No, I was not shocked or dismayed by finding a wargames site for the Vietnam War. Long, long ago, a number of my friends (ex-Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force and Coastguard Vets who fought – not just served – but fought) who are Vets and wargamers resigned ourselves to the fact that we would see wargames and wargamers studying and playing our war in our lifetimes. We have not got a problem with this, we just do not game in this period, or in any modern period actually. We just try and gently remind everyone that everything they see, hear, and read is not the gospel truth about the war. That all GI’s were not dopers and murderers, that all NVA/VC were not supermen and righteous liberators either. That we were sold out by politicians, generals, and people at home, not beaten by the enemy in the field.
In fact we usually do not talk about the damned place among ourselves even, except to laugh at the humour no one that was not there can understand or in private get-togethers where we have ‘do you remember so-and-so fests’.
I know there is no way y'all can verify anything I
said, and can care less. I passed along info that I thought might be
helpful to you in your gaming or rules writing for the period. I
also will tell you a well kept secret - if y'all talked to 1000 combat
vets, you will find that NO TWO VIETNAMS ARE THE SAME!!! This
is not because of any plot, but because the damned place was an entirely
different war from area to area, practically from unit to unit, and
year to year. You will find a lot more grunts in 67 and 68 that
are willing to go all the way to win than you will find in 1970 and
later. When the US pullout started in 69, the fighting morale started to
Most people then and now do not know that a combat
arms officer only spent spent 3 - 6 months in the field before being
transferred to staff jobs, a far cry from the lot of the NCO and EM who
was in the field and the fight for a full 12 months!! These records
were some time written to reflect the need for body counts and blood
trails to prove success in battle (and promotion of the responsible
officers). There was an unwritten Division SOP that 3 wounds were
required before being transferred from field duty (or 1 serious wound: the
catch was that a serious wound required medevac out of country to
Japan, or the US and no one was ever returned to duty from either place to
my knowledge. On a different tour yes, same tour, no) for an NCO or EM.
My platoon leader was lightly wounded once (and hospitalised), then
transferred to a staff job. Nearly everyone in the boonies had jungle rot,
ringworm (and not the mild civilized variety either), walking malaria,
& parasitic worms in their guts: heatstroke, heat
exhaustion, infected cuts, scratches, insect bites, that turned to
blood poisoning, strep, or gangrene were a part of life for a grunt, along
with death, maiming, heat, cold, fear, anger, sadness, boredom, thirst, hunger,
isolation, adrenalin rushes, exhaustion, revenge. I almost forgot snake
bite - some of the most poisonous snakes in the world are in SE Asia -
Atropine injectors were carried not for nerve gas exposure but to
counteract the bite of snakes whose venom acted like nerve gas.........
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