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, September 21, 2016

FNG (French New Guy Operations)

I told you I am reading a great book from teh Time Life series called Passing the Torch.  It is primarily about the French experience in Vietnam.  In addition I picked up an Osprey book cheap on the French Foreign Legion since 1945.  Beginning to see a thread here?  I decided I wanted to try the French Indochina war.  Both sides were better balanced and you get to use cool WW II vehicles.  That said, did not want to stop my ARVN platoon with evil Tong.  What to do?  Fortunately the french tried their own "Vietnamization" but went about it differently.  They had normall french organizations that were partially made up of ARVN units.  At the company level there could be 2 platoons of french infantry ( FFL) and 1 Vietnamese. Now granted the Vietnamese units were commanded by french officers but I can fudge that part a bit.
I downloaded FNG Operations years ago and for some reason pulled it out last week.  It fit perfectly with my story.  I would have a French FFL company with 2 platoons of FFL and 1 ARVN.  I streamlined it of course, changed the air rules around and meshed it with Platoon Forward/Grunt's Forward.  I have only done 2 full days of operations but we have "won over" the people slightly.  What follows is a mission my ARVN folks were sent on the first day.
Tong was glad to be on a mission.  He liked the opportunity to kill people.  They moved a click down the road from their base at Vieh Yen ( look it up) in the Red River delta to the village of Dong Hoa.  ( Don't look that one up!) It was suppose to be a base for local VM and contained a canning factory. 
(I rolled up a Platoon attack.  I normally use only two squads as FOF/CP bogs down with more forces than that if I play solitaire.)

Village/factory including my 2 brand new battlefront Vietnamese huts.   Lt Pham's plan was to position their LMG on the hill with 2nd squad and have Tong advance towards the factory.  Tong wasn't thrilled with the plan. 


Lt Pham Chu    Inept/ religion    Dad is goverment official   Gr I  hesitant
Sgt Dang Tong "protagonist"  evil/pleasure   orphaned    Gr I  hates Sgt Trang  1st squad
Sgt Trang Chu    gambler/wealth            Gr II     2nd squad
1 LMG and 81mm MTR on call

1st squad advances towards the factory...

While 2nd squad with the officer's lapdog Chu waits safely on the hill.

40 yards from the factory pointman Tran Can sees movement and opens up with his rifle.  Unfortunately a LMG returns fire and 3 men go down.  Soon Sgt Dang is forced back dragging 4 casualties.  He wonders Where the hell is the mortar support!?!  ( Lt Pham could get it.  Second time in two games!)

With the attack faltering the LT sends 2nd squad on a sweep to the right.

The are momentarily pinned but manage to...
reach the stylish Vietnamese huts just as the VM get the same idea. 

A rigorous hand to hand ensues with 2nd squad losing 3 against the VM's 1. 

Sgt Trang is also forced to retreat.   Having failed along both sides, the ARVN platoon turns around and heads back to base. 

Great battle but that is the second loss in a row.  They did feel a little better when a french platoon assaulted in the afternoon with the same result.  After the battle Sgt Dang manages to siphon off some ammo and give it to his government official friend.  Payback will be coming...
FNG Operations played well.  If it playtests well I will see if THW want's it or maybe release it free if they are okay with that.

For those that want to try the scenario I generated the following VM forces  ( 8/10 but random event dropped them to 8/8)
2 squads of 6 rifles with 1 Gr II leader and 1 Gr I leader.
1 LMG and 1 MMG



Monday, September 12, 2016

ARVN sweep a village

Still painting up my French Indochina force so I thought I would take my ARVN force out for their second game.  If you will recall Sgt Dang Tong leads first squad and has a very weak LT.  Tong is evil and has gotten into an argument with the squad leader of 2nd squad as to how to teach the men discipline.  Needless to say Tong is not fond of Sgt Trang Chu of second squad. 

Orders came to Lt Pham Chu ( no relation to the 2nd squad leader.  In Vietnamese last name is first.) That intel felt there was significant VC presence and arms in teh small village of Dong Ha. The plan was to be dropped off by the Navy 1 klick  out and advance to the village surprising the VC.  They would also have a gunboat for support.
Lt Pham Chu  Inept/Religion   father is govt official                 Gr I   and hesitant
Sgt Dang Tong  1st squad     Evil/ Pleasure    orphaned and raised by Uncle     Gr I
Sgt Trang Chu   2nd squad   Gambler/wealth                Gr II
Each squad with 8/8   6 rifles + 1 BAR plus SL with SMG
1 LMG and Pham Chu has on call 81 mm Mtr
1 PBR  with twin HMG forward and single MMG aft.

ARVN entering from bottom through swamp.  French markers are the 4 sites than have to be searched.  Black markers are enemy blinds.

1st squad moves towards the village.
The LT trying to run the show

1st squad was greeted by sniper fire.  They moved slow enough the sniper was able to retreat to two building near the rice paddy. 
2nd squad made a dash for the main buildings.  "There goes Chu kissing butt again" thought Tong.  After 2nd squad was in place a fire fight erupted from the far side of the village.   Sgt Tong Dang kept his squad advancing towards the building on the left; this was afterall the originial plan. 

1st squad advances slowly

The PRB attacks VC in the brush.  Unfortunately an RPG forced it back.  D8/D10.

The Lt trying to call in artillery.  It never came. 

A sharp firefight developed between second squad and the VC.  After several minutes the guerrillas melted away leaving 2 ARVN soldiers down. 
1st squad finally reaches the houses on the right
by the time they got their any supplies had been quickly moved away.

The platoon found a small amount of ammunition in the family plot by 2nd squad but clearly they had missed their chance.  1st squad had 1 serious wound that manages to return to the next fight.  Surprisingly, the squad has rallied to Sgt Dang Tong.  Perhaps they feel he is a better alternative to the LT!  Sgt DT is now looking for a chance to sink/embarrass or even kill Sgt Trang Chu.  He thinks the LT might be able to help.  Sgt DT also meets a minor government official and promises him protection for whatever he needs.  He muses the official might also come in handy.  
For those of you that want to try this the VC were 6/8 and started with 1 sniper plus 1 SL Gr II + 6 rifles.  I then generated an additional squad 1 SL Gr II + 5 rifles + 1 SMG + 1 RPG.  The VC don't have to take anything.  They just have to prevent the ARVN from advancing to the markers for 8 turns. 



Monday, September 5, 2016

Williamsburg Guns of August and other events

I have been busy enough to not post for awhile.   The big news was I attended the Williamsburg Guns of August show two weeks ago.  The show continues to expand which is great news.

The main gaming area.   There were also separate rooms for a FOW tournament and RPG games.  They had a fair number of vendors but very little 15mm stuff.  I bought some D10s and 12s for Post Captain and Force on Force and a 4 gun Schooner for my 15mm marines or pirates to use.
They had some excellent tables:
Most tables were in 28mm.  They looked fantastic as you can see but must cost a boatload of money!  They had a sails of glory game that looked interesting and my friend Justin was going to run a WW II version of Force on Force in Normandy.  The table looked great and I was sorry I missed it.
I manage to play a Wings of War game set in the Pacific.  As I don't like playing with strangers ( remember it is all about the story!  Strangers ruin the story because they are trying to win!) this was a big step for me.  It was some Hellcats on CAP over some Merchantmen attack by Vals escorted by Zeros.
I really liked the game.  No one was hardcore and the rules were very simple but got their point across.  I really want to try their WW I game now.
Even though I wanted to focus on a story I couldn't help myself and became competitive enough to splash one Zero.
Ens Legan living Wings of War!

I really enjoyed it and will attend the show in Feb. While it was hot on Saturday it was very hot outside as well.   I will probably run a game this time; either Post Captain or my variant of Bag the Hun.

Otherwise I played two games.  The first was "The escape of Catfish Hunter"  Catfish had finally been captured and was going to be sent to Williamsburg in the morning for trial.  Catfish's gang had decided to break him out. Why?  Because he knew where the treasure was!
Pirates coming for Catfish.
Didn't work!
Unbeknownst to Catfish's crew, a dozen highlanders marched down yesterday to escort the varmint.
Once freed Catfish, ( in Green and Yellow) leads an attack on the Scotsmen that fails.  He sounds retreat.
Catfish makes it to the gate
Though the odds don't look good for Catfish, the Militia won't charge and the Scots are beaten back!
Catfish escapes through the corn; loosing 5 men.
Rules were Combat Patrol for activation, Donnybrooke for combat and everything but morale.   Force on Force for Morale.  Scots D10/D10.  Pirates D6 firering, D10 hand to hand and D10 for morale.  Militia, D6/D6.
Got a Timelife book at a used bookstore "Passing the Torch".  It is about Indochina right after WW II.  Inspired me to take my Aussie's and WW II Americans and turn them into french for an Ambuscale mission from Grunt's Forward.  ( Am working with Chris to format GF and get it out there!)
The column along RC 4.
HMG lies in wait

A french squad deploys into the village.  ( Apparently right after WW II there was a mix of US and GB uniforms with the bush hat in vogue. )
HMG set up behind a destroyed jeep.

After destroying a Stuart, incapacitating a NCO and killing 4 troopers at the cost of 3 VM dead, the VM go home through the swamps.     French D8/D8    VM  D6/D8




Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sgt Lawrence gets a medal

I have been playtesting Grunt's Forward for about 40 games now.  One of the cool things it introduces is the ability to obtain a medal.  Obviously they should be hard to get but at somepoint I had to roll well right?
This was a very short battle that ended up being very one sided.  For initiative Sgt Lawrence kept roll a "6" and his cards kept coming up. 
Object is the large hill in the middle.  Lts plan was to have the tank and MMG lay down covering fire while 2nd squad ( Sgt Lawrence) moved from the jungle to assault the hill covered by smoke.  1st squad would follow to mop up.
105s worked over the hill to little effect but one round was short and hit a NVA recoiless rifle!
Then the smoke rounds landed perfectly.
I will let the citation take it from here:

Sgt Duane A. Lawrence ( 2nd squad, 1st Platoon, B troop of the 1st Calvary Division) led his squad through intense enemy fire
to assault a critical hill that was heavily fortified with a machine gun/mortar and infantry.  2nd squad, under Sgt Lawrence's leadership cleared the hill manned by at least twice there number.

Sgt Lawrence personally dispatching 3 of the enemy.

For gallantry and leadership under fire in the best traditions of the United States Army, Sgt Duane A. Lawrence is hereby awarded the Silver Star with "V" device. 
( I took some liberties with how real medal citations read for effect!)
Sgt Lawrence took 8 men with him and had 1 KIA, 3 WIA to include Cpl Black.  They actually pushed 12 entrenched  NVA off the hill. 
I actually had enough "points" earned to start rolling with the Distinguished Service Cross.  Missed that but was lucky on a roll for the Silver Star.  The squad was actually happy for Lawrence as all 3 WIA quickly returned to the unit.
Am working with 2 friends of mine in formatting Grunt's Forward and ensuring it flows smoothly.

Also got one game in of Squadron Forward using BTH.  Used my P-38 Headhunters on a barge busting mission.

The Headhunters
The target

One barge sunk, one damaged.  And Lt Porky Sullivan bags an Oscar!




Friday, July 22, 2016

ARVN ambush

Been a myriad of gaming here this month.  My brother visited so I always try to put on a good show for him.  Played a battle for Berlin which was enjoyed and drew the attention of his sons.  ( Come closer little fishy!)

Not Manhay but the board looked great!  
Bought Ambush Valley as a source book and it is fantastic.  Thought I knew a fair amount about the units that fought there but I am learning alot.   One of the things I learned was that the Army of South Vietnam wasn't all that bad.  Most of the time they could hold their own.  It was their regional forces ( Ruff-Puff) that could have been much better.  So I had to try to put together a squad for Platoon Forward.  I only had 9 soldiers painted up and my leaders were not even based yet so it was an ambush of a relief column at night in 1964.  I rolled up the characters and they were quite interesting:
Trung Si  (Sgt) Dang Tong  orphaned; worked on a farm for his uncle, joined the army to escape
                                           Evil/  Pleasure              Gr I
Ha Si ( PFC) Tran Bihn   petty thief, joined to escape jail     liberal/  Alcohol                Gr O
Thieu Uy  (2LT)   Pham Chu    son of a catholic govt official     Inept/  religion               Gr I
1 M8 Greyhound     1 sq 8 carbines 1 BAR in Halftrack   NL/ 8 morale    1 jeep w 50 cal and 2LT 
Charlie waits to spring the trap

Life is not too bad Tong, thought as they rolled down the highway.  He had just been promoted to Trung Si so few people would mess with him.  His officer was harmless and kept out of his way though he had insisted on coming tonight with the vanguard of the platoon.  He wasn't a coward, just belong with a textbook in his hands; not out here where men were men and it was survival of the fittest.  Bihn hoped he would see some action tonight.  He was not against the VC, he just liked to kill things and test his mettle.  
Just then he was roused out of his thoughts by an explosion.  The lead greyhound had hit a mine!

Charlie strikes!

The squad spilled out the back with his ASL breaking left and himself right.  In the dark they started receiving fire from everywhere.  Tong got 6 of his men organized and made their way towards some bamboo despite a MMG.

Bihn starts to return fire

Meanwhile on the other side of the road the LT jumped from the jeep and had the 50 and BAR hammering away at VC as they tried to creep up and overwhelm the small band of men.
 LT takes charge

VC launch an attack!  (camera moved due to shock waves!)

Thieu Uy Pham beat off the attack!  As  suddenly as it started the air was silent.  The squad had not lost a man!

Great game that played fast ( 20 minutes) as the VC attack never gained any traction.  With 3 dead they failed a moral test and called it a day. 

The VC had 9 riflemen and one Gr I ldr with pistol (Green troops with 8 Morale)  + 1 MMG.   

Post game the LT didn't lose his hesitant leader card despite his showing.  The squad responded well to the Sgt despite his personal philosophy; he kept them all alive.  And Tong has a spat with the Sgt From squad 2 about how to handle men and has made an enemy.  Where will this lead?  Who knows?  I do know that Dang Tong will continue to lead his squad forward!



Thursday, June 23, 2016

An easy mission in the Green zone

Am becoming more enamored with Force on Force.  Bought their book "Enduring Freedom" and highly recommend it.   Decided to start a squad of the 10th Mountain division.  Played the 3rd scenario taking place in the Sha-i-kot valley 2002.  The squad managed a draw because a sister squad seized the objective.  They had 3 seriously wounded all from Cpl LaBell's fireteam.
The Objective!
Sgt McMann having a bad day at the office! 

After several weeks in the valley the company was pulled back to the green zone for R+R.  Three new troops were added to Cpl LaBell's team and they dropped to "low confidence".  This was a mechanism I wasn't initially impressed with from FoF but it fit perfect here.  The team was well trained and wasn't going to run from a fight but they would be skittish in their first encounter. LaBell was a good leader but was a bit too fancy for the squad. ( Low confidence means they have to check for suppression everytime they are fired on.)
To break in the new men Lt Richards wanted the squad to conduct several easy patrols.  This was the second "easy mission" and there would be contact.   (This was a Patrol scenario from Platoon Forward with the addition of 1 "A" and using the new tables from Grunt's Forward.)
Sgt McMann   New York Fisherman      Cheery/ Wealth         Gr I
Cpl Adams     orphaned and raised on a ranch    Jovial/religion    Gr 0
Cpl LaBell       Preacher's son               Cultured/ wealth           Gr I
1 Squad and 2 Humvees

Squad entering from the bottom right.  Enemy blinds entering from the left. 

Cpl LaBell's section leads as he is the better leader.  Pvt Wasserman on point.

Between the buildings Pvt Wasserman IDs to Tali's.  Fires off a shot and one goes down!

The Tali's beat feet into the near building on the left.  Cpl LaBell''s team comes up to support their Pvt but have no shot with the cart in the way.
Meanwhile, the building on the right also has enemy inside as well as three in the market who...
incite the vendors to stop the americans from "invading" their village.  ( Ya gotta love the FoF rules for civilians!)
The civilians move out to the Humvee to tell the US what they think of their protection! 

Fire from both buildings decimates Cpl LaBell's squad (again) with all four members going down.  Sgt McMann acts quickly.  He sends Adams up on the roof of the leftmost building while he goes to check on his fireteam.  LaBell is gone; Wasserman is lightly wounded and the Saw gunner seriously wounded.  McMann and Wasserman drag the fireteam into a building to hunker down. 
The Humvee manages to persuade the crowd to disperse then starts hammering at a Tali LMG with good effect. 
As Sgt McMann calls for a MedEvac he is told that intel has IDed the leader of this attack as a main instigator of the local Taliban.  He is a HVT.  ( Cool FOW card!)  This info is forwarded to Cpl Adams who goes to work.  First, grenades go down the stairwell followed by 4 mountaineers.  ( Still like the grenades and close assault rules from Combat Patrol)
Fierce fighting in the building.  The HVT is the skinny guy in front.

The rebels lose one and take off out the door.
Making a break for freedom!

Despite the best intentions of Sgt McMann and one of the Humvees they all miss and...

Our HVT makes it into the grove and is lost!

Great game that played fast.   I really like my mix of the two rulesets FoF and Combat Patrol.  Am happy that Patrol Forward works well with both.  

The Taliban had 5 KIA.  the US had 1 KIA and 1 WIA ( IH ) and 1 WIA.  I thought Cpl Adams had earned a upgrade to Gr I leader but rolled a 10!  Both casualties are replaced but we do not get an NCO.  Will have to pull from the other fireteam.  The Squad gives Sgt McMann the benefit of the doubt and he is still neutral in their eyes but their confidence has dropped.  Lt Richards has decided to come along on the next mission to see what is going on. 

For those of you that want to try this the force generated was:
Gr I leader ( HVT) with 5 riflemen and 1 RPG
Gr 0 leader with 5 riflemen and a LMG
3 riflemen
I used poorly trained Taliban.    One reinforcement came in of 3 leaderless riflemen.