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, December 22, 2022

Infantry attack, USSR 1941 Battalion Forward PT

 So think I have the basics down for defend scenarios for Battalion Forward.  Have tried to meeting engagements.  Time to try an attack.  Now the enemy forces will be easy, it is trying to hide the enemies plan that will be the trick.  My initial thought will be delay, hold and hold at all costs and counter attack.  This particular battle will have a modifier as I don't think Russians delayed too often but it will depend on the forces they have at hand.  

Scenario will be a german infantry company with a platoon of Stugs is suppose to tackle russian infantry occupying a forest blocking roads leading into a town.  The russians are thought to be of company strength without armor assets.   The 3 german companies are all classed as experienced [ Battlefront] and 1st line [O group] with the B company leader rated poor. [ affects maneuver rolls and company generated orders] the Russians are rated raw.

The map. [ The soviets were conducting a space launch two miles above the top of the board hence the flash!] Germans enter from the right as per O group set up.  A company will demonstrate against the woods in the center supported by the guns on the hill and 81mm MTRs off board.  B company will lorry along main road and conduct main attack on woods from the top. A Stug section will support.  Combat patrols are sent out from the wings to scout the factory and trees above the main road.  C company will be reserve.  They will follow up assault into either factory or town as needed to clear area.  Sounds great right?!

For those of you familiar with Platoon Forward mechanism for blinds is similar with A, B and 2 C blinds set up across the board.  At this scale defense in depth is more practical.  About halfway through the game we will roll for Soviet mission based on assets on the board.


Blinds set up in the woods and factory...

1st plt A Company prepares to set off towards the woods.  Co/CC and Btl/CC watching.

As 1st plt sets off, 2nd plt/ A CO reaches the start line.  B company in trucks starts their journey to the right of the woods to start the main attack.  Unfortunately, the Soviets had the crossroads pre registered for artillery apparently!  Not good.  Our time table starts to slip.  Why don't we have halftracks? 

  1st plt/A co reach the woods with no contact.  A walk in the woods or have the soviets prepared a trap away from our stugs and mortars?  [ 2As and 1 B in the next line]

Rats!  A front line platoon and HMG...

A firefight starts in the woods.  The LT thinks where is B Company?  

B Company is having problems.  1st plt has decided it is safer to walk.  A combat patrol found another front line platoon dug in to some trees above the road.  The 2 surviving squads of 1st Plt plus Stugs and mortars go to clear the road.  [ The far squad is from C company and is a flank squad. Red based figures signify disrupted units, pebbles signify suppressed units.]

The battle end of opening stage, center, 2ndplt/A co advancing to help stalled 1stplt under cover of smoke.  B company 1st pt clearing trees near road to open road for rest of company to follow on to target woods. 

1st plt/A Co is now non effective.  A CO/CC switches from smoke to HE as he sends 2nd/plt in still trying to pin the main russian line.  [ At least I think it is the main russian line.] Battalion CC [me] still sticks doggedly to his plan. 

Beginning of mid battle.   1st plt/B Co has cleared the road. [ we don't see the ATG at the hill.  I rolled for it to see if it was real and if it wanted to fire.  It will wait for a vehicle to show up!]  Orders issued for B CO to advance to woods and assault.  2ndplt/ A CO to pin main Soviet line.  This will work!!!


The Soviets now uncover a third platoon! [ How many do these guys have?] Fortunately it is militia without LMGs.  These guys will move up to meet B Company.  [ ATG ineffective against trucks! Just shoot those guys.]

The fighting is close and intense.  At this point the Soviets orders are to hold the forest!  They attack with elan.

  Another view of the fighting...

Mid battle situation in doubt.  B company is having trouble deploying into and around the woods.  The Btl/CC [me] is debating going over there to sort it out myself otherwise people will criticize my perfect plan.  A Company is ordered to send in there last platoon and clear their half the woods.  The russians are now visable to the near stug which opens up.  I don't want to use C company because there is still the factory complex and I don't know what is in there.  

[ sorry lost the next few pics]  Mercifully B CO/CC pulls his head out and they do their job and clear the woods.  

At the factory the russians have a militia platoon and a section of ATGs.      At this point the germans have lost 9 stands of infantry.  [ 3 platoons/ 2 A and 1 B company].  If the Germans lose 12 stands they will lose per O group rules which I think appropriate here.  [ I waived this for the russians though they have lost 8.]

End game.  Co A has the right 3 hexes of the woods with Co B everything to the left of that.  You can see Co B is still strung out with their third platoon at it's jump off point.  Yet another combat patrol is approaching the factory to try to determine what is in there.  The remnants of the russian company are about to retreat to the factory. 

 Now I bring up C company for the final assault of my glorious and perfect plan!  

Drat that artillery! I can't afford to lose too many squads.

The combat patrol succeeds and we start to trade fire with the russians.  We have LMGs and Stugs and they don't so it goes well from our perspective. 

 After 10 minutes of softening up, even without C company it is obvious that the Soviets are going to lose.  They are down to 2 squads left.  The russians slip out the back.  My plan worked perfectly!  

Great game that was loads of fun.  I really felt like a battalion CO willing my companies to "do their jobs".  In hindsight my perfect plan could have used some work.  The road wasn't as clear as I had hoped.  I should have led B CO with my stugs.  Also leaving the most complicated mission to my worst company commander wasn't smart but I wanted to test my leadership rules; they passed.  He functioned but not quite as well as a normal CO.  I should have personally gone over and "helped" him at the cost of some command dice.  

The blinds and mission for the OPFOR also went well.  I pegged the Soviets at a Company plus several assets and they ended up with 4 platoons plus 2 ATGs and 1 HMG; not bad for a first test.  

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate.  Please remember our members in uniform far from home.  Keep them and their families in your prayers.



Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Parker's crossroads Dec 1944

 Sometimes you just want to play a Battle of the Bulge scenario.  My brother plays some wargames and likes straightforward historical stuff.  He wants US/German in normandy or the Ardennes.  German/Russian at stalingrad; you get the picture.  He always shakes his head at my ethiopean battles or my Romanian navy.  Well John, occasionally I can play a straightforward battle too!  

Battalion Forward is coming along and I think I have the defend scenario mapped out.  I have some work done on the meeting engagement and haven't even started on the attacking scenarios.  [ Stuart, let me know what wars you primarily play.]  So to take a break from playtesting I modified a scenario I found on the Battlefront website called Parker's crossroads.  I am guessing that most readers know this was an ad hoc defense of vital crossroads by Maj Parker during the battle of the bulge.  In my reading they didn't have as much stuff as presented in the scenario so I chopped some stuff out.  In defense I had a glider CO plus a platoon of 37mm ATGs + Shermans.  The rest of the sherman company would follow.  Attacking would be 2 companies of panzer grenadiers with 2 platoons of Pz Ivs and 2 platoons of Stugs with my lone Panther coming in as a platoon.  

US forces     I didn't have enough Shermans painted up yet so Lee's had to substitute.  The TDs never made it onto the board.

German forces    Not enough Pz IVs so Pz IIIs substitute.  Still not sure if I am going to go with 6mm or stick with 15mm for WW II so am not buying anything until I decide!

The crossroads looking from one of the two german entrances.  US puts a platoon of infantry in each collection of buildings.  Shermans cover each road.  

Closer look at the defenses.  

US position 1

US position 2   [ the near buildings will be reduced to rubble shortly by german artillery killing 1 squad.]

Position 3 including battalion HQ

German battalion HQ sets up

After an opening bombardment the germans lay down smoke and 2 companies advance.

The Germans move to position 2 with 2 platoons of tanks and 1 platoon of infantry.  [ told you the near buildings got rubbled.]  The shermans take a side shot at a Panzer IV...

Bingo!  Surprise gone the sherman backs up through the rubble and gets stuck! 

Early stage of the battle top to bottom:

1st company supported by Stugs attacking position 1.  1 stug KOed by a 37mm gun hiding in ambush.  The Stug platoon is having trouble coordinating their support. [ bad manuver die rolls.]  1 infantry platoon dismounted and ready to advance.

  2nd company charged with taking position 2 and 3.  1st platoon taking casualties in front of village.  3rd platoon dismounting and being hit by light mortars. 

 2nd platoon is trying to take 3rd position by coup de main and finding that it is defended by an ATG and full platoon of infantry.

  2nd platoon 2nd CO having trouble with their coup de main.

A picture of 1st company's attack

With tank support 1st platoon finally close assaults the glider troops in front of position 2.  Both sides are badly bruised but it is the para's who break first and run away.  [ Being outnumbered 2:1 probably contributed some.]

1st CO also assaults the outer defensive works of their target but are not as successful.  

After their outer defenses fall, survivors from position 2 retreat to position 1.  As the shermans fall back across the road shots ring out brewing them up.  Where did they come from???

I see three panthers have entered the battlefield!  

1st CO finally occupies the outer defensive works of position 1.   2nd platoon is now ready to enter the fray.  

Meanwhile second CO reorganizes and prepares to assault position 3.  [ Company border is between position 1 and 2].  The CO/CC requests smoke so he can cover the 350 yards.  Top left, another platoon of shermans arrive and find hull down positions near position 3.  they start to trade shots with Panzers occupying postion 2 in the village.  [right]

Close up of the sherman platoon near position 3.  The sticks indicate hull down status.  Artillery shells position 3 in preparation for the assault by Company 2.  

No picture but the panther destroys 2 shermans and the other 2 flee to position 1.  

The assault begins!  2 Panzer IVs are taken out by the shermans across the village.  

Meanwhile 1st CO infantry has not been stellar.  A US bazooka armed squad moved up and took out 1 stug plus a squad.  The germans are now down to 2 reduced squads [ I play that squads can take 2 disorders before elimination.  In addition each disorder result is 1 vehicle KOed.]  They make one more valiant attempt to take the position.  Just a little harder...

It fails with one squad KOed and the other in retreat.  But this picture shows it was a near run thing.  The US had 1 reduced squad pinned on the ground floor, 1 in the courtyard and MGs and company HQ upstairs.

Back to the assault...

 Alas the US wins the initiative and the battalion CO calls down artillery on the advancing germans 100 yards away.  It is not pretty.  

The 2 US squads were depleted by previous artillery but still had enough guns to mop up what was left of the attack.  Parker's crossroads were safe for now!

Great game that really showed off the system.  I really felt like I was controlling companies and trying to get armor to coordinate with the infantry.  In the actually battlefront scenario the Germans had another company of infantry and more tanks but I thought this worked fine.  15mm worked well though the armor seemed close together.  I just don't know if it is worth buying all new stuff.  I don't have enough WW III or desert so that makes sense.  I have alot of western WW II though. 

 Just a couple of other pictures of other games I have played recently...

  This is for Jack if he is done with baseball.  Marines in Iraq. [ here 15mm is beautiful] 

 Falcons against some Mig 23s I just painted up.  The above result was not unexpected.

Haven't got this on the board yet but my first french ship ever painted up.  1/700.  Can fight my british or my americans.