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, August 14, 2017

Sometimes the cards are stacked against you. Operation Torch.

Wanted to use my new desert mat that I bought at Historicon for my version of Bag the Hun.  Decided I would paint up some P-39s for the occasion.  I have some in russian colors but none for the USA.  Figured I could use them in the desert, New Guinea and Guadalcanal.  So painted them up in a camo scheme that was used on the 'canal and in Tunisia and rolled up the 91st Fighter Squadron using Squadron Forward.   This is obviously a new squadron put ashore 10 days after the invasion.  Historicaly they flew many cap missions until it became apparrent the P-39 was outclassed as a fighter.  I will keep them in 1942-43 and see how they do.   They have 1 vet ( Capt Filarto ) 3 average ( one with a drinking problem) and 4 green pilots.  You could already say the cards are stacked against them but they don't know it yet!
Capt Filarto needed to pick who would accompany him on the squadron's first mission in Tunisia.  After several orientation flights they were now going on a combat patrol just east of the beaches looking for trouble.  He wanted the other element lead to be sharp and figured he could take 2 of the less experienced pilots as wingmen because everyone had to learn quick now that they were here.  He decided on 2LT Mike Myers as the element lead.  Mike was a natural born pilot ( flying demon skill) but he had a bit of an attitude.  He was up from the enlisted ranks so was older than everyone but Filarto and seemed to blow hot then cold towards his squadronmates.  Still he could fly.  As his own wingman he chose 2Lt Andrew Sampson.  Andrew was a quiet clean cut kid trying to do the right thing.  Steve felt he would be steady once the shooting started.  He chose 2Lt Jacob Hamm as Mike's wingman.  If Mike had a friend in the squadron it was Jacob. 
Gold Flight
Lead Capt Filarto   lazy/position       Veteran
2LT Andrew Sampson  Cultured/ family Green
2nd element
2LT Mike Myers   Fickle/ position      Average        Flying demon     mustang
2LT Jacob Hamm   Cultured/ family   Green

Traffic control broke into the net, "Gold team leader, bandits inbound to beach.  Change to course 206 20 angles to intercept."  This is it! thought Steve.

As the dots on the horizon grew into aircraft Steve was not pleased.  9 Stukas guarded by 5 ME-109Fs.  They were certainly outnumbered!
He would take the fighters and told Mike to go down and break up the stukas.

As Mike and Jacob concentrated on the Stukas 2 ME 109s came up from behind.  Mike used his skill to evade but Jacob ( green stand green pilot) wasn't so lucky.  Bullets tore up his wings.  Mike told him to break right and then executed a thatch weave that worked!  Jacobs tail was clear but his plane was sluggish now.  ( that is saying somehting for a P-39 at 20K ft). 

As Mike congratulated himself on clearing Jacob a hun came up a blasted his engine.  Mike managed to get out and was picked up by a destroyer later. 

Meanwhile Capt Filarto tangled with a ME 109 that seemed to dance in the sky. ( Jr ace pilot).  He was so busy keeping his own tail clear he couldn't help the other element.  ( pictured is Steve's one shot he got.  minimal damage!) 

At this point there were 2 P-39s against 4 ME 109Fs. ( Jacob managed to get off the table and Mike had damaged Jacob's assailant enough that he left as well.)  Capt Filarto positioned himself for a diving pass at the stukas with a continuation away from the battle.  He picked one and told Andrew to do the same...
Steve and Andrew get ready to make a diving pass before they too hit the silk.

Steve concentrated on aiming for the center of the plane and...

Was rewarded with a trail of black smoke that emanated from the stricken dive bomber.  Andrew also scored and bother were confirmed by a thankful navy.  
The only drama to play out now was 2LT Hamm's landing at the dirt airstrip.  The airacobra is not particularly difficult to land ( unlike the ME 109) but Hamm was green (-1) and the aircraft was damaged (-1).  Unfortunately, Hamm skidded left and cartwheeled the plane.  It is a write off but he was only wounded.

Post game the squadron celebrated their first two kills.  Capt Filarto told off Lt Gordon's the intel officer so that relationship is a -1 right now.  Even though 6 stuka's got through and both sides lost two ships the squadron didn't lose a man and, as the Group commander said, "4 airacobras against 5 veteran messerschidts? I'd say you started out with the cards stacked against you." 

for those of you that want to try your luck Squadron forward generated 1 ace, 2 veteran, 1 average and 1 green pilots for the germans.



PS  Still haven't used my new desert cloth!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Battle in the bamboo Trang Luc

Wargames Illustrated liked my African scenario.  They invited my down for a photoshoot of the battle; too bad I moved from England 3 years ago.  I would have loved that!   Playtested the 3rd scenario for my Kolwezi mini campaign and have 80% of the history written. Still have to play the french incursion into the rebel shanty town several times.  Should be cool as there will be a chance for hostages and Belgian paratroopers!
Unfortunately for my project I started reading SLA Marshal's Three Battles.  It is a typical Marshal book and I enjoy them.  I know it is vogue to be against Marshal and his ideas now but just because his research might not be as righteous as it should be that doesn't mean the man got it all wrong.
It is a good book and really gets to the frustrations of war in Vietnam.  So far I don't think it would make a good mini campaign though as the battles are too similar.  I am thinking Hue or something up on the DMZ for that but we will see.
So had to pull out my 1st Cav and have a go.  I rolled up "Ambush" on the scenario table but really wanted to due a Village Sweep.  It took me forever to get the right feel for this scenario when designing it as you know but I really enjoy it now.  My 1st Cav is a seasoned platoon.  Last battle Sgt Lawrence of 2nd squad was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on the hills over Ty Nuegn.  That is the first time I have actually had a medal awarded in the many battles I have played-cool.  1st Squad is led by Sgt Davis.  He is a great combat leader who says little but knows 18 ways to kill you.  His squad is the best in the company.  You have heard about 2nd squad.  third squad has had Sgt Douglas at the helm for 2 battles since the demise of Sgt Colton.  He is green but holding his own.  the squad hasn't made a decision on him yet.

They sat sweating around Capt Jaroze.  "How could it be so hot and humid here?" thought Lt McSwain.  " Mark, while the company moves toward the village you take your platoon and check out the huts located on our left over the stream."  said Capt Jaroze.   And with that the die is cast thought Mark. 
Lt Mark McSwain    Optomistic/ movies           Gr II
SSgt Davis   1st squad ( 8/10 )   meek/ wealth    Gr III BL
Sgt Douglas 3rd squad ( 8/8)   Jovial/ wealth     Gr I

The village of Trang Luc.  Lt McSwain decides to approach from opposite ends.  Sgt Davis will land on the far side  ( bottom right ) as he can act independently.  Mark will accompany 3rd squad as they are the weakest squad ( Top left) .  2nd squad will be reserve and watch the packs.  Th object is to search the 4 tokens ( picked them up at Historicon) before turn 8.

The village with two of the search sites.

SSgt Davis lands with his squad on a cold LZ.

As first squad approaches the hamlet they spot Charlie moving up to greet them!

The day grows worse.  I use the booby trap cards from ambush valley.  Since I play solitaire I draw them when played ( they got D4 cards).  Here a cool bunker opens up from the swamp outside the hamlet!  Fortunately they can't hit the broad side of a huey.  ( Use Combat Patrol for firering.)

End of turn two.  First squad has one fireteam in hut middle right of picture.  they beat Charlie to the building but the bunker is pounding the hut and they now have one serious WIA.  SSgt Davis has reached the hedge with the rest of the squad and they are advancing towards the nearest hut to search and lay down fire.  Sgt Douglas' fireteam on point is pinned by fire from Charlie in the hut at the top of the picture.  Lt McSwain has a LMG firering as he moves the other half squad into the trees.

Also use Force on Force Fog of War cards and received this huey with door guns.  Unfortunately it didn't do much  but look cool. 

SSgt Davis searches the first hut and finds some civilians.  These ladies are are guests from africa!  they are interrogated ( as per Grunt Forward ) as best as Davis can and offer no information.

Meanwhile, Sgt Douglas tries to rally his fireteam (note new pinned marker in red) while a medic works on the second WIA for the US forces.

The other fireteam under PFC Shackle ( Gr I ) makes it through the trees to Charlie.  A spirited firefight erupts culminating in the fireteam carrying the foxholes via assault. 

Meanwhile, Sgt Douglas has finally moved the fireteam to the nearest hootch. 

Two men search the well while Sgt Douglas fires from teh hootch.    They find nothing. 

End of turn six.  Sgt Douglas and one fireteam are in the hootch nearest the stream.  they continue to fire with minimal effect on the uppermost building to support the other fireteam.  The other fireteam under PFC Shackles suffers another serious WIA and is forced out of the foxholes back into the jungle.  SSgt Davis has pulled his other fireteam back to his position behind the hedge away from the enemy bunker. Their WIA is resting waiting for the medic. He knows they have to search this village before Charlie pull the good stuff out.  Charlie has been reinforced by a LMG and half squad upper right.  Davis leaves his two lightly wounded to lay down fire and crawls towards the target hootch.
Suddenly a Huey gunship appears overhead.  Unbeknownst to SSgt Davis, the LT had called this in to rocket the target hootch to break up Charlies defense.  He would have targeted the uppermost building but was afraid of friendly fire on Shackle.  
The huey roars in firering rockets...

Hootch destroyed!!  
With both NVA squads badly bruised ( 6 total KIA) the enemy slips away to fight again. 
Really fun battle.  An glad I bought MBAs vietnamese village.  I love the look it gives.  While the platoon did get 3 of the 4 markers within 8 turns I called the battle a draw.  Plus side was 3 markers and 6 enemy KIA + 1 slightly wounded vrs 3 serious WIA plus 2 slightly wounded. Down side was they found nothing of value in the village and had to use rockets to blow up a hootch. 

Post battle PFC Shackle is put in for a medal and it is denied.  3rd squad takes a morale check and they stay neutral towards Sgt Douglas.  Finally Capt Jaroze is pleased and promises an extra LMG for next missions. 
For those of you who want to try this out Grunt's Forward generated this for Charlie;
NVA (8/10)
2 squads of 8 men + 1 RPG plus 2 SLs that were Gr II.  1 hidden bunker with LMG and Gr II leader.  Reinforcements were 1 LMG team with Gr I leader and a fireteam of 4 rifles without leader. 




Sunday, July 16, 2017

Historicon 2017

Back from Historicon.  Popped up there Saturday and enjoyed myself.  As most of you are aware there were plenty of games going on at all times so plenty to do.  Vendors were also well represented.
I arrived at 8:45 and parking was a snap.  I had pre registered so avoided a line of about 40 chaps and again walked right up.  Unlike salute, no goody bag to speak of but you did get a wargame figure of an SS tank commander.  Unfortunately, 28mm as was much of the show but I do appreciate the effort. ( Historicon take note, at Salute several years ago a got a D6, very cool and scale neutral.)  A lot of vendors ( was told as many as last year) but unfortunately for me very few sold figures in 15mm;  Battlefront and Old Glory was selling Command Decision.  I did get a bag of T-55s but no Celts or Trebuchets.  Miniature Building Authority was selling their 15mm stuff half off so pick up several items.  ( Should have picked up the Russian village as well.)
On to the games!

Here was a game set in the Congo so I was interested.  Board looked great.  Rules are forthcoming.  Will stick with my Combat Patrol/ FOF combo

Here is the new pirate game.  Pirates and Plunder or something like that.  Boards and figures look great.  Mechanics look interesting as well.  Clearly an investment though; need the rulebook $35 and at least 2 decks of activation cards ($ ??) and their period dice did look nice.  Had it been cheaper I might have pulled the trigger but for now will stick with Donnybrooke.

Didn't figure this one out but the board looked splendid!  Some type of steampunk I think.

Flames of War was in abundance.  there was one game with a huge 6x30 ft table with Ivan crossing into Germany in 1985.  Great looking stuff and the players were totally  into it.  They had been playing for 6 hours when I left.  I suspect the real war would have lasted about as long!

Impressive Berlin 45 table for Disposable heros.  Rules look interesting but again, will stick with what I got.

This game attracted lots of people.  My other pictures of it didn't come out.  Brilliant table of pirates in the carribean.  Suspect we will see this in WI.

Didn't catch the rules for this one but the table certainly makes all those battlefront building look great!

This was Combat Patrol by my friend Col Buck Surdu.  People were so busy playing I couldn't get an unobstructed shot.  They were all having fun which is great as I think it is a great system.  I finally got to meet Buck face to face which is always nice.  He said the Pacific rules ( which I helped playtest) and cards should be out shortly.

Yep Men of company B with our very own Prince of Pork, Martin Goddard of Peter Pig.  As most of you know I love their figures and about half my stuff comes from them. ( All of my Somalis and most of my FFL).
Civilians in the village.  Have to pick me up some of these!  I had e-mailed Martin that I really needed a pack of US snipers ( that way I can paint them as US vietnam, FFL and US modern) and could he bring a pack to the show.  Not only did he do it but refused to take money for them!  A true English gentlemen he is.
I watch Men of Company B for about 20 minutes.  The mechanics are different and interesting.  Teh concepts are easy and because of this it plays smooth.  It is really focused more on the squad than on the fireteam.  Still I am tempted to pick this up and it was fun.

Finally there was Mogadishu in 28 mm on a table sponsored by MBA.  Brilliant it was.

The scenario was a "Blackhawk down" type with homegrown rules.  Some of the participants dressed the part.  Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves here.

So that is a quick report.  I was biased towards WW II and beyond.  There was everything there from ancients up to 2 x-wing battles.

So when I got home last night I didn't have the men of company "B" but...

A mechanized infantry squad was patrolling a village occupied by my new 50% off MBA buildings ( plus 1 JR miniatures) with my new jungle foliage in the background.




Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Corps in the Stan

Life has been busy but finally got to play some over the fourth of July weekend.   Really wanted to use my marine AAV-7 so rolled up a platoon attack scenario using Platoon Forward.

Mission:  Intel has ID a compound as a supply cache for taliban in the area.  Secure the compound.

Compound upper right.  1 squad will enter the woods bottom right to prevent the enemy from escaping.  AAV will enter with the second squad from the left.  Markers represent "blinds" which will be rolled for during the game.

US forces    2 marine squads of 3 fireteams ( FoF TQ 8 morale 10.  Combat Patrol add 1 blue card)
2 SLs both Gr III leaders.   6 team leaders ( 4 Gr I and 2 Gr II) 1 Platoon Leader ( Gr II) and 1 medic.1 AAV and 1 Humvee with TOW.   1 Apache helo in support.

The vehicles roll up to the compound.

Tali emerge from the village thus they are behind the marines

The TOW blows the gate to the compound.  As the marines exit their vehicles they come under heavy fire from a MMG in the compound and from Tali in the village.  One fire team sets up in the village and 2 break for the compound.

A firefight erupts in the village.  6 marines against 16 Taliban.
In the great tradition of the Corps, the marines win the firefight, sustaining only 1 serious WIA.
Medic at work!

Meanwhile the two fireteams rush the compound while the Apache keeps the MMG busy.
The marines storm the compound and take it in brutal hand to hand fighting.   8 Taliban KIA, 2 prisoners at the cost of 1 KIA.

Fun game that played relatively quickly.   No post game as I had not rolled up a marine platoon.  For those of you that want to try this the forces generated were:
2 taliban squads in the village with 7 rifles, 1 RPG and a Gr I leader each.  TQ 6 morale 10.  In the compound  was a MMG Gr II leader and a squad of 6 rifles, 1 SAW, 1 RPG and a gr II leader.  the folks in the compound are TQ 8 morale 10.  I rolled for one reinforcement and only got a sniper.  For more of a challenge add another squad that enters turn 3.

Started a SAGA game between my romans and franks.  Two pictures:
Romans defend the burh
Franks destroy the gate!



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Kolwezi Part 3

Actually stuck with a project and have playtested my third game of my Kolwezi project.  This is a hostage rescue.  It is historical and thus short, sharp and intense.   It has taken me several plays to get a balance for both sides.  Think you all will like it!

The compound.

The French hear voices!

A quick attack to free the hostages.

The trick is to balance both sides so there is a chance for french success but it is still in doubt.  I think I have it but a couple more play throughs will confirm.  This will be one scenario where you won't roll for the enemy as the balance is too tight to be left to chance.

Of course I also had to play something else.  This time it was SAGA.  While ahistorical I am always pleasantly surprise by how much fun it is to play SAGA.  Almost every time the winner is not decided until the very end.

My new Cataphract unit

It is hard to beat for sheer spectacle of forces.  
Huns and Byzantines above.

That is all I have for now



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Kolwezi part 2

Greetings.  Staying true to form about bouncing around from era to era and project to project I finally playtested my second scenario for my Kolwezi campaign.  This is about 3 company of the French Foreign Legion Paratroopers who dropped into Kolwezi, Zaire in 1978 to re take the town from rebels.  This will be 4 linked scenarios using Grunts Forward.  Scenario 1 is Hotel Impala posted in January of this year.  You will take your squad through all 4 missions.   My squad did well in scenario 1 and now they are tasked with sealing off the New Town.  I picked this action to depict because the platoon ran into 3 armored cars and had to drive them away.  Not often the legion gets to fight armor in Africa!   I played this one twice; once using the new FoF Close Quarters Battle rules I am a playtester for and once using my brew of FOF and Combat Patrol.   Characters:
Lt Bourgain  son of successful business man proving himself.   Idealistic/ Pleasure   Gr I leader
Sgt Popov   Russian, ex soldier and mercenary    Condescending/ wealth  Gr I leader   squad +1 towards him
Cpl Smyrnoi  Bosnian, unemployed and needed a job   Conformist/ violin   Gr O leader
2nd Sq leader is Sgt Lesson  French, son of famous actress who didn't even notice he was gone
                 Obnoxious/ food   Gr 0 leader
2 x 10 man squad with one LMG, one LRAC, 6 riflemen and 2 NCOs   FoF 10/10 Combat Patrol I added a green card for the rebels and 2 blue cards for the legion.

Kolwezi.  Old town to the left, new town to the right.   Rebels automatically get 1 AC at start.   Legion start in old town and must prevent the rebels from entering and traversing through old town.
Legion starts with Sgt Popov's squad minus his LRAC team plus Lt Bourgain.

The Lt sets up in the train station (grey building) with the LMG.  Sgt Popov sets up on top of the Bank to cover the elevated walkway.

One legionnaire downstairs in the bank to cover the bridge. 

An AC, gun truck and rebels advance towards the bridge while a sniper tries to clear the bank roof.

A M3 halftrack joins the assault.

The french LMG keeps the rebel infantry advancing slowly.  but the armor is still posing a problem..

The rebels get to the end of the bridge and, though pinned, appear ready to overwhelm the legion in hand to hand with numbers.  Sgt Popov moves down to the ground floor to get ready for the assault.


The LRAC team arrives after finding their rocket launcher (think bazooka) in the equipment bundles.  Their first shot misses but the second...


Sgt Lessons shows up with his squad to reinforce the train station.

A brief interlude occurs when 3 civilians emerge from underneath the bridge and race pass the train station.  ( cool FOF random event!)  Fortunately there are no rebels nearby to take advantage of this.

As a last attempt the rebels finally try the walkway but Sgt Popov stops this cold.
Old Town is saved!!

Great battle.  The squad took 1 serious WIA.  The squad's confidence in Sgt Popov grows and they will now follow him anywhere.  (Morale moves up to 12)   I miss my roll to upgrade his leadership however so he remains a Gr I.  In the next battle the Capt gives the squad an additional LMG.  This will be important as the next battle will be a hostage rescue.  Stay tuned...

For those of you that want to try this out Grunts Forward generated the following
1 AC and guntruck plus 2 squads of rebels + 1 LMG team.  2 additional squads and 1 halftrack came on as reinforcements.  I played 7 turns.  The rebels have to either kill the french or exit old town.