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.

Friday, December 21, 2018

OLtzS " Bobbi" Walther's bold adventure 1940

Continue to tinker with Cruel Seas and, after being spurred on by discussions about my somnolent Flotilla Forward decided to dust that off and play a Raid scenario.
For Cruel Seas have done the tweaks I suggested in my last post but for twin MGs I add +1 point of damage instead of adding an additional die.  ( I have also decreased all guns damage by 1 die).  This gives the boats more staying power.  I am still working on my critical hits chart and the correct frequency.
For Flotilla Forward no changes, I just played it straight out of the box.  I decided to use an S boat flotilla #2 based in Zeebrugge.  They have only been on 2 missions but plenty has happened.  They have sunk a mine sweeper and large merchant ship but their reputation has not spread yet. { Like Squadron Forward, people behave the way you expect.  If your Flotilla is bad ass then your folks will be more inclined to do great things.} 2 Characters have emerged from the 6 boat captains.  Lt zur See Jannewein is a former enlisted sailor who is gruff and ticks many people [ non player characters} off and Lt zur See Wehneit is just plain reckless.  On the last mission Wehneit "failed to see" the withdraw signal from the CO and pressed on with his torpedo attack that eventually failed.  OLt zur See Klaus read him the riot act and has threatened court martial if his eye sight ever fails again!

  In both Squadron Forward and Flotilla Forward I tend to rotate the mission lead between the CO and XO.  So this mission will be lead by OberLt zur See "Bobbi" Walther.  "Bobbi" is also a former enlisted man and his boat sank the freighter.   His mission is "raid".  He has to enter a small harbor and create a diversion for 3 turns ( 10 minutes) so some spy stuff elsewhere on the coast can occur.  Bobbi chooses to take a second boat along which will add a third blind to the English but 2 boats is safer and he knows we wont' be able to sneak in and out of the harbor because he has to cause a ruckus.  Feeling sorry for his former fellow enlisted sailor he tells OLT Klaus he wants to take Jannewein along.  Jannewein is gruff but a good man under fire.  Klaus agrees but adds, " You can take Wehneit too if you promise to leave him there."


OLT z See Walther    Careful/ Govt                 Avg ldr      Avg crew      S-38
Lt z See Jennewein     glum/ Govt       -1         Avg ldr      Avg crew      S-38

An S boat underway

Visibility is just under 2 miles.  Sea is calm with slight breeze blowing to the south.

Game commences 3 miles from the port.

E-boats approach 3 blinds.  2 Ds ( 80% small boats) and 1 C ( 80% modest boat)

One of the "D" blinds spots the germans and turns out to be a vosper.  I don't have any vospers in 1/600 so I substitute a Fairmile B. The other 2 blinds end up being just fog.

     The crew is on high alert  as they are within 3 miles of the port.  All eyes strain for enemy boats.
Suddenly shots are fired off the port bow!  Bobbi's boat takes minor damage.  He see a Fairmile through the darkness with a 3 pounder taking shots at him.  "Showtime!" he tells his chief and orders full speed ahead.

The s-boats approach the harbor.  Each hex is 100 yards.
Bobbi steers toward starboard hoping to use a squall to shield him from the ports guns and the fairmile.

Jennewein and the Fairmile trade shots.  Jennewein's antenna is destroyed.  Unbeknownst to the germans the Fairmile suffers engine damage.

Bobbi's boat enters the safety of the rain and he cuts speed to combat.  He knows Jennewein is experienced enough to do the same but in the rain his partner sounds closer and off to port.  He tries to raise him on the shortwave with no success.

Bobbi is through the rain and in the harbor!
He lays down smoke as shore batteries open up from both sides of the harbor.  "10 minutes chief!"
He sees some tanks on shore and orders his gunners to open up.   He is pleased as he sees hits register.

Staying at combat speed he makes a circuit of the harbor battling gun batteries as he goes.
Lt Jennewein ends up battling the Fairmile.  Bobbi sees his friend taking damage but doesn't realize how bad it is.  Jennewein's ships drops below 2/3rds damage which automatically means he can't go above combat speed.
Bobbi orders full speed as they reach the harbor entrance...
And after several minutes realizes his friend is unable to keep up.  Fortunately the smoke works and the ports guns remain silent and the fairmile can't keep up.  Their bold mission succeeds!  [ Actually you already know the Fairmile had engine damage as well and the port's 3 pounder actually malfunctioned at a most inopportune time! ]

Post battle Bobbi and his crew miss their rolls to increase to veteran status. But the actual Flotilla commander Fregatkaptain Froshler notices Bobbi and is impressed.  Also the unit's reputation increases to "1".  Both boats have major damage.  Bobbi's is repaired in time for the next mission but Jennewein's is not.

Great game that again played quick.   The rules continue to play smooth.  I realized I will need a critical hit chart for land targets as well.    Flotilla Forward played well also.  I think it is 75% there.  I might see if Warlord is interested.




Friday, December 14, 2018

Pinky's great adventure with Cruel Seas

I have tinkered with a set of coastal rules for 3 years now.  They were fun but not great fun which is why I didn't pursue publishing them.  Also have a campaign system, Flotilla Forward, waiting for a great set of tactical rules. 
I was intrigued with Cruel Seas; both the rules and the ships.   The ships look great but would be expensive and would they be too big to use?   Would the rules just be Warhammer on the water?  On Military Matters had a 15% introductory sale so I purchased the rules and the British and German fleets.  I saved the ships for Christmas but has read the rules and played 3 quick small games.  I was pleasantly surprised with the rules. While clearly meant to be introductory and quick play they have some meat on them.  You keep track of individual batteries of guns and their are critical hits.  My hats off to the authors as it is hard to write good, simple rules. Bravo!  
That said it is rare that I don't tinker.  First there is no stated scale.  Now I know authors dislike stating one because then people will argue about it but seriously, if I am going to have a narrative like the rules suggest I need a frame of reference.  "Pinky spotted the german craft at an indeterminate distance" sounds worse than " Pinky spotted the KFK at about 2 miles in the inky night air."  Best as I can tell by weapon ranges 5cm is around 100 yards.  Time I still don't know but I am not as worried about as Piquet cured me of that years ago.  So first we convert to hexes because I hate measuring stuff.  1 hex = 5cm= 100 yards. 

Next the author admits that many encounters ended inconclusively but in my playing the boats are shredded quickly.  Critical hits are very rare; the boats are just pounded into wet dust. (?) Great for the casual player but I decreased the effectiveness of the guns but increased the likelyhood of critical hits.  In my reading if a boat was going to sink many systems went wrong it wasn't just pounded.

Next I changed initiative.   I went with something similar to FoF but give credit to veteran crews so odds are they will activate first.  

Lastly in my game I loved spotting.  It was tense plus in the campaign rules you have dummy markers that you roll for just like Platoon Forward.  So I bolted on my spotting rules.

Whew!  Though it sounds like I changed a lot I really kept most of Cruel Seas and it is still easily recognizable as that game except for the spotting.   I do like it.   So on to play test my new rules...

Pinky's adventure  ( 1/600 scale ships.  The 1/300 scale are under the tree.)

Lt Pinky Winthrope RN    Pessimistic/ Wealth    broke gentleman       Veteran
Fairmile B

Dec 1941
Off the coast of France  Sea calm    Visibility 1 mile

Pinky had always loved the sea.  His problems seemed to drift away with the wind there.  He knew he was pessimistic but he had every right to be.  Life never seemed to work out.  Born to an upper class family he saw the money evaporate as he grew up.  He could not afford an upper crust college but his family did have enough connections to secure a navy commission after graduation.  After several middling years he left to make his fortune in the world of high finance.  That didn't work out either so when the war came he was happy to get his old commission back. Stuck with land duty he had volunteered for the coastal forces 6 months ago.  His seamanship was quickly recognized and he hoped to be promoted soon which would mean more money.  While he didn't think he was beloved by the men he knew he was respected as a capable officer who would complete the mission and get them home.
Complete the mission, he thought.   That will be tough tonight.  He was to make a rendezvous along the coast with the resistance and pick up someone with vital information and bring them home safe.

The board.   Winthrope bottom right the KFK far left.  Beach is green.

Pinky's Fairmile B

"Blimey a patrol boat!" cried Sam Jenkins when they were a mile and a half from the beach.  Pinky took out his binoculars.  It appeared to be a Kreigfischutter; slow but well armed.  " Pipe down lads!" said the chief.  Churchill hisself can hear you.    Pinky decided just to watch the cutter.  Maybe they would get lucky.   A half mile later a 37mm gun shattered that thought.  [ Germans were inexperienced and took a while to spot the slow moving fairmile. ]   Pinky ordered smoke and they made it to the beach with little damage.

Pinky at the beach.    So far so good!

A greasy frenchman boarded and Pinky ordered full speed ahead.  He knew he could outrun the cutter. once he got going. 

Pinky underway again.    At this point all 4 batteries of the KFK hit Pinky.  His boat is badly damaged.  Also a Raum boat arrives to the party. 

As they started to gain speed the boat was rocked be several explosions all at once.  A fire started amidship and he could hear the engines sputter.  Things look dire  [ 17 hps left] and Pinky considers sending the frenchman back over the side.  He stops engines and before he can yell orders the Chief is running to put out the fire in a flash.  "Damage report?"  The ship is hurt badly but she can still make combat speed.  [ engine critical ].  Pinky decides they CAN and  WILL make it.  "Push the engines Chief" he roars.  We are getting out of here."

The 20mm targets the cutter while the 3 pounder takes on the Raum boat.  For the first time this night he sees a wonderful sight.  Flames erupt from the cutter!  "Great shooting lads!" he yells towards the stern.

The KFK on fire.  She is effectively out of the battle with her inexperienced crew. 

As the engines rattle Pinky sees the Chief go down to the engine room.  Now it is one on with with the Raum boat.  This early Raum boat only has a 37 mm aft and LMG amidship.  They share a top speed normally but the Raum can take more punishment.

A Key moment in the battle.  Pinky's 20mm comes through again!

As Pinky tries to nurse his boat away from the coast the Raum boat closes to 300 yards.  Pinky sees a second wonderful sight.  A small flash occurs at the stern of the Raum boat that all his gunner's eventually claim.  It turns out that the 37mm gun is taken out by a British shell!  The Raum is now left with only LMGs!    Pinky has a real chance to complete the mission now!   The race is really on!

The Race is on!

The German tries point blank MG fire but that alone is not going to sink a ship. 

Pinky decides to remind the German who outguns who and delivers a devastating broadside in which all guns hit.  No criticals but the german is reduced to 16hps left and decides to save his ship. 

Pinky and his crew have an uneventful ride back across to England as the Fairmile manages to make it home.  England is saved!!!

Fantastic game that I could not have scripted any better.   The whole thing took an hour and was played on a 4x5 table.  Even with the damage reduced if all guns hit on a turn the results are devastating.  That said I like the damage where I have set it and like the frequency of criticals.  I forgot to mention I expanded the critical hit table as well. Will try a couple more games but have to say I am quite pleased with Cruel Seas and my modifications.  I think it is a solid system.  Can't wait to try it out with the larger ships.
those that want to try to fight with ( or against) a Kreigfischcutter I had to make up stats.  I used these:
Hit Points 75       slow speed 5 knots    Combat  10 knots     Full speed    none
1 37mm fore
1 20mm fore
1 37mm aft
1 HMG mid