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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Final tally, US 2 KIA, 1 WIA
VC 1 KIA, 2 WIA
NVA 5 KIA, 2 WIA
Civilians 4 KIA, 2 WIA