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.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Second mission with my Phantoms

 Readers of this blog should not be surprised that my next game played was not Sgt Bomba but with Capt Johnny doing yet another MIGCAP over North Vietnam.  Please look at June 27th for his last mission and a write up  of "double dimes".  

Johnny and his backseater had gained a little notoriety following their Mig kill.  Unfortunately since it had been a radar guided missile fired at the beginning of an engagement no particular lessons were learned.   Still people now thought of him as a "tactics expert".   

MIGCAP over NorthVietnam escorting thuds bombing some oil tanks.     I have thuds painted up now and have made up some encounter charts for MIGCAPS.    This will be a playtest.   The doubledimes will still send a flight.  This time the 2 unpopular pilots sit while Rattler and Joey fly.  They will form an element while Bruce will slide over to be johnny's wingman and learn from the master.  

Characters

Capt johnny Foreman     Vet      1 kill

    Lt Bruce Lawson         Avg

2nd element

Lt Rattler Cain              Avg

    Lt Joey Armanda      Green   crackshot skill


My newly painted Thuds.  Be careful boys!  


Buick flight over North Vietnam

 

I roll up 4 Mig 21s and the Migs have the advantage. [ probably from their ground control.] 


The Migs formation is 2 plus 2 in trail.  The first 2 start to work their way around Buick flight.  

Joey's WSO finally spots bandits 3 o'clock high!  

 


Rattler and Joey are quickly and trouble.    Johnny tells them to keep calm as he gets on the Migs' 6!

the Thuds rumble on!

The Mig's see the sandwich when warned by their trail and work to extricate themselves.  Unfortunately the trail goes after the thuds.   Johnny tells Rattler to stop them!  


 

Just when you think things couldn't get worse 2 Mig 19s pop up behind the Thuds.  [ 33% chance that.  might have to work on these tables some more.] 

Fortunately their ambush is ineffective.  Thud lead element drops ordinance and goes to work.  


Rattler and Joey bore in to the trail Migs.  [ historically the trail Mig was the lead shooter.  Here he is the only average pilot.  Rattler doesn't know that yet.] 


He knows it now.  The Mig pilot quickly gets behind Rattler and lets loose a missle...

It impacts right by the cockpit.  No chutes are seen by the stunned Joey Armanda.  


Mid game.   2 thuds continue to streak towards the target mid left.  2 thuds parry with 2 Mig 19s.  Joey now has his hands fill with 2 Mig 21s bottom.  Johnny and Bruce are neutral to 2 Migs middle of the picture as they swirl with neither gaining an advantage.  


Next turn.     Joey climbs and gains distance from the Phantom killers before turning around now in radar missile range.  The Mig 19s, having missed the ambush, leave.   Johnny and the 2 original Migs continue to burn gas in the sky.  

To Johnny's horror the Mig gets on his 6!.  He twists and turns his phantom.  What he doesn't realize is that the Mig achieved a lock on and fired a missile here but the missile turned out to be a dud. [ 30% chance that.] 


Desperate Johnny goes into afterburner! 


It works and soon Johnny is right back where he wants to be!


Fire!  

The Mig pilot turns right before impact and the missile explodes near the Mig.  The engine starts to smoke but it doesn't go down.   Rats thinks Johnny.



End game.    Joey is holding his own but can't achieve a lock on.    The damaged Mig and wingman escape into the cloud deck.   The air battle is over almost as fast as it started.   Poor Rattler; RIP.   But the mission isn't over...


2 Thuds with bombs come in low to bomb some oil tanks!  The flak is intense but surprising clear! 


Thud 1 hits the target but reports lose of fuel after going over the target.  Can make it to Laos but not home.   Thud 2 hits target...

Target heavily damaged!    Should be out for a while but at what cost?   


Great game that took a while with some many planes in the air.  I declared it a loss for the squadron.  Rattler for a damaged Mig even with the loss of no Thuds.    Obviously need to playtest these table some more but it certainly was challenging.    Post battle Lt Bruce Lawson makes his roll and becomes a veteran pilot.  He informally takes Rattler's place as johnny's #2.  Rattler is not replaced yet nor is the plane.  The squadron commander, LtCol Glasson has decided he is going on the next mission.  Should be fun!


Enjoy


Joe









Monday, July 5, 2021

New Scenario-- Road Block and Sgt Bomba

 Happy 5th of July!    I have a day off so time to write.    Hope my US friends enjoyed the 4th with less Covid restrictions finally.   Please get the shot, it does work.  That reminds me that I had 3 4th of Julys with my English friends.  Weird celebrating freedom from the UK on English soil but there seems to be no hard feelings and it was a lot of fun!  

So I was inspired to play a scenario with my FFL in Africa.   This is a great platoon that always does interesting stuff.  As a matter of fact Wargamers Illustrated offered to do a story on my Brittney Shields  battle if I would come to their HQ for a photoshoot.   I didn't want to fly there but I sometimes wish I had; that would have been cool.  You can read my version with my pictures on my Sept 8th post 2019.   

So I rolled up the next mission for the platoon and got "patrol" from Grunt's Forward.  Now with GF I had Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan in mind and patrol works fine there.  In a true peace keeping mission I am not so sure.  If 2 patrols meet and there is no shooting that isn't terribly interesting.  [ In real life it is very stressful but that is not what we are normally going for here.] So for those of you with GF and with true peace keepers take half of the patrols and change them to an unlawful roadblock.  [  The other half we can change to looting or shaking someone down.]      So I present a patrol variant called "Roadblock"

                                                           Roadblock

Situation:   It has been reported that one side has set up a roadblock on a main road and is stopping traffic and collecting tolls.  This is clearly in violation of the cease fire in effect.  Take your unit and break up this road block.  Avoid bloodshed if you can but you are authorized force if necessary.  Obviously avoid non combatant casualties and your own.   It is yet another tricky task but that is why we are here.  Good Luck!

your Forces:  Suggest you take 1-2 squads

Additional forces

armor   unlikely

Artillery/air  possible

engineering    very unlikely


Board:  Roll up the board as per PF.  Make sure a road runs from north to south.    Place a roadblock either in square 2 or 5.  You will enter from the south edge.  Enemy reinforcements can enter any edge.  

Enemy Forces:

A + 2

B + 2

2 Cs

 Units placed at the roadblock proper get +1 to the blinds table.     C is variable depending on forces.  Odds are the enemy will have a vehicle.  A government force should have a 50% chance of having 2 but only 1 can be heavy.  For a rebel force I would give a 50% chance of having a technical.  Don't forget the standard modifiers of +1/-1 depending on how your roll for the first C.  

starting turn 3 after contact bring in an "A" blind from a random edge each turn until 1 is real.  That is the only reinforcements that occur for the enemy unless random events occur.   

Victory:  Remove the road block quickly and as quietly as you can with minimal non combatant damage and friendly casualties. 

Special rules.  When the enemy sees your force roll a D6.   1-2 they fire immediately, 3-4 they will wait until you close to close range, 5-6 they will parley.  After each turn of parley there is a 50% they will open fire.   Your force must maintain their rules of engagement!  If they don't their will be trouble. 

 

 Lt Lorray realized he was not meshing with the men.  Now Sgt Bomba had gone off and rescued that singer.  There was talk of him getting a medal!  Well Lorray old son, time to step up your game and get your hands dirty.  Maybe even learn from this Bomba fellow.  

Sgt Bomba walked into Lorray's tent and Lorray got right to the point.  Captain says the rebels have set up a check point on the west side of town.  I am to go and persuade then to take it down.   Crank up your squad, we are going for a ride to the west side!

Force

 Lt Lorray     Avg leader          Platoon doesn't like him

Sgt Bomba      very good leader-- literally just saved a rock star.  Squad morale +1 when led just by him.

FT lead Cpl Collins    Obnoxious English public school kid who got bored.  Avg leader

 


 West side of town.  French enter from the left.  Road block is to the right.  I am going to use FOF reinforcement points instead of board edges. 


 Road block.  I rolled up 2 squads, 2 RPGs and 1 LMG but only 1 avg leader.  They will be hard to rally.

The french enter.  Lt Lorray has never liked APCs; they smell.  

I roll a 6 so...


The french roll up to the roadblock.  They can see there are an awful lot of rebels.  Lt Lorray decides to parlay from the truck.  After several minutes it is clear they are getting no where.  He backs up the truck and...

orders Sgt Bomba to deploy his squad.  Bomba orders Cpl Collins to take the LMG to the wall on the right to flank the roadblock.  As the french move firering starts!  Now at least the Foreign Legion knows what to do.  

The truck lays down covering fire...


Collins gains the wall and starts to lay down suppressive fire.  [ the rebels in the truck flee]

Sgt Bomba is consistent at least.  He takes the half squad and charges the road block!  



The rebel leader keeps his cool and slips back behind the next set of barrels figuring he will catch the french in a huge crossfire should they win this fisticuffs.  The french do!  Now Bomba is in a bit of a pickle.  5 next to a dug in LMG and 8 rebels in a semi circle.  Sgt Bomba charges the LMG.  He is pinned down however and a legionnaire  goes down.  He has no choice but to pull back behind the Toyota.  

Meanwhile, Lt Lorray, fearing Sgt Bomba was going to win the battle without him, quickly abandons the truck and races to the barrels.  [ this of course drops the squad's morale back to normal.] 

Back at the truck...



This doesn't look good!  Fortunately the french are able to pin them down until they move to a better location. 


 

It is a stand off.  While the French try to win fire superiority Lt Lorray calls for back up.  [ Random event raised the morale of half the rebel troops.  Guess they felt embolden going toe to toe with the Legion.] 

 

The french are unable to win the firefight and the standoff continues.    When the rebels see an armored car coming down the road they break off and move into the jungle.


Very quick battle.  This one was tough.  I am not sure what I would have done differently.  It was hard to win the firefight with the rebels dug in.  I called it a draw.  We did win the field but the rebels retreated on their terms.   We did have 1 KIA and he is not replaced yet.  Lt Lorray didn't help his cause any and now Cpl Collins' fireteam is getting tired of his obnoxious ways.  

Enjoy the new roadblock scenario!


Joe






Sunday, June 27, 2021

Phantoms Forward

 I am nothing if consistent in my inability to stay with one period for very long. As you will note from the last picture in my last post I have started playing around with jet combat.  I ordered DIF locked on which is a nice game but again the combat routine was too basic for my taste.  TFL did have a supplement " Bag the Mig" but, while a valiant effort, wasn't my cup of tea.  I stumbled upon Phantoms by Dave Schueler  which is an adaptation of Craig Taylor's Mustang WW II rules.  I really liked the combat routine in Phantoms and now use it with DIF.  [ I still use my BTH critical hit chart.  A missile hit is -3 on the chart.]

After playing with the system to get it right I finally felt confident to roll up a squadron of F-4s at the beginning of the Vietnam air war.  I chose the beginning to make it more challenging as tactics were still being worked out.  The US was working with rigid 4 ships much like the brits were rigid with their Vics in WW II.   Like Jack I want historical like units so instead of the "triple nickle" I have the "double dimes".  Hopefully my guys will turn into the " largest distributor of Mig parts in the free world!"

Tactical Fighter Squadron 1010.  The double dimes.   Based in Ubon.

 Capt Johnny Foreman   Naive/ hedonistic                  Vet

Lt "Rattler" Cain        Cautious/ Family man             Avg

Lt Joey Armanda        Foolish / wealth                    Green      Crackshot

Lt Bruce Lawson        Aggressive/ techie                Avg

Lt "cereal'Bodecker    Cocky/ wealth                      Avg

Lt " Hap"  Arnold       Condescending/ position        Avg

 

I thought I would start out with 6 pilots instead of 8.  I can always add 2 more.  So how did I interpret the info above after I rolled it up?   Capt Johnny Foreman is close to finishing his tour.  He really doesn't care too much about the Air Force.  He loves to fly and lives for the moment in everything he does.  Rattler use to be similar to Johnny but had a child 3 months before he shipped over so now he wants to make it home.   Joey is convinced he is the best pilot in the squadron.  He has raw talent and a big heart.  Bruce is an aggressive competent pilot.  You need these guys in the squadron.  Cereal also knows he is the best pilot in the squadron.  He is doing this tour and will then write a book about being the first Vietnam ace while flying for Pan Am.  Hap can give you a 10 minute lecture on why he is the best pilot in the squadron and why he should already be a Captain.  

What a great bunch of guys to go to war with!  [ My apologies to the WSOs. they are an important part but it is much easier to just keep track of pilots.]

 

First battle I wanted to start small.  4 v 4 so this is a MIGCAP.  I used Squadron Forward encounter with fighters but obviously did not roll for enemy type or number.  For the quality of the VPAF I rolled a D 6

1-3 green, 4-5 avg, 6 vet.  

 I rolled for position as per squadron Forward but gave the VPAF a +1 due to their habit of surprising the US.

 

Capt Foreman leads his flight of Phantoms.  His wingman is Lt Bodecker.  Lt Lawson leads the other element with Hap tagging along.  


Lawson's backseater calls out bandits 6 o' clock.  Though Foreman is at a disadvantage, he manages to keep the Migs out of missile range until he turns his flight around.  As he heads towards the Migs they continue to close.  He gets a lock and...


fires a missile at the leading Mig.   [ according to doctrine as far as I can tell, he would be the only one to fire at this time.] 



The Mig was either surprised by the shot or was inexperienced because by the time he tried to evade it was too late---SCRATCH ONE MIG!!!


Now the Migs split up.  1 going left and 2 breaking right.    Johnny follows the towards his right.  The rest of his flight will keep the other two Migs off his tail.  



After a couple of Yo Yos, Johnny gets advantaged over the Mig.  He follows it back up north while Cereal hangs on.  



Suddenly the tables turn as the more nimble Mig 21 throws a scare into Johnny.  


However the Mig pilot is green and Johnny is a Vet.   This allows Johnny to play any card as a break once per game.   This blocks the manuver that would have tailed  Johnny.  [ skill counts!]


The Mig 21 dives low.  Johnny is able to follow and tail the Mig but he can't get a lock.  Cereal can't follow Johnny's moves and loses his wingman status.  



Johnny's element goes low after the 1 Mig.  Lt Lawson's element stays medium to keep the other 2 Mig's off Johnny's tail.  The Migs close with Lawson.



Lt Lawson manages to maneuver onto their tail but he also can't get a radar lock.   The Phantom's reach bingo fuel and break off.   


Fun battle that played quick.   Who knew the first missile shot would result in a kill?  I forgot to mention the solo system for DIF is good.  Johnny had a battle going on.  He had the advantage of 2 to 1 and was the more experienced pilot.   Expect to see more Phantoms Forward but this last weekend Sgt Bomba of the FFL was busy again on the Ivory Coast!


Enjoy


Joe





 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Tomahawks over the desert; with the 111th Squadron

 First I have to announce that Flotilla Forward is indeed done in draft form.  I just need to reformat it in pretty, readable form to release it.  I hope that will be my summer job.  If not it will be my fall job but I will get it out before Christmas!!!  It is a tweener between Platoon Forward and Squadron Forward but closer to Squadron Forward.  On to todays' post...

The 111 Squadron is one of my first squadrons.  It was a playtest squadron for Squadron Forward and the planes show their age a bit.  I haven't posted with them in a long time but they are a fun squadron.  They started out with 10 or 12 pilots back when I really had squadrons so have attrition down a fair bit.  They have Flight Sgt Boom Balfour get selected for OCS and come back a pilot officer.  They have only had one CO, "Puck" Poole who can outfly any man in the RAF and has 2 kills.  They have a "cool" factor of 1 which means on the base they are considered a fair squadron.  On their last mission their second in command, Lt Thurlby was shot down by a CR 42 and killed.   Puck intends to spin up Flt Lt Johnny Attleburg by having him lead the next mission while Puck goes along.   As you can guess, Puck is not sure if Johnny is up to the task of #2 but wants to give him a fair shot.  

Character

Puck Poole          2 kills      Veteran      "flies like the devil himself"

wingman F/O George Charles        Sprog


Flt Lt Johnny Attleburg               Avg

wingman   Flt Sgt   Nick Skinner     Veteran      3 kills

 

Mission is CAP over a supply dump as the 8th army gathers supplies for a coming offensive.   It was spotted by the axis the day before.     

 

Sure enough Puck spots bandits on the horizon and calls out to the lads.  With a little help Johnny moves the group in behind what turns out to be 6 CR -42s.  Their are 2 MC 200s top cover but they are busy racing around higher and frankly not paying attention.  

The Tomahawks achieve a bounce!    [  pretty hard to do where the enemy doesn't see you until you fire!]  

Puck and Charles line it up!

Flt Sgt Skinner gets in tight and gets his 4th kill!.  

The other 3 targets are damaged.     The CR -42s forget about bombing and scramble for survival!  Primary mission already accomplished!

Puck climbs high to prevent the Macchi's from diving on his mates.  He calls for his wingman to join him but Charles is "heavily engaged".  Puck will talk with him after the battle...

F/O Charles follows the damaged Falcon while his wingman/CO duels the Macchi's.    Another Falcon latches on the inexperienced British officer's tail.  


Flt Sgt Skinner, fresh from his kill, shows up and fires at the falcon, wounding the pilot and saving Charles.     During the excitement, the original falcon that Charles was chasing dives away to freedom with severely damaged wings.  


Meanwhile, Flt Lt Attleburg finishes off his first Falcon...

And goes after the section leader.

 


"Puck" finally gets position on the machi  and scores his 3rd kill!


 

Skinner hammer's the falcon and it starts to leak petrol but still continues to run towards Italian lines.  He can't seem to line up a fatal shot!



Through some excellent maneuvers Puck actually gets a great shot at the other Machi  but only damages it.


Skinner makes one more pass at the stricken falcon but the Italian refuses to fall.   Skinner admires how the Italian has managed to maneuver his damaged plane all the way back to the front lines.  He waggles his wings and breaks off.  


The Italian makes it back to base!



The buildup continues...


Great game that played in under an hour.  A resounding victory for the 111 Sq.  Flgt Sgt Skinner needed one more kill to make ace and I thought he was going to get it but the Falcon kept out of his cross hairs; amazing.    Flt Lt Attleburg gets 2, gains Veteran status and has proven he can be #2.  Puck added 1 to his score and F/O Charles loses his sprog status but his disliked in the squadron as he failed to go help Puck.  The squadron gains 1 cool point so now their reputation is starting to spread across the theater.     [ It also now will help modify die rolls.]   


Enjoy


Joe


PS    Something else I am working on...