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, February 12, 2017

The Romans are here!

Received Saga Aetius and Arthur on Thursday!  Have been waiting for this since I bought the original Saga years ago.  While I have been mildly interested in the Viking age after living in England for several years I have always thought roman legions were cool.  Alas, this book is centered on 410 AD and the fall of Rome rather than the height of the legions but at least we have romans now! 

Roman soldiers, a centurion and the cool horn thing! 

So what do you get for a lot of money?  If you like SAGA in general you will not be disappointed.  There is a lot more of all the stuff that makes SAGA such a great game.  The production values of the book are great and all the factions are well done.  The Huns are better balanced now while still being excellent horse archers and I feel their battle board makes the old "Steppe tribes" board obsolete.  I still think I will give their warriors the "eagle eye trait " since I don't have to worry about play balance.  ( If you take them as a mercenary they get it so why can't they shoot for their own faction?)
The Huns celebrating their Eagle eyes! 

The Goths are basically Vikings that ride horses.  ( This is only after one play.  One thing I have learned is there is often a fair amount of subtlety in the battle boards.)  The Saxons are foot soldiers.  I haven't figured out the Picts yet.  They appear to need broken terrain to succeed.  I haven't played the British because, well, they have Romans available.  
And of course they have the Romans!  
Gothic and Roman cavalry clash while a Goth infantryman looks on.

The Roman board using Impetus much like the christian board uses piety.  Most importantly for me, the board is not tied to the 400s with Rome being more cavalry heavy and should work just fine with heathguards as infantry such as during the 100s.  ( In A & A the cavalry are elite and the infantry are the warriors which is historically correct.  Easy enough to change though.) 
Roman and Huns clash

The rules include several nice mercenary units including step tribes, germanic tribes, and deserters.  ( Also has Sea Wolves which I don't understand.)  

Now we are talking!  Romans and Goths at the bridge

A nice addition is a section on how previously released factions fit into this historical period.  The Franks, Byzantines, Scottis and several others from the north are retrofitted which further expands the fun.  

Here come the Goths again!

There is a page on several historical scenarios for Age of the Wolf which I can't wait to try.
The only thing I was disappointed in was the campaign game.  Romans manning an outpost against a barbarian hoard, what is not to like?  There is only one scenario!  Yes, you get to pick a bunch of stuff but each time you play one scenario.    I suspect that will get boring fast.  
So I will have to design my own based on all the good stuff from Age of Wolf.

Overall the supplement is well worth it if you like SAGA.  It adds a great deal more of what makes the game fun.  Overlook the campaign game and you will be very happy.  Did I mention it had Romans?!


Monday, February 6, 2017

Red River delta 1953

Playing ARVN is clearly not obscure enough; I have to play the South Vietnamese ( or actually the "independent" Army of Vietnam.) in 1953.  Reading a great book recommended to me on TMP called Embers of War.   Really shows how French thinking evolved during the conflict and how the US saw it as an Anti-communism war; pity.
Back to the game.  Rolled up a squad using Grunts Forward  and they have had 3 actions.  My squad leader is "evil" which is a first for me.  It is actually fun seeing all his opportunities in this light.  The LT is a weak Catholic whose Dad is a government official so he is filling time.  The second squad leader is at odds with my Sgt, Dang Tong.  Because the platoon's performance has not been good up till now a french advisor is tagging alone to see Lt Chu in action. 

Lt Chu briefed the squad leaders on the mission though he was clearly nervous at having to brief in front of the French officer.  "Intel has pinpointed this village as a supply point for the Viet Minh.  We also think that the temple is a HQ of some sort.  We need to go in fast and hard before they can move or destroy anything! ( trying to sound confident in front of the french officer)  Sgt Tong, you will enter by the road and draw any fire and deal with it.  Sgt Chu will accompany me on a flanking manuever to get to the temple.  There will be a french patrol boat on the far side of the village so no one can escape.  Remember, speed is essential!"
Lt Chu         Inept/religion   Father is minor government official      Gr I with hesitant card
Sgt Dang Tong 1st squad     Evil/ pleasure     Orphaned and raised on extremely hard work on his uncle's farm                             Gr I
Cpl Binh  ASL  1st squad   liberal patriot/ alcoholic              Gr 0
Sgt Trang Chu 2nd squad   Gambler/wealth       Gr II leader
1 LMG attached with Gr 0 leader
 1 French observer( Gr III leader) and 1 80mm MTR available.  
Vietnamese National Army is 8/8 for you FOF fans.  VM irregulars are 6/10.

Helicopter view of the village.  Sgt Tong will enter from road to the left.  Lt Chu will enter from the bottom edge.  French PBR top right.
French Patrol boat passes a saipam
My $4 temple from Pet Smart!!!!!   Black marker is enemy blind.  Green marker designates one of the 4 areas that need to be searched.  ( One is removed per turn starting turn 7).

The two officers discuss the move into the village. 

Sgt Chu's squad encounters fire from a hut.  1 KIA and they are stopped.  Sgt Chu rallies the troops and they assault the building...

Meanwhile Sgt Tong encounters fire from the Buddhist temple.  The fire is accurate and the squad sustains 1 KIA and 1 WIA.  Sgt Tong is pinned down and actually feels fear momentarily.  This feeling is eclipsed by shame and anger as Lt Chu ( of all people!) has to come over and tell him to get moving.  ( Lt Chu braved sniper fire to deliver this message.  Of course, he only delivered the message after the Frenchman suggested the attack was stalled.)

Meanwhile, Sgt Chu's assault fails costing yet another KIA.  The frenchman comes to rally the squad.  Under his tutelage the hut is hammered by the LMG and several grenades.  When Sgt Chu assaults back into the house it is empty! ( Darn those tunnels!)  Sgt Chu's men can't find a tunnel though they suspect one must be there.  But they do fine a large store of grain. 
Sgt Tong is determined to prove he doesn't need the LT for anything and charges the temple.  The squad makes it through the sniper fire rapidly and enters finding a lone gunmen trying to escape.  He is quickly captured. Sg tTong finds a monk hiding a roughs him up looking for intel ( told you he was evil!).  The monk remains stoic and Sgt Tong would have killed him but the Lt catches up just at that moment and Sgt Tong doesn't want to take any chances.

Sgt Tong with his prisoner. 

With the temple captured the VM resistance quickly ends as the east part of the village is under effective fire from the french gunboat.  The Vietnamese search the rest of the village and find nothing.  Still it is a victory!  They capture the village with all the grain and sustain only 4 KIA. 

Post game Lt Chu is impressed with Sgt Tong's capture of the temple and netting a POW.  1st squad's KIA is not replaced yet but the squad continues to have high confidence in Tong's abilities. Sgt Tong also meets a black marketeer who needs a favor.  For the right price Sgt Tong has agreed to raid a warehouse with the squad.  He reasons he can take the men out on a training mission and stumble onto a VM drug cache.  Yeah, the LT will buy that.  He will pay his squad to keep quiet and threaten the corporal with exposure of his alcoholism if he talks.   Being evil is fun!  

Grunts Forward generated the following OPFOR for this scenario:
2 squads of 7 men each with 2 leaders ( 1 Gr II and 1 Gr I), a LMG and a sniper.    1 LMG came is as a reinforcement on turn 4.



Monday, January 16, 2017

The Ambassador is using Candles.

It is not my fault!  I fully intended to play the second scenario of my Kowleski campaign last weekend so I could get it to you guys sooner.  Then Syr Hobbs on The Miniature Page was selling the FOF book Road to Baghdad for $8.  As you know I think the FOF books are great references so I bought it.  I thought it would be a bunch of US/Republican Guard blow outs but they are all interesting well crafted scenarios and most of them don't even use the Iraqi Army, they use irregulars. ( My only complaint is they don't even attempt a Platoon TO&E for the Iraqis. )  So the first scenario is a marine squad attacking a refinery building to save it from destruction.  I wanted to play it but wanted to use Grunts Forward and my FFL.  So decided to have my FFL squad attack a Power Station in the Central African Republic during their intervention in 1997.  The board was similar and I used Grunt Forward to generate the rebels except the second reinforcement was going to be a T-55 +/- a breakaway CAF squad.  So to begin:
Sgt Barrie reported to the Lt quickly when summoned.  That is just the way he lived his life; doing the right thing quickly.  They had flown into the Republic 2 days earlier with orders to protect European nationals.  Lt Lorray explained the situation; " Rebels have taken over the power station that supplies the embassies including ours.  They have just cut power to the French embassy and the ambassador is not pleased.  Take your squad over there and take it back.  Do not destroy the power station, okay?  We do not want the ambassador's candle usage to become our fault!  Elements of the Army have gone rogue over not being paid.  There is no armor at the station but it is in the area.  I am going to give you Sgt Howell's Milan team just in case. 
Sgt Barrie   French whose dad was an army NCO and tough.  ( Got to use my new FFL background chart!)  Guy joined the FFL to "out tough" his dad.  He is liberal and a devout Catholic so feels he is helping the oppressed here in Africa.  He is a +1 leader
Cpl Leach  Escaped from a Scottish jail for armed robbery and joined the legion.  He is now very careful and wants to be rich someday.  ( Probably not by robbing a bank though!)  He also is a +1 leader.
The squad consists of 7 men plus the 2 leaders. For FoF they are 8/10.  They have one SAW and 1 LMG.  Sgt Howell is attached with a 2 man Milan ATG team.  Sgt Howell is an american who likes Guy; he is a 0 leader. 
they arrive in a VRLA because I don't have any French APCs yet!

The French arrive.  Building on left is administrative building.  LMG team on top of power station is actually on the second floor. ( first floor if you are European!)

Great shot of my new building I bought when in Dublin! 

French de-bus and begin taking fire from the second floor of the power station.  Guy ( in the middle) orders Cpl Leach to take his team and storm the admin building.

Cpl Leach moves 'em out.
Cpl Leach moves 'em back after they fail to gain entry into the building. 

Sgt Barrie has his own problems as accurate fire from the main building causes 1 serious wound and Guy sustains a "scratch"! 
While you knew about the T-55 showing up Guy did not.  To make matters worse their is an infantry squad attached!

Cpl Leach is not pleased!  He loses 1 legionnaire KIA.  Prison is looking better right about now.

Sgt Howell moves his ATG team across the street to set up a non hull down shot.

Three quarters of the way through the battle:  Rebels hold the power station with 2 reinforcements at lower right.  2 rebels have escaped the admin building and are retreating.  The tank and CAF squad are working their way around the wall.  The VRLA is holding the rebels at bay but Sgt Barrie can't get his men forward; worse, due to stress they lose confidence and become "normal".  Cpl Leach is moving into the admin building to try to engage the army.  It appears to be a stalemate ( which will not help the ambassador) but then Sgt Barrie manages to get a french helicopter to appear!  One last hope.

A french gunship ( it is not a Huey it is a french gunship!) strafes the tank twice to little affect. Perhaps due to embarrassment, it quickly leaves.

The last good thing to happen is Sgt Howell's team scores a direct hit on the T-55!
Despite this Sgt Barrie ( with 3 men down) doesn't have enough strength to take the power station.  He radios Lt Lorray the bad news.  The Lt is not upset and tells the Sgt to hold position, he will bring the rest of the platoon up to help.  The ambassador is going to be using candles a little longer I guess!

Great game!  Didn't think the FFL would ever lose but they did.  Fortunately the wounded soldier recovers quickly and the two KIAs are replaced.  The squad reserves judgement on their leader and he stays at "0".  Guy meets a journalist ( Jean Sartain from the Le Parisien) at camp and the two strike up a friendship.

For those of you that want to try this the rebels are 6/10 with poor leadership.  Grunts Forward generated 18 men to start with an additional 6 coming up from behind the power station on turn 3 and a T-55 with 7 men plus leader on turn 5. 



Saturday, January 7, 2017

A village near Dublin

Happy New Year!!!   We got snow today in Hampton Roads; everything shut down.  Could shovel the driveway or play, guess what I did?!
While I have designed the next scenario for my Kowleski campaign thought I would return to my SAGA campaign using Return of the Wolf.  It is a great book and the 3 scenarios in it are great.  Started a solo campaign where I am the Irish and I dice for actions from the Normans and Norse-Gaels.  Basically this is during the Norman invasion of Ireland.  The Norse-Gaels are no longer the power they were and the Irish are still disjointed.  Everyone is fighting the van guard of the Normans led Alan the Brave.
My Irish led by Jos by Brega just raided the Norse and came away with a victory.  This gives me 15 power points to start the third turn with.  Now the Normans, led by Alan are going on a campaign against the lands of Zigmund the Brave.  Zigmund comes from royal blood and is determined to bring Dublin to glory again.  I roll up "homeland with Alan as the aggressor.  Hence Alan is moving towards Dublin and Zigmund is determined to stop him at a small villiage near Dublin.  

Alan and his personal guards

He also has 3 other horse (elite)
8 Sergeants and 8 warriors with crossbows
Ziggy and his Heathguards

He also has 4 ax wielding heathguards
7 warriors with javelins
5 Slaves with javelins

Village on the right, Alan enters from the left.  Plan was to move the Sergeants double time down the left, bring the crossbowmen up on the right to soften up the heathguard and then finish everyone off with the horse.  The road to Dublin will be open!   Zigmund plan to pelt the invaders with javelins then fall back into the buildings. 

The sergeants attack!
They are crushed with poor dice. ( 5 normans lost vrs 1 N-G) The Norse-Gauls even lost the challenge but still repulsed the men with short hair. 

The Norse counter charge hoping to knock out a unit but both sides trade 1 casualty.

Meanwhile, the crossbowmen fire at the buildings to little effect.  However they manage to catch 4 Javelins using their stomachs! 
At this point Alan realizes he is losing so, spurring his horse, he charges the Norse in their building!
Alan's heroic charge; the stuff of SAGAs.  Three axmen fall but one survives.  To add insult 2 horsemen also fall. 
Alan is beaten; he turns his much reduced band for home.  Today the saga is about Zigmund and how he saved Dublin!

Zigmund picks up his second campaign point ( tying Jos) and due to a well placed marriage by one of his nieces he picks up more land.  He now has 15 power points.  His fame is spreading; can he bring glory back to Dublin?  Stay tuned...

Monday, January 2, 2017

Hotel Impala 1978

Happy New Year everyone.  Hope everyone had fun and lots of toys under the tree.  I myself got some Frankish forces for SAGA and some Brits and Romans for their upcoming expansion.  Lastly got some vehicles from Old Glory. ( 3 BTR-60s, 3 guntrucks and 3 Land rovers that are going to have to double as VLRAs since no one makes them.) 
With Grunt's Forward released I am on to a new project.  A series of scenarios from the FFL foray into Kowleski in 1978.  Don't know if I will package these up or write an article for Wargamer's Magazine.  One thing it forced me to do was come up with a new background table for the FFL. 
Here is a playtest of the first scenario.  You are 1st platoon of C company.  You land almost on your objective which is the hotel Impala.  Get in there quick and rescue any hostages.  Don't fire unless  you are fired upon.
1st platoon
Lt Bourgain     Son of a successful business man       Idealistic / Pleasure     +1
1st SQ  Sgt Popov    Russian mercenary that made a lot of enemies so joined the FFL
                                  Condescending/ seeking wealth                                      +1
             2nd fireteam  Cpl Smyrnoi    Failed musician from Bosnia so joined FFL
                                    Conformist/  loves music and plays the violin pretty poorly.  0
2nd SQ  Sgt Lesion   Mom is famous French actress but she didn't even notice he was gone.
                                   Obnoxious/   loves good food                                           0

Lt Bourgain felt they were ready though all 100 legionaries were crammed into a plane that fit 66.  

I rolled up the board using Platoon Forward.  It was built around the hotel and gardens that are factual.
The Objective

Not the objective but this prayer garden looked cool.  
There was a chance for bad guys in the church

The two squads were slightly scattered on the jump but formed into fireteams quickly.  The Lt and 2nd squad  landed in the gardens behind the hotel.
Of course the Lt wears his Kelpi!

Sgt Popov ( with tree) lands in elephant grass across the street from the hotel

The Lt realizing lives could be at stake charges into the hotel with a fireteam.  Inside they see butchered limbs and 8 rebels.  They are repulsed with the loss of a man.  
The second fire team arrives and the Lt immediately charges again.  He doesn't want to risk a firefight  in case there are some hostages alive.  
This time he succeeds with the bad guys losing 4 in the process.

Meanwhile Sgt Popov arrives with his squad at the front of the hotel.  ( He uses a russian die instead of a french one!)  They immediately lay down accurate fire.

Meanwhile 2nd fireteam 2nd sq searches the grounds for hostages.  Instead they find multiple pairs of human hands!  This disturbing sight causes the team to lose confidence down to normal. 
2nd squad's 2nd fireteam takes up a blocking position.  (That is Sgt Lesion striking a pose for the camera! I told you he was obnoxious.)
Hearing the sound of gunfire, 4 rebels come to help.  Sgt Popov's squad kills two and send the others packing.

Then from the opposite direction more rebels show up.  This actually turns into a gunfight that leaves 5 rebels KIA but one legionnaire seriously wounded. 

Finally, 8 rebels come from across the street.  4 manage to get into the hotel.  4 rebels against 4 legionaries? No contest- 3 rebels die and one foolishly tries to surrender.  After seeing all the body parts in the hotel Lt Bourgain looks the other way. 

1st Platoon has won the day! 

Post battle Popov's wounded soldier recovers enough to start wounded next battle ( which is in 1 hour real time.)  The squad's confidence in their condescending leader grows.  The Captain gives 1st squad an additional 3 men for the next mission and puts Lt Bourgain in for the Croix de Guerre.  ( He will get it with a silver star.  2nd medal I have ever got in this system--cool!)

Great battle and one to replay as you will roll for where the fireteams  land. Think these scenarios will be really neat.  Next one is still 1st platoon only now they have to take a bridge.

Now for something completely different!

Norman's on the march!



Monday, December 12, 2016

10th mountain in Somali

Grunts Forward is finally published!  It is available at Wargamer Vault.  (wargamervault.com).  To celebrate I used my 10th mountain division squad in Somalia on a mission.  Thsi is there third mission and they are doing pretty well.  As a matter of fact, Lt Concepcion put Cpl K in for a medal after he rescued a Malaysian driver last battle.  ( A new facet for gamers that Grunts Forward provides)  Unfortunately Capt Parr was not as impressed.  I did not roll up a scenario as I have been wanting to do an attack on a food center for a while.  ( Even bought a tin shack for it!)  So I played "Cordon" out of Grunts Forward.
Sgt Chin Gr II leader, Father was a baker in a small southern town.  He joined the Army right out of high school.  ( this is from the new background tables in GF.  I rolled "son of baker in a small town".)  Pragmatic/ Position ( this is from PF and means he is a pragmatic man interested in getting promoted) The squad is currently neutral towards his leadership.  ( GF tracks the squads disposition towards the leaders.)
1st team  Cpl Krynowski ( Cpl K) beloved in the squad. Gr II leader,    Was a petty thief before joining the Army ( has good lock picking skills!) jovial/ wealth
2nd team  Cpl Street Gr I leader, was a factory worker in Detroit like his old man until he yearned for some adventure.  Aggressive/ Greedy

 Sgt Chin's squad around the food warehouse where food workers are loading a truck for distribution on the outskirts of town. 

Calm before the storm.  ( Good shot of my new building too!)  Cpl K center, Cpl Street and Sgt Chin left.

Shots rang out from a nearby building and Sgt Chin saw two troopers down from Cpl Street's team!  They were suppose to meet some NGOs at their food warehouse and then escort them to a distribution point.  Now all hell starting breaking loose.  Two men down before the battle even began.

Shots from the office building strike two men as the battle starts!

As Sgt Chin climbs over a wall and begins to lay down fire at the office building he hears Cpl K say, "Sarge.  We got more company!"  (Figures on building are actually in building.)

PFC Long and another trooper come face to face with the enemy!  Two grenades and the HMG from a HUMVEE pinned down the attackers.

Things aren't looking better towards Sgt Chin's front!  1st team loses it's 249 gunner and Cpl Street goes down with a groin wound.  ( no, it left that intact!) Sgt Chin frantically calls for air cover while he becomes pinned down.  The troopers are able to keep the enemy from advancing but can't seem to drive him away.
Then, a sound brings hope to the Americans!

In the heat it looks like a Huey but trust me it is a Blackhawk!

A Blackhawk arrives and immediately catches the gunmen near PFC Long in the open.  The results are not pretty with 3 dead and the rest scattered.

The blackhawk then drives these troops away as well as convincing the technical to leave.

At this point the Somali warlord realizes he is not going to be crossing open ground to the warehouse and withdraws.  2nd squad has protected the NGOs and the food!

Great game but the battle was in doubt until the helicopter showed up.  Post battle the squad sustains 2 KIAs and Cpl Street lives but is invalided home.  It is "unlikely" that the squad will get another NCO and they don't.  The LT puts PFC Long in charge of the second team.  With 3 casualties Sgt Chin survives the die roll and the squad stays neutral to him.  ( At least they protected food workers!)  Using the new NPC table it turns out that the head of the food program is a missionary named Rev Stransan.  He is very appreciative of the squad's work and talks to the unit's officers about how great they performed.  He also offers to be the squad's personal chaplain and starts to fuss over them.  In a combat zone there are no atheists so the squad's morale goes up!
Hopefully this report gives you an idea of what Grunts Forward adds to your campaign.  For those of you who want to try this scenario here are the forces:
US  8/8 (for FoF gamers!)
1 squad of 9 soldiers plus 2 HUMVEES.   A Blackhawk will appear two turns after Sgt Chin makes contact.
Somali gunmen  ( 8/10)  Figured a warlord attacking a warehouse would have well trained troops.
3 squads of 7 men + RPG and a half squad.  3 leaders; 1 Gr II and 2 Gr I.  1 MMG and 1 technical.

Several pictures of some SAGA games I have played.