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.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Creating a Solomons force for Coastal actions

 I am having a lot of fun experimenting with Coastal Patrol.  It is a tribute to Mr Schmidt that it can take my tinkering with the combat system and still give a good game.  I have had US PT boats and Japanese barges for a while now and never got around to painting them.  I use to run Barge busting missions in 1/1200 scale and it was a lot of fun.  To make it a battle you really need some type "C" armored barges and I always allowed for some Japanese escorts.  The problem is I haven't found any of these ships in 1/300 scale.  

Creating the PT boats is easy.

This baby is straight out of the Warlord box.  I added some Heroic and Ros figures to add life to the boat. 

The Type A barges were also easy.

Here is a warlord one straight out of the box.  Interesting that the armament varied but often they had MGs on either side aft.  With this model you only get one gun and attached crew.  Still you do get a gun but it is expensive.  

Here is an action shot from a test game that shows the Heroics and Ros barges.  These are slightly smaller and have no guns or figures at all.  They are significantly less expensive but I guess you get what you pay for.  Since I needed a dozen barges I went this route. I hope to go back and add figures at some point.

Now on to the Japanese type "C" barge.  Frankly I am not even sure what it looks like.  There is a picture on Wikipedia that makes it look like a river boat.  I assume that is an early version in China and Scotia does a model found below.

 I had grand dreams of using plastic card and building up a boat and eraser heads as turrets and then remembered I have 4 russian gunboats unpainted.  

Viola!   A type "C" barge complete with 2 AT guns.  It is larger than the Japanese version but will work I think.  

Now I wanted a Japanese H 38 type patrol craft or the like.  I honestly have never seen a picture but they are mentioned in Mighty Midgets by Clash of Arms. It is about 26 tons and had 25mm guns.  the most numerous on had a triple 25mm mount aft supposedly.  What to do?   

A Russian D3 torpedo boat is about that size...It will work.  Besides I don't think people know what it looks like.  It probably looks like a typical patrol craft.  The problem with the D3 is there is no gun aft.

A russian D---- A Japanese H 38.  I attach almost all my guns with small magnets.  This allows them to rotate, not fall off and I can change the armament on my craft.   First drill a small hole to match the size of your magnet.  In this case I will not go deep enough to make the magnet flush because there is an exhaust pipe that I want my gun to clear.  

Normally you drill deep enough so your magnet is flush as on this Fairmile boat.

Hole drilled about halfway down.

Magnet glued.  Make sure the magnet is level!!!!!  These are a bugger to remove if you mess it up.  Also make sure you have the right polarity for the magnet.  A tip for that is...

Slide a thin piece of card between your gun magnet and boat magnet.  This will ensure you have the correct polarity.  Then place the boat magnet down on the boat.  Slide the gun off the paper and remove the paper.  You now have the correct side for your magnet.

Hull painted but not yet washed.

Final result with a german gun from the bits box.  

Better picture of the final result minus our forward MMG which was found and glued in place.  Now the aft gun rotates and I can replace with a different gun.

In the thick of it!

Hopefully you found this helpful if you are thinking of starting your own coastal forces in the Pacific.

More to come as I have rolled up Lts Hutton and Fryman in the South Pacific!



Monday, May 8, 2023

Coastal Patrol with Lt Hampton RNR

 Thanks to a discussion I had with Mark and Chuck on The Lead Adventure Forum I was inspired to bring out my coastal craft and try out Coastal Patrol by James Schmidt.  When these rules came out I didn't pay them much attention.  As many of you know I was playing Cruel Seas [ actually with my mods entitled Crueler Seas ]with my dad until he died.  After he passed I couldn't bring myself to play coastal actions.  I bought Narrow Seas by Manly. They are a great set and before I started playing with my dad they would have been the set I wanted but now I was looking for something quicker but with enough detail to satisfy.  Inspired I re read Coastal Patrol and thought I would give them a go.

First I decided to roll up 3 ships per Flotilla Forward.  I decided I would use Dog boats in the atlantic 1944 as they would be big enough to test my mods.  

We have:

SO   Lt Hampton RNVR    He is a famous peacetime yachtsman who has joined the colours to do his part.  His boat is Veteran.

Lt Phillips  RNVR   He is a generous sort whose dad is a MP.   His boat is Veteran.

Lt Smithers RNVR  He is a generous sort.  Comes from a long line of well bred gentlemen farmers.  His boat is also a veteran.

 I rolled up the mission and it was a convoy intercept with 1 large blind and 4 small; perfect.  Visibility was 2 miles with one squall.  The wind was whipping however with Balfour 5 so small boats would have to make a check to go full speed.  Still as the CO said, "The war can't wait for perfect conditions for you to go hunting Hampton." 

The Flotilla set up looking for trouble.  1 small blind going towards a squall at 2,000 yrds.  [ each hex 100 yrds.]

I used the spotting rules from Crueler Seas.  The spotting rules from Coastal Patrol are fine I am just use to mine.  Nothing is seen as the first blind enters the squall.

After 2 minutes another blind is on the board...

A look out on Hampton's boat call out "A Raum boat 40 degrees off to port!"  "Well done lad!"  A Raum boat is probably part of the convoy but which part?  When in doubt lets get ahead and sit and wait.  Lt Hampton orders the flotilla to increase speed to 20 knots [ each hex of speed is 5 knots] and execute a 45 degree to starboard.  Here is a mechanic that I didn't think I would like but I do.  When you activate each boat you roll 2d6 and this determines how many orders you can issue your crew.  A "10" didn't give Lt Phillips enough to both increase speed and turn so Hampton's signals were initially misunderstood by Phillips.  Simple!

You just can't get good help these days!  

The Raum boat's crew scanning the blackness

about 8 minutes into the "action".  Hampton is traveling twice as fast as the convoy.  He plans to go past the "pimple" and turn to port.  

" Raum boat coming towards us Sir.  Appears to be increasing speed."  The Germans have radioed the Flotilla's postion.  The first blind moves towards the British.  

As Lt Hampton is mulling over his options the night is shattered by 20mm guns firering about half a mile away!  

Suddenly his helmsman yells, "She isn't responding Sir."  

The state of the battle.  Lt Hampton encounters the starboard Raum boat.  The merchants are in the squall.  The convoy SO decides this threat is real.  He orders the port guard to stern and his ship to starboard.  

As Hampton's boat careens to starboard he signals Phillips to stick to the original plan.  

As Lt Phillips comes to grips with his new reality he hears, " Minesweeper 30 degrees to port 1.5 miles"


A battle rages between small boats.  This is what coastal action is all about.  The farthest Raum boat has engine damage and Lt Phillips boat's rudder gets stuck to port!  

14 minutes into the action.  The merchants are out of the squall and remain unspotted.  The minesweeper is coming around and engaging Lt Smithers as are both Raum boats now.  Lt Hampton's rudder is fixed and he is making for the presumed convoy.  Lt. Phillips is still working to repair his ship.  His ship has had 2 flotation hits so is at risk for flooding.

Lt Smithers running threw a gaunlet of fire.  [ splash is from the MS 4 inch gun.]  "Keep pushing lads.  There has to be freighters up a head somewhere."  

Another view of Smithers.

"Eureka!  Dead ahead.  Big as your girlfriend's arse!"  "Prepare torpedoes we haven't much time and we aren't going around again."

Torpedoes away at 500 yards!  Wait for it...

Huzzah for LT Smithers and the king!  

Lt Hampton launches 700 yards away.  


16 minutes into the action.  Lt Hampton has just launched and is preparing to turn away.  Lt Phillips [ next to him] boat has 3 flotation hits so is in danger of flooding.  That said he doesn't want to return with torpedoes.  Lt Smithers boat has just had her engine hit and can only make 15 knots so there won't be a fast get away for him.

Hampton's fish miss as the freighter turns.  A smaller VP boat turns up behind the freighters and begins shooting.  Lt Phillips sees the raum boats coming for him and wants to disengage.  The VP boat will have to do as a target.  

As Hampton makes his turn Phillips fires, "Torpedoes away!  Let's get out of here."      As the waiting for an explosion turns to minutes they realize they have missed.  [ I use my torpedo rules from Crueler Sea which I do prefer and are solitaire friendly.] 

Now the hunters flee with angry raum boats going toe to toe.  

Suddenly a huge hole is created in the front of Lt Phillips boat.  The front immediatly begins to flood.

The german SO on the minesweeper. "Karl, schnaps to the crew of "A" turret.  That was a great shot."

Phillips slows his boat and prays the water can be slowed.   

Lt Smithers with his newly repaired engine moves around the stricken boat.  No thought of picking up passangers with Raum Boats nipping at their heels. 


Lts Hampton and Smithers make good their escape into the night leaving 1 freighter burning.  They report the freighter sunk and Lt Phillips boat MIA presumed sunk.  But wait...

Lt Phillips manages to nurse his sinking craft into the squall while the raum boats are chasing his mates.  It does sink towards morning but brave air sea rescue manage to recover them!  [ In Flotilla Forward there is a 50% chance that your crew is recovered.  I know, unrealistic but it does make for better stories!]  

In addition the freighter is only badly damaged.  It is towed into port by morning.  Rats.

The Flotilla's reputation goes up by 1 and Smither's boat is repaired.  

Great game that played fast.    My thoughts on Coastal Patrol?


A fast combat system that is somewhat realistic.  It is unique in that you don't track damage level per se.  Your boat will succumb [ maybe] to "critical hits". The best part is guns below 40mm are grouped into 1 roll so combat is fast.  I thought I would hate this lack of granularity but it keeps the game from bogging down.  

It shows level of crew experience in a brilliantly simple way.  Rolling for how many actions per boat often doesn't make a difference as it shouldn't.  Naval crews are all trained to sail and fight. But occasionally it will show up and when it does it is brilliant.


A fast combat system that is somewhat realistic. While fast the critical hits appear to often for my taste.  For example in my beta game I had 2 rudder hits and 6 captains killed between the 4 boats.  In addition it seems very hard to sink ships.  Now I grant you I have only played 3 games so these are early observations.  I will be tweaking the combat table to better distribute the hits.  In addition I think allowing all ships to sustain 6 flotation/fire hits may be a bit high.  I think I will have really small ships get 3, small ships 4 and large ships 6. 


James has achieved his goal of a fast playing game between coastal forces that is somewhat realistic. To have a game play fast and be pretty realistic is hard to achieve and James has done it.   The combat system can be easily tweaked which is what I am in the process of doing.  For rules found in a magazine it is certainly a very good game.  I plan to continue to play it.  It is available in the Too Fat Lardies summer 2011 special.  In there you will also find a bonus scenario for Platoon Forward; scenario R which is a meeting engagement between two mobile forces.