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.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A one eyed man...

There is a saying that in a country of blind men a one eyed man is king.  Over the last several years in my gaming I have found this to be more and more true. 
When I started off I wanted a table of massive armies with at least a hundred figures/tanks.  I wanted tons of cruisers and battleships with lithe destroyers scouting the way.  I wanted companies creating grand movements and squadrons of ships going hither and yon. 

For those of you that do this that is great!  You obviously have more space, money, time and imagination than I have.  I have found that to have all these toys on the table not only costs a fair amount of coin, (please see my erudite piece on 15mm two posts ago) particularly for us solo gamers.  But it takes a lot of space if the toys are going to have room to manuver or lithly scout the way! 
                                                             Lithe DDs trying to scout!

Moreover it takes a lot of time!   Time to paint up all those hundreds of toys and time to set up and take down the grand battles.
Lastly is imagination.  I find that if I have 8 T-34s I am not too concerned if I lose 4 or 5 of them.  I will throw a company of infantry into the fray or a squadron of destoryers in harms way with little thought. (That is probably why I lose all the time!) 
I have found that if I have 1 T-34 I am very concerned about it's safety.  With a platoon of infantry or 3 destroyers every unit is important and I think carefully before I do anything.  Don't get me wrong, I still lose but it seems more fun.  I have also found that the battle seems more intement and personal.  You can't get attached to 8 tanks but you can to 1.  Of course Platoon Forward (and soon Squadron Forward and behind that Flotilla Forward) has helped me personalize my games as well.  

I have found that my smaller games have actually been my most enjoyable.  I still set up "big" games like Stalingrad or Savo Island and they are fun.  But the small games continue to surprise me by being fun way out of porportion to their size.  Take my last post, Sgt Smith runs for daylight.  The British had 2 sections and a mortar.  For me that was 5 bases total.  It ran 80 minutes and was a joy to play.

Lastly playing smaller games has allowed some weaker units to come to the fore.  I have had several coastal actions where a minesweeper was  the big man on the board!    In most naval games minesweeperer are an afterthought if a thought at all!  I have had some great games with jeeps and halftracks dueling it out!
                                                  A french armored car can indeed be king!

Don't get me wrong, I am not against the huge tables with thousands of figures or ships.  I have found for me that the smaller games actually give me more fun when actually playing them.  In addition, it allows me to savior some of my one eyed figures...


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sgt Smith runs for daylight

Things are moving along with Squadron Forward.   We are probably 2-3 weeks away!!  Think you will all love it.  Rich has changed the art work around to give it more of an internaitonal flavor.

Took a break from Squadron Forward, Vikings ( I play a fair amount of Leadership Matters, my variant of SAGA that I don't post as it does not generate much interest here. ) and manning for FY 2014 at my hospital to play a Platoon Forward game last weekend.  I chose my Desert Rat 1940 Platoon that has only had 1 battle.  You can read about it last November 2011.  One of the keys of Platoon Forward for me is it is sustainable.  By focusing on characters rather than a ridgid time sequence we can leave a platoon alone for 6 months and come back when I feel like it and pick right up. I don't have to play through a boring battle to get to the good stuff.

After the successful delaying action the platoon had been lucky to have seen little action for several days.   Sgt Smith had been running things with the Sergeant Majors help, not that there had bee much to run. He still felt bad for leaving the Leftenent.  No one in the platoon or comapny blamed him however.   He hurried over to the Major's bunker when summoned.  "Sgt, Eity made a mess of our minefields last attack.  The engineers are going out to repair it.  I would like you to take 2 sections out and keep any patrols from spoiling their fun, eh wot."

Sgt Smith  Optomistic/ position      Gr I             1st section
Cpl Egg Southcote   conformist/ weath    Gr II    2nd section
2in mtr

Mission   Screening   Engineers

Engineers are just off board to the south
There is a field to the right
What is your plan Sgt?

Sgt Smith decided to take his section and Egg's since Egg was a good leader and Crocket's boys had been through the wringer.  (morale down)   He place Egg on the left of the hill and himself with rifles and an ATR on the right of the hill with the bren in the field.

Pre game event gave the Italians extra "C" blinds but they rolled poorly.  They entered from the top right corner.

Sgt Smith gets the mtr going!

At first contact the Italians deployed their first truck and the Car started firing at the first section.

They laid down automatic fire which kept the Tommies heads down.  Then the bren gun jammed!  Sgt Smith, not hearing the gun firering moved down the hill into the field to assist.  Egg shifted his Bren team to fire but it was ineffective.

Seeing the fire slacken the Italians made their move.  The men from the first truck arose from the ravine and charged first section and the second truck sped for the field.

Italians pushing the leaderless rifles of 1st section
off the hill

Uninvited guests arrive!  That is Sgt Smith with the tommy gun

Sgt Smith retreats into the adobe house after rallying his bren team.  At this point a flare goes up signaling the engineers are done.  Mission accomplished!  Time to go home!

The Italians are rather insistant

 Egg collects 2nd section and leads then off the hill and starts to lay covering fire for 1st section.  ( I am concerned that we will be giving the Italians prisoners for the second time in two battles!)    The bren team is killed in the house while Sgt Smith escapes with a light wound.  He joins up with 3 riflemen who are left and things look bleak.  They managed to push back the Italians coming down the hill.


Sgt Smith runs for daylight!!

Sgt Smith sees the road 60 yards away and yells, " Come on lads" and runs like he had never run in his life.  All 4 tommies make it to the road where 2nd section is waiting thus ending a very exciting scenario!!

I got an ingame event that Sgt Smith impressed Cpl Egg so his great escape quickly makes the rounds and the tale growing taller by the hour.  Sgt Smith's popularity goes up by 1 to 2 but his skill as a leader stays at gr I as I missed my AKOT roll to get him upgraded which I thought was "possible".  My 2 prescribed events for the platoon are that the 4 men we lost this battle plus our bren gun will not be replaced (ouch)  and our new platoon leader show up.  SLt Richard Audley, straight from the academy.  Apparently the Audley's have fought in every war for the crown since 1812.  Unfortunalty Dicky did not learn much in school as he is a Gr I leader.   Should prove interesting...

For those of you that want to play this have the british have to hold the Italians for 6 turns then they can withdraw off the south edge of the table. They can not dig in as they have not been here long nor do they plan to stay.   The Italians have the following forces.

1  Sahara car
3 squads
1 Lt   Gr II     3 NCOs    1 Gr II    2 Gr I
2-3 trucks 



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Convoy CAP

Thank you for all the feedback on the "Defense of 15mm article".  Since the response was positive I will probably post some more opinion pieces. 
Squadron Forward continues to move forward.  Rich has had some computer issues and I have had some work issues but progress continues to be made!
Painted up my Saxon command group and managed a quick game of Squadron Forward/Bag the Hun this weekend which I thought I would report.  This is my Tomahawks 8th battle and they are doing reasonably well.  Their reputation is +1 and they have 4 pilots that have scored.

The mission for today was CAP over a convoy returning from Tobruk.  Sdr Ldr Puck Poole figured a flight of 4 could handle it and he would turn this one over to his deputy and get some paperwork done. To give Lt Thurlby a hand he would send the Flgt Sgt with him who was a very experience airman and well liked in the squadron. 
 Before the brief Lt Mason from wing HQ showed up and asked if he could tag along as he needed some flying hours.  Lt Thurlby gladly added him to the flight and figured this couldn't be too dangerous a mission if a wing staffer volunteered to go!!

Lt Thurlby  liberal               1 kill
Lt Mason  [NPC]
F/O  Charles    cultured     sprog

Flt Sgt Skinner      generous         2 kills     Vet
Sgt    Turnhill        Fanatic

After boring holes in the sky for several hours Lt Thurlby spotted some Italian bombers low moving in fast.    They worked there way around towards the back.

Tomahawks enter to the upper left

I can't afford 6 Italian bombers yet so there

are 3 bases!

This was a full effort on this convoy; 6 SM 79s and 6 CR 42s.    The Brits would have their hands full protecting the convoy today!  

As they closed they were spotted and the fighters nimbly turned to greet them.  Thurlby left Skinner up top to deal with the fighters while he took 2 to bore in on the bombers.   A general melee ensued.

Tomahawks starting out well

Lt Thulrby caused one bomber to abort.  Flght Sgt Skinner and Lt Mason each got a bomber.  Sgt Turnhill must have had his Tomahawk on emergency power too long because his engine started to overheat and he had to leave the battle. 
As the bombers dropped low to start their torpedo runs Lt Thurlby lined up for one more shot desperatley trying to defend the ships

The Convoy making the run back to Alexandria

A CR42 snuck up behind him and caused the Lt to temporarily lose control of the Tomahawk.   With 10,000 ft to play with he could have righted himself but at less than 500 ft the tomahawk smacked into the souless sea and exploded into a hundred pieces. 

3 SM 79s made torpedo runs.    The dice were with them as a minesweeper was badly damaged but later towed and

a small merchant ship was sunk

On the return flight Sgt Turnhill's engine didn't make it and he had to crash land the tomahawk.   The plane was destroyed and Turnhill WIA.   Hopefully he will be back soon.

I declared the mission a win barely.   The Italians only had 50% of the bombers get through despite a heavy escort of fighters.   Combat losses were 1 fighter for 1 bomber  plus a empty merchant.  We did not earn any cool points though.  Lt Thurlby was not replaced.  Puck does not want to promote the next ranking pilot to deputy, Flt Lt Attleburg, because he is not that good.  He suggested F/O Oldfield (vet pilot, ranking scorer in the sq with 3 kills) but the old man Grp Capt Randel was polite but said "no".  Since the RAF is very rank consious Attleburg will be acting deputy until Puck can figure something else out.  This is the kind of situations that Squadron Forward sets up for you!

For those of you that want to play this the Forces generated for the Italians were:

6 CR 42s with 2 veterans, 3 Avg and 1 rookie

6 SM 79s with torpedos

1 large merchant, 3 small merchants    1 V class DD,    2 MS    1 patrol boat