Explosion Markers

I thought I’d have a go at making some explosion markers like those demonstrated in the recent Wargames Illustrated issue 281 March 2011.

They are relatively simple to make and I happened to have all the materials lying around to make them bar a glue gun which I bought from Homebase for 15 quid including 24 glue sticks. Let me tell you, I don’t really remember these from school but boy do I wish I’d had one sooner!

Here’s a couple of shots of the 5 I’ve made so far. The figures are 28mm TAG for size comparison. I’m pretty pleased with them but a couple of them don’t look quite right. Still a learning curve!

Explosion Markers
Explosion Markers
Explosion Markers

FNG OPS Campaign – 8th Sept

8th Sept

The replacements getting off the truck looked at the haggard faces around them and wondered what they were getting into. The firebase was still little more than a collection of muddy foxholes, men of the artillery battery trying to finish off the Basic Ammo and Supply bunker before the rain began again. Before the new draft had even had chance to be assigned to squads an even more sombre omen took their attention when a party carried a sagging body bag out to the waiting medevac chopper.

Once all the morning admin had been done, the men of 2nd and 3rd squads, 3rd Platoon saddled up and went out on ambush patrol in sector 2861. A likely trail hugging a stream was staked out and it wasn’t long before the enemy were spotted.

Table set up
US Ambush Position

The Main Force VC moved cautiously down the stream bed, a scout leading. As he reached the little ford where the trail met the stream, a fusilade of shots from the US positions spun him to the ground wounded. The rest of the VC dropped to the floor, unable to see where the firing was coming from. Since only 2nd Squad was engaged, 3rd Squad started moving around to try to get a piece of the action.

US Moving through the grass.

With the wounded man screaming, the VC pushed forward another couple of men who were again spotted and fired upon. This time some poor shooting made one of them duck back from the LMG rounds and the other was knocked down from a near miss.

VC position.

More VC ran forward, moving fast to try to cross the gap in the trees. Another fusilade of shots greeted their movement and another VC went down wounded although one of them made it across the gap. The US were having a whale of time, all the previous days of pain and losses were finally paying off, they had Charlie right where they wanted him.

With no reinforcements for the VC nor any heavy weapons and faced with a dug in enemy in good positions across a wide open killing ground and two casualties, the VC began to try to recover their wounded with a mind to breaking contact. Medic checks stabilised momentarily one of the casualties but the other immediately died. Another burst of firing as the duck back VC is wounded as well, and its all over, the VC are dragging their dead and wounded away, depriving the US of any body count. The US slip out of their positions and return to the FSB fully satisfied in a job well done.

VC bodies in the stream.

Back in the FSB the rest of the Company were able to take some time to rest, clean weapons and write letters. The light rain continued to fall but air operations were possible and two missions were slated. The first, an aerial recon flight gained no intelligence from its flight over sectors 3062 and 2962.

The second was a resounding success. A hunter killer team consisting of a Loach and two Hogs over flew a line of sectors to the East of the FSB. In the first they saw nothing of note, but the second they destroyed a suspect Sampan on the river, in the third they found troops in the open, possibly forming for a probe on the Firebase itself that evening. With rockets and gunfire they scattered the enemy troops, counting 11 dead enemy bodies before they flew on. In the last sector they destroyed several camp structures in the jungle before their ammunition ran out and they had to turn for home.

FNG OPS Campaign – 6th-7th Sept

6th Sept

Back at FSB Stamford the men of Bravo Company cleaned their weapons, their equipment and themselves. For five days they’d been in the field and this day had been their bloodiest. 7 dead and 2 wounded from 1st platoon. A crashed Huey and a desperate rescue mission. It was a day few of them would forget.

The day had begun cloudy, the operation drawing to a close and the choppers lifted them out with no contact in the morning. Only when they’d got back to base did the loss of the Huey become apparent. There were only enough birds remaining to fly second platoon back to find them and when they got there they found the enemy was there in force. A vicious firefight with the survivors holding out just about till their comrades arrived and all but the dead flight crew recovered.

7th Sept

With early morning rain hammering the tents of the FSB, Bravo’s Co opted for an easy morning. The work on the Basic Supply & Ammo Bunker was continued by the men of the battery, while 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon conducted a perimeter patrol. The rest of the men of Bravo stayed in their cots, getting as much rest as possible to recover from the past weeks’ labours. Their rest was interrupted by frantic radio calls from the patrol. A sniper had taken several shots at them, seriously wounding their blooper man. As the medic rushed out to their position however, the man bled out and an hour later they returned carrying his body in a poncho. A Medevac was waiting to greet them and the KIA was evacuated.

In the afternoon, the rain had slackened, so a Search and Destroy mission was slated for 2nd Platoon into Batti, the village directly to the East of the FSB, the suspected location for the VC sniper that had hit the patrol earlier in the day.

The contact roll dictated that a cache had been uncovered, so I told the VC player that he would have to plot a cache on table.

The plan was pretty simple for the US, advance over the paddy fields to the village, herd the villagers into the central pig pen and do some interrogating to see if we can figure out who’s VC.

Table set up.
US forces spread out in the paddy fields.

Unfortunately, the plan like most didn’t really survive first contact. A burst of fire from the village kills the squad leader, wounds a rifleman and and causes another to duck back all from 2nd Squad. Return fire knocks down and pins the NVA troops

US Casualties.
NVA knocked down.

The platoon Lt decides that the position he’s in is going to cost him far too many casualties if he presses on without dealing with the NVA. Radioing back to the FSB he calls in artillery on the hooch the fire is coming from. Rather than call a spotting round, he calls for four rounds of HE which arrive next turn. Unfortunately, the first sounds of firing have sent the villagers for their homes and the artillery lands amongst them. One round is short of the hooch, one lands smack on it and two are long, impacting into the village. When the smoke clears, several of the NVA are dead, but so too are two of the villagers with another screaming and missing body parts.

With the firing temporarily stopped, the platoon moves forward towards the village again, only to take LMG fire from another hooch on the left flank and also more from the hooch to the front. More artillery is called for, completely demolishing the hooch and killing several of the NVA.

US forces advancing.
Hooch firing on the flank of the US.

Heavy return fire kills the gunner and first squad starts to flank the hooch, getting their M60 into position to cover the door. The VC hiding in the hooch and the pen start to exit out of the back, but the US rush in through the door. One VC is killed outside the window, another throws a grenade through the window of the hooch, but the grunts hit the ground and the only casualty is the civilian who’d been trapped in there by the firing.

VC fighting to hold the hooch
M60 team able to fire on the hooch and down the side.

Back in the village the NVA squad are moving back, taking up a position where they can ambush the US once again, but realising that they are going to be heavily outnumbered and that the villagers are highly unlikely to want to cooperate with the US after the artillery strike, so they slip off and live to fight another day.

NVA moving through the village.

Final tally, US 2 KIA, 1 WIA
Civilians 4 KIA, 2 WIA