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.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Jack was one bullet away

 Greetings.  It has been awhile.  I have not been motivated to play many games since my dad died.  As I stated previously I hadn't realized how much of my gaming was tied to sharing with him; either at the table or talking about it after the fact.  I haven't really painted very much either as there is no one to show the figures to after I am done.  [ Have painted 1 trawler and 5 numidians in the last 2 months.] 

Good news is I have finished Flotilla Forward.  I have been seeking help with formatting and think I have found someone.  While I am at it thanks to all who have purchased my rules over the last year.  I was able to donate $1,000 to the local food bank on your behalf.  100% of sales goes to the county foodbank.  Hopefully you will see Flotilla Forward by Christmas.  

I have been reading a great book, One bullet away by  Nathaniel Fick.  I was briefly a platoon leader for an army combat MP platoon in Berlin and have commanded at squadron and group level in the Air Force.  Mr Fick, an ivy school graduate, explains his OCS transition into a Marine Corps officer brilliantly.  He describes the pressure and uncertainty of being a platoon leader well and he ends up in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.  

A good read

Inspired by the above book I decided to take my marine squad in Iraq on another mission.  You may remember this squad is led by Just Jack a brilliant squad leader who has already been put in for the bronze star for an attack on Afak on the second day of the war.  The squads morale is elite (12) when is in in charge. The platoon is commanded by Lt DeClines who graduated West Point and service transferred into the marines to be one of the toughest. Well the platoon sgt was wounded and evac ed out so Jack was the natural choice to step up into the job.   The title of Mr Fick's book comes from what all marine leaders are taught, "Your subordinate is just one bullet away from taking your job; train them well."  So Jack is the new platoon sgt.  

DeClines walks back to the platoon leadership from Capt Jackson.  "Recon just went through the town ahead and took fire after crossing the bridge.  We are to conduct a hasty attack and clear the road so the rest of the battalion can proceed.  We will have air assets.    We will have artillery only if necessary as we are to stick to the ROE and limit civilian casualties.  [ I rolled up "Hasty attack for the mission and also artillery.  I figured marines wouldn't go in there without air during the day.] 



Lt DeClines plan was to have 3rd squad flank from the left and 1st squad come over the bridge.  He would be on the near side of the river [ right] with the radios, HMG and 2nd squad in reserve.  Jack would go with his old 1st squad both he and DeClines weren't sure Cpl Jones was up to the task of leading it.  


Lt DeClines  Academy grad  Sensible/wealth      Avg

Just Jack      Jovial         Position                           Superb

1st squad  SL  Cpl "fast" Jones   orphaned     inept/ religious       poor  

Squad morale back to avg [10] with Jones in charge.

1st FT     Cpl "Koke"  Kokistranovich    race car driver     thrill addict      poor but improving

2nd FT     empty

3rd FT     Cpl Betts   ghetto of detroit    fickle hedonistic     avg

3rd squad SL  Sgt Lee     liberal/ govt                good


Lt Declines overseeing the platoon.


3rd squad runs into something unexpected immediately.   The weapons cache in the foreground is just a ;hot spot" marker used in FOF to mark reinforcement entry. 

A cobra helo is vectored in.  


  Meanwhile 1st squad crosses the bridge without incident ...

and offloads into a hail of RPGs and small arms.  Cpl Jones and Koke initiate a close assault on the building while Jack is still in the track...

the attack fails as marines mill about behind the track.  The enemy start to encircle from the right as well.   Jack had wanted to let Cpl Jones lead the squad but things are moving the wrong way.  As the track blows up he takes control and orders a retreat.   

Meanwhile 3rd squad offloads at the orchard and prepares to advance on the market...

A cool random event occurs.  One of the marines thinks he sees a booby trap ahead.  Sgt Lee decides to stay clear of the area.  He will send 2 fire teams through the orchard to flank the market.  

For situational awareness   1st squad middle of board just before track blows up and Jack leads them back to the scrub.  Sgt Lee offloads next to the orchard.    Cobra [ yes Jack that is a Cobra] in support about to blow up a MG position across the board.  The Iraqi MG position has managed to suppress the US HMG allowing the Iraq infantry to move up and threaten 1st squad.  

Goodbye MG position!

As Jack is trying to rally 1st squad mortars start to drop and an armored car shows up.  Not good.  

The SMAW attached to Jack takes care of the armored car and DeClines HMG causes the mortar men to flee. 


3rd squad finds the technical that hid from the Cobra and a brief firefight occurs.  

After that Sgt Lee leads an assault on the market.  Another random event gave it's defenders a morale boost so they plan to defend to their last breath...

which they do.  3rd squad continues to clear out the market.

Meanwhile, back at the scrub, Jack has sent Cpl Jones and 1st squad back to clear the original building after it has been mortared. He then goes to check on the progress of 3rd squad.  The Iraqis have managed to slip in fighters behind the marines into the orchard.  Please note the FT left in the orchard to cover 3rd squads assault.  They are suddenly badly outnumbered in the orchard.  As Jack hears firering in the orchard he starts to realize these 3 marines are in peril...

Jack sprints across the plaza telling Sgt Lee he needs a fireteam to follow him NOW!

By the time Jack arrives with a fireteam the support fireteam is broken outside the wall with 1 marine lying in the orchard.   The marine firepower is enough to push the Iraqis back.  They leave as silently as they arrived.   

 Great battle that was played over several days.   FOF really models asymmetrical engagements well and the Iraqis used hot spots to shift forces into the orchard and almost overwhelmed a fireteam.  1st squad performed even worse than I thought without Jack necessitating some hard decision post battle.

Post battle it was clear that Cpl Jones couldn't lead 1st squad.  There were even doubts if he could lead the FT. 2nd FT's morale drops to 8.   Sgt Alcantera will be brought in from the company to lead as Cpl Betts is too junior.  Squad morale stays at 10.  Capt Jackson is moved up to battalion to fill a vacancy so Lt DeClines becomes acting company commander.  [ post game event was Lt DeClines is transferred so that is how I handled that action.]  So guess who is acting platoon leader...?  Yep Jack is one bullet away.





  1. What I like about your games is that there's always some urgency about them, I'm not sure if it's the rules or how you play them but it's very good.
    I'm not sure either how much impact the commander, at whatever level has on the action, but it appears to be significant and I like that too.
    I've recently been reading some other excellent game reports using Skirmish Sanguin and Spectre, not sure of the spelling but they have a very similar tempo. Maybe it's modern warfare well portrayed.
    Thanks for the post.

  2. VB,
    Thanks. It is probably a combination of both. I have made a couple tweaks to the rules to make leadership more important. Platoon Forward also helps me set up the story by fleshing out the characters. I thought you had a project or two you were working on? How is it going?
    Thanks again

    1. Hi Joe, I did a mail game with 2 friends, I set it in Vietnam, a conflict I know little about except it was my kind of music. Posted the scenario and the game in July under the headings Good Morning Vietnam, I'm nothing if not unoriginal.
      A pilot rescue mission.The Vietnamese player didn't know this to start with, I led him to think it might be a prisoner rescue or rival viet cong to stop him starting the scenario with too much info.
      As a game it worked well, mission took 4 days and ended up in an unlucky disaster. We played it over about a 10 day period.
      I wouldn't mind your thoughts from a reality point of view but the 2 posts are quite long, so understand if you don't have time.

  3. VB,
    Just looked at your blog; your painting is still way better than mine! Is that Sails of Glory you are using?

  4. Sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I like that you incorporate a real Marine into your games, JustJack, a true legend and Falluja vet.

    Keep going man. I hate my own father but I know that you had a connection with yours and I admire that.

    Keep posting, keep writing cool rules. When listening to you on Paint All the Minis I know you're a cool guy.

  5. VB, will look it up though it might be a while. it still sounds great
    forper, thank you for the kind words. you can pick your friends but not your parents. I did get lucky.
    thanks to you both. it means a lot right now

  6. VB, would love to check it out but it might be a while.
    Forper thank you for the kind words. you can pick your friends but cant pick your parents; I did get lucky.
    thank you both for the positive energy. much appreciated right now