"War is a drama, not a game of chess."
Gen Eisenhower

Monday, March 21, 2011


"I have a problem, Lieutenant!" Captain Middlebrock said, "We have taken the beach and the nearby villages, but we must drive further inland before the hun has time to gather his defences. There's a bunker covering some fields I want you to check out. The navy boys claim they have knocked it out with them big guns of theirs, but I'm not so sure. This goddamn country is too flat and open for my taste, so it can seriously hamper us if it's still occupied. The question is wether Fritz has run away or is still hunkering down inside it!"

"Don't look so alarmed, I'll lend you a .50 as cover. And you don't have to knock it out, just check if there are any germans in or around it. I suggest you go tonight, questions? Good, dismissed!"

My first mission turned out to be Point Reconaissance. I rolled on the relevant tables and got a bunker, yay! Each mission has information about what your objectives are, any opposition and so on. There are also tables for laying out your board if you don't want to decide yourself (perfect for lazy unimaginitive games like me). Unfortunately for Lt. Ingram I managed to roll three completely empty fields on the side his little force would enter the board. I added some hedges to the fields to break them up somewhat and a road between the buildings seemed logical. I also turned a light woods into an orchard as it fitted better in the area.
The board as decided by the dice. Note the bunker in the middle of the board, covering the road and fields, and the entry point of forces.

Platoon Forward specifies how strong the enemy forces are through a number of blinds. Each blind can either contain troops or be empty, so you don't really know where the enemy will be. Objectives tend to have troops though :-) In this case there were nine blinds: four type A (infantry), three type B (support) and two type C (vehicles). When spotted or when they wish to fire you roll on a table and see wath, if anything is there. For this scenario specified an A blind in a shell crater in the field in front of the bunker and an A blind on the hill directly behind the bunker. I then placed a B blind inside the bunker and a pair of A+B blinds in each of the built up areas on the sides. The C blinds were placed in the orchard and behind the bridge respectively. The objective is to spot at least half the blinds (so five) preferrably including the bunker. 

Lt. Ingram only took one squad accompanying him, led by Cpl Jenkins. As it was a recon mission he didn't want to get into a firefight anyway. The .50 was a random addition and I decided to let it cover the bunker hoping it would be able to supress it a little bit if needed. The squad would advance on the other side of the hedge, hopefully without being detected. (Apologies for the unpainted lead...)

The game begins with the squad sitting tight while Lt. Ingram tries to spot the buildings on the left side. No luck, so he decides to advance carefully along the hedge. But disaster strikes, one of them trips in the dark and goes down wildly cursing! The german listening post in the field realises something is afoot and starts to run towards the german lines. Alarm! Alarm! Der Feind kommt(I rolled box cars for their spot.)

Deciding that the game is up anyway the Browning team opens up and cuts down two of the fleeing germans. Hopefully they will draw attention away from the squad.
Move! Move! Move! Hit the dirt! Cpl. Jenkins urges the squad forward and they all hug the ground at the end of the hedge. Nervously Ingram pops the lens caps off his field glasses and manages to deduce that the nearest house is empty. Two blinds spotted, three to go. Maybe there aren't so many germans here after all?
(Note that I'm using german markers and dice, I didn't have a US set...)
The german card comes up. The B-blinds at the intersection and the bunker are both within medium range and they have LoS to the US squad. The bunker has a worse field of fire since there are lots of hedge in the way, but they will try to fire anyway. To my horror both blinds turn out to be Medium Machine guns. The bunker had a 50% chanse of being real while the one at the intersection only had 20% chance. Before resolving the fire I move up the C blinds and one of the remaining A blinds to better positions. Note the card on the bridge which is one of the C blinds. (I do try to play both sides to the best of my ability.)

Two americans go down, caught in the murderous crossfire. I also recieve a shock point (the round marker). Since it was dark and the squad had gone to ground earlier they came off relatively unscathed. Unfortunetaly Lt. Ingram was one of the hit! Rolling for damage he was Badly Wounded and out of the game. His men would have to carry him off the board -- unliked leaders get left where they lie though.
Next, Jenkins card comes up and I have a choice. Retreat, mission unaccomplished, or try to carry on. Since the MG's had revealed themselves I only had to spot one more blind. And Jenkins is Reckless and motivated by Position so it would be in character to try and continue. Furthermore, retreating backwards would not take the squad out of fire from one of the MG's, but advancing behind the ruined building would shield them from both MG's. From there the squad could try to flank the MG and spot the C blind on the bridge. It would be a bit risky since if the blind turns out to be anything heavier than a halftrack I have nothing but guts to throw at it, literally! But then again, Jenkins is reckless. So the US squad leaps up and tries to sprint across the field, dragging Lt. Ingram with them.

Again the dice gods laugh at me. I didn't roll high enough to get across the field. The squad is out of range of the bunker (because it's night) but recieves more shock from the other MG. Luckily no hits, this time. The "Heroic Leader" card comes up, and I decide that Jenkins will try to lob a grenade at the MG. The card is a double edged sword which lets you try something ridiculously dangerous and heroic, but if you fail you have to pay the price. I give Jenkins a whopping 70% to succeed (because I'm biased, so there), having to roll four or more on a D10.

...naturally I roll a one!!! Jenkins leaps down into a crater, frantically unpins a grenade and leaps up again, just to be struck by a burst. Jenkins collapses back again and the grenade explodes harmlessly on the road. Turns out he is only lightly wounded, but it's still enough for the wind to go out of the american GI:s. They manage to get in behind the building and out of the fire, and then slink back to the US lines.

After the game I rolled for replacements and random events. Turns out that I won't be getting any replacements this time, except for a new Lieutenant. Ingram will be travelling back to england on a medical ship, who knows when he will be back? To add insult to injury Jenkins will be away resting for the next three scenarios. Punishment Jenkins calls it, but it's the captain's orders. I dice to see if anyone in Jenkins' squad steps up to replace him; and it turns out that indeed, someone does. So next time I will generate another Lieutenant to replace Ingram and Jenkins' squad won't be leaderless, just two men short.


  1. Laffe,
    Great AAR! Tough break. There is no right way to play but you played it just the way I would have with Jenkins being reckless. I wouldn't even bother to have Ingram come back unless you are particularly attached to him.


  2. Great report. Very fun to read. Love the craters in the pictures too.

  3. It's interesting that I bugged out when Jenkins got hit. If it wasn't a PF game I would have continued playing to the bitter end, trying for that flank and spot despite my two wounded leaders (Jenkins could still lead, but with negative modifiers). Probably would have ended in disaster and one wiped out squad. So indirectly PF makes you care about your men, putting you in the position of the platoon leader.

  4. Oh, and Ingram won't be back, unless in a cameo appearance way later.

  5. I'll second what Laffe said, it's amazing how differently I feel about my little men when I'm gaming with Platoon Forward! :)

  6. You guys are making my blush but I agree with you- it is different. I think that is a good thing. And when one of your guys dones somehting great you really get psyched about it. It is fun.:)
    I have discovered the same thing with Squadron Forward. I am much more careful with my pilots now.