Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New look WW2 Spearhead

I make no secret of the fact that the Spearhead stable of rules rank only slightly behind Volley and Bayonet as my all time favourite rules system. I play Great War Spearhead, WW2 and Modern Spearhead. When friend Nick G was around for a game recently he spotted the WW2 Spearhead rules set on the shelf and after a browse asked if we could try a game. Now I play WW2 SH in 6mm, while Nick odes his WW2 (mostly Crossfire I think) in 20mm. He asked if SH could work in 20mm. Now infantry are fine, but we did discuss the ground scale distortion that occurs with the larger 20mm vehicles. Despite this, we decided to give it a try. I set up a small 'training'; game with a battalion each of 1944 Germans and British. The Germans were supported by a small unit of 2 PzKwIIINs and the British battalion was supported by a 6pdr AT gun.

Nick took the Germans. The tanks advanced down a ridge line in the centre of the table and bumped straight into an infantry company. Further to the rear the 6pdr was sited in support. A combination of platoon AT fire and the 6pdr fire destroyed the tank platoon.. dashed good luck, but Nick had learned the first lesson... make sure infantry and armour support each other.

Nick's infantry advanced in a hook around the British left flank, although in responding to the armour threat I was able to re-orient the British defence to tackle the advancing Germans.

A bitter fight erupted as the two infantry battalions went 'head to head'.

Trying to take advantage of German suppression the British close assaulted a German platoon, thinking that there was no other platoon available to offer fire support. However Nick's HMG was able to bring fire to bear and stopped the British platoon in its tracks.

Bitter fighting ensued, but the Germans were winning the firefight, and it would soon all be over.

I am aware that others already play WW2 SH in 20mm, but for me it was something new, and it worked. This was a 'training' game for Nick with very small forces, and I still have my doubts about games with the more usual concentrations of vehicles where each side might include a battalion of armour, but it will be well worth trying. And I think Nick enjoyed it.. game on!!!


  1. Yes I did enjoy it. Lots o fun.

    I'm keen to give it another go, using your suggestion of adding a third again to the distances for my 20mm stuff, since they're on 40mm by 40mm bases.

    Cheers Robin, and thanks again,


  2. Interesting thoughts Robin. As you comment other people have said they play SH in 15mm & 20mm although I've never really taken especial interest of any of the specifics myself. I must confess though I seriously contemplated it myself back around 2004-2006, at the time I was looking at something to use for games that were a bit big from Crossfire and it seemed the natural choice that would be simple and easy to play.

    Some of my thoughts (FWIW) included that you wouldn't be able to do more than about a reinforced Brigade a side for the biggest games (e.g. 4 Battalions on a 6' to 8' table). That, as my figs are mounted on 40mm square bases (as Nicks are), you'd need to increase distances as Nick & you have surmised (in fact my last untested theory was to just increase firing ranges by a flat 3" e.g. 6" = 9", 12" = 15", but with the exception of Infantry Anti-Tank which would remain 3"; and leave move distances as per the rules or again just add 3" to all).

    Another main thought was vehicles would need to operate in companies not battalions (when not attached out) due to the model to ground ratio "density" that you have expressed concern over. My theory was a vehicle Company would have a fighting "BC" stand (i.e. the Command Stand could shoot/fight as normal but not get any extra BC combat bonuses) and the actual BC stand of present would act like a regimental HQ in the normal game.

    Morale would also need to be modified to adjust for the smaller (more brittle units) - one idea being by rolling each casualty rather than a fixed proportion: e.g. A Green Tank Company would need to roll 5+ each time it lost a tank to avoid breaking; A Regular Tank Company 4+, and a Veteran Tank Company 3+. That way they'd likely break at about the same ratio as standard rules but there was some chance they might fight to the last stand which would make small 3-4 vehicle units a bit less brittle (& therefore predictable).

    The other obvious thought (which I think you may have come to yourself even though not mentioned above) is combat would need to still be Infantry heavy - my thoughts were a max of 25% AFVs (i.e. if force of 4 Battalions, 1 could be tanks/AFVs; if only 2 Inf Battalions are present then max of 2 Coys Tanks/AFVs, if only 1 Inf Btn no more htan 1 Coy of AFVs, etc). Otherwise you end up with FoW or WH40K style fender to fender silliness... ;-)