Monday, June 3, 2013

20mm WWII Spearhead Action: Counterattack!

PLayed a very quick and dirty WWII Spearhead game today in 20mm with my Disposable Heroes troops and 4 Armourfast quick-build AFVs, 2 M4 Shermans and 2 Stug-IIIs.  Also played with 2 battalions on a side.

Scenario was simple - both task forces are on attack orders to seize a road junction and town.  The Americans have broken through the front and are racing towards the Rhine.  The Germans send a kampfgruppe to stop them.  Roughly equal forces on both sides but the Ami's have a few more platoons than the krauts.

I diced for when the units entered the board.  THe Americans got 5 turns to get in place.  THe Germans entered on turn 6.
2 x American Combat Teams - one on left was to seize the town sectors and tree-line to the left of the road junction.  The one on the right was to seize the "big house" town sector.   

German KG enters on turn 6.  Mission to seize the "big house" and the town sector on the right.
Americans jump off point.  This is the battalion on the left with armor support.  M4 sherman long-barrels.

Infantry battalion on the American right.  3 companies abreast with 1 in reserve.

gratuitous shot of my amourfast sherman.

German jumping off point.  German battalion HQs platoon next to the Stug III.

German infantry Kompanies had 4 platoons each

eager German Landsers await the signal to start the attack.

the mighty Sherman!  

battalion on the left on the attack

a company of on the right battalion advancing up to a French farm field.  The Armor surges forward


US Armor reaches the village cluster in this quaint Rhineland setting.

infantry scurries in to seize defensive positions.  

US infantry moves into the orchard at the Big House

German Stug III advancing on the town.

Germans advancing on the treeline and the big house.

Stug sees the Sherman in its sights!  and misses...

German advance on the town cluster

Krauts in the woods!

Stug knocked out by the Sherman!

Germans engage in a firefight with the US Company.

Once the two sides got cl ose, the action heated up quickly.  The Germans assaulted the American positions at the Big House town sector and were repulsed with 100% losses.  However the town objective on the German right things went differently.  Their Stug III was KO'd however their infantry flushed the US Company out of the town sector.  The Battalion with the armor support quickly failed its morale and withdrew off the line.

On the American right, the Germans assaulted the American Company in the treeline with their Stug over-running the GIs.  They were wiped out however the US Battalion was able to hold on for 1 more turn.  After that, and after failing to commit their reserves, the US Battalion on the American left bugged out of the Big House and withrdrew as well.  The German front was stabilized - for now...

Fun Game.  I don't play too many "big battles" in 20mm but this was a good one.  Wished I had some more armor and some halftracks but that will come later when I get my desk and hobby area set up.  not even any artillery support here either.  Now comes the "lessons learned"!


BUA Combat: Combat in urban, built-up areas is never fun in real life and in games like Spearhead it's a nail biter.  Units are chewed up quickly so you need to have numerical advantage if you're the attacker to guarantee success.  I had 1 rampaging German platoon, that, went into combat suppressed, but was still able to wipe out 3 US platoons due to the luck of the draw in intense urban combat.

Reserves:  This is a subject i don't touch upon often.  Build into orders that the Reserves need to be close to the operational front line.  in this case, the American reserve company was much too far away to make a difference, even if they were allowed to be committed.''

Aggression:  Aggression pays off in Spearhead.  The Germans with their veteran morale were able to reap the rewards of an aggressive plan even though they were outnumbered in the attack.  Veteran rated units don't have to take a morale check until they take about 66% casualties so take advantage of it and press attacks.  The Germans were able to flush out the "Ami's" easily from the town and treeline.

Armor Support: This battle was undoubtedly an infantry fight so it's okay to assign an armor platoon to a company for extra punch.  In this case, only one American battalion had any tanks and that proved fatal for the unit in the US treeline.  Once again, your task-organization of your units proves that just because you have all the winning "stuff" on the battlefield, you only win if you use it correctly.  That's why officers get paid the big bucks.

Next up?  AWI Black Powder, Future War Commander, and a 54mm "All the King's Men" surprise!  Huzzah!


  1. quick and brutal game! really cool. certainly it looked like the Americans had the game until the Germans managed to snatch victory from them.

    1. It was a brutal game. No artillery or air support here, just 2 like-sized units clashing head-on. I really thought the yanks were gonna pull this one off but it was not to be. The German dice were on fire and some of their platoons literally TORE through the American lines.

  2. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it. Great idea to have your single minis represent squads.

    Spearhead's certainly a thinking man's game, what with pre planned orders and such...

    1. Nick,
      I am a big fan of spearhead now. My time is too valuable to spend leafing through rule books for statistics. Don't get me wrong I still love my GHQ and BKC rules (among others) but Spearhead is so simple yet so inherently complex that I am finding I like it more and more.

      I do also like the orders system as it's more conducive solo play, which is about 90% of all my gaming!

  3. Nicely painted figures and scenery, cool write up too

    1. thanks, Al. This is the usual for my game AARs. I like to post lots of pictures with captions, and then some lessons learned. It's actually nice to read it months later.

  4. Maybe I should finally bite the bullet and get Spearhead. And Fire and Fury for ACW. I really like the eye level pictures, really brings you into the action.

    1. Sean,
      Spearhead has some great ideas. I would recommend playing with someone at least once or twice, see if you like it and buy it!

      Or you could be like me and purchase the rules, read them multiple times, and finally play years later lol.

      Fire and Fury is one of my favorite games to play. I own that too.