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.

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.


  1. Sounds like a great game. I would have been interesting with an Askari platoon as part of the mix. No LMGs and typically weaker morale led by Italian officers. The rebels may have had a better chance.

  2. Chris,
    Actually thought of that. Problem is I don't have any figures. Whose would you recommend?
    (Have used the rebels as Askari's in your scenarios.)