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, September 28, 2022

Hampton attacks a town

 So am continuing my Age of the Wolf campaign.  For details please see my last post.  Calcaneus decides to defend as this will give him additional forces and he is sure someone will attack the Romans.  Hampton once again attacks the Romans as does our friend Phalanges who once again raids.   Rolling up the battle Hampton attacks a fortified town. Both sides are near full strength.  Calcaneus still hasn't built up his cavalry as his is trying to build up another legion which isn't quiet ready yet.

Hampton once again crosses over into Cis Gaul looking to make a name for himself.  His plan is to take a small town near the border.  Calcaneus doesn't have the strength to stop him in open battle and moves behind the towns defenses.  

[ for the scenario the walls provide solid cover and are a low obstacle.  The defender has to take a unit of heathguards and they come in a reinforcements.]  


 

    With only 4 points of forces the Romans are stretched thin to defend the walls.  Calcaneus swaps out his german bowman for a manuballista.  He has his one legion on the walls along with his velites.  He places his understrengthed cavalry out in front to screen the gate.  

Legions and siege engine await the enemy.

Velites on the ramparts.


Hampton

Hampton arrays his forces.  He is going to avoid the legion and attack the velites as well as knock down the gate to allow his elite cavalry into the town. 


Numidian light infantry soften up the walls and take a significant toll on the velites.  

Citizens clash with the Roman cavalry


After Hampton's first turn things look bad for the Romans.  Velites 50% strength, Cavalry down to 1 figure.  Calcaneus decides to take action.  If Hampton won't attack his legion on the walls...

the legion will come out to protect the gate. [ the gate is worth 2 points.]

Citizens line up against the legion while...


 Libyan infantry attack the walls!


and succeed.  


Calcaneus orders the legion back in to contain the breech.  Where is his elite cohort?  He needs more men.  


Hampton orders all his forces forward!


While Hampton's forces literally start knocking down the gate, Calcaneus charges with his infantry to contain the breech.  


The Libyans are pushed back but Roman loses are heavy.  


Finally Calcaneus' elite cohort arrives to a desperate situation as the gate to the town is toppled!


The cohort goes right to work against elite cavalry.  Hampton is brought into the fray.

Both sides take loses but the Carthaginian cavalry are wiped out!  Hampton moves to...


his citizen infantry.  


Hampton spies the Roman commander.  An opportunity to good to waste.  He orders his citizens to charge with him.  Calcaneus is surrounded.  He and his staff fight hard hoping his cohort will reach him in time.

It is not to be.  Cancaneus goes down in a fury of blows.  His cohort...


attempts to reach him hoping he is only wounded.  They fight furiously but alas...

are driven back.  The roman town is open to Hampton's victorious forces.  


A fun game that was a crushing defeat for Calcaneus.  Fortunately his is only severely wounded.  He is low enough on the totem pole that he is ransomed back.  City walls made it a different type of game which I enjoyed.  I think I need to upgrade the manuballista as it never seems to justify its presence in the game. 

Hampton is cruising while poor Calcaneus now needs to patch himself and his army together to take on Phalanges in a raid.   

The other thing I have played lately...


 



Enjoy


Joe









Monday, September 19, 2022

The Ambush of Calcaneus

 So I have continued to play Saga Age Of Hannibal and started a campaign with Age of the Wolf a version 1 product that I thought was brilliant.  I actually started some campaign rules for SAGA called "Barbarian Forward" but once Age of the Wolf came out shelved them as they were not needed.  I am using four factions: Romans, Carthage, Gaul and Greek states.  All the leaders will be named for bones of the foot/ankle [ orthopaedic humor!] and will start out with 5 units instead of 3. I have also heavily modified the battle table to include more potential scenarios.  Finally I have doubled replacements since my battles are always very bloody.

The leaders are:

Calcaneus of Rome, Comes from a wealthy family and is a war hero.  Rome's motivation is to gain land.

Hampton of Rhodes Carthage. [ okay not a bone of the foot but I live in Hampton Roads, VA.]  Experienced General and also a war hero.  Carthage also wants to gain land.

Phalanges of Gaul.  One of the senior kings and leaders of the Gallic nation.  Well respected by friend and foe.  Reputation is everything for him. 

Talus of Syracuse.  Haven't rolled him up yet as he is awaiting his troops from Old Glory 15s.  

For the first season Calcaneus  and Hampton chose to invade each other.  Phalanges decides to raid Roman bases in Gaul.  Talus sits this season out.  The first battle played out is the Scouts scenario between Calcaneus and Hampton.  It is close but Carthage wins with most of the Roman levies destroyed.  Post battle Calcaneus is able to rebuild his skirmishers and recruit more german bowman giving him 9 bowman from his original 12.  The next scenario is ambush.  I decide to try Forest ambush which is very hard for the ambusher to win as all the ambushed have to do is exit their warlord.  I change this to the warlord is worth 5 points instead.    

Before each game I will try to introduce a leader.  Today it is Calcaneus of Rome.

Calcaneus has military experience and is a recognized hero thus he generates an extra Saga die.  He also often will get to pick if he is the attacker or defender and starts with additional wealth.   The Roman battle board is infantry specific and legion specific so with my 5 points 1 take 1.5 points of heathguard legionaires.  1 point of regular legionaires.  These will be my backbone.  1 point regular cavalry, 1 point local bowman and 1/2 point of velites.

In the first battle my velites are destroyed along with most of my bowman.  I am able to build them up and replace loses to my legions.  Now there are rumblings  in Gaul so Calcaneus is ordered to take a cohort up into Gaul to reinforce roman forces there.

Calcaneus tried to be philosophical about everything. He had had set backs before but not while in command of so many men.  He hoped he would have a chance to prove himself in Gaul.  He hated fighting the Gauls.  They were physically imposing and ferocious.  It took discipline and planning to win.  

The board with the roman order of march.  The Gauls aren't set up.

Phalanges of Gaul [ one of my early paint jobs about 10 years ago.]

Not finished yet but as a well respected leader Phalanges gets a war banner to start the campaign. 


The roman column on the road.   [ I didn't have enough gaulic archers for both the gauls and the romans so the romans had a few crossbowman tossed in.]

The Gauls in position.  To win they have to crush the Romans during the first 2 turns before the romans can react.  


Suddenly, behind Calcaneus a flurry of arrows cuts down much of the calvary.  Simultaneously Gaulic calvary appear to his left and chariots to his right.  Ambush! he cries. 

German infantry waiting for the signal to attack...


 

Gaulic warriors attack the front of the column cutting down half of the velites.  

The regular legion is shaken and takes heavy losses when their turn arrives.  


With only 2 Saga dice the romans are stunned.  Calcaneus manages to move the elite legion and survivors at the head of the column toward the village in hopes of making a stand.  


Phalanges, smelling a rout, pushes his troops forward.  The germans charge the battered legion outnumbering them 3 to 1...

and are repulsed!  


Meanwhile the chariots charge the elite legionaires causing casualties and forcing them back.  Javelins are being throw at Calcaneus. 

Next the German cavalry attack Calcaneus and his staff.  Calcaneus [ remember he is a hero] fights them off causing heavy casualties.  


 


The Romans are up to 4 Saga die but have few units left.  The elite legion makes a break for it through the forest.  This will protect them from the chariots.  The german archers keep up a steady stream of arrows at the infantry and slowing whittle them down.  Calcaneus can't follow the legion on his horse so makes a break for...


 the remnants of the roman cavalry.  

Phalanges rolls all common saga dice therefore can't activate his archers to fire at Calcaneus and his cavalry.  [ Must be low on arrows!]  His warriors are battered and his chariots throw javalins at the retreating legionaires in the woods.  In frustration...


  he charges the german bowmen and leaves a wide path of destruction!

 

Still the elite legion leaves the board as do the surviving velites.  Finally Calcaneus...


 turns and leaves the ambush site with his cavalry.   

Wow.  Calcaneus felt terrible as he made his way to the camp.  But he was greeted with amazement that he had survived.  Within 5 hours it was apparent that half of the elite legion and half of the levy troops had also survived.  Only one manipule had been destroyed.  Calcaneus was being congratulated for his cool leadership under duress!

As far as casualty points the romans only caused 6.5 while the Gauls caused 13.  But the Romans got 6 points off the table plus Calcaneus which was worth an additional 5.   Post Game Calcaneus is able to rebuild most of his forces except his cavalry.  His levy are also a little light as word apparently spread that german bowman don't last long in roman service!  His event gives him an additional 4 warriors which he uses to start building an additional legion at the expense of re building his cavalry.  In addition he gains one land plus his one new unit grants him a power score of 15.  This means he can now buy a war banner for his legions; too cool!  

While Phanges lost the battle he lost few forces.  He is back to full strength and is able to recruit a new band of infantry as news of the successful ambush spreads through Gaul.  Now should he hit Rome again or set his sights on the Iberian peninsula and the Carthaginian forces there?

Stay tuned...

 

Joe 













Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Saga Age of Hannibal


 Sorry for the extended absence.  I had surgery on my shoulder and then contracted Covid.  Very little gaming and what was done was very light stuff with little to no terrain.  For example;


  A German F104 on afterburner

I did purchase the Age of Hannibal book for Saga.  Most people either love or hate Saga.  Since I don't know that much about ancient combat [ no one does] and everyone's weapons were the same it appears boring, at least on the skirmish level.  Saga is a great game with historical overtones; it is never boring and the games are always close.  It plays out like how I think ancient combat should have played out. It can get gamey even for me so I ignore when you can sacrifice figures from across the board to protect a favorite unit or war hounds.  And I am still peeved at Tomahawk studios for not giving owners of A+A the Sassanids board when they re released A+A and called it Age of Invasions.  That said...

Age of Hannibal comes with 6 factions which are all over the internet so I won't go over them all here again.  

What I liked:

Top notch production values as are the norm.  These books are well laid out with art work and pictures.  Things are explained in an entertaining style to get you started but lets you still experiment and figure out the nuances. 

The factions seem well thought out and not are too gamey for me.   While only 6 factions they are all solid and I would like to try all 6.  I have played all but the Spanish and Numidians.  Each really does play different and there are nuances to the battle boards that I can already see. I was wondering what they would do with the Gauls and they have a clever mechanic called "fervor" which works well.  You can psych your troops up but only so much.  Also all 6 factions can historically fight each other with the Numidians being slightly hard pressed here.  If you go back to just before the 1st Punic war the Greeks fought everybody.  Contrast this with Age of Crusades with it's 12 factions, the Teutonic knights, who I really wanted to play are just too gamey for me.  Also historically the baltic crusades really have nothing to do with the near eastern ones. 


 

They have improved the rules for chariots and the elephants will be a nice diversion.     I confess I haven't used an elephant yet but I don't see myself using them in a skirmish game often.  Still the rules look interesting and who doesn't want to put an elephant down on the table now and then?  I have a Tiger tank for the same reason.  


 

The ruses are a nice touch.   These are yet another "gamey" aspect  and I only use 1 or 2 cards per game drawn randomly after I threw about a third of the gamier cards away.  Still I see this as potentially a way to balance a game.  

What I didn't like:

The Mercenaries don't appear to be well thought out.  Maybe it is just my ignorance of the age but I am still not sure what some of the units are historically and puzzled why they are restricted to so few factions. Are Baleric slingers really limited to just the Carthaginians and Spanish? If so just put notes in those 2 factions and give us another mercenary unit most us can use. 


   These guys wanted to be Baleric slingers but are Gaulic archers instead helping my Romans. 

There is no "Old Friends and New Enemies Section" in the book.  I really like this section in many of the books as you essentially get more factions to use by using other battle boards from other universes.   Epic Saga is in the book which is fine but I would have rather had Old Friends.

There is no Parthian empire in the book to make up for the Sassanid empire that Studio Tomahawk still owes me for buying Aetius and Arthur.    Me bitter; not at all.   

My newest unit; not based yet.
 

 

Overall I think this is a great addition to the Saga universe and even though there are only 6 factions for the historical gamer they are all solid.  

 

Cheers

 

Joe 


  


Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Barge busting 1812 style

 Not getting a lot of wargaming in lately.  Two game of SAGA and several of Deadball but finally playtested a scenario for the war of 1812.  In the great lakes supplies were often transported by small boat flotillas not unlike "the slot" 130 years later.  They would sometimes be escorted by larger ships.  Of course it was hard to close with these convoys when you were in a sailing ship and not a PT boat...

Lt Mapes was so excited that he almost ran back to the USS Fair American.  Finally an important mission where he, scratch that, his ship was the star!  He called out to Mr Beckam that he had news of an important nature.   Spies had heard of a convoy going to the Niagara isthmus in 3 days time with supplies for the British army.  The Fair American and the USS Oneida were going to intercept.  They would fly British colors to get close enough to fire at the boats.  Because of their long 32 and 24 the Fair American had not only been chosen but would lead the Oneida into the fray.  Finally a good reason to be stuck as a captain of a converted merchant ship!

March 1813 on Lake Ontario.    Winds moderate straight off the shore

 


  USS Fair American [ 2 gun Merchant Schooner] followed by USS Oneida [ 18 gun brig] on left

HMS Beresford [12 gun Schooner] escorting 9 supply boats on right.  


At 2000 yrds HMS Beresford signals "What ship?" asking for the identity of the incoming schooner.  Lt Mapes signals "repeat" or at least what the americans think is "repeat" as they continue to close the distance.  Unfortunately...

it doesn't appear to fool anyone.  The boats and the British schooner all turns towards shore.  Lt Mapes orders the US colors hoisted aloft.  


The USS Fair American opens fire on the boats at 300 yards.  "Excellent shooting Todd!" exclaims Lt Mapes as one boat disappears with a direct hit!  

The British schooner fires on Lt Mapes.  It rattles the rickety hull and causes several casualties among the crew.  

Overview of the battle.   The 2 US ships closing range towards the boats.  The Oneida armed with Carronades needs to be very close to hit anything. 


 As the british boats sail towards shore the USS Fair American fires again.  This time they dismast one of the boats.  The british schooner moves towards the Oneida.  


The HMS Beresford and the USS Oneida trade broadsides.  Both ships are marginally damaged.  


Lt Mapes dares not to get too close to shore.  He orders one last volley against the fleeing boats. He dismasts another boat.

The USS Oneida fires one last shot as well.  At this range she misses.   

With the HMS Beresford heading to open water the americans realize their chance has ended.  1 boat sunk and 2 damaged.  Not brilliant by any stretch but not terrible.  The US casualties are very light.  The USS Fair American has played her part and not been found wanting.  "Mr Beckam, let's take her home."

Fun, quick game.  Will need to work on the parameters and then hope to post this.  

Couple more pictures

First....

For those of you that play Post Captain I created this to keep track of reloading times.  I hate writing stuff down.  

Second...

For those of you on the Post Captain forums, here is the USS Hancock card I created.  This is one of the original US Navy frigates of the revolutionary war.  

 

Enjoy

 

Joe