Scenario - Knee High In Nhi Ha
USMC in the DMZ
On Monday, April 29th, 1968 the second battalion, 4th
Marines nicknamed the "Magnificent Bastards" became embroiled in a major
offensive by the 320th NVA division across the DMZ. This would be known
collectively as the battle of Dong Ha. The NVA objective was the Dong Ha combat
base (DHCB), the logistics centre and headquarters for the 3rd Marine Division.
During the first two days of the offensive the Marines met the NVA head on in a
series of bloody, over the top assaults against a number of villages located
along the banks of the Cua Viet river and Jones Creek. The Marine's objective
was to take these villages and drive off the NVA that were heavily entrenched
among the hedgerows, burial mounds, and hootches of Dong Huan, Dai Do, and Dinh
Over the course of the battle the Marines took Dong Huan
and Dai Do only to be forced back by the intense firepower and overwhelming
numbers of the NVA. They also made several failed attempts to seize Dinh To but
were unable to due to lack of support and available manpower. When the offensive
began BLT (Battalion Landing Team) 2/4 had several companies in Nhi Ha, Lam Xuan
West, and Mai Xa Chanh East monitoring NVA infiltration routes along Jones
Creek and screening the battalion CP. On April 30th, 1968 these companies were
committed in the assault on Dai Do.
Lieutenant Colonel Weise, the commander of the
"Magnificent Bastards" expressed concern about the vulnerability of these two
positions. Regiment forwarded a request through 3rd Marine Division to III MAF
(Marine Amphibious Force) asking that a Battalion from II MAF be placed opcon to
the Marines to help defend Jones Creek. The III MAF reserve was an Army unit,
the 196th Light Infantry Brigade "Americal" Division. The Americal selected one
of its battalions, the 3-21st (better known as 'The Gimlets') to loan to the
The battalion had been in the process of constructing
Fire Support Base Belcher near Camp Evans when it was suddenly airlifted to the
Mai Xa Chanh. By May 2, 1968 the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry, 196th Light
Infantry Brigade, Americal Division was plunged into a world of hurt just 9
clicks away from the DMZ and were engaged in Lam Xuan West and Nhi Ha by
fanatical hard core NVA units. The mission of Lieutenant Colonel Snyder's 3 -
21st Infantry was to take and hold Nhi Ha and Lam Xuan West in order to check
NVA infiltration along Jones Creek. The Gimlets had no trouble taking Lam Xuan
West but met heavy resistance in Nhi Ha. Elements of the 270th Independent NVA
Regiment had entrenched themselves in Nhi Ha and intended to
Lt. Colonel Snyder sent Captain Osborn's Alpha Company
(codenamed Alpha Annihilator), Captain Corrigan's Beta Company (Barracuda),
Captain Humphries's Delta Company (Black Death), and Charlie Company (Charlie
Tiger) into Nhi Ha. The attack was preceded by the usual artillery prep fires;
Marine and Air Force fighter-bombers plastered Nhi Ha with 250 lb bombs and
napalm. Over the next two days the Gimlets fought unsuccessfully in an attempt
to dislodge the heavily entrenched NVA. The last of the 10 TAC AIR strikes made
by Phantoms carrying 2000 lb Blockbusters finally broke the deadlock and the 3 -
21st was able to occupy Nhi Ha with light casualties and was ordered to settle
Shortly thereafter Lieutenant Colonel Snyder ordered the
Captain of Alpha Company to conduct a reconnaissance in force along the NVA's
route of withdrawal. The target of the sweep was Xom Phuong, a ville northwest of
Nhi Ha, on the eastern bank of Jones Creek. A footpath connected Nhi Ha with Xom
Phong. The terrain between the two consisted of wide-open rice
Note: This is usually a bloody scenario, not
recommended for campaign play unless it is used as the final battle of a
campaign. It is best as a one off.
The scenario is set up for use
with Charlie Company rules.
Table Set Up
Jones Creek runs North-South
down left edge of board. Paddy fields cover the southern half of the playing
area and are bounded to the East by a treeline. The fields are pock-marked by
A raised trail runs
North-South with a junction running directly East and bisecting the board.
To the North of the trail are a series of
burial mounds. Beyond the burial mounds is a dense treeline.
In the North-West corner are
the outlaying hootches of Xom Phuong ville.
U.S. Army Forces
3rd Platoon "Alpha Annihilator" Alpha Co, 3 - 21st
196th Light Infantry Brigade.
+ Reinforcements 1st squad, 1st
Roll for expertise normally but count any roll less than
7 as 7 for initial commanders.
US Forces enter from the
southern table edge.
- 2 Batteries of 105mm Howitzers (6 tubes)
- 2 Batteries of 155mm Howitzers (8
Marine F - 4 Phantom (U.S. commander may choose ordinance)
Marine A - 1 Skyraider (U.S. commander may choose ordinance)
- 1 C&C Huey (for medivac only, no door gunners) will
arrive two turns after called.
Orders: Recon in
The American objective is to secure the right flank of
the company's sweep and check for any signs of the enemy's withdrawal along the
Players do not read any further!
Elements of the 270th Independent NVA Regiment:
- 1 9-man infantry squad, 6 armed with AK - 47's, 1 LPD
gunner + loader with SKS, 1 runner detached. Exp. 8
- 1 10-man infantry squad, 8 armed with AK - 47's, 1 LPD
gunner + loader with SKS. Exp.8
- 1 RPG - 7 team (RPG gunner and loader with SKS). Exp.
- 1 command squad - 3 men with AK - 47's, + 1 radio
operator, 1 FO. Exp. 9
- 1 12.7mm HMG with 3 man crew. Exp. 7
Forces are deployed amongst the burial mounds
and the eastern treeline.
Infantry squads will take 5 casualties each before
withdrawing. The RPG team will take 1 casualty before withdrawing. The HMG crew
will take 2 casualties before withdrawing. The command squad will take 1
casualty before withdrawing (with radio).
2 82mm mortars (off board).
NVA Operational Orders:
On turn 2 the runner from the 1st NVA squad
(position X on the map) will leave
his starting position and head for the treeline in full view of the Americans.
If he survives he will disappear into the treeline and fire two shots at the
Americans and then flee. His purpose is to lure the Americans into watching
the treeline and, if possible get them to attack it instead of the burial
The defence should give the attackers time to do this
before opening up on them, letting the Americans get well into the open terrain.
Mortars will begin firing on turn two. If the command squad is forced to
retreat for any reason or is killed the mortars will continue to blind fire on
their last impact zone for three turns. The mortar fire should be used to harass
the Americans into moving forward into the killing zone or going to ground
behind a paddy dike. The NVA forward observer knows to look for radios and
command sections and if these stop moving he will direct his rounds there.
Otherwise, he will aim at the largest group of slow moving or stationary
The Infantry squads are in camouflaged bunkers (hard
cover, 1/2 expertise to spot); the RPG team is in a weapons pits because of
their backblasts (medium cover, 1/2 expertise to spot) and the HMG is also in a
weapons pit to allow it to fire at ground and air targets. Given the chance, the
AAMG gunners will shoot at aircraft, especially a helicopter, but will
cheerfully gun down infantry too.
The burial mounds are earthen barrows approximately 4 -
8 feet high. The NVA have dug bunkers into them, the ref may choose which ones
have NVA inside. The raised footpath acts as a paddy dike for cover
Terrain: Craters offer light cover to troops sheltering
inside them. The rice paddies are dry, but the rice is thigh high and impedes
movement by 1/2. U.S. reinforcements will arrive on board 2 + D3 turns after
communist fire breaks out. Fire by or at the runner does not
Due to heavy demands placed on support elements by other
U.S. units engaged at this time, U.S. support may not be called until absolutely
necessary i.e. until heavy concentrations of the enemy have been positively
identified. Remember aircraft and artillery may not be on board at the same
G.M.'s can impose a D6 roll after each fire request. On a 5
or 6 the battery is already on a fire-mission somewhere else. Aircraft become
available after turn 5. The A1 will arrive 1 turn after being called; the F -4
will arrive 3 turns after being requested.
Historically another company of NVA enters the board on around turn 10 from
behind the treeline. This would be about 6 10-man squads armed appropriately. If
you are going to do this add a second U.S. Platoon (2nd Platoon) and two more
defending NVA squads and a HMG to the force behind the burial
After Action Report
The sweep commenced at 1330 with Lieutenant Smith's
Alpha two on the left and Lieutenant Kimball's Alpha three on the right. The
Captain moved behind the two platoons with Alpha One in reserve. Alpha two and
three were about a hundred yards across the paddies when a grunt from Alpha
three spotted a lone NVA sprinting from a burial mound towards the treeline.
Lieutenant Kimball was convinced that an NVA ambush waited for them within the
treeline and quickened his platoon's pace towards the cover of the burial mounds
located in front of the ville. The running soldier had been a lure and the
assault line of Alpha three ran straight into the NVA, who were actually
deployed among the very same burial mounds that Alpha three was heading
The GI's of Alpha Annihilator Two and Three were
completely surprised by the NVA ambush and became pinned down behind the dikes
of the rice paddy. They were unable to react to the vicious fire from the
entrenched NVA machine guns and 82mm mortar fire that was pounding the
Americans. As the men in Alpha three scrambled for cover another assault force
of NVA charged out of the treeline on the right, catching Alpha two and three in
a crossfire, the Captain detached a squad from Alpha One in a attempt to counter
the sudden assault from the right. Lt. Kimball made several attempts to call in
an artillery strike but his transmission was cut off in the confusion.
Completely disorganised; Alpha Company began a withdrawal and the attached FO
called down smoke and HE rounds and two fighters finally began running air
strikes on the enemy positions to cover their retreat back to Nhi Ha. The NVA
were filled with victorious enthusiasm, not caring who saw them; some were
shouting and discharging their weapons while jumping up and down on their
bunkers. The final official bodycount was fifty NVA but the command staff was
sceptical of this number because of the inability to gauge the amount of kills
attributed to artillery and air strikes. Alpha Annihilator lost 12 men in the
Nolan, Keith William. , The
Magnificent Bastards, Presidio Press, Novato 1994
This scenario first appeared
on Pete Jones' Dustoff site which is no longer available and is reproduced
here with Pete's permission.
Map by Mike R
Retrieved by Memoweb from http://www.soft.net.uk/entrinet/Scen07.htm at 25/08/01