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.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Kicking Mules in the Med Squadron Forward

Hope everyone is doing well. I have had the flu. I thought of starting another blog page so we could all share our Platoon Forward stories but not everyone could post on it. You will have to forgive me; I am not computer savvy. I think it is a great idea but don't know how to execute it.
Being sick allowed me to read "An Ace of the Eighth" by Bud Fortier. Very good book and got me fired up for Squadron Forward. So... sorry guys but I finished up the charts for Squadron Forward and wrote up the rest of the scenarios. Dice tested the charts and they work. Have come up with a neat way to figure out A/C postioning without needing blinds. All that is left is playtesting the scenarios, and then the part I hate-- writing it out. It has many similarities to Platoon Forward and still containts 3 parts but the focus is more on the individual. This feels right to me as air combat involved fewer people and, while leadership is important, it was more a test of skill.
So, as a preview, here is a test play of the CAP scenario using my P-38 "kicking mule" squadron.
Capt "Zap" McGrudger made yet another right turn. They had been circling the western part of the fleet for hours. His flight was protecting ships offloading supplies onto the island of Sicily. The squadron was inexperienced and Maj Bunker had given him 3 2Lts to give them seasoning. 1Lt Lewis had been pissed. He had been bucking to be an element leader since they arrived in Tunisia. Bunker let him lead occasionally, but honestly, no one in the squadron liked Lewis, he was a spoiled brat. Daddy was a bigwig in Detroit and he let everyone know it. It was too bad because he was a decent pilot. 2LT Carls was the element leader today. Though a 2LT Carls was the best pilot in the the squadron. He instictively knew how to fly. If he lived long enough to learn how to fight he would be an ace.
Needle flight
Capt Zap McGruder Foolhardy Wealth Average pilot
2Lt Glenn Schlick Cheap Wealth Average (lucky)
2Lt Chuck Carls Cheery Government Gifted pilot
2Lt Bill Wright Coarse Wealth Average Mustang
"Needle 1 this is thimble. Bogeys due west heading east at angles 7. " Zap turned his flight due west and dropped down to 10K feet.
The bad guys. 4 on the right with bombs
green base is rookie/ grey is veteran/ blue is ace
Zap spotted 7 FW 190s and was trying to move his flight behind them when he was spotted while at there 9 o'clock. 3 190s turned toward him and 4 barrelled towards the ships. He told Carls to tie up the 3 and he would go for the bombers.
Zap's Charge!
A melee ensued but the 2 kicking mule wingman stayed with their leaders. Zap pulled up behind a bomb laden FW 190 and let her rip!

Zap Lets her Rip!
Multiple hits strike the German plane and it spins out of control.

The hunter become the hunted!

Suddenly cannon shells tear into Zaps plane. He banks left and screams for Schlick to come to his aid. 2Lt Schlick, while lucky, is just an average pilot and moves to slow to save Zap. He has to hit the silk as his Lightening disintegrates around him. Fortunaltly a US DD sees him and he is not in the drink long.

2Lt Carls causes 1 bomber to eject his bomb but the Lightenings have no other successes on this day.

Meanwhile 2 FWs with bombs and 1 without race for the ships.

The FWs attack!
AA fire is ineffective as is the strafing attack against the american destroyer. However, the 2 expreienced german pilots find a merchant ship stopped and both their 500lb bombs hit. One enters the engine room doing severe damage and the ship itself sustains 50% damage.

SS Lard Island after the attack

Post mission Zap is returned quickly to the squadron. His claim for a FW 190 is denigned. Turnes out the german aircraft recovered at 2K feet and went home! The squadron only damaged 2 for the loss of 1 plane and a merchant ship badly damaged. The kicking mules rep goes down by 1. In addition one of the P-38s will be out for 2 missions needing major maintanence.

Great fun! Think you guys will really like this. I sure do!

Enjoy the scenario (when playing the US gets 2 DDs and 1 large merchant. The merchant is stopped as it is unloading.)


Monday, February 7, 2011

One of our planes is missing

I have not gotten a lot of questions on how to play Platoon Forward. That is a tribute to Rich Clark's editing skills. I am also hearing unanimously positive comments. Thank you. That also means I can turn to blogging about my next project while still teaching how to play Platoon Forward.
I have turned my attention to finishing up my expansion pack for asymetrical warfare entitled "Middle of NoWhere". This is an expansion to Platoon Forward focusing on partisan ( or freedom fighting) actions from the 1920s through Vietnam. While Platoon Forward can certainly be used to game these actions as is[ training excercise April 2010], this expansion changes the blinds tables, tweaks some encouter tables and add a bunch of new scenarios. One of the new types of missions is "rescue". A subset of "rescue" is a downed aircraft or helicopter. I swiped this title from a scenario by Max Maxwell in a TFL special. It was a cool scneario and title! I will only use the title in the pack if he says it's ok but for the blog I thought it fine. Hope you don't mind Max!

Today's platoon is my favorite. They started it all. This is my 8th battle. [ Please see Dawn Raid and training excercise found in April 2010} Sgt Bustamanti was just upgraded to Gr III and was moved to the second squad because morale there has dropped. In addition Cpl Fan has joined the platoon to replace Cpl Riccelo who was KIA last battle.

Sgt Bustamanti hurried into Capt Butro's office wondering where the fire was. Lt Chanti spoke first. "Buffo, One of our planes is missing. It was on a pacification patrol was struck by rifle fire and couldn't make it back to base. It crashed 15 minutes ago about 11 kilometers from here. I can't send Sgt Polti. Take your squad and find the pilot before the Wahlas do. For God's sake hurry!

Sgt Bustamanti confident/ family Gr III SL
Cpl Fan Conformist/avarice Gr I
Italian squad here made up of 10 man rifle section (assualt) and 9 man LMG section (support)
1truck and 1 saharina with 1 MMG and 20mm autocannon

No I don't have a cool model of a crashed plane!
That is it in the white smoke
Buffo enters from top left

Buffo sees the plume of smoke past the mosque

The Italians enter the board as all
the locals stay indoors

Several blinds start on the board but turn out to be shadows. The jeep stops at the treeline watching the mosque and the crashsite. Buffo jumps out of the truck yelling for the pilot. Hearing no answer he sends Cpl Fan left with the LMGs and he takes the assualt section right to go searching.

Cpl Fan finds our aviator!

Cpl Fan finds the aviator. Just then the jeep starts to fire at a MG in some brush. Cpl Fan sends the flyboy back to talk with Buffo and takes his men forward through the trees to flank the MG.

Cpl Fan runs into some rebels trying to
flank the Italians
In ferocious close quarters the casualties are even so Fan pulls back with 2 KIA and 2 WIA. Buffo dispatches 5 men back to the truck with the pilot and takes 5 to the LMGs. They lay down fire on the rebels which drives them back. Fire opens up from the mosque but the autocannon silences this quickly. As Buffo moves up his 10 Italians for an assualt, the rebels, with all there forces shaken and no pilot in their possesion, decided to leave the field.

Our Hero!
I love this scenario! It has such a wide range of possibilities. Buffo was lucky that the rebel forces on board were not real therefore he found the pilot first with no bad guys around. He also found the pilot on the first try. In game event showed Cpl Fan ticked off Buffo so he must of been mad at Fan's inexperience of moving into the ambush. There is now friction between the two. My freeform event was to raise the morale of the LMG section to normal. Given how they performed I thought it unlikely and missed the roll. First fixed event was replacements with a +1 for winning this scenario, +1 becasue LtCol Aquino likes the platoon and -2 for heavy casulaties for 0 modifier. I rolled a 4 so no change. Second was player character effect. Character was Cpl Petracela and was a morale check of his LMG section. Petracela is cultured so no modifier there. A quick roll and morale of the squad goes up! Turns out they like his solid leadership.
Rebel forces
2 squads without LMGs 1 gr III leader 1 Gr I leader
1 MMG gr I leader
Enter near board edge turn 1

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thank you and Patrol AAR

First thank you for the response to Platoon Forward! I was hoping to sell 100 copies eventually so I wouldn't feel guilty about Rich publishing it. It has sold over 150 in the first week! More important, people seem to be enjoying it. That makes me happy. This will also allow me to give our local food shelter a nice check. Thank you for that too.
I thought I would go over a patrol type example a little in depth since now you guys really know what I am talking about. Here goes. We are going to use my british squad in Italy. The guys from the Couterattack at Orveto and the Monestary at Taromina. If you want to go back and read those go ahead I'll wait! As always this is an actual battle with these guys (7th to be exact.)

"Balls" had not laid into "Red" after the counterattack at Orvetto like Red had figured. The whole company had been beaten up prety bad. 1st section had not been reconstituted. After the front had stabablized the company rested for a whole day before Red was called to the command post. "Lt, I want to see what Jerry is up too. I would like you to take your platoon on a combat patrol to these hills and have a look around. Take everyone including your mortar as I don't want casualties and it will give your chaps a boost of morale." Red thought a better boost for morale would be another day of rest but thought better than to question the major.


Lt Red Talbot Fickle/ Government Gr III
Sgt Theo Barns Cocky/Hedonism Gr II 2nd section
Cpl Scottie McNabb Addicted/ Alcohol Gr I 3rd section

We are using the Patrol scenario. I have no set item I want to place on the board so we will roll it up cold. As we are on the east coast of Sicily we will us the heavy terrain chart and fill the board in. Once I have the major features I add some brush, rocks and a wall around one of my buildings. The final board is shown below looking south to north.

What is your plan Red?
Red decides to move up the right side of the board go between the 2 hills. Have his mortar move up onto the center hill and leave Sgt Barns in the center watching the road and building. This will leave Cpl McNabb to check out the forest on the right side. That done, McNab will come back to the buildings. After all is checked out they will withdraw through the swamp on the left.
With my plan set we have to see where we will encounter the enemy. I love this part about the patrol scenario; you just never know but it is often close range! Opposed die rolls give me a 2 turn jump. I move 3 hexes a turn so get my forces to the hills. One blind enters at 3 which in this case is the road on the top left and one blind enters at 4 which is behind the right most building. I tend to have my patrols in an arrow head formation so I initially use 1 marker and this marker is whchever part of the formation is closest to me. I can easily see folks coming down the road so I roll and this is the dummy. Nuts! That means the guys behind the building are real. I deploy 4 A 2+2 and 2 B 1 +1 markers behind the building. I do not deploy a C though I earn one. My ratonale is this; on a patrol coming through this type of ground in Sicily the germans probably would not have a vehicle. Had the blind coming down the road been real I would have deployed a C blind because that would make sense to me. This is what I mean when I say Platoon Forward is the 90% solution 90% of the time. I just added my 10%. If a C blind there makes sense to you by all means use it. So the german has 1 A and B break right, 2 As head into the building and 1 A and 1 B break left into the woods.

The initial encounter
Cpl McNabb caught in the open
The british can't spot a blessed thing. So Cpl McNabb starts to carry out the brilliant plan to search the woods. At this point several german blinds are set and have good shots at 3rd section in the open. I start to roll on the blinds table using the patrol side. Make sure you add or subtract 1 based on if your last rolls for that catagory was a unit or not. (This helps get a balanced game normally.) The germans get 1 squad plus a platoon leader plus a MMG.
The british patrol is rudely interupted by MG fire from the nearest building. Cpl McNab's section is pinned down and the bren team loses 2 men. Red orders supressive fire and yells for them to come back. { The german's right flanking manuver vanishes into thin air when 2 unlucky die rolls revel 2 more blinds to be fake} When McNab is back he orders that section to shift left thereby screening out the MMG. He has the 2in mortar put down smoke and yells "Platoon Forward" as both sections race towards the house.

Platoon Forward!
The attack suceeds though 4 men go down including Sgt Barns who is seriously wounded. The germans pull back.
Fun and quick battle. The british had a heroic event card which they used to help there hand to hand. This was Pvt John Andrews who is mentioned in dispatches. The Germans forces generated were a little light but the MMG packed a punch. I always love patrols. They are quick and unpredictable.
For my freeform event I chose to see if Pvt Andrews was mentioned in dispatches I felt this was very likely and easily made the roll. For my next event I got character noticed. I don't play with platoon Sgts so that left me with the 3 above. Random roll revelled Red. He knows the following characters, his 2 squad leaders, the men, Company Co " Balls Foster -1, Co Sgt Maj, Sgt McGregore who commands a MMG (cut out at orveto) -2, Cpt Hamlin Forward Observer +1. A random die roll shows that Cpl McNab had an encounter with Lt Talbot. There is no history between the 2 so no modifier. A "2" results in a negative encounter. Turns out the day after the patrol McNab tied one on. Red is ticked so there will be a -1 between them now. However, Red can't fire McNab for 2 reasons. First, he just lost Sgt Barns and second the company Sgt Major McCarthy (a fellow Scot) is a relative of McNab. My second event is Manpower. This will be modified +1 because we won the last battle and -1 becasue "Balls" does not like the platoon. I roll a 4 for no change.
Now we have to find out what to do about Sgt Barns. Turns out he will miss 2 battles. Will the Sgt Major help out? This is possible but we miss the roll. Will Sgt Turner (Gr I) come down from battalion? This is unlikely and we miss this too. Our only choice left is to pull from within the platoon. Pvt Andrews will take 2nd section. Turns out he is a depressing chap (pessimistic/alcohol) but a Gr II leader. Also 1st section shows up with a new section leader, Cpl Rich Clarkson ( Evil/ government Gr I ) And so it goes...
Hopefully this gave everyone a better idea how to play the patrol scenario of Platoon Forward and how to do the post game events. As always, any questions please let me know!
thanks and enjoy