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, November 28, 2018

Bomber in the bazaar

Finally played a more traditional Grunt's forward battle for my blog than I have done recently.  I used a platoon out of the 10th Mountain Div in Afghanistan.  I run many platoons but some platoons very quickly develop character and storylines and this is 1 such platoon.  I decided to focus on 1 squad and have the rest of the platoon NPCs.  They have only had 3 battles but a lot has happened.  The LT is mercurial so is immature.  He can be a nice guy but since he is inconsistent the NCOs try to keep him at bay to protect the rest of the platoon.  The leadership at the SL level is average but as expected is weak at the fireteam level.  For the 2nd FT of the first squad ( the squad of my focus) CPL LaBell was so bad the morale dropped and Sgt McMann was trying to mentor LaBell until the Corporal was killed.  Morale  improved and Lt Richards was on a run with Sgt McMann when the convoy was ambushed.  1st squad performed very well and the US beat the ambush without loss.  Lt Richards was impressed so when a tasking came down for a cushy 4 day assignment in town providing security for a bigwig meeting he gave it to Sgt McMann and first squad.  [ Now you are all caught up!]
 Eagle-3    1 US squad  8/8
Sgt McMann  former fisherman  Cheery/ wealth     Avg ldr    squad +1 towards him
1st FT Cpl Adams  orphaned ranch hand  jovial/ religion   poor ldr   FT +1 towards him
2nd FT Cpl Anderson  son of a miner   idealistic/ wealth   poor ldr   1st mission as FT lead

The last 2 days had been great!   They set up a cordon during the day in front of a hotel as some bigwigs met with some muhla types and actually slept in beds at night.  There were even some SF guys around in case things got bad.   The LT actually helped them out this time.
 Today their orders were different.  It appeared the conference had ended early.  Sgt McMann didn't know if that was good or bad for national security but did know they were suppose to patrol a bazaar near the hotel.  "Just walk around a smile.  Show the people that the government is here to protect them.  And keep an eye out for anything suspicious." the captain had told them.

He didn't like this assignment much.  Walking around in a crowded bazaar seemed like a good way to get killed.
  The bazaar looking not too crowded

Local shoppers elbow their way to the stalls.

Suddenly his earset crackled to life, " Suspected suicide bomber enroute to bazaar.   Eagle-3, clear civilians from bazaar and neutralize bomber if found.  Avoid civilian casualties.  Deadly force authorized only upon positive identification.  Eagle-5, provide support to Eagle-3."  Now he really didn't like the assignment!
With no time to lose he sent each fireteam down 1 half of the bazaar with their ANA interpreters in the lead trying to tell the throngs to leave the bazaar.  [  Force on Force has great rules for this.]
1st FT with "Jimmy" doing some fast talking...     [ yes Jack you painted Jimmy!]

2 of the 3 groups of civilians are cleared before the bomber enters the bazaar. 

The bomber is positively identified by a SF sniper on a nearby roof  (eagle-5) who misses the shot.  Cpl Anderson feels his team has a clear shot and orders his team to take it. 

The good news, 1 dead bomber.  The bad news, 1 dead civilian.    You can also see some rebels on a roof in the background.  Rebel fighters had started to surround the bazaar.  With shots fired they came into attack. Sgt McMann's squad is now outnumbered 4 to 1 and in the open.  Time to retreat!

So the squad begins to leapfrog back towards the hotel.  The SF sniper team joins.  Sgt McMann calls for a show of force airpower but nothing is coming soon. 

Cpl Anderson is pinned down in a building so the rebels rush in.  Cpl Anderson keeps his head and orders an orderly retreat.  There will be no rout today! 

The entire squad makes it off the board without loss!   By points this was a US win but I called it marginal since they were run off the board and caused a civilian casualty.  Still they didn't lose anyone.  Very fun game that took an hour.

Post battle the squad now loves Sgt McMann and their morale goes to 10 when he is around.  2nd FT was also impressed with Cpl Anderson.  I would have put Anderson in for a medal for shooting the bomber but killing a civi kinda tarnishes that.  Sgt McMann missed his leadership roll so he is still average.  Back at the barracks, Cpl Rendon from the heavy weapons platoon approaches Sgt McMann.  While embarrassed, he explains that on his last mission he lost a cross that his mom gave him and knows he will die if he doesn't get it back.  Any chance Sgt McMann could go with him to the spot where he is sure he lost it?  What answer but "yes" can our hero say?  [ I told you this platoon is generating a lot of great stories.  This is certainly Platoon Forward at its best to me.]




Monday, November 19, 2018

3 battles with my brother

My brother visited over veteran's day and my wife was nice enough to allow us to be kids and play lots of games.  He is a boardgamer who has yet to see the light of miniatures but he is a good sport and a worthy opponent.  I wanted to show him my fusion of Force on Force and Combat Patrol to see if he liked it as much as my son did.  He is a WW II buff  so I thought I would go with a WW II scenario. 

US armored column entering a german town.  He had a squad of SS and a squad of volkssturm.  He didn't appreciate my volksturm's ragtag appearance.  I told him that is what made them historically accurate but he was unimpressed.  ( Maybe I should have tried FOW or Bolt Action.)

German ATG takes out a sherman!

Panzerschrek team crossing open ground to take a shot at another sherman.  These guys made it only to miss their shot!

Stug comes in late game only to be destroyed by an american bazooka. 

Game really wasn't that much fun.  I violated a main rule of scenario generation.  Always give players choices and preferably options to move.  Once he set his defense he just sat there as I came at him.  Rats.    
So we played his board game PanzerGrenadier which was short and actually fun except for terrible aircraft rules.  We also played Wing Leader which was fun. 
Then, being a good sport he said he would try another go at my miniatures.  We picked a scenario out of the FOF Cold War Gone Hot book ironically,Bruder gegan bruder and played.  

The East germans are trying to transit the board with some bridging equipment and the west germans are trying to stop them.  I figured I could get my colorful Ost Germans on the board at least.
My brother chose the West Germans.

On the very first turn...

My East Germans come in dutifully and see a leopard firering.   The Leopard misses and what do you know...

hit the leopard partially hull down on a hill while moving!   Great picture but not good if I want to keep my brother engaged. 

The obvious place for my brothers ATGM teams were the hills so I spotted all over them but he was sneaky...

In the woods at ground level a milan missile streaks towards a T-55AM.

It finds its mark!

Fortunately for game balance my brother received a ATGM toting helo as a random event that ran rough shot over my trucks!  [ Also suggested maybe a german helo for a Christmas gift?!?!?!]

One of the unseen helo's victims.

A german wielding panzerfaustman steps out of a cottage and fires...

and a BTR is destroyed with 3 infantry casualties.  

This was a fun game and we both enjoyed it.  He caught on quickly and the game moved at a fast pace.  I think both he and my son like the new system I am using.   I really enjoyed his visit and appreciate both him and my wife.

Inspired by the above battle I rolled up an East German motorized rifle platoon.  They are from the 7th Panzer division stationed outside of Dresden.  I was going to write up their first battle but it was so short that it wasnt' that interesting.  Unteroffizer Balack's squad surprised the americans and routed them.

Mission was simple; capture the hill.  The US had a 3 turn head start. 

By the time Balack got there the US was already climbing the hill.  He heard engines straining and peaked around the corner to catch the tip of a M 113 advancing.  He debussed his squad and went to work.

The US was routed with no German casualties.    Amazingly Balack's skill nor standing with the squad improved from this one sided victory. 

Only other thing to note was I tried my hand at the US winter camo as outlined by MERDOC

Here is my attempt
Here is Battlefronts rendering.    I was pretty happy with my results.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving.   Please remember all those troops deployed away from their families this holiday.


Monday, November 5, 2018

Ambush along route 6

Hope everyone is well.  I reached 3 milestones this weekend. First my youngest turned 19; hence I am really old!. Second, I tried out custom Fog of War decks that are nation and war specific.  Thus the free world forces now have their own FOW deck for my Vietnam games.  The US player will rarely have equipment break compared to the french or ARVN but his troops will be more brittle.  If this works I will probably try to sell them on wargame vault for $1 per theater-- let's see if they work first.  [ proceeds will go to the local food bank as always.] Third, I allowed someone other than myself to control one of my platoons.  My son, home from school saw me setting up "ambush along route 6".  I invited him to play and he actually said "yes!".  Because of this I only took 4 pictures but the narrative is pretty good.

The company commander patiently explained to the Lieutenant that the regiment had decided to start opening up route 6 in the delta.  He was to lead a "thunder run" as the americans called it, and go looking for trouble by springing an ambush. " Push through the ambush but then stick around to fight and defeat them."  He would have a light tank attached in case their were mines.

Lt Nguyen Duc   Son of land owner    idealistic/engineering degree     poor leader
1st sq Sgt Pham Van    Fisherman before draft, meek/ wealth               poor leader
2nd sq Sgt Dao Khiem  apprenticed to butcher,  glum/ alcoholic          average leader   sq +1
1 Walker Bulldog attached

Everything fine at the moment!
Order of march is 1st sq, HQ, 2nd sq

Suddenly rifle fire and grenades are everywhere around the column!  Duc can barely peek his head above the lip of the carrier to see.   The tank guns it and drives down the road; never to be seen again!  Coward!, shouts Duc.  [ cool FOW event!]  First sq rotates to face the hill where the heaviest fire seems to be coming from.  Looking back, second squad takes off away from the fire into a field. ( they failed a morale check.) The LT decides to turn the track around and fire the 106 RR.  

A rifle grenade hits the back door and penetrates.  

Lt Nguyen piles out of the M113 and collects his men.  1 is bleeding badly but no one else is hurt.  He retreats to the rice paddies.  

VC pour fire on the small column

Sgt Dao meanwhile recovers his wits and manages to destroy a RPG team in the nearby jungle.  
The Lt radios for air support while Sgt Pham trades fire with the VC on the hill.  After 1 of his gunners is seriously wounded he too retreats into the paddies...
1st Platoon's small enclave while they await air support

At this point the LT has pulled his forces back at least 60 yards from the VC so he outranges them.  Knowing some type of reinforcements will soon show the VC break contact.  
1st platoon sustained 1 KIA and 2 WIA and lost 1 track that was recovered and repaired.  Charlie had 3 KIA.  However, since ARVN didn't control the battle field we declared it a Viet Cong victory.

Great game that was completed in just under an hour.   Post game Lt Nguyen calls the armor officer Lt Qui who is a devout Buddhist and inept military man to complain about the tank's actions.  He agrees to discipline the crew and volunteers to personally accompany the platoon on their next mission to make amends.   In addition, 1st squad, having sustained 2 WIAs, is not happy with Sgt Pham's leadership and they move to -1 towards their squad leader. 
For those of you that want to try this Grunt Forward generated the following for the VC
1 mine, 2 squads + 1 RPG, 1 RPG team, 1 75mm RR, 2 Avg leaders.   

Of course the best part was sharing the experience with my son--- priceless.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Cold War Tanker finished

Real World has interposed into my wargaming.  This time that has been a good thing.  Trip to Las Vegas, baseball playoffs and kids visiting has left little time or need for my normal escape.  that said, finished Cold War Tanker poolside in Vegas.  The offensive stats steadily increased throughout development.  Also added rules for unbuttoned as I think this is a big part of situational awareness.  So what I hope is the final draft is off by carrier pigeon to Lard Island.  We will see if it makes it into the special.  As I haven't gamed much here are some pics of my final playtests.

I really like the east vrs west germans for some reason!

East Germans use the new "platoon movement"rule.

BTR stops for Gas ( or petrol)

This doesn't look good! 

The fate of BRDM-AT every time he takes the field!


Infantry in the open don't fair well in the infantry rules.

This looks like a good position and it shows off the new station wagon Joe painted up.

This should have worked out well for the East Germans but they lost the initiative.
Jagpanzer meets german infantry at the gas station.  ( The ridges in the 3D models just bug me; sorry!)

Sneaky shot!

So hope everyone is doing well.
Hopefully you will see Cold War Tanker in the Christmas Special.  It has been fun to develop.



Monday, October 1, 2018

Sgt Bomba gets a ride-- Zaire 1980s

Cold War Tanker is now moving from notes on scratch paper to a proper word document in preparation for delivery to Lard Island.  Only thing left to do is figure out points for each vehicle.  After reading several neat blogs about fights in Africa I was inspired to go back to the Legion and have a go.  You may recall I wrote up a mini-campaign about the legion's exploits in Kolwesi.  That is done, just have to transfer it from scratch paper to word.  I have another platoon in Africa.  These folks are in the 80s and have spent most of their time in the Ivory Coast.  They have only had 3 battles so are relatively untested.

Sgt Bomba's mind wander to 4 days ago.  4 days ago they were relatively safe in the Central African Republic when yet more violence erupted in Zaire. 2 Platoons of the 2nd regiment rode in to Zaire to protect European interests and keep the peace.  That is what the Legion had been doing in Africa ever since Bomba had joined them 7 years earlier.  He smiled as he thought of his home in Morocco. Yes, the legion had literally saved his life.  You can only de-flower so many women before running into a family with the will and the means to take revenge.
So here he was in a land rover heading to rescue some French citizens held hostage by somebody.  If his Mom and Dad and Tamara's Dad could only see him now!  
MISSION:  Hostage Rescue/   AMBUSH
FORCES:   2 French Squads, 1 medic, 1 armored car, 2 land rovers, 1 IFV
Lt Lorray     Son of a farmer        Gr I
Sgt Barrie   French   son of carrier NCO.  Wanted to be tougher than dad so joined the legion  Gr I
Cpl Leach  Scottish   Escaped from prision    Gr O
Sgt Bomba  Moraccan  Romeo who had to leave town quickly   Gr II
Cpl Collins English   Cambridge grad in romantic languages bored with teaching secondary school
                                  Gr 0  

Our little band rolling towards the hostages.    This is an ambush scenario before the big rescue.  1st squad in the IFV.  Sgt Bomba's squad split between teh 2 rovers.  Normally Sgt Bomba would be in the rear but Lt Lorray decided he would ride in a Rover rather than the smelly IFV so Bomba was bumped up front.  No worries as long as there is no ambush...

Sgt Bomba day dreaming as the miles go by...

The rest of the mighty band!  ( I lost my blue background.)

Boom!  Mine KOs the rover.  No casualties though everyone automatically pinned.  Ambush time!

Rebels line up a shot to take care of the rear of the convoy.  He missed!

As fire erupts around the legionnaires Lorray screams for everyone to keep moving!  Responding to training they do.  Sgt Bomba and his team is pinned down by a LMG and rifle fire.  RPGs bounce off the vehicles like rain. 

Sgt Barrie positions the carrier alongside Bomba while his squad fires out the ports into the jungle. 

Sgt Bomba's men scramble a top the carrier.  Amazingly, no one is hit.  Sgt Bomba, always playing to any ladies present, strikes a heroic pose. 

At the far edge of the ambush the AC and Sgt Bomba lay down covering fire as the Lt still needs to pass through the gauntlet of fire.  "I bet the Lt wishes he was in the smelly IFV now." thinks the irreverent Sgt. 

the 90mm gun goes to work.

The Lt's land rover races through successfully!  

Great exciting game that played in under an hour.  The French had no casualties except 1 land rover but I did give them body armor.  The rebels had 5 KIA.  The force must now go into town and rescue the hostages.  
I made the French 8/10 but I almost made them 10/10.  Think I will make them 10/10 for the finale.
The rebels were 6/10 I Grunt's Forward generated the forces using the Ambuscale scenario.   If you want to try it generated 2 squads, 1 HMG, 1 LMG and 2 RPGs.

The game was short enough I used the same basic board for a quick Vietnam Tanker game pitting 1 Walker Bulldog against a PT-76.

Around and around we go!

I see you!

Bad picture but PT-76 destroyed.