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.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Lt Rawlings and Fast Freddie

 Happy Thanksgiving everyone.   This will be the first month since my dad died that I will have 2 posts in a month; progress I suppose.  

First, Flotilla Forward is done.  It is in word format.  It just needs editing and graphics.  I just have no motivation to accomplish either right now; sorry.

Second, my mashup  with DIF and the combat system from BTH ( modified of course) is going very well.  Have played several battles with my squadrons but am still tweaking the rules and frankly they haven't been blog material. 


Painted up 4 buffaloes to guard Singapore!  First painting of airplanes in a long time. [ 1/300 Raiden]

Third, my mashup with Black Seas and Post Captain isn't working well.  It has been difficult to get the chrome I want into a streamlined system.  I have canceled the project and gone back to Post Captain which on its own is a great ruleset.  To celebrate I decided on a quick pirate tale in the outer banks...

Good news and Bad news Lt Rawlings thought.  I finally have a ship and a fine ship she is.  HMS Savage was 18 gun brig with an excellent crew. The bad news is I am stuck in a backwater colony in the Americas.   After paying a visit to Williamsburg he heard of a new brigand that has been causing havoc in the area, a chap by the name of "Fast Freddie", sounded american.  After two weeks of investigating he felt he found this rouge.  Time to start making a name for himself and his ship...

Lt Rawling     Crack leader with Elite crew [ hey I rolled it up fair and square] 18 gun brig stats but use 9  8 pdrs on each side .

Fast Freddie   Green crew for all but hand to hand where they are elite.   Use schooner stats with 6  6pdrs on each side but give them same number of crew as brig.  

HMS Savage upper left.  Freddie on the right.  Wind moderate right to left.  Freddie must escape to win or take over Savage for a highly embarrassing defeat of the Royal navy.  

both ships use battle sail as neither can afford catastrophic damage to rigging.  Lt Rawlings plan is to close and then cut off Freddie.  If he doubles back try to keep up as best he can.  He will rely on superior gunnery and reloads to dismast her.  

Freddie doesn't waiver so Lt Rawlings finally turns to starboard and unleashes a broadside about 200 yards.   No significant damage!  So much for superior gunnery.  

As predicted Freddie quickly turns as well and partially rakes the Savage as he passes.  Several guns and their crews are hurt on the Savage.  

Lt Rawlings can feel the battle slipping away.  He turns again to starboard and with a calm he doesn't feel orders another broadside at the fleeing pirate. Through his glass he sees the lowest yard on the foresail come crashing down.  Huzzah for his tars!  

With Freddie significantly slowed Lt Rawlings once again maneuvers to cut him off... 

A bow rake at under 200 yards does significant damage. [ also damages the steering but he doesn't know that.]

[ One of the neat rules of Post Captain is you roll for eddies and current changes.  Fast Freddie got one of these so was able to move farther than expected which put him in a perfect position to stern rake.]

Unfortunately Lt Rawlings misjudged Freddies' speed and to his horror had to withstand a devastating rake.  It left half his crew injured.  He could see his Bo'sun was not happy.    He now did not have enough crew to repair sails and reload cannon.  Boarding Freddie would be out of the question as many of his marines had been injured as well.    Very well, he had speed still and he was a Royal Navy officer; he would sink the bastard.  

HMS savage fires a broadside at Freddie doing some damage.  To Lt Rawlings amazement, there is no return fire.  As the tars reload Rawlings spies the pirate flag being lowered and Freddies' ship heaving to.  The pirates are surrendering!  Three cheers erupt from the deck of the HMS Savage including the Bo'sun.   

The last shot resulted in a critical hit which hit Freddie.  This triggered a morale check which the ship failed by 4 resulting in surrender.  So Lt Rawlings last shot killed Freddie outright.  With their captain killed, sails badly damaged, steering out and 25% casualties the pirate crew decided to throw themselves on the King's mercy.

Great game that played in under an hour!   Needless to say I am very happy sticking with Post Captain rules and using the Warlord [and Hagen] ships.

Happy thanksgiving everyone.  Please remember all those in the military serving far from home.



Sunday, November 8, 2020

Is Blood Red Skies DIF with a Board and Minis?

 Greetings all.   Not much time for playing games during playoff baseball season here in the US.  Despite the short season and tournament style ending it is still baseball so I enjoyed it.  

I think many people know I have been buying Warlord ships as of late.  I enjoy Cruel Seas ( with my crueler seas modifications of course) and I love their sailing ships.  I tried their Black Seas but have gone back to Post Captain.  So I looked at Blood Red Skies.  I am happy with Bag the Hun ( with my mods) and my Raiden miniatures but it never hurts to explore, right?  So I downloaded and read the quickstart rules.  { companies-- this is a great idea.  50% of the rules I have purchased started out as free downloads.} 

What struck me was how similar in concept the game was to Down in Flames (DIF) by Dan Verssen.  For those unfamiliar with DIF it is a card game where planes are in one of 3 states to each other, neutral, advantaged or tailing; sound familar?  It is actually a great game if somewhat abstract and I did a lot of writing about it 20 years ago for GMT games on the original version of the game.  GMT even honored me by naming one of the wingman cards "Legan" after me.   The new version is here:


This got me thinking, could I morph DIFs into a board game with minis?  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy BTH and was a playtester for the rules.  Still DIF is a great game and I differentiated every model of P-51 in it...

Americans and Italians meet over Tunisia in my first playtest.

My thought was to break the board into areas and use the performance/horsepower ratings from DIF to make hands and determine positions.   Then use Speed differentials for full throttle markers.  I would use my adjusted Firepower ratings  and the combat routine from BTH with my critical hits table from the Too Fat Lardy special.   


The Cards...

The planes...   Here a Macchi gets on the tail of an Airacobra.


Here an Airacobra maneuvers around a Macchi.    

A Tony tails a B-25; the Tony was shot down!  

After several playtests I believe this is going to work!  I have dropped the number of areas to "battle" and "entry/exit" for planes trying to escape.  There is still a level of abstraction but it is slightly less than DIF.   Combat is much better than DIF as there is no "number counting".  Every shot is potentially fatal.  My casualty rates haven't been any higher than BTH.  For a 4v4 dogfight I will normally have 1-2 planes shot down with 1-2 damaged.    It plays faster than BTH and takes less space.  I can play a 4v4 dogfight in 30 minutes.    

B-25s bombing Rangoon

An Oscar on the Tail of a P-51A.  But the Oscar can't seem to line up a shot!

So I don't know is Blood Red Skies is DIF with minis but it gave me a great idea that seems to be working out so far.  More to come...