Recon By Fire

Recon By Fire

US Rifle Company (Airmobile) vs NVA Infantry Battalion

Rifle Company (Airmobile) - 55 points


HQ - 1 pt.
2x Command M16 teams

Rifle PLT #1 - 9 pts.
7x M16 teams
2x M60 MG teams

Rifle PLT #2 - 9 pts.
7x M16 teams
2x M60 MG teams

Rifle PLT #3 - 9 pts.
7x M16 teams
2x M60 MG teams

81mm Mortar PLT - 5 pts.
4x 81mm Mortar teams


Huey Aviation PLT - 2 pts.
4x Huey 'Slicks'

Gunship PLT - 10 pts.
4x Gunships

Skyraider Support - 8 pts.
2x Skyraider w/ Napalm

1x Medevac Huey - 1 pt.
1x Medic team - 1 pt.

NVA Infantry Battalion - 55 points


HQ - 2 points
2x Command AK47 teams
1x Booby Trap

Infantry Company #1 - 21 pts
13x AK47 teams
9x B40 RPG teams
3x LMG teams

Infantry Company #2 - 14 pts
9x AK47 teams
6x B40 RPG teams
2x LMG teams

HMG PLT - 2 pts.
3x HMG teams

12.7mm AA PLT #1 - 2 pts
3x 12.7mm AAMG teams

12.7mm AA PLT #2 - 2 pts
3x 12.7mm AAMG teams

75mm RcR PLT - 2 pts.
3x 75mm RcR teams


14.5mm AA PLT - 3 pts.
3x 14.5mm AAMG

Front Artillery Company - 6 pts.
6x 130mm guns

1x Artillery Observer - 1 pt.

The entire outer edge of the map is Open Woods(tall terrain, see and be seen 12", concealment for all).  The inner circle(primary LZ) is mostly waist high elephant grass(short terrain, concealment for infantry, no sight line obstruction) with a clear patch of open clearing in the village providing no concealment.  There are hedgerows of thick jungle growth blocking line of sight(LoS) at the edge of  some rice paddies and another hedgerow breaking up LoS on the LZ.

Overall view

Overall view

US infantry PLT(1st PLT) dug-in defensively around the US OBJ

View of US OBJ and hedgerows from rice paddies

View from NVA OBJ in the woods near the village looking towards US OBJ

This mission is Hot LZ from the new Flames of War 'Nam book by Battlefront Miniatures.  The US player places one objective(OBJ) within 12" of the table center.  The NVA player places one OBJ 12" from a corner.  Players must defend the OBJ they placed while trying to capture the enemy OBJ.  The US OBJ is the crashed Huey on the large base and the NVA OBJ is the small grass hut in the woods near the village.  The US player begins the game with one PLT within 12" of their OBJ and their Huey 'Slicks' are loaded-up and loitering off-map.  The NVA player has the first turn.

Báo trước! Báo trước! (Alarm! Alarm!)

Although still morning, the recent heavy rains had caused the air to become hot and moist as the commander of K-7 Battalion, 66th Regiment was roused from sleep by his subordinate.  American sky soldiers were landing troops on the far side of the village, one platoon was already on the ground and deployed in a defensive perimeter.  He had known this day would come for he had fought these men before, near what the Americans called Landing Zone Albany.  He had seen what could happen to the imperialist forces if caught by surprise and isolated.

Giving instructions to his men, he orders the 2nd Infantry Company to defend the headquarters(OBJ) but they are slow to react and do not move quick enough as more US forces arrive on the soon-to-be battlefield.

Huey 'Slicks' laden with infantry and mortar teams start touching down on the LZ under the watchful eye of 1st PLT and a four strong platoon of gunships consisting of UH-1B Hogs and AH-1 Cobras. 

The NVA 2nd Infantry Company finally gets in position near the HQ and starts to dig foxholes but are still groggy from just waking up and fail to make any significant progress.

2nd PLT dismounts the 'Slicks' and starts moving through the elephant grass towards the northern flank of the village.  Three 81mm mortar teams also depart the transports and link up with 1st PLT.

The gunship platoon spots some NVA in the treeline on the far side of the village and unload a massive volley of 2.75" rockets on their position.  Explosions rock the ground all around the NVA platoon, causing moderate casualties and pinning down the exposed men.

But just as quickly, an NVA 12.7mm AA machine gun position opens up from the rear flank of the gunships causing one Huey 'Hog' to plummet from the sky.

Map overview

More 'Slicks', heavily loaded with 3rd infantry PLT, the last of the 81mm mortar teams, the company commander and first sergeant, touchdown on the southern part of the LZ.  Gunships engage the nearby enemy AA MG PLT with machine gun fire, pinning it down and knocking out one gun.

2nd PLT continues it's push across the field of elephant grass on the north side of the village.

The NVA 1st Infantry Company appears on the west side of the LZ and charges towards the landing American helicopters.  They are joined by a platoon of 75mm recoilless guns who fire their rounds at the landed helicopters from the treeline.

The rapidly advancing NVA infantry, led by RPG teams in the front, stop short of the landing zone to fire off a furious burst of B-40 rockets into the landed 'Slicks' and gunships above but most miss their intended targets.  One Huey 'Slick' goes up in flames as a 75mm round hits the cockpit, it's passengers tumble out haphazardly, somehow uninjured.  One RPG round hits the tail of a gunship but fails to cause enough damage to drop the bird.  The Army pilot swears like a sailor into his headset.

The remaining US infantryman pile out of the 'slicks' and immediately surround the NVA AA MG platoon that was nearby as the Airmobile transports depart .  Still rattled by the hot landing seconds earlier, the men wildly fire at the enemy AA team but all of their shots miss their intended targets and the LT decides to consolidate his men before attempting an assault.  The first sergeant joins them, the grizzled old vets commanding presence calms the nerves of the younger men.

The gunship PLT turns to fire their twin MG's at the exposed enemy infantry just as a flight of Skyraiders arrive to drop a 1000lbs. bomb on the 75mm recoilless guns in the treeline.  The US commander had requested air support twice earlier but was denied.  The resulting attacks pinned down the enemy forces but failed to cause significant damage to either platoon.

US 2nd infantry PLT continues to push towards the village from the north...

...while 3rd PLT assaults the AA machine guns that fired on the gunships earlier.  The NVA gunners die valiantly but do not cause any casualties to the imperialist invaders.

3rd PLT reconsolidates and begins it's short hike to the village.  2nd PLT is seen here approaching the ville from the north.  The men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Air Cavalry Regiment have performed a text book pincer movement as they prepare to assault the village from two sides.

The NVA infantry that had been pinned down while assaulting the landed 'slicks' is still too suppressed and fails to un-pin even while more NVA teams pop out from hidden positions all around them.  They choose instead to dig-in to try and withstand the withering US firepower.

An NVA 12.7mm AA MG platoon fires on the nearby gunships but misses...

...while an NVA HMG platoon opens up on the mortar teams that forgot to dig in near the US OBJ.  The accurate shots cause two mortar teams to be killed! 

2nd and 3rd PLT's continue to push into the village while Skyraiders drop some napalm canisters on the NVA infantry who had managed to dig-in around their OBJ.

It's a direct hit!  Screams can be heard across the village as searing heat burns out an enemy machine gun position in the house and kills several other teams in foxholes.

The gunships fire masses of hot lead from their twin MG's at the HMG and 75mm recoilless platoons in the treeline, killing all of them except for one HMG team.

Map overview

And just as quickly as they appeared, the large NVA 1st Infantry Company decides to withdrawl back in the tunnels leaving their support behind...

...only to reappear directly behind 3rd PLT who was pushing into the village!

The ambushing NVA fire into the surprised and exposed American platoon, killing one team and wounding another.  The NVA scream and shout as they assault the American position, trying to get past the US defensive fire... 

...but the withering defensive fire is too strong and forces them to fall back, they are now pinned down.

With no immediate threat to the US OBJ the gunship PLT, along with a flight of Skyraiders attempt to dislodge the dug in NVA infantry from around their OBJ but the aircraft are not very effective in doing so.

2nd PLT assaults the dug-in defenders on the north side of the village and easily wipes them out.

The pinned down NVA 2nd Infantry Company attempts to break off and flee back into their hidden tunnels but the recent heavy rains have flooded this section of underground passageways and they cannot rejoin the battle as they are stuck in dark, half submerged and muddy black holes in the ground.

An NVA artillery observer in the treeline behind the previously pinned down 2nd Infantry Company manages to range in some 130mm artillery onto the American infantry but no casualties are inflicted by the accurate strike.

NVA infantry defending their OBJ fire on the nearby US 2nd infantry PLT causing some casualties.

A platoon of NVA 14.5mm AA MG's north of the ville reveals it's position and fires on the gunship platoon from long range, missing all of it's shots.

Infantry teams pound the NVA infantry in foxholes around the enemy OBJ pinning them down and softening them up for an assault.

All resistance around the enemy HQ ends, US forces consolidate around the OBJ, securing the area.

With his forces separated and in retreat all over the area the NVA commander knows when it's time to pack it up and withdrawl.  Quickly gathering his plans and maps in a satchel he issues rendezvous orders to his message runners and silently crawls back into the safety of the tunnels, away from those who want him dead, to where he will gather his forces and wait for the time to once again be ripe for an attack.

Final map overview

Game ends in a major US victory with the capture of NVA objective.  No enemy teams were within 4" of OBJ so the US was able to secure the HQ on turn 8.  Final Score was US - 6 VP's to NVA - 2 VP's.

NVA Casualties:
3x Infantry Companies - 3 VP's
1x 75mm Recoilless Gun PLT - 1 VP
1x HMG PLT - 1 VP
1x 12.7 AA MG PLT - 1 VP

US Casualties:
1x Gunship - 1 VP
1x Huey 'Slick' - 1 VP
2x 81mm mortar teams
2x M16 rifle teams

As the US commander this was a really fun fight although pretty one-sided after turn 3 or 4.  The combination of consistent strike aircraft and hard hitting gunships was very helpful in keeping the NVA player at bay.  Anytime he popped up out of guerrilla reserves I'd hammer him back down with my close air support.  It was a great combo that kept working the entire game because the enemy AA guns were not hitting well even though they had some great opportunities.  They started off pretty well by downing a slick and gunship but didn't perform well after that.  The NVA definitely had a few chances to turn the tables though and they tried valiantly but it just wasn't meant to be.  NVA reinforcements were also troubling this game, the NVA player didn't get more than 1 platoon from reserves a turn until turn 6.  We both feel that this isn't a problem with the rule, it was simply bad luck.  Both of us learned really good lessons that we'll take into our next battles.  I learned not too leave your slicks hanging in the wind and got really lucky only losing one of them.  My opponent said that he probably sprung his large infantry company out of Reserves too early and next time he will try to hold his own OBJ using support units to free up 2 infantry platoons for attack. 

Thanks for reading and I really hope you enjoyed this after action report.  These have been a lot of fun for me and are helping to refine my tactics as I look back at my mistakes and errors during the game.  I'll probably be playing the PAVN next game, see you soon, Comrades!



  1. Nice report, good looking terrain.
    The US list is invalid though. The Gunship PLT is not support, but part of the Air cavalry troop. u need the HQ and an Aeroscout platoon to take them.

    1. Hey Jeroen, thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment. The new book allows for Formation Support (p.70) which lets you take any compulsory Unit (other than an HQ) from other Formations in your force. You could also take an entirely different Formation as well if you have the points to spare, giving you two HQ units that operate separately. Since the Gunship PLT is a compulsory unit for the Air Cavalry Troop, you can field it as Formation Support in pretty much any other US Formation you like. You are right about it not being Support though, I do have it incorrectly listed, it should be in Formation instead of Support since it is a compulsory Unit. Thanks!


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