Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

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Arlequín
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Arlequín » Thu Sep 25, 2014 8:37 am

As far as I know U.S. platoon officers and senior sergeants were trained to be their own mortar/artillery observers and after all they only have to give a grid reference and give corrections. Nevertheless some apparently still brought fire down on their own men.

There were mortars at company and battalion level, the question is whether the unit would be within their range. At least a pair of howitzers were present in most larger fire-bases, which obviously have a longer reach. Support choices most definitely and as we are not talking 'batteries' not so devastating in CoC.

M79s were essentially a squad mortar, so sure they could be fired indirect. Even machine guns can fire indirect to drop rounds into areas out of sight of the firer (not sure whether the U.S. taught that post-WWII though).

As for the Loach, yes I don't think using one on the table would be out of the question. Like other militaries though, there would be an established 'safe zone' between friendlies and target, within which fire would not be undertaken due to the risk of 'blue on blue' fire. For 'guns' it was probably around 50 yards or so, but there will be exact distances in some manual somewhere.

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Seret
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Seret » Thu Sep 25, 2014 2:35 pm

Arlequín wrote:Even machine guns can fire indirect to drop rounds into areas out of sight of the firer (not sure whether the U.S. taught that post-WWII though).
Definitely, the M60 can be used in the SFMG role. How much were SFMGs used in Vietnam I'm not sure. Presumably quite a bit in defence, maybe less so in offence except for the big set-piece battles.

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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Peter » Thu Sep 25, 2014 6:57 pm

Even machine guns can fire indirect to drop rounds into areas out of sight of the firer (not sure whether the U.S. taught that post-WWII though).

Doubt it could be done within the ranges available in CoC though :)

Peter

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Arlequín
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Arlequín » Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:10 pm

True, but then again they could be off-table like mortars; SFMGs are after all usually a company or battalion asset. You are right though, in terms of a Vietnam game, it's not something we should really be worrying about.

:)

dwtaylor0
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by dwtaylor0 » Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:26 am

Another thing I've been kicking around is rules for VC/NVA morale. My impression is that they generally had higher morale and/or were more willing to take casualties in order to accomplish their goals. I'd be curious what others thought and whether some sort of morale boost would be appropriate, or if it falls into 'dubious national stereotypes'?

Ideas for bonuses:
+X to the roll at the beginning to determine force morale.
+X to force morale.
(the main difference between these two would be the power, a raw +1 to force morale is a much bigger bonus than a +1 bonus to the pre-game roll. The thing I like about this is since who goes first is dictated by force morale, a FM bonus would also cause the VC/NVA to go first more often. This would consistent with my understanding that the vast majority of contacts were VC/NVA initiated.)

Ignoring the first X rolls on the 'Bad Things Happen' table.
(this could be interesting, but might require looking into which kinds of losses would really effect the morale/motivation vs. ones that could be 'glossed over')

-X to the dice roll on 'Bad Things Happen'
(similar to the previous one, maybe only for some types of rolls on the table?)

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Seret
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Seret » Sun Sep 28, 2014 8:24 am

I don't know that the NVA had especially high morale. They were just trained in Soviet tactics, which emphasise aggression in attack and a willingness to close rapidly with the enemy and overwhelm them. They were certainly well motivated, but I'm not sure they were any moreso than any other regulars.

VC varied. Some were sketchily trained idealistic local volunteers who avoided stand up fights and used guerrilla tactics, some were more like regulars. Certainly their sappers were very good. I knew one ex-ANZAC who was wounded when VC sappers moved mines from the base's minefield into their safe lanes. That minefield was watched 24/7.

I don't think you need to directly fudge the morale mechanism to represent motivation, you can just use the normal troop quality rules. After all, if highly motivated paratroopers don't get a morale bonus apart from the usual for being elite, why should they Vietnamese? I'd make all NVA regulars at least, VC could be green or regular, ARVN would be almost always green. Personally I'd give the US the option of green in addition to regular too. Some of their units were pretty poorly led and not well trained. They often came out on top due to heavy support, not brilliance at the small unit level. Low rating with lots of support would model that well.

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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Seret » Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:42 am

Personally for distinguishing national characteristics I'd give the communists a powerful advantage in the patrol phase. Their closer affinity with and support from the local population should give them the home field advantage and out patrol the yanks and the ARVN every time. Remember that ARVN and the Saigon government weren't popular out in the provinces.

Ideas:
Move patrol markers further?
Deploy JoPs further from patrol markers?
Allow the communist player to make a one off double move at one point in the patrol phase (followed by a double move from their opponant)?
An extra patrol marker?
Make the opponent get much closer to pin a patrol marker?
Allow them to pin an opposing patrol marker from further away?

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Arlequín
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Arlequín » Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:41 am

I agree in the main, the VC/NVA were certainly motivated, but would only engage in near-suicidal assaults if there was a good chance of achieving their aims, otherwise they did not hesitate to break off and fade away.

While they accepted heavy casualties as the cost of success, they did not throw away lives on objectives they had no hope of achieving either. For every near-successful assault, there were probably hundreds not attempted, as the chance of winning was slight. Naturally the ratio of successes and near-successes to total failures would be higher than the 'try it anyway' approach of some U.S./ARVN commanders.

On the other hand you have the U.S. who fought the constant moral battle between casualties and objectives, leading to a 'victory at all costs camp' and a 'is any objective worth any losses?' camp.

The ARVN commanders had no real conception of objectives or losses, other than "will my superiors approve?", or in some cases "how do I explain this f*&% up to Saigon?". Pre-'65 at least, attacking objectives not held by the enemy was seen as far more preferable to attacking those that were (it's true, go read!), as there was less chance of failing and losing face or position. As for ARVN losses, the attitude would be very much "chicken is cheap and plentiful".

Obviously how this would be applied to CoC is in terms of unit morale and I'm not sure how you'd do that. I doubt on an individual basis that any soldier from any army was any less brave or cowardly than the rest. Confidence in your leadership (or cause) seems to be the variable, the VC/NVA took great effort to explain why the war was being fought, how things 'would' be better when they had won and all that.

The U.S. and AFVN were not so hot on this, other than "communism is bad m'kay and if you like communism then you're bad m'kay". Good individual unit and sub-unit leaders made the difference to my mind, especially as theoretically every soldier or marine had the same training, yet units could be very different in terms of quality. So bad leader = bad unit.

dwtaylor0
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by dwtaylor0 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:29 am

Thanks for the feedback on my Morale thoughts, lots of good points against any sort of bonuses. If the Japanese don't get any, it probably doesn't make sense here.

Another thought: allow the NVA/VC take a rifleman from a squad(s) that would act like a less powerful sniper. Maybe keep the spotting rules, but ignore the special shooting rules. Not the most powerful, but potentially a useful annoyance.

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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by dwtaylor0 » Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:45 am

I was reading through the CoC army lists trying to get inspiration and found a few things of note:

The French and the Romanians both have a crudier 2nd 'senior' leader that is just a Junior Leader that can influence anyone in the platoon. This could be useful for armies that have a high emphasis on orders from 'up top' or simply armies where the officer pool is somewhat lacking. An even more extreme version could have both 'Senior' Leaders be this style, but then 4s would be totally worthless (which might make sense for some forces, but would likely make for a very frustrating play experience.

This has actually been mentioned earlier in the thread, but the Italians have Superior Junior leaders that can be activated with either a 3 or a 4. This would make the Junior Leaders more flexible, but I'm not totally sure what about the Italian style of fighting gives them this bonus. The British Airborne have and even better version of this rule, but the American Paras and the German Fallschirmjager don't have anything of the sort.


Unrelated:
Thinking about how to represent the M72 LAW in the CoCulator. Right now my thought is that if we go with the HE 7 value from Arlequin's arsenal list that would make it 3.5x the HE 2 that a panzerfaust has. Would it then make sense to say the LAW is 3.5 (rounded up to 4) points if the panzerfaust is 1 point? I'm ignoring the AP value at least while looking at the period before the North Vietnamese began to field tanks. For ARVN lists near the end of the war this may need revisiting.

Along similar lines, an RPG-7 is about 4x both the AP and HE of a bazooka, so maybe quadruple the cost of a bazooka making for 16 points? The RPG-2 is around 3x (the AP is a bit lower, but the HE is higher) for 12-ish points?

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