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.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sgt Lawrence gets a medal

I have been playtesting Grunt's Forward for about 40 games now.  One of the cool things it introduces is the ability to obtain a medal.  Obviously they should be hard to get but at somepoint I had to roll well right?
This was a very short battle that ended up being very one sided.  For initiative Sgt Lawrence kept roll a "6" and his cards kept coming up. 
Object is the large hill in the middle.  Lts plan was to have the tank and MMG lay down covering fire while 2nd squad ( Sgt Lawrence) moved from the jungle to assault the hill covered by smoke.  1st squad would follow to mop up.
105s worked over the hill to little effect but one round was short and hit a NVA recoiless rifle!
Then the smoke rounds landed perfectly.
I will let the citation take it from here:

Sgt Duane A. Lawrence ( 2nd squad, 1st Platoon, B troop of the 1st Calvary Division) led his squad through intense enemy fire
to assault a critical hill that was heavily fortified with a machine gun/mortar and infantry.  2nd squad, under Sgt Lawrence's leadership cleared the hill manned by at least twice there number.

 
Sgt Lawrence personally dispatching 3 of the enemy.

For gallantry and leadership under fire in the best traditions of the United States Army, Sgt Duane A. Lawrence is hereby awarded the Silver Star with "V" device. 
 
( I took some liberties with how real medal citations read for effect!)
 
Sgt Lawrence took 8 men with him and had 1 KIA, 3 WIA to include Cpl Black.  They actually pushed 12 entrenched  NVA off the hill. 
I actually had enough "points" earned to start rolling with the Distinguished Service Cross.  Missed that but was lucky on a roll for the Silver Star.  The squad was actually happy for Lawrence as all 3 WIA quickly returned to the unit.
Am working with 2 friends of mine in formatting Grunt's Forward and ensuring it flows smoothly.

Also got one game in of Squadron Forward using BTH.  Used my P-38 Headhunters on a barge busting mission.

The Headhunters
The target

One barge sunk, one damaged.  And Lt Porky Sullivan bags an Oscar!

Cheers

Joe





 

Friday, July 22, 2016

ARVN ambush

Been a myriad of gaming here this month.  My brother visited so I always try to put on a good show for him.  Played a battle for Berlin which was enjoyed and drew the attention of his sons.  ( Come closer little fishy!)

Not Manhay but the board looked great!  
 
Bought Ambush Valley as a source book and it is fantastic.  Thought I knew a fair amount about the units that fought there but I am learning alot.   One of the things I learned was that the Army of South Vietnam wasn't all that bad.  Most of the time they could hold their own.  It was their regional forces ( Ruff-Puff) that could have been much better.  So I had to try to put together a squad for Platoon Forward.  I only had 9 soldiers painted up and my leaders were not even based yet so it was an ambush of a relief column at night in 1964.  I rolled up the characters and they were quite interesting:
Trung Si  (Sgt) Dang Tong  orphaned; worked on a farm for his uncle, joined the army to escape
                                           Evil/  Pleasure              Gr I
Ha Si ( PFC) Tran Bihn   petty thief, joined to escape jail     liberal/  Alcohol                Gr O
 
Thieu Uy  (2LT)   Pham Chu    son of a catholic govt official     Inept/  religion               Gr I
 
1 M8 Greyhound     1 sq 8 carbines 1 BAR in Halftrack   NL/ 8 morale    1 jeep w 50 cal and 2LT 
 
Charlie waits to spring the trap
 

Life is not too bad Tong, thought as they rolled down the highway.  He had just been promoted to Trung Si so few people would mess with him.  His officer was harmless and kept out of his way though he had insisted on coming tonight with the vanguard of the platoon.  He wasn't a coward, just belong with a textbook in his hands; not out here where men were men and it was survival of the fittest.  Bihn hoped he would see some action tonight.  He was not against the VC, he just liked to kill things and test his mettle.  
Just then he was roused out of his thoughts by an explosion.  The lead greyhound had hit a mine!

Charlie strikes!

The squad spilled out the back with his ASL breaking left and himself right.  In the dark they started receiving fire from everywhere.  Tong got 6 of his men organized and made their way towards some bamboo despite a MMG.

Bihn starts to return fire

Meanwhile on the other side of the road the LT jumped from the jeep and had the 50 and BAR hammering away at VC as they tried to creep up and overwhelm the small band of men.
 LT takes charge

VC launch an attack!  (camera moved due to shock waves!)

Thieu Uy Pham beat off the attack!  As  suddenly as it started the air was silent.  The squad had not lost a man!

Great game that played fast ( 20 minutes) as the VC attack never gained any traction.  With 3 dead they failed a moral test and called it a day. 

The VC had 9 riflemen and one Gr I ldr with pistol (Green troops with 8 Morale)  + 1 MMG.   

Post game the LT didn't lose his hesitant leader card despite his showing.  The squad responded well to the Sgt despite his personal philosophy; he kept them all alive.  And Tong has a spat with the Sgt From squad 2 about how to handle men and has made an enemy.  Where will this lead?  Who knows?  I do know that Dang Tong will continue to lead his squad forward!

Enjoy

Joe


Thursday, June 23, 2016

An easy mission in the Green zone

Am becoming more enamored with Force on Force.  Bought their book "Enduring Freedom" and highly recommend it.   Decided to start a squad of the 10th Mountain division.  Played the 3rd scenario taking place in the Sha-i-kot valley 2002.  The squad managed a draw because a sister squad seized the objective.  They had 3 seriously wounded all from Cpl LaBell's fireteam.
The Objective!
Sgt McMann having a bad day at the office! 

After several weeks in the valley the company was pulled back to the green zone for R+R.  Three new troops were added to Cpl LaBell's team and they dropped to "low confidence".  This was a mechanism I wasn't initially impressed with from FoF but it fit perfect here.  The team was well trained and wasn't going to run from a fight but they would be skittish in their first encounter. LaBell was a good leader but was a bit too fancy for the squad. ( Low confidence means they have to check for suppression everytime they are fired on.)
To break in the new men Lt Richards wanted the squad to conduct several easy patrols.  This was the second "easy mission" and there would be contact.   (This was a Patrol scenario from Platoon Forward with the addition of 1 "A" and using the new tables from Grunt's Forward.)
Characters
Sgt McMann   New York Fisherman      Cheery/ Wealth         Gr I
Cpl Adams     orphaned and raised on a ranch    Jovial/religion    Gr 0
Cpl LaBell       Preacher's son               Cultured/ wealth           Gr I
1 Squad and 2 Humvees

Squad entering from the bottom right.  Enemy blinds entering from the left. 

Cpl LaBell's section leads as he is the better leader.  Pvt Wasserman on point.

Between the buildings Pvt Wasserman IDs to Tali's.  Fires off a shot and one goes down!

The Tali's beat feet into the near building on the left.  Cpl LaBell''s team comes up to support their Pvt but have no shot with the cart in the way.
Meanwhile, the building on the right also has enemy inside as well as three in the market who...
incite the vendors to stop the americans from "invading" their village.  ( Ya gotta love the FoF rules for civilians!)
The civilians move out to the Humvee to tell the US what they think of their protection! 

Fire from both buildings decimates Cpl LaBell's squad (again) with all four members going down.  Sgt McMann acts quickly.  He sends Adams up on the roof of the leftmost building while he goes to check on his fireteam.  LaBell is gone; Wasserman is lightly wounded and the Saw gunner seriously wounded.  McMann and Wasserman drag the fireteam into a building to hunker down. 
The Humvee manages to persuade the crowd to disperse then starts hammering at a Tali LMG with good effect. 
As Sgt McMann calls for a MedEvac he is told that intel has IDed the leader of this attack as a main instigator of the local Taliban.  He is a HVT.  ( Cool FOW card!)  This info is forwarded to Cpl Adams who goes to work.  First, grenades go down the stairwell followed by 4 mountaineers.  ( Still like the grenades and close assault rules from Combat Patrol)
Fierce fighting in the building.  The HVT is the skinny guy in front.

The rebels lose one and take off out the door.
Making a break for freedom!

Despite the best intentions of Sgt McMann and one of the Humvees they all miss and...

Our HVT makes it into the grove and is lost!

Great game that played fast.   I really like my mix of the two rulesets FoF and Combat Patrol.  Am happy that Patrol Forward works well with both.  

The Taliban had 5 KIA.  the US had 1 KIA and 1 WIA ( IH ) and 1 WIA.  I thought Cpl Adams had earned a upgrade to Gr I leader but rolled a 10!  Both casualties are replaced but we do not get an NCO.  Will have to pull from the other fireteam.  The Squad gives Sgt McMann the benefit of the doubt and he is still neutral in their eyes but their confidence has dropped.  Lt Richards has decided to come along on the next mission to see what is going on. 

For those of you that want to try this the force generated was:
Gr I leader ( HVT) with 5 riflemen and 1 RPG
Gr 0 leader with 5 riflemen and a LMG
3 riflemen
I used poorly trained Taliban.    One reinforcement came in of 3 leaderless riflemen.

Cheers

Joe



 



Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lost Platoon-- Mogadishu

Recently purchased "Day of the Rangers" by Force on Force.  Great reference book and I like the morale and skill checks in Force on Force.  The activation/reaction gives me a headache but I love the activation rules for Combat Patrol.  Why not combine them?  Here then is my first attempt at Force on Patrol!  All activation is through my modified activation rules, all shooting done as per Combat Patrol, all morale checks done as per Force on Force.  ( Shooting at vehicles would be done as per Force on Force if there were any vehicles.)  The scenario is right out of Day of the Rangers except I substituted my rangers for theirs.  Thus Lt Concepcion becomes the convoy commander and Sgt Chin is squad leader of the Ranger squad.
Lt Concepcion  Son of a wealthy family/ proving he is tough.  Gambler/ govt.    Gr III
Sgt Chin  from a small town, joined after HS   Pragmatic/ position    Gr I
Cpl Krynawski  orphaned/trouble with the law  Jovial/wealth           Gr I
Cpl Street   factory worker from Detroit   aggressive/greedy              Gr O

Lt Concepcion is driving in Malaysian APCs with his squad and a squad on engineers.  They get lost on the way to a shot down helicopter and ambushed.  the APCs are destroyed.  They have to rescue the wounded driver and hunker down for 8 turns until relief arrives.

Initial set up.  Cpl K is behind the APC with the LT.  Sgt Chin and Cpl Street are behind.  Engineers are this side of the APC.
Sgt Chin pointing towards the source of fire.
Somali gunmen come running from all directions.
Initial fire from Somalis hit Cpl K and he goes down.  The LT comes to check.  Fortunately a bullet only grazed his helmet!  ( Rolled a 6 on the first aid chart.)

     Sgt Chin directs Street's half squad to lay down fire while Cpl K's team tries to free the wounded driver.  They couldn't get him out!  ( 2 D8 rolls where I only needed a 4+ and I couldn't get it.)  Finally LT Concepcion comes over and they get the driver out just in time!  

Meanwhile the engineers blow a door so a MMG can set up inside. 

Another engineer team assualts a building.  They actually make a capture!

Cpl K covered by a SAW peers around a corner before advancing!  His team would take out 3 more somalis. 
On turn 6 a Little Bird ( in the dark it looked like a Huey!) Clears the first floor roof! 

The somalis made a couple more fruitless attacks but the platoon was in good shape when the relief column arrived.  They sustained no KIA and captured 1 Somali gunman. 
Post game Sgt Chin is interviewed by the battalion CSM and the CSM is impressed.  Despite the win the squad holds judgement on Sgt Chin. 

I liked mixing the rules.  I like the way morale checks work differently on irregulars and regulars for FoF.  It felt like we were facing hordes of gunman.  Will still work on the morale rules but think I am on to something.

Enjoy!

Joe









Monday, May 16, 2016

Somali Ambush

Half way done with formatting Grunt's Forward.  Biased opinion but it looks pretty good and think you guys will love it.  With 16 African's painted it was time to take the 10th mountain division into Somalia. 

Lt Concepcion leveled with Sgt Chin, " The Pakistanis are nervous taking out the food convoys. We need you to go out and give them a hand.  Protect the convoy but by all means protect yourself!  Not sure if you will get much help.  We will have gunships overhead if you run into trouble."  
 Scenario is "Ambuscale" from the upcoming Grunt's Forward.

Forces  ( pretty fake to have Pakistanis and US on the same convoy but it was interesting.)
1 HUMVEE with 50 cal.  5 soldiers including Sgt David Chin. (Elite)
Sgt Chin   Son of a banker went to junior college briefly before enlisting.  Pragmatic/Position  Gr I
3 food trucks driven by somali drivers that will run at the first gunfire.
1 car with 4 Pakistanis and a Gr 0 leader.    ( Green for shooting but normal for morale.)

It was decided that Sgt Chin would take the lead and the Pakis would close up the rear.

The Convoys rolls along.  So far so good!

A LMG opens up from a rubbled building

Sgt Chin deploys his team and the LMG is quickly neutralized.

The Pakistanis are also shot at.  A sniper keeps them pinned down. 
Several Somalis try to reach the trucks but are forced back into the buildings by the helicopter. 

Sgt Chin leads his team to the enemy strongpoint.  Two quick grenades leaves three somalis wounded and they make their break out the back.  Sgt Chin did not feel he had enough force to cover all exits. 

The convoy continues to the distribution center without loss!

Quick game which ambushes usually are.  Either the initial strike works or it doesn't.  The Somalis rolled up minimal forces.  They were:
1 LMG team with Gr 0 leader
1 Squad ( 7 AKs) with Gr I leader
1 sniper
That certainly helped Sgt Chin. 

It also showed that Grunt's Forward will work post Vietnam.  Have played three scenarios out of the book and all have gone well.  In addition, Combat Patrol works for the modern period too.  Wish Buck will give me some stats for HUMVEEs though!

Enjoy

Joe






Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A beer factory in Africa.

Have managed to get in a couple of games this month.  Am fine tuning the leadership rules for Combat Patrol and must say, Buck did a great job.  These are now my go to tactical rules.  I wanted to see if they could handle modern combat.  Buck published a free supplement about a civil war in the UK during the 80s.  There was enough info in there that I thought it would work.
But first, my parents visited and my Dad and I tried out Combat Patrol in room to room fighting.  It worked very well!
The russians are in!!  ( Now I will have to paint the inside of the building too.)

Now back to my modern game.  I did not run Platoon Forward with this. The Central African Republic 1996:  French forces are sent into the country to protect europeans and their interests.  Unpaid soldiers of the president start to loot.  They drive out to a beer factory, take it over and proceed to loot the beer.  Now I dont have french foreign legion troops ( but I will now have to get some) and I only had 16 africans so my taliban had to pitch in.  I must thank Mr Richards for providing this scenario taken from the Society of Twentieth Century Gamers; Issue 69 from 2010. 

French forces  12 Legionanaires, 11 assault rifles and 1 SAW.   2 Gr III leaders, 1 Gr II leader and 1 Gr I leader ( who was the LT on his first mission.)
Bad guys around 40 men with a mixture of rifles and automatics.  1 Gr II leader and 2 Gr I leaders.

The factory manger and his family are in one of the villas on the left.  The beer factory is the big building on the right!  The hedge is actually a chain link fence.  French enter from the bottom.

3 sentries out front while the rest of the folks load/drink beer.  ( they were moving so it blurred the picture.)

The first two teams breach the fence undetected

They move quickly to search the houses.  ( Historically there were no guards on the hostages.  They tried to stay out of the way.)
The covering squad starts to lay down fire.
The technical only gets one shot off before it explodes!  ( I guess it wasn't light beer)

The first truck tries to make its way out to freedom!

A LCPL halts it

Meanwhile the manager's family is located and sent to the rear with the LT.  

The rest of the team moves forward, blowing up another truck and capturing two prisoners.

The last mobile truck makes a break for it; this time covered by some troops.  ( Sorry I hadn't based my leader yet.  That has now been corrected.)

Freedom and free beer for 1 truck and 12 Africans.

The FFL had one incapacitated who lived but was evacuated to France.

The game played great and it really represented an elite force against a small one.  The Gr III leaders were able to +1 to their die and any rabble without a leader was automatically a 1.  ( Remember my normal deck has 3 "6s" and only 1 "1" card.  In addition I added several blue cards to only be used by the legion.   Guess I will be buying some FFL troops from Peter Pig.  They can also double in Viet Nam.

Enjoy

Joe













Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Breakout!

Have been working on a new scenario for Platoon Forward.  It is entitled "Breakout" and consists of you getting your men back to friendly lines after being cut off.  ( Think Steiner in Cross of Iron.)  Of course totally avoiding combat isn't real fun so you will run across something while you try to dodge patrols.   Here is my final playtest.
A second thing I tried is moving Platoon Forward down a level to make it more like Squad Forward.  Here the platoon leader would be an NPC.  I don't want to keep track of all ten men in the platoon for picked the two NCOs and two privates.
Vietnam 1967.
Sgt Lawrence's squad strayed too far from the LZ  and when the NVA attacked they were cut off from the LT.  They waited until dark and decided to try to slip past the NVA back to the LZ.
Characters  ( Rolled up using the tables in Grunt's Forward)
Sgt Lawrence  Gr I   Drifter before he found a home in the army.   Gambler and greedy
Cpl Black       Gr 0   Storeclerk from a small town before drafted.  Conformist/ position
PFC " Moose" Edwards   Stereotypical big kid from the midwest.  Very cheery and religious
Pvt "Mongoose"Smith   Son of a migrant; grew up in slums but volunteered for the army as he believes in the American dream. 

2 4 man teams each with a thump gun.  1 M 60 also attached.

Forgot to take a picture of the board.  US moves from right to left.  there is scattered jungle throughout.  One house in the middle and swamp/heavy jungle on the left.   There is no turn limit but reinforcements come in 3 turns after the shooting starts.

1 Squad moves out!

The patrols are all dummies but they spot a supply cache next to the house.  They are seen and a firefight erupts. Lawrence's boys get the better of the fight with the second hit killing the NVA officer. ( Mongoose can't hit a thing however! ) One unnamed PVT is KIA with a headshot.   Lawrence tells Black to get his fireteam close enough to blow up those boxes.  The team moves to within 40 yards and ...
Moose hits them with his thumper!

Job done the squad needs to get back to the LZ.  One man is hit in the abdomen on Black's fireteam; leaving no one behind a two man carry is instituted.

Two man carry-- Moose can almost do it himself!

Bad guys show up at the top on the table.  1 A and 1 B blind. 

The squad moves along the road so they don't get lost in the dark.

Moment of truth!  The board edge is only 60 yards away and the squad is in soft cover.  Results for the enemy could range from a full squad plus MMG to nothing.  Guess what?  I roll Nothing!  ( unlikely but possible.)   The squads links back up with their platoon after destroying some NVA supplies.  They had 1 KIA and 1 WIA.

Great scenario!  There is a fairly wide range of forces you can encounter but I don't think it would be more than a stiff game.  This one was easy with a great deal of tension.  Tension was also created by the back story of my 4 guys.  I was always afraid one of them would get hit.  I do like dropping the level down to a squad and will probably try that again.
I plan to give the scenario to Rich for the summer special

For those of you that want to try this the only NVA forces I rolled up were:
1 NVA officer and 4 soldiers.  For more of a challenge add a patrol of 3 soldiers.

Enjoy

Joe