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.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The kicking mules in the Med. P-38s in Action

Been a while since I played any air games and actually got 2 in.  Before I begin the story of the Kicking mules will share a couple of pictures of several ship actions I have played.

Painted up 2 MGB dog boats I got for Christmas.  I put a 20mm midships instead of the Holamen projector.  

Here is Lt Poole taking fire.

Here is an Italian Scow I got from I-94 Enterprises.  Quick change of flag and it can be a russian, german or Swedish scow!

Lt Poole in the thick of it.

Lt Poole going Toe to Toe with a Raum boat.  I place my guns on magnets so they swivel. 

Okay, enough with Cruel Seas.  On to the Cruel Desert.    

The 95th Pursuit Squadron is fresh from the states and landed in Tunisia shortly after the troops did.  They are led by Maj Bunker who is obsessed with furthering his career.  While that is bad in many respects he has ensured they were well trained before they arrived and they have performed well so far.  They have only confirmed 3 kills but have only lost 2 planes and 1 pilot.  Their cool rating is at 1 so they have a minimal reputation but what little they have is positive.  The group commander, Col Green is an ace from the pacific and isn't particularly fond of Bunker who he has pegged [ correctly] as a yes man.    Currently Maj Bunker is stuck in the office with a head cold grounded by the flight surgeon, Doc McCormick.  This isn't all bad as it gives him more time to politic.  But it does mean that Capt "Zap" McGrudder will be leading the escort mission today.  Bunker reminds Zap that they have to do great on this mission today.  The boys on the ground are counting on them.  Zap, who is as gung ho as they come, buys it hook line and sinker.  

Mission:    Escort 6 P-39s on bombing mission of enemy HQ.  
Planes P-38 Js
Capt Zap McGrudder  Foolhardy/ govt              
wingman  2Lt Bill Wright  Coarse/ wealth    mustang up from the ranks

2Lt Chuck Carls Cheery/ hates germans   Veteran pilot with 2 kills   well liked in sq.  awaiting promotion
wingman 2Lt Glenn Schlick  cheap/wealth   not the most popular as he failed to cover Zap's tail once and Zap was shot down.   Zap refuses to have him as his wingman. 

The Kicking mules above the airacobras.    Sorry about the silver plane.  Magnet broke off my last green one as I placed it on the stand.  [ that is Schlick.]

Good news is I only roll up 4 enemy fighters.  Bad news they are Germans.  Worse news they are FW 190s including 1 ace! 

Unfortunately this gets bad rapidly.  Carls and Schlick get into trouble fast.  ( and Carls is our best pilot.)

Schlick climbs to shake the Jerry and Carls dives.  [ So much for teamwork] Carls can't shake his pursuer but...

He draws a bead on a FW 190 [green pilot] and is rewarded as the wing explodes and falls off for his third kill!  [ Carls is center of picture between 2 FW 190s.]  Unfortunately the FW 190 behind him finds the range and starts to chew off his tail.    He radios for help! 

Buzz tells Schlick he better get his butt down there or don't bother coming back.    Schlick responds promptly and helps Carls clear his tail.  2Lt Carls rudder is badly damaged and his ailerons are damaged as well.   He heads for home.  Buzz tells Schlick to get his a@@ back in the fight.

Meanwhile, the P-39s are badly scattered with 2 having to abort, one jettsoning bombs in self defense and one...

going down under the guns of a Luftwaffe ace. 
Buzz and Bill Wright do what they can but frankly they aren't too effective.  As a matter of fact towards the end of the battle...

A FW takes a low deflection shot at Bill Wrights plane and a fire breaks out!  Fortunately Bill bails out and is rescued by US troops. 


The target in the Dawn light.  

2 Airacobras manage to bomb it and miss.   They return to strafe and...

manage to destroy 1 88 AA gun.  Not the results we were hoping for! 

The final drama to play out is 2Lt Carls landing his damaged crate.  He is at -1 for un prepared strip and -2 for badly damaged aircraft.  0 for the P-38 as it isn't particularly hard to land and +1 as he is a veteran pilot.   I roll a "10" as he nails the landing and this popular pilot is home safe with his 3rd kill. 

Buzz and Carls are not happy with Schick but it goes no further than some words as he did come back and clear Carl's tail.  There is more skuttlebutt in the squadron but no more.  

I declared the mission a draw as we downed 1 and lost 1 but the mission did little damage.  It wasn't a loss because we were facing FW 190s.

Bunker is cleared for flying but Wright will miss the next mission.  In addition a pilot from group staff shows up with a plane to be added to our next mission.    Lots of drama with this group.

Before I go played a game of some hawks and Ploetz bombers bombing a tardy german minesweeper during the phoney war.  The Germans scramble some ME 109Ds.  Played with my dad.
Here are some pics.

Germans get good initial position per Squadron Forward. 

Hawks get left behind as Jerry closes in!

This guy actually aborted and flew home on 1 engine.

2 bombers make it to drop bombs

1 near miss which did little damage.    But we both had a great time!!!



Friday, January 3, 2020

A good night with "Bobbi" Walther; English Channel

Happy New Year!     Hope everyone had a great holiday season.    I received several new ships for Cruel Seas including 2 Fairmile Bs.  Have been waiting for these for a long time as these were the workhorses for the british.  Wanted to get them, my second tanker and my corvette on the table.  Decided to run a british convoy and have my S boat squadron attack.   They are a good flotilla that have had some recent success but haven't gained a reputation yet. 


OLzS "Bobbi Walther      careful/govt     former enlisted        Avg       +1   well liked
 slave (wingman) LtzS Jennewein   glum/govt       former enlisted      Avg

LtzS Bareuther      cultured/ govt       leadership trait       Avg
slave (wingman) LtzS Wehneit   pessimistic/govt    reckless   naval academy     Below avg  disliked by the other boat captains because of his recklessness.

FregatKaptain Froshler promised flotilla help this mission.

Visibility good.  1.2 miles
Beaufort 5

Bobbi started engines.   They should have seen the convoy by now.  He decided his small band of boats would have to start moving closer to the lane to make sure their navigation wasn't off.

How the board set up using Flotilla Forward.  One small squall that was fast moving due to the breeze moving left to right.  Each hex 100 yards.  Spotting rules as per Crueler Seas.

A look at the British convoy heading into weather. 

SLT Perkins RNVR spots 4 shapes off to starboard.  He radios the information, makes smoke to cover the tankers, trains his guns but doesn't fire.  Jerry is moving straight ahead.  Maybe he will pass us by.

[ This is one of my new Fairmile Bs.  You can outfit it as Warlord did but armament varied widely.  Often a 20mm was midship as I have depicted.  Late war a 6 pounder was often aft.  Early war there was often a 3 pounder fore and aft.  Speaking of the 3 pounder, it was of WW I vintage, hand loaded and not very good.  If you want more realism treat it's damage dice as a 20mm not a 3 pdr.  This also goes for the armed trawler.  For Crueler Seas that's 2d6.    While we are at it the Fairmile B wasn't that big and made of wood.  It's HP should probably be reduced a bit; 60 is still generous.  ]

 Bobbi sees a small patrol craft off to starboard and orders the line to turn and have a closer look.

Situation after Bobbi spots.  Perkins has turned since it is obvious Jerry has seen him. 

Bobbi sees the smoke and knows there must be a convoy behind the screen.  He orders the line to break into pairs and "seek out and destroy" the enemy. 

Situation next turn.  Perkins starts to fire.  S-boats advance.    Corvette works his way around the squall.  2nd fairmile advancing towards the enemy.  Tankers "racing" towards the squall. 

At this point  for some reason the lead tanker turns to run away from the oncoming S boats. [ cool random event.  Skipper panicked. ]

Close ranged action as Perkins puts his boat in the path of the oncoming S boats.   Bobbi has to turn hard to starboard to avoid a collision. 

Current situation.  Bobbi has made a hard turn to starboard.  Jennewein is continuing straight.  Perkins is badly shot up.  The corvette has cleared the squall and has started to fire at Bobbi.  [3 and 4 in guns have an additional -1 to hit fast moving targets.] 

Just after Bobbi turns to avoid a mad Englishman a large corvette appears out of the dark dead ahead and starts to fire.  In the melee Bobbi figures one in the hand is worth two in the bush and orders torpedoes readied as he aims.   

2 torpedoes are released at 700 yards just as the corvette starts to turn.   It is a low probability shot  18% but right in front of him!

Bobbi's crew is rewarded with a loud explosion and fire! 
[ My poor brand new corvette!   This is actually armed with either a 3 or 4 inch gun forward and a twin 20mm aft not the 40mm mentioned on the card.  It is a large ship and should have 150 HPs.  ]

Meanwhile one tanker has made it into the squall.  The other captain is still trying to outrun the S boats. 

Just then the promised reinforcements show up for the Kreigsmarine.  Not much to shoot at though with the corvette sinking and the tankers on the other side of the squall. 

The final act- LtzS Jennewein releases 2 fish at the only tanker he could see at 900 yards.   His crew was shaken badly at this time by the loss of his SNCO during the gun battle with Perkins.  The fish miss.  [ actually a dud but he wouldn't know that.]

Needing to leave before light the S-boats head for home with 1 corvette sunk and a Fairmile badly damaged with no S-boats lost.  A good night. 

Fun battle that played in about 2 hours.  This is the first time a squall was significant terrain; made it more interesting.  Now that I have upped the HP of the larger ships I need to further up the torpedoes.  Fitz, would love your suggestions here.  Right now I am thinking of 20 d6  +50 damage and a flooding critical.

Post battle the flotilla is greeted warmly and their reputation finally goes up. Now they are "known" in navy circles.  Unfortunately Jennewein and Barether's boats are not repaired in time for the next mission.  Jennewein's morale is still low so his boat drops to inexperienced.  [ For those of you with Crueler Seas they failed their morale check after the critical hit.]  Finally, OLtzS Walther meets a nice french lass, Mademoiselle Rennison.    Will see where this leads.