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, November 27, 2023

Why would the Fleet Air Arm want the Wildcat?

 Because the Fulmar fighter was woefully inadequate!  

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving; at least in the US.  Please remember all the US servicemen and women far away from home this holiday season; it is tough.  

Update on my aerial combat game that currently has no name.  I demo ed it at Waterloo games in Richmond, VA and I believe everyone had a great time.  We played Wildcats vrs Zeros and by the third turn of the first game people were grasping the concepts.  The performance dice and area movement take a while to get use to because they are novel but everyone enjoyed the games and felt they gave a good sense of aerial combat; which I was glad to hear.  JD had an insightful comment, "This is one level up from plane to plane skirmish."  I had not thought about it that way but I think he is right.  You normally move in elements because that is the most effective way to fight; not because the rules force you too.  Many thanks to Rob and the folks at Waterloo games for hosting us.  Would love to get back there in January. 

I have polished up the altitude rules and boom and zoom really works well now.  I think fighter verses fighter is close.  Am tweaking bomber defense still and have now started working on air to ground.  

I will post this report because I think readers will find it unusual.  I was reading that when the British decided to invade Syria the French actually reinforced Syria with several squadrons of DE 520s and MS406s.  The French did attack British naval forces several times.  I rarely get to use my Fulmars so here was an ideal opportunity.  

4 Fulmars defending a mixed force of British CAs and DDs against 6 Potez 663 bombers escorted by 3 DE 520s.   

   Prototype cards I am using for the game with no name.  Fortunately we start low but still, where are our Martlets?!?!

Lt Garret leads his flight towards trouble.  He is a veteran, with 2 average pilots and poor Hobbs without much experience.  

We are fighting because we are french and we like to make things difficult!  DE 520s start at medium low.

Lt Garret manages to work his way around to the side of the formation before they are spotted.  Since they are outclassed by the DE 520s they will go after the bombers and take their lumps from the fighters.  Go!

 Miles and Hobbs bore straight in and have a go.  They see strikes but the bomber chugs on.  [ The fulmars are barely faster than the bombers.]

Garret maneuvers to a bomber's 6 and lets loose wtih all 8 .303 Mgs.  This was a lot of firepower in 1938 but he is currently in 1941.   It appears he kills the back gunner. 

The french fighters are relieved to see fulmars.  The Lt tells his veteran NCO to break off and go after the second element while he dives after a trailing Hobbs...

Hobbs suddenly feels rounds hitting the cockpit and is badly wounded as french fighters flash by.  The French regain altitude.  


At the same time the French NCO settles in on the tail of Miles ... He is able to keep his large fulmar out of the frenchman's sites.    

Turn 2 as Garret trys to rally his men the french gain the initiative.  Hobbs radios he is badly hit and needs to head back to the carrier.  As he moves in that direction Lt Garret sees, to his horror, ...

a french DE 520 again diving down on Hobbs.  He yells as Hobbs takes more shells.  

The Fulmar is tough and stays in the air though now it is leaking petrol like a sieve.  Hobbs...

limps away where he will successfully ditch near the carrier.  Meanwhile, Miles doesn't stay out of the French NCOs sights forever and goes down. 


Lt Garret stubbornly sticks to his plan and makes another run at the bombers; we are here to protect the ships!.  This time he is rewarded by smoke pouring out of the port engine.  This bomber turns away and heads for home.

4 minutes into the battle.  1 Fulmar down, Hobbs limping back to the carrier, one bomber heading home trailing smoke.  If you are Lt Garret do you cut and run?  You are outnumbered by the DE 520s and two still have the height advantage.  Of course not!  You are a naval aviator in a crappy plane.  You have to protect the fleet.

As Lt Garret makes his wide turn to have another go at the bombers he is intercepted by a lone DE 520.  Lt Garret, being a veteran, fends him off with the help of his wingman.  He decides he will make a run at this pesky frenchman who has caused so much destruction today. 

He attempts to get behind him but all he can manage is a fleeting snapshot from the front as the frenchman goes by...

 and is rewarded as a thin trail of smoke starts to trail his opponent!  

But while this is occuring, once again the "Frun in the Sun" strikes!  He singles out Garret's wingman...

With disastrous results!

The smoking DE 520 leaves the battlefield while Lt Garret decides to avenge the loss of his comrades...

He lines up his shot carefully on another bomber and this time is rewarded as the wing collapses!  

He avoids yet another diving attack and british flak breaks up the party.   


Three french bombers approach a british DD.  [ I don't know if they can glide bomb but for today they can.]

The first two french aircraft miss the rapidly moving ship.  [ For those of you that think that is a Flower class DE you are WRONG.  Go back and study your ship recognitions.  I SAID it is a british destroyer.]

The third bomber scores a near miss with a 250lb bomb.  Water is a great medium and this actually causes...

Flooding on the HMS Generic British Destroyer.  Rolling on the "Fate of the Ship" table she will have to be towed back to Alexandria unless the French take another crack at her.  

Fun game that was a total disaster for the British.  Rules played very well.  In retrospect I think Lt Garret should have taken an element up high to deal with the Frun in the Sun.  Would be interesting to play it again like that.  Would also be interesting to play it with 4 Martlets instead of Fulmars.  Now I know why the Navy wanted them so bad rather than waiting for Corsairs!