FAST-VAL: A Study of Close Air Support (A Briefing Summarizing the Comparisons of Model with Combat Results and Illustrating the Influence of Supporting Arms on Fire-fight Outcomes)
Jan 1, 1971
One of a series of FAST-VAL studies comparing simulated small-unit combat engagements in Vietnam with actual combat results. In this report, a 37-man U.S. Marine infantry platoon attacks North Vietnamese troops hidden in clumps of trees. The platoon commander first estimated the enemy as a squad. When fired on by small arms, 2 or 3 machine guns, and a mortar, he perceived that he faced an NVA company and was ordered to withdraw. Because of this order, the simulation does not significantly relate the effect of casualties to performance. However, the outputs reflected all aspects of the reality that were simulated. The case study is confined to the actions of the platoon during the 1 or 1 1/2 hours from initial contact with the enemy until the difficult withdrawal was completed. Computed Marine casualties, as a percentage of Marine strength, did not differ significantly from reported casualties. Methods used in calculating expected damage, and an interview with the Marine lieutenant, are appended.