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.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blue tails over Frankfurt

Have been working on the mission tables for Squadron Forward.  Unlike Platoon Forward, almost each model of airplane will have it's own table and this will vary by year and theater.  For example, a ME 109 in 1940 would have a differnt mission profile than in 1945!
Rich and I are going to start working in earnest on Squadron Forward after the Christmas Special.  I hope to have the finished product end of January or Feburary.  Like Platoon Forward, Squadron Forward is the way I play my games so hopefully you will enjoy it!

I visited The Eagle pub in Cambridge last week.  It is an authetic WW II pub used by the RAF and 8th AF pilots.  The food was good and reasonably priced and they have an aviation room.
Stray person in front of Eagle pub
So despite my finishing up my vikings this weekend, I played a battle with my P-51 blue tails.  This is thiee 4th battle and they are a hard luck squadron with a poor reputaiton.  They were bounced by FW 190s and lost their CO on the first mission.  On their third mission they missed the rendevouz with the bombers!
I roll up a mission and get escort strategic bombers.

Capt Anderson looked at the thread going all the way to Frankfurt.  This was a long mission for the bombers in March of 1944.  He was to lead a 6 ship and pick up the bombers on the way back from the target.  Maj Franklin, the CO, drilled into his head not to his the rendevouz!  The other squadrons were still laughing.  The weather was clear today which should make it easier.
Runway Anderson   Naive    Government
2lt   Pierce McKennon    Mecurical     Family

1Lt  Pudge  Storch     Coarse    Government        Veteran  1 kill
2LT  Chance Blake    Cocky   Hedonism

2LT John Turlock  Cunning  Government    1 kill
2LT  Pete Thornell  Shy  wealth            1 kill 

On the outbound leg Chance had trouble with his oxygen so aborted; down to 5 planes.  [ In real life most pilots didn't realize problems with their oxygen and just dropped out of the sky.  SF is not that realistic!  We want you to have a chance with your pilots.]  Runway breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the bomber stream heave into view right where it was suppose to be.  Rendevouz on time!
Blue tails with their charges

An interesting thing happened in rolling up the enemy fighters.  I got bomber destroyers 6 ME 110s armed with rockets, and fighter cover, 3 ME 109Gs.  The germans had obviously been watching because they attacked the bombers directly opposite the blue tails.  [this sequence is all handled by the rules] Outmanuvered again!!
  Germans start their attack.
Pudge is to the right

Runway kept his element above to tackle the ME 109s and sent the other 3 down to tackle the ME 110s.  All the german fighters fired rockets before the blue tails could react.  Fortunatley they all missed.  Runways' wingman has a reputation for getting "lost" during the action but stuck to his side this battle.  They were able to damage 2 of the ME 109s and quickly drive them away. 
The melee continues

Next Runway did a split S and got behind a ME 110 with his new 6 gun P-51.  As bullets streamed into the german he began to burn.
Runway using all 6 guns

As the german dove away he exploded.  Runway had his first kill!   Next he heard a call for help.  Pudge was in a bind.  His wing was about to fall off so he had no manuverability and he had a ME 109 on his tail.
Pudge in trouble
Decreased manuverability denoted by the brown pipecleaner
on the stand
Tailing status denoted by the pipecleaner between the two planes

[Pudge did not have a wingman this battle as Blake aborted.  I let him go solo as he was the only veteran pilot in the group.  I have a warm spot for him because he was the first pilot in the squadron to score a kill.  I really wanted him to score this battle and become the leading scorer again.  Nervewracking this game is...]
Runway raced over to Pudge and drove the german off his tail!

Meanwhile, the ME 110s had downed 1 B-17 and damaged 1 other.  Turlock and Thornell had lined up on a pair of ME 110s when the back gunner damaged Turlocks engine.
2Lt Turlock's chance at a kill thwarted by a well placed bullet

2Lt Thornell followed the other ME 110 down scoring hits but became concerned that he was going to become sandwiched between the two 110s and gave up the chase.  [amazing when you become attached to these guys how you act]

The rest of the mission over the contenent was uneventful.  Over England it was raining...
The three undamaged fighters set down without a problem.  2Lt Turlock nursed his plane home, skidded off the runway but was otherwise fine.  [There are tables for all of this as well]  Capt Anderson had trouble keeping trim and altitude with his aircraft but made it safely to the field.  The slick runway did not help.  He crashed midfield trying to land. He was pulled out alive and Doc Thompson said he will fly again.  [We always knew he was a tough, if naive, SOB.]  The plane is a write off.  
Great game!   It was a victory for the blue tails because if you are outnumbered at least 3:2 you can lose 1 bomber and still claim victory.  We scored 1 kill as well and ended up gaining 1 cool point which puts us just under average. 

Post game     Capt Anderson became a veteran pilot [ AKOT handles this].  His naive ways in the hospital have won over Doc Thompson whose obnoxious style gave a -1 modifier to all previous rolls.   We are up to neutral with the Doc now  2Lt Turlock did not become a veteran pilot but he did get promoted to 1Lt largely due to the wing commander liking him.  Lastly 2LT Gray has joined the squadron.  He is a pessimistic young man who believes in the great crusade [government] and he is a rookie pilot.

Really enjoyed the battle and how Squadron Forward is shaping up. The characters and stories are great.  But I really like not having to figure out the mission I am going to fly each time.  Who should I fight?  How many?  Should this be an escort or a strafing mission?  I just decide I am going to use my blue tails and the system takes care of the rest.  I hope you guys like it.  As stated, it is how I play my games.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Short War; Egypt 1940

Actually did get to play Platoon Forward last weekend while I continue to paint more Vikings for SAGA.  Started a brand new platoon--british 1940 in Egypt.

SLT Nelson stood on the rampart trying to peer through the perfectly laid Italian smoke screen.   What the Major had feared had happened.  "The Italian army was on the move and we have damn little to stop them!  Leftenant, take your platoon to this station here and delay them while we set up a defensive postion 6 miles back.  See if they have any fight in them.  You will have a 2 pdr with you and I will try to scrounge an armored car or two." 


SLT Richard Nelson    Sensible/ arts         Gr II
Sgt Johnny Smith   Optomistic/Position     Gr I   1st section
Cpl Egg Southcote  Conformist/wealth     Gr II      2nd section
Cpl  Joey Crocket   fanatic/hedonsim       Gr I       3rd section

2 in mtr          2 pdr gun  1 FO with 25pdr gun off board

Looking towards the british lines
Nelson deployed the ATG on his far right [ left in the photo above], 2nd section in the station with Egg down below and himself above with the bren team.  2 in Mtr and FO on the road.  Sgt Smith in the center building ready to reinforce either way.  3rd section was split.  The bren team was dug in at the turn of the road and Joey took 4 men and a ATR and hid in the building hoping to ambush some armor and then skeedadle back to the lines. 

A perfect smoke screen was laid in front of the central buildings as the Italians probed forward.

Italian AC comes within 20 yards of Cpl Crocket's position!!!
The AT rifleman's shot rang true and the armored car was knocked out.  The accompanying infantry started peppering the building as Joey started whis withdraw.  One man went down as they made it back to their bren team.
The Italians were not able to make much headway and SLT Nelson was feeling confident, particularly when a british AC showed up and began to rake the Italian infantry with 303 shot. [Cool random reinforcement!]

Then an Italian tank and 2 infnatry squads showed up on the right flank.  The 2pdr quickly dispatched the tank and his bren team was keeping the Italians at bay when suddenly an officer rose in front of them and they seemed to rise in unison and charge through the bullets towards the station!


AC retreats after MG breaks!!!!

Italians charge the Station!!

Italians reach the station and take the ATG!
1st section is too late to reinforce

The Italinas drive 1st section away and enter the station proper leaving SLT Nelson trapped on the roof with his bren team.  In the courtyard desperate fighting breaks out as Egg fights to get back to the stairs. 

Italians pour into the courtyard

Egg is repulsed.    As this is occuring, a green flare is sighted from the east.  That is the signal for the platoon to pull out of their postions and board transport.  Their job is done. 
Sgt Smith takes charge.  He orders Cpl Crocket's section out as they are down to 50% effectives.  He and Egg have one more go at the the station but the Italians have moved up a MMG and it is no use.  Fearing encirclement he pulls out the rest of the platoon. 
SLT Nelson defends the roof but it is just a matter of time.  He has 3 men with him against 18 Italians downstairs.  His force takes two down but then he loses one.  With honor intact; he surrenders thus ending a very short war.

The Station under new ownership!

Great game!   I played the delaying action and it looked like an easy win for the british because I could not drawn the Italian LT's command card.  [ he was leading the flank attack.  He started out a Gr III leader but a random event upgraded him to a Gr IV outstanding leader]  Once I started drawning his card the Italians caught fire and never looked back.

Post game  3rd section has had a drop in morale and we will be getting a new SLT.
For those of you that want to play the scenario the Italians initially had
2 squads, 1 MMG and an AC   with 1 Gr II leader and 1 GR I leader.    They also get 2 pre game stonks from a 75mm gun that can be used for smoke.    They also can have 3 fire missions during the game.
According to the scenario rules a flank attack will occur.  This consisted of 1 tank plus 2 squads with 1 gr III leader, 1 Gr II leader and 1 gr I leader.  I modified the scenario for the desert by adding 2 "C"s to the mix.