Thursday, 27 February 2014

September 1918 : Great War Spearhead Game

Apparently I have the ability to kill my own troops no matter what side  I am on!  Earlier this week I enjoyed another game of Great War Spearhead.  This time its was september 1918. My command was a regiment of German troops, one of two the other being commanded by Alan. 

In the starting position. 

The game started and went ten rounds of revolving door manoeuvre as I chased  Mark and Martin's British around the table. It all began to go wrong once I issued new orders after taking my objective of the town in the centre of the board. Rather than skirting the enemy position and forcing him to disperse his and spread his line. I marched up the centre only to be met by an artillery barrage which knocked the stuffing out of the regiment. By the then there was nothing for it bur to hunker down in the road side ditch and wait for the British guns to run out of ammo.  

My unit taking the village objective. 

I had one opportunity to recover the situation. When Alan's regiment charged to recover the hill it forced Martin and Mark to open fire and expose their positions. At this juncture I rolled to call in artillery support on to the clustered British regiment. Naturally enough  I rolled a one and failed to muster any support. Thereby giving the British the option to fire again wiping out the remainder of Alan's brave boys. Shortly after we conceded the field to the British. 

The British flanking move on Alan's regiment. 

My regiment advancing on British positions.

Spearhead is a robust simple set of rules which after three games  I am getting used to. Looking forward to the next outing. 

The remainder of the regiment hunkered down. 

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Huns Make Camp

Over the summer I invested in a Hunnic army, naturally most of which is still languishing in its box awaiting painting. Although the command stands are more or less done.  Regular readers  will  remember  I posted a little work on the camp back in September. 

Here are the almost finished pictures. It has turned out quite nicely. I am pleased with the muddy rained on look which the camp seems to have taken on.    

I picked up the component parts from the guys at Vexillia who always provide a top notch service.  This is worth mentioning for two reasons. Firstly, they supplied my Imperial Romans which have featured in previous postings. 

The second reason is to give them a mention is for including this blog on his customer blog stream. Yay! 

You too can have a lovely Hunnic camp just like this one by going along to Vexillia Limited a picking up some odds and sods out of the baggage section and couple of yurts! 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Spearhead, or Baptism of Fire, circa September 1914

Well the end result of last night’s game of Great War Spearhead was a bit of a mullering for my poor poilu.  Despite the fact I was slaughtered by Alan’s gigantic Germans I really enjoyed our game. Possibly  the  most amusing  aspect of the whole encounter  was that  I could not  manage to call down any off board artillery  onto the Germanic steam roller.  
Creative Commons: C.C. BY-SA 3.0 Europeana 1914-1918

The defeat was mainly down to poor leadership on my part and by advancing my regiment  of green  troops on the left right into the face of German guns. Then by handing the advantage to my advisory and allowing him to move first in the next turn. This resulted in the regiment being decimated in a round of withering rifle fire which killed over half of them. Furthermore we should not forget Alan’s strategic brilliance to take advantage and exploit my tactical errors and storm the left flank achieving both centre table objectives.

My 10mm French feeling a little exposed with German flanking manoeuvre complete.
The German Regiment "Alsace" successfully taking their objective in the foreground.

The first response was to attempt to withdraw my remaining units to safety which  in retrospect would have been the better option. I will argue that  permission to withdraw was  refused  by  someone  higher up in the chain of command.  Instead I attempted to stem the advance by sending  a unit of brave if inappropriately dressed  cuirassiers across to the quickly disintegrating flank.  Sadly for me and them Alan’s eagle eyed artillery spotters saw them riding over the crest of the hill and dropped a well-placed shell on them. By the time they contacted the enemy’s flanking force there was one stand left, they killed the lead enemy stand before routing off.      

On reflection for the close on the enemy and slug it out tactic to be successful the French would need to outnumber the Germans around three to one. This is an expensive way of winning a battle.   

A wider view of the terrain showing the German start line behind "one tree hill"

A battalion of the Brandenburg Regiment controlling  the sugar factory objective     

Next time a more measured approach should be taken and keep the élan and flare up my sleeve for the coup de grace.  

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Great War Maps Online

Tonight I am off to fight an early First World War action using the Great War “Spearhead” rules.  These rules require  commands to be  planned and  written on a map in advance of  your deployment  on  the table. Then you simply follow your written orders   until  you bump into the enemy and all hell breaks loose.

This system has allowed me to utilise a cool resource I recently came across, the World War I Maps and Aerial Photography  archive at  McMaster University Library. This fantastic resource has a wide selection of trench maps and aerial photographs from France and Belgium  for the period. Aside from being a really interesting primary research source it is very handy for WWI wargaming,  they offer a huge range of  map and photographic  material  to  base  terrain on.  With some maps you could   recreate a every detail of  a section of  the western front for your battle.  

In the case of tonight’s game I have selected a section of map north west of Beaumont-Hemel for the encounter from  a 1917 1:40000 map of the region around Albert. 

Will try  to let you know how I get  on...