Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

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dwtaylor0
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by dwtaylor0 » Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:13 am

Alternate army lists based on a bit more research:

#1 Dropped weapon squad as a separate entity, revised rifle squad organization:
Platoon HQ: (22 pts)
Lieutenant, Senior Leader armed with M16 rifle(10 pts)
Platoon Sergeant, Senior Leader armed with M16 rifle (10 pts)
Radio Operator with M16 rifle (2 pt for being soldier with assault rifle)

Rifle Squad One to Three (102 pts total, 34 pts per squad)
Squad Leader, Junior Leader armed with M16 rifle (7 pts)
Point Team (8 pts)
Team Leader armed with M16 Rifle (2 pts)
Grenadier armed with with Pistol .45 cal and M-79 grenade launcher (3 pts as recommended, I've revised it to be treated as a light mortar)
Two Riflemen armed with M16 Rifles (4 pts total)
Gun Team (18 pts)
Team Leader armed with M16 Rifle (2 pts)
Machine Gunner armed with M-60 and Pistol .45 cal (8 pts, I'm considering it a belt fed LMG)
Assistant machine gunner with Rifle (combined with machine gunner as a crewman)
Four Riflemen armed with M16 Rifles (8 pts total)

124 points total making them a +6 if regulars with five command dice, +7 if the US forces end up getting an additional command die


#2 Simply dropped a rifle squad to reflect declined strength:
Platoon HQ: (22 pts)
Lieutenant, Senior Leader armed with M16 rifle(10 pts)
Platoon Sergeant, Senior Leader armed with M16 rifle (10 pts)
Radio Operator with M16 rifle (2 pt for being soldier with assault rifle)

Rifle Squad One to Two (54 pts total, 27 pts per squad)
Squad Leader, Junior Leader armed with M16 rifle (7 pts)
Fireteam 1 (8 pts)
Team Leader armed with M16 Rifle (2 pts)
Grenadier armed with with Pistol .45 cal and M-79 grenade launcher (3 pts treating it as light mortar)
Two Riflemen armed with M16 Rifles (4 pts total)
Fireteam 2 (10 pts)
Team Leader armed with M16 Rifle (2 pts)
Grenadier armed with with Pistol .45 cal and M-79 grenade launcher (3 pts treating it as light mortar)
Three Riflemen armed with M16 Rifles (6 pts total)

Weapons Squad (35 pts)
Squad Leader, Junior Leader armed with M16 Rifle (7 pts)
Machinegun team 1 (14 pts)
Machine Gunner armed with M-60 and Pistol .45 cal (8 pts, I'm considering it a belt fed LMG)
Assistant machine gunner with Rifle (combined with machine gunner as a crewman)
Three Ammo Bearers armed with Rifles (6 pts total)
Machinegun team 2 (14 pts)
Machine Gunner armed with M-60 and Pistol .45 cal (8 pts, I'm considering it a belt fed LMG)
Assistant machine gunner with Rifle (combined with machine gunner as a crewman)
Three Ammo Bearers armed with M16 Rifles (6 pts total)

111 points total making them a +4 if regulars

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Arlequín
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Arlequín » Thu Apr 17, 2014 9:25 am

That looks far better, to me anyway. Platoon leaders were allowed a lot of leeway with how they structured their units, often changing it to suit the mission, so either option and a few more besides, are all possible.

From what I can gather, while numbers of riflemen might vary, the M79 was always present, so both teams in your first option should have a grenadier, or at least there should be the equivalent within the section as a whole.

You might find this helpful for the 'theory': https://archive.org/details/FM7-151965

dwtaylor0
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by dwtaylor0 » Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:43 am

One minor, but important rule change would be to remove the penalty for killing an enemy medic. In base CoC, killing an enemy medic forces the player take a force morale check as if they lost a Junior leader. My understanding is that the part of the Geneva convention about not firing on medical personnel was either ignored or not recognized. This also means that medics would potentially be armed since their status as a medic provided them no protection.

This also lead me to a broader (and potentially rather unpleasant) issue of the dead and the dying. Helicopters caused a major shift, since now a wounded soldier could potentially be evacuated to safety almost no matter where they were. This did wonders for the survivability of forces that had access to helicopters, but also potentially forced commanders to make the unenviable decision of whether to stop and get help or to push forward to avoid losing the enemy.

CoC doesn't deal with wounded outside of the officers in much detail and I'm wondering if the adaptation should include more detailed rules for dealing with wounded soldiers. Clearly shock in part models this, but it's a bit abstract. Even if the practical gameplay consequences are the same, I think there is a significant difference between 'This squad takes two points of shock' and 'Rifleman Smith/Nguyen is now severely wounded'.

There are two points I'm struggling with:
One: No matter how much we might talk about history and reading field manuals and struggling for authenticity/historical-accuracy/'realism'/etc. we are dealing with games we are playing for entertainment. I don't know if it is desirable to make additions to CoC that involve (for example) the combatants fighting tooth and nail to retrieve/protect their dead and dying. On the other hand, I can't escape the sense that that sort of thing did happen and to ignore it represents a whitewashing of history and an unwillingness to engage with the more unpleasant things we a claiming to represent with our toy soldiers.

Two: [Much less hand wringing here] I'm not sure if there is a way to implement a more complicated system without getting too fiddly and bogging the game down. If 'Shock' is what Lard HQ thinks is a good solution, why not stick with that?

Nick B
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Nick B » Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:52 am

Why not take a look at how it is done in CDS? I haven't my copy to hand but I am sure there is card for Casevac. Or you could include an additional CoC die result allowing the VC/NVA to force a Casevac on a squad with shock - so they have to fall back to a jump off point.

Dead - you could possibly treat like Jump Off Points. Mark position (casualty marker) and if enemy over run then at turn end they remove.
Then at end of game they add 1 or 2 to their moral score for each.

So e.g. VC get to 0 moral and withdraw. The US forces are on 4 moral. However, because the VC have captured 3 bodies (dead or wounded) they get 6 moral points.

Final score US4:VC6. So US won the military victory but VC won the Political victory.

You could likewise include civilian casualties or shelling villages in the same way. All similar to CDS but just gives an idea.

Cheers

Nick

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Arlequín
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Arlequín » Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:03 pm

I don't think soldiers were any less likely to see to/retrieve their wounded comrades in WWII than later, or indeed any less skilled in battlefield triage. The helicopter increased survivability certainly though and that is what made the difference.

However in terms of the short 'real time' duration of the typical CoC game, I'm not certain it has a place where you need to worry about its use. A helicopter in the vicinity would probably take longer than the average game length to make its appearance over the table. Even if you think otherwise, the typical casevac point would likely be 'off-table' too, as much away as possible from potential enemy ground fire. For me it's something that takes place after the game and has more use in a campaign context.

For me shock does a great job of catering for all the little things a platoon commander lets other people worry about, allowing him to concern himself with leading a platoon. Sure he needs to worry about taking too many casualties (or even any), but whether someone slaps a field dressing on Pvt. Smith in time, is one for his junior leaders to concern themselves with in the 'here and now' of combat.

By including such elements you also create games within the game, which can result in 'CoC: The game of platoon leadership' becoming 'CoC: The game of battlefield casevac'.

All that being said... and Vietnam being very much the case in point here, I suspect that casualties potentially induced more 'shock' than might have been the case in WWII or Korea, depending on the unit involved. Now that is something I think is worthy of addressing when converting CoC to more recent conflicts.

Nick B is on the right lines for me... forcing the enemy to change his plan, or even abort an op because of the casualties it is taking, is far more relevant a game effect for my money.

whoa mohamed
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by whoa mohamed » Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:15 pm

The NLF and indeed the PAVN did not have radios below companie Level.
They used runners of which two were included in the PLT HQs.
Greater use was made of hand signals ,flares and other non electronic devices.
Occasionaly a political Cadre accompnied main force units that could be used as a second senior leader.
For the free world severe Casualties in game did and should have the effects described in this thread to include withdraw to a jump off point etc, but I also belive that a FWF plt Ldr could call for a dust off and if sucsessfull should remove shock and recover the force morale level loss caused by the casualties in some way

sid
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by sid » Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:32 am

I agree that casevac dust off is a vital part of any Vietnam low level game. But rather than make it integral to every game, surely the easiest way to nod to it would be a casevac scenario. In such a scenario, you have to get to the man within a given time, clear the surrounding area and protect the casevac bird. It reminds me of the scene in full metal jacket when the sniper does not kill her victim as she is waiting for his mates to get into the line of fire. It becomes a race to clear the area in time to help the wounded man. Seems odd that we as gamers seem comfortable talking about dead casualties yet delaying helping a wounded man due to game constraints seems distasteful.

As people have said above, shock is a very good way of reflecting casualties. One theory I have heard for one of the reasons armies adopted 5.56 over 7.62 apart from the obvious advantage of being able to carry more rounds is the wound not kill aspect (although how true this is, I do not know). The theory is that although 7.62 is a better round because it is heavier and is less affected by atmospherics inc wind and is better at smashing through single/double brick buildings it also kills rather than wounds due to the size/impact of the round.

Whereas 5.56 tends to wound thereby not just taking out the man hit, but taking men out of the fight who have to care for him and his mates who can hear him. All sounds very distasteful, but a better description of shock effect on a unit I have yet to hear. So drifting back to the original point, shock is a very good way to represent wounded men and the casevac can be left to post contact admin.

siggian
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by siggian » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:20 pm

I'm not so sure that shock is the best way. The kills not only represent actual deaths, they also represent wounds that are bad enough to incapacitate a soldier. You could do it where a "kill" is automatically considered a wound. If you get a non-wounded figure within 2", roll a die. On a 6, the wound is a definite kill. On a 4-5, the wound is a serious one. A two-soldier team will bring the wounded soldier back to the nearest JOP. The soldiers can rejoin their squad after they have done so. 1-3 the wound is lighter and results in a walking wounded. Remove the figure from the board as they are assumed to move their way back to the JOP on their own.

Abandoning a wounded soldier is a Bad Things Happen roll (maybe like a JL wounded and losing multiple wounded soldiers is like a SL wounded).

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Arlequín
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Arlequín » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:29 am

My philosophy over rule additions is a bit like that of the WWII Sherman tank experience.

Crews used to add sand bags, spare tracks, weld steel plates to vulnerable areas and all sorts of things. While it gave the illusion of improvement, it actually added very little and put a strain on the engine, transmission and tracks, that the vehicle was not designed to cope with. The net result was that they actually became somewhat easier targets for weapons which were barely effected by ill-thought out 'improvements' to the design.

Rules are the same... you can twist and bend them, even change the way bits of them work slightly and the good sets will cope with that. Once you start adding entirely new bits to them though, they become ponderous, ungainly and sometimes break down altogether, usually in proportion to the number of new bits added.

Not picking on Siggian's suggestion for any particular reason, other than it's the post right before this one... just consider what is being added to the game. It's a simple rule and for my money works effectively, does what's needed and is probably a fair representation of how it worked in reality.

But... imagine following that process for every casualty a platoon takes in a typical game. An unlucky squad takes three hits from a concealed MG, the dice give them all serious wounds (or not obviously), so six figures are needed to carry the casualties to the nearest JOP, pretty much the rest of the squad.

Effectively that's potentially a third of your force out of action in one burst of MG fire, for as long as it takes to reach the JOP... and then return to where they were, presuming their opponent has not taken advantage of the opening they have created. Toss in the extra dice rolling and the activation dice needed to be spent on actually moving them to the JOP and you get an example of a good idea gone bad.

Sometimes there is no alternative but to add a new rule when adapting a set, but try and exhaust all the possibilities in the existing rules first. :)

Peter
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Peter » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:30 am

I can't quantify this, but I feel that especially from Vietnam onwards, the Western (at least) attitude to casualties (particularly wounded) has been quite different from that of the World Wars. It may have been that there are (usually) less well defined front lines, and perhaps a perception that the enemy are less civilised [but then there is the Eastern Front, and the Pacific to take account of). At least one operation in Afghanistan was halted by a single casualty.
If this is accepted, then a change to the rules in some form might well be required to model it.

Peter

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