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, December 26, 2009

Couterattack at Ovietto

After taking the monastery (see first post in December; you should also read Recon at Villa Lardia because I swear this platoon does have bad luck!) the company was placed in battalion reserve. Maj Forester promoted Cpl Barns and he became the platoon sergeant. A Cpl Bristol joined the platoon as a section leader but Red was unimpressed. Red felt much better in leading the platoon and almost felt that "Balls" had smiled at him twice over the last several days. He wasn't smiling now.
"Jerry is counteratacking trying to cut the road forward. Battalion has ordered us to stop then at the village of Ovietto. 2nd and 3rd platoon will take postions here north. 1st platoon will cover the stream west of the town protecting our flank. Red, the bridge there is old and won't support tanks. You won't need and ATGs and we will, so Bob and Paul; you will get whatever we have. If they throw armor at you I will send a tank your way. Red, your platoon did well at the monestary, let's not make that a one time event!
Your leadership:
Lt Red Talbot Gr III
Cpl Paul Bristol 1st section pessimistic Gr I hesitant
Sgt Theo Barns 2nd section and Plt Sgt Narcissistic Gr II
Cpl McNabb 3rd section alcholoic Gr I
Your forces are a platoon of infantry to include a 2in mortar and ATR. You also have a crewed MMG.

Map looking from german entry
Stream is unfordable
British must set up south of the hill
Red decided to place 3rd section and himself in the houses and trees on the right side of the river to cover the road. 1st section with the untried Cpl Bristol and ATR would set up in the rough ground behind the hill to flank the road and cover any approach by the stream. 2nd section with the Plt Sgt would set up in the church with the MMG ready to cover or move where needed. The plan was to hold positions if possible, if not to fall back across the bridge and make a stand there. I figured Jerry would come down the road with a squad coming over the hill in support.
[ Bad luck starts already. pre game event gives the germans additional armor!]
The german attack had the luxury of being even given their large forces. A hafltrack with 75 mounted followed by a squad came down the road. A squad and Puma came over the hill and 2 squads with halftracks attempted to push through the trees east of the hill.
the 2in mortar manages to clear the hill

Jerry pushes through the trees minus 1 halftrack and runs
into Cpl Bristol and 1st section
3rd Section fought well but gave ground and the germans aggressively pursued hand to hand combat. Cpl McNabb and 2 men where all that was left.
1st Section also fell into hand to hand combat in which Cpl Bristol was killed. The survivors fled to a house near the bridge. The vickers in the church kept Jerry from following. Sgt Barns realized things were not going well. He ran across the bridge to the house and rallied the remnents of 1st section. At this point the MMG BROKE. Not jammed, broke. [I have never had that happen before. I will spare you the math but that is about a 1% probability] In addition, a runner from company arrives and informs the Lt that Maj Forester is taking a section from 1st platoon urgently as Jerry is pressing in on the north side of town. [another bad luck random event!] Red swears an anglican streak then only sends the assault part of 2nd section; keeping the bren team in the church to make up for the missing MMG. "Tell the Major that I have a Puma 60 yards from the bridge followed by a platoon of grenadiers. My MMG is broke. I trust he will forgive my lack of generosity." said Red to the runner.

Five minites later...
Maj Forester sends a Honey tank
The honey tank blows up the puma but now there are 4 german squads facing the remnents of 1st platoon.
Red gathers the survivors of 1/3rd sections
as they try to make it across the bridge
[At this point I almost called the game figuring Red was done. Decided I would play on a little longer] Red gets his troops across with the help of the honey's MGs. They hole up in the Church and the building across the street.
Germans gather for the final assault
Destroyed puma far right

The honey, 2in mortar and bren kept 2 german attempts at the bridge from succeeding!
Failed german assault

[At this point I almost called the game because I figured Jerry couldn't win. Then the mortar ran out of ammo] the 75mm halftrack managed to drive back the honey and the germans rallied 2 squads for one more push at the bridge.
Red was in the church with 3 soldiers praying for more mortar ammo would show when he saw 20 coal scuttle helmets make another run for the bridge and bullets hammered his position. "Bloody fire men!" he screamed though he knew they were doing all they could.

Final assault into the church
They stopped many germans but 8 managed to get into the church. Unfortunatly they had a MG-42 and a fearless maniac [ hero; another random event] with an unlimited supply of grenades. It was only a matter of time before more germans entered. Red gave the word to 3 grateful tommies and they slipped out the sacristy entrance.
Great battle even though Red lost! I still think the dice are stacked agaisnt these guys unless Maj Forester shows up. The platoon lost 5 KIA (including Cpl Bristol) and 9 WIA. "Balls" did not say much to Red afterwards. There are not enough replacements so 1st section will not be reconstituted yet. In addition, Sgt McGregore, really dislikes Red now since Red blames much of this debacle on McGregore's MMG failing and McGregore's team "leaving the church to get the gun fixed".
German Forces
4 Panzer grenadier squads (don't forget they have 2 LMGs)
4 Gr III leaders
1 Puma, 1 Halftrack with 75mm gun (think it is a 250/9) 3 Halftracks
Enter north edge of board
British reinforcement 1 Tank on turn 5. 1-3 Honey 4-6 Chruchill or Sherman
Special rule
Bridge is rickety. Halftrack can cross on d6 1-3. Lt tank on 1-2. Medium tank of 1.
Enjoy and Happy Holidays

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!! I did as I was blessed to be home with friends and family. Will post a battle with Lt Red Talbot this weekend but thought I would show off two christmas scenes today.
Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Patrol over Mussolini Canal

Finished painting 2 squads of american paratroopers last week so you know I had to do paratroopers last weekend. I had to roll up a new platoon. Since multiple people have asked about platoon forward on TMP and other sites I thought I would take this opportunity to explain a little how it works since I had to start from scratch with my new band of heros.
I usually have 4 personalities per unit. To have more dilutes the experience for me unless you get an unforgettable character like Maj Forester in Sicily! You roll up the person's temperment, motivation and leadership skill. This gives you an idea of who he is. For our new platoon:
Lt Topolski pragmatic/glutton Gr III
SSgt Lowry addicted/revenge Gr II
Sgt Kellogg Likeable/government Gr II +1
Sgt Mackle Generous/ government Gr I +1
Some temperments give you modifiers to tables. For instance Sgts Kellogg and Mackle are nice people. Personalities will come out over the course of your campaign but these tables are a start. For instance, we can already see that Lt Topolski likes to eat, Sgts Kellogg and Mackle believe strongly in the government and SSgt Lowry has a pathologic hatred for germans!

Next you roll up your mission. This unit is at the beach at Anzio. Historically they held the right flank and were on the defensive. We roll on the defensive chart and get "hasty defense". This scenario has 3 posibilities. However, it is late and I don't feel like playing a big battle so I chose not to play that scenario. Instead I pick a short one; "patrol". The terrain on the right flank was not mountainous across the canal so I will pick the "moderate" terrain chart. I was expecting some farmland with 1-2 buildings. What do I get? 2 key buildings with a forest on the right flank and a road down the middle with water at my baseline with one additional bulding at the baseline! I don't want a river so we will go with swamp. I only have 1 swamp painted up so this will be a small swamp! The key building in the middle will be a villa and we will make the other key building a warehouse. My final board is shown below.
Area to be patrolled. Woods on right, villa in
center and barn lower right.
Next you pick your forces and set your plan. We will take both our manuver squads but leave the LT home. (The enemy forces are proportional to your forces to keep the game balanced)
SSgt Lowry will avoid the swamp and the road. He will advance up the right past the barn into the woods. He will then send Sgt Kellogg into the warehouse and then over to the villa. After that they will withdraw after setting boobytraps in the villa.
Looking past the lonely swamp to the cool villa
where I thought the battle would take place!
Several dummy markers enter the board. Only 1 of which will be an enemy patrol. As luck would have it the enemy patrol consisted of 2 grenadier squads and they were in the woods pushing towards the barn as our heros left the barn heading towards the woods. This great board set up and I am only going to use a quarter of it! I could have overrode this and moved the battle to either the cool villa or the warehouse but decided I would play it out. (I told you I report all this stuff on the blog honestly!) I will let SSgt Lowry pick up the narrative.
I had 2nd squad out in front advancing towards the woods when suddenly machine gun fire errupted from the woods pinning Sgt Kellogg and his squad.
2nd squad and Sgt Kellogg advance
past the barn moments before ambush
I set up the LMG in the barn and had the assault element of 1st squad attempt to flank the woods by going left but they were driven back by accurate fire. Sgt Kellogg rallied his troops several times and attempted to charge the woods but was unsuccessful.
Jerry's in the woods
(First figures I ever painted. Guess you can tell)
Suddenly an additonal squad appeared on Sgt Kellogg's right and I could not provide covering fire. These MGs quickly wounded 2 men and killed the BAR gunner (Pvt Donner) The Jerrys then advanced to within 20 yards and 2 of the men started to run when Cpl Mullens ran over, picked up the BAR and, while standing, emptied 2 clips into Jerry. This broke the attack, steadied the men and allowed Sgt Kellogg to withdraw back behind the barn. At this point our #@%$ LMG was broke so we withdrew. Jerry did not follow. I estimate Jerry lost 5.
During the battle random events can happen like reinforcements or heroic deeds. Cpl Mullens drew a heroic deed and rallied his squad and then added addiitonal firepower the rest of the battle!
After the battle we had to generate Cpl Mullens as he might be important later. Then you roll for two events that happen to the platoon. These are modified by many factors. Our two events were; 2nd squad's morale went up permanently due to Cpl Mullens and Lt Topolski met a non player character named Lt Sheets who is an artillary forward observer.
Hopefully that gives you a taste of Platoon Forward! The forces for Patrol over Mussolini Canal are:
2 airborne squads; 1 with a LMG and elite morale, 1 with a BAR normal morale
2 panzergrenadier squads
1 Gr II leader
1 Gr I leader
Object for both sides is to patrol the board. If you encouter enemy forces give better then you receive and make the enemy withdraw.
Special rule
For those that read my initiative article in the christmas lardie special; the paratroopers have the iniative. for other systems allow the paratroopers to either move first or last; their choice.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Saving Zeus Vietnam style

This is a continuation of my 1st cav platoon originally posted on 1 Nov. Read that one first, I'll wait. Good, now we will get back to Lt Alan.

Lt McSwain shook hands with the armor officer while rain bounced off the metal roof of the command bunker. Lt Jaroze started, "Lt Alan has a problem and he needs our help quickly." Lt Alan blurted out, " Zeus is broken down! He has been with me the whole tour, I have to save him." After several minutes McSwain figured out that Zeus was a M-48 Patton tank that Lt Alan was strongly attached too. Apparently it had saved his platoon on more than one occasion. McSwain wondered if the division psychiatrist had met Lt Alan. Lt Alan wanted some infantry to guard the tank until it could be fixed. He currently had a M-113 on scene and 2 squads of ARVN CIDG from the local village. "Sure we can help you. I will send SSgt Davis with one squad now while I get the rest of the platoon together." "Thank you Lt" Lt Alan replied. If you save Zeus he will come back and save you on another day".

Map of area 1 Arvn squad at far end of board
Zeus on the road flanked by a M113 and 1
Arvn squad near looking at the hill and jungle

SSgt Davis shows up and confers with ARVN
SSgt Davis' plan was to have the M113 face left side of board and have the 2 ARVN stay put. He would push out a half squad to reconoiter the hill and then the jungle. Mercifully, with the rain visability was limited to 80 yards so Charlie would have to get close to shoot at Zeus.


Local VC on the hill
As 5 troopers started off towards the hill they came under fire from VC. Then fire opened up from the jungle as well. The Arvn squad on his left immediatly broke and ran for the houses. Outnumbered, SSgt Davis pulled his troopers back and formed a skirmish line while radioing for Lt McSwain to hurry! He dare not ask the M-113 to move as more VC might be waiting to attack from that direction. The VC attempted to turn Davis' left flank with a RPG in tow. They just needed to get within 80 yards of Zeus. SSgt Davis was everywhere, rallying and encouraging. Where was Lt McSwain? Suddenly 3 things happen:
1) An additional M-113 entered from the road nearest the hill. This allowed SSgt Davis to shift 5 troopers towards his left flank to help seal this gap.
2) The Arvn squad returned.
Just as Davis started to breath easier a HMG opened up from the jungle and
3)NVA troops replaced the VC troops on his left and they too tried to turn his flank and get within 80 yards of Zeus!

NVA squad make a final push towards Zeus
through the rain
SSgt Davis took personal direction of the M-60 pig as it spat out death. The NVA came within 80 yards of zeus briefly but that was also within grenade range of the calvarymen who quickly drove them back.
NVA after unsuccessful attempt to turn SSgt Davis'
left flank. (each hex 20 yrds) Arvn showed up and helped a little
VC from hill made attempt to attack to direct attention away but
M-113 (out of picture on top) cut them down
By the time Lt McSwain showed up with the other 2 squads Charlie had withdrawn. 2 bodies were found on the hill and several blood trails in the jungle. 1st squad had 1 WIA. Arvn had 1 KIA and 1 WIA.
Great quick battle! Lt McSwain was too show on the 5th reinforcement card and I never drew it. Must have taken longer to get organized than expected! After the battle moral of 1st squad soared! In addition, afterwards Lt McSwain met the new Forward Observer for the CAV (Lt Cisco) and they have not hit it off well.
SSgt Davis Gr III leader Dynamic leader
1 squad and 1 M-60 MG
2 ARVN squads with poor morale and 2 Gr II leaders
1 M-48 tank (immobilized) can use MG on turret
1 MM-113
Set up. Must set up for all around defense.
on 5th turn or 5th reinforcement card 2 squads and 1 M-60 plus 2 squad leaders and 1 platoon leader
1 random reinforcement showed up. A M-113 on turn 3, entered near hill
2 VC squads (1 poor morale) 1 RPG 1 LMG team
1 Gr III leader 1 Gr II leader
Set up either on hill or in jungle
on 4th turn or 4th reinforcement card 1 NVA squad with RPG and 1 Gr III leader Can enter any edge of board. If solo, roll for entry edge.
1 random reinforcement showed up A HMG
Special rule
Each turn place a zeus card in the deck. When drawn roll a d6. When the cumulative total reaches 18 Zeus is fixed and can either fight or withdraw. If he withdraws then the allied forces may withdraw towards the village. (I never reached 18 for this battle)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Monastery near Taormina

This is a continuation of my british platoon in Sicily from Recon of Villa Lardia. The cast:
Lt Red Talbot Fickle/ supports the government Gr II leader Plt Ldr
Sgt Johnny Turner Pleasant chap but poor leader Gr I 1 section
Cpl Theo Barns Narcissistic but gets the job done Gr II 2 section
Cpl Scottie McNab Alcoholic and poor leader but cousin is Sgt Maj Gr I 3 section
Maj "Balls" Forester SOB, personally brave, gets the job done so he doesn't look bad
company comander Gr IV

"Battalion wants that ATG taken out. Your platoon might actually be able to accomplish something Lt." Maj Forester didn't mince words at least Lt Talbot thought. Intellegence thinks there will be a depleted platoon guarding the gun and maybe a MMG. These are first rate troops though and they will be dug in. I have made arrangements for smoke and a tank to help you. If I can round up some engineers I'll send them to you. Lt, this will be a challenge. Get them moving and for God's sake don't let them get stuck in the street. If they get in the monastery they will be okay.

Monastery looking from the british lines. Hill
on left and river on right.
Red's plan was to place 3rd section on the left to attack towards the hill. Sgt Turner would assault through a smoke screen from the red roof building while 2nd section provided covering fire. Once 1st section entered the building, 2nd section and Red would follow. The MMG and tank would set up at the ruined building on the left and provide covering fire as needed.
Approach to the monastery

Sgt Turner pinned down in the street
during the assault
25pdrs layed smoke. A heavy wind blew and the smoke quickly disapated. As 1st section started across the cobble stone street 2 MGs opened up from the hill on the left wounding the bren gunner and pinning the squad. 3rd Section started towards the hill and was quickly pinned by a panzer that intelegence had neglected to mention to the platoon! The attack was stalled! Red pulled 1st section back and was trying to rally them when he heard a rap at the back door.
"Lt Talbot, I told you not to get your men stuck on the street!" It was Maj Forester.
An embarressed Lt Talbot greets Maj Forester and
a section of engineers
"Clearly you know nothing about leading troops Talbot. Get you men moving. I'll show you how to assault a building. Cpl, lets take your engineers for a stroll. 2nd section, covering fire!"
Maj Forester leads the engineers on a stroll
Through a hail of bullets the engineers ran led by a cranky figure with a walking stick. They were pinned momentarily but Forester tapped several on the tin hat with his stick and they moved along. Talbot desperately started bellowing at Sgt Turner to get the men formed for another attack. He would take both sections in personally!
The engineers entered the monastery (helped by a flamethrower) but were repulsed with 50% loses including their strolling cpl. But now Lt Talbot was ready. He entered with 17 men as they faced 11 germans and 2 LMGs. Talbot channeled his anger at Forester on the unsuspecting Jerrys. 9 germans fell without loss to his platoon! Cpl Barns was a wildman personally dispatching 3.
Lt Talbot and the platoon enter
the monastery
Meanwhile the british tank had destroyed the german one as Talbot's men fanned out to clear the rest of the monastery. There was one more critical moment when the ATG fired into Talbots men stunning them but as he recovered, Lt Talbot saw the germans spike the gun and flee. He had initally stumbled but through personal leadership he had shown that blowbag with a cane that he COULD lead in combat.
Final german positions facing Lt Talbot
The ATG and LMG facing him broke!
The Germans faced facts and retreated
After the battle Lt Talbot gained confidence and improved to a Gr III leader. Maj Forester was so impressed with Cpl Barns for this battle and the recon one that he promoted him and made him the new Sgt in the platoon. He told Talbot that he improved but needed a strong Sgt to help him and Barns was the man to do it. Sgt Turner was transfer to battalion staff. As there is no great candidate for Cpl in the platoon Maj Forester is looking in the company for one.
Great battle! The engineers were actually a random reinforcement. I would be interesting to play it without them. Without Forester the british did not have the leadership to get their folks moving initially after the smoke screens blew away. (I play the screen last 2 turns but both turns ended very quickly on die rolls [see lardy specials for Lazy TW&T rules])
3 sections
1 2in mtr
1 Churchill tank
1 battery of 25pdrs offboard
Engineers came in as random reinforcements as did a second Churchill tank.
2 squads of panzer grenadier troops (these squads have 2 lmgs)
1 Lt Gr III 1 Sgt Gr III 1 Sgt Gr II
1 MMG Gr II ldr
1 75mm ATG (see special rules)
Special rules
1. The german ATG Must set up along the right side of the monastery facing the river. It is postioned to fire along a main road the british are using.
2. Because Maj Forester is worried that the platoon will fail, he will show up on the 4th turn of a reinforcement card or on the 4th turn. You can decide if he brings engineers.
3. Any Germans set up outside of the monastery can be dug in. They must set up north of the road.