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, December 17, 2017

Release the Hounds Version 2

My Coastal rules "Release the Hounds" has been dormant for a year now.  ( Several people have asked about them on TMP and I have chickened out and not answered.)  I was done with them but couldn't get around to publishing them.  Something was bothering me.  I was finally honest with myself; the end game dragged.  Don't get me wrong, no worse than other sets I have played but there were still too many misses, too many calculations when the shots hit.  I thought I had streamlined it but apparently not enough.  I loved the searching, initial contact and the command and control.  But once you decided to either hammer away or chase it dragged.
Now part of this is my understanding of naval combat.  Despite first hand accounts hits are rare and while you can have the catastrophic hit, you still wear down the enemy through attrition.  So I want the odd critical hit with a massive fire or flooding but I have to account for attritional damage.  I also hate hull boxes and the like; minimal bookkeeping!
I had a eureka moment while reading a book about the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. ( Go figure!)  I still keep a familiar "to hit" sequence since it is quick but once you hit calculations are non existent.  If you don't hit, which happens often, you are done; either way it has been much quicker and has not dragged in my 3 mini playtests.   So now here is my report of a full blown game complete with unknown forces for the german player.   I didn't add characters because I am still concentrating on mechanics of the rules; mainly the combat routine, as I am happy with everything else.

1944 Off the Coast of Occupied Holland.   Visibility 3Kyrds Sea state 2 ( didn't want to confuse things even though I rolled a sea state 3)

British on Interception patrol with 2 MTBs and 1 Elco 77 MTB    All Average crews and leaders


German forces are 1 M 40 Minesweeper, 2 Merchants and 1 "B" blind and 4 "C" blinds.

Starting out each turn is approximately 2 minutes and each hex is 200 yards.  British enter bottom right.  First blind in range is middle of the board.

First blind through the dark night becomes....

A R-boat! 

British engage the R-Boat.   Lead MTB rolls independent action and decides to take out the minesweeper.  ( not a bad thought actually)  Merchantmen not sighted yet. 

2nd "C" blind on the starboard side gets upgraded and revels a KFK.  Slow but better armed than the early R-boats.

At this point; 10 minutes into the engagement the first R-boat is wreaked.  The KFK is moving up to support.  A r-boat from the far side is ready to engage.  #2 and 3 boats are moving forward looking for merchants.  #2 has taken some damage and it's forward 2 pounder is disabled.  #1 is ready to launch torpedoes at the minesweeper.  He has missed the 4 inch guns so far. 

MTB #1 releases 2 fish at the Minesweeper.  They go undetected but miss!

A lucky hit starts a fire on one of the Rahm boats.

16 minutes into the action.  #2 and 3 have sighted the merchantman and are headed their way.  The German escorts are trying to stop them.  #1 is now turning away from teh minesweeper.

#2 takes his shot!

A glancing blow!  heavy damage and flooding only!  Still aircraft should find her in the morning.

The Elco from 2K yrds out does better.  Wreaked with flooding and a fire.  Damage control puts out the fire but not the flooding.  She sinks an hour later!

Heading for home!   The elco turns on the speed.   #2 is caught and shredded by multiple 20mm guns from various ships.  She stops and will eventually sink.  #1 ( not pictured) has heavy damage and a fire from a near miss from a 4 inch shell.  She manages to put out the fire and sneak away. 

Final tally
British lose 1 Dogboat with 1 heavily damaged.  I Elco damaged
Germans 1 medium Merchant sunk, 1 Small merchant wrecked, 1 R-boat sunk, 1 R-boat wrecked, 1 KFK damaged

More importantly the game played smooth the whole time and didn't bog down.  Combat might be a tad deadly but for small boats I think that is okay.   Will need some more playtesting and will have to have some Destroyer action to see how it scales up but so far so good.



Monday, December 11, 2017

Zaire 1994

As many of you are aware I am putting together a scenario pack of battles in the Congo.  The central part will be a linked campaign with the French intervention in Kolwezi but there is plenty more action in the Congo.  I finally got my french tracks from QRF so wanted to try them out.  So playtested a multi player scenario which stretches the truth just a little.  There were multiple uprising in Zaire (Mobutu's name for the Congo) during the 90's and several entered teh capital city.  The Zairian 31st Paratrooper Brigade sided with the rebels so often during this decade they were nicknamed "The People's Army" by some and Mobutu canceled their training and new equipment.  What if the paratroopers were successfully enough they actually threatened Mobutu?  Would the French have intervened? The French had forces in Rwanda in the 90's.   So... here the rebels backed by paratroopers storm the palace.  Mobutu has hired several white mercenaries as personal body guards and has his palace guards.  The french have decided to prop him up and are racing to the palace.   Three or Four players can play.

The presidential palace.  The French must enter from the left.
Mobutu with a ceremonial guard and armored car.

Close up

The rebels/paratrooper enter
Meanwhile a roadblock to keep any pesky french at bay!

My QRF IFV shows up but the way is barred

Loyalist armored car goes to work

Paratroopers pinned down

Rebels us numbers to charge the armored car.   Loyalist shooting is poor.

Bad time to be in an armored car!

Meanwhile, the french have to clear the building to clear the road
They succeed but it takes precious time!

The rebels enter the palace.  Mobutu and his body guards retreat upstairs.  The palace guard fight briefly then split!

Things are not looking good for Mobutu and his guards!  But wait!  They hear renewed gunfire outside the palace.  The French have arrived and are battling the paras outside. 

The LRAC goes after the tank.  It bounced but caused the tank to flee; almost as good!

The french charge the palace but are driven back with 3 wounded.  They retreat to an apartment building overlooking the palace grounds.  There will be no rescue without an additional french squad.

Emboldened the rebels charge up the stairs ( house rule no more than 5 men can charge up at one time).  The fighting is fierce but the rebels are driven back down the stairs with Mobutu sustaining a light wound.   Mobutu is saved for the time being and tactically it is a win for Mobutu and the guards.  The french and rebels both lose ( The palace guards draw).  Strategically it is a draw as whoever reinforces first will win.

Great game!  Will give the french player either an armored car or a second squad next time.