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.

Friday, February 12, 2021

The Education of Lt Nguyen

 Hope everyone is having a good year.    I have been busy with Covid at our hospital this year.  Did manage to play 1 game inspired both by GMTs Fire in the Lake and Jack's mediocre posts on TMP.  [ I will admit Jack is using Platoon Forward the way I intended it and his terrain and painting puts mine to shame.] On to our story...

The concept of "armored cavalry" was actually invented and developed by ARVN and copied and improved on by the US.     One of the innovators was the 6th Armored Calvary Regiment. My platoon belongs to the regiment and have been in 2 battles.  They won a bunker busting mission and lost an ambush when their accompanying tanks ran away [ check 5 Nov post 2019].  The Armor Plt CC, Lt Qui, was embarrassed and apologetic and promised he would personally help the platoon with their next mission.   The AC platoon has average training and morale but all the leaders are poor.  

I have modified the Grunt's Forward mission table for an armored cav unit in Vietnam as follows:

D20                                  Scenario

1-3                                  Hammer Dawn

4                                     Ft Apache

5                                    Village Sweep

6-8                                 Cordon

 9-13                              Ambuscade

14-15                             One of our planes is missing

16-18                             Counter attack   [ from Platoon Forward]

19-20                              Patrol

I rolled "Cordon" so the platoon will be called out to protect ballot boxes during a local election in  Cam Rahn 1967.   


Characters

Lt Nguyen Duc     Son of a land owner   idealistic/enginering        [hesitant] poor leader

1st squad  Sgt Pham  Van    fisherman      meek/wealth                            poor    His squad is not happy with him.

2nd squad is detached to another site. 


Attached Lt Qui Platoon leader of  M-41 Walker Bulldog tanks.

1 squad of Ruff-Puffs with a poor NCO and MMG.  


Lt Nguyen arrives and surveys the scene. 


Polling booths set up in front of town hall.    Rumor is that local VC plan to disrupt the election to show it is fraudulent and to prove they can. 


 View from across the square...

Villagers coming in to work and vote under the safety of the SVN flag... Duc places people at every entrance to the square with the MMG on the roof of the store to cover the flag and the booths.  VC want to disrupt the booths, take down the flag and occupy the town hall.  


Disposition of forces...    


Sgt Pham's track certainly calms villagers...


 A UN observer stops by to see how it is going...


And ends up chatting with Lt. Nguyen in broken vietnamese.    Suddenly...


From across the square rifle shots from the bridge.   The Ruff Puffs actually spotted something before it fired!   They missed but at least...



Lt Qui had time to turn his tank around before the recoiless rife was set up and fired.  The round bounced off the he makes short work of the rifle team.   Unfortunately a MMG in the hut nearby kills him as he is manning his MG.  His crew, demoralized will take no more active part in the battle.


From the left side of the board spring VC determined to give the people free voice.  


Amazingly these 2 Ruff Puffs win the initiative, hold their ground and fire.   [ These Ruff Puffs are tough!]

Casualties are determined randomly and the VC leader falls.  The VC morale holds but they will not charge without a leader.  [ I think we can give the people free voice from over here comrade!]  Amazingly the 2 RP soldiers survive the return fire and retreat into the town hall in good order. The leader sustains only a scratch and soon the VC occupy the near ...


voting booths.   Several are gong to move into the store to lay down suppressive fire as the leader makes a charge into city hall.  Meanwhile...


Duc moves his squad onto the second floor and the jeep into a covering position for the flag and city hall.  He yells at the RP Sgt to enter the store with his squad to enflade the VC.  


 The VC make their charge with 9 men; 5 are supressed leaving 4 to enter.  [ You can just see the RP Sgt entering the store on the left of the picture.]   3 ARVN are in the hall and both sides quickly fail their morale checks and leave the building by side exits; a bit unsatisfying.  

meanwhile a battle erupts in the 5 and dime.   The MMG team is broken which complicates things on the ARVN side.  


Board towards end game.  Duc on bottom left.  Reinforced by survivors of town hall.   Shooting at the polling booths and at the 5 and dime when they have a clear shot.   A random event brought on a RPG team that was setting up to blow up Lt Qui's tank just as another Walker Bulldog showed up off screen to the right.  The battle rages in the 5 and dime...


 Duc radios Sgt Pham to enfilade the polling booths.  After a delay, the Sgt moves out.

 

 



Finally in the 5 and dime the RP Sgt is hit.  The rest of the men break with 2 exiting to the bamboo and the MMG surrendering.  


Bulldog surprising the RPG team.



With Van able to hammer their position from the side and no hope of getting to the flag the VC decide they had done what they could today.  The election has been disrupted and 2 booths have been destroyed.  They pull back the way they came.  


Fun game that played fast!   In retrospect I should have set up a larger cordon but it worked out.  The Ruff Puff proved tougher than expected.  It was sad to lose Lt Qui as the 2 LTs had developed a friendship and it never hurts to have a friend who owns several tanks!  Post battle Lt Nguyen gained a skill so he looses his hesitancy.  Moreover, he made his leadership roll and is now average!  I guess he learned a lot running this varied force.   Also Sgt Pham's squad is warming to him and he is now neutral in their eyes.   

Now that the platoon is improving I can't wait to see what they can do.

 

Enjoy

 

Joe







Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Buffalos of the Far East

 Happy New Year!  Hope everyone had a great holiday.  I survived the first holiday without my dad.  Not a lot of miniatures under the tree this year as I still don't seem to want to do that much plus Warlords didn't do their 30% off sale like last year.   I assume the itch will come back.  I did get some Tojo's for my air combat and several A-20s.   Can't decide what nationality to make my A-20s.  Originally I was going to paint them Russian but lately I am thinking RAF.  We will see.  I did get Fire in the Lake by GMT games.  If you want a strategic overview of Vietnam that is a great solitaire game go get this!  My brother got me B-17 leader which reminds my of the second game I ever got, AHs Lufftwaffe.  Hope to get that on the table soon.   Enough prattle.  Remember those buffalos I painted in November???

453 RAAF was dispatched to Singapore as war clouds appeared on the horizon.  It was made up of brand new trainees plus an Ozzie plucked from Spitfires named Sdr Leader Harris with 3 kills to his name. They started out with 3 Average pilots and 4 green.  Due to the situation they get -1 on all replacement and repair rolls.  Their first scrape was a 4 v 4 with some Oscars.  In a fair fight Harris damaged one [ a feat in a Buffalo] and Flying officer Armstrong actually got a kill but was wounded during the battle.  The next day the flight was involved with  4 v 6 Oscars with Flt Lt Dalton leading.  Pilot Officer Jones damages one but Sgts Enderson and "crash" Grayson are both shot down though they are brought back to base.  Dalton brings his damaged buffalo home and crashes on the dirt strip and is invalid home.  Today our brave band sends up 4 fighters led by newly promoted Flt Lt Armstrong on patrol when they are vectored towards Japanese bombers heading towards their airstrip...

Characters

Flt Lt Armstrong      naive/family         Avg                    1 kill

Wingman Sgt "Cattle" Kimburton  fanatical/music        green

 

Pilot officer  James     pleasant/ theater             green

wingman   Flight Sgt Altman       Haughty/ anti-officer 


Armstrong vectors them in perfectly and they manage to come in below the bombers ...

He decides to forgo their training and have everyone take a different bomber.  The plan is after one pass he and Cattle will reform and take on the Oscars...


who are caught out of position!   [ Squadron Forward rolled up only 3 but 2 vets and an avg.]


Sometimes you just get lucky!   F/S Altman fires a well aimed burst and sees the Nells wing snap!

"Cattle is also rewarded as the starboard engine catches fire on his target.  The two officers are not quite as fortunate.  

 

An Oscar pounces on Cattle but Armstrong is there to drive him off.   


 

Turn 3 and the 4 surviving bombers drone forward as the fighters dance a deadly dance.  



F/S Altman cries frantically for help as an Oscar latches onto his 6.  



This is not looking good as his engine starts to smoke from damage.

F/S Altman does the only thing you can do in a buffalo; dive!   He gains some space against the veteran as Cattle shows up to try to knock the Jap off him.  Unfortunately Cattle can't seem to land a blow.  Altman does manage to escape almost at treetop level.  

With P/O James leaking petrol Armstrong tells his band it is time to break off.  They have done what they could; 2 bombers shot down with no losses.   They will go to an alternate airstrip.

Meanwhile...


The 4 Japanese bombers complete their mission and return home.   Damage to the airfield is light.  There is more drama to be played out however.  P/O James makes it to the airfield and sets it down perfectly.  After this feat and damaging an Oscar first battle he easily makes his AKOT roll to become an Average pilot.   F/S Altman isn't so lucky.  He flips his damaged buffalo and is badly wounded.  2 Days later he and several other patients are transported south to a main hospital when their lorry is strafed and he is killed.  [ On special events I rolled that he was killed in an accident; go figure poor guy.]   Sgt Cattle Kimburton also makes his roll to become average.   Also with F/S Altman in the hospital the squadron needs a new senior NCO.  Harris picks Cattle because he is the  only NCO who hasn't been shot down yet!  As a Sdr Leader it is his call so Cattle gets promoted.  Lastly Sgt Darley joins the squadron bringing us up to 7, only down an officer.  We have 6 planes with 1 in the shop.  Great fun and I really enjoy the mixture of down in flames and bag the hun.  The battles play fast but still have the chrome I like.

 

Enjoy

 

Joe 





Thursday, December 3, 2020

Malta Spitfires

 Holiday greetings.   Am building a schooner for Post Captain but have also been engaged in my Down in Flames/ Bag the Hun mash up.  It has been going so well that I thought it was time to try it with Squadron Forward.     I did purchase the latest version to DIF and it is a good one.  Dan did what he set out to do, make a light, quick dogfight game that is fun.  Of course my goal so I changed some things.   Wingman have been beefed up considerably and I tweaked the stats as well.  Lastly it was now TOO easy to maneuver so that had to be toned down.    I am not suggesting these tweaks for everyone, only those people with obsessive disorders.  Anyway on to Malta...

As you may be aware Malta was pounded by the Axis for several years.  It had more bombs dropped on it than London.  King George bestowed his cross on the entire island for bravery; it is on their flag to this day.  My Spitfire squadron there has had 3 battles with mixed results.  They lost their CO on the first mission.  They finally have a new CO in from Egypt.  On his second day the alarm sounds as a german raid has been picked up...  [ I roll up intercept and it is JU-88s with ME 109Fs]

Sdr Ldr Lynch  Egotistical/position          Vet with 2 kills in Egypt

F/O "Bullet" Skeel    Corrupt/ position       Avg

 

Flt Lt Barnes      Pragmatic/alcohol       Vet with 1 kill on Malta

Sgt Joey Towson  Fickle/engineering    Vet with 1 kill on Malta


Sgt Randell      Cocky/family       Vet with 1 kill on Malta    Flying demon   +1 performance.  disliked by the squadron because he was Sdr Ldr Landry's wingman and they blame him for the CO's POW status. 

 

I roll up 3 ME 109s but at least they are out of position.  The brits only get to go first with no other advantage.  Sdr Ldr Lynch didn't line the boys up well I guess.  The plan is for Lynch, Bullet and Randell to go after the bombers while Barnes and Towson kept the 3 fighters busy.   We will see how this works out...


My BTH cards and new DIF cards.   My mods to the DIF cards are both fighters have horsepower of 3/2 and both are spritely which cancels out except at high altitude.  There the ME 109F drops to average so the spits have a slight advantage.  Note the germans begin at high altitude as noted on the stands.  


 


 Lynch and Bullet have a go doing minimal damage.   Sgt Randell...


Gets in very close and lets loose.   The bomber's wing is shredded but Randell develops a leak in his petrol tank.  It is a wash; both planes are damaged enough to abort and leave the battle.


Meanwhile above the bombers Flt Lt Barnes picks out a lone ME 109.  He fires and the plane spins out of control.  As he is celebrating his victory the german comes out of the spin about 8K ft below.  Rats.



Now alerted 2 jerries close in on Barnes.  Just to show my improved wingmen I will go through this sequence of play exactly how it happened.  If you don't care skip down 4 pictures.   The german plays a manuver card to get advantage over Barnes.  

Flt Lt Barnes responds with a barrel roll.  


 


The german is a veteran and cuts through with a scissors.  


Sgt Towson being a good wingman step in and drives Jerry off with an ace card.   Good Show!

 


 

second of 4 turns and Lynch and Bullet continue to hammer at the bombers.  Bullet doesn't know but he kills the lower gunner on the JU-88.  

FltLt Barnes continues to tie up the german fighters...



A german hits Sgt Towson in the petrol tank.  He has to leave the battle space as well.  


End of turn 3.   A second JU-88 has aborted.  The spinning ME 109F is righted and ready to engage Sdr Ldr Lynch top left.  FltLt. Barnes appears in trouble up high and to the right with a ME 109 behind him looking for a firering position while Towson radios that he has to leave with petrol streaming from his plane.

As Lynch tries to line up a shot at the bomber the ME 109 gets in the way!


Bullet accepts the challenge...


And manages to get on the tail of the unlucky Jerry.  



Meanwhile Flt Lt Barnes continues to dance up high...



Unfortunately the german being tailed radios for help.  The high german wingman had already lost wingman status but stayed to help his boss.  Now with a squadron mate in trouble he dives down to help...

Lynch turns to see the German and calls out for Bullet to break but it is too late.  The german fires...


Bullet's engine starts to sputter.  No way he is going to make it back to base.  Time to hit the silk.


With Sdr Ldr Lynch at medium with 2 german fighters and Flt Lt Barnes high with 1 it is time to go.  Sdr Ldr tells Barnes they have done what they could.  Head for home.   They make it successfully.  


Great fun that played in just over an hour.  4 bombers went over the port but bombed poorly doing very light damage.  For the germans 2 bombers were damaged and returned to base.  [ one wrecked on landing but the squadron doesn't know that.]   The spitfires lost one and had 2 damaged.  Both Sgt Towson and Randell made it back to base with minimal damage.  F/O Bullet Skeel successfully bailed out but was not found by air/sea rescue.  [ 20% chance that.]  His body washed up 5 days later. RIP. Clearly this was a loss for the squadron and not an auspicious start for Lynch. 

Post battle Sgt Towson tells off the intel officer [ Lt Reed] during debrief.  Sdr Cdr Lynch takes Reed's side so now the enlisted aren't fond of their new CO.  On a positive note a replacement spitfire shows up so the squadron has 6 plus 1 in maintenance.     We will see how long Lynch sticks around.

 

I really enjoy the mashup of DIF using the combat results of BTH.  It plays quicker with plenty of chrome for me.

 

Enjoy

 

Joe