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, 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















Tuesday, June 5, 2018

World War III Chapter IV

If you read my last post you know I had to play a battle with lots of russian toys and my german marders on the table.  I have a German squad rolled up ( actually the whole platoon because a German Panzer grenadier platoon only has 2 squads) so used them.  Didn't roll up a scenario as this was going to be a Soviet attack.  Did roll up the board which put a river on the board.
The German characters are:

Lt Weiss  A generals son with a mercurial temper    Gr 0 leader
Sgt Lachman   a dockworker briefly before enlisting.   Careful in all he does   Gr I leader   1st squad
Sgt Blaum  a drifter before he found a home in the Bundeswehr.  Glum outlook  Gr I leader  2nd sq

The Germans are average troops ( 8/8 for FoF) and 2nd squad is down 1 man.  

The following action is taken from chapter IV from Jonathan Lachman's book Wrong Place; Wrong Time.  My view of WW III .  Published by Tasche books, Koln Germany, 1987.  [ Please note this is not a real book!  I am setting the stage for the story as it makes for a better game.]  If you want to read about Sgt Lachman's first encounter please go back to here:  http://platoonforward.blogspot.com/2017/09/chapter-three-tornado-corner.html    ( sept 2017 post Tornado corner)

In the four days since my first encounter I had slept once.  We had one skirmish with Ivan as a whole platoon in which second squad was hit hard.  The Lt still didn't know what he was doing but at least he wasn't making bad decisions anymore.  Capt Zeiss told us that the Soviets had to be stopped.  The company was going to plug several possible approaches.  Ours was at a stream in front of  the town of Krinholden.  There were no tanks left but we would get a Jagdpanzer and there were 2 helos assigned to the company.


Krinholden on the right.  Soviets will enter from the left.  Stream is not fordable.  All buildings are average construction except factory.  

The Lt placed me at the bottom of the picture with my squad.  I was to cover the bridge.  I left the Milan on my track so we could hide in the buildings.  Blaum was in the forest upstream of the bridge hoping to pick off some forces before they reached the bridge.  He would then retreat to the brick houses.  The Lt was at the gas station with the Gustav rocket launcher and the RTO.  I didn't think it wise to be in a gas station with petrol tanks around me but who am I to question a German officer?  

The road into town.  Whoever painted that road did a nice job!

My track and the Jadgpanzer.  This photo was altered by removing the roof so you could see the house my squad occupied.  Nice decal on my track I must say!

The business end of the Jadgpanzer

The Soviets roll on! 
The Soviets continue to roll forward.  I saw many german missiles fly by but no hits!  The lead BDRM started shooting at 2nd squad.  I held my breath and told my squad to not move as the lead Soviet tank rolled toward our buildings.
My track also saw the Soviet tank and fired a missile with the plan to shoot and then duck back.  Of course the Milan is not a fire and forget.  
The Lead Soviet tank was not willing to forget!  Fortunately no one was killed.

The Jadgpanzer got one shot off that missed and ducked back successfully.  I just watched the tank roll up to our position and stop.  Thank God for the stream!
 Sgt Blaum's panzerfaust had immobilzed 1 BDRM but he was forced to withdraw to his track with 1 serious wound and 2 lightly wounded.  
Sgt Blaum recovers his squad.

There was nothing to stop the russians from continuing into the town except the Gustav.

Bulls eye!   The bridge is blocked!

Board at mid game.  Lead Soviet tank looking for targets. ( He has failed to spot 1st squad)   Orders 2 tanks to force bridge and turn hard right to flush out the Jadgpanzer.  1 BMP to accompany and a second if necessary.

I can see the Soviets start to force the bridge.  I decide not to fire as my guns will do little damage and will invite the T-80 in front of me to blow up my house.

Just then a hear a "whop whop whop whop".  I run to the window and see...

Through my tired eyes it looks like an Apache helicopter!  I am mistaken though it is actually a german HOT toting helo.

The Russian Shilka crew gets all excited.  They were built specifically for this purpose but on their reaction roll they have to draw a FOW card and.....


THEIR FIRE CONTROL SYSTEM BREAKS!!!!!!   I built this model for nothing!!!!!!!!!
Worse 2 turns later while trying to repair it I roll snake eyes so it is permanently damaged.  The crew do the honorable thing and get back in and ask a T-80 to blow them up.
Back to the story...

The Helo blows up at T-80 which slows Ivan down momentarily.  But soon he is back at it.  The commander's track firer's a missile that just misses so the Soviets decide to dismount their infantry to cross the bridge.  At this point I hear a loud roar and find myself staring up at the sky.  Dazed I find my men and we pull back from the rubbled house. 
Sgt Lachman taking stock of the situation.   In the background is his panzerfaust team.

Soviet infantry start to cross.  The lead tank is pinned.   The Soviet NCO is my Khurasian figure.  He did fit in fine despite my concern.

Soviets engage 2nd squad from the bridge.

Board towards the end game.  Lachman's rubbled house across from the T-80 who finally spotted him. Blaum still holds brick house and trees.  Gas station wrecked and survivors in apartments.

Soviet infantry enter Krinholden.

I mean a lot of Soviet infantry enter Krinholden!


As I gathered my squad Herman came around the corner and said Ivan was streaming over the bridge.  With no track and no Jadgpanzer I decided we had better make ourselves scarce!
I met up  with Blaum 5 hours later at the rally point.  He said the LT had been wounded but was expected to recover.  Well, I will give the LT this much, he is no coward.

Great game that really showed off all my vehicles.  It was fun.  I called it a draw as the Germans were substantially outnumbered and staved off Ivan for a long time.  Post game the LT does make it back for next battle.  Lt Lachman's squad appreaciates his carefully approach to keeping them alive and their morale goes up by 1.  Capt Zeiss notices Lachman's leadership as well.  Who knows where this will lead.  Guess we will have to read more of the book!

Enjoy

Joe





















Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Review of WG Marder and Soviet stuff

If you read my last update you know I realized I had a dearth of modern Soviet equipment and had only 1 Marder for my West German PanzerGrenadiers. So I have been busy and thought I would share my thoughts on the products.  These are my personal views and your mileage may vary.

First up I bought some 1970s Khurasian Soviet infantry off TMP for a pretty good price.  I really like their ancients stuff so had high expectations for these.  To be honest I was a little disappointed.  They aren't bad, I was just expecting really great stuff.  They are thin like QRF but they are tall so if I put them on pennies I think they still won't blend in.  ( QRF blend in okay if mounted on pennies to Battlefront figures.)  Their faces are better than QRF and the uniforms have better detail as well.  There is a nice mix of poses and equipment including sniper rifles and actual general purpose MGs in the prone position which I like.  I will certainly use some of these but will probably save most of them for either Warsaw Pact or African armies where I won't mix them with Battlefront.

2 Soviet NCOs  Khurasian on the left and Battlefront on the Right.  The BF guy looks like a real porker!

Another view of Khurasian Soviets

Next up Old Glory BDRM scout car.    I like Old Glory stuff.  It is easy to build and looks good.  My main gripe is you have to buy 3.  If you need three it works out great.

No directions but I think I can handle this one!

I really like that the wheels are casted on the body.  I find this is the weak point for most models and I have trouble making the wheels straight.  Thank you!

Okay, so I needed to enlarge the opening a bit.  For those of you that are surgeons and  work in the Operating Room I used a straight Metz.

Finished product!


  Next up QRFs T-80.  I like QRF's stuff.  It is basic, inexpensive and you can buy models individually.  A boon to the skirmish gamer.
All the stuff.   No directions as usual but pretty straightforward to assemble.  I sometimes have trouble with QRF's tracks as I find it hard to keep them perpendicular to the body but there is a reasonable groove in this model so it is pretty easy.

I did need to hollow out the female end of the turret where the gun barrel attached ( Surgeons use an 11 blade but don't break off the tip!  If you do though it will be easy to find and you won't need an x-ray.) but once glued and set aside it did fine.

Finished model; nice!   One extra note- most QRF models don't come with MGs; this one did.

Next is the QRF Shilka. 


 Lots of pieces for this one.  Directions would have been helpful.  There are also 2 chairs that I still don't know what to do with.  Those go in the bits box!

Somehow that is suppose to become the main gun battery.    After looking at the real thing I think I figured it out.
Final model looks really good.  Used a soviet airplane decal from I-94.

This side is the " I have been in Afghanistan a while and could use some loving" side.

I rarely use modeling paints for my models as they are expensive.  For these I used





Here is the trio on the way to Hamburg!

Last up is the QRF Marder  This one I struggled with.
First the gun is (realistically) extremely thin. On one of my two models it came very bent.

After straightening.   I knew it would break but couldn't live with it like that.

Yep it broke!    Fortunately I was able to glue it back on.    Also the side skirts didn't fit on the model well at all. Finally the gun has a male end that is suppose to fit into the turret female end.
This is the female end.  I had to reconstruct it using a drill and for you surgeons Iris scissors.   After all that work the model came together.  The tracks were hard to get straight and the skirts still don't fit right.  Old Glory and Khurasian don't make a Marder.  Battlefront does but you have to buy a set of 4 or 5 I think.  If you need a couple and you don't like to be an expert modeler I would consider buying the Battlefront ones.  You will also get german decals.  I bought WW I german decals from I-94.

The finals models did come out looking nice.  Infantry are Battlefront.

More pictures.  I must have got air under the decal.

Last picture.

Hope you enjoyed my reviews.  I will be happy to answer any questions.    Hopefully this weekend my Germans will face off against some Russian armor!

Joe