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, February 25, 2018

Peter pig watch tower/ Ruf/Puf base attack

Finally painted up a watch tower I bought from Peter Pig over a year ago.  I have always liked Martin's stuff as it is good quality for a fair price.  It can be challenging for a skirmish gamer because if I need 1 bazooka man I have to buy a pack of 8 so I normally get my weapon teams elsewhere.  But for bulk forces and leaders ( if skirmish games have "bulk forces") his stuff is good and he is my go to for infantry.  ( I confess I like Flashpoint for Vietnam as well.)
I think my modeling/painting skills are getting better over time so I tried to trick the tower out.  I added a MG and a tin roof.  The roof is removable to get at the figures.  It is obviously made with cardboard and toothpicks.   I was pretty chuffed with myself.
So to try out the tower I needed a base attack. Force on force has some neat rules for night fighting and rules specific to the vietnam war.  For instance VC function as if they have night vision googles because they are familiar with the terrain and constantly train for night fighting. Thus when I play you really are desperate to get some type of illumination up over your free world troops to help level the playing field.   After all, Charlie owns the night.
IV corp 1969.
A main road through the province has a key bridge that is protected by a small station of regional forces.  The local Viet Cong are going to blow the bridge and conduct a spoiling attack on the compound to cover the activity of the sappers.  Their secondary goals are to destroy the bunker,  flagpole and guard tower.  There is a US marine base not far with 105s on call and QRF available.

 The bridge, station and local environs at night.  VC set up.  ARVN can attempt to spot 3 hexes away as per FoF rules.  Sapper team coming down main road.  VC have two assault teams that will attempt to infiltrate both corners off the secondary road.   There is 2 man security patrol patrolling around perimeter of base for ARVN.

The ARVN station.  My watch tower on the left.  Ironically, the figure in the tower is a Resistant Rooster Japanese soldier painted as ARVN with a soft cap.  Flagpole made from a coffee stirrer. 
   It's the little things like custom dice!

75mm on overwatch waiting for ARVN to react!   They don't. 

The South Vietnamese fail all their spotting rolls so the VC slip into camp.
Sappers planting charges at bridge.
Team two slips through the wire.  You can just see the ARVN patrol walking.  ( Peter Pig figures)

The scene when Arvn finally sounds the alarm.  The patrol at top sees team two in the wire and fires shots.  The guard in the tower shouts a warning but doesn't release his flare before he is pinned down. 
The VC move swiftly.  1 man tackles the flag pole while team one rushes to the tower base. 
Team two storms the bunker!  The 2 man Bar team fight valiantly but they are quickly overwhelmed. 

As bad as the ARVN spotting rolls were the VC set charges roll now become.  In the excitement it becomes much harder to do than in practice!
The ARVN officer gets illumination rounds overhead and accurate fire erupts from the blockhouse. A competent NCO (Gr II) leads a 4 man team out towards the tower.
  The NCO leads his team and they actually push team one back when the VC moral fails.  ( Go figure I played ARVN 6/6 and VC 6/8) 

To make matters worse...
US marines arrive.  Even though a LCpl is shot dead jumping to the ground their fire is accurate and deadly. 
With the sappers done at the bridge Charlie realizes it is time to go home and they pull back.

The withdraw is sped up at the VC keep failing their morale checks.    The bridge blows 10 minutes later!

Fun game with very few casualties.  ARVN lost only 4 KIA, US 1, VC 6.  VC scored 5 points for the bridge plus 2 for the bunker with 7 total for the win.  ARVN picked up 2 a piece for the tower and flag.  In retrospect I either need to have the bridge better guarded with a standing sentry or reduce it's points.  I think I will put a light at both ends and a 2 man team.



Monday, February 19, 2018

Plain of reeds 1952

Finally felt compelled to play Force on Force!  I got a USMC buffalo and USA greyhound for Christmas with the idea of equipping my french/ARVN force in Vietnam.  The french called the Buffalo with the 75mm howitzer the "alligator".  It looks really cool so I felt compelled to paint it up.  I should have bought some weasels which the french called "crabs".  Oh well, next time.
I don't have a french platoon for indochina and didn't roll one up. The french platoons were large with 15 person squads.  I think I will stick to my ARVN platoon long term. I did roll up the backgrounds of the legionnaire NCOs though because they are always interesting.  I didn't roll a scenario and just decided on "Hammer Dawn" straight out of Grunts Forward.  This would be a water borne assault with one squad of ARVN coming in on the side so I could use my new greyhound. 

Mission brief straight out of Grunts Forward:  "Our intelligence has found the enemy!  Your platoon has been selected to make a surprise attack on a rebel hideout.  While destruction of the enemy is important, it they run away another platoon will be there to catch them.  Your job is to capture officers and supplies."

French/ARVN forces
2 squads of 12 men each   1 LMG team and 9 semi automatic rifles.  1 NCO with SMG.  8/10
1st squad SL Gr I french orphaned and joined the legion at 15. ASL  Gr II Dutch ran away from rich parents who didn't even know he was gone. 
2nd squad  SL Gr II french jilted lover   ASL Gr I Welsh  former commonwealth soldier looking for excitement. 
Sous-Lt  Gr III   and medic
1 Alligator
1 80mm mtr across river
1 Arvn squad modeled on french with 12 men including LMG ( BAR)   6/8
Gr II SL     Gr I ASL
1 Greyhound

 A collection of huts too small to have a name on french maps.  Water at the bottom right.   Road top left.   Not only is the enemy unknown in this scenario but there are three target unknowns clustered at the center of the board. They represent caches of equipment and maybe a HQ if we are lucky.  Goal is to get to those as fast as possible!  Lt will move with first squad ( one with the poor SL) across rice paddies towards jungle while squad 2 takes the huts and hill in the center.    Arvn squad will enter and also make for the hill in the center.  ( Lt not counting on ARVN squad.)

 As legionaries approach the fields 3 peasants drop their rakes and pick up guns! 
 Meanwhile the seaborne troops land.
 and move towards the huts.   Fire erupts from the jungle.  1 man goes down. 
 ARVN hears the firering and slows down.
 Meanwhile, in the jungle.   " Load as much rice as you can!  Hurry Comrade!"

 The legionaries make it to the first hut but take 2 casualties.  Resistance is heavy in the "village." 
 Mid battle:   1st squad (left) has made slow progress but with the help of fire from the alligator is carrying the paddies.  The alligator is immobilized from a recoiless shot from the hill on the right.  French mortar fire from across the river drove the rifle team off the hill.  The manuver section of second squad led by our Welshman is in the hut but they are just holding their own.  No thought of advancing towards the hill.  The support section of 2nd squad has been laying down fire into the village. ARVN creeps towards the center hill. 

 1st squad carrying the paddies.  The explosion is from the alligator.  While this looks good for the papers they were held up by 3 peasants (6/8) with bolt action rifles! 

Something a Greyhound can blow up!    A cart full of rice races for freedom.   The greyhound missed but ARVN rifle fire convinced the drivers to bail out. 

 Cool random event gave the french a vehicle reinforcement.   So I chose....  ( sorry about the river edge, I didn't even notice that during the game, fancy that.)
 The 2 surviving members of the VM recoiless rifle crew see the rivercraft.  Too good a target to pass up.
 Bullseye!   ( It sank the craft but after the game I realized I used stats for a 75mm rifle ( medium) not a 57mm rifle which I presume would be light.  I guess it was a lucky critical hit. 
 The french officer comes over to see what is taking second squad so long... ( Plus another shot of my cool alligator!)
The French get to the rice cache and fire at the retreating VM.  The two peasants in the background are entering a tunnel to escape. 

A lot of fun!   I actually had to remember how to play FoF as I hadn't played since November.  Technically this was a french win as they prevented the rice from leaving but they were slow and ironically it was ARVN that stopped the rice.   French had 3 KIA, 1 seriously wounded IH and 1 WIA.  The river craft was sunk ( I guess) and the alligator damaged.  The VM had 6 KIA.  Great fun and am thinking of using ARVN marines as they used french equipment including the alligator.  For those of you that want to try this Platoon Forward generated the following forces:
VM regulars 8/10
1 squad of 9 with semi automatic weapons.  1 SL Gr III
1 LMG team
1 half squad of 5 men  Gr I leader
2 snipers
1 57mm recoiless rocket team
Irregulars 6/8
2 security teams on alert at start with 3 men each. 



Saturday, February 10, 2018

Chariots in SAGA

Sorry for the delay in posting.    Real life has kept me busy.   Have gotten in a few games of Wing Leader and am still enjoying it.  Have been painting up some Picts for Saga.  [ for those of you that are waiting for modern stuff, I have on my table 3 East German T-55s but my first attempt at East German camouflage looks off so I am trying to figure out why.] 
Back to SAGA.  I wanted to incorporate chariots as more than just taxis.  Earlier in Britain and Gaul they gave the Romans some problems and they look cool.  In my reading it appears the light chariots would ride up and harrass the legions with javalins and this was very effective.  When both sides closed the primary would dismount and fight on foot.  If he needed to escape the chariot would magically arrive to wisk him away.  Caesar accounts that the chariots were good in all kinds of terrain and could charge up hills with ease.  Now before someone shouts, "ahistorical" may I remind you that SAGA currently has rules for packs of trained attack dogs!  My thoughts on rules for chariots with SAGA:
1.  Costs 1 point and you get an elite unit of 4 chariots.  They are armed with javelins but are trained in melee as well.  They move as mounted units but suffer no adverse affects from uneven terrain similar to camels.  A warband is limited to 1 unit of chariots.
2.  AC is 5 for shooting and Melee.
3. They generate 2 dice in melee and 1 for shooting.  If they shoot the target unit will automatically sustain 1 fatigue regardless of casualty generation ( or not).  [ This simulates their tactics of softening up the Romans with javelins which apparently was unnerving.]
4.  If the chariots disengage from melee they get to move "L".

So... how did it go?

5 point battle with Picts engaging the Romans at the edge of a settlement.  Also wanted to use my Maniballista.  Here I changed a rule so it activates as an elite unit but takes 3 fatigue to exhaust as do all units. ( SAGA v2)

Star of the show for today!  4 chariots is too crowded so each stand counts as 2.

Co-star of the show.  Rocks are my fatigue markers. 
Picts advance while the Roman cavalry move up to try to neutralize the chariots. 
With the Romans jittery the Picts attack.  they are slightly embarrassed that their bases aren't painted yet.  The result is mutual destruction.

The Roman Calvary drive off the chariots; destroying one.  [ actually the soldiers are dismounting here to fight but it is more practical to just leave the chariots on the table.]

Unfortunately for the Romans, the Pictish horsemen are fresh and destroy the Romans! 

The Romans are now left with one group of legionaires (warriors) some skirmishers and their cool big crossbow.  ( which actually did well as it was able to fire at the advancing Picts because we gave it a good long field of fire.}  The Picts still have 3 chariots which can run circles around the legion, horsemen and 1 group of warriors...

This is not good!!!

I thought the game played well.  SAGA is always fun; it clearly is a game not a simulation. My modern squads would love to have the command and control that my SAGA commander has.   Since I know little about the dark ages it doesn't bother me. 
I think the chariot rules worked well and they are not too strong.  I like that they generate the fatigue as it is different and I believe it reflects what occurred.  Once you get them in melee they are nothing special.  Couple more plays will tell.  If anyone else uses these rules please give me some feedback.

Promise I will get to either Europe or Iraq soon!