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, December 19, 2023

Musings on rulesets for battalion level combat

 Wow.  I am actually playing something other than my new airplane game.  Once it gets cold in December it is hard not to want to game Battle of the Bulge or Russian Winter offensives.  [ Though I could play US air missions in support of the Ardennes!]  I decided to game the 4th armored's drive to relieve Bastogne.  When stationed in Germany I lived about two hours from the Ardennes so crawled around there several times so love the Bastogne stuff.  It had been about 6 months since I had played any battalion level combat so had to look at my notes and charts to figure out how I play.  I decided I better start small so took...

an advanced guard of the 4th.  Each stand is a squad and each vehicle is 2 so two vehicles are a platoon.  I realized I need two more shermans to have an armored company!  This is all straight out of Battlefront WW II which has been my go to rules. As I have mentioned before I love the combat system and the maneuver table so we aren't changing that.  Their sequence of play is very old school and leaders are not important.  So I tinkered with several rulesets over the weekend to see what I liked.  They are all good rulesets: 

O group

best parts:  I love the spotting rules and the use of recon elements.  My Greyhounds have never been so important as when I play a game of O group.  I like the D6 rolled for cover during combat; simple and effectively models concealment.

less than best parts:  All units are the same as far a leaders.  You can't have one LT shaky or great.  Also, maybe I am playing it wrong but I almost always have plenty of orders.  I have decreased the number of dice I throw but after a couple of turns it becomes repetitive.   

   My most excellent recon element ran into some german mortars.  

Chain of Command

I was a playtester for CoC so I think it is a great game.  I tried to upscale the game to battalion level with a junior leader being a platoon leader but didn't really like it.  In fairness the game isn't designed for this.  

Best parts:  Rolling dice and manipulating them is fun.  This was part of my inspiration for Boom and Zoom.  The variable ending of turns is neat as well as getting to go twice.

Less than best parts: Again leaders are generic as are units.  You can't have a shaky LT or one unit that is jumpy.  

A platoon of shermans looks over a village.

Piquet/Field of Battle

Most people already have an opinion about Piquet.  I will say that I enjoyed original Piquet but it was slow and impetus swings could make it very frustrating though not necessarily unrealistic.   Bret Oman has minimized/eliminated much of these negatives with Piquet second generation Filed of Battle.  Now I have 1st edition FOB for horse and musket only and just ported some ideas into modern warfare.  I have posted several games of my mashup of Battlefront and Piquet.  

Field of Battle mashup

Best parts:  You can include a card called "command confusion" or "brilliant leader" which can differentiate very good or shaky leaders.  YES! I use these for platoon leaders so maybe I know that Harry in 2nd platoon is weak or Herr Lackman of my panthers can get anything done I ask.  The cards are also great for solitaire as you can have your plan but you might not get the right sequence before your opponent messes it up. FOB really models the OODA loop.  Force morale in FOB is much better than original Piquet.

less than best parts:  rolling up the unit quality before the game takes a while and though only 25% of your force should deviate from the norm I always have about 50%.  It is also tempting to include too many cards in each deck which then slows the game down.

company mortars set up to support the advance.  Battlefront has the best artillery rules bar none. 

I went to the Piquet website to see if they had anything new and discovered they have a 2+ generation Piquet out called Battle Command.  So I looked for a review and found one here by our very own Sgt Steiner!  https://sgtsteiner.blogspot.com/2023/01/battle-command-obtained.html     

After reading the review and looking over his comments I thought Battle Command was interesting but appeared to have too many decisions and would slow the game down. But I did like the idea of having a primary use for a card and then a possible secondary use for just one platoon.  That potentially would be a tough decision to make.  "This one tank is exposed in the field and I need to move it.  But it would be really good to have all my infantry resolve their fire right now."  

Infantry resolving fire right now!

I tried it and it worked great.  So my latest rule mashup contains the following:

Battlefront WW II/ O group/ Field of Battle. 

So if you are interested in how I am currently playing then read on.  If not then just look at the rest of the pictures.   

Battlefront WW II.  All combat, artillery and pretty much everything except sequence of play.  

O group  Spotting rules and variable movement.  I also use the D6 for concealment.  For example, if a unit is in a wooden house I would roll a D6 along with my D12 [ forgot to mention I changed the battlefront tables to D12 to minimize the extreme results on either end].  If I rolled a 1-4 on the D6 I would subtract 1 from the D12 result. 

Field of Battle     I normally use about 10 cards per side as per field of battle.  I roll up my leaders and unit quality per Piquet Point of Attack or Forgotten Heroes. The unit quality matches the levels in Battlefront.  

For Initiative I roll opposed D6s or whatever I need:

If you tie reshuffle the deck.  Even numbers random event.

If you win by 1-2 draw 1 card than your opponent draws 1 card

If you win by 3 draw 2 cards than your opponent draws 1 card

If you win by 4+ draw 3 cards than your opponent draws 1 card

A german rear guard as their commander tries to save two 75mm guns from the advancing americans.  He ordered them to move in plenty of time.  What is taking them so long???!

There are several cards that have a possible secondary effect.  They are:

Tank Fire>>> Infantry Fire

Infantry Fire>>> Armor Move

Armor Move>>>Melee

Melee>>>Infantry Move

Infantry Move>>>Tank Fire

For these cards you can chose the primary action and play as normal.  If you want you can pick a platoon and roll their LD against a D6:

Lose you must do the primary action

Tie or win by 1 or 2 your platoon can do the secondary action

Win by 3+ you can do the primary action plus your platoon can do the secondary action.

   Now my junior leaders are definitely part of the action! 


The guns didn't get too far!

For every two stands destroyed or routed I add a hunker down card to the deck.  


That's pretty much it.   It gives exciting unpredictable games that are relatively quick.   If you try any of this let me know how it works.  If you have improvements let me know!

Hope everyone has a great holiday!

The Hauptman once again turns to Lachman to do the impossible.  Stem the tide until he can get the infantry to safety.



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