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, October 9, 2016

The Welsh Borders

Been busy painting up my French indo-china forces.  Played one game in Afganistan
 And then took a break with a battle of Saga.  I have invented several rules to make Saga more realistic but every time I do it also takes away the fun factor.  The only rule I have kept is variable movement.  Otherwise I admit that Saga bears little relation to middle age fighting but it is a whale of a game to play!
I pulled a scenario from Wargames Illustrated ( don't remember the issue) called Eadric the Wild vs William Fitzobern.  Basically Fitzobern is a Norman knight whose job it is to keep the Welsh border quiet. Eadric the Wild ( a saxon) teams with Welsh Lord Bleddyn to invade England.  Thus the Welsh are attacking and the Normans are arrayed along an old roman road to stop them.   
There is a roman ruin in the middle of the board that Eadric can start hidden in order to ambush the Normans.
I played each side used 5 points.
Unfortunately for the Normans, their first moves are to get their crossbowmen into the ruin.
Eadric ambushes the crossbowmen leaving only 2 alive to scurry back to England. 
Welsh horsemen move up in support.
Norman knights attack the Saxon's with little success. 

Welsh horsemen smash into the Sergeants and drive them back. 

Fitzobern himself attacks Eadric with crush and the Saxons are wiped out!

Horses in the middle!  Unfortunately the knight's better training and armor tell the tale and the Welsh  horsemen must retreat.

Welsh javelins take their toll on the knights; the Bleddyn sends his elite fighters in and the knights are cut down.
With only 2 knights, 2 sergeants and 2 crossbowmen left, Fitzobern sounds retreat back tot the castle!

Now Bleddyn marches into England!

Fun game that plays quickly.



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!