Collecting Forces for use with Crossfire - Force composition and work schedule


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Collecting Forces for Vietnam Crossfire - Force Composition


Knowing which figures were available from Peter Pig and in what quantities, and using Barrie Lovell's organisation charts, I calculated how I was going to construct the various elements of both the US and the NVA forces. I wanted to minimise as much as possible the purchase of figures over and above what was absolutely necessary.

BUILDING an NVA COMPANY

The NVA rifle company consists of six elements; the company HQ and Cadre, the three rifle platoons, the company combat support platoon and the reconnaissance squad. I worked out how many and which type of figures I would require for each of these.


NVA Rifle Company

  1. Company Command Group (1 x command figure, 2 x AK-47 figures and 1 x crew figure)
  2. Cadre (1 x command figure)
  3. Reconnaissance Squad (8 x AK-47 figures)

This group consists of four stands, for a total of 13 figures.

Although the NVA rifle platoon has seven elements, it was only necessary for me to work out the composition of three of these; the platoon HQ, a rifle squad and an RPG team. Since the composition of the rifle squads and the RPG teams was to be the same, I simply needed to multiply the number of figures in each of these by three to obtain the total number and type of figures I required.

Structure of basic NVA Rifle Platoon
Rifle Platoon

  1. Platoon Command Group (1 x command figure, 1 x AK-47 figure and 1 x crew figure)
  2. 3 x Rifle Squad (each of 2 fire teams, each of 4 figures; each squad contains 1 x RPD LMG figure and 7 x AK-47 figures)
  3. 3 x RPG Teams (1 team of 2 figs attached to each rifle squad; each team contains 1 x crew figure and 1 x RPG figure)

NVA Infantry fire-team of Company A, 1st Platoon, 1st Squad advances with AK-47s - note that figure front-right is firing an RPD LMG
NVA Fire-team with AK-47s and RPD LMG

There are three of these platoons in the NVA rifle company. Each platoon consists of 10 stands, for a total of 33 figures. This adds a further 30 stands to the company and 99 figures.

The company combat support platoon is a mix of heavy weapons and contains a platoon HQ, three weapons squads (HMG, 60mm mortar and 57mm recoilless rifle) and a mortar forward observer.

Structure of NVA Company Combat Support Platoon
Company Combat Support Platoon

  1. Platoon Command Group (1 x command figure and 2 x crew figures)
  2. HMG (1 HMG and 3 x crew figures)
  3. 60mm Mortar (1 Mortar and 2 x crew figures) and Forward Observer (1 x crew figure)*
  4. 57mm RCL (1 Recoilless Rifle and 3 x crew figures)

The platoon consists of five stands, for a total of 12 figures and 3 weapons.

* Note that I am using crews of only two figures for the 60mm Mortar in the Combat Support platoon. For the 82mm Mortars in the battalion Combat Support Company I will use 3 crewmen.

Figures Required

Total NVA Figures required to build a Company are as follows (minimum number of 'packs' required is given in brackets);

  • Command figures = 6 (3*)
  • Separate Crew figures = 24 (3)
  • AK-47 figures = 76 (10)
  • RPD figures = 9 (*)
  • RPG figures = 9 (*)
  • Mortar = 1 (1)
  • 57mm RR = 1 (1)
  • HMG  = 1 (1)

* Note that the NVA Command, RPD and RPG figures are all provided for with the purchase of 3 Command packs.

There were a number of points that needed to be addressed as a result of this calculation. The 'Men of Company B' range does not list HMGs for the NVA/VC and, given the large number of separate crew figures required, how were these to be obtained without having a lot of redundant heavy weapons?

Fortunately, Martin at Peter Pig provided solutions on both counts. The HMGs, in this case 12.7mm DShKs, can be supplied from Peter Pig's Modern African Wars range (Range 17) known as 'AK-47' (3 weapons per pack, crew must be purchased separately and I have added these into the total number of separate crew figures required above) and Martin was also happy to provide individual crew figures, without their associated heavy weapons, in packs of 8 figures.

Total number of packs required for the Company = 19

Total Cost for the Company at time of writing (excluding p&p) @ 1.50 per pack = 28.50

On these calculations, a full battalion is going to cost about 100.00 excluding p&p. The catalogue offers 'free postage' on orders over 40.00 so if you can afford to do it you will be better off purchasing in bulk, say two full companies and then the third company plus the sapper and Recon platoons as well as the battalion Combat Support Company.

Expanding the Battalion

In order to build a battalion you will need to follow the steps outlined below;

  1. Add the 2nd Company
  2. Add the Battalion Command Group (5 figures)
  3. Add the Battalion Sapper Platoon (27 figures)
    • Command Group
    • 3 Squads
  4. Add the Battalion Recon Platoon (27 figures)
    • Command Group
    • 3 Squads
  5. Add the 3rd Rifle Company
  6. Add the Battalion Combat Support Company (64 figures)
    • Command Group (4 figures)
    • 6 Platoons, each
      • 1 x 82mm Mortar (3 crew) and Forward Observer
      • 1 x HMG (3 crew)
      • 1 x 57 or 75mm RCL (3 crew)

BUILDING a US INFANTRY COMPANY

When considering the organisation of a US Infantry Company there are several issues that needed to be resolved.

  • what to do about the weapons squad in the rifle platoon - the organisational charts depict the squad as being represented by an HMG stand (or a fire team stand), and an anti-tank team with 90mm recoilless rifles. 
  • what to do about the Weapons Platoon of the rifle company - specifically whether to field the anti-tank section of two 106mm recoilless rifles.

What I decided to do in these instances was as follows;

  • the weapons squad will be represented by a single stand of 4 figures which will include two M-60 machine gunners and will be fielded as an HMG stand. The organisation charts suggest that this squad was often used to keep the three rifle squads up to strength and in this instance it is a simple expedient not to field the HMG stand when such circumstances are to be represented.
  • I decided not to field the anti-tank team of the weapons squad with it's 90mm recoilless rifles since this was historically accurate - they were rarely taken into the field. Instead, for games set in the appropriate time-frame I will field LAW teams (2 figures) which I will be attached to the rifle squads in the manner of the NVA RPG teams and are covered in Barrie Lovell's Vietnam Incoming!
  • With regard to the anti-tank section of the company weapons platoon, I intend at this stage not to field the 106mm recoilless rifles. These weapons, when used, were invariably deployed in static positions at NDPs or base camps. Since I would not be fielding a full-strength weapons platoon, I also decided not to field the Weapons Platoon HQ. This means that the weapons platoon will, when represented in the field, consist only of the Mortar Section Command Group and three stands of 81mm Mortars with crews and a mortar FO team.

RIFLE COMPANY
Structure of basic US Rifle Company

  1. Company Command Group (2 x Command figures and 2 x RTO figures)
  2. Add the attached Artillery FO team (1 x Command figure and 1 x RTO figure)
  3. Company Medic (1 x M-16 figure)

The company HQ group consists of 3 stands for a total of 7 figures.

RIFLE PLATOON
Structure of basic US Rifle Platoon

  1. Platoon Command Group (2 x Command figures and 1 x RTO figure)
  2. Platoon Medic (1 x M-16 figure)
  3. 3 x Rifle Squad (each 2 fire teams each of 4 figs; 1 x M-79, 1 x Shotgun and 6 x M-16)
  4. 1 x Weapons Squad (4 figures; 2 x M-60 and 2 x M-16)

US Infantry Company HQ with Commander, Executive Officer and two RTOs
US Company A HQ stand

There are three of these platoons in the US rifle company. Each platoon consists of 9 stands, for a total of 32 figures. This adds a further 27 stands to the company and 96 figures.

COMPANY WEAPONS PLATOON
Structure of US Weapons Platoon

  1. Platoon Command Group: in effect, this is the mortar section HQ ( 2 x Command figures and 1 x RTO figure)
  2. 3 x 81mm mortar squads (each 1 x 81mm mortar, 3 x crew figures)
  3. 1 x Mortar FO team (1 x command figure, 1 x RTO figure)

Figures Required

Total US figures required to build a Company are as follows (minimum number of 'packs' required is given in brackets);

  • Command figures = 12 (3*)
  • RTOs = 8 (*)
  • M-79 = 8 (1**)
  • Shotgun = 8 (1**)
  • M-60 = 6 (1)
  • M-16 = 66 (9)
  • Medic = 5 (***)
  • 81mm Mortars and Crews = 3 (2)

* Note that the US Command figures and RTO figures are all provided for with the purchase of 3 Command packs (5 command figures and 3 RTOs per pack)

** Note that in order not to have to buy a second pack of both M-79 and Shotgun figures in order to obtain the ninth required figure of each, I intend to leave one squad in the company without these figures and replace them with two M-16 figures. This has been catered for in the calculations above concerning the number of M-16 figures required.

*** Note that the Medics will be represented by M-16 figures and these have been catered for in the calculations above concerning the number of M-16 figures required.

Total number of packs required for the Company = 17

Total Cost for the Company (excluding p&p) @ 1.50 per pack = 25.50

Completed model of Revell 1/100th scale UH-1 Huey gunship armed with quad M-60 machine guns and twin rocket launchers
Bell UH-1 Huey Gunship

On these calculations, a full battalion is going to cost over 100.00 (excluding p&p) since, unlike the NVA, the US infantry company can contain four rifle companies as well as a Service and Support Company (which I do not plan to field). The catalogue offers 'free postage' on orders over 40.00 so if you can afford to do it you will be better off purchasing in bulk, say two full companies at a time.

 

Expanding the Battalion

  1. Add the 2nd Company
  2. Add the Battalion Command Group (5 figs)
  3. Add the 3rd Rifle Company
  4. Add the Battalion Service and Support Company

SCHEDULE

The final step at this stage was to break down the production of the two opposing forces into stages so as to have them progressing at the same pace. Also, I always find this useful as it keeps me on track and prevents me from purchasing masses of figures way ahead of need.

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1st US Rifle Platoon


 

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