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.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Lost over Russia

As you know I can't keep focused on one front or even one type of battle.  Last weekend I used my Grun Hartz squadron with Squadron Forward.  They have actually only had two other missions but have done reasonably well.  I say "reasonably" because 12 kills on the russian front is not all that great.  Matter of fact I play that germans don't reach Ace status until 6 kills. ( Romanians are different. )
A note on my tactical rules.  I use Bag The Hun but have tweaked everything about them so the only part still original is you roll lots of dice.  My goal was to differenciate every type of aircraft.  For Example:
On my to do list is to publish this in a special entitled "Bling the Hun". 

On to the battle:
OLT Wilke    addict/enginering              Vet
SFW Nordman  lazy/ glutton                 Vet
FW  Heil           cultured/ position          Vet
FW Schmidt      addict/ women              Avg

" Lost!  They were flipping lost thought SFW Nordman.  We are too deep in Ivan's territory.  Herr officer is going to get us killed!"  " Sir, I wonder if we need to move back west?", Nordman asked over the radio."
" Bandits 12 o clock level", FW Heil broke into the conversation.  There appeared to be several dilapidated bombers and 3 LA-5s already bearing down on them.
Grun Hartz finger four.  Wilke is in #1 and Nordman is in #2.

Wilke was at least decisive.  "Nordman, you go after the bombers.  I will take the fighters."

The Russian pilots were not very good and did not turn fast enough.  Both Wilke and Schmidt got shots and sent Ivan down on silk.  They chased the lead and damaged him but he kept running from the battle.

Meanwhile Nordman was chasing the bombers.  Just as it looked like a blow out, I rolled a random event and...

3 Yak-9s arrive after flying towards the sound of guns!  ( The red one is a veteran pilot which helps a lot to get initiative.)

Nordman and Heil rush past them and manage to down two of the bombers. 

A dogfight ensues and Nordman downs a Yak for his second kill of the day.  Immediately afterwards his fuel line is cut by a russian round.  I refer to our " All Knowing Odds Table" and it is possible for him to make it back to German lines.  He does!  It is then very unlikely that he will make it back to the airfield.  He won't!  Now he is really swearing at OLT Wilke with his mike off for taking them deep into russian territory.  He decides to crash land rather than bail out.  It is probable that he can find a nice field.  He does!  Then the moment of truth arrives as the ME-109G sets down and goes screeching across the field.  He looses a wing and most of his tail but the cockpit is intact when the plane stops!  15 minutes later a german truck finds him smoking a cigarette looking at the sun.  He is back at the base 20 minutes later.

Great game with an exciting finish!  Now the background; I rolled a pre engagement event that was "navigation error".  I thought, okay on a fighter sweep what am I going to do with that?"  For the sweep I rolled encounter transport/recon aircraft.  I then rolled and it was 3 transports.  Way cool!  Wilke had a navigation error that led them deep into russia where they encountered a general moving to a new HQ.  SFW Norman, who is fat and lazy would not want to risk his life deep in russia.  One transport would have the general in it and I would roll which plane at the end of the game.  ( they missed him!)  With the 3 LA-5s easily dispatched I thought it was going to be a turkey shoot then a random event shows up; 3 Yaks!  This made for a neat battle that I hadn't even envisioned.  When Nordman had his fuel line cut and had to get back this became a great battle!

Post game the squadron did not earn a cool point because they were not where they were suppose to be. FW Schmidt becomes a veteran.   OLT Wilke goes down in the squadron's eyes while lazy slug Nordman is re evaluated.  He shoots down two planes and nurses his damaged plane back to German lines and crashes it without a scratch to himself.  Probably a good guy to have in a fight!




Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Drama in the Greek Army.

My inspiration for Platoon Forward was not to create a great mechanism for solo gaming or a scenario generator.  It was actually to create tension and stress for "my characters".  Some of the best tension is when it is between characters.  I read Cross of Iron and the tension and backstabbing by Capt Stransky was what I was going for. 
One of my more dramatic platoons are the Greeks.  ( Big surprise.)  The story just seems to break that way.  So I tried out Combat Patrol again with the Greeks against the Germans.
April 1941
As Lt Spozito trudged back to his platoon he was frustrated.  It wasn't that the Greeks were losing the war exactly.  It was that he fancied himself a great military man and his platoon was not a very good one.  His NCOs were not very good.  He had worked with them for a year without much success.  The men too did not respond.    Sgt Hellick was an alcoholic who couldn't lead lemmings.  Problem was he was drinking buddies with SSgt Radistas who controlled supplies for the company.  Sgt Pitsikas was a country bumpkin who couldn't learn any tactics.  Sgt Basakidas was also an alcoholic but he was generous and did have limited leadership skills.  Then there was that prick from battalion, SLT Hivah, who seemed to have it out for him.
As he gathered his platoon "leaders" around him he explained that the mission was yet another blocking action down the road to Koritza.
Lt Spozito      Plesant/ family     Gr I
Sgt Hellick     pessimistic/ alcohol   Gr 0  Squad only half reconstituted after last battle  disliked by Lt sposito
Sgt  Pitsikas  course/glutton  Gr I   disliked by Lt Sposito
Sgt Basakidas  Generous/alcohol  Gr II
1 25mm french ATG

Dispositions as Jerry enters the board.  3rd squad ( the best) is in the farmhouse on the right.  2nd squad ( next best) is near the bridge.  1st squad ( which is a half squad)  is positioned in the forest on the LEFT side of the river.  His orders are to engage the germans as they enter the house.  Once they break out of the house or he is to be overun he retreats across the ford at the top of the screen.  Lt Sposito is with the ATG on the hill to ensure it shoots.

German armored car enters the board.  I love using this thing but rarely do as I don't play early war often. 

Very first shot takes it out.  Yea for Lt Sposito but it didn't even get to fire!

The Germans are stopped dead and struggle to even get to the house.  They bring up a cannon to neutralize the farmhouse.

A random event immobilizes it for four turns!  Haven't they ever set this thing up before!
The german officer is a victim of a lucky shot to make things worse.

For those of you that have played "rearguard" before you know that some blinds come in on the side.  I had one "A" and one "C" to come in. 

The two blinds come in right behind Sgt Hellick's crew.  I hate when my own game smokes me!

After the dice are rolled the germans have a squad with a Gr I leader. 
The Greeks turn around and start fighting for their way out.  ( Each hex is 20 yards)  The nearby stones are morale markers. 
Lt Spozito shifts second squad's fire to the new threat but keeps the ATG and 1st squad firing at the rest of the Germans.  A flare comes up from behind; the signal for Spozito's platoon to withdraw.  He packs up the ATG and orders 1st squad to withdraw.  Sgt Pitsikasasks for permission to cross and help Sgt Hellick.  Lt Spozito declines saying covering fire will be sufficient. 
The platoon watches Sgt Hellick's attempted escape.
The squad is down to four men.  The German squad to their front ( un be knowst to them) is pinned after their squad leader is killed.  As germans start to come up from their side Hellick knows they have to make a break for the stream since his comrades are not coming to his aid.

The greeks win the hand to hand losing only one man.  ( I like the way Combat Patrol does melee but up the modifiers.)
At this point another random event generates a hero for the germans.  The German machine gun team clears their jam and charges the greeks.

The Greeks are faster and start across the ford.  LMG bullets trail them as 2nd squad tries to suppress the LMG.  But how do you suppress a hero? 
In a scene reminiscent of the movie " Platoon" all three men are shot down before reaching the bank. 

As the last body falls, Lt Spozito orders 2nd squad to withdraw.  Nothing is said but the men are uneasy and the Lt has suddenly become very unpopular.

Great game with unexpected drama to boot!  Morale for 2nd squad goes down and Lt Spozito becomes unpopular.  The Platoon is not issued any grenades because SSgt Radistas ( Hellick's drinking buddy) can't find any.  SLt Hivah ( battalion S-1) actually does nothing so far.  An NCO is not available so Pvt Ditrtkas is promoted from the ranks.  He is grade 0 but not an alcoholic.

I still really like Combat Patrol.  It is smooth and handles differences in training well.  ( I gave the Germans 2 extra cards.)  It ties in well with Platoon Forward.

For those of you that want to try this the Germans had
2 squads of 10 men with Gr I leaders.
1 Lt who is Grade II and a 50mm mtr.
A 75mm short cannon. ( Think it is called a Sig or something like that.)
At the top of the board on turn 5 a third squads enters with a Gr I leader.




Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving plus nautical fun!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  With so much family here I did not get to play a Combat Patrol.  (My relatives already think I am odd so I don't want to give them anymore ammo.)  Next weekend!   Did play the USS Enterprise vrs the Flambeau.  This is a free downloadable scenario from the Post Captain folks.  It also fits in well with the novel I am currently reading, The French Prize by James Nelson.
Not much lead into the scenario by me as I played it straight out of the tin!  ( Only difference is I did not use my D6 CRT.  The Flaumbeau has 8 pounders and the Enterprise has 6 pounders so the difference here is important.  Each hex still 50 yards.)

USS Enterprise cruising the Caribbean looking for Frenchies!

The French privateer Flambeau. 

The ships close.  Flambeau has the weather gauge but shots miss.

Flambeau's best shot.  Cannon balls flying down the length of the Enterprise kill 16 men and 8 marines. 

Enterprise tries a stern rake as Flambeau prepares to tack.  The shots hit home.  With a third of her hull damaged the French Captain (cowardly) decides to open up the range to 500 yards.

USS Enterprise smells blood in the water. (so to speak)

The Flambeau turns on her pursuer but the shots fail to make any apparent damage.

The Enterprise scores a critical hit on the Frenchman's chains.  The mainmast falls!

With her reduced speed the Enterprise is able to rake the Frenchman at will.  To save further bloodshed the Frenchman strikes his colors. 

Good game that played fast. I do wonder about the design decision to give both ships only two boxes of guns rather than rounding up to three. ( In PC each box is 3 guns; both of these ships had 8. ) Post Captain is easy to play solitaire with the sequential movement. Another thing I like is the system won't let you fight to the death.  Even if you don't have Post Captain you should go over to Old Dominion Gameworks and download the 4 scenarios.  
Next week; Combat Patrol!



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Combat Patrol-- First Impressions

I have been a die hard Troops Weapons and Tactics fan for years.  I will occasionally play Chain of Command (which I playtested).  When I heard about Combat Patrol I wasn't too interested.  How many tactical WW II games come out with "realistic tactics but simple mechanisms".  I had purchased Mr Surdu's small craft ( Naval) rules and had not liked them.  Then I saw his two videos about Combat Patrol and became interested.  They are well done and really explain the system well.  I took the plunge!  Here is my report as always given with a background story and scenario.  (I had already played 3 skirmish scenarios to get the feel of it.)

The Americans were on the offensive in Tunisia!  Lt Powers' platoon was held back to exploit success once the main line was cracked.  Old Georgie Patton had learned a lot of the German way of war.  ( In Platoon Forward I rolled up a Breathrough scenario!)  His men had haftracks and armor to race 2 miles and capture a supply cache/HQ.  Powers naturally knew he was up for the challenge.  He hoped he could capture a German Colonel!

Lt Powers  Gr I leader  Cocky/technology    Son of a Senator
Sgt Kline  Gr 0  Bumbling/pleasure  (just joined the platoon due to Sgt Bustamanti's demise.)  BAR broke last battle and has not been replaced yet. 
Sgt Nolan  Gr I  optomisitc/position  (mechanic before the war)
Sgt Sawyer  Gr 0 Pleasant/ knowledge
1 Stuart, 1 Lee, 1 halftrack with 75mm.
All US forces are considered green.  (This makes a big difference in the game as it functionally gives you a column shift when firering.

Lead Stuart moving up the road.   Black markers are potential German positions.  HQ at top of picture


Americans rubble forward near a tin of dice

A German armored car fires from across the board.  It misses but infantry quickly dismount.  You can see everyone gets their own die.  At first I thought it would be annoying but I actually like it.  In big battles, like this one, I don't have to remember which German squad is the second vice first.

The US tank destroyer moves into some woods hoping to get a shot.  This game has a clever mechanism for vehicles moving across rough ground.  You use the (now familiar) fireing mechanism to attack the vehicle.  If successful it stops movement till next turn.

Germans move towards a house hoping to set up the ATR.

Part of second squad gets to the same house just a little faster.  The grenade rules work very well and are fast to resolve.  The US sends the German's packing back to HQ.  As casualties occur the unit acquires "morale chits".  When the unit is next activated it must resolve all of it's chits. 

Sgt Nolan enters a house just as German reinforcements show up.  The Germans roll really well and get a Stug and 2 squads with Gr I leaders.

An infantry battle erupts to the side of the HQ.  Here is Sgt Kline's men sans BAR team. The card/die activation system is more elegant than I thought. For example, you can add several blue cards to the deck if one side is generally more skilled.  I added two cards to the deck to represent the better training of the Afrika Korps.  Thus on a blue "4" only German troops can activate.  This came up a couple of times and German tanks got several extra shots off without being rated elite.  A truly simple approach to show differences in training/experience.
Sgt Nolan had cleared both buildings through melee.  Melee is interesting in that you break it down to individual combats and then "dice off" each one.  This  part is a little clunky and I might have to work on it.
Note the three pebbles in front of the building.  Those are those morale chits I talked about.  As a Gr I leader Sgt Nolan will remove one automatically and then have to take 2 morale checks.  Meanwhile Sgt Sawyer attempts to move up.  He received several pebbles from a German MG and his squad retreated.

The Germans attempt to storm Sgt Nolan's position but are forced to retreat.  Their NCO was killed thus the unit becomes pinned.  A pinned unit only can use black cards.  This is a nice way to simulate confusion until the unit sorts itself out.  I had a Pz III who had their leader incapacitated by a non penetrating round.  As they sat there pinned the American TD blew them up.

After the fighting.  The German LT gets hit pinning the Jerry LMG.  The other squad is down to 4 men.  Time to retreat!  We did get two truck loads of supplies off though.

Great game that played fast solitaire.  The platoon is inspired by Lt Powers so he gets a brilliant commander card.  This of course will make his head swell even bigger.  He does put Sgt Nolan in for a Bronze Star but it is denied by Capt Shaffer to show Powers who is in charge of the Company.  ( Maybe a skype session with dad?)

For those of you that want to try the scenario the Germans started out with 1 PSW 222, 1 squad with ATR and Gr III leader. (The captain).  Two trucks of supplies that will start to roll on turn three.
Reinforcements were a Stug and two squads with one Gr I and a Gr 0 leader.  They also get a Gr I LT.  I generated a random reinforcement ( Platoon Forward is never dull!) of a Pz III on turn 6.

I highly recommend Combat Patrol.  It really is fast and fun.  As you know I have never met a set of rules I haven't changed (except for Post Captain) so here are my house rules for now:
1.  At the end of the turn all morale chits are resolved.  ( Had several instances where we wanted to charge but had to wait around to see how their morale was going to go.)
2.German LMG always has 3 shots if fully crewed.  ( Only has two at short range.)
3.Half the scale for 15mm.
4. The Garand doesn't get two shots.  Make it one and they can re draw misses.
5.  Gr I leaders add 1 to their sequence roll.
6.  Gr II leaders add 1 to their sequence roll and shift fire one to the left.
7. Gr III leaders add 2 to their sequence roll and shift fire one to the left
8.  A unit without a leader of some type has an automatic sequence roll of "1".
9. Due to #5-8 we need to change the sequence deck.  It now has one "1" card ( instead of two), Two cards for numbers 2-5 ( no change) and three cards for number 6 ( one added).  So now better leaders have a better chance to activate more often.

It is a tribute to Buck's game that it can take these changes and still play smooth.  Thanks Buck for a great game system.  Happy to playtest anything else you have that is similar. 




Saturday, November 7, 2015

Flying a desk

Finally took a break from the land and sea and went back to Squadron Forward.  One of the things I like about the Forward system is that once I pick up the squadron's sheet I can look at my notes and I am right back to playing even if it has been 9 months.  My Headhunter's hadn't seen action since the beginning of the year and I didn't miss a beat.

Maj John Lightning wasn't happy.  Col Birch, his boss, felt his squadron wasn't pulling it's weight and John suspected that the Colonel thought John was a big part of the problem.  The last mission, John hadn't flown, while the squadron was tangling with some Tony's and Bettys 2 P-47s had shown up and scored more than the lightnings combined. 

John was going to lead a patrol over the islands and protect the army boys. 

Maj Lightning      Coarse/ Enginering    Vet      West Point
Lt Paul Adkins    Scholarly/ position     Vet      mustang
2Lt "Bone" Nixon  Scholarly/ religion          dead eye
Lt "Porky" Greenway  Aggressive/ revenge     green

Maj Lightning would take Bone while Paul took Porky. 

Lightning and Bone

Maj Lightning sights a lone Japanese bomber escorted by two Tony's.   He couldn't believe his luck.  Must be a photo recon.  

John manuvered his fighters through some clouds and got behind the bomber.

John fired a long burst from medium range and the bomber went spinning out of control!  This left 2 Tony's against 4 P-38s.  Tony's decided to run.

Run Tony run!
Unfortunately these Japs were good.  One flew into a cloud  and Lt Adkins flew past!

One evaded John...
and managed to take a shot at Porky!  Fortunately it was minor damaged. 

John was disappointed that both Tony's escaped.  Probably deemphasize that in the report he thought!

Fun quick game!  Col Birch was neutral to the report.  Porky gained "average" status.  Col Birch also likes the way Lt Adkins handles himself.  If Birch promotes Adkins John better watch out- he might be flying a desk!




Monday, October 26, 2015

Learn something New every day

All the battles I report on are as they actually play out.  I played two very quick ones this weekend that I will report on as I think the snaps are decent.
First as you know I have started playing Post Captain.  I really enjoy the rules; so much that when was in Chicago, I purchased 5 GHQ ships just to see.  I painted up a 18 gun brig and a Baltimore privateer.  I thought I did a decent job but didn't even try rigging!  I took a british flag from my Pirates ships and placed it on the brig.  Easy and you can judge how the ships look! 

Lt Bragg in the 18 gun brig HMS Beagle

Lt Bragg thought the fog might be a blessing.  He had been hunting the American privateer " Comet".  With this fog maybe he could sneak up on her.  ( Yes I actually rolled up fog!  I was wondering how I would get these two together for a fight.  Viz 400 yards.)    Suddenly a lookout  " Eyes Jenkins" called a strange ship off the larboard side.    Lt Bragg pulled out his scope and easily identified the Comet through the fog. 

Ships sight each other.

Through severe fog (?) a shot of the Comet.

Lt Bragg brings his ship around downwind to fire at the Comet's sails which are still rigged for Easy.  He orders the topmen up to change to battle sails.

The fire is ineffective.

The comet turns upwind and answers Bragg's call.  The Beagle receives minor hull damage. 

At this point the Comet makes a break for it.  The chagrinned Lt Bragg belays his last order as the Beagle tacks.

The Comet moving back into the fog

A PR shot of the Comet showing of her lines!

Lt Bragg's crew mumbles about having a junior LT in charge.  ( I played this solitaire and it did not occur to me that the Comet could move up wind and outrun me until after I made the turn and started to change sails.  Learn something new every day.)

Second I played a playtest of Fighting Seasons using Ambuscale from my Grunt's Forward.

Sgt Bragg moving into town covered by a Hummer.
Ditto and you can see where potential enemy positions are.

The enemy "uncloaks" with a LMG on the big house.   Unfortunately their fire was pathetic and they didn't cause one casualty. 
The US quickly move up to the house.  Time for the Taliban to retreat!

The US searching another dwelling.  I really like the "breaking and entering" rules.

Another short game as the Taliban could not face the US in a stand up fight.   Next Time!