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, July 1, 2020

ULT Volstadt's race for the bridge

Last weekend I set up a game and played; big step for me.  We had looked at some old family photos of a trip we had taken to Berlin back in 1987 so of course that fired me up for a cold war battle. 
I used my 1st platoon of the 7th Motorized Schutzen aka " Max Roscher".   They are East German which is different.  This is my 4th battle but the first time I have ever posted with these guys.  They have won most of their battles but the first squad has done poorly every time.  ULT Volstadt had threatened to replace their NCO when he had conveniently gotten KIA during a patrol to a factory.  That dropped the squad morale and he wasn't replaced.  The squad is now undermanned and led by Gefreiter Elbaum.  Volstadt is evil [ not taking sides here I just rolled it up!] and this war has been inconvenient so far but might help his progression either up the ranks or politically after the war if he can get his platoon to do what he wants.   Lets check in with this interesting unit...
ULT Volstadt  son of a govt official    evil/ hedonism        Avg ldr
1st squad  Gef Elbaum       temporary                                poor  morale of squad  poor  8/6 for FoF
2nd squad  Unteroffizer  Rossic  son of disgraced official   Volstad constantly questions his loyalty to the state.  Therefore he feels he must be twice as good as everyone else.   conformist/ technology  Avg leader which for Warsaw pact NCO is good.    morale  of squad avg   8/8 for FoF
4 T-55s

Volstadt didn't mind the war but it had surprised him.  Did the Russians really think they could win?  He hoped so.  Being in a front line combat unit could certainly do him well as long as his unit didn't screw up this chance for him.  Either climbing in the military or back in the party would be fine with him and his father would certainly help where he could.  His unit was made up of dolts primarily; Rossic had some potential but the rest were sheep who wouldn't even get out of the rain.

He had a chance today to score some points with his CO Maj Kettler.  Kettler had been a problem up till now as he wasn't a political type.  " I don't care who your papa is.  I need you to be a good infantry officer and train your platoon!"
Well the company had been held in reserve and a small breakthrough had occurred.  Each platoon was to be sent through the breach to secure an objective!    Now was his time to shine.   He was to secure a bridge on the outskirts of the town of Lemm.  The situation was fluid and resistance was expected to be minimal so no artillery or air was allotted.   [ I rolled up the scenario Explotation and failed rolls for artillery and air.  I made the rolls for armor automatic. ]

The village of Lemm to the right.  1st platoon enters from the town.  I decreased the number of "As" and "Cs" by 1 to reflect NATO fighting outnumbered. 

I really enjoyed setting up the town!

The main road.

The East German's order of march was BDRM 60 yards to the front followed by 4 tanks then 2 BTR-60s, 1 AA unit and the last BTR-60. 
A shot range out as the BDRM neared the bridge.  "Nuts" thought Volstadt. this isn't going to be as easy as I hoped.   2 Tanks moved forward as 2 tanks swung right. 

A throwback to an earlier time...    A German panzer lies in ambush.   It took out the BDRM. 

The battle starts in earnest.   the 2 tanks engage the jadgpanzer while ULT Volstadt [brown square base] unloads his first 2 squads.  His sends 1st squad to the Rathaus to support a crossing and prepares his second squad to rush the bridge on foot.  [ Volstadt is not a man to lead from the front unless the Maj is watching.]

A MMG team opens up on first squad from a midevil tower.  The marker shows they are on overwatch. 
The Shika AA unit quickly sends them downstairs.  { West Germans had UNLIKELY chance of air support and missed their rolls as well.  In retrospect should have made that POSSIBLE to LIKELY.}

West Germans get their scenario driven reinforcements; 1 infantry squad and a Jaguar!  Sigh...

As the T-55s tangle with the jadgpanzer,  UO Rossi leads the way to the bridge.   ULT Volstadt has the medic standing by the back of the BDRM in case this wasn't his best decision.  He still has 3rd squad in their BTR.  They make it with no problem.

Meanwhile West German infantry deploy towards the bridge.  I see conflict arising...

UO Rossi creeping along the bridge as the tanks start to follow.    Just then a tank hunter team arises from an apartment and fires a panzerfaust at the lead tank...    It is too high.    Our friendly AA gun keeps the heads of the team down while Volstadt goes and tells 1st squad to root them out.

UO Rossi's unit starts to take fire from enemy infantry.  UO Palk's tank is the first across. 

Somethings never change.  On a spot where 400 years earlier men fought over political ideals brave men once again come face to face with each other in anger. 

Meanwhile, while FOF is not a tank game we have quite a parking lot all of a sudden on the west bank.  Everyone is missing everyone else; unusual. 

As the tanks waste a lot of ammo Rossi's men prevail in the garden and advance very cautiously.  [ In FOF warsaw pact NCOs will not advance unless in direct line of sight of their officer.]
The West Germans rally in the tower and then retreat.

The Leopard, facing 3 T-55s decides to retreat also.  It manages to destroy all 3 on the way out! 

As the fighting dwindles ULT Volstadt crosses the bridge triumphantly!

Fun battle that was bittersweat because I couldn't share it with my dad.    It should have been closer than it was but I misplaced the Leopard on set up.    I should have switched it with the jadgpanzer and given it more LOS over the board.  
Post battle Maj Kettler is impressed but not enough to promote Volstadt.  He and Rossi also miss their leadership roles to improve.  Interestingly, 2nd squad does not grow any closer to Rossi even though he is doing a great job.    Volstadt does meet the battalion S-4 Maj Rother and thinks he impresses him with his tale of the battle.  Actually Rother pegs Volstadt correctly as self serving but is politically astute enough to see which way the wind blows.  A new NCO is assigned to the platoon for first squad, Unteroffizer Weiler and they are brought up to full strength.   Hopefully that will help morale.  [ it didn't] 
Will Volstadt climb the ladder or be found out?
Will Weiler rally first squad?
Will Rossi take 2nd squad to the next level and continue to be the rock of the platoon?

we will have to wait and see my friends




Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the Fathers out there.    I have been pretty silent on this blog for the past year or so.  My dad has been very sick and I have been trying to take care of him and my mom.  I try not to be personal or political on this blog as that is not its purpose.  It is to tell stories of people under fire to inspire you to do the same with your forces.  My gaming has always been about the narrative. 
Well forgive me this post today.  My dad, Col Joseph Legan, DC USAF passed away about 2 weeks ago.  The details are not important here.  What is important is I realized today how much of what I have been doing in miniature gaming was actually about sharing with him.  
My brother and I had been boardgamers for 15 years. My dad bought me my first boardgame, SPIs Moscow Campaign because he saw it in a store and he was interested in the history of what we were doing but he would never participate.  When I switched to miniatures he would actually play!  We would talk about what scenery to get and how to paint up the tanks, airplanes and ships.  He was an active participant.  Granted the games couldn't be too complex but the 2 of us or the 3 of us could play and it was great.   Those of you who normally read this blog know I normally wargame for escape from the world, not for social contact.  With my dad it was different.

3 e boats attacking tankers bound for London.  At this point my dad could only go for about 70 minutes so I had to make for a short scenario.  

  Dad's fairmiles lay down smoke. 

As an evil son I do get a shot at a trawler at 500 yards.  I missed fair and square!

It was sharing great experiences between father and son.  This became more important and poignant these last 17 months.   
My son will occasionally play a wargame with me but he is humoring me.  But my son and I share a love of baseball so we have that bond.  With my dad he really enjoyed the miniatures, the planning, painting, scenarios and playing. 
Yesterday I saw battlefront has a 15mm cafe out and my first thought was, "I can't wait to tell my dad!"  We would start to talk about did it look good enough. How could we use it?  Would I ( or we) use it enough to justify the cost even though we both knew I would get it.  Then of course I realized that I won't be having those discussions; at least the way I have had in the past.

So I get why people play wargames with other people; for the camaraderie. For those of you lucky enough to have fathers and sons ( and daughters) to share this hobby with you congratulations!  Enjoy the time you have with them.   

  Happy Father's Day Dad; thanks for all the memories!  You gave me much more than that of course.  I will keep the projects going for as long as I can and look forward to rolling some dice with you again.

Love your son


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Cpl Bett's walk in the moonlight USMC Iraq

Work continues to settle in.    Please continue to pray for those affected by this virus and for those on the frontlines.  Also, for those not working please do your part and stay home.  I have many patients in house who wish they had.
For some reason I am enamored with Formula 1 currently.  I picked up an interested while living in England and have been running some races

All solitaire of course.

But I did get to play a game using my marine platoon in Iraq.  It is really a squad that I am focusing on.  They lost their first battle and have kicked butt ever since.  Their squad leader has already earned a Bronze Star and the squad's morale is 12.  Their last battle was Dec 6 if you want to check it out! 

" All in imagery in the world won't tell us if the bridge will hold.  Apparently we need an engineer geek to run some tests.  It will be easy Jack." said Lt DeClines.  Just get him to the bridge.  Suppress the ragheads and bring him back.


SSgt Just Jack   mechanic before joining corps    Jovial/  position  above avg leader    Squad would walk through hell for him

1st Fire team  Cpl Koke" Kokistranovich     addicted to thrills   junior racing driver before joing corps   impulsive   below average leader   Fireteam doesn't trust him

2nd fire team  Cpl "fast" Jones  orphan  grew up on a ranch  very religious    below average leader  fire team neutral to him
3rd Fire team  Cpl Betts  Just promoted to Cpl from within FT.      lives for the moment.   fireteam somewhat trusts him average leader

I rolled an unusual mission; reconnaissance.   2 subrolls later and we had to get an engineer to a bridge and get a cumulative total of 14 on d6 rolls until we could leave.   I rolled up the board and placed the blinds

    Mission played at night.   Enemy should be irregulars.  Trenches identified through imagery in trees along river.  60% bridge will be guarded.

Jack's plan is to station MMG on hill to left.  Have 1st FT on overwatch in buildings overlooking bridge.  He will stay with Koke.   Betts will sneak up onto bridge with the Capt.  Jones will be in HUVEEs behind buildings as a reaction force.  Mortars are on call for extraction only!  Can't damage the bridge.

MMG in place

Koke gets into position.

Unfortunately there are 4 guards on the bridge. 

"Nuts" thought Jack.  [ He actually thought something else.]    He has the MMG open up to drive the guards off the bridge.   Surprise was gone but the guards had no chance without NVG against a MMG 200 yards away.    They backed off the bridge but didn't run.   The enemy prepared for an attack.

Instead Cpl Betts started his walk in the moonlight with the Capt and his NCO.

The Iraqi's dispatched a truck to take care of the MMG.

3rd FT makes it to the bridge undetected while the 2 MGs trade shots.

At this point everyone sees the bridge party and all hell breaks loose!  Jack, on the roof with Koke lays down suppressive fire into the trees.
Betts says " Hurry up sir!"

Cpls Bett's FT drives the guards away from the bridge and into the trees.  The MMG also drives away the Toyota.  Go Captain Go!

The Marines control the bridge for the moment while the captain does his thing.  Bullets ricochet around but without NVGs the Iraqi fire is poor.

Just when things look hopeful.... a 60mm mortar shell lands on the bridge.    Cpl Betts looks around; his team looks up but the engineer NCO ...

is listless with a rapidly expanding pool of blood.   Cpl Betts looks at the Captain but before he can say anything the captain says, " This bridge is crap boys. Let's get out of here!" Betts toggles the radio 3 times which signals Fast Jones to the bridge.

Fast Jones living up to his name as Cpl Betts withdraws under fire.

The NCO is loaded into the HUMVEE and the men retreat on foot using darkness for cover.

Mission success!

Exciting game that played fast.  I hit the 14 mark in 3 rolls so clearly the cpt figured out what he needed fast.    Unfortunately the NCO didn't make it.  5 Iraqi KIA.  The squad loses no one and post battle not much happens.   The FT continues to warm to Betts however.

Semper Fi



Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Johnny A and Hughes Hill 1951

Hope everyone is safe.    Work continues to be challenging but is becoming more of a routine.  I actually had a weekend off more or less.  That this is becoming "routine" is both scary and a testament to the human spirit. 
One of the things I know about me is I can't stick to one time period or even one type of game.  That is why Platoon Forward works so well for me.  The games are linked but very loosely.  Take my FFL squad in Vietnam.  The last time I gamed with them was two years ago!  [ It didn't seem that long ago.]   I re read my post from March 2018 about Johnny A and I was ready to roll up the next mission.  I wanted to use 2 weasels I had painted up over a year ago.  I rolled up Ambuscale so the die was cast...
After the temple mission things settled down for Johnny and the squad.  It was routine patrolling with occasional contacts.  One of the sites that needed constant vigilance was a forested hill off the main road that supplied the base.  It was within mortar range of the road and the legion needed to ensure the VM didn't set up a post on the hill.  That was Johnny's mission today.   The company had received 2 crabs from depot so those were sent along so test their reliability. 

Sgt Johnny A  Cocky/Govt                       Avg
Cpl Hughes     Welshman one step ahead of the law          Avg

12 legionaries including 1 LMG              avg skill very good morale    8/10 for FoF
2 Crabs w radios 1 w MMG and 1 w 57mm RGL

Hill top left.  FFL enter from right.  Road off board to right.  

A Walk through the rice.     Point man followed by Hughes, LMG and crab followed by Johnny, crab and rest of squad.  The still, thick air is disturbed by gunfire from the front and right...

Not a clear picture but Sgt Johnny A and the squad just after the ambush.  1 man down and the entire squad is pinned.

Good time to be local VM. 

Johnny crawls through the paddy trying to rally the legion.  Getting anyone to lay down fire and then move towards the right where the 2 buildings are.  Miraculously casualties are light with 2 lightly wounded. 

Just when it couldn't get any worse!   An explosion rips Cpl Hughes position.  He yells for the team to move towards the buildings as a second mortar shell finds the range.  Hughes goes down with a fragment in his chest.  A second legionaire also goes down.  1 legionaire [ former point man]  moves towards the buildings.  The last team member and the crew of the crab retreat towards towards jungle. [ The crab is immobilized with an engine hit!] 

Turn 3      Cpl Hughes team falls apart while Johnny finally rallies those around him. 

Johnny orders the recoiless rifle to open up on the house while he leads the team towards cover and out of the kill zone.    Once there he realizes Hughes team has ceased to exist; there are several bodies lying in the paddy.  He tells Simone to fire on the buildings and take them if they can.  He is going to the other fireteam.

On his way he is rewarded with...

A satisfying explosion as one of the buildings goes up in flames! 

As Johnny reaches the pointman he is hit and goes down!   Fortunately it is just a flesh wound.

Unfortunately Johnny is not the only one who has noticed the Legion's plight in the middle of the board.  Leaving the LMG at the top of the ambush the LT moves his squad through a tunnel into bamboo near both Cpl Hughes [ status unknown. In FoF you don't roll for wound status until you have a upright soldier there to check status.] and our 3 panicked legionaries hiding 40 yards away.

Sgt Anderson reaches Cpl Hughes along with the pointman.  Cpl Hughes is badly hurt.  The LMG team are lightly wounded and can still manage the LMG with a negative modifier.  The recoiless rifle has silenced the VM LMG in the meantime and Simone has taken what is left of the 2 buildings.   [ The VM panicked and left after the hooch blew up.]

Johnny begins to take fire from the bamboo and starts to return fire.  It is a stalemate until the recoiless rifle pivots and throws 2 rockets into the trees.  With that the VM call it a day and withdraw.

A really fun, short battle that felt like a nailbiter up until the very end.  I really thought Cpl Hughes and then Johnny was going to get overrun. 

Post battle 3 bodies were found in the destroyed hooch.  The squad sustained 3 lightly wounded and and Cpl Hughes who was transferred to a hospital in Saigon. Johnny never saw him again but heard he lived after several operations and was medically discharged from the Legion.  Though it didn't "sing" in french everytime he saw this hill...

he referred to it as "Hughes Hill" in honor of his friend.



Saturday, March 21, 2020

Turtle Gut Inlet Alternative

Hope everyone is staying safe and keeping calm.  I have been working horrendous hours (15) at the hospital since the outbreak in Virginia so gaming has been almost nonexistent.  I have tried to play 15-20 minutes a day just to unwind before going to bed.  I only worked half a day today ( 6) so I will post the game I played this week.    Please pray for all our patients, hospital workers and all the families affected.  With courage, faith and hope we will all weather this.

Warlord games posted about the battle of turtle gut inlet.  It was an interesting battle but really was more of a small boat boarding action.  I decided, what if the US ships went out into the bay and escorted the brig?  that would make an interesting battle.  So here is alternate history with ships that were there and this easily could have happened.

Alternate battle of Turtle Gut.  29 June 1776

The British had blockaded the Deleware bay to prevent supplies from reaching Philidelphia which at the time was the busiest seaport in the colonies.  At the time there were only a few ships on station and these could not move up the deleware river due to sandbars.  We will ignore the 32 gun Orpheus and just use
6th rate 28 gun  HMS Liverpool     4L    30 HP     average crew
Sloop 14 gun HMS Kingfisher       2L    24 HP     crack crew

The colonies have commissioned the brig Nancy to bring back gunpowder and shot from the Caribbean.

Brig Nancy     1L   18 HP    average crew

Capt "father of the US navy" Barry is in the brig Lexington and is sailing out with the Reprisal to get the Nancy up river to Philadelphia.

Brig 14 guns  USS Lexington    2L  18 HP    elite crew
Brig 18 guns USS Reprisal        2L  18 HP    crack crew

In Black Captain there is a different between the 4 pounders of the Lexington and the 6 pounders of the Reprisal.  For Black Seas players that want a taste, roll a D6 for each hit from teh Lexington, on a "1" the hit is canceled.  Post Captain players should be able to make the ship cards reasonable easy.

Initial set up  Each hex 50 yards
Wind moderate blowing straight left to right.  US running from left.  Nancy in center  British beating from right.

US running into the bay.  Capt Barry hoping they are not too late to save the revolution!  Lexington is far ship with streamer on main mast.  Ships by Warlord

British Navy shutting down another rebel running the blockage.  Liverpool leading Kingfisher.  Liverpool by Warlord and Kingfisher by Hagen.  British are at full sail.

Nancy beats towards teh river at easy sail.  Barry realizes he doesn't need to defeat the British, just delay them by getting in their way.  So the Lexington turns to port and the Reprisal goes straight for a stern shot

The British tack...

Though at long range for the Lexington, Barry fires at the Kingfisher's full sails.  He gets exceedingly lucky and scores a critical that takes down the topmast!  [ Black Captain playtest criticals] This will set the Kingfisher back.

Minutes later the Liverpool damages the Lady Lex.

As you can see the Nancy is making good progress.  The Reprisal and Kingfisher have traded shots with the Kingfisher getting the worst of it.  Due to sail damage the Kingfisher is forced to battle sails.

The Liverpool finally gets a shot at the Nancy.   Several holes in her sails but nothing substantial at this range.

The plucky Lexington coming in close!

Even with a bow rake at 100 yards she survives with moderate damage.

The USS Reprisal during a bow rake gets tangled in the sheets with the Kingfisher!  Being impetuous colonials, and because I wanted to try out the boarding rules for Black Captain, the US decides to board!    British marines stand at the ready and the battle starts to rage.  [ I used melee rules from Black Seas and morale rules from Post Captain.]

Upper left corner is the beginning of the Deleware river with a battery of 6 pounders.  Liverpool cant enter.  If she goes past the rock upper center she must test every turn to see if she hits a sandbar.   Nancy bottom left.  Lexington center.  Liverpool upper center.   Reprisal/kingfisher locked in melee right.

The HMS Liverpool rushes forward for one last attack on the Nancy before she makes the river.  Nancy fires at her attacker's rigging hoping for a critical; alas it is not to be.

After 9 minutes of furious combat the colonials are soundly defeated by the larger british crew.  The British Commander Graeme suggested that the new ship be renamed the HMS Repentance but this was rejected by the Admiralty.

The HMS Liverpool, not wishing to chance the water any further takes one last shot at the Nancy and was the damage was moderate, she continued sailing towards the Delaware river.

Fun game that took forever only because of my schedule.   It was a tactical british victory as they captured the Reprisal but an operational defeat as the Nancy got through.    The rules seemed to work well and the scenario was fun.  The change I would make would be to have the wind blowing from down to up on the pictures so that all ships would start out running.   This would have give the british a better chance of catching up with the Nancy.



Picture of one more Hagen Miniature.   They are nice ships for the money when paired with Warlord flags.