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, April 23, 2018

Jack, the LT and the footbridge Iraq 2003

Played a large scenario out of the scenario book Road to Baghdad; this one was The Footbridge.  I have found the scenarios in that book really interesting.  I always thought the second war was just the US racing to the airport and Baghdad but the book has multiple interesting, challenging tests.  The notes in the back are weak ( unlike most of their books) but the scenarios are great.
As you may recall, I rolled up a squad ( 2nd squad, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine regiment) and they have fought in 3 battles.  They are lead by Sgt Just Jack.  He actually won the Bronze Star in the town of Afak and is highly thought of in the unit.  ( Only my third character ever in 3+ years to earn a medal and the first Bronze Star!)  In fact the squad's morale is high (D12) except for the first fireteam.  The first fireteam is lead by Cpl "Koke" Kokistranovich (nickname pronounced Ko key) and the rest of the team feels he takes too many risks.  He Koke leads the team their morale is D10; if Jack does it is D12.   Jack is aware of their feelings and is working with Koke on his leadership.  Their LT, an Annapolis grad, is oblivious to this but respects Jack's leadership and is competent and still learning.   [ I love when you can generate a great backstory over several battles!  It makes the games so much more interesting to me.  It is the whole reason I did PF/GF.]
So the scenario I placed Jack in is The Footbridge.  Basically the marines have to repair a footbridge and cross it in the face of the republican guard backed by islamic extremists.

"So men, we have to get across that bridge and secure a foothold so the battalion can move on to Baghdad.  Jack, 2nd squad will repair the bridge and lead us across.  Borden, you will lay down so much fire that nothing moves across the river, understood?  Okay, let's go." So Lt Declines ended the briefing to his NCOs.
Lt Declines  Annapolis grad   Sensible/ wealth  Gr I
Sgt Borden   ( 1st squad leader)  careful/ engineering   Gr II
Sgt "just" Jack (2nd squad leader)  mechanic before he enlisted  Jovial/ position Gr II   +2
1 fireteam Cpl Koke  Junior race car driver  addicted to thrills      Gr 0
2nd FT  Cpl "Fast" Jones  orphaned joined at 18   inept/ religion    Gr 0
3rd FT LCpl Betts    acting leader so didn't roll up                           Gr 0

My new building with custom sign!

The battlefield with the marines entering from right.    Win by having a fireteam to left of rivre by turn 8.  [ I did not roll up forces as I used them out of the book substituting my 2 marine squads for the 2 in the book.]

Republican guard with an actual officer!

Jack leads Koki's team towards the footbridge while Cpl Jones moves up towards the river in support.

Trouble brewing for thirsty US marines.

 1st squad unloads from their track.   A second Iraqi tank broke down and wouldn't arrive for 3 turns.

End of 3rd turn.   Jack on the bridge that is now repaired.  1st squad to his right in support.  That track will now retreat in the face of armor.  Cobra ( yes it is a Cobra Jack!) called in for support with a mission against the hotel. ( Prematurely placed on the board.  Rolled for it's arrival against medium air defense and environment too hot to arrive.  Must have been piloted by army guys!   Huge blow for the marines but FOW card came up and a M-1 tank comes up in support.  Not as good but close.)

Jack makes a dash for the far side!   2 men hit as all hell breaks loose.  It is too much even for Jack.  He pulls back with one serious and one minor WIA.  ( Of course you don't know that till the end of the turn.)

More Iraqis come to the bridge where the battle will be decided.

Turn 5.  Lt Declines orders Sgt Borden to make a dash across the bridge.  Miraculously he makes it across ( where he is outnumbered badly) on turn 6. 

On turn 6 Lt Declines realizing he needs bodies across the river takes matters into his own hands and leads folks across.  With one man KIA they are pinned down and has to retreat. 

Meanwhile the Abrams takes care of the Iraqi armor. 

Looking for cover Sgt Borden leads his fireteam towards a damaged building with pinned Iraqi soldiers in it.  They flee.  No sooner has he started to try to set up positions when rebels charge his position.  There is no time for final defensive fire. 

The melee in the rubble is ferocious!  Unfortunately each side loses 2 which the 4 man US team can ill afford.  While they can still drag their wounded Borden signals retreat under the bridge. 

Sgt Borden catches his breath!  Fortunatly both casualties were only lightly wounded.  They would need ever gun.
The Abrams and SMAW blasted the rubble leaving only 2 rebels left alive and destroying the entire complex.  

Lt Declines tries to cross the bridge again on turn 7.  

Lt DeClines and LCpl Betts finally make it across and into the shattered remains of the hotel complex on turn 8.  The US had 2 fireteams (10 men) on the far side for the win!

Great game that was tension packed to the end.  Not having the helo made it challenging for the US as the Iraqis had 4-5 teams targeting the bridge every turn.  It played a little long solo as the US had two full marine squads and 2 platoons of Iraqis but it was worth the effort.

Post game Lt DeClines is impressed with LCpl Betts and arranges to promote him to Cpl and he officially takes 3rd FT.  He also improves to a Grade I leader.  Despite the fact that Jack picked 1st FT to lead the charge on the bridge the team still blames Koki so there is no change there. Morale holds for the squad at D12.  The squad lost 1 KIA and 1 IH and they were down 1 already but they get 1 replacement so will be 2 marines down for the next mission.



PS  Marines are all Peter Pig.  Iraqi army figures I am not sure, I think they are QRF.  Iraqi insurgents are QRF.  Vehicles are a mixture of Peter Pig, Old Glory and QRF.  


Monday, April 9, 2018

Review of Peter Pig NVA, QRF vehicles and Crescent Root buildings

Not much gaming in but have got some stuff painted up so thought I would share my thoughts on the products.  I always like to see what other people think if the reviews are honest.
First, to remind you- bought an alpha boat from Battlefront.  Painted up great.  Here it is in action with the French.

Right, now we will start with some QRF vehicles.  I will say off the bat I like QRF vehicles.  As a skirmish gamer I normally don't need a platoon of vehicles; normally one or two and QRF allows me to do that.  Chaz ( QRF) is great to deal with and for us in the states Scale Creep has some of their stuff in stock so if you are lucky you can save on postage.  If not, Chaz is great to deal with directly and with the weak pound it is not too bad.  My only quibble is not really fair, with QRF you normally don't get the extra bits that you get with battlefront and sometimes Old Glory like machine guns and crew.  The reason it isn't fair is QRF is cheaper than Battlefront so you are paying for those "extra" bits.
So I painted up some US weasels to be French crabs in Indochina.  

Granted the lead flag is weak ( it doesn't look that bad in person) and I still need to weather them but that is not Chaz's fault.  I obviously added a Old Glory MG to one and a Peter Pig recoiless rifle to the other.  The model is very nice and will do great service in defense of the Pan Frenchness everywhere.

Second up is an Ontos for my Marines.

This is a unique vehicle to the US marines and I thought it would be cool to have one.  QRF is the only company to make one in 15mm to my knowledge but I hear Battlefront is coming out with one.  I didn't want to wait.  This one was a little fiddly to glue all the rifles on to and for some reason the right most rifle ( when viewing from the front) still falls off at the drop of a hat.  I have glued it several ways with little success.  I finally based it so I hope not to bump the rifles.  Haven't played with this baby yet but it should work.  I had to add a battlefront MG to the top but she is ready to do damage to some bunkers! 

Next up, Peter pig NVA.    Now I am a fan boy for Peter Pig infantry.  Martin is a stand up chap which helps but his figures come in bags of 8 and are reasonably priced.  They are true 15mm so seem slender compared to most "modern" figures but I have no trouble mixing them with Battlefront, Khurasian and Flashpoint.  They mix really well with QRF infantry with tends to be thinner than many of the other companies.  There is only 1 Peter Pig range I am not thrilled with; Vietnam.  The VC look fine and I use then.  The Americans look too small to me and the helmets are not distinctive with "stuff" on them like flashpoint's figures.  I mainly use Martin's US troops for my ARVN as their size is perfect.  I do use some US for leaders and other specialty positions and they work fine; just not my go too.  ( Reader's of this blog know Peter Pig is my go to for my FFL in indochina though!)  I am not thrilled with his NVA as the helmets and shirts seem off.  Again I use them but my go too has been Flashpoint.  The problem with Flashpoint is there aren't very many poses so for a skirmish game you run the risk of everyone having the same pose!  I am please to report Martin's rework of the NVA range is super!

The pictures didn't come out well but trust me, the figures look great.  The helmets are spot on now.

This is an "old figure".  Again not a great picture but see the helmet.  It is okay but I like the new helmets much better.  I don't need many NVA anymore but for the ones I do Peter Pig is my go to now for them.

Finally Crescent Root.  This was my second "splurge" buy I allowed myself this year.   I bought a $40 building I didn't need.

Mark's buildings are fantastic with lift off roofs.  True confession, I liked his old stuff better, it seemed slightly bigger and had more texture, but this is still a top notch building.  This seems more like 10-12mm in scale.  It comes pre painted and ready to go.  His earlier stuff was a bargain.  I think he has raised his prices to a more fair price.  If you compare this with what battlefront is selling ( I have and like their stuff as well) $40 is a fair price for the extra details despite the small footprint so I really can't quibble. Expect to see this on an Iraq battlefield soon! Highly recommended. (figures PP)

Hope you all enjoyed this.  If so let me know.  If not let me know and I won't post stuff like this again.  Will try to get some of this stuff on the table and do a battle report soon.



Saturday, March 31, 2018

Alpha boats for FoF and other pictures

Have played several games over the last 2 weeks including a great one taking place in Iraq that the US lost with only 2 turns left.  But this post is going to highlight my current fascination with riverine warfare in Vietnam.  A unique aspect of the war and one of the true successful innovations the French had.
Every year I blow $100 on frivolous stuff I really don't need but would be cool.  Now my wife would tell you all my wargaming stuff is frivolous but I am talking even frivolous for me.  Last year it was custom dice.  This year I bought an alpha boat from Battlefront (25% off) and a building complex from Crescent Root. ( love their buildings!)   The boat is frivolous because how often do you really need an alpha boat in a skirmish game?  The buildings are because... I have alot of buildings already. Good news is only spent $85.
So to my alpha boat.    It is big and looks cool!!!

Here it is pimped out with a custom flag!  

FoF Ambush Valley has no stats for Alpha boats so here is my best guess
Alpha boat  Class H    20mm cannon 4/3 L    twin 50s 4/1 L  and 80 mtr  4/2 L minimum 40 yards 
                    armor 3D10 except rear 2D10.   crew  7   Notes  Can carry 10 men.  Equiped for mine-
                    sweeping.  4D10 against mine attacks.  

And because you all know I have my French Foreign Legion in Indochina we have...

A Vedette de Port also with custom flag!

Another view

These were Harbor Defense Launches that the French added guns and armor too.  Many had 20 mm guns in front but mine has twin 50s from my Peter Pig PBR.  Needless to say Ambush Valley has no stats for this baby either so...
Vedette de Port   Class M    twin 50s 4/3 L   single HMG ( one per side) 3/0    60mm Mtr  3/0
                            armor 2D8 except rear 1D8   crew 7   Notes armor and weapons varied; more 
                            added as war progressed
Other stuff to report:
Quick game just to get my "river legs" with my half painted alpha boat ambushed.  5 Navy SEALS jump out. 
VC with recoiless rifle. 

SEALS attempt to capture the rifle but it slips away.  

Finally painted up a Timecast building I bought last year at Historicon. 

In the mean streets of Iraq...

More street action!

US forces moving under the cover of smoke

US trying to hold on...

One fireteam pinned as the rebels get ready to storm the building!  SL down WIA.

Armor shows up but will it get there in time?

It didn't.  The Rebels charged but were beaten back with final defensive fire.  US held on to their positions but lost on points as they had too many seriously wounded.   Great game.

That is all the news that is fit to print.  Happy Easter everyone.  Anyone with better info and ratings for the Alpha or Vedette de Port boats please let me know.





Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Johhny A in the FFL Chapter one

Finally decided to start a French Foreign Legion squad in Vietnam using Grunt's Forward and my rules for the Legion which will be in my African expansion.  There is a 10% chance of getting an American and I finally got one! ( Okay so 10% is high but hey it is my game and I am an American.  There is also a 10% chance of getting someone from the UK.)  Great back story as well so this guy can't die.  Gentlemen and Jack ( I doubt there are any ladies that read this, if there are please let me know and I will correct myself!) I introduce to you Johnny Anderson better known as "Johnny A". 

Johnny A grew up as a golden boy high school athlete and class president of well to do parents in the mid west.  WW II broke out and in 1943 Johnny turned 18 and against his parents wishes "threw it all away" and enlisted in the marines to serve his country. His touch continued as he was quickly found to have true leadership talent and ended up a squad leader on Okinawa.  After the war he demobilized and went to college to prepare for law school to take over his dad's practice.  He was restless however, and Betty Lou helped quench that fire in him. After Betty informed him she was with child his dad told him the honorable thing to do was marry her and stop living a wild life.  Johnny didn't want to give up his wild life so spit for the east coast.  After bouncing around for 6 months he realized he knew how to soldier and went to France and joined the Legion armed with his High School French.  The Legion also noted his skill and he advanced rapidly to once again become a squad leader.   His brash cockyness did rub his fellow NCOs a bit, particularly the kraut Dietz ( swear I rolled him up too!) and the Lt Carville but the Company commander fancied himself a fluent english speaker and americanophile so liked this marine who had seen action in WW II while he himself had been in North Africa.

West of Hanoi in the Red River Delta 1951
Capt Doucet informed Johnny in English that a mentor of his had located to Annam and he wanted to take him to see the temple up river.  He wanted Johnny's squad to accompany them.  The boat would only hold a dozen people so he should pick 10 and meet him at the dock tomorrow at 7 am.  Now Johnny didn't like the Captain but he had treated Johnny well and the Captain was brilliant in a fight.  None better he had every seen; even in the Corps.  Besides, the Captain was the Captain...
Patrol scenario using Grunt Forward.
Sgt Johnny A         Gr II Leader
       1st Squad  10 men including 1 BAR       8/10
ASL Cpl Hughes    Gr II Leader
Capt Doucet            Gr III leader with Brilliant characteristic
1 patrol boat with LMG up front.

French will land at the dock upper right and proceed to temple on foot.  VC will be returning to village
My cool $4 temple from Petsmart
Johnny A, the Capt and Fr LaRouche, SJ. 

Fr LaRouche meets some villagers.  Yes he does speak the language but they tell him nothing. ( yes there is a table for that.)
The enemy shows up on blinds and becomes...
1 squad, 1 LMG and 1 mortar team.
Cpl Hughes gets pinned down right away and civilians scramble for cover. 
 The VC use tunnels to move to the opposite side of the village leaving the LMG in the temple.  One of Hugh's men goes down with a serious wound.   Johnny patches him up and takes him back to the boat.

Johnny A making a drop off.

The boat moves up and eliminates the LMG. 
Johnny sends 2 men into the temple. He goes back for the rear guard and the Capt and priest start towards the temple again.  Battle over?

As Johnny picks up the rear guard to move they are attacked by the VC squad.  Disciplined firepower carries the firefight and after 2 KIAs charlie breaks off contact. 

Short fun firefight!     Easy victory for Johnny A. One serious wound vrs 4 KIA for the VC. ( VM)  Post battle Johnny gets to talking with the priest who also speaks english and they strike up a friendship.  Also, Cpl Hugh's fireteam takes a liking to him with a +1. 
More to come for sure!

Also played a special ops raid on an african nation where 4 green berets snatched a high ranking officer.