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.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Sybille vrs Forte 1799 How not to command a Royal Frigate!

 I have been dabbling in multiple projects, none post worthy until my wife and I took three days off and went to Annapolis, MD.  When I lived up there we use to sail out of the academy so this was visiting our old haunts.  This inspired me break out my black seas ships and play a couple of games of Post Captain.  I have raved about Post Captain before; it is the only rule set that I really haven't tweaked because it just works.  I painted up a french frigate about 4 months ago so it was time to get her on the table.  Old Dominion Game works has downloadable scenarios including the Sybille vrs the Forte; perfect!

The Forte was a 50 gun frigate raiding shipping in the Indian ocean.  HMS Sybille was a captured french frigate captained by Capt. Cooke looking for the Forte and found her one evening at rest between two captured british merchants.  For some reason the french assumed the Sybille was yet another merchant so as they made sail they did not prepare for battle.  Thus Sybille was able to close before the french realized their opponent was a 38 gun frigate.  Capt Cooke had a contigent of army soldiers on board because it was known that the Forte carried many more marines. Needless to say, Capt Cook fared much better than I did!

  My brand new frigate-- the Forte!

My veteran the HMS Sybille!

The OD scenario has the french unable to maneuver or fire for the first three phases.  I modified this so that on phase two the french are free to act on a "6" [d6].  They then add a +2 every phase afterwards.

Initial positions of the ships per scenario.  Sybille to the left.  Each hex 50 yards.  

 True to form the Forte is strangely silent as the Sybille approaches.  I see my chance to get a bow rake and a statue of me in Trafalgar square!

Take that ye frogs!  [ We are now in the 4th phase.  Odds are very good the Forte can move and fire.]

Ouch!  Didn't see that coming.  The stern rake is devastating.  Half our hull hits gone and rigging shot up.  Guess I haven't played this game in a while.  To make matters worse the ships become fouled.  Interesting dilemma now, do we attempt to board? We have soldiers but how many marines do they have.  I decide Capt Cooke wouldn't take a chance here but given the two ship lists the brits have the advantage.  

   The ships drift apart and the Sybille can't seem to find wind which leaves her at a disadvantage.  At this point Capt Cooke takes a command test and, probably because I am trying to command the ship, fails and decides to withdraw.  I guess the only thing worse than losing to a large french frigate is having to strike to a large french frigate. 

Orders are passed to the gun captains to fire at the rigging.  Soldiers are manning the pumps.  I don't think this is how I get my statue.

Both sides bang away but superior sailing of the british slowly starts to be felt.  [ One of the few rules I have changed in Post Captain is that crack crews get a +1 on the "luff and puff" rolls.] And the fact that the british reload faster so their gunnery is superior. [ Great rule!]   Then an interesting thing happens.  With a third of the Forte's rigging gone she too must take a command test...

She fails and must open the distance to 500 yards!  "Captain, the Forte is turning away."  "Very good Mr Riggins, set a course for Bombay.  We will get patched up and be back for her.  And mark my words, she will rue that day!"

I won't say a great battle since I was running away most of it but it was an exciting battle.  Post Captain really makes you feel like you are sailing a man o war without getting bogged down in too much detail. This battle played in under an hour as well.  I would like to try it again and not have my stern raked and see how it plays out.  

In other news...

  Over the last week I have started designing an air combat game based on the decision elements of What a Tanker.  It appears promising.  I am going to try to run my first bombing mission this week.