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, October 1, 2018

Sgt Bomba gets a ride-- Zaire 1980s

Cold War Tanker is now moving from notes on scratch paper to a proper word document in preparation for delivery to Lard Island.  Only thing left to do is figure out points for each vehicle.  After reading several neat blogs about fights in Africa I was inspired to go back to the Legion and have a go.  You may recall I wrote up a mini-campaign about the legion's exploits in Kolwesi.  That is done, just have to transfer it from scratch paper to word.  I have another platoon in Africa.  These folks are in the 80s and have spent most of their time in the Ivory Coast.  They have only had 3 battles so are relatively untested.

Sgt Bomba's mind wander to 4 days ago.  4 days ago they were relatively safe in the Central African Republic when yet more violence erupted in Zaire. 2 Platoons of the 2nd regiment rode in to Zaire to protect European interests and keep the peace.  That is what the Legion had been doing in Africa ever since Bomba had joined them 7 years earlier.  He smiled as he thought of his home in Morocco. Yes, the legion had literally saved his life.  You can only de-flower so many women before running into a family with the will and the means to take revenge.
So here he was in a land rover heading to rescue some French citizens held hostage by somebody.  If his Mom and Dad and Tamara's Dad could only see him now!  
MISSION:  Hostage Rescue/   AMBUSH
FORCES:   2 French Squads, 1 medic, 1 armored car, 2 land rovers, 1 IFV
Lt Lorray     Son of a farmer        Gr I
Sgt Barrie   French   son of carrier NCO.  Wanted to be tougher than dad so joined the legion  Gr I
Cpl Leach  Scottish   Escaped from prision    Gr O
Sgt Bomba  Moraccan  Romeo who had to leave town quickly   Gr II
Cpl Collins English   Cambridge grad in romantic languages bored with teaching secondary school
                                  Gr 0  

Our little band rolling towards the hostages.    This is an ambush scenario before the big rescue.  1st squad in the IFV.  Sgt Bomba's squad split between teh 2 rovers.  Normally Sgt Bomba would be in the rear but Lt Lorray decided he would ride in a Rover rather than the smelly IFV so Bomba was bumped up front.  No worries as long as there is no ambush...

Sgt Bomba day dreaming as the miles go by...

The rest of the mighty band!  ( I lost my blue background.)

Boom!  Mine KOs the rover.  No casualties though everyone automatically pinned.  Ambush time!

Rebels line up a shot to take care of the rear of the convoy.  He missed!

As fire erupts around the legionnaires Lorray screams for everyone to keep moving!  Responding to training they do.  Sgt Bomba and his team is pinned down by a LMG and rifle fire.  RPGs bounce off the vehicles like rain. 

Sgt Barrie positions the carrier alongside Bomba while his squad fires out the ports into the jungle. 

Sgt Bomba's men scramble a top the carrier.  Amazingly, no one is hit.  Sgt Bomba, always playing to any ladies present, strikes a heroic pose. 

At the far edge of the ambush the AC and Sgt Bomba lay down covering fire as the Lt still needs to pass through the gauntlet of fire.  "I bet the Lt wishes he was in the smelly IFV now." thinks the irreverent Sgt. 

the 90mm gun goes to work.

The Lt's land rover races through successfully!  

Great exciting game that played in under an hour.  The French had no casualties except 1 land rover but I did give them body armor.  The rebels had 5 KIA.  The force must now go into town and rescue the hostages.  
I made the French 8/10 but I almost made them 10/10.  Think I will make them 10/10 for the finale.
The rebels were 6/10 I Grunt's Forward generated the forces using the Ambuscale scenario.   If you want to try it generated 2 squads, 1 HMG, 1 LMG and 2 RPGs.

The game was short enough I used the same basic board for a quick Vietnam Tanker game pitting 1 Walker Bulldog against a PT-76.

Around and around we go!

I see you!

Bad picture but PT-76 destroyed.




Monday, September 24, 2018

More Cold War Tanker Playtests

Continue to playtest Cold War Tanker.   Good thing about the system is it is easy to play 2 games an hour so easy to get several battles in a week.  Happy with the basic armor values and the anti tank missiles.  Still working on the infantry rules and how the infantry interact with their carriers.  I want infantry to play a part in relation to armor combat but not devolve into an infantry vrs infantry game.  [ First game slowed to a crawl because of that.]   Also working on the "platoon structure" of warsaw pact units.  Would like the Soviets to feel different than NATO but not change the way the basic game plays.   A tall order I know but 80% there.
  Am failing with helicopters though. Without dedicated AA the defender is naked and with AA units it has become helo vrs AA which is an interesting subgame until it is over.  If helo wins see above.  If AA wins then helo was expensive waste. Any thoughts on helicopters welcome!
 On to pictures

That is what I call hull down!  

Yep rules and stats for recon vehicles.  Here my Luchs takes out a BRDM.

Marder looking for a hull down BMP.   Need to make sure the IFVs are there to support the infantry.

German infantry moving into a house.  A Leopard guards the flank. 

Russian infantry trying to get into the house.  This was the game that slowed down too much.  Also the game I realized I needed to pimp my BMPs! 

Russians retreat into the vinyard after losing their IFV. 

Also working on scenarios.  This is a "move off the board" scenario.  US vrs USSR

Waiting....   as a Platoon!

An Abrams moves forward.  [ Russian plastic kit.  Not too thrilled with it.]

Bradley spots and fires a ATGM!  Finally made a ATGM marker. 

Hits home!

Gee, I can do that!    [ It missed}

US makes it to the near side.   Infantry dismount.

Bradley's 25mm damages the BMP but the Abrams finishes the job!

1v1 tank stand off.  US likes the odds.

Particularly when the infantry shows up with a LAW!  Would be great to write that the LAW succeeded but failed to do damage. 

But wait, the Russian platoon stays together. Now it is 2:1.  US still not overly concerned.  Russian scores 4 hits.  [ Needs 3 to destroy]  Abrams has 15 dice to save and DOES NOT ROLL ONE FIVE OR SIX!  Sgt Morton does the honorable thing; allowing his crew to evacuate but staying with the flaming wreck. 

That is it for now.  Hopefully you will see Cold War Tanker in the next Lardie special.




Saturday, September 15, 2018

What a Tanker

Looked at Too Fat Lardies, What a Tanker when it came out.  It looked like a lite wargame to be played with friends.  I didn't purchase it because 13 pounds seemed a bit pricey for a lite wargame and I would have to write my own rules for modern actions.  Then battlefront announced they were releasing a modern version of Tanks.   It caught my interest.  ( Particularly as they will now finally release single vehicles and helos!  Yay!)  As I looked more into Tanks it seemed even lighter than WaT and more expensive.  For $25 I get the rules but only stats for 2 tanks.  I know WaT will be a well written and fun game and has stats for most of WW II.  As for writing rules for the modern stuff, I have written stuff for all of the TFL games I have played.  Rich has even been nice enough to put all of them into his specials.  Intellectual property is worth something.  At 13 pounds WaT is looking to be priced right.  So I took the plunge!

  A picture to break up all the writing!   One of my earliest models.  It shows unfortunately.

What a Tanker is exactly what I thought it would be and that is a good thing. A strategy game with a WW II tank overlay.  Think Yatzee meets Patton's Best and you get the concept.  Essentially you roll six dice to get your "hand" for the turn.  Each number allows you to do a different action.  For example, a "1" allows you to move, a "2" allows you to acquire a target and so on.  Clever right? 

An Italian tank trying out the new system.  He will be harder to acquire due to the shrubbery in front.

The strategy comes from using your hand to the best of your ability and planning what you think your probable hand will be in the next turn. Oh and "6s" are wild.  they can be used as any number plus they can repair temporary damage. (Dice that have been removed from your hand)  There is enough tank overlay to keep me interested.  Tanks are rated for armor and "strike" or their gun and armor is weaker on the sides than front.

There aren't rules for halftracks but it is pretty easy to homebrew them.

Do abarencies  crop in during the game?  Sure.  You can have a tank racing for cover that next turn suddenly stops because it didn't roll a "1" or a "6".  This one is pretty hard to rationalize away  ( some you can) so it is better to just laugh and take the game as it comes.   But, like Saga, the game is just plain fun!  It also helps that the turns last about 3 minutes so your tank soon has another chance to roll up a hand and maybe this time your opponent is the one stuck without a "1".

If you want deep strategy, covering fire, smoke and the like, they make Troops, Weapons and Tactics (my favorite) or the popular  Chain of Command  ( which I was a playtester for) or try Force on Force or Combat Patrol.  If you are looking a a 15 minute game that you can switch sides and play again What a Tanker is a lot of fun.  And I found it easy to play solo as nothing is hidden.

First game.  4 tanks just come and have a go!

Luigi needed 2 aquires ( 1 for shrubbery + 1 for rocks; he was unbuttoned) dice and scored a kill!

His victim

Diego not so lucky!

2nd game.  US waits for Afrika Korps.   Germans get points for exiting.

Lucky break for the Yanks!
GMC moving back to spoil aim of Jerry.  His crew had lost 2 dice due to partial penetration. ( called temporary damage in the game.  I think of it as stunned or confused/scared)

German armored car moved off the map.  Pz III took out the GMC.  Panzer now stuck between 2 tanks.  ( Lee unloaded though note grey marker.)  Amazingly German got off the board and almost took out the Lee.

Now if you remember back to the start of this page, I wanted to do modern stuff.  So I bring you
Cold War Tanker! CWT

Can 1 Leopard II really take out 3 T-55ams?    ( East Germans must use platoon rules.)
Let's find out.
We look pretty Bad Ass!

O Oh!  Leopard lining up a shot.

He looks pretty BA too.  I bet he rolled a "4" so he can fire.

Yep!  He had a "4".

Let's quickly move behind this wall so I will be harder to acquire and hit.

2:1 is better odds.  I need to keep moving to throw off their aim.  I am digging this moving my turret 60 degrees free with every move!
Critical hit!  What are the odds?  ( 1 in 32 to be exact.  House rule a critical hit is treated like a side shot.)

Fun game and took about 15 minutes.   Still tweaking the armor ratings ( made the leopard and Abrams higher) but think I am 75% there.   Also tested rules for ATGMs which I like.  Haven't tackled helocopters yet.  Am going to go to the other end of the spectrum  and try some recon vrs recon matchups ( Luchs anyone?) to test the armor system down there.  Also kicking around some ideas for infantry.  In WW III they are hard to ignore as they have potent anti armor capabilities. 
Hopefully you will see this is a special or magazine at some point!

Also kicking around does Platoon Forward have a place here?  WaT has a campaign game but is really  just keeping track of kills.  I don't know.   We will see.  For right now Nick has created a simple fun game that I am enjoying and having fun expanding into the modern period.  You can't ask for more than that.




Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Patrol at the Rathaus Chapter V WW III

There has been some spirited discussion about patrol scenarios and  recon missions over on TMP.  Someone asked, " Why does no one play patrol scenarios?"  I love patrol scenarios though I admit Platoon Forward patrols are set up to be "fighting" patrols.  The recon scenario has you scouting for enemy positions and honestly I find it boring.  You find them and beat feet.   I included it because it was an important task and wanted Platoon Forward to be a complete campaign. ( I normally substitute "meeting engagement" for recon when I roll it.)  Screening of engineering activities ( checking out a ford or bridge for example) is done by the screening mission.  I actually like this mission as the platoon has to protect the engineers while they do their thing but sometimes they have to fight it out as well.  I got to thinking, could I come up with a recon patrol scenario that would be fun?  
The following action is taken from chapter V from Jonathan Lachman's book Wrong Place; Wrong Time.  My view of WW III .  Published by Tasche books, Koln Germany, 1987.  All rights reserved by Herr Lachman and used with his kind permission.  His last chapter can be found here:

After the retreat from Krinholden we moved back to Hamburg.  We were exhausted and Ivan must have been too because for 12 hours no one bothered us!  I actually slept for 5 hours.  Our platoon was in reserve but the company was not in contact.  Turns out the senior officers didn't know exactly where Ivan was.  Clearly, it is intolerable for a German General to not know exactly what the enemy is up to.  Lt Weiss called for myself and Sgt Blaum to meet him in a small store he had commandeered as his CP.  I didn't know what to expect but knew it wouldn't be good.   The LT started right in, " We have lost contact with the enemy.  Despite all our high tech airplanes and American satellites [ 1986 remember] we don't know if Ivan is infiltrating, resting or bypassing.  Each of you is to go to a different suburb and snoop around.  If you find anything we have mortars standing by.  If it is just a screen you can press on otherwise just beat feet and get back here."

Suburb of Hamburg.   Sgt Lachman's Marder left.  Rathaus center.  Goal is to snoop board and exit by bank up top.  Rolled for blinds and they enter right and right bottom.

View of the Rathaus.

View of Karstadt.

The Marder enters past the fountain.

An East German (NVA) BTR-60 also enters scouting ahead.  ( Have to work the opfor tables I think.)

The two sides meet when the NVA round the corner.  Shots miss as both sides scramble back to cover.
NVA dismount.

We saw a funky BTR ahead; enemy but German!   I shouted to pull back.  We would unload and see what was up.  My first instinct was to race across the square to the Rathaus to outflank them but I remembered two things.  First, I didn't know what was following the BTR.  Second, my mission was to see what all they had and then beat feet.  I chose to move into the Karstadt and view across the square and the road.  I positioned the marder by the fountain where it could get a milan shot off if a tank rolled around the corner.

Position early mid-game.  Sgt Lachman in Karstadt.  ( good place to shop btw) East German squad in row houses trading shots with West Germans.
Sgt Lachman calls for the mortars!

Rotterman takes out the BTR with his panzerfaust.  The squad's fire causes the NVA to back out of the building. But the East German Sgt had sent his RPG team to find the Marder...
We have a shot comrade!

You call that a shot?  I can't even see it behind the fountain and tree?  Okay, hurry up and fire so we can get out of here!

I can't believe it!!!  In FoF you roll opposed die and the defender blocks attacking die that hit.  Gamey but I love doing it.  The RPG rolls 3d8 shown top.  The defending Marder had a side armor of 2d8 to which I changed to 2d10 for the hull down plus 1 d8 for moving plus 1 d8 for the tree.  I felt Sgt Lachman's track was quite safe.  Then I rolled the 4 dice below in the picture.  You have to be kidding me!!!  I blocked only the NVA "6".  What a shot comrade!  Mercifully I rolled low on the damage table and broke the track; whew!

Artillery falls around the rowhouses.    Unbeknownst to Sgt Lachman a NVA soldier is critically wounded.

After the mortars fired.  there was nothing from the rowhouses.  I sent two men...

across the square while we covered them and they made it.  Just then an RPG hit the Marder from behind the Rathaus.  ?!?!

They charged into the Rathaus and I came...

across the square.

Meanwhile, another German NCO has a quandary.

Sgt Schwartz was having a bad day.  He was to find the Capitalist MLR and instead he was without a track and had one man bleeding to death.  His RPG team was gone and missing.  He decided to take Helms and go find them quickly.  He couldn't leave them behind to face the wrath of Westies.  "If I am not back in 8 minutes make your way back without us."

The two NVA soldiers flash by the Rathaus before the Westies can get a shot!

Sgt Schwartz is relieved to see his team!  Schnell!  We must leave quickly!

" We never did see the RPG team.  We moved up cautiously on the rowhouse but the NVA had left.  Mercifully the RPG had only broke a track whcih we were able to quickly fix and we high tailed it home.  So ended my first brush with the East Germans."

Great game.  I declared it a win for Sgt Lachman as he had accomplished his mission; sustaining only 1 lightly wounded and destroying a BTR-60.  Post game the squad has become even more enamored with his leadership and will now follow him anywhere.  Their morale stays at 10 and his leadership increases to Gr II.  ( above average.)
I enjoyed the recon aspect.  It was still a meeting engagement but the goal was to see all one could and then leave.  A subtle difference when playing.  I do need to work on the tables a little for WW III I think.



PS     Almost finished but the East Germans are getting some help!!!