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.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Rendon's Rosary Afganistan

Have a bronchitis but managed to play a short game with my 10th mountain division this weekend.  This is a fantastic squad and really shows off the whole campaign story of Platoon Forward/Grunts Forward for me. I like my battles to read like a historical fiction novel hence I developed the system to provide this type of framework for my battles.   this has got to be one of my favorite squads.  To catch you up go back to their last mission here  https://platoonforward.blogspot.com/2018/11/bomber-in-bazaar.html or click on Novembers Bomber in the bazaar story.  Now you are caught up.    Lets go!

"Sarge, I can't go to the LT but I just have to get that cross back.  My mom had the cross blessed by the Pope!  I know I am gonna die if I don't get it back and she will be pissed. Can you help me please?"  [ NPC asks for favor rolled up after last mission and it was Cpl Rendon.  that is how we got here thank you very much.]
It appears while the squad was TDY the ANA raided a mosque that has been a strong supporter of Nadim and CPL Rendon's HMG team supported.  During the firefight he must have lost the rosary.  He swears he knows he left it by a pile of bricks he was using for cover.  Sgt McMann suggests to the Lt that the platoon run some patrols by the mosque to ensure everything is quiet and show the populace the goverment is in control.  The LT and Capt love the idea.  Because McMann knows it is far from quiet he manages to get a cougar APC and several Afgan National Police [ if I had them painted yet] to go and check out the area.  Cpl Rendon goes without his team and insists on riding in the turret since he knows why the mission is going.


Sgt McMann  Former fisherman  Cheery / wealth    Avg leader          squad morale 10 in his presence.  o/w 8/8.
1st FT  Cpl Adams   Orphaned ranch hand  jovial/religious   poor leader     steady through the tour so far and should be improving to avg soon
2nd FT  Cpl Anderson  grew up in a mining town poor  idealistic/ wealth  poor leader    drew praise from everyone on his first mission with the squad.
NPC Cpl Rendon  team lead of HMG  
4 ANA troops because I haven't painted up national police yet.   rated 6/6  their job is to check out the mosque which is off limits to the squad. 

Mission     Patrol     Use Grunts Forward blinds chart if you have it but each force add 1 RPG due to cougar.  
Board urban with mosque in space 6 and brick pile in space 2.
Special rules
1. To find the rosary player must spend 1 turn at the brick pile not firering.  Make a TQ for Rendon or a D6 TQ for a leader to find.
2. place 4 groups of civilians in area around the mosque.
3. US must actively identify enemy before they can fire if not fired upon first.
4 2 turns after gunfire breaks out the rebels ( or freedom fighters) will receive reinforcements on the next two turns.  This is a hotbed area and this represents rebels arriving to the sounds of guns.  After that there is a 50% chance of reinforcements each turn using the same chart.
1. half squad no leader   3 guns ( + RPG for all reinforcements)  All leaders are poor except on a roll of "6".
2. squad no leader
3 squad with leader
4 squad with leader
5 squad with LMG with leader
6. Toyota truck or RCL

Rebels arrvie via hotspots per FOF.

The Board.   Mosque upper center.  Brickpile left.  I still love Buck's action deck for small arms resolution.  
This is the moment of contact between patrols.  Unfortunately for the US.  The taliban squad is passing civilians so the US can't shoot.  

Better view of contact.

Alternative view of the rebels moving up unconcerned towards the mosque.

Just a view of the mosque.  I have wanted a minaret for several years now and my brother bought me a battlefront one for Christmas.  Thanks Bro!  Expensive but it fits in nice.

 So Sgt McMann hoped this would be easy.  Run down to the mosque.  Park by the bricks.  Let Rendon out to stretch his legs while the ANA walk by the mosque with a FT.  Everyone pack up and go home.  Of course not!  this was the STAN!

Just before they reached the mosque Rendon calls out " Bad guys dead ahead Sarge!  There is a lady and kid in there too."

Sgt McMann sees them too.  The ANA just pulled up to get out.  Sgt McMann decides this is no place to stop now.  He orders the driver to race across the square to the brick pile.  " Rendon, if you get a clear shot take it."

The ANA had a 1/6 chance to flee, 1/6 chance to stay and 4/6 chance to follow the americans.  They stayed.

As the cougar roars past the Taliban rifle bullets ping off the side.  A RPG hits Rendon's turret disabling it.  Unfortunately there is a commotion in the back and Rendon slumps down in his canvas seat.  [ I drew Buck's location of wound card for Combat Patrol and it came back a head wound; seriously.  This could change the whole nature of the scenario.  And with FOF I don't know how serious it is until next turn.  I was almost really starting to sweat.  The sign of a good game!]  As the cougar arrives at the brick pile Sgt McMann is NOT happy.  He has 2nd FT fire at the tali through the windows while Cpl Adams is ordered to take up fiering positions among the bricks.  Meanwhile he looks at Rendon.

Cpl Adams moves out!

Rendon's face is full of blood from fragments of something.  He has an airway because he won't stop talking.  " I knew something bad was going to happen.  You have to get that rosary or I am gonna die!"  he sobs.  [ I rolled a 2- serious wound.  Not dead yet!] Now Sgt McMann, a fallen away Catholic, is really spooked.  He wrappes the soldiers head in bandages and gives him a pain shot.  " You stay hear" he says and leaves the cougar for the brick pile.  He remembers there is a saint for lost items but can't remember who it is.  He decides to skip the middlemen and thinks, " God, help me find this rosary for Rendon and his mother.  Please don't let him die today."

Meanwhile the squad's fire has beaten back the taliban squad and some newcomers who come round looking for trouble.   The ANA guys are actually contributing as well.    McMann drops to his hands and knees by the pipe and shifts through the dirt with his hands and can't believe it, a rosary!

The situation midgame just before the 1.5 rebel squads become pinned.  The Taliban squad decides to move behind the mosque to recover.  In my rules a leaderless half squad will not recover.

Sgt McMann takes stock of the situation.  He has the rosary and a bleeding Rendon in the cougar that doesn't have a working MG.  Taliban fire has slackened considerably but they are in indian country and Rendon is hurt.  Before this becomes an extraction he decides it is time to leave.

As he tells Adams to pile into the truck fire breaks out down the street.  A technical is firering on the ANA.   "Man a MG would be great right now", he thinks.

Turns out the ANA...

had it covered!

As the cougar speeds to the ANA position to tell them to get out of dodge there is movement on the mosque grounds...

" We need to get this on the wall to fire at the US"


The taliban squad recovers and fires a RPG at the HUMVEE.

Sgt McMann motions to the ANA to get moving as the 2 vehicles race down the street.

The recoiless rifle does get one shot at the cougar as it starts moving but the round bounces off the back!

Great game that certainly took an unexpected turn when Rendon got wounded.  Post game Rendon was not seriously hurt and will only miss one mission.  I declared it a draw as the US didn't really get to show their presence in the area very well but Rendon got his rosary back.  The Taliban sustained 3 casualties.  The squad's confidence remains high but no one's leadership improves because no one did all that much fighting. 
Things are being shaken up in the platoon.  Sgt Black of second squad was transferred to battalion so Lt Richards has moved Cpl Adams  to take 2nd squad with the promise of a promotion to Sgt.  While this gives Sgt McMann a steady ally in 2nd squad he now is short a fireteam leader.  Up steps PFC Schlact.  I told you this was an interesting  story...



Thursday, March 21, 2019

Melee off Sevastopol

I have really wanted some Russian MO-4 boats for cruel seas.  The rules talk about them but they have no models.  Heroic and Ros have some ( technically BMO-s) so ordered them at the beginning of the year and after 6 weeks and the cost of 10 pounds for postage they arrived.  They are 4 pounds a piece so I guess that will be an average price and of course no "free" postage to the US.
The models are nice but not quite as detailed as most of the Warlord stuff.  There is no crew or mast and certainly no flags.  Then again, for the smaller boats Warlord doesn't give you any crew or flags either.  The russian boats are nice and fully functional.  I am glad I bought them.

A russian BMO boat with crew.  Still need to add mast and flag.

I also ordered several crew from H+R. 6 figures for under a pound.  These are 3 different poses and each is individually based.  Very impressive and superior to the warlord crews.  The problem for us in the US is postage will keep us from ordering any crew.  For readers in the UK I think this is a great option.  

Comparison of a BMO and a S-38. 

So I wanted to get these ships on the water.  I also wanted to start testing out some rules for Tumultuous Seas.   Crueler Seas are my optional rules aimed at Warlord's target audience.  Casual players that want a quick balanced game with some history thrown in.  I sent Crueler Seas to Warlord and the inital response was enthusiastic but I guess John was less enthused.  So Crueler Seas is now off to Wargames Illustrated; we will see.   Tumultuous Seas will be aimed more at the Naval enthusiast. It should have formations, ship turning, air rules ect. 

And now back to the Black Sea.  In my reading there was actually a lot of action in the Black Sea between small boats.  Both sides were trying to support the flanks of their armies on the northern shore.  In addition, a fair amount of Romanian oil went down to the Mediterranean through the Black Sea. A number of scenarios here and you will see the Romanian Navy make an appearance on these pages as well.    

In 1942 the Germans surrounded Sevastopol and the Navy and Air Force was ordered to blockade the port.  This was because the Germans were close to capturing the city in 1941 but without Naval support the Russians were able to move men and supplies freely and keep the city open.  In response 8 S-boats and 4 MAS boats moved into the Black Sea... 

Place 2 miles off Sevastopol
Visibility   Just under 1 mile
Sea Beaufort 2     

Lt Z See Schmidt strained against the night to see anything moving.  Every couple days the russians tried to move men and supplies into the city.  The luftwaffe had been doing a good job during the day so the Kreigsmarine had to keep up the pressure at night.  That was his mission tonight.  

He had 2 boats with him, all average crews, in a line ahead formation.

S-boats on the Black Sea.  Each hex 5cm or 100 yards.  For game purposes boat located in the bow hex.

Lt's Schmidt's boat.  ( I am slowly trying to go back and pimp my boats out with crew and flags.)

Sighting is almost simultaneous.  " 2 Russians MO-4s!   Probably bringing troops or supplies."

Schmidt signals "simultaneous turn to starboard and advance at combat speed."  Unfortunately Backmann misses the signal due to a random event.  Schmidt sighs, " He was never that bright!"

The battle is joined as Backmann struggles to catch up.  " Why are the russians making smoke?" Schmidt orders "retain formation but fire at will."

Schmidt fires 300 yards out.

Schmidt's fire is effective and starts a fire on the MO.  It slows down as he passes.

Bachmann narrowly misses the burning Russian ship as he flashes by.

More Russian MO-4s show up laying smoke.  "what are they hiding?"

A russian sailor looks at the tanker they are protecting on the way to the beleaguered port.

There she is; what a beauty!  I don't have a Russian flag yet.

The Russians continue to effectively blind Lt Schmidt as the tanker nears the port entrance top right.

Finally Schmidt sees the tanker.  " I know what they have been screening!", he cries.  He orders Bachmann to full throttle to swing to starboard hoping there is time for one torpedo shot.

Everyone's position at time of Schmidt's sighting.  Schmidt center left.  Backmann just below.  The third boat is upper left and is retirering secondary to damage being over 66%.

Bachmann jumps out at full speed hoping to get an angle to take out the tanker and erase his earlier error.  As he cuts in front of a russian boat both 45mm guns hit starting a fire.  

To make matters worse, as he slows down to fight the flames a 3 inch gun from the port finds his flaming boat in the dark and soon he has to send an SOS to Lt Schmidt.  Crew casualties are high.  ( another type of critical hit.)

Lt Schmidt has a tough decision to make as 3 inch shells try to find his boat.   Try a low odds shot at the tanker and accomplish the mission or try to rescue Lt Backmann and his crew.  There is a enough fuel in that tanker to kill a lot of germans but Backmann and his crew in a Russian POW cage? ( if they are lucky!).............?

He decides to attempt a rescue.   Amazingly the 3 inch gun falls silent.  ( It jammed. Another critical hit result in Crueler Seas.) Backmann and the crew scramble aboard though 2 KIA are left on the sinking craft.      The Petty officer hits the throttle and they all speed away!

Great mission that took an unexpected turn!     Tactically a tie as both sides lost 1 boat with 1 boat severely damaged but operationally the Germans lost as the tanker made it through.    
For those of you that want to try out the MO-4 here are the stats I used.
1 45mm fore and 1 aft.    -1 from the damage roll as these guns had poor muzzle velocity.
1 HMG port and 1 starboard.
Size small
45 hit points  ( well compartmentalized)   Speed slow 8 knots  combat 16 knots  full 24 knots  

I have also started on revising the aircraft rules.    Here are 2 pictures.

For mother Russia!

Take careful aim...

1 hit!