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Subject: Lone search for Charlie. 1969 Christmas Offensive - part 4. (of 4) rss

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Petri P
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The Christmas Offensive of 1969 - part 4.

US/ARVN plans to set up massive security operations for the second turn. For these:
- The VC battalions blocking access to NVA need to be cleared now
- Strong stacks need to be formed.

If there is a chance for an operation against NVA now, it will be taken. Otherwise, the remaining air, artillery and navy will bombard NVA to soften it up for the 2nd turn.

The only effective ARVN formation, the 2nd division, stacks in Kien Giang. The Korean CA division joins it. They'll attack a regiment of the 3rd mechanized division with a Security operation next turn. The adjacent patrolling VC unit cannot be effectively captured now - that would allow reaction movement to the 3rd mechanized, and it would disappear to Cambodia or the Trail.

In a series of operations, US airmobile troops and artillery destroy or drive off some of the VC shielding the 1st mechanized in Chau Doc. Losing 1 trans, 1 US replacement, destroying 4 VC replacements and 1 political section. Pursuit after retreat allows many of the operating troops to stack. The road is clear enough to strategically move more troops and artillery into that stack. It should be able to attack the regiment in the disputed border road of Cambodia next turn with a Security operation.

Quite a lot of US troops stack near Tay Ninh. They are intended for a Security operation to liberate that capital.

In the 1st corps, the 4/3M, 3M HQ, 2 rangers, 175 mm artillery, New Jersey and a cruiser attack 1/9th mechanized occupying Phu Bai. This is a normal S&D operation, to benefit from pursuit, if available.

10 + 30 artillery + 18 artillery for casualties vs 8 + 4 artillery. 14 vs 56 at +2.

A roll of 5 is modified to 7. 1 ARVN, 8 NVA, +3 pursuit. 1/9th is destroyed.

Korean 9th, rangers and US 175mm attack the VC battalion which is preventing traffic to Thua Thien.

1 ARVN repl, the battalion disperses for 1 VC repl after losing 1 repl.

1/25 with 25 HQ destroys a patrolling VC battalion in Tuyen Duc with no losses.

US considers a Security operation to liberate Qui Nhon. The 7 battalions there are likely 14 ground strength. Even 23 HQ, artillery, the 198th brigade and a cruiser would be trading replacements for several rounds - and US has only 15 replacements left. It would lose maybe 10 before it had destroyed the 10 remaining VC repl and all of the battalions. US needs these replacements to fight NVA with the operations that have already been set up here.

Instead, the 19/23th brigade destroys the battalion adjacent to Doc Pho with no losses. And also the political section adjacent to Quang Ngai.

Black Panthers destroy a political section.

The remaining 16 air points perform 4 attacks at 4 points against NVA regiments in the open terrain in Free Fire zones, destroying 5 NVA repl with no air losses. The still available cruiser attacks too, destroying 1 NVA repl.

Casualties from US/ARVN operations: 1 US repl, 1 ARVN repl, 1 trans, 5 VC repl, 6 NVA repl, 9 bn equivalents.

The 2nd turn

US does not patrol or hold, it is counter attack time. VC still has 4 battalions outside of Qui Nhon, those patrol. Qui Nhon Holds.

1/RO and an US 155mm artillery at Pleiku perform a Security operation against the HQ of 7th mechanized. 1 US, 1 NVA repl, the HQ retreats adjacent to border. The FWA troops follow. 1 US, a destroyed HQ. The FWA units return to Pleiku.

ARVN 2nd and Korean CA perform a Security operation against the 3rd mechanized, a regiment and a HQ. The first NVA target is protected by independent artillery and stacked with the HQ. 26 US air points are added for the operation. 43 vs 56 at +2. 3 ARVN, 8 NVA, the regiment is destroyed.

The HQ retreats to An Binh. The ARVN 2nd HQ cannot continue, it remains here with one regiment. The rest of the stack continues to An Binh. 31 vs 43 at +1. 2 ARVN, 4 NVA. NVA retreats through the ARVN 2nd HQ and a regiment. Air is allocated to the incidental attack, at 31 vs 22 at +0. 4 NVA, 2 ARVN, 1 air point lost.

The huge US stack in Chau Doc attacks NVA in the disputed Cambodian road hex. 31 vs 43 at +2, no air needed - but 33 points added anyway, to make it 31 vs 76 at +2. 2 US, 6 NVA. 3/1 retreats to the trail.

The enormous US stack near Tay Ninh, with 11 US air points, enters the capital 31 + 69 vs 10 + 20. 43 vs 76 at +2.

3 US, 9 NLF. The 2/2 mechanized regiment is destroyed. The VC battalion there retreats to the nearby mountain (aka Hamburger Hill), suffering 1 hit.

3/3M and 196/23th, with an 175 mm artillery and the Navy could perform a security operation against Qui Nhon. The VC are holding, so they cannot attack back after retreating away, gaining attacks for the offensive. The operation would be 19 + 51 vs ~30-40. 22 vs 56 at +1, likely. (There are so many dead VC US is within its right to know the approximate strength of the remaining ones).

The VC would likely be able to survive a few rounds, killing maybe 9+ US replacements. That would make the whole gamble of abandoning Qui Nhon meaningless in saving morale. US cannot continue Security operations. No reachable targets outside of that formidable VC stack, and too few replacements left.

NLF operations

NVA in the IV corps retreats to the trail. 1 regiment, HQ, and the independent artillery survived from the 3rd mechanized stack. The entire 1st mechanized survived, and retreats to the trail.

In the III corps, A regiment of the 2nd mechanized with two independent artillery survived. The 2nd HQ cannot reach the trail yet, it remains in a swamp in Cambodia (a low priority target for air strikes - there are much more target rich hexes with less terrain).

In the 1st corps, the 9th mechanized HQ and two surviving regiments bombard 22nd division adjacent to Hue. 3 attacks, 5 ARVN replacements.

5th mechanized and the 4th independent infantry take defensive positions in Quang Tri. NVA wants to push population down, to prevent any chance of reaching 280 now.

NLF allows operations to US

The Korean CA with 175 mm artillery destroys a political section in souther Thua Thien. This opens the road a bit, but not enough to reach NVA.

US uses 44 air to bombard NVA regiments in the open, destroying 13 NVA repl, losing one air.

US artillery within range of NVA bombard it, destroying 4 NVA repl.

Navy bombards NVA, destroying 7 NVA repl. Philippine CAG and a regiment of BP in Hue bombard and destroy 1 repl. Only 5 left, but that was enough.

The stack which considered attacking Qui Nhon, a 175mm artillery and a battalion of 198/23th moves to Thua Thien. A division strong stack, but only 8 replacements left. A part of that move was done as a Security operation, it destroyed a political section in Phong Dien. In the coming interphase US needs to use maybe 3 commitment for replacements to keep the threat of security operations viable.

Now that the road to southern Thua Thien is open, also the Black Panthers destroy a political section at Bien Dien, and return back to their positions. It was known to be a political section - the destroyed, seen, and still patrolling or holding VC units account for all battalions. And it could not have been a regiment, as it comes from Quang Tri/Thua Thien, with insufficient population for building regiments directly.

1/101 destroys a political section in Kontum. 3/25 destroys a supply conduit in Khanh Hoa. Some strategic moves.

NLF takes the last operations:

A single VC battalion in Cambodia - the only one ever to have been built outside of SVN, attacks Tay Ninh capital, with the expected results: +1 attack, 1 VC battalion lost.

Political sections spread into cultivated in Chau Doc. A political section enters the Quang Tri capital for an extra -2 pacification modifier.

Casualties in the 2nd turn: 1 air, 7 US repl, 12 ARVN repl, 1 VC repl, 40 NVA repl, 17 bn equivalents. +4 attacks.

The Christmas Offensive is finally over.

Total losses, over the Winter 1969 season:

8 US, 126 NVA, 68 ARVN, 72 VC repl.
3 air points, 1 trans.
1 ARVN AC battalion, 8 NVA mechanized regiments, 1 NVA HQ.
59 VC battalions, 7 political sections, 1 supply conduit.

96 NLF bn equivalents were lost, that would be +14 US morale, if this had not been an Offensive.

There are still 5 NVA regiments, 2 HQ and 2 independent NVA artillery in the 1st corps.

US Morale: 340
US Commitment: 299
NVN Morale: 574
NVN Commitment: 574
SVN Morale: 145
SVN Draft Level:168
SVN Population: 273
NLF Draft Level:594
NLF Population: 87
NLF Supply Pool: 7
Attacks: 115

US will lose 33 morale for the attacks, and 3 morale for search & destroy operations in the next interphase. Both US and SVN will lose 1 from captured capitals.

Here is the map in the transition to Spring 1970 - the turn record markers have been adjusted, and the Ops Comp markers have been removed. Spring 1970 pacification has not started yet. NVA seems to be willing to sacrifice a division for pacification modifiers in Quang Tri - a massive Security operation could destroy quite many NVA units. Not without losses of course.

(click the + magnifying glass)

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