Thursday, January 9, 2014

Kiwis crack German line..

'The Kiwis will advance'. It is late 1944 and the armoured brigade of the New Zealand Division, accompanied by two infantry battalions, is tasked with breaking the German line in northern Italy.

Nick and I met for a game of WW2 Spearhead played with our 20mm armies. I commanded the Germans and took a potentially powerful but also fragile panzer Division list while Nick took parts of the New Zealand Division (a regiment of the armoured brigade accompanied by two infantry battalions).

The table looking west. The German force entered from the right, the New Zealanders from the left.

Nick concentrated all of his forces to the west of the river where I had advanced with a motorised infantry battalion supported by tow StuG III platoons.

I expected him to be on the other side of the river, so I had concentrated the armoured battalion and Gepanzert battalion (cross attached) in tow groups in the more open ground.

The view from the German right

Even though Nick had concentrated his entire attack on his left against the German right I was reasonably confident. The two StuG platoons took up positions on the high ground behind the river, with the infantry in support. They had a battalion of 105mm guns in support.

My plan was to hold them on the river line long enough to swing my left flank force around onto their flank. My centre battalion group was held in reserve, and so I expected to swing them on a shorter arc to bring quicker support to the defensive motorised battalion on the right.

The German left wing battalion
Nick pushed his force up to the river line as quickly as possible. High ground immediately to the west of the river meant that their approach was covered. This was the floor in my defensive right wing deployment.

At this stage I ordered my reserve forward. I also issued an order change that started my left wing in a wide arc designed to hit the New Zealanders deep in their own right flank.

The opening exchanges between the StuG platoons and the Kiwi M4s saw one suppression apiece

Nick pushed further forward

The German centre battalion advanced from its reserve position
Having spotted the German centre battalion advancing from its reserve position Nick's right wing platoons held back as a tactical reserve were able to manoeuvre against the German armoured infantry and PzkwIV platoons.

At this stage Nick successfully called in an air strike. The attack was successfully pushed home against my right wing defensive position (my Flak cover was with the reserve in the centre just out of range of the target units), eliminating an infantry platoon and, more importantly, my Forward Observation team controlling the 105mm guns. This was a defining moment in the battle a sit stripped the right wing of essential heavy support.

In the same turn Nick succeeded in calling in a regiment of 25pdr guns. These managed a suppression against one of the StuG platoons with a 'lucky shot'.

The StuG platoon was then eliminated with a second suppression by one of the M4 Sherman platoons.

The reserve engaged Nick's right wing tactical reserve. One M4 platoon and one PzkwIV platoon were eliminated.

The German left wing attack manoeuvres onto the Kiwi right.

German Panzerschreck teams take out an M4 platoon that has advanced too close. However two other platoon attacks failed. The Kiwi push across the river looked to succeed using their mass.
 The second of the StuG platoons is eliminated by fire from a support platoon of M10s

Disaster for the German motorised infantry battalion. Stripped of their armoured support, they are vulnerable to armoured over run. Fire suppresses four platoons, and three fail to lift suppressions. Nick attacks.

The battalion loses three platoons including battalion command, and fails its second moral test (it had already passed its first)

The battle between the centre reserve battalion and Nick's right flank has hotted up. The Firefly platoon is eliminated

The German left wing battalion can be seen at the top of the picture having swung around deep into the Kiwi right. Fire has eliminated the M10 platoon leaving a solitary Firefly platoon to support the kiwi infantry on the flank. However both Pzkw IV platoons have been eliminated from the centre

At this stage more effective fire from the British artillery in support of their left flank eliminates two platoons of armoured infantry, forcing a morale check on the German centre battalion. It fails.

At this stage we call the game. Nick has accrued eight victory points (he holds two objectives and has reduced two German battalions below half strength). I have accumulated four from the two objectives that I still hold.

The New Zealanders have cracked the German line and forced the river crossing (albeit a shallow running stream).

A great game and a lot of fun. Nick's account of the game can be found here.


  1. It was a great game, thanks Robin. Next time I'll take a F/O to make those 25 Pounder strikes legal!

  2. I am always so jealous of your games and collections! It looks like so much fun and such a great post :)