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Jim Dietz
United States
Sigel
Illinois
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SUMMER 1968-1

“I've made this statement many times: If I would have to do it over again, I would have made known the forthcoming Tet Offensive."
--William Westmoreland

A season behind the historical, the communists in Vietnam launched the Birthday Offensive, inopportunely coming shortly after the commander of forces in South Vietnam declared that the war was almost over and nearly won.

All hell broke open across the South, but especially in the Delta and in the I Corps sector. Most of the attacks were ineffective, launched in some cases with odds of 1-3 or worse, and in most cases, they were aimed directly at US military forces in the field and not provincial capitals or the ARVN military in a publicity ploy meant to show that the NLF’s fight wasn’t against the people of Vietnam, but the presence of foreign forces.

Before the first American unit was allowed to activate, the VC had launched 60 attacks across the South. The attacks were more expensive for the VC than the US and ARVN. The VC suffered 70 replacement points lost in comparison to 10 for the US and 5 for the ARVN in the attacks. Unfortunately, I have played cheap with spending on replacements, trying to keep only slightly more than what I could expect to lose, and now with the Birthday Offensive, that will hit me in the shorts. When the attacks were done, there were less than 25 ARVN and US replacements remaining.

Rather than risk attacking and losing more replacements, the US/ARVN made only limited attacks and offered no offensive response at all in the Delta. I could have, maybe even SHOULD have, but with a second turn coming up in the season, I didn’t want to have the US low on replacements and suffer actual unit losses in combat. That means the upcoming turn for the US will be critical; if I have replacements remaining, I will launch counterattacks with the intent of killing VC units. If not, I’ll have blown my chance to turn the war into a purely conventional one. American morale is going to take it in the shorts pretty bad. At the end of the first turn of the season, the NLF attack count stands at 64. That’ll be at least 24 points off American morale. It’ll be more though as the VC still have 70 replacements. Ugh.

SUMMER 1968-2

The turn was a quick one since we both knew what to expect. The VC activated first, launching another 53 attacks during the turn bringing the season total to 117 (a 33 point morale hit to the US coming up!). Luckily for me, the US had replacement points remaining, so I was able to launch counterattacks against surviving VC units. By the end of the turn, only eight NLF units remained outside of the Delta. On the Delta, things remained as they always have; there are a couple dozen of VC units in strongholds that are difficult to hit. If there’s a bright spot, it’s that they are all concentrated in provinces that are already wholly NLF controlled.

The casualties for the season were high. 160 VC replacements were burned along with 30 American and another 30 ARVN replacement points. Ten air points died along with three airmobile. I’m not quite sure how to read the turn and its significance. Its obvious that there won’t be more Americans coming in, but it’s hard to know what the long-term effect will be, given that there are still 29-30 seasons remaining in the game. I suspect that there will be another offensive coming up. There’s a high cost to the Communist player for launching an offensive; in this case 160 replacements and 20-30 dead units, but the payoff is high as well. Further loss of morale for the US will start leading to American units leaving. I suspect that US units will shortly have to go to being the garrisons while ARVN units take over pursuit of the VC. The problem with that is the unreliability of the ARVN and THAT is a big problem.

Summer-Fall 1968 Interphase

It was indeed a big hit on the US morale from the Birthday Offensive, but the other parts of the Interphase have remained consistent. During the Pacification phase, another point came over to the SVN government, making the total 255, one point short of the next morale bonus. I’m hoping that I can sustain this population through the rest of the decade. If so, I can start to go easy on keeping the population happy and focus on the long-term safety of Saigon.

The government remained stable. I was able to replace the 19th Division’s incompetent disloyal commander and luckily replaced him with a loyal, reasonable competent commander. Unless there’s a bad roll (10+), the government won’t change. The only downside is that Bao Dai remains in charge, though even that isn’t too horrible as President Johnson likes his personality. Sadly with the Birthday Offensive, LBJ has decided he will not seek reelection. That opened up the Democratic Party’s nomination race for Robert Kennedy who was then assassinated at a rally. Now it looks like it’ll be Hubert Humphrey facing off with Republican phoenix, Richard Nixon, as the American public demands a complete revision of policy in Vietnam.

This has caused disruption in US policy elsewhere and given the USSR the confidence to crush the reformers in Czechoslovakia, ending the Prague Spring. When Humphrey wins the nomination in late August, there were riots across Chicago, another sure sign of the decline of the United States.

"To say that we are closer to victory today is to believe, in the face of the evidence, the optimists who have been wrong in the past. To suggest we are on the edge of defeat is to yield to unreasonable pessimism. To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion. On the off chance that military and political analysts are right, in the next few months we must test the enemy's intentions, in case this is indeed his last big gasp before negotiations. But it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could. This is Walter Cronkite; good night." --Walter Cronkite

US Morale: 433
US Commitment: 424
SVN Morale: 147
SVN Population: 255
NVN Morale: 410
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Brent Pollock
Canada
Saskatoon
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Te(x)t book:
"(a 33 point morale hit to the US coming up!)"
 
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Dave
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I love this game! No game has ever given me the same feel of being in the commanders' shoes. Now, if I could just find an opponent.
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mike clark
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Once again, great after action report! I look forward to reading these! Sounds like your son kind of has you over a barrel from here on out?! Relying on the ARVN is not a strategy that inspires confidence!
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Jim Dietz
United States
Sigel
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Marshal_Michael_Ney wrote:
Once again, great after action report! I look forward to reading these! Sounds like your son kind of has you over a barrel from here on out?! Relying on the ARVN is not a strategy that inspires confidence!


It's an interesting question. Tet historically is at the start of the year, so in that regard he is a season 'behind schedule'. Reaching the limit of commitment doesn't mean all the Americans will go away right away either and it will slow the increase in communist forces.

We're really flying blind since we've never played this before--which makes the choices more interesting. The one I didn't put in the report is that I've started using a lot more air for interdiction, especially in battles where I'm looking to kill units, not just force them away from certain territory.
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Charles Lewis
United States
O Fallon
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jollyrogergames wrote:
The one I didn't put in the report is that I've started using a lot more air for interdiction, especially in battles where I'm looking to kill units, not just force them away from certain territory.


Which is something I need to do more of...after I bring more air in, of course.
 
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mike clark
United States
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I think airpower is over-rated. Just make everything a "Free-Fire" zone and you'll be okay Charlie!
 
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Charles Lewis
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O Fallon
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Marshal_Michael_Ney wrote:
I think airpower is over-rated. Just make everything a "Free-Fire" zone and you'll be okay Charlie!


Ah, but airpower (or sufficient artillery) allows you to create interdiction, which I'm learning is essential to reducing the escape options for the bad guys.
 
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mike clark
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The other thing that helps is keeping the ARVN out of it if possible. Between interdiction and ARVN you'd be taking away two movement points. It is kind of a drag knowing that you have to allocate six points of artillery/air to every operation (unless Free Fire of course) just to have chance to bring the NLF to battle. It hampers your ability to cause casualties (the first round anyway).
 
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