by W.S. McCallum
At the height of the Tet Offensive, one corner of Cholon has already felt the brunt of Free World artillery, which has largely flattened a couple of blocks' worth of buildings adjacent to a high-rise area and the Stinking Lilly Gardens, a now somewhat faded attraction left over from French colonial times.
Looking north from the city limits, the devastation is clearly visible:
The view looking southwards:
To the south-east, there is no artillery damage:
The Stinking Lilly Gardens:
The industrial estate north of the gardens is also untouched:
As is the high-rise area:
It has been reported that a rag-tag assortment of VC snipers and agitators are holed up in two city blocks that were pretty much flattened by artilery fire prior to further shelling being stopped through the influence of local business and real-estate interests:
Miraculously, girly bar row survived the shelling:
The area has already been cordoned off and is a no-go area:
And running right through the middle of the ruins is Sniper Alley:
Early in the morning, the ARVN makes its first move, deploying tanks and an armoured car to the north-east and south-east intersections in order to seal off the perimeter:
While ARVN Rangers take up positions to the north-west and south-west of Sniper Alley.....
The ARVN player's opening gambit looks like a risky one - an advance from the north, from the high-rise area:
It immediately runs into LMG fire from the roof of a building, but the result is only one stand pinned:
The ARVN Rangers return fire and the results are devastating:
The LMG team on the roof is quickly dispatched...
Along with an RPG team at street level that did not even have time to fire at the nearby tanks.
The Rangers advance along a broad front, clearing the area ahead of them, and encountering no resistance:
The small VC force, one third of which has already been wiped out, and caught in the closing ARVN trap, now has to take rapid action to achieve a break-out, or they will be flushed out into the net waiting for them to the south of Sniper Alley:
They make their move, targetting what is the weakest link in the perimeter: the lone M8 armoured car:
It is knocked out. While the snipers beat a retreat and disperse into the cover provided by the gardens to the east, the sole RPG team left fights a rearguard action, first taking out the Chaffee...
And then sneaking around to the rear of the roadblock to go for the king hit on the Walker Bulldog:
With that, the game is declared a VC victory: 3 armoured vehicles KO-ed and the snipers have flown the coop. Although the Rangers have seized their objective, their losses were ultimately too heavy and the VC body count wasn't high enough.
© W.S. McCallum 29 September 2013
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