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 »

I agree that the VC would be inclined to retreat and disappear in the face of superior, or even equal numbers, the NVA somewhat less so, but in CoC the forces are usually 'balanced' by use of the support table.

You can't play every possible Vietnam contact option with them, but you can play those where both the 'Free World' and 'Communist' forces believe they have a chance of winning that game and where both are equally likely to withdraw, if they are able, if things go bad and it certainly wasn't always the VC who were doing the withdrawing.

U.S. Artie and Air-Artie were confounded by the tactics of 'hugging the enemy' and the size of the typical CoC table largely prevents their use in any case. In the ground scale used, a 250 lb GP bomb - the smallest generally used, would pretty much wipe a 6'x4' table clean of men and vegetation and pairs of 2.75" FFAR would tear up quite large bits of it too. With 200m being the smallest 'safe zone' between friendlies and target in any case, there isn't much scope for a 'Free World' platoon to get the fire support it relies on.

Sadly Saladin is right though, understanding what the VC and NVA had as doctrine is very difficult, so they will always get the dirty end of the stick as regards lists and tactical 'special rules' and mostly these will be written from a 'Free World' observation and understanding of them, which may, or may not, be accurate, or indeed biased. There are little bits that seem to be known though, like the VC limiting their small actions to 15 minutes to avoid the inevitable support fire or the reinforcement of their target's position.

I don't think an umpire is required either, a game will feature just the 'combat element' of any contact, so can be done player versus player. The individual scenario can deal with the extraneous bits outside of that, like the VC having a 'pre-game booby-trap barrage' or something, to confound the deployment of men from a likely landing zone... it all comes down to how creative you are when modding CoC to suit your setting and the rules themselves will take a fair bit of bending into new shapes before they break and aren't CoC any more.

;)

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

Post by whoa mohamed »

your looking at it in the wrong way. My advice is take a look at the most recent AAR for the bush wars version,Exelent mechanics and victory conditions for the insurgent forces.I Disagree and belive that Vietnam is definately gamable using COC...Mikey

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Arlequín
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Arlequín »

Great case in point... I'd go as far as to say there isn't any conflict from around 1900 to the present that you couldn't use CoC for in some context, providing you get your head round how you fit the rules to the conflict, rather than how to fit the conflict to the rules.
:)

Arrigo
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Arrigo »

Well, my two pennies...

PAVN ain't no insurgent. Main Force VC the same. As a side-note is interesting how everyone is trying of squeeze insurgents everywhere...

One important thing to highlight about Vietnam is that the majority of the firefight you can do with a game like CoC are pretty much conventional. Political victory conditions are out of place in a platoon level engagement while they could be valid on a company mission. Timescale and map scale of CoC allow us to leave these thing out. And before talking about insurgents... if you are thinking to use CoC to game the hunt for a lone sniper, or the largely uneventful day patrol probably it is best you prepare yourselves a lot of snacks to eat, and maybe a good movie to watch, for the gaming evening.

As Vietnam Skirmishes being different from WW2 ones... General Peers and Colonel Peatross were not of this idea. Nor where the people writing the AAR I had to wade in from my PhD. One of the most common comment I found was "they fight like the Japanese". and from a PAVN/VC perspective there were some similarities in tactics.

Tunnels... who need tunnels? They are more or less a myth created by Hollywood. The tunnels were not tactical tunnels, but usually depot or other logistic facilities. The tactical tunnels were more covered/camouflaged trenches like the ones encountered in previous conflicts. As it was discovered in WW2 often non cleared/destroyed bunker were reoccupied quite easily because the spot had not been cleared/neutralized in the first place (fire ceases from the spot, spot assumed neutralized permanently). Damage assessment of captured bunkers found them pretty difficult to knock off.

Said that I do not see any need for new rules. CoC works has it is. You really do not need helicopter rules or CAS because these missions are taking place off the table.

As the "evacuation" rules... with the little time represented by CoC there is no point. both units will develop the contact (usually trying to outflank their opponent until they ran ins something else) until they feel they have no chances. At this point they will break off (force morale). Want longer stuff? CDS....

I do not even see the point for an hot insertion... it will be a larger operation that really has no place in usual CoC. Insertions for infantry where company if not battalion affairs, only the aero-rifle platoons were used in platoon strength and even then as part of their own air cavalry company.

Also I do not think the current (good) African stuff is really relevant. Yes you can use it for small routine operations, but at large both the PAVN and the NLF were conventional forces fighting a conventional war to destroy their opponent military forces. Before the US sent ground forces the target was the ARVN, then the US and other FWA forces, then ARVN again. Where the war was different from previous ones was that this conventional war was waged to achieve specific goals (at least until 1972 when it become a land grab). Let's face it African groups never had the firepower of the PAVN (130mm guns anyone?) or the willingness to go toe to toe in conventional battles (Dong Ap Bia, X-Ray, the Market Place, Hastings, Ap Tau'O, Dak To, Hill Battles...).

Sadly I do not have the pictures but I tried CoC to do some of scenarios in Skirmish Campaign Hamburger Hill and Face of Battle Khe Sanh supplements and they work without any change, more importantly they play like the AAR I have.

Actually except some lists for using the basic scenarios and some vehicles I do not see any necessity for modifications. I sue Assault rifles as per rules and I consider the M14 and the SKS as Garands (semi auto rifle). I know I cannot use air and helos... but who cares? I have CDS for that... better to accept limitation and have a working and realistic game than to cram everything in a table and ed up like.... Bolt Action? :geek: :o <definitely we need better smilies here>

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

Post by whoa mohamed »

Arrigo the one point I disagree with you on is that the NLF/VC main force and PAVN/NVA were fighting a conventional war IN SVN which you did not specify the tactics and goals were quite different. You Can in fact have your cake and eat it too it just takes a little imagination and work I Like COC it's different from CDS maybe thats why I like it. specifying what type weapons is important so you can generate proper force lists and ratings.
Tunnels and other things mentioned can be tools to show off the Communist better knowledge of the land NLF/PAVN with local force guides or local force. Im not saying that your being unsuportive of this guys effort but as for me I appauld and will support his efforts. Insurgents are quite relevent there have been several wars going on for the last decades and currently that feature that type of fight including Vietnam..In regards to the Bush wars works going on for COC all I can say is terrific. Really give a feeling of an Insurgency to include the mission selection and special rules like "Bomb shelling" really enjoyed that AAR "Operation Glamour"......Mikey

dwtaylor0
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by dwtaylor0 »

Arrigo,

Wow! Thanks for all that info. Do you have any links for the AARs, or any other reading you'd recommend?
Arrigo wrote:Political victory conditions are out of place in a platoon level engagement while they could be valid on a company mission. Timescale and map scale of CoC allow us to leave these thing out.


I think more general 'hearts and minds' type political victories don't make sense as you say. The 'political' victory conditions in CDS almost seem like the Force Morale in CoC.
Arrigo wrote:And before talking about insurgents... if you are thinking to use CoC to game the hunt for a lone sniper, or the largely uneventful day patrol probably it is best you prepare yourselves a lot of snacks to eat, and maybe a good movie to watch, for the gaming evening.
I think a sniper hunt could be interesting if done well, but it would be really easy to make it really bad and boring.

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Arlequín
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Arlequín »

Arrigo wrote: As the "evacuation" rules... with the little time represented by CoC there is no point. both units will develop the contact (usually trying to outflank their opponent until they ran ins something else) until they feel they have no chances. At this point they will break off (force morale).
This is about the only thing I disagree with in your post... and then only in relation to some settings/conflicts, which you would have to take on an individual basis.

The presumption in CoC is that you have two forces, with a similar outlook on warfare and similar objectives, i.e. to win the action and to take the 'battlefield', which for whatever reason is strategically/tactically important. Both sides are prepared to take a certain amount of losses to achieve/hold that objective before giving up.

True, the objective of 'Government' forces would be to outflank and surround the insurgents and thanks to off-table insertions there would usually be no 'safe' table edges for the insurgents to withdraw from if it was done properly. Once they have 'fixed' their enemy, they can proceed to destroy them... pretty much their sole game objective.

Insurgents have different motivations and where they actually do make a fight of it, it is where they believe they have a chance of inflicting damage on their opponents, while taking few losses themselves, the ideal being none at all. Waiting for 'Force Morale' to decide the issue would lead to a very short 'rebellion' in real terms.

In some contexts 'breaking the contact' is the sole consideration of the insurgents, especially when a well pulled off insertion has them seemingly surrounded with few avenues of escape. The game then becomes a case of their creating an escape route and using it, as opposed to just retiring off their own table edge. As a result the normal 'as written' CoC patrol phase does not work in this context and needs 'adjusting' to fit.

Of course every insurgency setting is not like this and each conflict you try to use CoC for has to be taken on its own merits and the rules adjusted to it.

In some contexts the VC did make tactical use of spider holes, bunkers and small sets of tunnels (not every village was like Cu Chi granted), which would give them an advantage in terms of JOPs in some situations... but rules to turn CoC into 'whack-a-mole' are not required. These can be shut down as normal under the rules, as troops carried C4 for just such eventualities.

I do agree that by and large no new rules are required, but sometimes the existing ones have to be changed to a degree to fit the peculiarities of the conflict you are using CoC for.

:)

dwtaylor0
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by dwtaylor0 »

Initial brainstorming session for support lists (no categorizing into list one, list two, etc as of yet):

US Army:
[tanks/vehicles mentioned previously]
Medic
Adjutant
Minefield (did the US Army make much use of minefields? I haven't seen many references to them in my reading.)
Claymores (not sure how to represent these without elaborate and tedious sketch maps, blinds, or something similar)
Engineers
Kit Carson scout (not sure what he'd do)
FO with mortar battery (artillery batteries would likely be overly powerful and seem like CoC engagements take place to close to use them safely)
Roadblock
Flamethrower team (my impression is that flamethrowers didn't see a whole lot of use, but they were issued)
Sniper team
Roadblock
Infantry squad
M72 LAW
Entrenchments
M60 team


NVA/PAVN:
Medic (I get the impression that most all of the medical care took place behind the front lines, so should this be left out?
Adjutant
Minefield (did the NVA/PAVN make much use of traditional minefields? I haven't seen many references to them in my reading.)
Claymores/booby traps (not sure how to represent these without elaborate and tedious sketch maps, blinds, or something similar)
Engineers/Sappers
FO with mortar battery
Roadblock
Flamethrower team (Did the NVA/PAVN make much use of flamethrowers?)
Sniper team
Roadblock
Infantry squad
Machine-gun team
RPG team
Entrenchments
Camouflaged bunkers and/or 'spider holes'


What am I missing? What should be taken off the list?

Helicopters are the biggest issue for me right now. I'd love to have them but I don't know if they make sense for the engagement size and timescale of CoC. I like the idea of some sort of command-and-control or observation helicopter since it would have roughly the same view of the battlefield as the player :)

dwtaylor0
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by dwtaylor0 »

Reading US field manuals, I noticed something interesting: When engaging in fire and maneuver, they recommend that the squad leader should generally be with the maneuver element.

Is this a common approach to fire and maneuver, or something unique? Reading the CoC rulebook it seems WWII British did it this way, but WWII Germans very much didn't. Given that the command distance for a Junior Leader is 6", this means that if the maneuver element gets 6.00001 inches or more away from the fire element then the fire element can no longer provide covering fire (except of course if there is an different leader who is within 6" of the fire element).
Last edited by dwtaylor0 on Tue May 27, 2014 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

Peter
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Re: Trying to adapt CoC to the Vietnam Conflict

Post by Peter »

It will require a couple of dice, but the fire team can activate on a 1 (or a senior leader's activation) while the manouvre team can activate on a 1 or a 3 (Junior leader). What they won't be able to use is a 2

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