Thursday, 8 March 2012

Operation Memphis Mangler IV

This event took place at The Defence Academy at Shrivenham on Saturday 25 February.  A multi-level Vietnam game, it was a reworked version of Paddy Griffiths's original - played 31 years earlier!  The 20+ attendees included no fewer than four grizzled veterans of the original game.
As well as the umpire team (of which your correspondent was part), there was a team controlling various NVA and VC units and a (rather larger) team representing various command levels of a US battalion.  What follows makes no pretence to be a full report of the game an much of my time was taken up umpiring in a fairly small part of the operational area.
Jim Wallman (left) and Tom Mouat deliver the introductory briefing.  The picture of the scantily clad lady was there for 'atmosphere'.  Honest.
Jim outlines the planned structure of the day.
The 'map room' contained a dozen tables, each with two copies of a map of part of the area of operations.  The two maps were separated by a screen so that, when troops were deployed each player only got his own 'view' of the battlefield.  Each map was made up of eight sheets of A3 paper which we assembled on the Friday night.
The 'Free World' team plotting and planning.  They're not getting my heart or mind.
The lavish issues of equipment included radios so that company commanders on the ground (ie- in the next room) could stay in touch with HQ.  Theoretically...
The Communist team taking a break from skulking in tunnels.  A shifty looking crowd.
NVA Battalion commander John Curry pictured as the sky turned black with US helicopters.  A better caption for this photo is invited...
This may be what John was surprised by - a load of heliborne Yanks and stacks (literally) of supplies.
Bob (left) my fellow umpire explains things to US company commander Alex.
The US forces move out from their LZ.

The initial US landing came under fire from enemy small arms and mortars.  As the US brought in air and artillery fire the NVA melted away to the north.  An attempt to follow them led to a messy scrap which sucked in and decimated two US companies.
Part of the pleasure of staging the game at Shrivenham was the presence just outside the game rooms of 'big toys', leading to directions such as "past the M110 and turn right just after the S-tank..."  I have posted photos before of the AFVs and small arms collections, but there are a few more on the way.


Paddy said...


Cool - now to cheese you off....I used to work there for 2 years and got paid to do that!


Tim Gow said...

Didn't your mother ever tell you that nobody likes a show-off?

Paul said...

Fantastic post.It sounds like a ripper of a weekend.

More eye candy please!

Tim Gow said...

Cocking about is alwas better when carried out in congenial surroundings!

Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

This looks a brilliant full on affair
I am envious at those who managed to take part!

More info please!

Tim Gow said...

Full reports with, I'm sure, loads of info will be in forthcoming issues of Nugget, the journal of Wargame Developments. Go on, you know you want to:

The European Historical Combat Guild said...

I'd like to so something like this... have a massive terrain, Like a large hall and play out the ops with 3mm toys... Or have some software that would put players in the roles of Platoon COs and up
My current campaign wil hopefully end up with a face to face game where me and my Nam gaming buddies will fold in from roles as Bn COs to company or Pltoon COs and do the action in 3mm unless I can find the right software to do it over the internet