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.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The kicking mules and Fighter Pilot

 I suspect many people are getting tired of aerial game reports but I am really digging this game.  It really shows the differences of plane types and better pilots do perform better.  I think it is going to be a winner.  I have decided not to call it What a Fighter though. What a Tanker is a beer and pretzel game while this really isn't.  Other than you roll 6 dice to determine your hand there really isn't any relation to WAT.  The dice are different and I have opposed rolls, skill dice, trading out dice and area movement; none of which is remotely like WAT.  I am still looking around for a name but might go with Fighter Pilot

The game plays in about 70 minutes but I wanted to stretch it and see how it plays with alot of toys on the table.  So we turn to my P-38 squadron in Tunisia, the Kicking Mules to escort B-17s to bomb Sicily.   I want it big so the Mules are going to take 6 fighters and fight against 6 Germans.  [ I didn't roll scenario or # of opposing fighters.]  I chose the P-38 as I want the game to show the P-38J and L were good fighters up at high altitude.  [ Before the J they hadn't got the super charger right so it was decent up high but I wouldn't call it good.  One of my main goals of the game is the P-38E will fly different than the G than the J than the L but not be complicated like Fighting Wings. ]  The germans will have ME 109Gs and 2 FW 190s.  [ I know the FW 190s were out of theater by this time but I need to show the FW 190 wasn't all that good a fighter at high altitude.  This will be a good test']  

The Mules have had 6 other missions and are mediocre.  They just haven't scored a lot of victories.  There last mission I posted about them was their 5th and can be found on Jan 30 2020.

The pilots are:

Capt Zap McGruder                    Avg

  wing  2Lt Bill Wright            Avg     former NCO

Lt Lewis                                     Vet               1 kill

   wing  2Lt Bing Foster          Green      well liked in the sq

2Lt Chuck Carls                        Vet                3 kills

   wing   2Lt Glenn Schlick       Avg

B-17s on their way!  Where is our escort??@##

Unfortunately,  McGruder makes a navigational error and misses the rendezvous with the bombers!  This will allow the 2 FWs a turn to attack the B-17s unmolested.   

As they near the island Folke Wulfes attack.  Bomber #2 sustains a fuel leak.   For now they can continue.  

Bomber #4 attempts to fend of an abeam attack...

It fails.  6 parachutes are seen out of the burning plane.  

Turn 2  [ each turn is between 1-3 minutes ]

Look who shows up!  McGruder feels bad and embarrassed.  The squadron knows and Maj Bunker will not be pleased.    [ Lewis' element top.  McGruder center and Carls bottom.]

4 ME 109s show up and a ranging air battle brews. 

 Lt Lewis gets in trouble with an element of ME 109s [left] while 2Lt Carls manages a quick shot at one Messerschmidt. [ below center].  Capt McGuire goes after the FW 190s [ center above] 

Turn 3

Capt McGruder gets on the FW 190's tail [ P-38J has better performance and same maneuverability up high] and sees hits on the wing.  The FWs maneuverability drops by 1. [ counter on stand.]

The second FW knocks a B-17 out of formation.  She will be easier prey now.

Meanwhile 2Lt Carls uses a combo of speed and maneuverability [ helps to be a veteran going against an average pilot] to get on the tail of a ME 109G.  He sees hits and flame from the engine....

Carls has his 4th kill!

End of turn 3.  Lt Lewis has a ME 109 on his tail now and is starting to take hits. [ center left]  Carls free after his kill [center below].  McGruder on a FW's tail [ center above].  1 FW 190 still loose on the bombers [ center right just in front of the bombers]

Turn 4

The FW veteran activates first with a P-38 on his tail.  His ailerons are damage but his mount can dive fast.  He pushes down on the stick and goes into a split S.   Capt McGruder sees the damaged FW head for the deck.  While his Lightning likes the high altitude he can keep pace with any german plane in a dive. Somehow this pilot pulls off a slick split S that McGruder can't follow.  Worse, as the P-38 starts to wallow in the thicker air the Folk Wolfe spins around and manages a snap shot...   

flames erupt from the stricken fighter.    Was it electrical? Fuel?  Zap didn't know but the fighter...

started to plunge to earth as if turned by the invisible hand of gravity.  He knew he should bail out but he hated the thought of being in the mediterainean.    He decided to dive to put out the flames like he had seen in his childhood comic books.  20,000ft,... 10,000ft... things looked grim but at 4,000ft the flames extinguished!  It had worked.  He righted the craft and set a course for dry land.  [ a "6" extinguishes the flames a "1" blows up the plane every 10,000 ft.] 

 Meanwhile things aren't looking much better for Lt Lewis.  He has a ME 109 on his tail apparently flown by a good pilot because all his tricks aren't working.  His wingman, 2Lt Foster, is a rookie and hasn't been much help.  Foster barrels in [top left] to try to clear Lewis' tail but the German also has a wingman. 

Foster fires at the annoying but effective wingman...


And smoke streams from his engine!  More importantly he moves away leaving his leader unprotected. He will attempt to head for home with a damaged engine.

While all this is happening 2Lt Carls is attempting to maneuver against another ME 109 hoping to get that all important 5th kill.  All he manages is a quick snap shot which misses.

At the end of turn 4 we see the german wingman trying to head for home [ top left].  2Lt Wright facing off against a FW 190 at medium altitude [center top]. Lt Lewis finally manages to shake his german pursuer [ center]. 2Lt Carls skirmishing with a ME 109 [bottom right] and the other lone FW still running amok among the bombers but not doing much damage.

Turn 5

The FWs leave having spent their fuel.  This leaves 3 ME 109s.   The first with the damaged engine leaves the area.  The second, flown by a veteran, ignores the P-38s and goes after the straggling B-17. 

He fires and sends it into the sea.  

The third ME 109 makes a head on pass and does no damage.

2Lt Carls does get one more shot at a fleeing messerschmidt and sees hits to the wings but it does not go down.


So 2 bombers lost and 2 bombers/ 1 P-38 damaged for 1 ME 109 downed and 2 ME 109s plus 1 FW 190 damaged. One more story to play out; Zap has to land.  He nurses the fighter back to the strip but crashes it upon landing and is WIA.  Not a good day for Zap!  I will call this one a draw as 2 bombers went down.  the squadron looses a cool point so they are now at -1 and are becoming the loosers on base. Maj Bunker is furious with Capt McGruder and throws him under the bus before the Colonel.  He decides to make McGruder his "project" to prove what a good leader he is.  2Lt Carls gets promoted to 1Lt and will functionally take Zaps job during this project time.  2Lt Foster looses his rookie status.  A replacement pilot due in 3 missions ago arrive, 2Lt Zaney Swobe fresh from school.  He has a haughty air about him so is rapidly becoming unpopular.  

Regarding Fighter Pilot I liked how the P-38 was modeled as well as the FW 190.  I think head on attacks against bombers need to be beefed up. Overall I am pleased with the system.  Just need to ensure the rules are clear and people understand the system as it has several new concepts.  Hope to be demo ing it at Waterloo games in Richmond, VA in Nov.  




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