Mort Pour La Patrie, Day River Battles, # I: Vinh Yen by Peter D'Adamo
Design notesPlayable from both sides, but probably a bit more enjoyable as the French player.
Scenario summaryOn January 13, 1951 General Giap launched his first attack on Vinh Yen, a key road junction about 25 miles northwest of Hanoi. The town was defended by two French Groupement Mobiles (the equivalent of an American RCT) each with three infantry battalions and and artillery battalion. Against this 6,000 man force Giap committed the 20,000 men of his 308th and 312th divisions.
After some initial success, the Viet Minh were beaten back with terrible losses. Though the French were initially demoralized, de Lattre took personal command of the battle, flying into the town and launching the most intensive aerial bombardment of the war. De Lattre called in the two Morrocan battalions and a paratrooper battalion of GM2, and later, the complete GM1. The Viet Minh suffered terrible casualties- 6000 dead and 500 captured, but Giap was not deterred. De Lattre would soon be invalided back to France, suffering from terminal cancer, only to be replaced by the less daring Salan. Giap would take the time to refit in the Viet Bac stronghold and try again next year.
You must move fast to collapse resistance on the ring of hills around the town. You can expect to get pounded by air, but you needn't worry about garrisoning each objective as a small provost force will be released upon capture. Otherwise, you will not be re-inforced, and your supply situation is a bit problematic. You've got good troops, and they are surprisingly well-armed. As usual for Giap, don't worry too much about casualties. There is a chance that several of your specialist units will be withdrawn towards the end of the scenario: Make every move count!
Use your interior lines well. Historically the commander of GM3 rushed pell-mell to the rescue of his forward elements and got bushwhacked. Be careful. Let the Viet wear himself out on the plains south of the hill line where you can pound him with your overwhelming air power prior to launching counterattacks with the arriving reinforcements (GM1 and GM2). Use "Les Paras" of your parachute battalion (1BPC) to spearhead your counterattacks, followed with your armored squadrons.
SourcesAtlas of Vietnam War (Summers)
Street Without Joy (Bernard Fall)
Hell in a Very Small Place (Bernard Fall)
Scenario designPeter D'Adamo