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, December 9, 2014

Channel Convoy

Been busy with Grunt's Forward but had a yen to play a naval game.  Decided to try out my scenario generator with Flotilla Forward.  Decided two German TBs would go hunting in 1943.

T 17 going a hunting!

Tried out my new blinds system.   Like Platoon Forward the trick is to have some uncertainty with blinds but not allow unrealistic use of ships.  (Like a DD in the middle and a MTB or trawler on the periphery.  )  In addition you want a balanced game.  This scenario would test my system. 

Both sides picked up radar contact of "something" before the 2 mile visibility.  The germans slowed to get a sense of what was in front.

The british convoy.   Each hex is 250 yards.  The germans approached at 4 o clock in the picture. 

As both sides grappled with the night one of the escorts took independent action and raced out to investigate by trying to go around the contact.   (Several starshells fell short.) 

The first contact surprises the Germans and turns out to be a Flower DE. 
Further ahead a "B" class DD opens fire. 
The Germans are mad they have been surprised.  They pick up speed; the lead vessel fires 3 tordepos at the DD and they search for the merchantmen. 

Torpedos away.  Several small merchant ships dead ahead. 

Success!  One DD crippled or sunk.

Mid battle.  The lead TB had heavy damage and an engine room hit so broke off.  The second TB moves around the convoy looking for a shot.

T 13 launches torpedoes at the convoy.  The two British MS are starting to damage him so he breaks off.


Great game that played fast as the Germans don't stay around if damaged.   Really need to publish my tactical rules sometime (RTH).   Meanwhile the generator gave a good force to fight stationed reasonably.

For those of you who wish to play this battle the brits had

1 Class B DD up front.
1 Flower DE on the starboard side
1 Minesweeper on the port side
1 Minesweeper in the starboard side.  



Saturday, November 29, 2014

Helping Fr Francesco

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.   I certainly have a great deal to be thankful for.  In your prayers remember those servicemen and women serving far from home.

Am still working on Grunt's forward and got some great looking desert buildings from C resent Studio.  So how do you combine these two?  Have my Italians in Ethiopia of course.  Played a new scenario called "Cordon". 

Capt Butro called Lt Chianti into his office.  The heat was oppressive and the ceiling fan was out again Lt Chianti noted.  "LT, please get a dozen men together for tomorrow.  Fr Francesco is unveiling a new monument to Italio-Ethiopean relations in the town square.  We don't want too big a presence lest we scare the locals.  Lt Stinna spoke to the Col and he will have an armored car on standby.  Maybe the priests can do something with these people!" 

Capt Butro      Condescending/ position                    Gr I
Lt Chianti     (ran a shoe store before joining the army)  Gr I
Cpl Petrocella   (worked in a mine)  cooth/ wealth     Gr 0
12 men, 2 LMGs

Mission:  Protect the ceremony.  Barring that keep Fr Francesco from being killed or captured.

The Village square.  The square and stalls and 2 buildings are Cresent Root.  Top stuff!

The Italians deploy.  Things look promising.
Fr Francesco gabbing with Capt Butro. (Italians talk with there hands.)

The silence is disturbed by several shots ringing out from across the square.  One building is entered and several more rebels charge the square.   They are quick enough to slay 3 Italians.  

Rebels charge the square.  ( I know they don't look like Ethiopians.  I don't have any yet.  On the christmas list from Peter Pig.)

Cpl Petrocella, manning the second LMG makes short work of this lot.

However the building across from the church is captured along with an Italian LMG.  The Capt takes the preists into the church to protect them while Lt Chianti organizes a counter attack. 

Lt Chianti organizing.

After several effective volleys the rebels, realizing they won't win, slip out into town where they are quickly lost in the crowd. 

Short sharp engagement.   The rebels rolled terrible for their blinds.  Of their 4 blinds only 1 reveled troops!  Thus a relatively easy victory.  Post game Lt Chianti goes up to Gr II for his leadership.  Fr Francisco is grateful to the platoon.  The battalion CSM hears of this tale and is impressed. 

For those of you wanting to try it I only rolled 10 rebels with a Gr II leader.  The men are poor shots bur normal in hand to hand.  If playing two player suggest you give them another 8 rebels and a Gr I leader.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Black Rams over the Philippines

I normally play about 2 land games to every air/naval game I play.  Land games are more visually appealing.  ( However see my article in WI last year.)  Even on this blog I rarely get comments about air/naval games.  I am posting this as it really struck a cord with me. 
I painted up 6 Georges recently and wanted to give them a go.  I really wanted a George/Corsair battle as the planes are evenly matched.  I played a 6 v 6 without Squadron Forward and it was fine but something was missing.  I then played the following mission using my Black Ram squadron and it was great!  The difference?  The US pilots were no longer nameless; there were people in those planes.  Maj McGee, the naive person living only for today.  Lt Franklin, a former enlisted man determined to make it in an officer's world.  It added a dimension to the game that took it from good to great.  I have been using Squadron Forward so long that I guess I have taken this all for granted. 

It was a typical fighter sweep just off the coast.  The squadron reputation was suffering and he hoped some easy kills of antiquated Zeros would perk everyone up. 

Dingy McGee     Naive/skirt chaser                   Vet         1 kill in P-38s
2lt Joe Thurmond   Cheery/skirt chaser                             1 kill

Lt Paul Franklin   mercurical/posiiton  mustang    Vet         1 kill
2LT Greg Polk    cheap/wealth

Lt Blue Mooney    cocky/family                         Vet   eagle eye    ( Dad is state senator)
2Lt Flash Reeves  addict/skirt chaser                  Green

I rolled up clear skies and that we met fighters!    I did not bother to roll up the type of enemy we encountered- it had to be my new Georges. 

The planes met at 45 degrees to another and the battle was on!

Dingy encounters 3 Georges.  Lt Thurmond is left hanging.
Red/blue stands are veterans.  Green is ...well green.

After a close call with a George Dingy felt something he had not felt before--fear.  He had never thought he could lose.   He tried to fight down his fear but could not bear to close with the aggressive enemy.  

The battle swirls

Random event brings in two Oscars to the battle!  Dingy would rather fight the Oscars.

A Japanese ace received a minor gas tank hit from Blue before he latches on to Lt Franklin's tail.  Franklin of course had lost his wingman early in the battle. 

Before Blue can come to his aid Franklin's engine is smoking and he has to bail out!

Fun game but the Black Rams lose as they fail to down any Japanese planes.  The George proves to be a tough opponent, particularly with a skilled pilot in the cockpit.  

Fortunately air sea rescue pulls Franklin from the water so he will miss one mission.  Luckily we do not lose any more squadron reputation since we were outnumbered.   Joe Thurmond notices Dingy's behaviour but decides to say nothing at this point since it is his word against a Major's.  [ I rolled a gut check on Dingy and he got "hang to the outside."  I have never got this on a SQ/CC before. ]  So we will see where this goes.  The Group/CC pulls Lt Richards for other duties and he will miss three missions.  

So there it is; I fell in love with my own design again and the Black Rams are not doing well.  Their reputation is down and there SQ/CC has a case of nerves.   Will they hit again?  (I would say "likely".)

For those of you that want to play this out the system generated 6 Georges with one ace, 2 veterans, 1 average and 2 green.  On turn 5 two Oscars IIs showed up with a veteran and a green.  Make Dingy hang back for the entire battle.  Good Luck!!



Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Heavy Loss in Africa

Over the summer I painted up my Africa Korps.  This was my first chance to use them.  It was also a chance to try out the expanded background table that I have decided to include in Middle of NoWhere.  I also think I might rename MoNW to Grunts Forward.  It stays with the "Forward" theme and while it can be used for any asymetrical combat I use it mostly for Vietnam.
I rolled up a recce mission.  True confessions, I don't like the recce mission very much; though realistic, I want to shoot at people most of the time.  So I substituted the bonus scenario from the lardy special which is a motorized meeting engagement.  This is perfect for Africa. 

Lt "Jackie" Toff's platoon was in reserve.  Shortly after the battle started Hpt Mackled radioed instructions.  " Proceed northeast past the farm to the next town.  Hold that position as a flanking one.  Await further instructions."
The cast
Lt "Jackie Toff  Son of a civil servant from Hamburg.  Obnoxious/lech    Lvl 1
FW Strossman  Orphan from Potsdam, army all he knows   Foolish/alcohol   Lvl 0
FW Sauer   Dockworker from Kiel  haughty/avarice    Lvl 2
FW Plusse   Son of a professor in Berlin  inept/ govt  Lvl 0

Added to his platoon Jackie had a Stug, armored car, 50mm ATG and 3 trucks.  
You can see FW Sauer is the only decent NCO in the platoon.  This will come into play later.

The road ahead.  The farm is to the left.  Warning-- it is a cornfield--why not?  I rolled up crops on the chart and wanted to use the cool crops I got from Wargamer's Terrain. 


Immediately upon entering the board dust rose up from down the road.  Soon two Crusader tanks came into view.  The British must be doing their own maneuvering.  Was this just a couple of tanks or a whole Kampgrupe?  Jackie let the Stug deal with the tanks,sent the armored car around the corn filed to the right, brought up the ATG and deployed 2 squads toward the corn leaving 3rd squad in reserve in the truck. 

One crusader retreated before the Stug and one hid behind the corn.  The Stug moved into a better position moving into a wrecked house and broke a track!

1st squad under FW Strossman moved up through the corn while 2nd squad under the able leadership of FW Sauer went left around the cornfield. 

FW Strossman was expelled from the cornfield and retreated to the ATG position.  Jackie sent 3rd squad around to the right of the cornfield.

FW Sauer took charge and cleared the field of the british squad. 

The Auzzies rallied their second squad and charged back. 
A vicious firefight broke out at 20 yards.  FW Sauer was hit once but rallied his pinned men.  A second .303 bullet hit home and ended his life.  With Sauer gone 2nd squad retreated through the field.  It was a heavy loss for 2nd squad and the platoon lost it's best leader.  With 2 squads shot Lt Toff reluctantly retreated his forces. 

Great game and one of the few losses I have had as of late.  The Auzzies had better leadership and just outfought the Africa Korps.   3rd squad under FW Plusse never managed to move up to support 2nd squad.  In hindsight I should have had Lt Toff move 3rd squad personally and ignore rallying 1st squad.  I did it to protect the ATG but we lost.  Both 1st and 3rd squad had lousy leaders so Lt Toff could not be at two places I guess.  Makes for an interesting game. 

Post game we had only 4 KIAs and 3 get replaced.  2nd squads morale goes down due to the loss of Sauer and he is replaced by FW Wald.  FW Plusse gets a well deserved "hesitant" card.  This could well be the worst platoon in the Afrika Corps now and Hpt Mackle is pissed.    When a tasking comes down for 5 men to guard HQ guess which platoon gets hit? 

For those of you that want to play this out the british had generated:
2 Crusader tanks
1 2pdr ATG
2 squads of infantry with 1 lvl II leader and 2 LvL 1 leaders.
1 extra LMG

In addition a pre game event gave the Auzzies better capability to rally.  Use whatever works for your game system.  For my card driven system I included a "rally" card that allowed any one unit a chance to rally.



PS  I found my osprey books!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ambushed on Briggs Rd

Still tinkering with Rifles Forward.  ( It doesn't help that I still haven't found my osprey collection.)  After a discussion on TMP and remembering my Ospreys I have decided to go with a half company (or platoon as it was called) as my base unit.  This will give me about 30-40 troops.  Of course the rules will play fine with a whole company but that would be an awfully lot more figures to paint!  I have decided to take the half without the company commander so in America Lt Fish will be leading.  If you need to read what happened to theses guys it is only 2 posts down.

It seemed like a simple assignment; collect 3 carts of food and escort them back to camp along Briggs road. Lt Fish figured around 15 troops would do along with Sgt Turner.  There had been reports of increased Tory activity in the area and one group was well trained and led by the former British governor's son.

Lt Fish  Cheery posiiton  Lvl II [D10 ]
Sgt Turner  Alcohol/ pragmatic  LvL 0 [ d8}
16 men (drilled)

Arch enemy  Lt Foster   Haughty/ government  LvL II  [ D10]
Roll up enemy troops but first group will be lead by Lt Foster and be drilled.

The platoon plods down Briggs road.  The markers are british blinds.  Also note my new swamp and cornfields from Wargamer's terrain.  I was so pleased with my roads and rivers that I bought these.  The corn is the best I have ever seen!

Back of the column.  Doesn't that corn look ready to eat?

Lt Foster's men fire at the front half of the column achieving surprise.  Lt Fish and two other men go down.  Within a minute Lt Fish is up waving a bible with torn pages that stopped the bullet.  " Good thing I already read it!" he says.  [ Recovered from an unconscious result ]

Lt Fisher forms a firering line but the Tory's are in deep woods and at short range the revolutionaries quickly draw the short stick.

Meanwhile a couple of musket shots at the rear of the column was enough to have Sgt Turner and men in disarray.  [ note celtic cross marker and wagons trying to retreat ]  Lt Fish comes over to rally the men in the barn.

During the events above Lt Foster [ stylish green jacket] and several Tory's manage to capture a cart.  As they are trying to steal a little food and set fire to the rest...

With renewed enthusiasm Lt Fisher's men burst from the barn to take the Tory's down.  Sgt Turner actually confronts Lt Foster but Foster manages to parry the blows.  Both sides lose two men.  Lt Foster realizes that to stay risks the rest of his small force and ...
escapes through the cornfields.  [ Don't they look great! ]

I declare it a victory as none of the carts were destroyed but 11 of the 16 rebels are hurt.  Fortunately 5 are lightly wounded and return.  With a lucky die roll the other 6 will be replaced by next battle.  Sgt Turner performed terribly and earns a "hesitant" card.  Capt Madison is impressed with Fish and Madison's attitude towards the platoon increases by 1.
It was a great game and really showed the leadership rules off.  Both officers kept things moving and Turner could not.

For those of you that want to play Foster had 9 drilled men with him.  [ they only took 3 casualties ]



Saturday, September 13, 2014

The villiage of Ty Phoon

Have managed to play a couple of games while I enjoy my last weeks of retirement.  Opened my rice paddies from Battlefront that I got during their 40% off sale a while ago.   They weren't "fully painted" as describe as I had to flock them but they look pretty good.  With my Rice paddies ready it was time to try out Middle of NoWhere again.  For those of you just joining the platoon SSgt Davis is not fond of Sgr Lawrence.  No one (including his squad) was found of Sgt Colton.  Fortunatly Sgt Colton was WIA last battle and the platoon has fought hard not to get him back.  In his place came Sgt Douglas and at least the morale of 3 squad rose to normal.  Lt McSwain tries to keep everyone moving in the same direction and does a pretty good job.  On the battlfield SSgt Davis is the leader as he is a pre war NCO.

Capt Jaroze talked to Lt Mcswain," Bob, there is a small hamlet called Ty Phoon (4) and intel thinks the NVA is using it as a base.  I would like to you sweep there tomorrow."

Lt McSwain    Gr I
SSgt Davis    Gr II  1st squad and Brilliant leader
Sgt Lawrence Gr I  2nd squad
Sgt Douglas Gr O  3rd squad

Aerial view of Ty Phoon

The 4 black markers are the buildings that have to be searched.  The grey markers are possible VC/NVA.

Lt McSwain decides to split the platoon up.  He will have his two best squads approach from the south east and south west.  3rd squad will enter from the north and act a a block.  He has 2 M60s; one goes to SSgt Davis and the other to Sgt Douglas in the blocking force.  He will start with Sgt Douglas who in an unknown quanity.

Hamlet view from the Southeast.

Blocking force advances across my new paddies.
Sgt Lawrence is slow to start (could not draw his card) and SSgt Davis mutters " It figures; what a screw up."  Sgt Lawrence does take some fire as he comes up the road causing 1 KIA and a WIA.  He becomes pinned down.  Also a sniper fires at the blocking force.

3 men from 2nd squad prepare to enter a shed. 
Wait for it.... a villager in hiding.  As the rest of the squad comes up they are attack from the village.

The 1st squad having a bad day!

The americans forget the villager who slips away and try to return fire but they are caught in the open and quickly become disorganized with 2 KIA.  Their M60 in the woods pins the VC enough for Davis to pull the squad back into another hooch and rally them.
Lt McSwain, hearing the firefight, comes to see what is happening but SSgt Davis has it under control.  2nd squad starts going hooch to hooch.

They flush the hidden sniper who is cut down by the pig.
They come across an old lady who of course doesn't know anything.

Then, from the northwest...

A NVA 1.5 squads appears with LMG and move towards the village.  Fortunately 3rd squad spots them and blocks their advance with the LMG.   (Lt McSwain did have to rush back their to unpin the men who were all hiding behind freshly flocked rice paddies.)

This allowed SSgt Davis to rout the VC in the village and search a third building before time ran out.  It contained an opening to a tunnel complex!  With their tunnels discovered the NVA faded back into the jungle.

Post game we had 3 KIA, 2 RTD and we get one replacement.  ( Am using a derivative of Rifles Forward for this part.)  In addition Lt McSwain meets a local missionary, Father Larry.  He is a jolly fellow who runs a parish 7 clicks from base.  Who knows where that will lead?

Really am happy with the Village Sweep scenario.  It was tense and gives you several things to consider.  Do I ignore the scattered fire and get to the caches before the VC can move them?  What if there is a boobytrap?  How hard to I press this villager for information?

For those of you that want to try this the VC ended up with 1 squad (no LMG) in the village with a Gr 0 leader plus a sniper.  On the 4th turn of the reinforcement card 1 and a half squads of NVA appeared with a Gr II and a Gr 0 leader.





Sunday, September 7, 2014

I'm Back!!!!

Well I have (more or less) successfully moved from England back to the USA.   We are in the house and the computer is set up.  Did spend a month touring Europe first.  During our train rides and the plane rides I managed to write a rough draft of "Rifles Forward".  It has some new stuff in it which I am pretty excited about.  It has expanded the backgrounds, added "arch enemies" and now you see how many replacements you get after each mission. 

Have been dying to try it out and finally got my chance yesterday.  So without further ado

The cannon on the Schuylkill

Rolled up a raid scenario on a cannon.  So...

Col Rose spoke to Capt Madison.  "There are several cannon overlooking the ferries.  We need to keep wearing the British down.  A raid to destroy one of those cannon accomplishes both"  With those words a dawn strike was planned for Capt Madison's company on a lone cannon towards the end of the ferry.  

Capt Hank Madison-- Pharmacist from a town in New Hampshire.  Very pragmatic with an eye towards wealth.  Even tempered and a poor swordsman.  A good leader of troops though.  ( Lvl 2)

Lt Elisha Fish-- Son of a banker who bought his commission.  Liked by the men because he is always cheery and a good leader on the battlefield. (Lvl 2)  He is even tempered and yearns to advance through the ranks with glory.  

Company Sergeant Johnathon Towers--- Was a barkeep before the revolution.  Has a haughty attitude to those below him and loves his position.  Thus he is disliked by the company but it a good man to have around in battle (Lvl 1)  He has a reckless temperament.  

Sgt James Turner---Was a animal rustler before he joined.  (The town was glad to be rid of him)  He is pragmatic and has found his way in the army because he is cautious when sober.  His leadership skills are mediocre. (LvL 0 )

The above was made with the charts found in Rifles Forward.  

The Battlefield

Rebels come in from the forest at bottom.  6 blinds are placed along the hill and at the edge of the village. 
Visability starts at 80 yards

Capt Madison's plan is to take Sgt Turner and 14 men to attack the hill directly to disable the cannon.  Sgt Towers [ I haven't painted up Lt Fish yet] will move to the buildings and neutralize/block an enemy there.

                                                                       Capt Madision

                                              The British battery soon to be relieved for the day.

 The British ended up with 13 men on the hill and a LvL 1 Sgt. The 6 men on the left side of the hill were decimated by gunfire but held their ground.  The British Sgt kept 7 men back to guard the cannon.  [ Had a leadership check and he remained in place!]

                                                      Sgt Turner charges up the hill at 2 redcoats!

Meanwhile on the left flank 2 of the three markers were dummies.  The British would not move for 3 turns and Towers beat them to the punch by entering the house.

                                                                       Honey I'm home!

Sgt Towers had stumbled onto 6 marines that guarded the cannon during the day.  The problem here was twofold; they were elite troops and their officer had a sword.  Sgt Towers went down unconscious and 4 other rebels died at the cost of 2 marines. The two rebels left standing did not bother to save Sgt Towers during their flight from the house.  Later one would say, " Served the bastard right."

Meanwhile Capt Madison's troops carried the hill.  

                                                     The final charge!

With the cannon disabled Capt Madison left back into the woods.  The marines fired parting shots.

Post game we had 3 light wounded, 3 Invalided home, 2 dead and 1 POW [ Sgt Towers]    We will get 3 replacements.   Capt Madison also met an artillery officer and despite the fact that Capt Waters is also a pharmacist, his New England ways must have rubbed the Virginian gentleman the wrong way.  Capt Madison is going to promote Sgt Clark (lvl 1) to company Sgt over Turner.  Clark was a dockworker in Baltimore before the war. 

It was a blast to play and hopefully I can get it out to you guys next year!


Sunday, June 15, 2014

A small town in southern France

This should be my last post from the British Isles.  Mover's come Tuesday then it is off for a month's holiday in Europe before we head back to the good ole' USA.  Blog should be up and running by end of August-- mid September.   Have been playing some Bag the Hun and my P-38 "Headhunters" are getting a workout.

WW II donnybrook is about done.  Just need to work on the vehicle rules.  It is still a little too deadly but most people prefer that anyway.  To see if it would work with just a squad a piece I set this small scenario up in France.  I didn't use any of my Platoon Forward platoon's because I wasn't sure it would work.  Using PF I rolled up an american squad and sent them into the town using the "Patrol" scenario.  I did not roll up the Germans but gave them a squad for this test.  To allow better tactics at this small of scale I gave each side a Grade 0 ASL.

Inspired by War Panda's blog I decided even if I can't paint like him maybe I can make my story a little more comic book.  I don't have Comic Life 3 but decided to use photoshop.  I think it worked pretty well but was time consuming.  Let me know if you like this style and maybe I will repeat it.

MISSION:    Take a patrol into the town up the road and see if the Krauts occupy it. 

Sgt Travers      SL  Gr I leader
Cpl Paul   ASL     Gr 0
1 Bar team 3 men
7 riflemen

Sgt SL   Gr II  leader
Pvt  ASL Gr 0
3 man LMG
5 riflemen

After the germans make it into the church a firefight breaks out.   The 5 man rifle team takes casualties as the the US BAR team.   Then Sgt Travers sees a back door to the sacristy. 

Great game that took an hour.    The german NCO was wounded and taken prisoner.  2 US casualties

Total casualties

US  0 KIA   4 WIA
German  2 KIA   4 POW( WIA )   2 WIA that escaped. 

See you on the other side of the pond