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.

Friday, April 29, 2022

LtCol Du's dilemma Battle of Rock Hill pt III

Awaiting arrival of my french armor from Old Glory 15s.  So this gave me a chance to play the third part of my Battle of Rock Hill.  The first two parts of the battle concern Capt Jaroze and his company from the 1st Cavalry and you can find it March 4 and Feb 27th.  Today we will look at ARVN.   

Intermediate Grade Superior Officer [ LtCol] Du Can had a problem.  One of his company's had failed to take Duc Bien yesterday and it had rankled his superiors.  They had held off the americans so that the South Vietnamese army could take it and now had lost face.  He was told he better take it today.  

He hadn't given it too much thought yesterday.  He had sent a company with 2 armored cars to make a show of it.  That is what he always did and no one seemed to mind.  As long as everyone was making some money skimming off the top no one seemed to care.  What had happened yesterday at Corps HQ to get everyone upset? So now all of a sudden he was suppose to actually take a town from the VC? How?  With what?  That was his problem.  

Senior Grade Junior Officer [capt] Ly Tong left the office shaking his head.  He had never seen Du so upset or so intent on taking a town before.  He was given a platoon of tanks, artillery as well as permission to draw as much ammo as needed.  He needed to be in place to attack the town by 10 am as the americans were to act as a blocking force up north.  Remnants of his sister company would join his attack.  There were also US forces on Rock Hill to the west of the town.   

ARVN forces    Raw except for the tanks which are trained.   US equivalent ranks used for ease of typing.

Capt Ly Tong       CO    Avg

1st Plt  Lt Pham Chu   Avg      3 squads + 30cal mmg

2nd Plt Lt Dang Tong  Poor    3 squads + bazooka

3rd Plt Lt Tran Can  Poor  3 squads including 1 with M60 MG 

2 sections walker bulldog tanks, 1 section of armored trucks [ for battlefront armor is 1] 1 battery of 105s

1 section of greyhounds at CIDG base available

1 platoon from Capt Jaroze's company available to assist if needed.

1 company from 1st Cav available to assist if needed.   

ARVN forces under Capt Ly

CIDG basecamp.   Too lazy to place all the barbed wire just like the CIDG.

Rock Hill with Lt Hendrick's platoon.  Capt Jaroze on the highest point.

Overview of the board.  I have extended the board south.  What the free world forces don't know is that the NVA took heavy loses so they are not keen to go toe to toe with the 1st Cav today.  The VC beat ARVN yesterday and they are aware of the new attack coming.  They have abandoned Duc Bien during the night and will attempt to ambush the ARVN forces before they can consolidate around the town.  [ That is why I didn't put wire around the camp.  It shouldn't be in play.]   Capt Ly is somewhat concerned about a small ambush in the village but plans to drive through it if possible.  If not he will detach a platoon to deal with it and press on.  

I placed blinds per the ambuscale scenario in Grunts Forward substituting platoons for squads.  This way I don't know if the VC will have an up front ambush or wait until we are in the village.  Odds are in the village as that makes the most sense to me but you never know. There will be a 33% chance that 1 platoon will be NVA otherwise this is a VC show.   

Capt Ly leads with his tanks.   We will slow down just before the village to recon a bit but speed here is important. We have 10-12 turns to be in position or 90 minutes at most. 


Stung by my own scenario!  Partial NVA platoon with RPGs right off the bat.  Don't even want to calculate the odds!    Each section is disrupted which to me means they lose 1 tank.  

Capt Ly gets on the board with his advisor.  The gun truck starts laying down fire into the pineapple grove.  Capt Ly orders...

2nd platoon to deploy and take the pineapple grove.  He can't have RPGs running around with trucks coming up.  

Shot of my new bazooka team in action.  They are PP US paras.  In retrospect should have sanded off the first aid kit but you can't tell on the table usually.  

End of the first 8 minutes. 2nd platoon and guntrucks engaging NVA trying to save our tanks.  VC forces on this side of the road are hidden.

  So Capt Ly tries to call for artillery and can't make the connection.  He sends a patrol ahead to see if the bamboo has any VC. [ The patrol fails to find any!] He also pushes 2nd platoon to attack which takes 2 orders since Lt Dang is a poor leader.  But Dang duly attacks...


and succeeds!  The NVA are weakened and pushed out of the grove and into the bamboo beyond.

Lt Dang, on a roll, attacks again...

 and the sole NVA squad, tired from the night before, breaks and leaves. 

24 minutes into the fight.  The Tanks are still recovering from the ambush.  2nd platoon, fresh from their victory in the pineapple grove is being mortared which is enough to disrupt them.  Capt Ly is pushing up the armored trucks to the village to check it out since there are no VC in the bamboo and is bringing up 3rd platoon to drive through the village with 2nd platoon ordered to sweep the village.  

Waiting for either the armored trucks or tanks to get to the village!  

The trucks get there first.  It is not pretty.  

32 minutes into the fight.  LtCol Du is not happy with Capt Ly's progress.  Col Du finally gets the tanks moving since Capt Ly couldn't.  A sniper in the jungle has halted 2nd platoon's "progress" and they are back in the pineapple grove.  Capt Ly asks Col Du to get some 105 help as he can't get any.  [ I was unable to roll any 6's during the order phase in which to order artillery!]  Seeing his timetable slipping away Capt Ly orders 3rd platoon to swing around the tanks and take out the RCL and proceed to the jump off point on foot.  LtCol Du orders the Greyhounds from the CIDG to support the breakthrough through the village.  

As 3rd platoon moves past the "empty" bamboo their trucks are riddled with bullets stopping the trucks.

Capt Jaroze is given a warning order to prepare to sweep the village south of rock hill.  He sends a patrol to the jungle and of course they don't find anything.  

48 minutes after jump off.  2nd platoon is once again moving towards the village. [top]  A tank is finally reconing the village.  The second tank has driven off the RCL.  3rd platoon is disorganized and under heavy VC attack.[ center]  Capt Ly is almost crying wishing he could call down 105 shells. 

The VC close assault 3rd platoon...


I am starting to think of that figure with the red base as "death" instead of disrupted.  Whenever he show up things don't go well.  3rd platoon and Lt Tran is obliterated.  

Capt Ly has to acknowledge that without help he will not make his rendovouz time.  He still has his best platoon in trucks but he wants to save them for the assault on Duc Bien.  LtCol Du allows 1st Cav to assist but he isn't pleased.   

Almost an hour after the shooting starts Lt Hendrick's platoon moves towards the village south of Rock Hill.   Suddenly, the jungle that was empty...

rings out with gunfire.  M60s manage to suppress the VC but 2nd squad takes some casualties and is disrupted.

  An hour and 5 minutes after contact.  Capt Ly moves up to personally take charge of 2nd platoon to get them to sweep the village from one side as the americans sweep from the other side.  Tanks will support.  1st platoon will then race to the jump off with the surviving tanks.  Not a great plan but what other choices are there?  

Capt Jaroze has no trouble calling 105s down on the VC in the jungle.  Hendricks stays with 2nd squad to rally.  He tells Sgt Jenson to take 1st squad into the fringe of the village and check it out.  Hendricks suspects it is clear since they haven't take fire from that direction.  3rd squad moves up.


Sgt Jenson runs into the VC Company HQ.  [ US got initiative.  If VC had initiative they would have moved!]  HQ personnel supress the squad but Jenson presses on.  [ He could have stopped but what is the fun in that?]   For close assaults I have switched to a D6 to have less extreme results and have toned the table down a bit.

New table

Even suppressed the US have a +1 advantage in the assault.   This could be really cool for Sgt Jenson...

Yesssss!   They take the building and the HQ retreats in disorder.  

Unfortunately they took their flag.  That would have made a cool trophy. 

 With their HQ disordered in the jungle and 2 squads in the village about to be swept from 2 sides the VC withdraw quickly while they can.  It has been 80 minutes since the battle was joined. [ 10 turns.] 

So the beat up ARVN forces just make it to Duc Bien in time to launch the assault with the 1st Cav blocking but of course they find the town empty.  Technically a win for the ARVN as they made it and lost only 6 stands compared to 4 for the VC but it sure felt like a loss.  They did need US help as well. LtCol Du  isn't happy with Capt Ly but knows Ly is his best commander so what is he going to do?  Du explained to Corps that he fought through significant forces  as exemplified by how much of his own force was engaged at once and still managed to meet the scheduled timeline.  He didn't think he needed US help but his company commander was skitish and called prematurely. He would mentor Capt Ly because he does see a good officer in there.  He does needs Corps help in fixing the response time for artillery however.   I decided it was unlikely [ on AKOT] that LtCol Du would be sacked and he wasn't.   

Great fun!  It played fast with smaller forces involved.  I gave the VC 6 command dice as they really only had 2 platoons in play at any one time.  ARVN had 8 to start but they I added a 9th once the greyhound and US became involved.  It was amazing to me how handling the ARVN was so frustrating.  I couldn't get the tanks and 2nd platoon to move!  Conversely Lt Hendrick's platoon who is trained seemed like a snap in comparison.  I do think that having poor leaders lose an order in 1-3 is too harsh however.  I will reduce that to 1-2 and see if that works.  The Grunt Forward's set up rules worked very well and laid out a credible, if somewhat forward, defense.  It is fun to not know what you are facing.   For those of you interested GF generated:

1 reduced NVA platoon

2 VC platoons 1 with LMG


1 60mm MTR

I considered VC as trained on the combat table but experienced on the morale table.  





Sunday, April 17, 2022

The town of Suxy 1940

 Wonders of wonders I am playing 2 battles in a row.  This will be the second battle with my french motorized company.  To see how the first battle went and who the officers are please refer back to my last post.  This time I went to the third scenario of the book.  This is a attack defend scenario for the town of Suxy.  Since it is straightforward I thought I would try out the O group set up rules and combat patrols.  I am still using Battlefront for everything else but movement and orders.  I did make up order and patrol markers for both sides.

French.  [ I just don't like the rooster.]


For those interested I just used Word and printed out on card stock.  

For the first time in a dozen years I have had to paint up WW II soldiers to round out my non skirmish forces. [ I almost traded these figures away for 6mm NATO forces.]   I like to hope my painting has improved a bit.

A french squad.  


And our very own Capt Moulin!  

I also painted up an ATG that is not based yet.  

Now much to my chagrin when I read about the french infantry being square I thought they had 4 infantry platoons not 4 squads per platoon!  So for this battle I introduced a 4th platoon. It is trained like the rest of the company and led by Lt Asbourgh who is an old NCO up from the ranks.  I rolled him up and he is rated as a good leader.  Thus he will have a +1 on the maneuver table and a 50% chance of generating an order on his own. The other changes to the company since last battle are:

Capt Moulin's leadership has increased to average.  : )

1st platoon's skill has increased to experienced.  Lt Dupont is still an average leader.  

3rd platoon with Lt Corbin that was mauled last time is down to 2 squads.

For support there is no artillery.  We do have 2 MMGs and our 60mm mtr.  We have also been given a platoon of armored cars a platoon of 25mm ATGs and 2 platoons of R 35 tanks that will come in as reinforcements.  

 The battlefield.  The plowed fields will require bog checks due to recent rains.  Germans set up 3 hexes in from the left.  French set up from the barn/stonebuildings back towards the town.  I roll up french set up per O group with the proviso that ATGs start on board.  plus I roll up 3 platoons.  Capt Moulin starts in the town and places 1st platoon [ his best troops] in the stone houses up top of the picture with an ATG trained on the road.  3rd platoon under the general's son, Lt Corbin, will take the barns beneath the road with a MMG.  2nd platoon with Lt Boucher, our weakest leader will set up with Capt Moulin in town with our last ATG and MMG where we will await Lt Asbourgh's arrival with 4th platoon.

Set up in the town

 ATG next to the stone houses

The German forces.    Each platoon had a 33% chance to improve from experienced to veteran.  2nd and 3rd platoon succeed.  They also have a FO with a battery of 105s. [ The jadgpanzer is actually a 2nd Stug A to make up a platoon]


The Germans roll their on board forces.  Their CO starts in the woods and places the heavy weapons next to him under his control. [ this ended up being a mistake as it cost an order to activate later-- expensive.  I should have attached them to a platoon.  The CO doesn't have time to direct the heavy weapons himself.] The 2 armored cars are also on board.  The plan is to move up the bottom side of the board while scouting the middle and top to see if there are any areas undefended.  

Patrols are also sent out by both sides.  The german MMG actually needs to open up and scatter the french patrol so the germans can advance to inspect the farm.  [ Patrols can't advance past enemy units.]

The armored cars advance slowly towards Suxy.  They look towards the buildings between the fields but see no sign of the enemy.

With the french patrol driven back german scouts confirm french infantry and MMGs in the barns.  

The Germans deploy 1st platoon to take the farm.  There is some delay in getting artillery up as the germans can't roll any "6s" with which to make the battalion order!

The germans are sluggish with only 4 orders.  Lt Corbin holds his fire.  In battlefront the first time a unspotted unit fires it gets +1, this can make a difference even with my modified D12 table.  

As the germans slowly move up artillery finally rains down on the farm.  Unfortunately it is enough to shake the french and they leave the inferno for the quieter woods.  Lt Corbin leads the one good order squad out and they are raked by an armored car from across the field...

Most of the squad didn't know what hit them.  Several wounded survivors including the LT crawl to the woods. 

Early part of the battle-- The farm on Capt Moulin's left falls easily as Lt Corbin's understrength platoon crumbles fast. Moulin sends a runner to get their status.  If they can he asks Lt Corbin to delay the Germans in the woods until he is sure where the schwerpunkt is going to be.  The germans continue to probe on his right.  The armored cars found his ATG there and sent it packing. [ see blue truck driving off top edge.] He still has Lt Dupont and his best platoon up there.  Capt Moulin also sees 2 Stugs coming up the road.  The Germans will have to commit soon.  Lt Asbourgh has arrived, Moulin told him to settle in on the right edge of town.

 In a mark of teutonic efficiency, the german 1st platoon immediately presses their attack into the woods... 


the fighting is fierce.  Lt Corbin, fighting bandaged up...

falls again in close in fighting as the germans sweep the near woods. 

 Meanwhile, in front of the town, the french ATG has destroyed several ACs and driven the rest away but 2 Stugs come up to duel. 

Situation mid battle.  Capt Moulin's left flank has given way.  He has sent a platoon of armored cars to the left of Suxy to delay germans from leaving the woods and to help keep the Stugs at bay.  He has heard from battalion and 2 platoons of Renaults are coming.  He sees halftracks moving up behind the Stugs.  He guesses more infantry.  Clearly the farms on the right are not important now.  He tells Lt Duprey to bring 1st platoon back into town.  

1st platoon strung out but moving back into town.  Lt Duprey leading with his cool kepi.

Armored cars up!


Now we have caught the german armor's attention.

Now I am slowly trying out different additions to each game as I play to see what I like.  This game I introduced random events a la Platoon Forward.

At this point the germans get this card.   66% chance of stukas but alas I roll a "1".   So...

An ME 109 enters the battlefield.  Vehicles are the easiest thing to identify and he sees a bunch next to the town.  While cool all it does is suppress some armored cars.

  Meanwhile the german first platoon continues their push through the woods and comes across Lt Corbin's survivors. They quickly surrender.  

With the armored cars in disarray the 2 Renault platoons show up.  Capt Moulin send one to patch up his left flank and one to the right to take on the Stugs.  The Stugs have started to shell 2nd platoon. 

The Germans bring up their 2nd platoon for a frontal assault on the town.  

The upper floors are shattered with 75mm shells as the assault commences.  This is Lt Bouchard's first real test.

  The Renaults opens up on the busy Stugs.  They KO one thus disabling the unit.  With the Stugs busy and 2nd platoon holding their own Capt Moulin orders 4th platoon under Lt Asbourgh to advance and launch a counter attack on the flank of the german attack!  The French will get to attack!

Meanwhile some more Stugs were moving to support the german attack into Capt Moulin's left flank.  They become bogged down right in front of the Hauptman!  


So guns are brought up as well.

Lt Bouchard and 2nd platoon starts to crumble as 4th platoon shows up on the germans flank.  

2nd Platoon is ejected from the front of Suxy [ now represented by the white paper to show 2 locations] just as Lt Asbourgh hits the german flank!  These germans are veterans so they buckle but do not break.

A view of the town square where mortar teams are taking direct fire.

Beginning of the end.    Stug at the top dispatches the Renaults in Suxy.  4th platoon in wild melee with German 2nd platoon but they have 1 squad in the buildings.  Germans deploy new platoon in front of Suxy right in front of 1st platoon.  German guns destroy 1 of the near Renaults allowing 1st platoon of german infantry to leave woods and flank Renaults and town.

Picture showing how far back surviving squad of 2nd platoon is with Lt Bouchard!  

Middle of the end.  Lt Asbourgh wins the melee with the 2 german squads outside.  He is basically powerless to do anything to the halftracks though.  1st platoon taking their lumps in Suxy as Capt Moulin grabs a rifle but 1 german squad is KOed.  

End of the end.  Lt Asbourgh manages to extricate himself from the halftracks and move into the town square where concentrated firepower KOs the remaining german squad!   the German 1st platoon is fired on by armored cars and fails their morale check so they retreat back to the woods.  The german second platoon is down to 2 squads and suddenly they are all that is left to assault the town.  they withdraw and the town is saved!   

Fantastic game!  I thought the germans had it in the bag.  Lt Asbourgh's counterattack supported by the Renaults really turned the tide of the game.  [ that would be a fun skirmish to play.]  

Post game Lt Corbin is listed as MIA.  It will be found out later that he died of his wounds at a German aid station.  Fortunately Gen Corbin does not blame Capt Moulin. Fortunatly, Capt Moulin could report honestly that Lt Corbin took wounds while defending his position that was overrun while successfully defending the town of Suxy.  In rolling up things for the company, Lt Dupuy becomes a good leader after his heroic defense of the town.  Also 4th platoon, which will now become 3rd platoon since the company only has 3 platoons, makes the roll to become experienced from trained.  Next scenario I would like to play a counter attack with some armor.  Will have to buy some more to make this happen.