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RAT SIX

Underground Warfare in Vietnam


By Mark Hannam Rat Six was the codename for the Tunnel rat commander The following wargame rules are loosely based upon The Tunnel Of Cu Chi by Tom Mangold and John Penycate, which tells the story of the amazing mass of tunnel systems built by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. They were inspired by Steve Walker who gave me the original idea. The men who fought these encounters on both sides were generally small in stature but bravery has never been counted in inches. The Americans who went down these tunnels to explore and flush out the VC taking part in a series of catastrophic skirmishes underground were proud to be known as Tunnel Rats. For an idea of what it must have been like - the movie PLATOON has a brief tunnel sequence with William Dafoe. This is a solo game, more meaningful if played as an episode in a larger Search & Destroy operation or an episode in a Tunnel Rat campaign. No reason why you cant even play Charlie. The Tunnel Rats used their hands and ears to grope their way forward in the dark through the tunnel complexes. Torches were reserved for combat as they could give away an approaching "rat" whilst providing a nice aiming mark for any VC. Most "rats" carried a standard Army .45 automatic, though the .38 Smith & Wesson was popular too. One "Rat" even took a Luger down the holes with him whilst "cannons" in the shape of riot shotguns, M2 Carbines with folding stocks and AK47s were carried by the second or third man in the "rat" team and passed forward as required. All "rats" carried a combat knife of some description and had been given instruction on hand to hand combat in confined spaces. Roll for number of men in the RAT team:

DIE 1 2 3 4 5 6

NUMBER OF RATS 1 1 2 2 2 3

WEAPONS 6 shot revolver 9 shot pistol 9 shot pistol each 1 x pistol 1 x shotgun 1 x pistol 1 x M16 Roll again

Action Points
Each RAT rolls D AVE to see how many action points they have each turn. To move and enter combat points have to be expended. Expend for movement and hold an amount in reserve for combat.

Movement
All movement is on hands and knees with little room to turn around. RATS may move a number of squares up to the number of action points expended (double the action points per square moving backwards.

Tunnel layout
The tunnels are represented in two dimensions only. Cut out and prepare card to form tunnel sections and chambers of varying sizes as seen from above. They are divided into squares, tunnel lengths are at most one square wide and three squares long. Chambers are different sizes according to taste. You will also need T junctions, corridor bends and markers for trap doors, stores and equipment. The RATS start at the bottom of the shaft leading from the surface. 1D6 1. Dead end (1-4 : Booby trap) 2. Straight ahead 3. Tunnel bend (1-3: left, 4-6: right) 4. Tunnel junction 5. Straight tunnel section with trap door 6. Chamber Tunnel Contents: 1,2,3 Empty 4. Water 5,6 Encounter (-1: been gunfire, +1 Booby trap) On the other side of the trap door 1. Surface (1: shot at by own side 2: fleeing VC) 2. Booby trap 3-4. Tunnel 5-6. Chamber Chamber 1. Surface spider hole (1: encounter, 2-6: empty) 2. Surface fighting post (1-2: encounter, 3-6: empty) 3,4,5. Small chamber 6. Large chamber (1,2: sleeping chamber, 3: Forward aid station, 4: Dien Bien Phu kitchen, 5: Command post, 6: Weapons/ supplu cache - only one per complex) Chamber Contents 1. Empty. Some debris showing use 2,3,4. Contents relevant to room (i.e. clothing, personal effects in sleeping chamber, medical supplies in forward aid station, raio and important documents in command post) 5. Empty but encounter 6. Contents relevant to room and encounter Encounter 1. Civilian (1-4: flees, 5-6: attacks hand to hand) 2. Single VC (1-2: flees, 3-4: attacks hand to hand, 5: fires once, 6: fires twice) 3. Two VC (as above) 4-5. NVA cadre (1,2 one NVA, 3-4: 2 NVA, 5: 3 NVA, 6: 1D6 NVA - youre in trouble; Roll again 1,2: Flee, 3-6: fight and pursue) 6. Grenade from the darkness Use these modifiers as appropriate: -1 Move full AP +1 Large chamber -1 Gunfire in tunnels +2 Booby trap +1 behind trap door

Firing
Takes 1AP and can be combined with movement at no penalty, though only the point man can fire ahead. A basic roll of 6 on a D6 is required to kill. A 5 wounds (consult table below). A second aimed shot is allowed requiring a 5 or 6 to kill, a 4 wounding. If a figure has 2 AP's left at the end of the move, it can move 1 square to cover or make a simultaneous return shot on being surprised either by movement or rifle fire.

Die 1 2 3 4 5 6

Wound Bad gunshot Genitals Arm wound Leg wound Head wound Grazed

Effect Dies next turn, must be pulled from tunnel lays screaming, must be assisted out of tunnel at speed Requires 4-6: each turn to fire move Stunned for 1 turn, then 4-6: to continue, otherwise withdraw Purple heart for free -1 to movement

Treat grenades as Firing - every figure in that length of tunnel or chamber is treated as a target AND the figure closest to grenade must roll twice for wounds.

This article was first published in issue 10 of The Gauntlet and is reproduced by kind permission of the author.

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