The Battle of Long Tan – An Incoming Scenario by Matt Spooner

The Battle of Long Tan is one of the most famous battles of the Vietnam War, fought by Australian infantry against overwhelming odds. This is a Incoming! scenario by Matt Spooner and published on the new deceased Grunt! website, probably around 2000. Because Grunt! has disappeared I thought I’d republish the scenario here for the benefit of the Crossfire community. All words are Matt’s.


DISCLAIMER: Please note, this scenario is not intended to be an accurate recreation of the above action. It is intended to be a playable and enjoyable game based upon the situation and circumstances of the action.


Background

On the 16th August 1966, the base camp of 1st Australian Task Force (1ATF) at Nui Dat, came under enemy mortar fire. The attack resulted in 23 casualties among the ANZACs. While Intelligence considered that it was ‘unlikely’ that the VC were going to attack the camp, a number of patrols were dispatched to reconnoiter for any signs of VC activity.

On the 18th August, D Company/6RAR (Royal Australian Regt) were patrolling through the rubber plantation, to the north of Long Tan village, when they came under heavy enemy fire. For three hours, D Company fought for their lives against a force 25 times their size. Pinned down by mortar and machine gun fire and desperately low an ammunition, the ANZACs repelled wave after wave of assaults until they were reinforced by a relief column of APCs.

D Company suffered 17 casualties to an estimated enemy body-count of over 250 VC, and etched themselves a place in Vietnam history.


The Game

The scenario intends to put the Australian player(s) into the situation faced by D Company. They will be heavily outnumbered and their goal is purely survival. The VC can be controlled by either the Umpire or a number of players. The Australians can be exchanged for the equivalent US or ARVN formations. In fact, it may prove interesting to re-fight the scenario with each force to see how the difference in training affects the outcome.

The scenario is designed to be used with Crossfire rules by Arty Conliffe with the Incoming! supplement by Barrie Lovell. It may be modified for use with any set rules with a minimum of effort.

Figures Required

To play the scenario you need the following:

  • 2 Companies of Australians
  • at least 4 Companies of VC/NVA
  • 4 (or more) M113 APC
  • 1 UH-1 Huey

The Map

Map Battle of Long Tan

Map Battle of Long Tan

The map is a straight forward affair. The majority of the table is covered in the rubber plantation. This should be represented by trees placed at regular intervals. There are a number of paths throughout the plantation. These should be approximately 50mm wide and count as open ground.

The scrub/grass area represents an area of cleared jungle and should therefore be interspersed with patches of grass and felled trees. The jungle should be represented by trees!

Rules Modifications

The nature of the terrain requires a few modifications to the rules. Due to the fact that the plantation is basically one big terrain piece, we introduced a move distance. Each move action allows up to 20cm of movement. Reactive fire may be attempted for each move. The usual group movement rules apply.


Australian Briefing: D Company/6RAR

Two days ago, your base at Nui Dat came under VC mortar fire causing 23 casualties. While it’s thought that major enemy activity in this area is unlikely, you and companies like you have been patrolling the area around Nui Dat to estimate enemy strength.

D Company has been ordered to search through the rubber plantation north of Long Tan village. You enter the table at point B and are to move east through the plantation searching for any signs of VC activity.

Australian Forces

  • D Company/6RAR
    • 1 x Company HQ
    • 1 x FOO (Artillery Forward Observation Officer)
    • 3 x Rifle Platoons, each:
      • 1 x Platoon HQ
      • 1 x Medic
      • 3 x Rifle Sections
  • Available Fire Support
    • 1 x 105mm – New Zealand 161 Field Btty 
    • 1 x 105mm – Australian 105 Field Btty
    • 1 x 105mm – Australian 103 Field Btty 
    • 1 x 155mm – U.S. A Btty/2-35th How. Bttn

Only the FOO may co-ordinate indirect fire. The FOO may use all of the available batteries once in each Australian initiative. If the FOO is unable to co-ordinate the fire, only a single 105mm battery may be used per initiative by any other HQ stand.

The game commences at 1500hrs. At the start of each Australian initiative roll 1d6. On a roll of 5-6, add 20 mins to the game time.

At 1740hrs reinforcements arrive:

Australian Reinforcements

  • A Company/6RAR (as D company but mounted in M113 APC). Enter at point C (see map).

VC Briefing: D445 Provincial Battalion

After a successful attack on the Australian mercenaries basecamp, COSVN has ordered an attack on the base. Your battalion has been waiting in the area of the Long Tan rubber plantation. Enemy troops have been spotted moving towards your position and you have been ordered to attack. You will be supported by the men of the 275th VC Regiment.

You may deploy your troops anywhere to the east of line A-A.

All of your troops may be considered as hidden (as per hidden placement rules)

D445 Battalion

  • 1 x Bttn HQ
  • 1 x Recon Platoon:
    • 1 x Plt. HQ
    • 3 x Recon Sqd.
  • 1 x Support Platoon:
    • 1 x Plt. HQ
    • 1 x Mortar FO.
    • 2 x 60mm Mortars
    • 2 x HMG
  • 3 x Rifle Companies:
    • 1 x Company HQ
    • 3 x Rifle Platoons:
      • 1 x Plt. HQ
      • 3 x Rifle Sqd
    • 1 x Support Platoon:
      • 1 x Plt. HQ
      • 1 x 60mm Mortar
      • 1 x HMG
      • 1 x RPG team

At the start of each VC initiative, roll 1d6. On a roll of 6, reinforcements are available.

Roll 1d6 to find what is available:

  • 1-4 = VC Rifle Platoon
  • 5 = VC Recon Platoon
  • 6 = VC Support Platoon

Then roll 1d6 to find which entry point it enters from (see map).


Umpires Notes

As previously mentioned, all starting VC units must deploy east of line A-A. These troops may be hidden at the start of the game subject to hidden placement rules.

The VC player should not be aware of the potential of Australian reinforcement.

Each move action allows up to 20cm of movement. Group movement rules are applied as normal. Each movement may draw reactive fire.

At the start of each Australian initiative roll 1d6, a roll of 5-6 advances the clock by 20 mins (game commences at 1500hrs).

Each time the clock advances roll 1d6 for the weather:1-5 remains fine 6 rains begin

Should rains begin, visibility is reduced to 30 cm for the rest of the game. any troops already placed on table should remain on the table, but cannot fire or be fired upon by targets at over 30cms. Troops not yet placed on table and newly arriving troops should be moved on a map until spotted.

VC Withdrawal

A count of all VC casualties should be kept throughout the game. Once the VC player has lost 20 bases of casualties (includes weapon and command stands) he should roll a d6. A result of 6 means that the VC must withdraw. This roll should be then made for each additional base lost from then on.

ANZAC Ammo

If any Australian base should roll all 1’s when firing, that stand is deemed to have run out of ammunition. It may no longer fire and fights at –2 in close combat. If there are bases out of ammo, the Australian commander can request resupply. Resupply is by helicopter. The Australian commander rolls a d3. A 1 indicates the resupply will occur in 20 mins, a 2 that it will be in 40 mins and a 3 that it will be in 60 mins (subject to the advancing clock rules). When the resupply is due, the Australian commander nominates a point for the ammo drop. This is subject to deviation of d10 cms (d20 if raining) in a random direction. One resupply counter can resupply 3 bases, they simply move into contact. A resupply action may draw reactive fire. If the resupply counter is contacted by VC troops, it is deemed lost.


Victory Points

Victory points are calculated thus:

  • Each VC base killed = 1 point
  • Each Anzac base killed = -5 points
  • Each APC destroyed = -10 points

Total:

  • -10 or less : Major VC victory
  • -9 to 0 : Minor VC victory
  • 1 to 10 : Minor ANZAC victory
  • 10 + : Major ANZAC victory

Bibliography

My primary source of reference was the excellent THE BATTLE OF LONG TAN by LEX McAULEY. I also referred to several of the available Long Tan websites, some maintained by veterans of the battle.


Figure Availability

There are many figure manufacturers of 20mm figures.

I highly recommend LIBERATION MINIATURES. A new range of Aussies is due and the Viet Minh, VC and NVA figures are excellent.

QUALITICAST have a nice range including US troops. SHQ’s range are currently being renewed and look nice. PLATOON 20 from FREIKORPS offer an excellent range including civilians/water buffalo etc.

Copyright © Matt Spooner

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