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"Fights from the Movie "Platoon" #2" Topic

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972 hits since 7 Sep 2019
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP08 Sep 2019 6:21 p.m. PST


This is the second in my series of Vietnam-era, platoon-level fights based on the characters in the movie "Platoon." In the first fight I played out my interpretation of the initial fight scene in the movie, where SSgt Barnes and Sgt Elias led a patrol out on night ambush. In the movie, the FNG Gardner was killed, Tex was wounded bad enough to be MEDEVAC'ed, and Taylor was lightly wounded, ending up on light duty for a bit. In my game, the 'Platoon' got off easy, whacking five bad guys and taking no casualties, with Rodgriguez performing a bit of close combat heroics. Not enough to get him decorated, mind you, but enough to see him promoted from Private to PFC. So here we are, a few days later, and the 'Platoon' is on a sweep and clear mission, a general advance to contact-type scenario, looking to find the enemy and whoop up on him.

The 'Platoon' has been walking now for a few hours, not a shot fired on this lovely, sunny morning. But that's all about to change; coming to an open area, SSgt Barnes, the Platoon Sergeant, called a halt to confer with the squad leaders. Lt Wolfe tried to interject, but mostly Barnes just ignored him and continued issuing orders to Sergeants Elias, Warren, and O'Neill.


Overview, north is left. At top, in the east, is a ridgeline on Hill 196, with a road running through a saddle. At bottom left is a small hill, Hill 57, with a small village atop it, while there is another village spread thinly across the east side of the river, which is bridged near a crossroads in the center. For our purposes, we'll refer to them as 'north village' and 'south village.' At far right is a small footbridge, and a couple sampans/fishing boats tied up. Despite the presence of the two bridges, the river is fordable by men on foot throughout its length. Other than that, there's some traces of jungle to hide bad guys in, and rice paddies dot the landscape.

Here's the set up: Lt Wolfe and the command element are in a stand of trees just left of the road (bottom center left). Sgt O'Neill's 3rd Squad is atop Hill 57 at bottom left. Sgt Warren's 2nd Squad is in the tree-line at bottom center, and Sgt Elias' 1st Squad is in the tree-line at bottom right. The plan is for O'Neill's squad to serve as a base of fire (supporting position atop Hill 57, though it's not perfect as it's got plenty of sight-blocking terrain between it and potential enemy positions, but it's the best they could do to start) while Elias and his men break cover, with Warren's squad in reserve. Assuming the situation doesn't immediately go sideways, Elias's squad will make it up to the river and call a halt, at which time Warren's squad will move up to the river as well. Once that is completed, Elias and his men will push across the foot bridge (top center right). Once a foothold is established they will halt and O'Neill's squad will come up on the left, then Warren's squad will push across the main bridge. If that all works out, Elias and O'Neill's squads will fall in behind Warren's and the Platoon will continue moving east (top).


Elias' squad moves up towards the foot bridge, the south spur of Hill 196 looming at top right.


Speaking of the south spur (top right), bad guys have shown up there in force, so O'Neill orders Tex and Junior to get their M-60 (bottom left) into action. Tracers string out, searching for bad guys, in support of Elias and King's stalled advance (far right).


Lt Wolfe finally finds his map, figures out the coordinates, and calls in a Fire Mission. "Give me one on adjust."
"Roger, one on adjust. Stand by… Shot."
"Shot out."


Barnes screams at Morehouse and Francis to get the Pig into the fight, as Doc works on… Nope, you gotta read the batrep to see who got hit.

You can find it here:

The next fight will be another non-movie fight, but somewhat based on the movie. Here's what I'm thinking: a couple days later the platoon is continuing its general advance. Like the movie, they find the tunnel complex; they call for reinforcements to deal with the tunnels, leaving Elias and his squad there to hold down the area until the reinforcements arrive. Meanwhile, Barnes and Lt Wolfe set out with the other two squads towards the village, but there they get contact and fight it out. Hmmm… Since I'm only running two squads, maybe I'll run with NEIS again.

Anyway, stay tuned!


Garryowen Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2019 5:25 a.m. PST

Nice looking game. Interesting concept.


VCarter Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2019 6:21 a.m. PST

Did you ever see the Avalon Hill Game called "The Platoon"?

It's also based on the movie.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2019 1:28 p.m. PST

Tom – Thank you, Sir, I appreciate it. Regarding the concept, I'd always loved the film, thought it would be cool to try and play it out, though, as you see above, I had to add some more fights, the three just weren't enough for me ;)

VCarter – I have not, though several people have brought it up after seeing my batreps. I certainly wish I knew about it before I started, but now that I'm started, I can't really see myself trying to find it. Though I do appreciate the recommendation!


Personal logo Ed the Two Hour Wargames guy Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Sep 2019 2:00 p.m. PST

Fantastic stuff.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2019 3:06 p.m. PST

looks great and nice write-ups

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2019 3:43 p.m. PST

Thanks gentlemen, I appreciate it!

My pleasure, Oberlindes, and Ed, I keep eyeballing FNG/UCW. Someday!


Skarper09 Sep 2019 7:50 p.m. PST

Maybe you said already but how are you playing these? Solo or with an umpire? Or does someone take on the the role of the NVA/PAVN?

I did something similar years ago though my 'unit' was based on Alpha company from the 13th Valley. [Which is a book I think would make an excellent film or better yet mini-series].

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2019 4:20 a.m. PST

I'm playing solo, setting the scenario and my forces, then using Joe Legan's "Platoon Forward" to determine enemy strength and position.

And I actually have not read "The 13th Valley," will have to remedy that.


War Panda10 Sep 2019 10:41 a.m. PST

What a great idea to recreate a film scene Jack (I presume one of the kids or your good wife suggested it)

I love the minis too. Some great poses for an AAR.

I'm off to check out the whole thing

War Panda10 Sep 2019 11:39 a.m. PST

Not sure why but I just wrote a gigantic message on your site and it's disappeared immediately! I posted stuff in the last couple of years too and it is gone (at one point I thought you deleted it 😂

I'm on my iPhone again so I'm not sure why but when I press publish it just disappears. Is it waiting for approval or is it just lost? No error message just poof

War Panda10 Sep 2019 11:45 a.m. PST

Wow! What a battle, and I think you're hitting a high high level of report Jack

Great story telling which you do with an authenticity that only someone with a military background could pull off (I realize it was only the Marines but it still counts in my book)
But I also like the rules explanation as the story develops.
You know I like to wisecrack but I have to say that you probably produce the best reports I've experienced. I don't say ‘read' because for me it's the synergy of prose and picture that elevates it.
I know you mentioned you made an early mistake with the blind rules and effectively moved a blind rather than revealing it (or something) but I love honest mistakes in solo gaming. For me it can lead to truly surprising and therefore gratifying moments. It can almost have the feeling of some providential gift or serendipitous opportunity to let the ‘above' mistake to reflect the ‘below' mistake. The above rule mistake means that the ‘below's' intelligence's enemy position is all wrong and in reality is in an altogether different part of the battlefield.

On a modelling side of things, have you constructed some of the little details of the battlefield? There's some great little pieces all over that for me really lifts any game. I love the sampan boats.
I have a lot of Vietnamese friends here. They're a beautiful people. And while I've never been there I've seen enough photos from them to realize what a beautiful country it is. I think it's fair to say in your own way your table goes quite away to capture the look of the place.
Sorry to see that the Big guy expired.

Anyway brilliant report.

All the best.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2019 2:09 p.m. PST


Hey, I'll take great ideas however I can get them!

I haven't deleted any of your posts, no matter how tempting it was. I will tell you that I've had the same problem for the past few months. For some reason, even though I'm logged into the appropriate Google account, I am unable to leave comments on blogs when using my phone, I can only do it from my laptop. I've done the same as you, type out a long, detailed comment, only to have it disappear when I hit 'publish.' I don't know what the issue is; I've searched around on the internet for solutions, but not found one.

Well, I'm taken aback by your puffery, Sir ;) Though I must say, keep it up, I'm finally starting to like you. And regarding the mistake with the blinds, serendipitous is my middle name! ;) Yeah, I don't sweat the mistakes, just keep rolling, there will always be another game… to make more mistakes in ;)

Regarding the scatter terrain, I didn't scratch build anything, I just put it all together. A lot of the stuff (like the shrines and pots) came from Jimmi at Flashpoint Miniatures, while some of the stuff (the weapons related stuff) came from Anton at Flytrap Factory. I just paitned them, glued them on bases, and flocked them. The sampans are a cool addition. I've been trying to figure out how to do a pretty wide river, I've got some LVT-5 amtracs, a PBR, and all these sampans, could be fun.

We have a few Vietnamese friends here, though mostly Thai and Lao. I had the good fortune to travel all over Southeast Asia during my time pretending to be in the military while in the Marines… Yes, really beautiful, may end up retiring there someday.

And yeah, I miss Big Harold, too ;)


Joe Legan10 Sep 2019 3:01 p.m. PST

Great stuff as always. Must say great idea using Platoon Forward by that Legan fellow. Hear he is pretty sharp. How could you mess up the blinds!? He made them so simple they were marine proof
I have found that when focusing on individual characters anything more than 2 squads bogs down

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2019 5:07 p.m. PST


Thanks man. Regarding the great idea, I've had better, but every now and again I feel mediocre. You know, like our sister services. Speaking of mediocre, that cat Joe… well, he's alright, and even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again.

The blinds certainly work well with No End in Sight, and yes, the screwup was all mine. It had nothing to do with misreading a chart or anything, it's all on my deteriorating multi-tasking skills. You of all people know: roll for activation, ponder the options, pick one, move the troops, write it down, take a picture, ponder where the enemy might be, ponder what they might be doing , always in terms of most likely course of action/most dangerous course of action… Just too much for my pea-brain sometimes.

And you may be on to something with your comments on trying to run more than two squads at a time. I keep trying rules and casting them off for taking too long, but maybe it's just not possible to run a full platoon (with this level of detail). I keep trying, but I keep bottoming out at 3 1/2 hours…


Joe Legan11 Sep 2019 6:22 a.m. PST


It is not your fault; we all know marines can't multi task. Let it go. : )
I have tried TW&T, CoC, Combat Patrol, and FoF and when focusing as we do on the story and solo they all bog down with more then 2 squads as the main characters, at least for me. That is why I have actually moved more to focusing just on a squad. The story is almost as rich and I can play it through in 2 hours.
Regarding your amtracs and sampans how easily you forget! We have already had a discussion July 2018 about how to make wide rivers. I showed you how for 29 cents. I would post the pics but don't want to divert this thread.

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2019 7:25 a.m. PST


Yeah, yeah, I've already copped to screwing it up, get your licks in while ya can.

We're definitely two dogs sniffing the same butt here: I've never played TW&T, but I've tried CoC, Combat Patrol, Force on Force, KR-16 (kind of a streamlined FUBAR), Squad Hammer/Hammer of Democracy, and No End in Sight, and, as you observed, they just bog down. And the first fight I played here, with essentially just a reinforced squad, was much more in the sweet spot. So maybe play the game with the third squad off table in reserve, if you get your ass kicked so bad you have to bring the reserve up, halt that fight, and start the next batrep where one of the squads that was in the first fight is pulling out, carrying the casualties out to a collection site for evac, as the reserve squad is coming up to join the remnants of the remaining squad. That actually sounds like it could work on a regular basis!

Well, damn you Joe! July 2018, eh? Very impressive, particularly given your advanced age. I vaguely recollect such a conversation; was it here or in email? Seems to me that construction paper was involved, or brown plastic trash bags?

And don't ever worry about derailing one of my threads, the reason I post is to foster conversations about wargaming!


TXWargamer Supporting Member of TMP21 Sep 2019 2:29 p.m. PST

Exceptional! Thanks for the nice BatRep.


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