Category Archives: WWII Spearhead

Advancing with Mr Churchill

Making the most of the Easter break it was good to dust off my late war British for a Spearhead game. Due to my opponents armies I tend to find myself using Germans so deploying the British was rather appealing. My British Infantry Brigade in 1944 can be supported by Shermans and Sherman Fireflies or the slow moving and poorly armed, but well armoured, Churchills. After some consideration I opted for the Churchills.

Played over a few hours spread over a couple of days it was all that I hoped it would be. Well balanced with a number of tactical problems all combined with a little good luck interspersed with equal measures of bad luck. If you’re interested a few photos of our game can be found here.

Needless to say the game really reminded me that I need to get back to working on the British armour for 1940 France…

Counter-Attack Near Metz

It seems we are in “Spearhead mode” at the moment. Taking advantage of a long weekend Jim and I deployed two 1944 formations for a World War II Spearhead game. The scenario found a elements of 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division undertaking a hasty attack on a defending regiment drawn from the 5th American Infantry Division.

The game highlighted many of the aspects of a well balanced scenario. The Americans were reasonably well supported but stretched in defence. A number of gaps in the American dispositions existed and with good planning could be exploited. There was room for concentration of effort with multiple battalions and supporting weapons working together.  However, the friction of battle could result in delays which needed to be avoided if the momentum of attack is to be maintained.

Indeed, in our battle the German plan got underway on time and excellent initial progress was made. First objectives were seized and follow on attacks began. However, some of the subsequent attacks took longer than planned resulting in other battalions becoming overcommitted. Now blocking troops and local counter-attacks caused problems for the German commander as the battle swung against the Germans.

A report of our engagement “Götz von Berlichingen – Advance!” can be found here.

Pawns Against Panzers – France 1940

Spearhead gaming has continued here with two excellent games being played. Earlier in the week Jim and I caught up for another 1944 game between his Americans and my Germans. You can find a report of the game here. Yesterday evening Robin and I deployed our forces for a 1940 game set in France. As is normal here the games involve reinforced brigade level actions that provide plenty of challenges but allow the game to be fought in an evening.

However, it has been a long time since my early war Panzers have been out of the box. In the past I’ve played a number of games set in Russia during 1941 but few in France. Given I had some time during the holidays, in between reading and gardening, I set out to rebase my Early War Panzers. The models are veterans, painted many years ago. Yet once the basing was complete, and some quick highlighting to enhance the models, they were ready for the table.

One of the most obvious difference in 1940 is the basic nature of the tanks. German tanks generally have a main armament of a 20mm cannon or 37mm gun while Panzer I, only a machine gun. All of which are of limited value when confronted with infantry. The armour on these vehicles is also thin, making them vulnerable to anything larger than a machine gun. Fortunately the British are much the same, with the exception of the Matilda tanks. Of course Spearhead doesn’t focus on armour thickness or weapon penetration. Instead, your placed in the role of a brigade or divisional commander where you really need to consider higher level tactics and command and control.

If you are interested I encourage you visit my Spearhead blog where a report outlines our game, Pawns Against Panzers.

Tales of Valhalla 

I play a range of rules systems but a regular favourite is WWII Spearhead.

Spearhead provides a depth of game that places a player squarely in the position of command of a reinforced regimental formation, or larger. Rather than focus on minor tactical detail the player is forced to consider lines of advance, combined arms and manoeuvre warfare. In a good scenario tactical problems will need to be solved, often involving limited intelligence of the enemy’s dispositions.

As the game develops the miniature forces suffer combat stress and the commanders plan is tested. Was his plan sound? Can it adapt to the changing situation on the ground? Was sufficient resources allocated or does the changing situation require the commitment of reserves?

A short report of our most recent game Tales of Valhalla outlines a German attack in late 1944 against an American infantry regiment played on a long summer afternoon.

Pikes, Muskets & Panzers

Gaming galore, but little time to post anything. Following a very enjoyable convention in Australia there have been plenty of gaming activities locally to keep me busy in recent weeks. That at least is my excuse for so few posts of late…

First were several Renaissance games. Some of these games were for players sought some experience prior to Natcon Renaissance Competition, which in itself while considerable work, was certainly very enjoyable. In other cases games were against plyers who wanted to try some DBR games, and blow the cobwebs off their figures. Such a difference from a few years ago when I had trouble actually getting people to play a game with DBR. In additiona to games against a single opponent there have also been a couple of multi-player English Civil War games, including this one between Brian, Roger, Robin and myself.

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I have also managed a short report of the other multi-player English Civil War game, entitled “A Solemn League and Covenant” which can be found on my Renaissance pages for those interested. Like the game illustrated above it included Allied Roundheads and Scots against the King in 1644.

Of course I have also managed several Volley & Bayonet games. These tend to be played at my regular Friday evening gaming slot. Volley & Bayonet games in recent weeks have featured either American Civil War or Napoleonics encounters. Below, Union forces advance on the Rebel lines in one of these games.

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Most recently we managed an 1806 game which just cried out to be recorded. An open battlefield and two aggressive players resulted in a game that really went down to the wire. Indeed, for some time I expected, as the French player, to have my army destroyed by the Prussians who kept the pressure on. The French, outnumbered, tried to regain the initiative repeatedly. As it transpired the French counter-attacks finally gained some traction and the Prussian commander was forced to break-off his attack and retire, an outstanding game. If you are interested have a look at the report on  the fictional battle of “Langenheim – 1806” on The Volley & Bayonet Page.

It has however been a while since I had a World War II Spearhead game. The game, set in late 1944, between Jim’s Americans and my own Germans provided great entertainment on a Sunday afternoon. I placed a brief report on this game, entitled “The Lucky Seventh” on my WWII Spearhead site. If you haven’t had a look, you can find a brief report and a few photos here.

As you can probably see it has been a busy few weeks. Hopefully the next few will be as well…