Vietnam: 1965-1975 – After Action Report

Another campaign game in the books! The NVA rolled into Saigon in the Spring of 1972!

Vietnam: 1965-1975 After Action Report

By Mark D.

US/ARVN Point of View

Unfortunately, I was the US/ARVN player…

Some Lessons Learned (for the US Player):

  • Watch ARVN Morale! – US allocations in the very beginning of the game (Summer of ’65) are critical. It is imperative that SVN morale be raised above 70 as soon as possible. Allocate Economic Aid, bomb the North, inject new commitment… whatever it takes to get the SVN Morale above 70. Otherwise, you’ll receive a detrimental column shift on the Pacification Table. This can leave you with a Pacification deficit that might be difficult bring back into balance.
  • Let the ARVN Slack Off! – I know it’s tempting to try to make the ARVN stand up and fight for themselves right from the beginning, but I think it’s a terrible mistake. No matter how judicious you are with your US allocations, there’s no doubt that the US will be leaving SVN long before 1975. Once the US is gone, the ARVN must have enough reserves left to duke it out with the NVA. I made the mistake of putting the ARVN to work, turn after turn, starting right from 1965, but they’re just not effective against the VC. So hundreds of ARVN Replacement points were squandered, for very little return. Let the Americans win the Pacification battle, build up ARVN replacement points to as close to 200 as possible, and then go home. 200 ARVN Replacement points can last a LONG time. I actually lasted over a year with about 25 ARVN Replacement points; I kept rebuilding the ARVN armor/cav battalions, which cost Supply but no Personnel, and used them to absorb losses.
  • Don’t let your large American EGO influence your decisions! – I can think of at least a dozen occasions when I stayed in a battle far too long just because I didn’t want to leave the enemy in command of the battlefield, and it cost me quite a few precious US Replacement points. Fighting the NVA in the mountains is a brutal business. If that first round combat die roll does not go your way (leaving you with a negative pursuit modified), just let it go and live to fight another day.
  • “Special” Forces, my ass! – The ARVN Rangers are a waste of resources in the early stages of the game. You can get 100 ARVN Replacement points for the same Personnel cost as 5 ARVN Ranger Battalions. The Rangers are primarily useful in helping hunt VC, but if you let your ARVN slack off (see above), you won’t need them for that purpose. If, during the later stages of the game, you find that you can spare the resources, the ARVN Rangers actually perform a more valuable service by inflicting a +2 movement point penalty on NVA units entering a SVN national boundary hex (if all 5 Rangers are present; only +1 for 3 Rangers). In many cases this forced the NVA units to use strategic movement to get from Cambodia/Laos into SVN, meaning that they could not attack in the same turn they crossed the border. This small heads up comes in handy since the US has considerable capabilities for quickly redeploying units to meet any new threat.

I’m going to see if I can convince my opponent to post some lessons learned, from the NLF point of view.

I kept loose track of time spent and figure it took about 125 hours to complete this game (over the course of 13 months!). All involved thought it was time well spent.

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