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, November 30, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving plus nautical fun!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  With so much family here I did not get to play a Combat Patrol.  (My relatives already think I am odd so I don't want to give them anymore ammo.)  Next weekend!   Did play the USS Enterprise vrs the Flambeau.  This is a free downloadable scenario from the Post Captain folks.  It also fits in well with the novel I am currently reading, The French Prize by James Nelson.
Not much lead into the scenario by me as I played it straight out of the tin!  ( Only difference is I did not use my D6 CRT.  The Flaumbeau has 8 pounders and the Enterprise has 6 pounders so the difference here is important.  Each hex still 50 yards.)

USS Enterprise cruising the Caribbean looking for Frenchies!

The French privateer Flambeau. 

The ships close.  Flambeau has the weather gauge but shots miss.

Flambeau's best shot.  Cannon balls flying down the length of the Enterprise kill 16 men and 8 marines. 

Enterprise tries a stern rake as Flambeau prepares to tack.  The shots hit home.  With a third of her hull damaged the French Captain (cowardly) decides to open up the range to 500 yards.

USS Enterprise smells blood in the water. (so to speak)

The Flambeau turns on her pursuer but the shots fail to make any apparent damage.

The Enterprise scores a critical hit on the Frenchman's chains.  The mainmast falls!

With her reduced speed the Enterprise is able to rake the Frenchman at will.  To save further bloodshed the Frenchman strikes his colors. 

Good game that played fast. I do wonder about the design decision to give both ships only two boxes of guns rather than rounding up to three. ( In PC each box is 3 guns; both of these ships had 8. ) Post Captain is easy to play solitaire with the sequential movement. Another thing I like is the system won't let you fight to the death.  Even if you don't have Post Captain you should go over to Old Dominion Gameworks and download the 4 scenarios.  
Next week; Combat Patrol!



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Combat Patrol-- First Impressions

I have been a die hard Troops Weapons and Tactics fan for years.  I will occasionally play Chain of Command (which I playtested).  When I heard about Combat Patrol I wasn't too interested.  How many tactical WW II games come out with "realistic tactics but simple mechanisms".  I had purchased Mr Surdu's small craft ( Naval) rules and had not liked them.  Then I saw his two videos about Combat Patrol and became interested.  They are well done and really explain the system well.  I took the plunge!  Here is my report as always given with a background story and scenario.  (I had already played 3 skirmish scenarios to get the feel of it.)

The Americans were on the offensive in Tunisia!  Lt Powers' platoon was held back to exploit success once the main line was cracked.  Old Georgie Patton had learned a lot of the German way of war.  ( In Platoon Forward I rolled up a Breathrough scenario!)  His men had haftracks and armor to race 2 miles and capture a supply cache/HQ.  Powers naturally knew he was up for the challenge.  He hoped he could capture a German Colonel!

Lt Powers  Gr I leader  Cocky/technology    Son of a Senator
Sgt Kline  Gr 0  Bumbling/pleasure  (just joined the platoon due to Sgt Bustamanti's demise.)  BAR broke last battle and has not been replaced yet. 
Sgt Nolan  Gr I  optomisitc/position  (mechanic before the war)
Sgt Sawyer  Gr 0 Pleasant/ knowledge
1 Stuart, 1 Lee, 1 halftrack with 75mm.
All US forces are considered green.  (This makes a big difference in the game as it functionally gives you a column shift when firering.

Lead Stuart moving up the road.   Black markers are potential German positions.  HQ at top of picture


Americans rubble forward near a tin of dice

A German armored car fires from across the board.  It misses but infantry quickly dismount.  You can see everyone gets their own die.  At first I thought it would be annoying but I actually like it.  In big battles, like this one, I don't have to remember which German squad is the second vice first.

The US tank destroyer moves into some woods hoping to get a shot.  This game has a clever mechanism for vehicles moving across rough ground.  You use the (now familiar) fireing mechanism to attack the vehicle.  If successful it stops movement till next turn.

Germans move towards a house hoping to set up the ATR.

Part of second squad gets to the same house just a little faster.  The grenade rules work very well and are fast to resolve.  The US sends the German's packing back to HQ.  As casualties occur the unit acquires "morale chits".  When the unit is next activated it must resolve all of it's chits. 

Sgt Nolan enters a house just as German reinforcements show up.  The Germans roll really well and get a Stug and 2 squads with Gr I leaders.

An infantry battle erupts to the side of the HQ.  Here is Sgt Kline's men sans BAR team. The card/die activation system is more elegant than I thought. For example, you can add several blue cards to the deck if one side is generally more skilled.  I added two cards to the deck to represent the better training of the Afrika Korps.  Thus on a blue "4" only German troops can activate.  This came up a couple of times and German tanks got several extra shots off without being rated elite.  A truly simple approach to show differences in training/experience.
Sgt Nolan had cleared both buildings through melee.  Melee is interesting in that you break it down to individual combats and then "dice off" each one.  This  part is a little clunky and I might have to work on it.
Note the three pebbles in front of the building.  Those are those morale chits I talked about.  As a Gr I leader Sgt Nolan will remove one automatically and then have to take 2 morale checks.  Meanwhile Sgt Sawyer attempts to move up.  He received several pebbles from a German MG and his squad retreated.

The Germans attempt to storm Sgt Nolan's position but are forced to retreat.  Their NCO was killed thus the unit becomes pinned.  A pinned unit only can use black cards.  This is a nice way to simulate confusion until the unit sorts itself out.  I had a Pz III who had their leader incapacitated by a non penetrating round.  As they sat there pinned the American TD blew them up.

After the fighting.  The German LT gets hit pinning the Jerry LMG.  The other squad is down to 4 men.  Time to retreat!  We did get two truck loads of supplies off though.

Great game that played fast solitaire.  The platoon is inspired by Lt Powers so he gets a brilliant commander card.  This of course will make his head swell even bigger.  He does put Sgt Nolan in for a Bronze Star but it is denied by Capt Shaffer to show Powers who is in charge of the Company.  ( Maybe a skype session with dad?)

For those of you that want to try the scenario the Germans started out with 1 PSW 222, 1 squad with ATR and Gr III leader. (The captain).  Two trucks of supplies that will start to roll on turn three.
Reinforcements were a Stug and two squads with one Gr I and a Gr 0 leader.  They also get a Gr I LT.  I generated a random reinforcement ( Platoon Forward is never dull!) of a Pz III on turn 6.

I highly recommend Combat Patrol.  It really is fast and fun.  As you know I have never met a set of rules I haven't changed (except for Post Captain) so here are my house rules for now:
1.  At the end of the turn all morale chits are resolved.  ( Had several instances where we wanted to charge but had to wait around to see how their morale was going to go.)
2.German LMG always has 3 shots if fully crewed.  ( Only has two at short range.)
3.Half the scale for 15mm.
4. The Garand doesn't get two shots.  Make it one and they can re draw misses.
5.  Gr I leaders add 1 to their sequence roll.
6.  Gr II leaders add 1 to their sequence roll and shift fire one to the left.
7. Gr III leaders add 2 to their sequence roll and shift fire one to the left
8.  A unit without a leader of some type has an automatic sequence roll of "1".
9. Due to #5-8 we need to change the sequence deck.  It now has one "1" card ( instead of two), Two cards for numbers 2-5 ( no change) and three cards for number 6 ( one added).  So now better leaders have a better chance to activate more often.

It is a tribute to Buck's game that it can take these changes and still play smooth.  Thanks Buck for a great game system.  Happy to playtest anything else you have that is similar. 




Saturday, November 7, 2015

Flying a desk

Finally took a break from the land and sea and went back to Squadron Forward.  One of the things I like about the Forward system is that once I pick up the squadron's sheet I can look at my notes and I am right back to playing even if it has been 9 months.  My Headhunter's hadn't seen action since the beginning of the year and I didn't miss a beat.

Maj John Lightning wasn't happy.  Col Birch, his boss, felt his squadron wasn't pulling it's weight and John suspected that the Colonel thought John was a big part of the problem.  The last mission, John hadn't flown, while the squadron was tangling with some Tony's and Bettys 2 P-47s had shown up and scored more than the lightnings combined. 

John was going to lead a patrol over the islands and protect the army boys. 

Maj Lightning      Coarse/ Enginering    Vet      West Point
Lt Paul Adkins    Scholarly/ position     Vet      mustang
2Lt "Bone" Nixon  Scholarly/ religion          dead eye
Lt "Porky" Greenway  Aggressive/ revenge     green

Maj Lightning would take Bone while Paul took Porky. 

Lightning and Bone

Maj Lightning sights a lone Japanese bomber escorted by two Tony's.   He couldn't believe his luck.  Must be a photo recon.  

John manuvered his fighters through some clouds and got behind the bomber.

John fired a long burst from medium range and the bomber went spinning out of control!  This left 2 Tony's against 4 P-38s.  Tony's decided to run.

Run Tony run!
Unfortunately these Japs were good.  One flew into a cloud  and Lt Adkins flew past!

One evaded John...
and managed to take a shot at Porky!  Fortunately it was minor damaged. 

John was disappointed that both Tony's escaped.  Probably deemphasize that in the report he thought!

Fun quick game!  Col Birch was neutral to the report.  Porky gained "average" status.  Col Birch also likes the way Lt Adkins handles himself.  If Birch promotes Adkins John better watch out- he might be flying a desk!