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, September 18, 2017

Chapter three Tornado corner

Had a desire to start a West German army in a cold War gone hot situation.  I already had 3 vehicles I bought from Jammer man a while back so I quickly painted up 6 infantry and was ready to go.  I rolled up a squad for Platoon Forward with Gruppenfuehrer Lachman.  I could only take a squad on the first mission and I rolled up "Defend against raid."  Did not sound like a great start to the third world war so I substituted "Meeting engagement".  So, how to have a mission involving 3 vehicles and 6 troops?  Read on dear guest!
Sgt Lachman     son of a dockworker      Careful/ engeneering       Gr I leader
Squad is 8/8
The following is excerpted from  Wrong Place; Wrong Time.  My view of WW III by Johan Lachman.  Published by Tasche books, Koln Germany, 1987.  It is a great read of the recent war and has a number of scenario ideas.  This is taken from the third chapter where he describes his first contact with the russians.

Funny thing, after all of our drills on how we would face the enemy my first contact was nothing at all like the brass had planned.  But that was the way the war was I guess. Ivan apparently did not do exactly what he was suppose to because on the first morning a platoon of Jaguars had to move to a different hill and they wanted some infantry for close support. I was tasked to take my squad to the hill ( 346.3) and provide the close support.  I was to escort a Jaguar who had broken down during the move but was now anxious to join his platoon. Truth be told I was somewhat proud the Lt had trusted me with this solo mission.  Shortly after starting out we came across a Leopard who was going our way and joined him.  Having a tank in front of you never hurt!
Our little convoy ( Wish I had german decals!)

We were about to make a left onto B45 when the Leopard accelerates and fires two shots down the road.  So here I am with my squad and two fellows I have known for about 20 minutes.  Welcome to the war!

    View down B 45 two days after the battle

Reconstruction of the moment of contact.  Markers along B 45 represent blinds.  The corner was later called "Tornado corner" for 2 reasons.  First, a German tornado fighter crashed into the factory earlier that morning and second to commemorate this battle.

Since I had no idea what was going on I dismounted my squad and moved into the woods to look up the road.  ( That is me pointing)

To my right came a tremendous explosion
One Jaguar is not joining the platoon

As I made my way through the woods I saw the source of our problems.
I heard other vehicles moving but didn't know if they were tanks or BMPs.

I guess they were BMPs!  ( I'll admit I was jealous of those cool fur hats.)
Before I could give the order to fire the russian tank roared and all hell broke loose in the forest.

Dietz died instantly and Kruger was hurt bad.  I was frustrated.  How do you fight a tank?  Why wouldn't the Leopard do something?
I dispatched Toll to move Kruger back to the track and we started to lay fire on the infantry.  The Leopard did wake up and take out the tank.  I also ordered my milan to set up to cover the road.  We traded shots with the infantry in the tornado factory when Ivan also appeared to our front! 
The panzerfaust took out the BDRM and we pushed Ivan back. 
At this point I was down to 4 effective s facing at least 2 squad of russian infantry with a german tank that was not much help.  I pulled back to the track and rolled back down the road.  What had I accomplished for the cost of Dietz and possibly Kruger?  I did not know.  I radioed the Lt and he said to join the platoon at a small village nearby.

Fun battle that put my germans on the table!  While the germans withdrew I consider it a small win as Lachman was outnumbered. 
For those of you that want to try this the first "C" blind that is real will be a tank.  Each "A" blind that is a squad comes with a BMP.  Platoon Forward generated this for the Soviets:
1 T-72, 1 BDRM and 2 squads with 1 officer and 2 NCOs all Gr I plus 2 BMP-1s.



Saturday, September 9, 2017

Smattering of eye candy

Been busy potentially changing the way I do my  tactical combat.  I have longed used Combat Patrol for activation which I think is a brilliant system ( particularly with my house rules).  I have used the CP cards to determine infantry hits and used FoF for pretty much everything else.  I have noticed that the games do drag a bit if I have more than 2 squads per side on the table.  I was trying to figure out how to "speed things up" without losing my emphasis on command. ( Something which FoF lacks.)  Am working on it and think I am on to something.  Am using FoF initative ( similar to CP's interruption) but making the grades of your leaders mean something.   Will let you all know when I have it figured out.  So been "playtesting" with my armies army russians and QRF vehicles.

Russians advancing with a T-72 in the background on overwatch. ( Tanks on overwatch can only fire once.)
A leopard waits. 
A Humvee in the wrong place at the wrong time.

US squad prepares for contact

Russian BMP bites the dust in Afganistan

My newly minted Hind prepares to take out some rebels!
A town in Estonia

Another view  ( Need to get some more grey boards!)

Russians advance up a street

Heavy artillery takes out a house!  ( Working on scatter rules for artillery and airstrikes.)

T-72 meets a fiery end.

Serious fighting in Tallinn.  A wounded RPG gunner takes aim.



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Flank Attack Afak, Iraq 2003

Bought the FOF book Road to Baghdad off ebay a while back.  Interesting book but disappointed thta it said very little about the Iraq army.  It does contain some interesting scenarios, about half use US marines.  One of those is a flank attack of the town of Afak.  It uses 2 platoons and the marines are fighting irregulars.  I don't have 2 platoons ( too much for the solo player to keep track of and slows the game down) and I wanted to use the Iraq regulars that I purchased from Cold Warrior on TMP.  So... I decided to modify "Flank Attack" from Platoon Forward and start a marine platoon for Iraq.

For PF players I deleted the special "C" blinds from teh scenario ( you could leave them in I suppose) and your primary objective now is to move off the board in 8 turns.  I kept the off board MMG to represent the pinning forces and still rolled for US entry.  In addition, the stated scenario enemy forces represent the Iraqi regulars plus 2 vehicle "Cs" and I added one additional "A" blind that would be Fedayeen.  In addition, for the first 4 turns an "A" blind would enter and if real would be Fedayeen.   Finally, 1 "B" blind enters turn 1 and 1 "C" blind enters turn 2.  The "C" blind is a technical if an armored car otherwise it is an Iraqi whatever is rolled. 

So back to the Platoon.   This is there second battle.  In the first they were moving through resistance to sequre a bridge in An Nasiriya.  They achieved the mission but the Iraqi forces delayed them enough that it counted as a loss.   The Mission for Lt DeClines was to flank the Iraqi position and drive through the town, reach the main road, turn left and continue on towards Baghdad.  His plan was to have 3rd squad pin the enemies front and advance with his other 2 squads rapidly through the town.  The Mosque was off limits unless sustained fire was received from it.
The US forces:

Lt DeClines   West Point grad       sensible    wealth      Gr I
1st squad    Sgt "Just" Jack   mechanic     jovial    position     Gr I      +1 from the squad
1st fireteam  Cpl "Koke" Kokistranovich  junior circuit race care driver    addicted     thrills   Gr 0
2nd fireteam Cpl "Fast" Jones  orphaned grew up on a ranch   inept    religion          Gr 0
3rd fireteam  acting lead PFC Betts                                                                             Gr 0
2nd Squad  Sgt Borden     careful/ enginering    Gr II
3rd squad  Sgt Lee           liberal/ govt    Gr II             +1 towards Jack and 1st squad
plus   1 M1A1, 1 Humvee command vehicle, 1 Humvee TOW, 1 MMG team 1 SMAW team 1 medic.


The outskirts of town.  Front line to the right.  1st squad to the right, Borden's squad to the left in reserve except for 1 fireteam that will advance to the wall.  Markers represent various potential enemy forces.

View down the street leading into town.
1st squad moving up into position behind some bamboo.  [ this is the bamboo I made up after my last vietnam battle.  pic is a little blurry but think it came out well.]

Roll for enemy forces and a tank emerges next to the mosque.  It is ready for the Yankees to come down the main road from 3rd platoon.  Our Abrams took it out with one shot.

2nd squad's fireteam advances to the wall with little resistance.  The enemy must shift their forces to the new axis of attack.
Jack's squad runs into a squad of Iraqi infantry.  He sends Cpl Jones forward and they lose a man reaching one of the outbuildings.  It is clear there are alot of enemy in Jack's line of advance.

Lt Declines shifts his attack to Sgt Borden's squad.  They rush to the wall and prepare to assault the building.  [ fireteam in the background are actually in the building they are on top of.  Placed their for convenience.]
Overview of the battle:  2nd squad to the left.  2 fireteams and Sgt Borden have just entered the building.  MMG crossing road towards building.  1st squad in bamboo except for Cpl Jones in outbuilding in front.

A fierce battle raged in the building as the Iraqi's had an officer who was a Gr I so knew what he was doing.  he was KIA and 2 Iraqis eventualled escaped.  Marines sustained 1 WIA. 
Seeing time slip away Sgt Jack charges the Iraqi position.  This was not a close run thing and 5 Iraqi KIAs with 2 POWs without loss for Jack. 

2 POWs escorted back.  They kept their firearms to protect them from the fedayeen!

Fireteam of 2nd squad reconing towards the main road.

Some of the 2 squads of Fedayeen coming to the sounds of battle.

Lt DeClines brings in a marine cobra [looks like an apache] With no armor to fight he asks them to target the hotel and building next door.  [ FOF has no rules for inaccurate airstrikes except fog of war events.  Anyone have  good ones I can steal for modern helos?]  The rockets don't destroy the buildings but cause enough casualties to break the back of the irregulars. 
After the air strike Sgt Jack tells his gyrines to saddle up.
Through the hotel courtyard and into the hotel.  The Iraqi's fail their TQ roll so Jack's gamble pays off and he gets across the courtyard before the enemy knows what hit them.  The combat is short and violent.  6 Iraqi KIAs again with no US casualties. 

With that the Iraqi forces withdraw before they are cut off by the rapidly advancing american forces.

Great game!   Post battle Jack's squad is very impressed with his leadership.  they advance to +2 loyalty so will follow him anywhere.  This translates to their morale going up 1 die to D12 for my FoF game.  In addition, his leadership fittingly increases to Gr II.  This is a positive leader for FoF and he will get a +1 for all his reaction rolls.  Finally, Lt Declines is impressed with Jack's clearing of heavy positions with the loss of only 1 man and puts him in for a decoration.  Capt Jackson is neutral to Sgt Jack so passes it through.  Because there was not much competition in the Iraq war I downgrade the starting medal by one in the Grunt's Forward tables. Jack had earned 10 valor points which normally would have qualified him for the Distinguished Service Cross. I downgraded this to a Silver Star.  I missed that roll but he had a 30% chance for a Bronze Star and our boy got it!  " for leadership and bravery in personally clearing an enemy complex of both Iraqi regular and irregular forces accounting for 11 enemy KIA confirmed, 2 POWs thus ensuring safe passage of the regiment towards Baghdad."    Also post battle one CPL became available to the platoon and Sgt Jack deferred allowing him to go to 3rd squad.  Thus PFC Betts still has 3rd fireteam.      Cool stuff.  I love the way this all breaths life into the squad.  
for those of you that want to try this PF generated the following forces:
3 Iraqi squads with 1 Gr I leader and 1 Gr 0 leader.    1 MMG ( no team bonus ) 1 T-55.
Reinforcements were 2 Fedayenn squads ( 9 rifles and 1 RPG) and 1 T-55. 



Monday, August 14, 2017

Sometimes the cards are stacked against you. Operation Torch.

Wanted to use my new desert mat that I bought at Historicon for my version of Bag the Hun.  Decided I would paint up some P-39s for the occasion.  I have some in russian colors but none for the USA.  Figured I could use them in the desert, New Guinea and Guadalcanal.  So painted them up in a camo scheme that was used on the 'canal and in Tunisia and rolled up the 91st Fighter Squadron using Squadron Forward.   This is obviously a new squadron put ashore 10 days after the invasion.  Historicaly they flew many cap missions until it became apparrent the P-39 was outclassed as a fighter.  I will keep them in 1942-43 and see how they do.   They have 1 vet ( Capt Filarto ) 3 average ( one with a drinking problem) and 4 green pilots.  You could already say the cards are stacked against them but they don't know it yet!
Capt Filarto needed to pick who would accompany him on the squadron's first mission in Tunisia.  After several orientation flights they were now going on a combat patrol just east of the beaches looking for trouble.  He wanted the other element lead to be sharp and figured he could take 2 of the less experienced pilots as wingmen because everyone had to learn quick now that they were here.  He decided on 2LT Mike Myers as the element lead.  Mike was a natural born pilot ( flying demon skill) but he had a bit of an attitude.  He was up from the enlisted ranks so was older than everyone but Filarto and seemed to blow hot then cold towards his squadronmates.  Still he could fly.  As his own wingman he chose 2Lt Andrew Sampson.  Andrew was a quiet clean cut kid trying to do the right thing.  Steve felt he would be steady once the shooting started.  He chose 2Lt Jacob Hamm as Mike's wingman.  If Mike had a friend in the squadron it was Jacob. 
Gold Flight
Lead Capt Filarto   lazy/position       Veteran
2LT Andrew Sampson  Cultured/ family Green
2nd element
2LT Mike Myers   Fickle/ position      Average        Flying demon     mustang
2LT Jacob Hamm   Cultured/ family   Green

Traffic control broke into the net, "Gold team leader, bandits inbound to beach.  Change to course 206 20 angles to intercept."  This is it! thought Steve.

As the dots on the horizon grew into aircraft Steve was not pleased.  9 Stukas guarded by 5 ME-109Fs.  They were certainly outnumbered!
He would take the fighters and told Mike to go down and break up the stukas.

As Mike and Jacob concentrated on the Stukas 2 ME 109s came up from behind.  Mike used his skill to evade but Jacob ( green stand green pilot) wasn't so lucky.  Bullets tore up his wings.  Mike told him to break right and then executed a thatch weave that worked!  Jacobs tail was clear but his plane was sluggish now.  ( that is saying somehting for a P-39 at 20K ft). 

As Mike congratulated himself on clearing Jacob a hun came up a blasted his engine.  Mike managed to get out and was picked up by a destroyer later. 

Meanwhile Capt Filarto tangled with a ME 109 that seemed to dance in the sky. ( Jr ace pilot).  He was so busy keeping his own tail clear he couldn't help the other element.  ( pictured is Steve's one shot he got.  minimal damage!) 

At this point there were 2 P-39s against 4 ME 109Fs. ( Jacob managed to get off the table and Mike had damaged Jacob's assailant enough that he left as well.)  Capt Filarto positioned himself for a diving pass at the stukas with a continuation away from the battle.  He picked one and told Andrew to do the same...
Steve and Andrew get ready to make a diving pass before they too hit the silk.

Steve concentrated on aiming for the center of the plane and...

Was rewarded with a trail of black smoke that emanated from the stricken dive bomber.  Andrew also scored and bother were confirmed by a thankful navy.  
The only drama to play out now was 2LT Hamm's landing at the dirt airstrip.  The airacobra is not particularly difficult to land ( unlike the ME 109) but Hamm was green (-1) and the aircraft was damaged (-1).  Unfortunately, Hamm skidded left and cartwheeled the plane.  It is a write off but he was only wounded.

Post game the squadron celebrated their first two kills.  Capt Filarto told off Lt Gordon's the intel officer so that relationship is a -1 right now.  Even though 6 stuka's got through and both sides lost two ships the squadron didn't lose a man and, as the Group commander said, "4 airacobras against 5 veteran messerschidts? I'd say you started out with the cards stacked against you." 

for those of you that want to try your luck Squadron forward generated 1 ace, 2 veteran, 1 average and 1 green pilots for the germans.



PS  Still haven't used my new desert cloth!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Battle in the bamboo Trang Luc

Wargames Illustrated liked my African scenario.  They invited my down for a photoshoot of the battle; too bad I moved from England 3 years ago.  I would have loved that!   Playtested the 3rd scenario for my Kolwezi mini campaign and have 80% of the history written. Still have to play the french incursion into the rebel shanty town several times.  Should be cool as there will be a chance for hostages and Belgian paratroopers!
Unfortunately for my project I started reading SLA Marshal's Three Battles.  It is a typical Marshal book and I enjoy them.  I know it is vogue to be against Marshal and his ideas now but just because his research might not be as righteous as it should be that doesn't mean the man got it all wrong.
It is a good book and really gets to the frustrations of war in Vietnam.  So far I don't think it would make a good mini campaign though as the battles are too similar.  I am thinking Hue or something up on the DMZ for that but we will see.
So had to pull out my 1st Cav and have a go.  I rolled up "Ambush" on the scenario table but really wanted to due a Village Sweep.  It took me forever to get the right feel for this scenario when designing it as you know but I really enjoy it now.  My 1st Cav is a seasoned platoon.  Last battle Sgt Lawrence of 2nd squad was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on the hills over Ty Nuegn.  That is the first time I have actually had a medal awarded in the many battles I have played-cool.  1st Squad is led by Sgt Davis.  He is a great combat leader who says little but knows 18 ways to kill you.  His squad is the best in the company.  You have heard about 2nd squad.  third squad has had Sgt Douglas at the helm for 2 battles since the demise of Sgt Colton.  He is green but holding his own.  the squad hasn't made a decision on him yet.

They sat sweating around Capt Jaroze.  "How could it be so hot and humid here?" thought Lt McSwain.  " Mark, while the company moves toward the village you take your platoon and check out the huts located on our left over the stream."  said Capt Jaroze.   And with that the die is cast thought Mark. 
Lt Mark McSwain    Optomistic/ movies           Gr II
SSgt Davis   1st squad ( 8/10 )   meek/ wealth    Gr III BL
Sgt Douglas 3rd squad ( 8/8)   Jovial/ wealth     Gr I

The village of Trang Luc.  Lt McSwain decides to approach from opposite ends.  Sgt Davis will land on the far side  ( bottom right ) as he can act independently.  Mark will accompany 3rd squad as they are the weakest squad ( Top left) .  2nd squad will be reserve and watch the packs.  Th object is to search the 4 tokens ( picked them up at Historicon) before turn 8.

The village with two of the search sites.

SSgt Davis lands with his squad on a cold LZ.

As first squad approaches the hamlet they spot Charlie moving up to greet them!

The day grows worse.  I use the booby trap cards from ambush valley.  Since I play solitaire I draw them when played ( they got D4 cards).  Here a cool bunker opens up from the swamp outside the hamlet!  Fortunately they can't hit the broad side of a huey.  ( Use Combat Patrol for firering.)

End of turn two.  First squad has one fireteam in hut middle right of picture.  they beat Charlie to the building but the bunker is pounding the hut and they now have one serious WIA.  SSgt Davis has reached the hedge with the rest of the squad and they are advancing towards the nearest hut to search and lay down fire.  Sgt Douglas' fireteam on point is pinned by fire from Charlie in the hut at the top of the picture.  Lt McSwain has a LMG firering as he moves the other half squad into the trees.

Also use Force on Force Fog of War cards and received this huey with door guns.  Unfortunately it didn't do much  but look cool. 

SSgt Davis searches the first hut and finds some civilians.  These ladies are are guests from africa!  they are interrogated ( as per Grunt Forward ) as best as Davis can and offer no information.

Meanwhile, Sgt Douglas tries to rally his fireteam (note new pinned marker in red) while a medic works on the second WIA for the US forces.

The other fireteam under PFC Shackle ( Gr I ) makes it through the trees to Charlie.  A spirited firefight erupts culminating in the fireteam carrying the foxholes via assault. 

Meanwhile, Sgt Douglas has finally moved the fireteam to the nearest hootch. 

Two men search the well while Sgt Douglas fires from teh hootch.    They find nothing. 

End of turn six.  Sgt Douglas and one fireteam are in the hootch nearest the stream.  they continue to fire with minimal effect on the uppermost building to support the other fireteam.  The other fireteam under PFC Shackles suffers another serious WIA and is forced out of the foxholes back into the jungle.  SSgt Davis has pulled his other fireteam back to his position behind the hedge away from the enemy bunker. Their WIA is resting waiting for the medic. He knows they have to search this village before Charlie pull the good stuff out.  Charlie has been reinforced by a LMG and half squad upper right.  Davis leaves his two lightly wounded to lay down fire and crawls towards the target hootch.
Suddenly a Huey gunship appears overhead.  Unbeknownst to SSgt Davis, the LT had called this in to rocket the target hootch to break up Charlies defense.  He would have targeted the uppermost building but was afraid of friendly fire on Shackle.  
The huey roars in firering rockets...

Hootch destroyed!!  
With both NVA squads badly bruised ( 6 total KIA) the enemy slips away to fight again. 
Really fun battle.  An glad I bought MBAs vietnamese village.  I love the look it gives.  While the platoon did get 3 of the 4 markers within 8 turns I called the battle a draw.  Plus side was 3 markers and 6 enemy KIA + 1 slightly wounded vrs 3 serious WIA plus 2 slightly wounded. Down side was they found nothing of value in the village and had to use rockets to blow up a hootch. 

Post battle PFC Shackle is put in for a medal and it is denied.  3rd squad takes a morale check and they stay neutral towards Sgt Douglas.  Finally Capt Jaroze is pleased and promises an extra LMG for next missions. 
For those of you who want to try this out Grunt's Forward generated this for Charlie;
NVA (8/10)
2 squads of 8 men + 1 RPG plus 2 SLs that were Gr II.  1 hidden bunker with LMG and Gr II leader.  Reinforcements were 1 LMG team with Gr I leader and a fireteam of 4 rifles without leader.