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.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Rescue mission-- somalia

Actually wanted to take a break from the Brown Water Navy and Vietnam last weekend.  Wanted something short and different.  Found a rescue scenario in "Day of the Rangers" scenario book.  It is the first scenario book of theirs I bought ( actually paid full price, such a newbie) and is only "okay" because the scenarios are not particularly varied.  That said, they have a hypothetical rescue mission of a downed helo pilot.   So no  Platoon Forward today( I normally can't help it- it is what I actually play!)  I played this one straight out of the book! 


Mogadishu.  target building in the center.  Nice small board

The US gets 2 sticks of rangers and 8 deltas.   They have to rescue the pilot and evac him out by turn 10.   They lose points for casualties of US personal and civilians.  

Target building up close.  Durant is inside with 6 bad guys.

Rangers fast rope down from a Blackhawk.  No Jack, that is a Blackhawk! 

US gets air support every turn which is good because the Somalis get fighters every turn.  At the beginning of turn two a gunship ( yes Jack that is a gunship) strafes fighters drawn towards the commotion. 

The gunship does a fine job clearing the street!

Delta quickly prepares to enter the target building.  FOF has very good rules for this sort of thing.

The Somali guards keep their wits and lay down fire but it does them no good.  Delta is too fast and soon Durant is back in US hands! 

Situation at the end of turn two.  I often place figures on top of buildings rather than in them because I am lazy.  Rangers bottom left and right with delta in target house.  Helos overhead. 

Unfortunatly my brilliant pictures of the next two turns didn't come out.  Sorry.

Situation at the end of turn 4.  US in the same positions but more Somalis massing along bottom of table.  Also Civilians showing up and they are NOT pro-US.

They didn't teach us what to do in ranger school about this.

An NCO attempts to disperse part of the crowd.  He fails.

The Somalis finally feel strong enough to have a go at the target house.  (The crowd in the picture two above is still blocking the LMG.)  They fail.

With that a blackhawk ( yes Jack, still a blackhawk) comes in to load Durant.

Mission accomplished!    US sustained only 2 lt wounds.  Fun, short game and I got to use my Delta figures.  

Enjoy

Joe


















Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Brown Water Navy sweeps a villiage; Rung Sat 1967

Wanted to get my brown water navy into action and finally got a chance this weekend.  Have to say it was great fun and I was able to really enjoy the efforts I have put into the various aspects of the hobby that allow me to play a game.  When you are able to sit back and rest on your laurels for a minute.  What the Italians call "Dolce Vita"; the sweat life.   I was able to really enjoy:
1. The rules I use to drive the action.  I use a combination of Force on Force and Combat Patrol with a couple of house rules thrown in. I like the flow and pace of the game with the decisions I have to make.
2. The campaign rules Platoon Forward/Grunt Forward. Many of you know I wrote these for my personal use and then my brother encouraged me to get them published.  I played the scenario Village sweep which I worked on forever to get the right feel of searching a village but coming into contact with something to ensure a fun game that wasn't just a meeting engagement.  When I wrote this up I hadn't even considered using boats but it worked well.  The only tweak I made was I added 2 "B"s and one was automatically a 75mm recoiless rifle.
3. The models themselves.  I made the leap to miniatures from boardgames in 2006.  I think my modeling skills have continued to improve to where I put on a decent table now.  The board looks cool. 

Situation:
The US Task Force really got up and running early in 1967 and started out with several sweeps of the Rung Sat area using ARVN troops to help act as blocks.  The scenario replicates one of those sweeps.  I haven't rolled up a platoon yet and I am glad I hadn't.  Ever leader I rolled up was a poor one except one ASL!  Yikes.  I guess this is their first time in combat.

US forces     8/8

1 LT and medic
2 10 man squads that are each a man short.  These can break into fireteams.
1 Monitor and 1 Tango
1 Huey hog on call
2 ARVN ACAVs (6/6) enter from north on turn 4.  They will not enter the village as they are they to seal off the village only.

An isolated village in Rung Sat.   Check out my homemade rivers!   

The monitor leads the way!

Tango bringing in the troops!

Another view of the monitor.  It just looks cool!

Several VC lurk in the bamboo. 

My "free" recoiless rifle decides to fire at the monitor.  It misses!

The monitor fires back with MGs, 40mm cannon and a medium mortar.  It doesn't miss.  However, since the VC are in foxholes there are no casualties but they are suppressed. 

The tango unloads troops.  1st squad breaks left and 2nd squad is to go up the middle.  Speed is important as 4 sites must be searched before Charlie moves the goods.

1st squad, supported by the monitor does well and captures the recoiless rifle!

2nd squad has 3 casualties and quickly becomes pinned.  Leadership matters and there is a dearth of it in the platoon!  The Tango has left by now as 2nd squad hugs the shore.

ARVN shows up to seal the back of the village.

ARVN isn't the only one to get reinforcements.  There must be something in the village as NVA uniforms are seen advancing. 

1st Squad moves north along the tributary searching near the boats and finds nothing but advancing NVA soldiers!  It quickly becomes a stalemate.as the NVA takes positions in the jungle.

The LT knows he is losing to the clock.  He calls in the Hog and rallies 2nd squad.    He tells the chopper to fire at the biggest building in town.

The Hog complies!   3 VC KIA.     ( The black marker means it is one of the 4 sites that has to be searched.)

Meanwhile, Charlie takes pot shots at the ACAVs.  They all miss but so do the ACAVs!

With the main building destroyed, second squad is finally able to move up and conduct a search; nothing. 

With only 2 of the 4 sites searched, porters have moved what needs to be moved.  Their job done, the VC commander signals his survivors to withdraw westward into the swamps. 

Great battle!  I was wondering when I started how the US could possible lose given all their firepower.  Granted I did roll "heavy" for the communist forces but they only had 30 troops compared to 19 US.  And the US had the monitor, Tango, Huey and ACAVs.  The VC had the rifle and 2 RPGs; not even a LMG.  The VC stayed quiet unless they had a good shot and prevented the US from advancing which is what the US had to do to win.  As I said, great scenario if I must say so myself. 

The other thing I was chuffed about is my homemade river.  Now I love Wargamer's Terrain and have a lot of his stuff.  I just couldn't see spending $29 per section of river for a 6 inch wide section.  My sections are about 7 inches wide and cost me 77 cents a piece plus the paint which I already had.  Do they look half as good as his stuff?  No, but they didn't cost me close to half as much!

Next I have to paint up some PBRs.

Enjoy!

Joe
















Monday, July 9, 2018

Brown water Navy

Pretty busy here painting ARVN armor and boats for my Brown water Navy; both courtesy of Combat Colours who sold me a bunch of stuff low enough that I couldn't refuse.  I have also playtested my final battle of my Kolweski campaign for Legion Forward so have to finish writing that up.  Did run a quick battle with my Tango boat from Gomi supported by my Battlefront Alpha.  It was fun and gave me a feel for the Riverine rules in Ambush Valley.  There are no rules for mines so will have to modify the rules from Charlie Don't Surf.
My Brown Water Navy now consisted of:
Battlefront
Alpha Boat plus two PBRs ( haven't painted those up yet)
2 Tangos from Gomi. ( one painted.  The other I think I will make French.)
1 Monitor from Gomi.
1 PBR from Peter Pig.  ( This one will probably end up French or Vietnamese.)



The Mekong river along My Tho.  Okay, I know I have to get a bigger river now!

My Alpha boat looking for trouble.

My Tango boat hoping to avoid trouble.   Decals are from the Battlefront Alpha boat!  Flag is scratch.
Gun barrels are toothpicks.  





The Tango unloads 2 squads.


Infantry carries the day against an LMG

This is NOT a Karstadt building under VC control.

US troops swing through a prayer garden...

Gomi Monitor done.  Figures and mortar are from battlefront as are decals.

Kit does come with a 81mm mortar but it looked really small.  A battlefront 4.2 looked bigger!

Board for the final battle in Kowleski.  Clearing the shanty town.

Gas station in town

FFL storming the church to save hostages.   They were too late.



Hope you enjoyed the photos.

Joe











Monday, June 18, 2018

ARVN ACAV

So finally did my research and got some ARVN ACAV painted up.  First is a great book alert.  This book was recommend by several folks on TMP and it is great.
$6 of ebay and it has great pictures and really talks about armor operations from the French ( which I have an interest in) all the way through 1975 and the NVA.  Well worth it if you want to know about armor ops in Vietnam.  Turns out there was a fair amount of armor in Vietnam and ARVN led the way in the development of ACAV.  What would ACAV look like on the table top?  Would it be fun without troops to move around?  Could I resist unloading my M-113s? 
Next I painted up some M-113s and 2 Walker bulldogs.
The first batches of M-113s had brown stripes.  Unfortunately, I could find no evidence of the Bulldogs being painted that way.  I also scratch built a ruined hooch since in FoF building get destroyed.

Next I had to roll up my Platoon.  I just went with 2 squads to start since I only have 2 M-113s painted up at present.  Also I am not sure what configuration the platoon leader had his track in.

You will see the Platoon is average (8/8) with the LT a smart guy who actually believes in the cause.  Unfortunately his is a poor leader and hesitates on the battlefield.  This will translate to poor initiative in the game when he is around.  Sgt Pham of 1st squad comes from a fishing village and has made it by doing his job well and keeping his mouth shut.  Again no leader but at least he doesn't hesitate.  2nd squad has Sgt Dao who worked as a butcher before being drafted.  He is gloomy and likes the sauce but at least he is an average leader.

I didn't roll up the scenario because I wanted to use my Alpha boat.  I did roll up the board and the NVA.  As you can see above this platoon is from the 6th ACR which operated out of My Tho for much of the war.  The NVA have increased presence along the rivers with bunkers containing recoiless rifles.  So a combined operation is planned with an Alpha boat as the lure and the M-113s to launch a ground sided strike to eliminate the bunkers.

US/ARVN come from the top.  Bunkers at the fork in the river.  Tank will need to make a bog check if within 40 yards ( 1 hex)of the river or swamp.  Each bunker automatically had a RR while I rolled for the other blinds using Platoon Attack out of Platoon Forward.  ( I rolled a little light.  Probably not bad for a first mission.)

The alpha boat patrols towards the danger zone

ARVN moves parallel to the river about 200 yards off the shoreline.  M-113s in front as mines are not expected and they can check for soft ground.

A 75mm RR opens up on the Alpha boat!  It responds in kind.

Sgt Pham races towards the gunfire!

The NVA deploy their assets to stop the armor.


The Alpha boat duels the RR while a 57mmRR opens on 1st squad.  Meanwhile 2nd squad takes on 2 RPGs, one in front of the barn and 1 from the swamp.

A cool random event occurs and a passing Huey briefly adds fire to the battle in front of the barn.  It is enough to drive the NVA back.


The Bulldog takes aim at the bunker housing the 57mm RR

It is good to be a tank; even a light tank!   Scratch one bunker.

Meanwhile the Alpha boat has suppressed the other RR and with Sgt Pham continuing to drive forward the NVA decide to abandon it and escape through a tunnel.

The NVA still trying to damage the ACAVs from the swamp!  They never did.

With all NVA forces on the board pinned and the bulldog starting to shell the house the NVA escape off the board.   Total NVA casualties  5 KIA 2 WIA.  Total ARVN casualties... 1 WIA.


Great game that played quick.  With so few free world elements on the board I played this battle in an hour.  I kept the M-113s moving almost the whole game and they just kept shooting.  I should have dismounted them to try and stop the 75rr guys from leaving through the tunnel but to be honest with only 3 guys to dismount I was afraid they might lose.
I declared it a win for ARVN even though the bulk of the NVA escaped.  They didn't have enough forces to cordon off the area and the bunkers were destroyed plus their kill ratio was impressive.  Post game 2nd squad responds well to Sgt Dao's leadership and they are now +1 towards him.

The book above said it took 7 RPG rounds to hit a M-113 and about 7 hits to knock one out.  I had 8 RPG shots and non of them did any damage.  It was nerve racking tooling around ignoring the RPGs but it worked!

Enjoy

Joe