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  • #150171
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Darby,

    Yeah man, I appreciate that.  It just felt like earlier versions of Nuts! really had the feel of a scared GI quivering in a ditch, pinned down by an MG-42, but in an effort to move the game up from squad to platoon level, and to have more of a ‘leadership’ affect (I believe Ed refers to it as “acting like a squad vice a gang,” or something to that effect), it just seems to have gotten a little bland.

    In any case, yes, five tours, with plenty of opportunity for fun and despair 😉  Maybe six?   I’m really latching onto this idea of one of the boys receiving a battlefield commission, and then, after a tour as a Platoon Commander/Platoon Sergeant, they are now Company Commander/1st Sergeant (or maybe Company Gunny) and I can play some company-sized fights for the incursion into Cambodia in 1970, which I’ve wanted to do for awhile.  Then they can do their advisor tour in ’71-’72.

    Yeah, let me get this down so I don’t forget:
    Oct 65-Oct 66: 1st Tour, FNGs with line unit
    Nov 66-Nov 67: 2nd Tour, CAP/squad leaders with line unit
    Dec 67-Dec 68: 3rd Tour, Recon*
    Jan 69-Jan 70: 4th Tour, Platoon level with line unit
    Mar 70-Mar 71: 5th Tour, Company level with line unit
    Apr 71-Apr 72: 6th tour, Advisors to VNMC Bn

    *I’ve had another crazy thought: during their tour with CAP and performing as a Regional QRF they respond way out west (Laotian border), save an Agency dude and a couple guys that seem like Marines (maybe even a guy they knew from their first tour) but aren’t, who also seem like they were rescued coming OUT of Laos, which couldn’t possibly be true, right?  Anyway, the boys are intrigued and ask some questions they shouldn’t, the Agency dude makes some vague promises, and the boys are gone.  Later, when they’re with Recon, the Agency dude shows back up and they end up going ‘off the books’ for a few, maybe six, months in Laos.  How’s that hit ya?  Too crazy?  We all now know that US service members were taken off the books and paid as ‘contractors’ in Laos, and one of the most famous CIA Case Officers leading the fight was a former Marine…

    Damn…  A very ambitious (as usual) concept…

    V/R,
    Jack

    #150172
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Just caught up with the latest fight – enough good American luck at the right moments to stave off complete disaster.  The M79 doing just enough to stop the VC 2nd Squad and the dud grenade were probably the turning points for me…great report, very atmospheric.

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #150176
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Whirlwind John – Hey buddy, thanks, I appreciate it!  It was a very fun fight, and I thought the east end of the bridge was going to fall for sure, but the knuckleheads pulled it off, didn’t even have to cheat! 😉

    Darby – And scratch that company-level in 1970 idea; looks like the Corps didn’t have much going on at that point at all, that 3rd MarDiv had already packed up and left and 1st MarDiv was almost finished packing up.  I thought Marines were involved in the incursion into Cambodia, but it would appear that was entirely Army and ARVN.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #150187
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    1230 Local Time
    10 December 1965
    Que Son Valley, RVN
    Operation Harvest Moon

    While the boys were cavorting on Operations Red Snapper, Black Ferret, Blue Marlin I, and Blue Marlin II, the Viet Cong 1st Regiment had reconstituted itself, dodged various US/South Vietnamese sweeps, and concentrated in the Que Son Valley, which comprised the west end of the area of operations for Blue Marlin I. During Blue Marlin I, the Marines swept east of Route 1 and the ARVN swept west, extending their area of control out to Hiep Duc, where they established a Ruff-Puff base. The Marines pulled out on 12 November and pushed south, and that is when the 1st VC Regiment struck. On 17 November the ARVN base at Hiep Duc fell; the ARVN counterattacked the next day and by 19 November 1965 they had retaken Hiep Duc, killing 141 Viet Cong while losing 33 of their own.

    The two counterattacking ARVN battalions were pulled on 20 November to go deal with another emergency; the security situation in the Que Son Valley immediately deteriorated. III MAF met with ARVN commanders and began planning a joint operation to neutralize Viet Cong forces in the Que Son Valley. US Marine forces would be 3/3 and 2/7, while the South Vietnamese would contribute the ARVN 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment, the 3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment, 1st Battalion, 6th Regiment, and the 11th Ranger Battalion.

    Operation Harvest Moon kicked off on 9 December 1965, and it was a disaster right from the start. The Viet Cong launched attacks on the ARVN 1/5 and 1/6; the latter was repulsed, but the former overran the ARVN infantry and killed their regimental commander. The ARVN 11th Ranger Bn was also ambushed and lost over a third of its strength in less than an hour. The US Marine 3/3 was lifted in and set off to assist them but ran into a battalion-strength strength defensive position that cost the lives of 11 Marines before the VC withdrew. The boys had gotten their first helicopter ride, landing further west with 2/7, and walked all day without seeing anything or firing a shot.

    Because things were going poorly, the US Marines committed 2/1, which attempted to land near Cam La, but the LZ was hot and the helos were shot up badly enough that only one rifle company (Fox Company) was landed and the remainder were put down in alternate LZs further west. The rest of the day was spent trying to link up and cost 20 more Marines killed in action (I would loved to have gamed this but I cannot find any H-34s in 15mm-1/100 scale… If someone can point me in the right direction I’d greatly appreciate it).


    Overview, north is up. The Marines are entering via the road at bottom center left, with the Song Ly Ly on their left flank and a couple hamlets on their right. The hamlets are separated by some rice paddies, and there are several more in the north end of the area. The squad is on the far left flank of the company, with the entire company on line (off camera to bottom right) extending to the southeast; one could argue the company should be in a bit more of a tactical stance, but they have a lot of ground to cover, a lot of areas to search, and so far they haven’t run into any contact, despite what happened to the ARVN yesterday and what 2/1 was currently going through on their LZs at Cam La.


    The Marines search a hamlet for signs of the Viet Cong.


    The search complete, they move out to search the next one.


    The Marines (top left) come under heavy fire at from VC at point-blank range (bottom right)!


    As VC in the northwest (bottom left) launch a rocket at the Marines (top right, with the VC element that initiated the ambush at top left).


    Marines are dropping like flies (casualty figures at center and bottom left)! With the bulk of the squad falling back under heavy fire, only Corporal Zamora and Washington bottom left hold their ground and return fire!


    The squad is disintegrating under intense enemy pressure, but one Marine refuses to leave his wounded brothers in the line of fire, dashing through heavy fire to retrieve Deleon, saving his life…


    And helping the rest of the squad get its marbles back, at least enough to make an orderly withdrawal.

    To see the actions that saw a squad member awarded the Navy Cross, please check the blog at:
    https://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2021/01/two-brothers-fight-6.html

    Next fight coming soon.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #150318
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    1530 Local Time
    18 December 1965
    Phuoc Ha Valley, RVN
    Operation Harvest Moon

    The operation began nine days ago, and it’s been a real bastard. The boys helo’ed into the west end of the Que Son Valley, got into a helluva ambush, watched some B-52 “Arc Light” bombing raids pound the hell out of the valley, then got to walk around for another week looking at abandoned VC base camps before somebody finally realized the Viet Cong had pulled out of the Que Son Valley and were now inhabiting the nearby Phuoc Ha Valley. III MAF committed 2/9 and had them enter one end of the valley whilst 2/7, whom the boys were still attached to, entered from the other end. Both battalions soon found themselves in the fight of their lives.

    The squad found itself at the tail end of the 2/7 formation; they could hear a helluva cacophony about a klick up ahead, and they tried to make sense of the chatter on the radio, but it was crazy. It seemed that the 8th Viet Cong Battalion had ambushed the Marine battalion and were trying to isolate HQ and Hotel Companies from Fox and Golf Companies, and 2/9 was in a very similar predicament. In any case, the boys were with Golf Company, which was ordered to move off to the in an attempt to outflank the VC defensive line and breakthrough to HQ and Hotel, but on the way their mission changed.

    The Platoon Sergeant, Staff Sergeant Dunn, quickly briefed the entire squad: a section of HQ Company was separated from the main body and found itself in a running gunfight heading west. They managed to break contact but they’re beat up pretty bad and they can hear Charlie out there in the jungle looking for them. They don’t know exactly where they’re at, other than ‘in the bend in the river,’ so you’re going to go out there and be their cavalry coming to the rescue. Golf is moving east-northeast, so the rest of the platoon is gonna be the bridge between them and you, now go get’em, cowboys.”


    Overview, north is up. The Marines will enter the table in the southwest (bottom left) and follow the river northeast (top right), searching for the separated HQ Company Marines. Sergeant Garcia figures the bend in the river referenced on the radio is at top right, and there’s a nice bamboo thicket that would be perfect to hide in if one were hurt and being pursued by the enemy. The Marines are in a narrow valley, with the jungle covered slope of Hill 304 present in the northwest (top left), and a finger of Hill 412 jutting northwest from the southeastern end (bottom right) of the area of operations.

    Time is of the essence, the squad needs to find the HQ Company Marines before the VC do, or they succumb to their wounds. And Sergeant Garcia really hopes the HQ Company Marines are hiding exactly where he thinks they are, because if the squad reaches the bend in the river and hasn’t found them, they’re going to have to split up and search both sides of the river simultaneously, which is a recipe for disaster.


    The initial deployment; “Alright, take five,” said Sgt Garcia. “This fork in the river is about 100 yards south of where I’d be hiding if I was those Marines. It’s awful quiet, not sure what to make of that. Maybe they found a place to hole up and the dinks can’t find’em. Maybe they’re all dead… Or maybe it’s a trap. Alright, break time is over, on your feet!”


    But no sooner had squad (top center) broke cover than a sniper’s rifle (bottom center) rang out…


    One fireteam pushes forward aggressively to flush out the sniper…


    As the other polices up its wounded and begins falling back across the river.

    To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
    https://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2021/01/two-brothers-fight-7.html

    Next fight coming up Thursday.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #150401
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Okay Jack, caught up on the last two fights, thrilling stuff. I have to say, I wouldn’t have cheated the first VC missed kill rolls in fight six, let the chips fall where they may, I say!!!!  I liked the last fight too – tense stuff, trying (and failing) to get the sniper.  Came across as very real, that one.

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #150415
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    The Que Son valley was no joke, so much action happened there over the years.  I’m planning on running a short campaign there myself!

    (I would loved to have gamed this but I cannot find any H-34s in 15mm-1/100 scale… If someone can point me in the right direction I’d greatly appreciate it).

      I’m working on one fore Jimmi, slowly (well, 2.  One physical scratch build and one digital, we will see which comes out better).

     

    Man, that last one with the sniper was too damn realistic, really good stuff.  The interplay at the end with Zamora about MJ… felt very much like personal experience.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #150426
    Just Jack
    Participant

    John – Glad to hear it, and I had to let the bad guys re-roll, I already get accused of using ‘magic dice’ 😉  Fight #6 was actually one of my favorite fights of the entire first tour, and believe me when I say that I stacked the odds incredibly against Washington’s feats of heroics, which is why I had to give him the Navy Cross.  A few fights with ‘snipers’ in this tour, they never go well for the Marines…

    Darby – Indeed, and I look forward to your campaign in Que Son Valley. What time period/operation (s) are you looking at?

    Regarding the H-34, I actually ordered one from Germany (via EBay), but it’s now been in transit for 62 days…  I’m not sure what to do; I contacted the seller, which replied it was already delivered, but the seller also provided tracking data that clearly shows it hasn’t been.  My calls to them to follow up with Deutsche Post have fallen on deaf ears…

    Regarding the personal interactions and Marine banter, yes, I’ve definitely put a lot more of that type of stuff in these batreps then in any previous ones.    It’s something I’ve worried about; I’m hoping it pulls the reader deeper into the story, but my concern is that folks will read it and find it corny/cheesy.  The issue is that, yeah, it is a bit corny and cheesy, but what you have to understand is that 18 to 22-year old Marines actually talk like that!

    Or at least that was my experience, and writing these batreps has been a bit strange, in that a lot of the personal interaction stuff is coming from my own experiences, and I want to make sure I’m not ‘contaminating’ a Vietnam story with modern Middle East stuff, but it seems to be proving timeless.

    I’m sure someone will let me know if that’s not the case 😉  And yes, the Z and MJ thing actually happened in Iraq, but those aren’t the guys’ real names, of course.

    V/R,

    Jack

    #150450
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    0930 Local Time
    19 December 1965
    Phuoc Ha Valley, RVN
    Operation Harvest Moon

    Everyone knew the Operation was scheduled to wrap up tomorrow, then they’d return to Da Nang and get a rest as the Christmas truce kicked in. But the op wasn’t over yet; the squad was thankful for not having to stand watch the previous night, but now they were back to normal, back at it, having chowed down on some cold C-rats, brushed their teeth and shaved with some cold water, stomped in their holes, hoisted their packs, and set off into the jungle, searching for the enemy. They’d been humping for several hours already when the sound of gunfire and explosions could be heard in the distance. The Platoon called a halt and Sergeant Garcia signaled the squad to take a knee and face outboard, pulling security while he moved to Jackson and propped the radio handset between his shoulder and ear, listening and narrating for the squad. “Golf Company is on point and’s got contact… They got casualties, calling for fire and MEDEVAC… VC are attempting to flank, separate them from the rest of the battalion. Fox Company is moving right to head it off… Fox is in contact, taking casualties… Arty is pounding the VC in front of Golf, but they’re not pulling back… Air is on the way… VC in front of Fox broke contact, Fox will be on the move in about ten mikes… Air says they got dinks moving to the west, trying the other flank… Uh-oh…”

    Once again the ‘uh-oh’ was a call to action for the squad. Their platoon was being sent west to head off this new threat to the US flank, but it was a lot of ground to cover and so the three squads were assigned sectors, not really tied into each other. “The Lootenat assures me we’re not out there with our asses hanging in the wind, that Echo Company is regrouping and will be right behind us, we just gotta head the dinks off and hold’em until Echo arrives. Alright, let’s move!”


    Overview, north is up. There is a hardball road running north/south in the west (left), and you can just see the bend in a nearby river in the southeast (bottom right), while there’s a small village in the north-northwest (top center left), butted up against a low ridge in the west (far left). There’s a relatively large hill in the east (far right) that’s heavily wooded, and thick jungle dots the landscape, aside from the open areas covered by rice paddies. The Marines, harried on by Sergeant Garcia to head off the enemy, have the advantage here. They have hustled to their assigned location and taken up hasty defensive positions in hopes of ambushing the flanking Viet Cong, whom they expect to enter from the northeast (top right).


    The Marines (bottom left and bottom right) open fire on the Viet Cong (top center), catching the enemy crossing some rice paddies.


    But the VC quickly recover, returning fire with their AKs and an RPG.


    Which allows several VC to escape the kill zone, getting into the village (top right, center, and bottom left), where they work to flank the Marines.

    To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
    https://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2021/02/two-brothers-fight-8.html

    Next fight coming up Sunday night or Monday morning.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #150487
    Thomaston
    Participant

    That was a quick one. Never sleep on an ambush.

    Didn’t know the Marines took draftees too. Always thought they refused and it was an army thing.

    Tired is enough.
    R-rated narcissism

    #150489
    vtsaogames
    Participant

    Once the casualty lists from Vietnam climbed, all services got draftees. Every week our death toll was in the hundreds. For years.

    There was another source of recruits aside from the draft. A friend of mine had an older brother with a cavalier attitude toward the law. A misunderstanding with the authorities led to a judge offering him time in the slam or in the Corps. He opted for the latter.

    I also know a fellow from a younger generation who joined the Army under similar circumstances. In time he served in Desert Storm, later in Iraq and finally a stint in Afghanistan.

    This too shall pass

    #150496
    Just Jack
    Participant

    “Never sleep on an ambush.”  When the machine breaks down, we break down! Bag him!
    The fight was quick, but I figure I owe the knuckleheads a fight every once in awhile where they get the drop on the bad guys.  And yeah, the Marine Corps took draftees for a short time in both WWII  and the Vietnam War.

    And Vtsao is right about the ‘jail time or military’ recruitment as well, though my personal experience is it didn’t happen nearly as often as guys bragged about it, trying to make themselves sound hard I guess.  I even heard guys make that claim during peacetime!

    V/R,
    Jack

    #150512
    vtsaogames
    Participant

    … And Vtsao is right about the ‘jail time or military’ recruitment as well, though my personal experience is it didn’t happen nearly as often as guys bragged about it, trying to make themselves sound hard I guess. I even heard guys make that claim during peacetime! V/R, Jack

    The guy I know who served in Kuwait, etc. was given that choice in peacetime. He deployed as a reservist. I don’t know if he bragged about how he got into the service. I know the tale from his family.

    This too shall pass

    #150605
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    1430 Local Time
    13 January 1966
    An Hoa, RVN
    Operation Mallard

    Some old faces, Nelson and Griffin, had returned to the squad, and some new faces, Rivera and Tate, were picked up as replacements, bringing the squad strength to twelve Marines, nearly their T/O strength. They’d been patrolling in and around Da Nang for a little over a week when Sergeant Garcia walked into the squadbay and gave them a Warning Order: they were heading about 20 klicks south of Da Nang to support a sweep by 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines (1/3) and 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines (3/7) in and around a village named An Hoa. It seemed An Hoa was a burgeoning industrial center (or at least he South Vietnamese government hoped so), with the country’s only functioning coal mine and a newly completed railway spur located there. But the Viet Cong R-20 Battalion, recently reinforced by the 5th Main Force Viet Cong Battalion, was causing big trouble there for the ARVN assigned to protect An Hoa, so the Marines were being sent in find, fix, and destroy the VC forces in the area and evacuate about 300 villagers from small hamlets in the surrounding area into the (allegedly) better protected An Hoa village proper.

    The Marines kicked off Operation Mallard on 11 January 1966, having been trucked into staging areas the previous night. The first two days and nights were relatively uneventful, the Marines following the long established routine of humping all day before stopping about an hour before sunset to dig their night defensive positions, eat their evening chow, then spend a long, uneventful night interrupted by standing watch and sometimes a couple hours out on OP/LP before getting up the next morning to piss, brush their teeth, eat morning chow, stomp in their holes, and set off in search of the Viet Cong again.

    But on the third day of the operation they were humping the bush when local Ruff-Puffs (members of the ARVN) reported Viet Cong had occupied Hill 108 looking down on the western end of An Hoa. The boys’ platoon was attached to a company from 3/7 and dispatched to destroy the VC threatening An Hoa from Hill 108, the fear being the VC would infiltrate An Hoa and damage or destroy (again) coal mining infrastructure in the village. As the company moved west on Hill 108 it took contact from the north; the main body of the Marine company wheeled to deal with this contact, but the boys’ platoon was ordered to continue west at the double in order to cut off and prevent the VC from entering An Hoa, taking Hill 108 in the process.


    Overview, north is up. The southeast corner of Hill 108 is visible running across the top of the battle area, from top left to top center right, with the An Hoa railway spur running just below it, with a river bend in the east and southeast (bottom right). A portion of the northwest corner of An Hoa Village is visible in the southwest (bottom left), to include a concrete refinery building VC sappers had previously snuck in and blow up. The center of the tactical area is dominated by rice paddies, devoid of cover. The Marines are hustling into the area from the southeast (bottom right), where they were patrolling east of the river bend, so they’ll have to require that large open area at center.


    The Marines push across the rice paddies, towards the hill.


    The Viet Cong open fire as the Marines cross the railroad tracks.


    Nik and Danny stand tall and return fire.


    As Corporal Zamora’s fireteam (bottom center, with the rest of the squad at top left and the VC atop the hill at top right) move to flank the enemy positions.

    To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
    https://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2021/02/two-brothers-fight-9.html

    Next fight coming Wednesday night/Thursday morning.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #150763
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    1330 Local Time
    31 January 1966
    Song Ve Valley, RVN
    Operation Double Eagle

    Operation Double Eagle kicked off on 28 January 1966, with the intent to locate and destroy the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) 18th and 95th Regiments (which were believed to have infiltrated across the DMZ in December of 1965) and the Viet Cong 2nd Regiment in Quang Ngai Province, while the US Army and ARVN forces kicked off Operation Masher/White Wing just south of the Double Eagle area of operations to destroy the NVA and VC base camps believed to be located there. On 28 January the boys’ platoon went ashore with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (3/1) at Red Beach, spending a couple days patrolling in the local area without contact.

    On 30 January the boys’ platoon became attached to 2/3, while B-52 ‘Arc Light’ strikes were carried out in the Song Ve Valley. The intent was for the battalion to patrol the valley immediately following the B-52 strikes, but this didn’t happen due to poor weather in the area, so the boys spent a restless day and night shivering and soaked under their ponchos. The boys’ platoon ended up getting sent back to 2/4, which was then lifted by helo into the west end of the Song Ve Valley, from which they began their search.

    The boys’ platoon has been humping the valley all day, walking the massive line of craters created by the B-52 bombers, while other platoons paralleled them on the ridgelines to the north and south. The problem was that the boys’ platoon was massively outpacing the flanking platoons as humping was ten times easier on the floor of the bombed out valley then it was on the heavily jungled ridgelines, cut a million times by jagged ravines. The boys’ platoon seemed to call a halt every ten minutes, trying to allow the flankers to catch up, all the while having that very uneasy feeling they were being watched from those very same ridgelines…


    Overview, north is to top left, with the squad moving from west (bottom left) to east (top right). At top left is Hill 175, while there’s a low ridgeline running north-south at far right. Other than that it’s thick jungle broken up only by the craters, burned out areas, and rubble piles left in the wake of the B-52 strikes.


    The squad pushes east. It’s slow going as the point element takes many breaks to stop, look, and listen for signs of trouble, and the rest of the squad uses that time to search the area. “Look at that, man, VC were definitely here!” said Nelson. The squad was finding all sorts of broken weapons, ammo crates, fuel drums, pieces of bodies, even an overturned truck! “Yeah,’ replied Corporal Little, “looks like the Arc Lights hit a VC base camp. Good on’em.”


    Danny and Tate (top right) are nearing the end of the debris field, with the rest of the squad pulling up behind them, eager to get out of the open area. Nikki (bottom center) paused for a moment for another sip of nice, warm water…


    At exactly the moment a burst of AK fire broke out from atop Hill 175 (bottom left)…


    And it is immediately joined by another AK from the west (bottom left, with Hill 175 off camera to top left), firing on the Marines (top center/left) from behind!


    As the 7.62mm rounds come in, they find flesh! Nikki (bottom right) is struck, drops his canteen, and falls next to it on the jungle floor! Rivera, next to him (red bead) is suppressed, while Cpl Little (yellow bead at top left) is pinned.


    Danny and Tate (bottom right) immediately face about and begin working back, trying to find the threat, as Sgt Garcia, Cpl Zamora, Holmes, and Jackson (center/left) all hop into nearby craters, seeking cover, peering over the rim to try and discover the location of their tormenters.

    Danny listened intently, and all thoughts of the enemy disappeared when he didn’t hear the sound of the M-60 firing, knowing it could only mean one thing. To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
    https://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2021/02/two-brothers-fight-10.html

    Next fight coming up Sunday night/Monday morning.

    V/R,
    Jack

     

    #150788
    Thomaston
    Participant

    Damn! The casualty list. Was only a few fights ago they had a full squad. So Danny out rant Nikki now?

    Tired is enough.
    R-rated narcissism

    #150792
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Yeah, and the casualties will only get worse.

    “So Danny out rant Nikki now?”
    I’m not following, what do you mean?

    V/R,
    Jack

    #150821
    Thomaston
    Participant

    out rank

    Tired is enough.
    R-rated narcissism

    #150850
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Ahh, I thought you meant “outran,” and went and reread both batreps trying to figure out what you were talking about.

    But yeah, Danny now outranks Nik, but they’re so tight I can’t foresee it becoming a problem.

    V/R,

    Jack

    #150854
    Thomaston
    Participant

    I’m wondering more about how will Nikki catch up, but I guess he got a Purple Heart now?

    Tired is enough.
    R-rated narcissism

    #150870
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Largely they will be the same rank, and I don’t really see a rivalry between them in terms of striving for rank, they’re too good of buddies to worry about that and just want to make sure they stay together.  Now, competing for Purple Hearts, that’s a whole separate issue 😉

    I do keep thinking about one of them performing an act of valor and receiving a battlefield commission, which actually helps them stay together as one could be the Platoon Commander and the other the Platoon Sergeant, then Company Commander and First Sergeant.  See, if they both become SNCOs they won’t be able to (logically) stay together; a platoon only has one Staff Sergeant, for example.  It can be overcome: one is a SSgt and the other a Sgt, but as soon as either (or both) get promoted I’ve got problems.  We’ll see.

    V/R,

    Jack

    #150871
    Thomaston
    Participant

    You mentioned they’ll go to Force Recon eventually, so they have to make Sgt? It could be a way to get around the same rank thing. I’m guessing one will wait for the other to make the rank before they both go to Force Recon. Wouldn’t the one becoming an officer get transfered to another unit?

    Tired is enough.
    R-rated narcissism

    #150884
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Thomaston,

    As I understand it there were plenty of Lance Corporals and Corporals in Force Recon during the Vietnam War, that the requirement to be a Sergeant for Force didn’t start until the mid/late 80s when Force Recon moved more into Direct Action missions and away from strictly Deep Reconnaissance.

    As a side note, on my first two floats we had an Amphibious Recon Platoon (ARP, the ‘regular,’ recon battalion guys) and the “DAP,” or Direct Action Platoon, which was shooters from Force.  My last float we had ARP and the DAP was no longer the DAP, it was now the DRP, or Deep Recon Platoon, which was moving away from being shooters and back to its doctrinal role since MARSOC was being stood up (which was called “Det 1” at that time).

    One of the boys becoming an officer would also really help out with my idea of having them become advisors to a VNMC battalion towards the end of the war.  And yes, a guy getting commissioned would leave the unit, being sent back to the States for officer training (OCS and TBS, then IOC for grunts), then be assigned to a new unit upon commissioning.  But I figure since they’re in combat I can maybe skip the ‘go home’ part, pin him, get him sent to another unit, and have the other request a transfer to follow him.

    I’m liking this idea more and more the more I think about it.  I’ve already got a framework in my head of how it can play out, and which one it should be, but the problem is that whenever I try to nudge something a certain way the dice absolutely refuse to cooperate…

    V/R,

    Jack

    #150941
    Thomaston
    Participant

    Well, you got me rewatching Platoon.

    Tired is enough.
    R-rated narcissism

    #150944
    Just Jack
    Participant

    A classic, to be sure!

    Gotta follow it up with some Full Metal Jacket, Seige of Firebase Gloria, and Uncommon Valor.

    V/R,

    Jack

    #150949
    Thomaston
    Participant

    “Seige of Firebase Gloria”

    Thats the only one I haven’t heard of, gotta check it out.

    Tired is enough.
    R-rated narcissism

    #150985
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Yeah, it’s cheesy, but it’s got Lee Ermey, so why not?

    V/R,
    Jack

    #150994
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    1330 Local Time
    1 February 1966
    Song Ve Valley, RVN
    Operation Double Eagle

    Danny was severely unhappy; first Sergeant Garcia had split he and Nik up by putting them in different fireteams, and yesterday Nikki got hit and MEDEVAC’ed to the rear. Despite being in country with the squad for three and a half months now, he felt completely alone without his best friend. After the helos came and resupplied the company, then left carrying their wounded safely away, the company dug in and occupied its night defense positions, posting OP/LPs and going to 50% in the holes. Danny found it impossible to sleep, it was the first time in the field that he and Nik weren’t sharing a hole. The company was up before dawn, and after a quick piss, brushing of the teeth, and some cold C-rats, they stomped in their holes, hoisted their packs, and began sweeping north up the Song Ve Valley.

    It was the squad’s turn on point when Sgt Garcia called them to a halt, told them to take a knee while he checked the map and checked in on the radio. They were currently atop a finger of Hill 133, but about to come down into some relatively open terrain, with ridgelines to their left (northwest) and right (southeast), as they pressed ahead to check out a fishing village in the northeast. “Alright, Thomas, you take point, and take it easy, take your time, I got a bad feeling about this one.” “Roger, Sergeant G,” replied Danny.


    Overview, north is up. Hill 133 is in the southwest (bottom left), while ridgelines dominate to the northwest (top left) and southeast (bottom right). There’s a hardball road running north-south through the center of the area, with a cluster of rice paddies across the center/left, while thick stands of trees screen the approaches to the village, which sites in the northeast (top right), as well as box in the rice paddies to the west.


    The squad is down to seven effectives…


    The patrol pushes ahead (center to bottom center to bottom right)…


    But then, as they reach the road, a Viet Cong bunker opens fire!

    To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
    https://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2021/02/two-brothers-fight-11.html

    Next fight coming soon.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #150998
    Thomaston
    Participant

    “Danny found it impossible to sleep, it was the first time in the field that he and Nik weren’t sharing a hole.”

    Dude, phrasing.

    That sweep was too effective and now the VCs are all gone.

    Tired is enough.
    R-rated narcissism

    #151015
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Simmer down, Francis 😉

    “That sweep was too effective and now the VCs are all gone.”
    I’m not sure that’s the case.  Or, to put a finer point on that, they capped a bunch of Marines and got out of Dodge…

    The next game sees the beginning of Operation Utah, the first stand-up fights against the North Vietnamese Army, and my favorite string of games in the whole first tour.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #151134
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    1500 Local Time
    4 March 1966
    Near Hill 50, Quang Ngai Province, RVN
    Operation Utah

    “So, you really think we’re gonna get out and tangle with the North Vietnamese?” Nikki asked Danny. “Hell, I dunno man. On the one hand, look around, we got all these boots, loads of new gear, everybody’s fired up like it’s the 4th of July. But hell, dontcha remember, they said the same thing about Operation Double Eagle.”

    This time HQ had it right: Operation Utah was the Marine Corps’ first contact with the North Vietnamese Army, and it was a doozy. At 0900 on 4 March 1966, US Marine helicopters lifted an ARVN battalion into an LZ 7 miles northwest of Quang Ngai City; heavy antiaircraft fire was encountered, downing a Marine UH-1 Huey and an F-4 Phantom! The ARVN didn’t encounter much resistance once they were on the ground, and they begin maneuvering towards a cluster of hills, Hill 50, 97, and 85. The helos returned to Chu Lai to pick up the waiting Marines of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines (2/7), and began ferrying them back to Quang Ngai, but only one platoon of Kilo Co, 2/7 (K/2/7) was able to be inserted before another hellacious bout of antiaircraft fire cut loose. K/2/7 was isolated for about 15 minutes before the rest of Kilo could be landed, followed by G/2/7 and the battalion’s Command Group, which was complete by 1130 local time. The boys were with H/2/7 as part of the third wave, waiting for the helos to return, and were shocked when their pickup was delayed because so many of the twenty of the helos had been shot full of holes, and two of the UH-34s had been shot down! Another helo squadron was quickly scrambled to support, and by 1300 on 4 March 1966, the boys were on the ground in Quang Ngai Province, north of the cluster of hills.

    Golf and Kilo had taken Hills 85 and 97 against very light resistance, while the ARVN were working on Hill 50, which was beginning to show sings of being a tough nut to crack, so much so that the ARVN battalion commander was now desperately pleading for 2/7 to support them. As word came in that the ARVN and US Marines were facing the 21st North Vietnamese Army (NVA) Regiment, and that the NVA intended to stand and fight, the Marines’ overall commander, General Platt, immediately called up reinforcements, in the form of 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, which would be landed the following day, 5 March 1966.

    It took awhile to get into position because the ARVN had been held up and thus weren’t where they were supposed to be, but LtCol Utter (2/7’s commander) got this companies reorganized and moving, now east to west against Hill 50 with Fox Company on the left, Golf in the center, and Hotel on the right, with the ARVN to the battalion’s left. Fox Company’s job was to maintain contact with the ARVN, Hotel’s job was to screen the battalion’s open right (southern) flank, while Golf Company was charged with securing Hill 50.

    Naturally, the boys’ platoon was now attached to Golf Company; “Up and at’em, @#$%birds, time to go earn your pay,” Sergeant Garcia said, and they fell in on the far left flank of Golf Company, which was moving east in a company-sized skirmish line, not yet taking fire, though they could hear sounds of battle to their left, where the ARVN were engaged.


    Overview, north is up. The center of the west side of Hill 50, showing signs of earlier airstrikes by Marine A-4s and F-4s, runs north to south across the east (right) side of the table, where you can see the hill is honeycombed with NVA defensive positions. There are a few clumps of dense jungle present, but mostly it’s the hill and the open rice paddies to the west, which the Marines will be crossing in skirmish line.

    The NVA are now occupying their defensive positions: the North Bunker (top center), the South Bunker (bottom right), the AAA Position (top right), and the trenchline running across the hilltop. There is a destroyed bunker at bottom center (taken out by the airstrikes). The Marine mortar team has taken up positions in a hedge in the southwest (bottom left), while the entire squad is fanned out in skirmish line from top left to bottom center left. 1st Fireteam is on the far left, then 2nd Fireteam, the Squad’s command group, and 3rd Fireteam.


    A traditional fight: the opposing forces, with the Marines on the left and the NVA on the right. The squad is actually overstrength, with sixteen men, two above their allotted table of organization strength.


    And they’ve got a 60mm mortar team attached!


    The Marines inch their way forward under heavy fire, taking casualties, in order to close with the NVA bunkers.


    Despite a plethora of difficulties, a handful of Marines reach the enemy trenchline on the right flank (left center)!

    To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
    https://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2021/02/two-brothers-fight-12.html

    Next fight coming soon.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #151182
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Dude that was a rough one.  Zam taking the B-40… ouch.  Luck only lasts so long in that kind of fight.  Good stuff my man!

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #151194
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Darby,

    Yeah man, a helluva fight and a helluva lot of fun.  I played five fights for Operation Utah, and they were my favorites of the entire first tour.

    And yeah, that sucked about Zamora.  He was one of my favorites and I had big plans for him continuing down the path with the boys, but ’twas not to be.  He’d already dodged the bullet several times (err, sort of; I guess I should say “he’d already gotten several dramatic scars”), but his luck didn’t hold out.  He certainly was a bullet magnet…

    I appreciate it man, glad you liked it.  Fight #12 marks the halfway point through the first tour.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #151387
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    1700 Local Time
    4 March 1966
    Near Hill 50, Quang Ngai Province, RVN
    Operation Utah

    The squad crept northeast through the rice paddies, hustling from cover to cover as best they could, the sounds of gunfire to their front, right, and rear. It felt very strange hugging the west side of Hill 50, knowing NVA were still up there, somewhere, but they were in a hurry. They had to get up, through the village, and into contact with Fox Company, knowing the NVA had probably infiltrated between them and the Marines on the far left flank. Not to mention, they really didn’t want to get caught out in the rice paddies, all alone, knowing the battalion had precious little troops available to send to bale them out, and pretty much all the air and artillery assets were being used in support of the rest of the battalion, with all three companies in contact. “Let’s go,” Sergeant Garcia hissed, “keep it moving.”


    Overview, north is up. The village of Khanh My (1) is at top right, the northwestern tip of Hill 50 runs from right to bottom center right, with enemy trenchlines, which appear to be abandoned, and craters from earlier air and arty strikes visible, along with several patches of dense jungle. In the northeast (top right) is a similar patch of dense jungle, which leads to the isolated Marines of Fox Company, while the left side of the table is nothing but rice paddies dotted with a few hedges. The squad will enter from the southwest (bottom left).

    You can see the squad moving across the rice paddies in the southwest (bottom left), some Marines from Fox Company in the northeast (top right, in the jungle), in a fight with NVA off camera to top right, while the NVA involved in this fight are coming down off of the north end of Hill 50 and occupying the village of Khanh My (top center).


    The Marines push north (you can see the pointman, Rivera, in the narrow paddy at left top, followed by the rest of the squad), nearing the ville (top right). Private White (bottom left) is ‘tail-end Charlie,’ and he’s keeping a nervous eye cast up Hill 50 (far right).


    And, after all the nervous, tense waiting, it happens: NVA in the trenchline running through the village open fire on 1st Fireteam (top left)!


    Nikki gets into position (bottom right) and gets the M-60 going, sending a steady stream of tracers into the village (top center), which allows 1st Fireteam to pull back into cover behind a paddy dyke (far left).


    Nik (center top) continues laying down fire as Danny (bottom left) moves up the slope of Hill 50, looking to flank the NVA positions in the village (off camera to far right).


    Nik and Danny take a quick breather next to the body of an enemy soldier.

    To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
    https://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2021/02/two-brothers-fight-13.html

    Next fight coming soon.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #151668
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    1800 Local Time
    4 March 1966
    Near Hill 50, Quang Ngai Province, RVN
    Operation Utah

    2nd Battalion, 7th Marines had been in contact all day; even before they were landed via helos they were taking fire on the way in, heavy enough that two Marine choppers and an F-4 Phantom had been shot down, and more than 20 helicopters had been damaged badly enough they’d had to head back for repairs, necessitating another helicopter squadron be committed to the fight. Once on the ground, the Marines joined an ARVN battalion that landed before them, and it was being mauled by North Vietnamese Army (NVA) defenses on and around Hill 50. 2/7 sprung into action, basically coming online and pushing east, with Fox Company to the left (north), tying in with the ARVN, Golf Company in the center, and Hotel Company on the right (south). The ARVN were hard pressed and weren’t keeping up with the Marines, so Fox Company was pulled farther and farther north as Golf and Hotel struck the NVA defenses on Hill 50. Now it was the Marines turn to be mauled; the enemy were numerous, well-armed, and dug in, letting the Marines get close enough so that it was very difficult to leverage supporting air and artillery (“hugging the belt”). The Marines, Golf Company in particular, were able to breach the enemy defenses on Hill 50 in several places, but they were spread too thin and didn’t have any reserves to exploit the success. And then battalion realized another problem brewing; while Golf and Hotel were essentially ‘stuck in’ and not going anywhere on Hill 50, a gap had opened between Golf Company and Fox Company, with NVA pouring into the gap, near the village of Khanh My.

    The boys had accompanied Golf Company on its assault of Hill 50, reaching the enemy trenches but not able to push past, while suffering heavy casualties. They settled into a bit of a stalemate (like the rest of Golf and Hotel), but were then pulled back and sent north to reestablish contact with Fox Company, where they had a short, sharp firefight with a squad of NVA, sent them packing, and linked up with Fox. But now Hotel Company was being counterattacked by NVA on the southern side of Hill 50 and was in danger of being overrun, so the boys were sent south to help them out.


    Overview, north is up. Enemy entrenchments atop the southern tip of Hill 50 are visible at far/top right, while the northern tip of the village of Chau Nhai (5) (not to be confused with Chau Nhai (3), which we’ll see tomorrow), and the rest is scattered jungle. The beleaguered Marines of Hotel Company have withdrawn into a relatively small defensive perimeter to fight off the marauding NVA, the northern tip of which is visible at bottom left, while the squad will be entering from the northwest (top left), seeing to relieve pressure on Hotel Company.

    You can see several Marines from Hotel Company in the jungle to the southwest (bottom left); the rest of their perimeter stretches off camera to the south, where they are already heavily engaged by attacking NVA infantry. The squad is entering in the northwest (top left), as the NVA Platoon, split in half, is entering through the village (bottom center) and streaming down Hill 50 (center right).


    The NVA push through the dense undergrowth (top left to bottom right), closing in on the Marine positions (top right)…


    Where they launch an RPG!


    Doc is treating the wounded (far left)…


    As Nik (bottom left) keeps the M-60 hammering away…


    And Danny moves to the flank (bottom right), where he’s able to catch the NVA (top left) with enfilading fire!


    But the NVA have already dispatched three men (far right, from bottom left) to flank him (just visible at top right, behind the bamboo)!

    To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
    https://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2021/03/two-brothers-fight-14.html

    Next fight coming soon.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #153659
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    2300 Local Time
    4 March 1966
    Near Hill 50, Quang Ngai Province, RVN
    Operation Utah

    2nd Battalion, 7th Marines had been in contact all day, for the first time in a stand-up, knockdown drag-out fight with the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) in and around Hill 50. The Marines had been in heavy combat, and while they’d certainly put a hurtin’ on the NVA, they’d taken a pretty good beating themselves. They’d managed to break contact, fall back to the south, and establish a night defensive position, where they could treat and evacuate their wounded, replenish their ammo, and grab a bit of grub and rest. But while things were relatively quiet on the ground, Marine Air was having a helluva time, drawing heavy fire every time they came near Hill 50. Three helos and an F-4 Phantom had already been shot down, and approximately thirty more choppers shot up by NVA antiaircraft weapons, mostly Dshk 12.7mm heavy machine guns, which the Marines often referred to as “.51-cals”.

    But the Marines cut a lucky break; firing to the southwest drew the attention of one of the battalion officers, who grabbed a few Marines and headed over to check it out. “I’ll be damned,” he thought, somehow the NVA gotten a .51-cal HMG in behind them, dug into a trench and expertly camouflaged. The officer headed back into the Marine perimeter to inform the Colonel what they’d found. The decision was made to launch a raiding party to destroy the NVA anti-aircraft emplacement. Not long after, Corporal Little was informed he’d be leading the raiding party.


    Overview, north is up. 2/7’s night defensive position in Chau Nhai (4) is off camera to top right. At top right is a small knoll that Corporal Little used to screen the squad’s approach on the enemy AA Position, which is located to the south (bottom center/left). There is a thick patch of jungle in the southeast (bottom right), while the rest of the table is covered with scattered rice paddies, one of which has a stand of trees located nearby (center top).

    Overview, this time with troops. The NVA are manning their AA emplacement, with everyone in the trench except a single sentry out on foot, to the south (in the trees at bottom left center), while Cpl Little has placed his base of fire element in the copse of trees in the center, and led the assault element up to the dense stand of trees to the east (center right).

    The plan is for the base of fire element to get into place while Cpl Little and the assault element cover from the knoll. Once Jackson signals Cpl Little the base of fire element is in place, Cpl Little will begin moving the assault element into their jump-off positions at the corner of the western point of the patch of jungle in the southeast under the cover of a pre-arranged fire mission by the battalion’s 81mm mortars. Once the mortars lift the base of fire element will engage the AA position while Cpl Little leads the assault element into the east end of the enemy trench, clearing west to destroy the NVA’s HMG.


    A look at the NVA position: two riflemen in the west (bottom left), the HMG in its emplacement (center left), two riflemen in the east (far right), a picket to the south (in the trees at center right), and the NCO, LMG, and a rifleman in the center (center top).


    The base of fire element gets into the copse of trees in the center (right), signals Cpl Little, and he begins moving the assault element up (bottom left).


    The battalion mortars begin pounding the NVA trenchline…


    Covering the approach of Cpl Little and the assault element (bottom left, with the base of fire element off camera to far right and the NVA position at left/top). Cpl Little peers out around the copse of trees. “Well, I guess we’re ready,” he murmurs as he signals Jackson with a red penlight, letting the base of fire element know the assault element is ready to jump off.


    The mortars lift and the base of fire element (bottom right, with the assault element at bottom left) cuts loose, Rivera on the M-60 and McCaffrey pumping 40mm HE rounds and flares out of his M-79…


    Corporal Little leads the assault element forward (right, from far right), at the NVA trenchline.


    But NVA fire catches them in the open, hitting White and Floyd while pinning Nik and suppressing Cpl Little!


    Only one Marine would make it into the NVA trench, for which he would be awarded the Silver Star.

    Please check the blog for the whole story:
    https://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2021/03/two-brothers-fight-15.html

    More to follow.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #153982
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    1330 Local Time
    5 March 1966
    Near Hill 50, Quang Ngai Province, RVN
    Operation Utah

    Earlier this morning 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines pulled back and the boys humped over to join 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines, which was now charged with securing Hill 50. The squad linked up with 3/1 and was briefed on the plan to assault Hill 50 from the northeast, with ARVN units attacking further west; as a matter of fact, the ARVN were claiming they had already secured Hill 50. However, preliminary recon by 3/1 proved that was not the case. So the battalion marched south, to its jump-off positions, where the Marines flopped down in the grass to enjoy a nice C-ration lunch and enjoy the show put on by the 105mm howitzers of 12th Marines and assorted airstrikes by Marine A-4 Skyhawks and F-4 Phantoms. The Marines even joined in with the occasional ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs,’ as napalm sent flame and roiling black clouds into the sky, as Willie Pete burst on the slopes, sending its white tendrils in every direction, or a string of 500-pound bombs went off, sending shockwaves across the valley. All a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend one’s lunch hour.

    “Look at all that,” Rivera exclaimed. “This’ll be a walkover, nobody could survive all that pounding.” “Don’t kid yourself, Rivera,” Cpl Little replied. “Don’t any of you kid yourself, there’ll be plenty of dinks up there waiting for us, and they’ll be plenty pissed of, just like yesterday. So you keep your @#$% wired tight, we’re gonna be in for another helluva fight, and we’re gonna need everyone pulling his weight,” said Cpl Little, shooting a glance at Contreras. “And I do mean everyone.”


    Overview, north is up. The northeast corner of Hill 50 is visible from far left to bottom center, with two NVA bunkers present, linked by communications trenches and otherwise dotted by patches of jungle and craters from the Marine artillery and airstrikes. Too the southeast is the western end of the village of Chau Nhai (3), which is known to be fortified and occupied by the NVA as well. The squad will be entering from the northeast (top right), looking to make use of the few hedges and thickets of jungle offering cover amongst the slew of rice paddies.

    The NVA have both bunkers occupied with troops, men in the trenchlines in the west, and several men manning the trenchline in the ville (bottom right), while the Marine squad is in its jump-off position (top right), ready to launch their assault.


    Nik hammers away with his M-60 (bottom right) at the bunkers atop Hill 50 (top center left) as Cpl Little leads the assault element forward (center, from right), looking to get into that stand of trees below the hill (far left).


    The assault element reaches the copse of trees (far right), then begins pushing into the ville (far left).


    But they’ve gotten away from the base of Hill 50 (center left top), far enough that the NVA in the East Bunker (bottom right) can spot them and open fire…


    A Marine is hit (casualty figure in the grass at right, between the craters and the urns) and Doc fearlessly dashes forward to treat him, ignoring the torrent of NVA fire coming his way.


    Two Marines (left and center) are able to work their way out of the village (far right) and clamber up the slope of Hill 50, towards the East Bunker (just visible at far left).


    The NVA in the East Bunker saw movement go off to their right and realized they are being outflanked, so they fall back out of the bunker and come left to meet the threat…

    To see how the fight turns out, please visit the blog at:
    https://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2021/03/two-brothers-fight-16.html

    Next fight (the last of Operation Utah) coming soon.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #153985
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Just been catching up on March’s games, more great stuff. I particularly enjoyed 14, for some reason, the sense of intensity really came across.

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #153991
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Thanks, John.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #154006
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    Dude, Cpl Little is a killing machine, the OG Bionic Gyrene!  Hopefully he can keep his heroics up and not catch a slug.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

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