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, September 24, 2013

Screaming Eagles at the villiage Church

Well, played another  land game over the weekend.  This one was Lazy TW&T not CoC.  (For those of you that want to play Platoon Forward using CoC go to the comments under my last post.)   Nothing fancy, typical Normandy outing.  Thought I would pull out my airborne platoon.  These guys are mildly interesting as they lost a squad leader so there was some internal shuffling among the NCOs that Lt Ramsey had to do.  In addition the Company CO was so happy with their last roadblock mission that he offered an armored car for their next mission!  
I rolled up a "Patrol" scenario and used the urban table for the board because I wanted to use my Rathaus that I never get to use.  Thought I would use the 2 main squads to this one and have SSgt Taylor (Gr III leader) run it.     Rather than take an armored car into a town I took a jeep.   (I decided that the jeep would not count as a vehicle when rolling for my "Cs". ) 
D Day + 4    Outskirts of a large french town.  (They all look the same!)

Lt Ramsey came back from Company.   "Sergant Taylor!   The CO needs to know if the Germans are in the town.   Take two squads and proceed to the center of town and find out.   Capt Newsome has provided a jeep from recon for some additional firepower.   Billy, don't take chances; center of town- find out what we are up against and come home.  Got it?" 

SSgt Ramsey   Scholarly/tech  Gr III        1st sq     morale  +1
Sgt Goldberg   Shy/ wealth     Gr II           2nd sq
1 jeep            30 cal  MG

The center of "Whateverthehellitscalled".    US enters from the bottom.    Cool Rathaus at the top. 
Bill's plan is to enter from the left and make a clockwise circle of the town.   You can see the advanced scouts at the graveyard and Bill next to the red roofed house. 

Two scouts run into germans across the graveyard!  

[ I love patrol scenarios because you never know what is going to happen. I hate patrol scnearios because I always set up this great board and 80% of the time only use a small corner of it! No rathaus!   However, I rolled up some new sections of the board so both sides could flank the graveyard if they needed to.  Compare this picture with the original board. ]

SSgt Ramsey acted quickly and moved into the graveyard scatering the german squad.   He ordered Sgt Goldberg around the left flank towards the Church.

The jeep moved up and started dueling a german halftrack and surprisingly did well!

After some supressing fire the paratroopers were going to close with the enemy in the church but as they entered...

The germans withdrew out the side.   (with a jammed LMG)

and set up in a ruined bank where the NCO rallied his men.   (and fixed the LMG)

The second german squad was in the house at the bottom of the picture.   The paratroopers were in the church.   At this point the germans had 2 casualties, the americans none.    There was 40 yards of open terrain between the two positions.  After a minute of trading shots the germans looked determined so SSgt Taylor decided he had fulfilled his mission and withdrew in good order.  

Great game that played fast.   I called it a draw.  I give the paratroopers a card I call "tactical iniative".  This can be played on any section (not squad) to allow them to shoot/move/ or rally without leader bonuses.   This models their espirit.   In a CoC game I would give them an extra die.  This card came up at the right time in the graveyard.  Post game SSgt Taylor gets the chance to brief the battalion CO (LtCol Strayer) and impresses him.  Also an armor leader (Sgt Lujens) that the platoon had met after D- Day was wounded and sent home.

For those of you that would like to try this scenario the germans had
2 regular german squads  and 2 Gr II leaders  (junior)
1 halftrack



Saturday, September 14, 2013

Outskirts of Lenningrad

I was a playtester for TFLs Chain of Command.   Rich was kind enough to send me a final copy.  While I worked to make it a great product and I believe it is one of the best rule sets out there I always felt it basically was "Lazy TW&T" with dice instead of cards.  { If you double the dice for Lazy TW&T you get Chain of Command numbers. }
Armed with the final copy I thought I would give it a go!  I played out the pre game phase for the attacking germans to determine their starting points but placed the defensive markers for the russians as per normal Platoon forward.  The platoon chosen was my SS platoon on the northern part of the russian front in 1941.  This is their 7th battle.  They are seasoned troopers though 1st squad has a new squad leader.  They did lose their last battle.

Oberscharfurher Kehl was pleased.   They were nearing the prize; Lennigrad.   Once that and Moscow were captured the german folk would have the living room they needed and his platoon could all go home.  He smiled then brought himself back to reality when Untersturmfurher Christianson said, " I am glad you are happy with the assignment! Your platoon will hook left through the pillbox around the town while the rest of the company pins them in the town."

The town on the right.   Pillbox in the middle.
Germans entering from the bottom.
Oberscharfurher Kehl  Generous/wealth  Gr III (senior leader)
UnterScharfurher Weiss   Egotistical/wealth   Gr II (junior leader)  1st squad
Scharfurher Kurtzon   Zealot/wealth  Gr II  2nd squad
Scharfurher  Vaughn   cautious/ wealth  Gr II   3rd squad
1 flamethrower with 4 man team
1 80mm mtr  off board
1 Stug

 Kehl's plan was to have smoke cover the pillbox then send 2 squad up with the flamethrower team to take it out.   1 squad (with the new SL) would deploy with himself in the railway station to provide cover.  3rd squad would deploy to the left behind the tracks to provide cover and then advance into the woods. 

2nd squad advances!

Russians in the woods!!
2nd squad got into position and when the smoke cleared destroyed the 45mm ATG in the pillbox. 

         Then after a vicous firefight managed to drive the russians off the hill and 4 germans made it into the trenchworks.  (with 2 shock)
       The russians threw every available gun at those four men.   Schar Kurtzon was back at the train station trying to rally the rest of the squad.  Kehl sent 1st squad through the withering fire toward the hill.  His original plan abandoned with this new opportunity.  
                                              1st squad having a rough go of it!  
At this point a random event brings reinforcements to the platoon.  With the russian SPG destroyed I bring in the platoons halftracks with a visitor...

Untersturmfurher Christensen shows up to see what is taking so long!   Kehl points to the criscrossing MG fire. 

Just as 1st and 2nd squads make it to the hill, a rallied russian squad also makes it to the hill!

Ferocious hand to hand fighting occurs around the entrenchments with the germans giving better than they get but they are badly outnumbered.   Kehl starts to run towards the melee but the german officer holds him back.  "At this point there is nothing you can do; we will wait. "  The germans fight tenaciously but the russians fight like men possessed.  It is no use, there are too few SS standing.  Kurtzon orders the retreat as 3rd squad covers. 
There will be no breakthrough today.

Great game!!    Down to the wire.   I rolled two random events at the end that favored the russians.  One was a morale increase to the russian squad and then they generated a hero.  Very cinimatic in a bad way-- 2nd squad didn't stand a chance at that point.  

Post game  3rd squad was actually chewed up by the russians in the woods with 50% casualties and their morale goes down.   The CO is not happy and a half squad will be pulled next battle for other duties.  

CoC played well.  I still like the cards of TW&T better than the dice of CoC. They do the same thing but the cards give you more scenario design flexibility and I think it is harder to move your squad.    Funny that when people roll dice they call it luck but when people draw cards somehow it is preordained.   

That said I think CoC is a great game system that give the player the challenges of commanding a platoon in WW II.  It still allows you to play the period not the rules and meshes well with Platoon Forward.

For those of you that want to try this scenario I rolled the following for the russians:
1 senior Ldr
3 squads each with a junior leader
1 MMG,  1 Lt Mtr





Monday, September 2, 2013

Meeting engagement at the river Wy

Now I know what some of you are thinking; Joe that is great that you are doing all this cool naval stuff.  I am sure at some point it will turn into great stuff that we can get our hands on but for now we have Bolt Action or Chain of Command.  Come on!   Where is the Platoon Forward stuff?!  Rest assured it was back to my roots this weekend using the platoon that started it all on my blog; yup.  Go back to the first two posts and you will see my british platoon near Singapore.  They haven't got much use since those first several battles.  One of the great things about Platoon Forward is they have been waiting for me and now the time was right!   I rolled up a recon mission and changed it to scenario R (found in one of the Lardie specials) which is a meeting engagement. 

Timbo Rodgers was flushed with success after saving the Reverand.  The problem was the front, if you could call it that, was crumbling.  The Japanese were not sticking to the roads and were constantly outflanking the British.   Maj Ralls got right to the point, "We need to secure the bridge over this small river.  Hopefully the Japs aren't there yet.  Timbo, get up there and hold it until the rest of the company can get there.   I have secured an armored car to help.   Good luck!"

Lt Rodgers   Condesending/govt    Gr III    Briliant leader
1st section  Sgt Slim Jim  Hall    Cocky/ wealth   Gr II      1st section    -1 morale
2nd section  Cpl Jake Driftmore  Cheery/wealth  Gr III 
3rd section   Cpl "Nails" Longshore   Mecurical/ arts  Gr II

As the british approached the bridge it was quiet.    Timbo led with Dritmore, his best leader, followed by Nails.   He kept 1st section in reserve as they had been shakey as of late.  He planned to keep them on this side of the river to lay down covering fire.

                                                           The British approach

So far so good!   Cpl Driftmore leads his section over the river Wy. 
Driftmore broke right when a light Japanese tank was seen coming up the road.  He moved towards some jungle where he encountered enemy infantry.   A lound clang heralded where the tank had found the range to the British AC.   While not defeated, it beat a hasty retreat.  Timbo quickly
Moved 3rd section across the bridge and to the left into some high grass.
2nd section takes on the Japanese

3rd section in the high grass
3rd section held its ground.   2nd section retreated after a ferocious fight that saw Cpl Driftmore
and the Japanese LT go down. 

2nd section retreats back up the hill
This was the critical moment in the battle.  2nd section could be cut off from the
river.  Timbo left 1st section's bren but took the rest of the men across the bridge towards
the jungle.  (picture blurred sorry)   Timbo placed them in some rocks and sprinted up the
hill to rally 2nd section.  He couldn't understand why they retreated so far until he came upon the
wounded Cpl Driftmore in a makeshift stretcher.  "Sorry Sir." was all he could say.
Meanwhile...the Japanese also knew it was the critical moment in the battle.  So while Timbo was on the hill...

Remnants from the jungle battle see their chance to finish off the Tommys
The British fight heroically with Pvt Billings dispaching 3 personally  (hero card) including
the Japanese Cpl.   This leaves 2 Japanes privates who choose to fight to the death.  2nd section, newly rallied under Lt Timbo Rodgers, gives them their wish. 
With that the Japanese on the opposite flank retreat and all becomes quiet along the Wy once more.
Great game!   Meeting engagements, while rare, always make for exciting games.   Post game Cpl Driftmore lives but will miss two battles.  Pvt Billings will lead 2nd section.    The platoon was going to have trouble replacing their losses but Maj Rall diverted some from other platoons to keep this platoon full strength.  Of course this means we will probably continue to pull the toughest missions!
For those of you that want to try this at home the following forces where generated:
1 squad,  1 LMG team    1 Gr III Lt     2 Gr I NCOs
1 Lt tank,    1 37mm  ATG 
I also played a SAGA game that I didn't write up.   My vikings raided a welsh farm.   I rolled up the scenario and it played well.  (Warriors Forward)   I did take one picture.
Dawn breaks over the country side as sinister forces are afoot!