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, July 16, 2017

Historicon 2017

Back from Historicon.  Popped up there Saturday and enjoyed myself.  As most of you are aware there were plenty of games going on at all times so plenty to do.  Vendors were also well represented.
I arrived at 8:45 and parking was a snap.  I had pre registered so avoided a line of about 40 chaps and again walked right up.  Unlike salute, no goody bag to speak of but you did get a wargame figure of an SS tank commander.  Unfortunately, 28mm as was much of the show but I do appreciate the effort. ( Historicon take note, at Salute several years ago a got a D6, very cool and scale neutral.)  A lot of vendors ( was told as many as last year) but unfortunately for me very few sold figures in 15mm;  Battlefront and Old Glory was selling Command Decision.  I did get a bag of T-55s but no Celts or Trebuchets.  Miniature Building Authority was selling their 15mm stuff half off so pick up several items.  ( Should have picked up the Russian village as well.)
On to the games!


Here was a game set in the Congo so I was interested.  Board looked great.  Rules are forthcoming.  Will stick with my Combat Patrol/ FOF combo

Here is the new pirate game.  Pirates and Plunder or something like that.  Boards and figures look great.  Mechanics look interesting as well.  Clearly an investment though; need the rulebook $35 and at least 2 decks of activation cards ($ ??) and their period dice did look nice.  Had it been cheaper I might have pulled the trigger but for now will stick with Donnybrooke.

Didn't figure this one out but the board looked splendid!  Some type of steampunk I think.

Flames of War was in abundance.  there was one game with a huge 6x30 ft table with Ivan crossing into Germany in 1985.  Great looking stuff and the players were totally  into it.  They had been playing for 6 hours when I left.  I suspect the real war would have lasted about as long!

Impressive Berlin 45 table for Disposable heros.  Rules look interesting but again, will stick with what I got.

This game attracted lots of people.  My other pictures of it didn't come out.  Brilliant table of pirates in the carribean.  Suspect we will see this in WI.

Didn't catch the rules for this one but the table certainly makes all those battlefront building look great!

This was Combat Patrol by my friend Col Buck Surdu.  People were so busy playing I couldn't get an unobstructed shot.  They were all having fun which is great as I think it is a great system.  I finally got to meet Buck face to face which is always nice.  He said the Pacific rules ( which I helped playtest) and cards should be out shortly.

Yep Men of company B with our very own Prince of Pork, Martin Goddard of Peter Pig.  As most of you know I love their figures and about half my stuff comes from them. ( All of my Somalis and most of my FFL).
Civilians in the village.  Have to pick me up some of these!  I had e-mailed Martin that I really needed a pack of US snipers ( that way I can paint them as US vietnam, FFL and US modern) and could he bring a pack to the show.  Not only did he do it but refused to take money for them!  A true English gentlemen he is.
I watch Men of Company B for about 20 minutes.  The mechanics are different and interesting.  Teh concepts are easy and because of this it plays smooth.  It is really focused more on the squad than on the fireteam.  Still I am tempted to pick this up and it was fun.

Finally there was Mogadishu in 28 mm on a table sponsored by MBA.  Brilliant it was.
 


The scenario was a "Blackhawk down" type with homegrown rules.  Some of the participants dressed the part.  Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves here.

So that is a quick report.  I was biased towards WW II and beyond.  There was everything there from ancients up to 2 x-wing battles.

So when I got home last night I didn't have the men of company "B" but...

A mechanized infantry squad was patrolling a village occupied by my new 50% off MBA buildings ( plus 1 JR miniatures) with my new jungle foliage in the background.

Enjoy

Joe











     

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Corps in the Stan

Life has been busy but finally got to play some over the fourth of July weekend.   Really wanted to use my marine AAV-7 so rolled up a platoon attack scenario using Platoon Forward.

Mission:  Intel has ID a compound as a supply cache for taliban in the area.  Secure the compound.


Compound upper right.  1 squad will enter the woods bottom right to prevent the enemy from escaping.  AAV will enter with the second squad from the left.  Markers represent "blinds" which will be rolled for during the game.

US forces    2 marine squads of 3 fireteams ( FoF TQ 8 morale 10.  Combat Patrol add 1 blue card)
2 SLs both Gr III leaders.   6 team leaders ( 4 Gr I and 2 Gr II) 1 Platoon Leader ( Gr II) and 1 medic.1 AAV and 1 Humvee with TOW.   1 Apache helo in support.


The vehicles roll up to the compound.

Tali emerge from the village thus they are behind the marines

The TOW blows the gate to the compound.  As the marines exit their vehicles they come under heavy fire from a MMG in the compound and from Tali in the village.  One fire team sets up in the village and 2 break for the compound.

A firefight erupts in the village.  6 marines against 16 Taliban.
In the great tradition of the Corps, the marines win the firefight, sustaining only 1 serious WIA.
Medic at work!

Meanwhile the two fireteams rush the compound while the Apache keeps the MMG busy.
The marines storm the compound and take it in brutal hand to hand fighting.   8 Taliban KIA, 2 prisoners at the cost of 1 KIA.

Fun game that played relatively quickly.   No post game as I had not rolled up a marine platoon.  For those of you that want to try this the forces generated were:
2 taliban squads in the village with 7 rifles, 1 RPG and a Gr I leader each.  TQ 6 morale 10.  In the compound  was a MMG Gr II leader and a squad of 6 rifles, 1 SAW, 1 RPG and a gr II leader.  the folks in the compound are TQ 8 morale 10.  I rolled for one reinforcement and only got a sniper.  For more of a challenge add another squad that enters turn 3.

Started a SAGA game between my romans and franks.  Two pictures:
Romans defend the burh
Franks destroy the gate!

Enjoy

Joe





Thursday, June 8, 2017

Kolwezi Part 3

Actually stuck with a project and have playtested my third game of my Kolwezi project.  This is a hostage rescue.  It is historical and thus short, sharp and intense.   It has taken me several plays to get a balance for both sides.  Think you all will like it!



The compound.

The French hear voices!

A quick attack to free the hostages.

The trick is to balance both sides so there is a chance for french success but it is still in doubt.  I think I have it but a couple more play throughs will confirm.  This will be one scenario where you won't roll for the enemy as the balance is too tight to be left to chance.

Of course I also had to play something else.  This time it was SAGA.  While ahistorical I am always pleasantly surprise by how much fun it is to play SAGA.  Almost every time the winner is not decided until the very end.

My new Cataphract unit

It is hard to beat for sheer spectacle of forces.  
Huns and Byzantines above.

That is all I have for now

Enjoy

Joe






Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Kolwezi part 2

Greetings.  Staying true to form about bouncing around from era to era and project to project I finally playtested my second scenario for my Kolwezi campaign.  This is about 3 company of the French Foreign Legion Paratroopers who dropped into Kolwezi, Zaire in 1978 to re take the town from rebels.  This will be 4 linked scenarios using Grunts Forward.  Scenario 1 is Hotel Impala posted in January of this year.  You will take your squad through all 4 missions.   My squad did well in scenario 1 and now they are tasked with sealing off the New Town.  I picked this action to depict because the platoon ran into 3 armored cars and had to drive them away.  Not often the legion gets to fight armor in Africa!   I played this one twice; once using the new FoF Close Quarters Battle rules I am a playtester for and once using my brew of FOF and Combat Patrol.   Characters:
Lt Bourgain  son of successful business man proving himself.   Idealistic/ Pleasure   Gr I leader
Sgt Popov   Russian, ex soldier and mercenary    Condescending/ wealth  Gr I leader   squad +1 towards him
Cpl Smyrnoi  Bosnian, unemployed and needed a job   Conformist/ violin   Gr O leader
2nd Sq leader is Sgt Lesson  French, son of famous actress who didn't even notice he was gone
                 Obnoxious/ food   Gr 0 leader
2 x 10 man squad with one LMG, one LRAC, 6 riflemen and 2 NCOs   FoF 10/10 Combat Patrol I added a green card for the rebels and 2 blue cards for the legion.

Kolwezi.  Old town to the left, new town to the right.   Rebels automatically get 1 AC at start.   Legion start in old town and must prevent the rebels from entering and traversing through old town.
Legion starts with Sgt Popov's squad minus his LRAC team plus Lt Bourgain.

The Lt sets up in the train station (grey building) with the LMG.  Sgt Popov sets up on top of the Bank to cover the elevated walkway.

One legionnaire downstairs in the bank to cover the bridge. 


An AC, gun truck and rebels advance towards the bridge while a sniper tries to clear the bank roof.

A M3 halftrack joins the assault.

The french LMG keeps the rebel infantry advancing slowly.  but the armor is still posing a problem..

The rebels get to the end of the bridge and, though pinned, appear ready to overwhelm the legion in hand to hand with numbers.  Sgt Popov moves down to the ground floor to get ready for the assault.

Then...

The LRAC team arrives after finding their rocket launcher (think bazooka) in the equipment bundles.  Their first shot misses but the second...
Paydirt!!!

Also...

Sgt Lessons shows up with his squad to reinforce the train station.

A brief interlude occurs when 3 civilians emerge from underneath the bridge and race pass the train station.  ( cool FOF random event!)  Fortunately there are no rebels nearby to take advantage of this.

As a last attempt the rebels finally try the walkway but Sgt Popov stops this cold.
Old Town is saved!!

Great battle.  The squad took 1 serious WIA.  The squad's confidence in Sgt Popov grows and they will now follow him anywhere.  (Morale moves up to 12)   I miss my roll to upgrade his leadership however so he remains a Gr I.  In the next battle the Capt gives the squad an additional LMG.  This will be important as the next battle will be a hostage rescue.  Stay tuned...

For those of you that want to try this out Grunts Forward generated the following
1 AC and guntruck plus 2 squads of rebels + 1 LMG team.  2 additional squads and 1 halftrack came on as reinforcements.  I played 7 turns.  The rebels have to either kill the french or exit old town.

Enjoy

Joe







   

Monday, May 8, 2017

A question of Leadership May 1940

As anyone looking at this blog will know; I can't keep focused on any one thing for long.  That is why my campaign systems are designed the way they are.  For example, I had a yen to use my hawk squadron for some reason so I pulled out the squadron sheet.  After a quick look at my notes I was back with them in France though I hadn't used them in about 2 years. 

Col Renard had a problem.  Not only were the Germans doing very well in their attack against his country but his third Squadron de chasse stunk.  They had been poor since the war started last year.  They were flying the best plane France had and had 4 kills compaired to 6 losses.  They could not intercept bombers.  Their first CO, Capt Durand had been killed early on.  Lt Leroy had taken over and had done so poor Renard had sacked him 2 months ago.  The acting CO Lt Martin showed some promise but it was too early to tell.  Squadron elan was in the toilet as was maintenance. It is a matter of leadership thought Renard.  Today I will lead these men and show them how it is done!
[ the above is a summary of the first 4 missions for the squadron using squadron forward.  As you can see, a lot has happened and these guys stink with -2 cool points.]
Mission:  Strafe newly acquired Luftwaffe airfield.
1 Patrole  ( top cover)
Col Renard  ( Group Commander)   Unsupportive       Jr Ace  St Cyr grad
SLt Challe  Pragmatic/ religion      green       St Cyr grad
Sgt Lisle    Foolhardy/ position    flying demon     1 kill
2 Patrole  ( strafers )
SLt Brun   Pessimistic/ wealth            1 kill     Veteran
Cpl Chief Prideux   idealistic/ revenge     green   2 trucks KIA
Cpl Chief Sharone   cheery/ wealth          green

Col Renard came over early and talked to the whole squadron.  Told them now was Frances most dangerous hour ... blah blah blah.  He realized he wasn't a great speaker but knew he was a great pilot.  These people needed to believe in themselves and needed to start taking out some Germans. 


Three ME 109Es try to bounce Col Renard's hawks.  

Col Renard saw 3 bandits moving in!  His radio was working ( 40% chance) and he ordered 2nd Patrolle to continue to the target.  His Patrolle would delay the bandits.  ( He hoped he was showing his young officers that mission came first.  They must strafe the field.)  
Germans overfly a French town that I recently painted up. 

Renard turned his patrolle around and came at the Germans.  His wingmen held on as he was decisive in his actions and that allowed him a shot.  ( his modifiers for being a junior ace helped as well!)
The Patrolle lines up their shots!

With a flurry of bullets they tore through the German formation.  His victim rolled over and headed to earth.  Sgt Lisle's target actually burst into flames!  [ Will admit it was incredibly lucky die rolls but way cool!] 
 
Now to catch the last Kraut he orders a climbing half loop.  SLt Challe doesn't have the skill to follow and Sgt Lisle pretends not to so he is free to maneuver.  [ he is foolhardy remember?]
Instead of facing a Patrolle of aircraft Jerry now faces three individual ones including one flown by a novice. 

He maneuvers for one shot before he goes.  Col Renard coming up behind but not fast enough. 

Bullets riddle SLt Challe's plane smashing cables and instruments but amazingly the hawk continues to fly.  The German, with an experienced frenchman above and behind him dives away to fight another day. 

Meanwhile, as the Germans are setting up a forward airstrip an alarm sounds.

The target

2nd Patrolle beating up the field! 


SLt Brun gets one!

2nd pass as they head for home!  Cpl Sharone takes out a 20mm AA gun. 
[ air to ground rules taken from my Brag the Hun Article in one of the specials]

Final event to play out is SLT Challe landing his damaged hawk.  It is badly damaged and he is a green pilot but the hawk is relatively easy to land.  The ground crews hold their breath as SLt Challe nails the landing!  A complete success for the squadron and their group commander.  Airfield operations disrupted, 3 planes destroyed for one damaged.  Truly a question of leadership!  
Post game Sgt Lisle ( now with 2 kills) advances to veteran status.  SLt Challe advances to average status.  The squadron cool goes up 1 to -1.  

Great game and the squadron needed a big win.  For those of you that want to see if you can duplicate their success the Germans had 3 ME 109Es with 2 Veterans and 1 average pilot.  The airfield only had 2 lt AA guns as they were still setting up.   How will the squadron fair with Lt Martin leading them?  The Col knows what can be accomplished and will not tolerate fools for long.  Stay tuned...

Joe




Sunday, April 23, 2017

More fun with Lt Ronault

First got a number of games in with my brother who visited me for three days last week.  He is a dedicated board gamer but we converted one of his board games to miniatures.

We played a random scenario from the game and rolled up the board using Platoon Forward.  It worked very well.  It was a Russian attack into a factory.
My brother-- still not realizing miniatures are the way to go!

I was the Russians and we had a good brawl in the factory and in the corn field just outside.  The game lent itself to miniatures and played well.  Each stand was a squad.  While not my usual skirmish scale I enjoyed it and it is always good to share time with him.
He returned the favor and we had a skirmish outside of Tobruk.  My Tommies couldn't get across the open ground and we lost.  It also has caused me to think artillery might be too underpowered in Combat Patrol as my 3in mortar barely caused a ripple in the Italian MG's spaghetti sauce.

Now on the Sails Forward.  Lt Ronault escorted several merchants safely with no contact and was finally rewarded with a promotion.  ( Guess the Commodore reconsidered if he was too harsh about the wine debacle. Either that or it is because I finally finished painting up the cutter HMS Seawitch!)
HMS Seawitch
Ronald is given the HMS Beagle.  ( Forerunner to the real HMS Beagle)  It is a 16 Gun brig armed with 18 12 pounders plus 2 6 pound chasers.   ( for Post Captain players it is the HMS Savage with 12 pounders instead of Cannonades.)
HMS Beagle

He brings his own officers aboard and gets 2 new Lts.  The crew of the Beagle is crack; their Lt being recalled to London to take command of a 6th rate ship.  
Thus life is good for Lt Ronald Ronault.  He even gets orders to sail.  He is somewhat deflated when they direct him to take a marine major to St Kitts but he is allowed to go free hunting afterwards.  

The trip to St Kitts is uneventful.  
On the return trip there is a moderate breeze and not a cloud in the sky when the cry "Sail Ho" is heard.  A sail off to larboard!  
Ronald orders the English flag aloft.  Soon he sees a French schooner.  He thinks this should be an even fight.  He remains at easy sail in case the Gaul runs. 

Frenchie to the left, out hero to the right.  Each hex is 50 yards.

Unbeknownst to our hero, the frenchman is packing 18 pounders.  He too thinks this will be a fair fight.  His strategy will be to keep easy sails, fire a couple of volleys.  If the battle is going poorly; run.  If the battle is going well; drop sail and go toe to toe.

The ships close and Ronald chooses to hold fire.  The Frenchman fires first at 150 yards going for the sails.  Minimal sail damage and several crewman.  His 2LT wants to fire.
Ronald waits, gains the initiative and manages a bow rake with devastating effect. ( Some great die rolls I will admit)
The cannon balls sweep the deck and two thirds of the privateer crew are either dead or broken.  To make matters worse, the sails are sprung and there are not enough crew to make repairs and sail the ship.
The french captain decides to make a run for it hoping to run off the edge of the ocean.
With his sails sprung and not enough crew to repair them it is just a matter of time before masts  start to fall.  The HMS Beagle follows her prey catching her 40 minutes later.  One more broadside and the Frenchman strikes his colors!

The French captain coming over to surrender.

The Commodore is very pleased with Lt Ronault's triumph.  He gets a "Good Show" with increase in both interest and glory as well as prize money.  I set promotion at "possible" since the french ship was a slight upgrade but he had just gotten a new command.  The Commodore told Ronald that he didn't want to rip him from his new command so soon so would let him enjoy the Beagle for a while.

Great game that played in under an hour.   Wonder what the Beagle's crew will do next?

Cheers

Joe