Monday, June 5, 2017

World War 2 Gaming

After a couple years of nearly non-stop ancients gaming, Bob & I are starting to play WW2 in 15mm. This is something we haven't done for maybe 10 years. We've played Flames of War and Blitzkrieg Commander in the past. This time, we are playing an older set of rules that seem to still work well: Spearhead by Arte Conliffe. 

The scale of Spearhead is my favorite scale: 1 stand or vehicle = 1 platoon. This was the scale of Panzerblitz & Panzerleader, famous Avalon Hill boardgames. It is also the scale of Arnold Hendrick's miniatures game "1944," Frank Chadwick's "Command Decision," and the 1978 "Standard Unit" for wargaming by Gene McCoy of Wargamer's Digest magazine. Anyway, we are trying Spearhead to see whether it will fulfill our WW2 gaming needs. I played Spearhead extensively over 15 years ago. The only thing the game system may need is a little updating, but I believe the game mechanics are very good.

Above is the terrain Bob & I used for our first game, Russians vs Germans, June 1941. The scenario came from an old "Battle Stations" scenario in Wargamer's Digest magazine. The Russians hold the town with a Rifle battalion on the far side of the stream. The Germans had a reinforced Infantry Battalion that attacked from the bottom of the photo, their objective to take the town. We didn't take photo's of our game, but basically the Germans held the Russians attention in the center with an infantry and heavy company. The other two German companies and a couple Sturmgeschutze's attacked the Russian left flank by the ford. The Germans in the center took some casualties, but the pressure by the Germans caused the Russian battalion to break. This was an enjoyable small game.

Bob, Ron J., & I tried another game, this time North Africa. Bob has an extensive collection of Desert Campaign miniatures in 15mm. For this game, we used the point system in the Spearhead Scenario Generation System to create our two battlegroups, around 400 pts each. The Germans had a Panzer and Schutzen Battalion, and a 105mm howitzer battalion. The British had a Motor Battalion, two Tank Regiments, and a 25pdr Battalion. 

 The photo above shows the Schutzen battalion closing in on the central built-up area and the Panzer battalion on the left flank. The British had their motor battalion on the right, and a Tank Regiment of Crusaders, reinforced by an armored car squadron, on their left.

 Panzers approaching a wadhi.

 Indian Motor Battalion deployed.

 The Crusader Tank Regiment deployed, armored cars in front. One tank is suppressed from anti-tank fire.

The Schutzen battalion in the foreground, the Panzer's in the background. An 88mm FLAK battery is deployed mid-upper left.

Where is the second British Tank Regiment you may ask? It came onto the board via flank march at the center of the British right, just when the Panzer's had taken a chance and changed orders to attack to their right, causing the British Grant & Honey tanks to face the Panzer's rear when they came on. Game over as the Panzer's broke from casualties. It was still an enjoyable game.

Spearhead works well, as the die rolling is one per combat. No saving throws or multiple throws per combat, etc. We doubled the movement/range scale to 2" = 100 yds. Our forces engaged quickly and the game looked right with 15mm figures & vehicles.

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