RECON: Body Armor

In the original Revised RECON there are no rules for personal armor, claiming that “against high-powered rifle ammo, the flak vest was worthless”. This blanket statement, however, fails to take into account factors such as range, glancing shots, and protection from shrapnel, flak and concussive force.

To include more realistic handling for armor in RECON, the following forms of personal protection may be used by characters in ‘Nam:

M52A Flak Vest
Weight: 8.5 lbs
Protection: Absorbs 6 points of damage (torso)
Merc Cost: $250
Used By: Stateside army soldiers and aircrew (pre-1969) and vehicle crews.

M55 Flak Vest
Weight: 10 lbs
Protection: Absorbs 8 points of damage (torso)
Merc Cost: $250
Used By: Stateside marine soldiers.

M69 Flak Vest
Weight: 8.5 lbs
Protection: Absorbs 8 points of damage (torso)
Merc Cost: $350
Used By: Stateside army soldiers (post-1969).

Aircrew Body Armor (“Chicken Plate”)
Weight: 30 lbs
Protection: Absorbs 12 points of damage (torso)
Merc Cost: $500
Used By: Stateside aircrew and helicopter door-gunners (post-1969).

M1 Combat Helmet
Weight: 3 lbs
Protection: Absorbs 6 points of damage (head)
Merc Cost: $100
Used By: Stateside soldiers (marines, army, MPs, etc.) as well as the ARVN.

CVC T-56-6 Helmet
Weight: 3 lbs
Protection: Absorbs 6 points of damage (head)
Merc Cost: $120
Used By: Stateside armor crews.
Notes: Built-in microphone headset; -5 to AL when worn (due to restrictive fit).

AFH-1/APH-5 Flight Helmet
Weight: 3.4 lbs
Protection: Absorbs 4 points of damage (head)
Merc Cost: $140
Used By: Stateside aircrew (pre-1970).
Notes: Built-in microphone headset; -5 to AL when worn (due to restrictive fit).

SPH-4 Flight Helmet
Weight: 3.4 lbs
Protection: Absorbs 4 points of damage (head)
Merc Cost: $160
Used By: Stateside aircrew (post-1970).
Notes: Built-in microphone headset.

Vietnamese Pith Helmet
Weight: 2 lbs
Protection: Absorbs 2 points of damage (head)
Merc Cost: $75
Used By: NVA soldiers and officers.

Body armor such as the above will not likely save a character against powerful weapons and/or against a high damage roll, but it can make a difference between life and death against lighter weapons, booby traps, shrapnel and low damage rolls (i.e. “glancing shots”).

Note that the VC and NVA do not wear any body armor; even the NVA-issue pith helmet is designed for sun – rather than ballistic – protection.

 

Armor and Morale:

If you are using the new Morale rules (found here), body armor will effect this stat.

One of the main reasons – aside from weight – that many soldiers dislike wearing body armor in Nam is discomfort; flak vests are hot! Thus, wearing any of the above body armor in hot and/or humid conditions (Nam is both!) gives the wearer a -5 penalty to Morale. This penalty does not apply to helmets (unless otherwise noted), is not cumulative and only takes effect while the armor is worn.

 

Designer Notes:

The above rules and stats are based on material originally published on Erik Growen’s now-defunct RECON fansite from the early 2000’s. The original text of his post on personal armor is replicated below, for the sake of comparison and transparency.

BODY ARMOUR

This comes down to a difference of opinion between myself and the authors.  In the game the following statement is made: “NO FLAK VEST: 4 pounds of useless, dead weight. Against high-powered rifle ammo the flak vest was worthless. This also explains why there are no rules for personal amour in the RECON system.”

Having served in the forces and having had experience with the items in question, I have to totally disagree with the statement. It ignores such factors such as range (if the AK was fired at long range the round might not penetrate. It also ignores the possibility of glancing shots). Besides, if they were really of no use whatsoever, why did the Marines insist on wearing them throughout the war? Due to these factors (and a few others) I have implemented the following simple rules:

Flak Vest absorb 8 points of damage.
Steel Helmets absorb 6 point of damage.

These numbers will not save you if the roll for damage is high, but they can make a difference if the damage roll was low (glancing round).

Vietnam_Marine_FlakVest_01
US Marine at Khe Sahn. Note the Flak Vest & Helmet.

2 thoughts on “RECON: Body Armor

  1. Hello Mr. Banjo
    I did a super elaborated excel sheet to create and play chracters in Recon, I would like to share it with you, sadly it is in spanish because i did it to play with my friends who speaks spanish, you coud give me your email so I can send it to you and you can check it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d love to talk more about RECON with you! There are very few people I’ve met that know the game, much less play it! I’m afraid I don’t understand Spanish but would be happy to help however I can.

      I am curious to ask: will you be using any of my homebrew rules in your Recon games, such as Morale and Pain Threshold?

      Also, I actually have a post coming up about character creation that adds a few “pre-war” skills to better flesh out characters, as well as a couple of new MOS (Military Occupational Specialties) players can choose from. I also planned to make a “quick reference” to make rolling up new characters faster and easier, since RECON is a pretty lethal game and you’re likely to lose a few player characters each session, in my experience! Would either be of interest to you?

      Regardless, if you send me your email via the “Contact form” option (under the “Welcome” menu bar) here on my blog, I’ll happily send you my contact email details. 🙂

      Cheers,
      Banjo

      Like

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