of the recoilless rifle engaging targets at the junction, but all he heard was the chatter of heavy machine gun fire. His own ‘dushka’ was further back, in the settlement, so those must be American guns firing.

Turn 1

Both sides began at Force Morale of 8, so everyone is feeling a bit fragile for this encounter.

As the attacker the US got to go first and rolled a double phase. Ranson activated and brought on the first three vehicles: a Sheridan, an ACAV and his own command track. I also rolled for the route chosen, and Ranson clearly decided that driving through a built up area like Happy Days was asking for trouble and took the eastern route over the hills. The Sheridan entered fast to create space on the road for the rest of the Task Force and therefore spotted nothing. The ACAV came on at slow speed and identified the 2 PEFs in front of the junction as civilians and the recoilless rifle. Spotting had used the vehicle commander’s second action, but that wasn’t a problem with a second phase coming and the NVA not on overwatch. Ranson deployed at the table edge.

The next roll produced another double phase, but the only activation was a JL. So the ACAV fired its 50 cal at the recoilless rifle. Unfortunately the civilians were within 4” so shared casualties, that being one kill on each team.

The next US phase rolled activation for 3 Junior and one Senior Leaders, what a way to round off a run of three phases! The Sheridan kept on along the road, the ACAV shot again, wiping out the civilians (which dropped US Force Morale to 7) and inflicted 1 kill and 2 shock on the recoilless crew. Ranson spotted a PEF in the plantation but it turned out to be a sniper, so he couldn’t engage. Instead he fired his 50 cal at the recoilless crew, killing one and breaking the survivors who ran for the hills (though Vietnamese Force Morale held steady). The final junior leader activation brought on another Sheridan.

Finally the NVA got to have a phase, but rolled no 1s or 2s, so couldn’t activate anything! The pattern continued for another couple of phases with the US vehicles advancing along the road and the Vietnamese deploying nothing except blanks. Things were not looking good for them as the lead US tank approached the eastern ambush position.

Finally, the NVA rolled a 1 and a 2, activating more civilians and the local VC section, who promptly fired an RPG at the Sheridan and missed! It was turning into a really bad day for the forces of communism.

The lead Sheridan responded with HE (or was that a Beehive round, at 13 d6 who cares?) getting 3 kills 3 shock on the VC. One of those hit was the unit leader, who was reduced to 1 activation, but in the next turn he put it to good use, ordering his RPG gunner to fire again.
This time there is no mistake. 3 net hits, its puny armour is no protection and the Sheridan explodes. US Force Morale drops 2 to 5! Even though the other NVA activation reveals another blank, things are looking up!
Next US phase the lead ACAV turns and fires its HMG at the VC but misses completely!

An NVA section deploys behind the hill in support of the VC, and the VC leader again uses his sole initiative to fire their last RPG round at the ACAV. It hits, but only a glancing blow causing 2 shock but no casualties.

Stung, the ACAV pulls forward to close range and fires. Despite its own shock, it does 3 shock and 2 kills, including the valiant leader who succumbs to a second wound! The VC is pinned, and Vietnamese Force Morale drops to 6. The US advance continues.

Next phase, the final PEF on the eastern road is revealed as the Senior Leader. Trung úy Hien unpinned the VC unit and withdrew it from its exposed position. The Junior Leaader brings up his NVA section to replace them, but only advances 3”. The other two NVA sections deploy in Happy Days, much too far away to be of any help. For the US, only Ranson activates and he keeps the Task Force moving.
Next phase the NVA section moves up to a position overlooking the road, but the US play a CoC die to interrupt and the ACAV fires, getting 3 shock and a kill. The NVA reply with an RPG scoring 2 shock and immobilizing the vehicle for the rest of the game.

Just when things might be swinging back the Vietnamese way, the US got a double phase, with plenty of activations. The NVA interrupted with a CoC die of their own to fire another RPG at the ACAV, knocking it out but failing to inflict any casualties on the crew, or any damage to US Force Morale

The second Sheridan fired its main gun, causing 6 shock and 3 kills, pinning the NVA. The commander then added the fire of his 50 cal, breaking the unit with another shock and a kill. Vietnamese Force Morale dropped to 5, on a par with the US. Ranson used his activation and the subsequent phase to continue the advance.

In the NVA phase both the Senior and Junior Leaders reduced shock, but the section was still pinned. The two sections from Happy Days headed towards the sound of firing at the double, but were still much too far away.

This pattern was repeated for the next pair of phases, then the US got a double phase. Ranson himself drove up the road, onto the ridge and fired at Hien, first stunning him, and then killing him and his runner. Vietnamese Force Morale dropped to 4, then 2 and it was time to say ‘game over’.

All in all, a little disappointing. The solo mechanism produced a poorly deployed and disjointed Vietnamese defence, though they still managed to take out two US vehicles. The armour on ACAVs and Sheridans is really no match for the RPG-7, I believe that to be realistic? Having the Vietnamese only activate the PEFs on 1s and 2s was very limiting. Whilst the US, who can only activate on 3s and 4s because they are all vehicles, were much more responsive. Being able to add a couple of low scoring dice to get a 3 or 4 really helps.

I thought CoC held up well under all the misuse I heaped on it. I never got a turn end but that really didn’t affect things (the recoilless crew would have routed, but Force Morale was never the Vietnamese problem), nor did I get to try out my misidentification mechanic. The problem was really my deployment mechanism, which I could tweak endlessly, but instead it’s on to the next scenario, as a slightly reduced Task Force Ranson attempts to reach ‘A Bridge Too Near’.
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