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Beware Of The Locals: A Guide To Vietnamese Local Forces

Tour Of Duty

Beware Of The Locals:
A Guide To Vietnamese Local Forces
with Tom Leamy

The Local Forces Company opens up a fantastic way of developing your lists for the North Vietnamese. The local militias that the North Vietnamese recruited were at the grass roots of the guerilla structure with many villagers recruited and supplied by bands of roving party loyalists.

Learn more about the Local Force Company here...

Tour Of Duty
The Vietnam War defined a generation, whether it was through service in Vietnam or opposition to the war. The war in Vietnam remains one the bloodiest wars since the Second World War. 

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Tour Of Duty
With the Local Forces came three advantages for the regular North Vietnamese force. Firstly local knowledge of the terrain; secondly, local supplies to be had; and third, numbers to bolster any prolonged attack or campaign. Local Forces lacked the equipment of the regular forces but were inventive and used their local knowledge to lure Free World troops into traps and ambushes.

In Flames Of War Vietnam, the Local Resistance teams add a lot of flavour into the mix for the Viet Cong (VC) player and I tend to try and make as much use of the extra bags-o’-tricks that they have.

Beware Of The Locals: A Guide To Vietnamese Local Forces
Let’s break down the rules for the Local Forces. They can be taken as a support option for the Bộ Binh Infantry Battalion. The Local Forces have the Born in the North to Die in the South rule so you can effectively recycle these boys. The great advantage is being able to send wave after wave into the Free World defenders. Couple this with the Heart of the Revolution and the Guerilla Deployment / Reserves rules then the Local Forces can be a cheap and expendable asset to soften up any defensive position or to hit any Free World troops trying to move across the table.

They also have Quality of Quantity, so pinning these guys requires ten hits as long as you start the current phase with fifteen or more stands. For a mere 190 points you can get sixteen teams compared to 320 points for fifteen teams in a Bộ Binh Battalion. The Local Forces options really allow the North Vietnamese player to bring an overwhelming force of troops to bear. Hitting with a first wave of local boys could see the regular forces able to get their attack in with a bit more ease. Don’t forget that Charlie Owns The Night can make up for your local lads poor training and help keep them alive long enough to become a real thorn in the side of the Free World player.

Although the temptation may be to throw these troops into the fray while your main force hits the enemy in a weak spot, the Local Forces can also be very useful in other situations. They can be upgraded to carry AK47s and RPGs giving them the firepower to take on the enemy with quite high volumes of fire and even the ability to hit armour where it hurts. They can also be very useful in a defensive situation. Intermingled with smaller numbers of regular troops they can provide the bulk that will see off even the hardiest of assaults.

Beware Of The Locals: A Guide To Vietnamese Local Forces
Now for the tricks! I like to mix things up with my Local Forces and I like to use them to bulk out my Bộ Binh Battalion. While it is tempting to add all sorts of support to the North Vietnamese, I like to use the asset of numbers to try and overwhelm my enemy. However the Free World troops have a terrific amount of firepower at their disposal and any frontal assault by the VC will be met with all of it. The Local Forces can use a couple of great assets to put pressure on the Free World troops and even make them move out from their defenses.

Firstly, the Local Forces are Unidentified Forces at the start of the game. This means the Free World boys have to identify them as a threat before letting loose their amazing firepower or attempting to assault. This can give you a turn of sneaking closer to your target and positioning yourself before launching any assaults. The other advantage is that until you are identified Artillery and Aircraft cannot target you - this gives you the ability to move quickly across open ground not having to worry about those pesky observers.

Secondly, the Local Forces can use the Resistance teams to help with some nifty shenanigans. The Local Resistance is a unique weapon in the North Vietnamese arsenal; they move a little randomly and are at times a problem for the Free World to spot and flush out. The Free World player must spend valuable time and resources to do so. They have some great abilities up their sleeves too; as a start they are Independent Teams that are considered friendly to the Free World until successfully questioned. They start the game on the board outside of 12”/30cm of any Free World team. Once they’re in position you can start to use their Special Rules to change the nature of the battle for the Free World forces. Using your resistance teams is always a risk, but the payoff can be huge.

Beware Of The Locals: A Guide To Vietnamese Local Forces
Their incidental abilities; ranging in your artillery or using Eyes and Ears are useful in certain situations as well as their amusingly tragic shooting ability but I get the best use out of Guiding Reserves and Moving Objectives. I use Guiding Reserves to get troops exactly where I need them to bulk out existing forces or to force the Free World player to divide his fire. This can be critical in a clutch moment. Moving Objectives is my favourite ability. Although a little tricky to pull off, this can force a well dug in Free World platoon sitting on an objective to have to get up and be aggressive. A neat thing to do is move the objective towards your troops and spring an HMG Nest from Ambush, then use things like Booby Traps and Minefields to build an improvised fortification line. This is the perfect scenario but with your existing assets and a bit of luck the Local Resistance team can change the game.

One of the assets I like to take includes the Company HQ HMG Nests. They are deployed from Ambush and can be put to great effect because they can be placed closer than a Guerilla Ambush. There is usually lots of cover available (if there isn’t - make some more!) which means you should be able to get within 8”/20cm of Free World forces. You can use these Nests create a fresh strongpoint, attack a weak point in the Free World lines or get some firepower exactly where you need it. I will often use them to buy me a turn holding up advancing Free World troops so I can get some of my boys there to stop them. You have to be careful of Free World M72 LAWs and when they concentrate their firepower the nest won’t last long.
Beware Of The Locals: A Guide To Vietnamese Local Forces

The other assets I like to use with the Local Forces are the PAVN Fortifications; booby traps and minefields in particular. It is always worth taking some booby traps, they can be used in a variety of ways but one of my favourite uses is to plop them down to delay or disrupt Free World reinforcements or redeployments. Mine fields appearing out of nowhere can put a big dent in the Free World’s plans, it may be perverse but I do enjoy doing that.

Local Forces bring some great new options to the Nationalist player. You can use them as a blunt instrument or you can use them alongside your other assets to hit your enemy from a completely different angle. With the ability to bring the sneakiness into the game for the North Vietnamese I find using the Local Forces can be a lot of fun, if somewhat unpredictable. It is the unpredictability that makes them so appealing to me as a player but a canny North Vietnamese player will be able to fully exploit the Local Forces and the assets the PAVN can bring to the table to make not only an interesting force, but a powerful antagonist for the Free World.

Happy gaming.

~ Tom.


Last Updated On Wednesday, May 22, 2013 by Blake at Battlefront