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, April 21, 2010

Ethiopian training excercise 1935

Before Sgt Bustamanti and platoon fought a guerilla war in Ethiopia they participated in it's liberation. This comes from the opening days of the war and shows how Buffo gained his reputation and loyalty of his men.
During the Italian invasion roads were important for the attacker for supply. Despite the Ethiopian disdain for defensive combat their Turkish and Belgian advisors convinced them to construct defensive works to stop the aggressors.

As Lt Chianti walked up to Capt Butro he already knew what had happened and what his platoon would be asked to do. He had heard the firing up ahead as the column had stopped. He was thrilled that the Capitano was trusting him to re open the road from whatever rabble was blocking it. He believed in Italy and a new Roman empire. He was hoping some of the glory would rub off on him!! His mind snapped back to what the Capt was saying. "We have a tank and a sahariana to support you. We will also give the trees and the hill a drubbing with artillery before you go in. I suspect this will be much like a field excercise. Good Luck"

Lt Chianti Romantic gr II
Sgt Buffo Bustamanti confident/ family 1st squad Gr II
Cpl Petracela cultured asl Gr II
Sgt Polti obnoxious 2nd squad Gr I
Cpl Riccelo Cheap asl Gr I

1 Platoon 1 45mm mtr 1 MMG 1 L3 tankette 1 sahariana jeep 2 stonks of 75mm arty with more on call if you need it

Looking from Italian positions
column took fire from trench in trees
black markers are suspected positions
Lt Chainti decided subtlety was not needed here. He sent one squad to the left of the road and one to the right. The tank would go down the middle with the jeep swing wide right to pin down any forces in the building.
The artillery hit the trenches in the trees and shocked the wahlas. The artillery fell short of the hill and a MMG opened up from that position.
Initial advance

Buffo's squad quickly gaining the trees
Buffo's men moved smartly and gained the trees before the Wahlas recovered. There they traded shots with the savages.
On the right the MMG slowed 2nd squad greatly causing casulaties. Then it stopped! (broke) Polti rallied his folks with LTs help and moved up.
Sgt Polti's squad gains postions in front of
the hill with difficulty (nice jacket)

At this point Buffo led his men into the trenches to avenge their grandfather's defeat in this country years ago. The Ethiopians rose to the challange. At last, combat worthy of a warrior!
Combat worthy of warriors!
Buffo in the center
Buffo's leadership and skill carried the day as 5 of the 8 warriors fell with the rest retreating. The survivors moved to the hill where they were rallied by their officer. Buffo moved to flank them but warriors appeared on his left. ( they had moved from the building around the hill to flank Buffo) to make matters worse the MMG started up again and 2nd squad was taking heavy casualties. The Italians were pushed back.
At this point Capt Butro appears with a forward observed. After talking with Lt Chainti it was decided to pound the hill and then have another assualt led by Buffo.
Artillery pounds the hill
Yes, that is a french gouimer MMG! Sorry

The final assault. Even the tank gets
into the act
Buffo's men charge up the hill as smoke still hangs in the air. The fighting is furious but Italian elan carries the day! The Ethiopians, defeated but not broken retreat up the road. 1st squad is too exhausted to pursue; some training excercise!
Great game! At first it looked like another Italian blowout with Buffo gaining the trees and the MMG breaking. After the 1st trench cleared the Ethiopians stabalized as the MMG came back on line. I actually called it a draw as the Italians took a long time to clear the road and took 11 casualties.
Ethiopian forces
3 "squads" 1 with a LMG
1 Gr III officer 2 Gr II NCOs and 1 Gr I NCO
1 pre plotted 75mm artillery strike. Don't need to pre plot turn just location. (Someone will send out a signal that says "fire it now")
Forces set up dug in
the asl for 2nd sq was killed during the assault. He will be replaced by Cpl Fan. Lt Chianti tried to get Sgt Polti replaced and was unsuccessful. 2nd's squad's morale went down after the battle. He has decided to swap Sgts and give Polti the better squad and Buffo the worse one. We will see how the squads react! Buffo was praised by all for his bravery and elan. He met the CSM of the battalion and he earned his Grade III rating.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

FAAR defends Lardinski bridge

No platoon forward this week as I have been playing BTH2. I really like this game. I have also been testing some flak rules and some bombing tables that will hopefully be in the summer special if Nick and Rich run out of stuff to print!
Started my Romanian ME 109G squadron. In two missions they have 4 kills and have lost 3 planes. Personnel losses have been 1 KIA, 1MIA and 1WIA. They have 1 Cool Point. [ the goal in Squadron Forward is to obtain cool points thus becoming the envy of friendly squadrons and infamous to the enemy ones. This also allows you to pick up women I am told!]
Their leader board:
Lt Florescu 2 kills Yak 1m
Lt Ancu 1 Kill P-39
SLt Marulis 1 kill shturmvik

First mission was a fighter sweep where they were bounced by 6 Yaks.

On the wrong side of the bounce! Adj Sef Mirou and
Adj Ursuche (MIA) both be shot down
Lt Florescu getting one of his two Yaks
The second mission was 4 ME 109Gs defending Lardinski bridge against 2 P-39s and 6 Shturmviks. They didn't fair particularly well losing Slt Gulan when his plane exploded. Adj Burileanu is a rookie, quickly lost his formation and became wounded. He managed to bring his plane back but the CO, Capt Selei, is very unhappy. 1 P-39 downed and 1 bomber. They didn't loose cool points due to lousy bombing with only 1 250lb bomb hitting the bridge doing light damage.
Melee near the bridge

Russian bombers thwarting my efforts at
testing the new bomb damage charts!
[Rockets worked well at the flak though]
I also have a P-47 sq in europe, a P-38 squadron in the pacific, a wildcat sq and a Tommahawk squadron in the Med running.
Lt Jablowski failed to Bag this Hun

However this Jap is in the bag!

Japanese get revenge
Again abysmal bombing thwarts my in game testing. [no I am not tinkering with the to hit tables, just bad die rolling] 1 bomb does damage at the airfield. However, that bomb hits the fuel dump so bullseye!@
The rules are actually done. Now I just have to write them up pretty.
Plan to have an Italian attack on the Ethiopian army this weekend

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dawn Raid Ethiopia 1938

My Italian platoon in East Africa holds a special place. It was with this platoon that I started the whole concept of platoon forward. I was inspired by Chris Stoesen's East Africa suplement and Max Maxwell had a colonial article in the Lardie special. I started focusing on a single individual, Sgt Bustamanti and it has evolved from there. I digress...

For once I hope we have good intellegence thought Lt Chianti. Supposedly rebel leader "honest Abe" had gotten his hands on a french 2pdr. The plan was to cross the river at dawn, raid the hideout and capture the gun before the Wahlas could figure out how to set it up. It would either be in one of the buildings or a cave near the river. Mula Tono felt Abe would have no more than 30 men at the hideout. Capt Butro would be north of the river with a blocking force if things went poorly.

Lt Chianti Romantic Gr II
Sgt Bustamanti cheerful 1 section Gr II
Cpl Petracela ast SL cultured Gr II
Sgt Polti obnoxious and anti war 2nd section Gr I
Cpl Riccelo asst SL Cheerfulll Gr I

Italian platoon consists of 2 sections of 19 men each. 10 man assualt element and 9 man LMG support element containing 2 LMGs I rate the breda LMG as only earning 2 dice.

Map looking across the river
River fordable only at both ends
Note MMG on hill far right
Lt Chianti was going to take Polti's section across the left ford which was the easy one to cross. He was going to position the MMG and light mortars on this side of the river to fire at the main building where he figured the main resistance would be. Sgt Bustamanti would cross on the right. Sweep the cave and move towards the buildings. Speed was essential if they were to capture the cannon!
Sentry at dawn not very watchful
Lt Chianti got half the section across before the sentry fired a warning shot to wake the rebels. He led his men forward towards the big house. Suddenly from the doorway of the courtyard...
Rebel with Italian LMG
Machine gun fire from the building caused his men to scatter. He rallied them as mortar shells rained down on the building. Sgt Polti finally showed up. Lt Chianti stood up, raised his pistol and yelled "Avanti!" as his men charged the building. The rebels melted out into a field behind the building. Chianti quickly searched the building but no cannon.
Sgt Bustamanti runs into trouble at his crossing
MMG fire greeted Sgt Bustamanti as his men forded the river. As he moved back Wahlahs appeard out of the cave. Cpl Petracela's LMGs quickly sent them packing. Buffo knew he had to get across the river fast; MMG or not. He ordered his men forward and they obeyed. The MMG strangely fell silent [ jammed and was never fixed!] They were across!
Now they started trading shots with the rebels but their LMGs told the tale as the rebels fell back
Sgt Bustamanti nearing the cave entrance
As his troops neared the cave they saw 3 mules leave the cave burdened with metal objects. The cannon! Stop the mules men, he directed
Lt Chianti also saw the mules and went sprinting after them through the field. The demoralized bandits put up little resistance when surrounded by Mussolini's finest
Mules surrounded (They just look like a german shepard)
Lt Chianti in the field with pistol raised
4 rebel prisoners were taken along with the cannon. Lt Chianti gave report of the triumph personally to LtCol Aquino who was quite pleased! The only mark on the day was "honest Abe" was not among the 20 men encountered.
Good game but everything broke the italians way so it was quick. They forded the river easily and quickly. The MMG jammed turn 2 and was never cleared. The rebels (freedom fighters) never rallied their LMG team even though they needed a "8" or less on 2 dice. Lastly, for the first time my system of generating forces let me down. The rebels generated only 1 "squad" with a leader so I added a second squad and leader. I think I will play this scenario again with my vietnam troops and see if it is any closer. I didn't think the Italians would ever be on the winning side of a blow out!!
Italian Forces
1 Platoon plus 1 MMG and 1 45mm Mtr
Ethiopian Forces
1 Gr III leader, 1 Gr II leader
1 squad with italian LMG, 1 squad of 10 warriors
1 MMG which must set up on the far hill. It is covering the likely approach of the Italian forces
Special rules
Rebels may place a sentry near the main building. Both squads must deploy in either buildings or the cave which in the north end of the hill nearest the river. The cannon must also be in one of these 3 locations. It is disassembled.
Every turn the freedom fighter roll a d6. When the cumulative score reaches "10" the mules are packed with the cannon and can move. They will move 3 hexes [ 60yards]each turn. If they make it off the north edge of the board the Ethiopians win. If the Italians capture the cannon they win.
When the Italians cross the right ford they do so easily on a die of 1-3. A 4-6 means their intel was faulty and it will be difficult taking a whole turn in the river to ford.
If you have read my morale rules in the latest Lardy special I suggest you use them for the Italians. I set their morale level at 14. The Ethiopians ignore morale as they have to move their cannon at all costs.