Friday evening found a couple of us setting up another Modern Spearhead game, yet again set in 1982. We use the Scenario Generation System to develop the context of our games and this uses various lists in the different scenarios that are generated. For my part I had spent a couple of hours coming up with a list that would enable me to use my West Germans. I have a tendency to use tanks that aren’t particularly powerful. However, I wanted to use something different this time to counter the T-80s my opponent has been using of late.
Having not used Leopard 2s for several years I focussed my efforts on the Defend List which had some of these beasts. Of course I didn’t spend as much time on an Attack List and then found the West Germans were conducting a hasty attack. My three West German battalions, from a Panzer Grenadier Brigade, would be facing a Soviet Naval Infantry Regiment – that had no tanks!
Now, I won’t give a blow by blow of the game. However, one aspect that was absolutely fascinating was the various initiatives used by the Soviets to suppress the German air defences. Critical if the Soviets were counter the Leopards. If you are interested I have placed a short article on my Modern Spearhead site. It looks at fixed wing air support and air defence suppression in general and the how it played out last night. You can find it here.
With one of the local Moderns players finally free of work commitments we took the opportunity to deploy our Cold War forces for another encounter last night.
Typically with games generated by the Scenario System we find attackers when selecting an attack scenario for a Hasty Attack over a Deliberate Attack. In part this is due to the additional planning required when preparing a Deliberate Attack. Last night however Andrew, commanding his Soviets, selected a Deliberate Attack. Now, I wasn’t keen to attempt another Spoiling Attack, with less than desirable results previously. In addition I believed the terrain favoured defence. Therefore, I focussed on preparing the French forces for the inevitable artillery barrage and focussed reconnaissance which was certain to occur as the Soviet attack began.
The resulting game was fascinating. Concentrated the Soviets, in reinforced regimental strength, moved forward with massed artillery fires aimed at neutralising forward French positions. Then as the French were overwhelmed the the Soviet commander planned for his artillery to switch to secondary objectives. Fortunately, not everything went to plan for the Soviet commander. French forces meanwhile tried to reposition themselves in an effort to restore balance, again with mixed results.
A short report of the engagement near Baudenbach, fought using Modern Spearhead and our 6mm miniatures, can be found here.
Over the last few months I’ve managed a reasonable number of WWII Spearhead games but last night we deployed our forces for a Modern Spearhead game set in Cold War Europe during 1982. The scenario developed using the Scenario Generation System found my French facing a front line reinforced Soviet Tank Regiment conducted a hasty attack.
Unfortunately, with a late start and some of the nuisances of the rules needing to be confirmed, the game wasn’t fully resolved by our usual finish time. In fact as the victory conditions went it was a draw, though clearly the Soviets were clearly in the strongest position, if behind on their timings. Despite the lack of time the game highlighted many deficiencies in my force structure and the application of this force to the tactical situation.
One local describes Spearhead, and Modern Spearhead as having multiple layers. If you like you have a tactical situation which is be modified by different layers of weapon systems each shaping and impacting the other. So electronic warfare, counter battery, air strikes and air defence all combine to impact the tactical situation at the sharp end.
Certainly last night was a fascinating game and the following day I’m still processing what worked and what didn’t. How my opponents force composition impacted mine and how the battlefield was shaped by counter battery, electronic warfare and artillery fires. All lessons to be learnt if you like. I’ve posted a few of my post game contemplations on my Modern Spearhead blog here.
I have been negligent in posting of my Renaissance gaming activities of late, despite the fact we have actually been playing a reasonable number of DBR games. In attempt to rectify this situation I have decided to post a couple of photos and a brief description of our most recent encounter. Having travelled the Renaissance world, experiencing colonial engagements in Africa and the East, we returned during March to the green pastures of England to continue the campaigns between Royalist and Roundhead. In the last two games I have fielded a Parliamentary Army of 1643 while my opponent Royalists.
In the first such encounter I suffered terribly for my decision to field a considerable number of horse against the Royalists. As was historically illustrated repeatedly during the early part of the war, Parliamentarian horse could simply not stand the concerted cavalier charge. Indeed, in our first game both my Lobsters as well as other Roundhead were ridden down by the Royalist rabble. The rout was so quick, and so definitive, there was hardly a battle to record!
Last night our forces once again took the field. This time a fascinating engagement took place where both commanders were presented with some interesting challenges on and around Wrotham Common.
Continuing what seems to be an American Civil War theme, I’ve recently posted a report of one of our recent Friday evening Volley & Bayonet encounters. Using armies based on the Bristoe Campaign of October 1863, we deployed the figures for what was a most enjoyable game. Enjoyable from a game perspective, but equally interesting from an historical perspective.
To place it in some context just outside of Fredericksburg are the battlefields of Chancellorsville, the Wilderness and Spotsylvania. The last two cover Grant’s 1864 Overland Campaign – where Meade commanded much of the Union army. Unlike the Campaigns of 1862 here Grant, despite being fought to a standstill, just wouldn’t break off. Instead the Union army slipped east, eventually ending around Petersburg.
For me this most recent fictional battle reminded me of the impacts of the terrain and the resolve the commanders had to damage the enemy army. In our game our “Wilderness”, despite being much smaller and of course meaning the field was considerably more open, had a similar impact. Further, like the actual battles at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania, casualties were horrific.
You will find a summary of Hamstrung at Hazel Run, our fictional game, in my Volley & Bayonet section. For those interested in a summary of my visit to the Wilderness Battlefield posted a couple of years back, it can be found here.