Welcome to Platoon Forward!

Welcome to the site where the story of the battle is as important as the battle itself. Here we will focus on men thrust into extraordinary situations of life and death. They must lead other men with duty and honor to meet their countries objectives. Some will be blessed with great skill, some will carry great shortcomings. No matter what nation, no matter what war, no matter what theater, they are all called to move their Platoon or Squadron forward!

These are their individual stories as played out using my various campaign rules . Hopefully these stories will entertain and inspire you to use your own troops, airmen and sailors to accomplish your own great heroics.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Aeronautica Regala Romana

I have wanted a Royal Romanina Air Force since I got into miniature aircraft about 2 years ago. Scotia does the IAR-80 aircraft but I could not find decals and did not feel I could free hand the Maltese Cross like markings. Enter Mike Grant Decals and I could see my quest becoming a reality! The following has nothing to do with Platoon Forward but thought it was too cool not to post. Hopefully you will agree...

Ready to Bag the Ivan!
59 Escadrile of 8 Grupul 22 June 1941 Time to take the Squadron Forward!
Capt Sandru Likeable Veteran CO
Lt Hapaianu agressive
Lt Macri Pleasant
SLT Alexiu Pessimistic (shys away from combat)
SLT Nicoara Cunning
Adj Sef Grecu
Adj Stag Fortu Glum Sprog
Adj Stag Toma Obnoxious
Adj Stag Chera Mecurical Dead eye Sprog
Adj Baciu Cunning Sprog
Did not roll up the first battle as I had worked too hard on these planes and pilots for them to get smoked their first time out. 6 plane patrol that would meet 6 I-16s Tip 10s. Capt Sandru takes the rookie Fortu as his wingman, Lt Macri takes Toma (even though he is obnoxious hopefully he will make a good wingman in combat) and the SLts take each other. No one knows that Alexiu shys away from the guns at times yet. Lt Hapainu and the Flight Sergant Grecu stay behind to provide leadership in case we do get smoked.
I do dice for spotting and postion and we bounce the I-16s!
SLT Alexiu gets the first shot in for the FAAR!
SLT Alexiu gets a good bounce in but manages only to damage an I-16. The russians break and a swrilling dogfight ensues. Alexiu's wingman's plane gets damaged so he stays on the fringe of the fight after that to protect his wingman. Capt Sandru, being a veteran, manages to down 2 I-16s and damage another!
Capt Sandru showing how it is done!
The next mission was as escort to a reconnassance aircraft. 4 IARs participate and encouter 5 I-153s. ( I did dice for this mission) The rookie Baciu bags an Ivan so elevates to average status. Adj Chera is shot down but is reovered by romanian troops. Unfortunatly Adj Sef Grecu's plane is seen to explode during the battle with no parachute seen. (The IAR-80A had no self sealing gas tanks)
The third battle again sees Capt Sandru on a free hunt. Unfortunatly due to combat losses and damaged planes (we started with 8) there are only 5 IARs available. This time we run into 10 SB-2 bombers escorted by 6 I-16s.
Third battle over a lake
Outnumbered by the escort the romanians fail to knock a single bomber down. Capt Sandru does add anther I 16 to his score but Adj Stag Chera (sprog) looses his leader and is shot down during the melee. Word is recieved that he is safe and should return to the unit in 1-2 days.
So our squadron has shot down 4 aircraft, damaged 4 and we have lost 3 aircraft of our own. We currently have only 4 planes ready and 8 pilots available. Capt Sandru has 3 kills and Adj Baciu has 1. A new Flight Sergant, Adj Sef Ionescu has just joined the squadron. He is a veteran flyer and use to be the wing commander's wingman when the old man was a Capt. Will he be an ally or spy?
Am formulating Squadron Forward campaign rules slowly and it seems to be coming together. Am figuring out how much in the weeds should the player be regarding fixing of aircraft. Am using Bag the Hun by Too Fat Lardies as the tactical rule set.
Just spray painted my ME-109Gs (from I-94 enterprises) yesterday but anxious to see how this new flight sergant is going to work out!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hill 422 Greece 1940

Went to the Williamsburg Muster last week. Great little show. Picked up several greek NCOs to go with my greek platoon. Hence you know where the battle would take place... This is my 5th battle with this platoon. These guys have had it rough with one loss and 3 draws. Lt Sposito missed last battle recovering from wounds. In the hospital he met the division commander Gen Pitaccio who pinned on his wound badge personally.

Lt Sposito had had 4 quite days since the Italian offensive had run out of steam. His platoon was holding part of the battalion line. He had a small hill called 422 and the edge of a small village. His platoon was still a mess since returning from the hospital. Hellik was a drunk. Pitsikas was a good private but just did not think like an NCO. Basakidas was the only good one of the bunch and he liked to drink too much as well. He had complained to his CO but the Capt Makarezos only brushed him off and told him that a good officer would turn the NCOs into good leaders.

Lt Sposito Pleasant Gr III
Sgt Hellik 1st squad Alcoholic Gr I
Sgt Pitsikas 2nd sq Course peasant Gr II
Sgt Basakidas 3rd sq Generous who likes his wine Gr III

Board looking towards the Greeks positions
Hill 422 on the right with a trench and
several small buildings on the left.
Sposito was rotating the squads at night using a squad in the trench with a MMG and a squad
in the buildings but only half of that squad alerted. The rest of the men and he stayed in the village about 100 yards back. He had no reason to expect an attack tonight...
3rd squad with Sgt Basakidas mans hill 422
yes it is dark!
Lt Sposito was awaken by machine gun fire. He waited to see if it continued; it did. He gathered 2nd squad and moved up the road. 1st squad was in the buildings and 3rd squad was on the hill. They had no flares or starshells. This was the greek army in 1940 afterall!!
The Italians had launched a raid from their left flank. The object was to capture a prisoner from one of the buildings. A random event had 1st squad asleep (I am not making this up I told you I always report honestly!) so 3rd squad on the hill did notice the bulk of the force moving forward but not on the far edge where one squad cut the wire and slipped towards the unoccupied barn.
Lt Sposito had Sgt Pitsikas wait on the road while he entered the building. Sgt Hellik explained that there were 2 Italian squads forward of his positions. The Italians had probed but were driven back with some loss. It apeared another half hearted Italian effort. Sposito acknowledged and went to check on hill 422. As he passed Sgt Pitsikas he told him to take his squad to the barn and set up his LMG in case the Italians tried to flank the greek villiage and wire.

Italian squad through the wire and
approaching the barn undetected

1st squad has half a squad in each half of the building
2nd squad is behind the building moving towards the barn
Italian squad is moving up to assualt the building
As Lt Sposito learned of 1st squad's somulence from 3rd squad all hell broke loose at the building. Lt Spositio hurried back. Apparently some Italians had infitrated through the barn and were stopped by the timely arrival of Sgt Pitsikas' 2nd squad.
Timing is everything! Sgt Pitsikas arrives.
(One of my new NCO figures!)
During this firefight the Italians managed to move up another squad to assault the house!
Italian Lt leads the raiding party in
As Lt Sposito arrived close combat raged in the house. Lt Sposito wondered if the Greeks were still asleep as they were slaughtered. 9 Italians against 5 greeks/ 5 greek casualties and no Italian! Sgt Hellik tried to fight his way in to save his men but only managed to lose 3 additional greek soldiers. As Sposito sent a runner to pull men from the hill to defend the villiage the Italians left with 2 prisoners. A disaster!! Lt Sposito wanted to kill Hellik but decided a courts martial would be better.
The next morning Capt Makarezos was furious. When Sposito brought up Hellik's derilection of duty he was cut off. "How many times have I told you not to blame your failings on your NCOs! If he was asleep why were you not there checking on him. If YOUR court martial did not have to be approved by the General I would file it today! Get out of here."
Great battle. 1st squad asleep really made it interesting I thought the Greeks had it until horrendous die rolling allowed the Italians to waltz in and waltz out. Lt Sposito was downgraded to a Gr II leader and Sgt Hellik has had a command confusion card added.
3 squads (Greek squads were 10 men 5 rifles and 5 man LMG team) substitute a MMG for 1 LMG 1 of these squads starts off board in the village and arrives on the 4 turn or 4th turn of the reinforcement card.
1 salvo of 81mm fire pre registered
3 squads plus an additional LMG (can have additional SMGs as this is a raiding party)
2 Gr III leaders 2 Gr II leaders
Italians win by taking a prisoner. Can attack hill and/or buildings
Special rules
Scenario takes place at night.
1 greek squad is asleep. randomly determine which one. In a 2 player game obviously don't tell the Italian player!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A chapel named St Anne

This is yet another battle with my american platoon in the opening stages of the Battle of the Bulge. For more background see the last post from Jan 19.

Lt Brown was dreaming of Christmas at home when his platoon Sergeant SSgt Klug came in with SSgt Roth. Roth was the Plt Sgt from the Hvy Weapons platoon. Brown didn't particularly like him as he was a pushy New Yorker but Klug and he seemed to get along fine. "Sir, SSgt Roth's brand new Lt is lost with a bunch of his guys up the road. They were pulling back here when they ran onto some Germans. They are overdue by 3 hours! A frenchie [ ed note: This would be a Belgian who speaks french] says there are some americans trapped in a chapel 2 klicks from here. It has to be the Lt. Capt Lincoln is up at battalion and anyway sir he doesn't have the balls to go on a rescue mission. I think we gotta go sir. Those are americans up there." ended SSgt Klug.
Brown looked out the window and considered his options silently. Capt Lincoln was a decent fellow but was very cautious. He would not risk an unsupported platoon in the unknown for 10-15 americans. Brown was politically savy and was currently flying high but Brown also had a fierce loyalty to those on the front lines who did the fighting. He rang battalion and of course was not allowed to speak to Capt Lincoln. "Could you please tell Capt Lincoln that I have seen some Germans along my front and am sending out a patrol to gather some information please." he said with a grin.

Lt Brown Cunning Gr III
SSgt Klug 1st squad delightful Gr II
Sgt Claypool 2nd squad cautious Gr III
Sgt Gerrard 3rd squad cunning Gr II

Lt I got lost Gr II Hesitant commander
SSgt Roth Gr II

Board looking from the american entrance.
Trapped americans are in the Church and jeep in
the yard. Germans set up in the woods on the
right and along the hedge behind the church
Blown up halftrack on road
Lt Brown was going to lead with Klug on the right and Gerrard on the left. He would hold Claypool and Roth back until he determined where the enemy strength was. Roth would then set up to attack the strength while Claypool went around the strength into the church to rescue the machine gunners.
Germans in the woods pin the americans while their
commerades behind the hedge close assault
As Brown's forces advanced to contact they heard machine gun fire rage around the chapel and mortar shells hit the grey roof. A mortar off to the far left on a hill slowed 3rd squad's advance to the wall of the church. SSgt Klug advanced rapidly and entered the woods only to find a german squad there. Brown sent Roth's 50 cal up to support Klug and sent Claypool across the road into the churchyard
SSgt Klug in the woods to the right of St Anne's
Sgt Claypool discovered there was a Marder covering the road and several shells convinced him to bring his squad back to the safety of the woods.

Lt "I got lost" speaks with Sgt Gerrard behind
the church
(I know his helmet has a horizontal stripe; sorry!)
A wounded Lt came out crying to Sgt Gerrard and 2nd squad who had managed to make it into the chapel courtyard. The germans have taken the chapel! I have several wounded men in there. You must help me take it back; no I order you to take it back. Gerrard looked at Cpl Morgan his assistant squad leader, " It is what we came to do Sergant" he shrugged.
Sgt Gerrard told the Lt since he was wounded he should sit down and stay out of the way so he would not get "more injuried". 2nd squad worked there way into the church. Fortunatley there were only 5 germans left in there. After a short fight which did cost 2nd squad 2 KIAs St Anne's was liberated once more. There were 4 dead americans and 4 wounded besides the LT. The wounded were successfully evacuated while the rest of the platoon held the germans at bay.
Later that evening after Lt Brown had given his report to Capt Lincoln the Captain spoke. "Brown, that was a tactically unsound move you did today. But you destroyed a Marder and saved 5 trapped americans as well as raised the morale of the entire company. Thank you. That is all; DISMISSED!
Great game though I should have moved faster to save the folks in the chapel. At set up the american postion looked strong. Once the germans got into the chapel they chewed up the heavy weapons folks.
3 squads
1 50 cal MG
1 60mm Mtr
Trapped in the chapel 1 3 man LMG and 1 5 man half squad plus 1 jeep with 30 cal
75% chance of Volks grenadier. I rolled a 4 on a d4 so used regualr wermacht
2 squads
2 Gr II leaders
1 Gr I leader
1 50 mm mtr
1 Marder III
offboard 81mm mtr
turn 4 reinforcements 1 gr II leader, 1 gr I leader 1 squad and 1 MMG
This is a variant of the couterattack scenario. To win the americans must control the church for 2 turns and evacuate the trapped troops then make their way off the south edge of the board.