måndag 25 maj 2015

Wargaming Vietnam - some pictures and some reflections.

Hello again!

Further down I give you some pics from a recent Flames of war Vietnam-game I played against two friends down at the local store here in my Swedish town. I played my North Vietnam Army – a big pile of infantry with some booby traps, mines and MG-bunkers against a formidable force of American airmobile infantry with armoured support. Besides the usual Cobras my enemies were also using the new ”on station” rule for the Skyraider, making my life truly difficult. As seen in the few pics I took NVA losses were appalling, while US-losses were only a few men at the most. Still, a relaxed fun game with some friendly people – that's what I like the most!
We didn't have the time to finish it (mostly because of my constant blabbing with everyone...), but we'll meet up again in some weeks and make another try – but this time I'll play the Americans (if I manage to paint all my ACAVs, that is!). So stay tune for some ACAV-pics...

Those guerilla agents may look innocent, but trust me, they pointed my off-board mortars straight in on the americans at least...well, once...
Writing this post also made me think on a related subject. Wargaming modern warfare – such as this Vietnam-era game, or my occasional forage into the American ”war on terror” – is not something completely uncontroversial. Many veterans from both sides are still alive, and the crimes against civilian lives are fresh in peoples memories. And, to be honest, I wouldn't talk about my latest exploits in taking a FNL-village to a war-veteran or civilian survivor. Putting it on a blog like this is, of course, a way of doing just that in case someone googles it, though, and I hope that no-one will be offended by it.
But I do think that modern wargaming (besides having a special kind of tactical challenges on the tabletop) gives the players a chance of understanding the complexity of (modern or historical) conflicts from both military and civilian perspectives. Most historical wargamers do a lot of research on their miniature subjects, and and least in my case this knowledge also gives me an understanding of the cruelty of war.
It is indeed strange that grown people find war and murder entertaining, but probably no stranger than people enjoying splatter-movies or the similar. Recreating miniature battles does at least not harm anyone physically, although the risk of making some people feel uneasy does exist.
By the way, if any Swedish-speakers wish they may read my master-thesis, which is about modern wargaming and the people who play it (yes, that's right, I'm shamelessly promoting myself!)

Anyhow, here are the few pics worth showing (I have to take a lot more next time!!);

The first turn - NVA-forces storm forward, knowing that American reinforcements might soon turn up behind them (the scenario being "Blocking force" from the Tour of Duty book). The objectives, held by US-troops, are on the other side of the road from NVA perspective. You can also see Krieger explaining the evil masterplan to crush me to his co-player.

A grinding advance - perhaps I should have brought my AA with me from the begining instead of hunkering down in foxholes - the enemy Skyraider gave me hell later on. Still, my greatest enemy were the six american mortars on that upper-right hill. You might also have noticed a change in terrain - I put the wheat-fields there midgame to remind ourselves that the whole battlefield was covered with waste-high elephant grass.

Near the end of the game - on the left side you can se my tremendous losses. My infantry platoons did recycle, though, but there was no time for them to get into any real fights before we had to end.

My next post is going to be something completely different – the 64 polish soldiers of 1939 in 1/72 (intended for the Chain of Command ruleset) are drying on my workbench at this very moment!


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