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 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 








  1. Thanks for the CR Story, Joe. Can you share your changes, especially Initiative? I looked at FoF and I'm not sure how that system would translate to CR's alternating activation. Thanks. Chuck

  2. Cool stuff, Joe. I've got some PT Boats and Japanese boats/barges from PT Dockyard upstairs, begging for some attention, need to take a look at these new rules.


  3. Chuck, with few ships it is easy. Roll a d6 for each ship. +1 for Veteran -1 for green. Ties go to the side with advantage. If the first die rolled for the side is a "1" then draw a FOW. Make sense?
    Jack, yes you should check them out.


  4. I am so very interested in your flotilla forward rules. I really enjoy Platoon Forward