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, March 28, 2011

Looking for Rango Yugoslavia 1942

The only thing predictable about me is the unpredicatability in what I want to play next. This week it was back to Middle of NoWhere. I am painting up some CR-42s and Italian Ju-87 though. I would also like to thank Chris and Laffe for their excellent posts at PlatoonForwardStories. They are both interesting tales and I look forward to hearing more.

Am working on a dawn raid scneario so I thought it was ready for playtesting. Rather than Ethiopia or Vietnam I wanted to see if the system would work for partisan warfare in WW II.

Needed to roll up a platoon. As some of you know I am partial to Italians having lived in Italy for 2 years.

Lt Scapolini Cunning / Avarice Gr II

Sgt Musculin Foolish/ Alcohol Gr II 1st squad

Cpl Zern Pragmatic/ Hedonism Gr I

Sgt Gunesto Unsupportive /Religion Gr I 2nd squad

Cpl Tarentino Cheap / position Gr I

So, how to interpret the men above? As their story unfolds they will develop character but Platoon Forward gives us some basics now. The Lt is obviously a greedy SOB who will steal anyone blind yet he is very clever. He has some leadership ability on the battlefield. I suspect he was transfered to the "Middle of NoWhere" because he was caught with his hand in a cookie jar somewhere back in the world. Sgt Musculin is too trusting and fond of the bottle. When sober he knows tactics and his men will follow him. His ASL, Cpl Zern, is almost the opposite. His pragmatism has him learning tactics from his Sgt and following him on the battle field. Yet in the barracks I wonder if he takes advantage of his NCO's trusting nature?

2nd squad is led by a rigid Catholic who feels all his men will be damned if they don't follow the true faith by the book. He is unsupportive of any deviation and thus unpopular with the men and his platoon leader. His ASL sees what is happening in the squad but will not make waves as he is worried about making the next stripe. If the political climate changes he would gladly help the squad if it would help him...

Anyway, that is how I interpret the above. With a little imagination you can get alot out of 10 words!

The Capitano called the platoon leaders into his office. "Gentlemen, we have them now. We know where the battalion leader "Rango" is hiding. [Rango fought in the SCW] He is in these hills. We will hit them with a hammer and anvil at dawn tomorrow. Lt Scapolini, your platoon will be the hammer. Move fast to capture Rango alive. If you can't drive him south towards our other platoon. You will have an amored car in support. Questions?" Lt Scapolini was not going to drive anyone anywhere. He would capture Rango! With that on his record all past indiscresions would be forgiven and he would be reassigned to Roma. What is your plan LT?

The hills are alive...

Scapolini would send the AC down the road with 1st squad while he went with second squad through the field in a pincer movement hoping to get Rango in the middle. He stressed to his men that speed was critical.

Lt Scapolini [ left] advancing

Some sentries fired but were quickly driven off as both squads approached the hills. Then on the left, 1st squad ran into some dug in partisans with an ATR. One round bounced off the armored car and Sgt Musculin could not believe his eyes. The armored car started backing down the road! He ran over the the AC and questioned the commander's manhood. That did the trick.

Sgt Musculin and the armored car

Rebels on the left flank

2 LMGs and the AC laid down fire while Sgt Musculin worked his way around the flank of the hill. Meanwhile, Lt Scapolini had run into a bunker with a MMG. This cost him 5 men and Sgt Gunesto WIA. "No time for a bunker." He ordered smoke and bypassed the bunker looking for Rango.

Lt Scapolini bypassing the bunker looking for Rango

Sgt Gunesto is far right waiting for a friend to help him

Sgt Musculin finally makes it onto the left most hill.

Sgt Musciln clears the hill

Lt Scapolini finds a truck in the woods

Could it be that Rango rides in style?

The itialian LMGs fire into the woods and momentarily supress the partisans. Before Lt Scapolini can get down into the valley they have rallied and the truck drives off southward. He sees Roma farther away than ever. It doesn't matter that his platoon has scattered the partisans and they retreat in poor order or his platoon has sustained only 7 casualties. Rango was so close! Or was he?

The Capitano tells Lt Scapolini he is quite pleased with his platoon's performance. Turns out Rango was not there having been delayed in route. There had been a large food cache however that was captured thanks in part to Scapolini's platoon!

[ I would have used a wagon instead of a truck if I had one. Time to buy something else I think.]



Monday, March 21, 2011

The Colonel was furious! A FAAR AAR

Capt Selei felt good walking back from HQ. His SQ was one of the best in the Fortele Aeriene Regale Romana (FARR) with a reputation of 3. LtCol Ulsei, his group commander, had just told him that they were picked to escort the FARRs brand new HS 129s on their first combat mission. He felt a flight should be able to do it as enemy activity ahd not been heavy. He would give Lt Anca, his DO, the honors since he himself had just come off a mission early this morning. Lt Anca was not particulary liked as he was a braggart, but he could back it up as he was a good pilot and had already downed a P-39 in 3 weeks of combat.
Lt Anca Cocky/religous Mustang Veteran Flight lead
Adj Stag Encioiu Pragmatic Green wingman
SubLt Marulus Pessimistic/ The Arts gifted flyer Veteran Element lead
Adj Stag Manoliu Agressive Lucky Average wingman

HS129s on loan to Romania because
the Germans were afraid they would
be used against Hungary
The weather was clear as the 4 ME 109Gs took off without incident. Shortly after climbout Adj Stg Manoliu radioed Lt Anca that his oxygen wasn't working. As combat rarely occured above 12K feet here in the east the Lt was tempted to keep Adj Stag Manoliu with the flight but flinally decided to send him home.
When the depleted flight got to the rendevious site there were no HS 129s!!!!! He loitered for severla minutes then proceeded along the mission course. Then he heard that the HS 129s were being attacked and his heart sank. How had he missed them?! He opened throttles and raced to the scene.
It wasn't pretty. 6 HS 129s against 5 P-39s and 2 LA -5FNs. 1 bomber had fallen and one had turned around, its pilot seriously wounded. The 3 Romanians charged in!

Lt Anca takes one down!

During the dogfight Lt Marulis managed to take 2 russian fighters down and a HS 129 claimed one as well.

A P-39 ace strikes back!
Lt Anca also damaged one fighter but half of the 6 HS 129s were not present for the attack run on the russian armor. To add insult to injury one of the armored bombers was shot down by flak leaving 2 to drop bombs and strafe.

One russinan tank blows up. From this angle only my beautifully
painted miniatures look like cardboard counters!

All bombs missed and the strafing was less impressive than I hoped. 1 tank damaged and 1 destroyed.

While Capt Selei was disappointed in the loss of the HS 129s he was happy that 3 ME 109s took on 7 USSR fighters and destroyed 3 and damaged 1 without loss. The SQ rep did drop by 1. Adj Stag Encioiu developed a sinus infection and will miss 3 missions. [He has flown 2 missions and it takes at least 4 before you can roll to loose your green status.]
LtCol Ulsei was furious!! He comes from a military family and does not like Lt Anca anyway. He brushed aside the fighter victories and stated that the mission was to protect the brand new HS 129s and to destroy the russian tanks. "Captain, you should have gone on the mission and not left it to a prior enlisted man. You have a good squadron. A leader must lead and pick good leaders like Florescu to lead as well." [ Lt Florescu comes from a military family as well. His dad served with LtCol Ulsei's dad in the great war. Lt Florescu also happens to be the leading scorer in the sq with 3 so it is not a bad suggestion. ]
So Capt do you replace your Director of Operations? Will that mollify your group commander?

Great battle. In retrospect I should have sent 6 fighers on the mission but I don't think it would have helped. We missed the join up [ 10% chance] no matter how many planes we had.
Hopefully this gives you a flavor of Squadron Forward.
For the Air to Ground I used my Brag the Hun rules found in the summer 10 Lardie special. Like all my stuff these are not ruleset specific. Use your to hit sequence and these will tell you about the damage.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

YOUR blog is launched!

Hey, we don't have to listen to Joe's
boring stories now!
I have just launched Platoon Forward Stories. A mirror blog where YOU can publish your AARs and feats of derring do. It is found here http://platoonforwardstories.blogspot.com I hope you enjoy and frequent it. I also hope you still stop by here now and then!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Greek border village attack

Apologize for the break between updates. Have been ill. First, there appears enough interest that I will be starting a mirror blog where YOU can post your stories, ideas and links about Platoon Forward. This is a natural evolution of publishing the product. Helping you guys enjoy your games. I would love to hear your feats of derring do as well as the occasional failure. Who doesn't love a good story?

Second, playtesting Squadron Forward continues on with good results. I have decided to add theater/year specific encouter tables for the scenarios. It is not that much more work as I need them when I play anyway. Will just have to make them more inclusive and formal.

One of the reasons Platoon Forward works for me as a campaign vehicle is that it is flexible enough that I can stick with it. I am not forced to play a scenario I don't want to just because it is next in line. An example is today's AAR.
I felt like a break from Squadron Forward and an idea hit me. "Why not use that cool Russian Church in a scenario?" Sounds good; what platoon to use? Haven't used the Greeks in a while? That sounds like fun; I could have it winter of 1940/41 with the Greeks on the offensive. A big attack? A patrol? I don't know. Why not roll up the scenario? That sounds good. Die rattles-- Platoon Attack; good I can make that work. Won't roll up the ojbective because it is going to be that cool Russian Church... [ Hey, it works for me! This is how 80% of my battles get generated]

This is my 7th scenario with my Greeks. As you play longer with the platoons they do develop personalities and subplots. This platoon has struggled with poor performance and the battalion XO has sniped at their efforts from time to time.

Lt Sposito shook the snow off his boots then entered the room. The Company Commander seemed genuienly happy to see him. " Sposito, tommorrow we go on the attack!" You will attack the small village to our front at dawn tommorrow to test the preparedness of our foes.

Lt Sposito Pleasant/ family Gr II
Sgt Hellik Addicted/ alcohol Gr I 1 st squad hesitant commander
Sgt Pitsikas Course / Glutton Gr II 2nd squad
Sgt Basakidas Generous/ alcohol Gr III 3rd squad
1 MMG 1 81 MTR off board 3 stonks
1st and 2nd squad have decreased morale and all three squads have 1 less person due to previous losses

Looking towards the village
from greek lines
What is your plan Lt ?

Cool Russian Church with A and B blind

With visability limited to 100 yards Sposito decided to creep up on the normally slack Italians. His best squad was 3rd squad and they would lead off on the right flank. He would use 2nd squad to demonstrate against the church in the center and he would bring 1st squad up personally behind 3rd squad to add weight to the right. The MMG would be postioned on a hill on the right just off picture to cover the attack. The compound on the right would be hit with mortars once firing started.

The Italians were more vigilant than Sposito had hoped and 2nd and 3rd squad soon were pinned down by automatic weapons fire from both the church and the farm complex on the right. "Where was the artillery promised?" [ poor card draws] Lt Sposito realized if he did nothing the atatck woudl fail and battalion would somehow blame him. He sent 1st around to the right and moved up to rally 3rd squad.

Attack on the farm
3rd sq center/ 1st on right
Lt Sposito in the Kelpi
1st squad reached the wall and traded shots with the Italians. Sposito knew with 1st squad's poor morale and Sgt Hellik's lack of leadership abilities they would not last long going toe to toe even with Italians. Then suddenly a roar overhead!!

Better lucky than good!!

Mortar shells landed right in the midst of the Italians! This broke them and Sgt Hellik was able to sweep over the wall. [ the artillery was targeted for the adjacent building and scattered!] He then moved quickly into the building and just missed capturing a MMG.

As the Italians retreated to the barn Lt Sposito and 3rd squad moved up to the farm. However, the Italian Lt was not idle. He had gathered forces and advanced to the farm as well.

Sgt Basakidas at the farm
Italians massing along the far wall

After a fierce fight the Greeks prevailed and the Italians retreated to the Church.

Italian Lt rallies the men at the church
Lt Sposito thought the battle was won but when he had his squads advance towards the church he found the Italians still had plenty of punch. As he debated what to do next, he saw the Italians slowly evacuating the church towards the far end of town! [ for those of you familiar with my esprit rules the Italians had reached their limit. ] Sgt Hellik, ever the hothead, wanted to charge immediately but Lt Sposito overrulled him fearing they could still lose the battle. They kept up fire until the last Italian had left. Lt Sposito realized at that moment this would not be an easy war for the Greeks to win.
Post battle 1st squad's moral improved to normal and Sgt Hellik lost his hesitant status. While the company commander accepted Lt Sposito's actions the battalion XO, must have spread rumors because when Lt Sposito met the battlion S-4 they did not hit it off.
The enemy forces generated where heavy:
2 squads, 1 HMG, 1 LMG 1 Lt Mtr 2 Gr II leaders and 1 Gr I leader Italian esprit level 14. Greeks have the same esprit level if using my tactical esprit rules.
Special rules visability starts at 100yards and improves by 20 yards every other turn.
1st Italian unit generated is alert. Every other Italian unit generated the 1st turn has a 50% chance of being alert. 2nd turn this increased to 75%. 3rd turn all units are alert.