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.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Battle in the bamboo Trang Luc

Wargames Illustrated liked my African scenario.  They invited my down for a photoshoot of the battle; too bad I moved from England 3 years ago.  I would have loved that!   Playtested the 3rd scenario for my Kolwezi mini campaign and have 80% of the history written. Still have to play the french incursion into the rebel shanty town several times.  Should be cool as there will be a chance for hostages and Belgian paratroopers!
Unfortunately for my project I started reading SLA Marshal's Three Battles.  It is a typical Marshal book and I enjoy them.  I know it is vogue to be against Marshal and his ideas now but just because his research might not be as righteous as it should be that doesn't mean the man got it all wrong.
It is a good book and really gets to the frustrations of war in Vietnam.  So far I don't think it would make a good mini campaign though as the battles are too similar.  I am thinking Hue or something up on the DMZ for that but we will see.
So had to pull out my 1st Cav and have a go.  I rolled up "Ambush" on the scenario table but really wanted to due a Village Sweep.  It took me forever to get the right feel for this scenario when designing it as you know but I really enjoy it now.  My 1st Cav is a seasoned platoon.  Last battle Sgt Lawrence of 2nd squad was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on the hills over Ty Nuegn.  That is the first time I have actually had a medal awarded in the many battles I have played-cool.  1st Squad is led by Sgt Davis.  He is a great combat leader who says little but knows 18 ways to kill you.  His squad is the best in the company.  You have heard about 2nd squad.  third squad has had Sgt Douglas at the helm for 2 battles since the demise of Sgt Colton.  He is green but holding his own.  the squad hasn't made a decision on him yet.

They sat sweating around Capt Jaroze.  "How could it be so hot and humid here?" thought Lt McSwain.  " Mark, while the company moves toward the village you take your platoon and check out the huts located on our left over the stream."  said Capt Jaroze.   And with that the die is cast thought Mark. 
Lt Mark McSwain    Optomistic/ movies           Gr II
SSgt Davis   1st squad ( 8/10 )   meek/ wealth    Gr III BL
Sgt Douglas 3rd squad ( 8/8)   Jovial/ wealth     Gr I

The village of Trang Luc.  Lt McSwain decides to approach from opposite ends.  Sgt Davis will land on the far side  ( bottom right ) as he can act independently.  Mark will accompany 3rd squad as they are the weakest squad ( Top left) .  2nd squad will be reserve and watch the packs.  Th object is to search the 4 tokens ( picked them up at Historicon) before turn 8.

The village with two of the search sites.

SSgt Davis lands with his squad on a cold LZ.

As first squad approaches the hamlet they spot Charlie moving up to greet them!

The day grows worse.  I use the booby trap cards from ambush valley.  Since I play solitaire I draw them when played ( they got D4 cards).  Here a cool bunker opens up from the swamp outside the hamlet!  Fortunately they can't hit the broad side of a huey.  ( Use Combat Patrol for firering.)

End of turn two.  First squad has one fireteam in hut middle right of picture.  they beat Charlie to the building but the bunker is pounding the hut and they now have one serious WIA.  SSgt Davis has reached the hedge with the rest of the squad and they are advancing towards the nearest hut to search and lay down fire.  Sgt Douglas' fireteam on point is pinned by fire from Charlie in the hut at the top of the picture.  Lt McSwain has a LMG firering as he moves the other half squad into the trees.

Also use Force on Force Fog of War cards and received this huey with door guns.  Unfortunately it didn't do much  but look cool. 

SSgt Davis searches the first hut and finds some civilians.  These ladies are are guests from africa!  they are interrogated ( as per Grunt Forward ) as best as Davis can and offer no information.

Meanwhile, Sgt Douglas tries to rally his fireteam (note new pinned marker in red) while a medic works on the second WIA for the US forces.

The other fireteam under PFC Shackle ( Gr I ) makes it through the trees to Charlie.  A spirited firefight erupts culminating in the fireteam carrying the foxholes via assault. 

Meanwhile, Sgt Douglas has finally moved the fireteam to the nearest hootch. 

Two men search the well while Sgt Douglas fires from teh hootch.    They find nothing. 

End of turn six.  Sgt Douglas and one fireteam are in the hootch nearest the stream.  they continue to fire with minimal effect on the uppermost building to support the other fireteam.  The other fireteam under PFC Shackles suffers another serious WIA and is forced out of the foxholes back into the jungle.  SSgt Davis has pulled his other fireteam back to his position behind the hedge away from the enemy bunker. Their WIA is resting waiting for the medic. He knows they have to search this village before Charlie pull the good stuff out.  Charlie has been reinforced by a LMG and half squad upper right.  Davis leaves his two lightly wounded to lay down fire and crawls towards the target hootch.
Suddenly a Huey gunship appears overhead.  Unbeknownst to SSgt Davis, the LT had called this in to rocket the target hootch to break up Charlies defense.  He would have targeted the uppermost building but was afraid of friendly fire on Shackle.  
The huey roars in firering rockets...

Hootch destroyed!!  
With both NVA squads badly bruised ( 6 total KIA) the enemy slips away to fight again. 
Really fun battle.  An glad I bought MBAs vietnamese village.  I love the look it gives.  While the platoon did get 3 of the 4 markers within 8 turns I called the battle a draw.  Plus side was 3 markers and 6 enemy KIA + 1 slightly wounded vrs 3 serious WIA plus 2 slightly wounded. Down side was they found nothing of value in the village and had to use rockets to blow up a hootch. 

Post battle PFC Shackle is put in for a medal and it is denied.  3rd squad takes a morale check and they stay neutral towards Sgt Douglas.  Finally Capt Jaroze is pleased and promises an extra LMG for next missions. 
For those of you who want to try this out Grunt's Forward generated this for Charlie;
NVA (8/10)
2 squads of 8 men + 1 RPG plus 2 SLs that were Gr II.  1 hidden bunker with LMG and Gr II leader.  Reinforcements were 1 LMG team with Gr I leader and a fireteam of 4 rifles without leader. 





  1. Damn, somehow I missed this one! Well, that was a rip-roaring good time, and a helluva fight. I can't help but notice that your troops and table get better looking every time I see them. Cool stuff Joe, I hope you stay with these guys for a bit.


  2. Loved this Joe ! Great looking table. Well written AAR.

  3. Jimmi la and Jack,
    Thank you all for the complements. Yes I think my modeling skills continue to improve. I really think so now because with my two WI articles they requested more pictures. More pictures of my stuff in a magazine! Thank you both. Jack, you know I can't stay with one war for more than one or two battles at a time!