Friday, 30 May 2014

Spearhead - Goodwood battle

A fun battle last night which swung one way then the other.  Mark had set up trying to cover the more easily defendable points (orchards, towns etc.) - areas which the British were determined to avoid like the plague.  The railway embankment would prove no real obstacle as the two closest bridges to the British were unguarded - and were the key to any success the British might enjoy.  Had they been defended, the British infantry would have had to clear them - and Mark's nebelwurfers and 150mm guns would have made short work of them.  But they also would have been in the open and therefore vulnerable to artillery and overruns.
Mark was hampered by his units being in penny packets and tied to particular locations (the view that villages and crossroads were worth defending, empty fields were not).  He could have ordered his troops out straight away, but until he saw the enemy he couldn't change orders and the British use of recon was very good. The Sextons were also well used (smoke then HE reduced a potent Pak force to nothing and their only success was fighting off a tank in a close combat.  A lesson for us all in the skillful use of recon.

Marks' central force was pinned by the British recon - they couldn't see them and so couldn't react to them.  Also the idea of screening using the first tank squadrons was very effective and much of Mark's potent force (including 6 Pak 40's in a wood) never got used.  

There are plenty ifs and buts here.  If Mark had been allowed or chosen to defend the first bridges, the British would have found it very tough to get anything across.  But tying Mark down to starting positions created many problems for him - and he could have been caught with his pants down when getting into position.  His leading unit was doing nothing much (except being smoked) and although he belatedly got them out (and to some effect) to attack the Sextons, they may have been better used by pulling them down the side and swung around to the back of the table.  Then again, until the reserves showed themselves, he could have created a huge gap to be exploited (but you can argue that the forces further back would have made this tough anyway).

Hats off to the British - a good plan, executed well (much better than Monty's original) and with excellent recon use.  And also to Mark, who essentially prevented any British getting off the table within the time and turn limit.  The Germans did lose a number of Stugs and Pak40's but the British lost a lot of tanks.  Had the scenario continued it may have been a race between Mark moving some assets to the back line and the remaining British tanks getting there beforehand.  

The beauty of these scenarios is that neither side knows what the other has - and also where they are.  This has made - in my opinion - a situation much more enjoyable and tense.  Had Ian and Russ known the 88mm reception committee and the Stugs were waiting for them, it would have led to a rethink of the plan.  As they didn't, it looked like they'd get 17+ tanks off with no problem - then suddenly the whole picture changed.

And Russ got to use all his tanks at last.  Shame the Petard didn't shoot in anger!

Saturday, 24 May 2014



I'm having a barbecue on the 21st June to celebrate my 40th. Its family,friends,neighbours and my watch from work. Any time after 1400. Plenty of food available and some drinks but I would suggest bringing your favourite tipple.

If its raining party will move inside

20 Leonard Drive



Monday, 19 May 2014


Thursday 15th club spearhead night
Grimbosq Bridgehead
The British have crossed the Orne and repaired a Bridge at Les Bas.
They have set up a perimeter in the surrounding villages and await a German counter attack as the allies rush reinforcements to this bridgehead
British orbat
59th infantry division (Staffordshire)
176th Infantry brigade complete (44/45 infantry division) regular
107th royal armoured regiment (43/45 armoured division) regular use Sherman’s, 1squadron is “firefly”
Divisional assets
1x 17Pdr battery
1x MG Company
1x Field artillery regiment +3No foo off table 8 fire missions
Your orders
Hold the bridge and surrounding villages
German orbat
12 SS PHz division “Hitlerjugend”
12th Panzer battalion (use panthers, 44 panzer division) regular
26th panzer grenadier regiment complete (44 panzer division) 1xveteran 1xregular
271 Infantry division
979 infantry battalion (44inf division) regular
Divisional assets
1x mixed self- propelled battalion (44 panzer division) off table 5 fire missions
1x Tiger Coy (2) veteran
Your orders
Destroy the bridgehead at les Bas.
The Battlefield

Germans push directly for the Bridge, led by 2 Tigers

The Flank attack

Which takes La Bortigerre although the hidden battery of British 17 pounders caused some quick redeployment of the German armoured thrust

British redeploy in the face of German combat engineers

The other flank attack

The Germans push on despite the loss of the Tigers

Thiemesnil fall to the Germans and the British flank battalion breaks as it tries to take back the village

The other flank and centre, stalemate?

Victory Conditions
Draw- equal point’s +-2 points
Minor victory 3+point’s better
Major Victory 15+ points better
Total Victory 30+ points better +bridge

1 point per infantry/support platoon destroyed/ routed
2 points per vehicle platoon destroyed/ routed
5 points per village
British 39
German 51
Minor German victory


Tuesday, 13 May 2014


It's all for charity mate
We're holding a charity music night just up the road from our house
please let me know if you would like to attend and I will bring in tickets

Monday, 12 May 2014

Spearhead WW2 revue

did my homework this weekend and found a few items within the rules, some of them I knew, some were a complete surprise
Please read and comment before Thursday
Spearhead WW2 revue
3.2.1 Higher level HQ,s (regimental, brigade) and any support platoons associated with them must be attached to one or more fighting battalions. No making fighting battalions out of the HQ and any attachments
3.2.2 If the battalion HQ is killed the battalion may not change orders unless the higher HQ steps in to assume command. A platoon is nominated as a new BC but only for command zone purposes.
3.8.1 BC(battalion commander) must remain stationary when on defend orders and may only move with an order change.
Page 6 movement arrows may curve to take advantage of terrain (see diagram)
3.11.1 Battalion which make a break off retreat 2 moves (even suppressed platoons) after the second move all platoons pivot to face the enemy.
3.12 change orders receive a +1 if a higher HQ is attached.
4.1 A divisional recon battalion when used as a combat battalion is treated as an ordinary fighting battalion(no recon abilities?).
When recon companies/platoons are attached to a battalion on defend orders they must stay within the command zone.
5.6.1 AT guns of 40mm or less may be manhandled (those above need to be towed)
5.6.2 120mm mortars must be towed.
5.8 Hills wheeled /towed vehicles half speed.
6.3.1 Hills, all stationary platoons on hills are spotted as if in cover (3” infantry/6” vehicles) units that move on hills are spotted as if in open ground.
7.1.3 Platoons that may not move and fire (assault guns, SPGs, vehicles lacking turrets, crew served weapons)
7.3.1 Infantry target priority (all infantry, then HMG, gun, mortar)
7.4 Range is centre point to centre point
7.4.1 Support weapons may fire thru any number of original battalion platoons but not support weapons. When support weapons that are touching a supported platoon, then range is from the supported platoon.
This would allow support weapons to support infantry in a wood line without being directly exposed to enemy fire themselves. This rule supersedes the 12” spotting rule for infantry in cover.
7.5 Only platoons positioned at the edge of cover/woods may be targeted (see above) firing within cover/woods is limited to 3”.
8.4.1 Any fighting platoon, recon or BC may function as a FO for on table artillery and mortar units attached to the battalion. An FO for divisional artillery must be attached to a battalion (FO does not add to the size of a battalion).
If the battalion is destroyed the FO may attach itself to another battalion.
Each divisional battery has its own FO.
10.0 close combat, Platoon involved in assaults/overruns (either target or attacker) may be fired upon by all eligible firers in any fire phase, this means that the attacker or defender may be targeted by artillery, infantry, AT and tank fire before close combat.
10.1 assaults may not be used to circumvent priority rules (infantry may not attack an AT gun while in the presence of enemy infantry)
10.2 armoured assaults may not be used to circumvent priority rules (armour may not attack infantry while in the presence of enemy armour)
11.3 spotting is allowed from a town sector against targets in the open.
12.4 rally from suppression +1 BC (German) +1 regimental (others) +2 regimental (German)

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Triples 2014

The Sheffield Triples show is in town next weekend on both Sat and Sun from 9.00am.

I will be making the trek over to the dark country on the Saturday if anyone else fancies it.

As Irregular are attending plus timecast I need some WW1 stuff so I guess it's worth the journey.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Dettingen AAR (part 2)

Dettingen AAR (part 2)

The marsh had disorganised Grammont's cavalry and as they were on attack orders they did not have an opportunity to form up and charge en mass.  As they charged in ones and twos the British were able to deploy fully into line and fire a series of devastating volleys.  Here, French dragoons are attempting to charge home.

Meanwhile Mark was desperate to get his reserve into the action and put some pressure on the Allies before they could overwhelm Grammont.  Here a Swiss regiment flanked by Horse screens the remaining reserve infantry.  At the head of the column is an Irish regiment followed by two German auxiliary units.  Hanoverian cavalry are facing the French threat whilst Russ has ordered the Austrian infantry on the hill to engage the French.  Mark's blocking corp is attempting to envelop Kleinostheim but has failed to pin a significant portion of Russ' reserves.
The Hanoverian line have successfully deployed to the left of the British.  Grammont's cavalry have been shattered and under the new army level morale rules, the French can no longer issue Attack orders and so Grammont's infantry reverts to engage.  This allows the French to better coordinate their dispositions before moving against the Hanoverian line.  However, it has also given Russ an opportunity to reorder his British infantry and engage the left flank of Grammont.
Mark had been on the backfoot since Grammont had unexpectedly launched his attack.  He was trying very hard to rest the initiative from Russ and force the Allies to react to his attacks.  Here the blocking force is pressing against Kleinostheim and the Allied rearguard.  However, Russ was sparing with his reinforcements on this front and has only deployed an Austrian infantry regiment on the left and an Austrian Grenadier unit to the right.  Like Wellington at Waterloo when sent requests for more reinforcements for Hougamont it was a case of "I can only send him my regards".

The battle had now raged all morning and on the 12 o'clock turn Mark decided to attack with his last uncommitted force.  The blocking force to the south of Kleinostheim had a command of cavalry in support and it was ordered to cross the stream and attack the Hanoverian cavalry in the flank.  Mark hoped that this would finally unlock the Allied position.

As the cavalry moved to attack, Noailles main reserve was shaking out into line and forming up to attack the British from the rear.  In the distance, Grammont has begun to engage the Hanoverian line but Austrian infantry with British cavalry are moving to contain the threat.

Having seen off Grammont's cavalry, the British are swinging onto Grammont's infantry flank.  

French cavalry struggle to cross the stream before the Hanoverian cavalry react.  However, the melees are inconclusive to start with.  At this point, fighting is general across the whole battlefield.

Unfortunately for Mark, the cavalry clash fails and with 50% casualties the whole French army is forced to go on hold.  Here, the blue marker indicates the hold position for Noailles reserve.  Within two moves of the rear of the British/Hanoverian infantry it has been successfully contained by the Austrian infantry and British Cavalry.  This bold but futile attack is very reminiscent of the British grand column that fails to punch its way to victory in our next battle, Fontenoy.

With no other threat the British sledge hammer smashes Grammont's infantry into the Hanoverian anvil.

By mid-afternoon the French numerical advantage had been spent and all their attacks had failed.  Grammont, unable to hold his position against the British/Hanoverian onslaught was now on retire orders.  In the middle rear George is rallying an infantry regiment.  One of Russ' victory conditions was to secure prestige points for George and enable him to shore up support for the Hanoverian dynasty in Britain (we are only two years off the '45).  As French defeat seemed inevitable George is now rushing around the battlefield picking up cheap points.
Noaille's reserve is now struggling to maintain its position and Mark orders a general retreat of the French army.
The Allied rearguard held its position to the very end of the battle and the French are forced to retire.

Thanks to Russ for the photos.  I thoroughly enjoyed this game and Russ and Mark put in a great effort.  Both were put in a very difficult position to begin with but Russ was able to get order into his battle lines just in time.  Mark seemed to spend the whole game within a hairs breadth of turning it to his advantage.

Historically, Noailles kept his reserve on the other bank of the Main ready to reinforce either blocking corp.  When Grammont launched his rash attack, Noailles was forced to march to his support but by the time he got their it was too late and the whole French army retired.  Therefore, Mark's plan was an alternative to the historical battle but I feel that he may have had more success if he had coordinated it with the attack on Kleinostheim (He blames the dice!)

This was a large battle which we fought comfortably within a day.  We used the Thursday evening to plan and discuss the battle which made a great difference and I will do this again when we fight the next one.  This will be Fontenoy and I will probably aim to put this on towards Autumn.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Experimental Game Mat

I managed to find a few hours this afternoon to finally have a go with the weed membrane which has been lying in the shed for Months. I had some ideas on what I wanted to do with this stuff but never thought about exactly what I was going to do until today.

After fumigating the house with airbrush paint I finally emerged with the following creation of horror.

48 " x 36" sheet - complete with basic terrain features
The sheet is for my WW2 Spearhead game that I am putting on in the next few weeks.

It's not  bad for a first effort and it only consumed around 3 full pots of Vallejo air paint
Pity about the spillage South of the town area... I think I can cover this up...

 Whilst the resin roads look "okay" I have done some experimenting with masking tape and spraying on roads and streams which looks better and blends in with the matt.
 As it was hardly a mammoth task to turn this out you could easily make customised mats for specific battles

Yes I probably overdid the colours and it kind of looks more like a piece of camoflage but it's a starting point to work on.

I'll bring it down on Thursday for you to look at. I am sure this can be tweaked and improved further

Dettingen AAR (part 1)

The Battle of Dettingen AAR (part 1)

It was Good Friday and Russ and Mark arrived at my place to fight the Pragmatic Army's first battle of the War of the Austrian Succession.  Russ selected to play the Allied army of George II and Mark was happy to take on His Most Christian Majesty's Army under the Marshal Duc De Noailles.

The battle began with the Allies informed that their march to the east has been blocked by the French and that they must withdraw westward and ensure the safety of their baggage.  The above picture gives a good overall view looking westwards.  To the south is the river main (impassable), to the north are wooded hills (impassable), to the east is Kleinostheim and its stream and to the west is Dettingen and its marshy brook.  Russ began the game ordering his baggage westward ahead of the army to get it away from the French blocking force.  However, this is turn 2 (8.30am) and Mark has revealed that another blocking force is holding the Dettingen stream and that the Pragmatic Army is trapped.  Mark, as you may imagine was now full of glee.  Russ made no comment but his eyes were saying "Fuckin Taylor has set me up again!"

Mark's plan was to hold his forces at Dettingen, engage with his blocking force east of Kleinostheim and punch across the stream north of Kleinostheim before unleashing his whole army against the trapped Allies.  The above picture shows Noailles reserve speeding north behind the eastern corp.

French and Irish infantry move forward against Kleinostheim.
The English Footguards supported by the Hanoverian Guard act as rearguard.
However, at this point I sprung an historical twist on Mark.  The Duc de Grammont who commanded the blocking corp at Dettingen thought he saw a chance to win the battle in one glorious charge and undermine de Noailles at court and gain his own marshals baton.  The above picture shows his 6000 cavalry wade across the the stream.  At this point Mark went a bit quiet.

Although Mark was surprised by Grammont's attack Russ was in a very difficult situation.  He just about ordered the baggage to seek safety in woods to the north before they were overwhelmed by the French cavalry.  In this picture the British infantry(on the right) are trying to shake out of column into line, behind are Hanoverian infantry attempting to form on the British left flank and on the left the British cavalry are facing east in anticipation of the French reserve storming into the rear.

The French reserves begin to cross the stream north of Kleinostheim.  In the far corner is Ashaffenburg where the French have crossed the Main by pontoon bridge.

The Allied reserve.  On the hill are Austrian infantry supporting the rearguard in Kleinostheim.  To their left are Hanoverian Cavalry.

Grammont's cavalry has cleared the stream and marsh ahead of the infantry that they were supposed to support.  On attack orders they must close with the British as quickly as possible.

Grammont's infantry struggle to maintain cohesion as they cross at Dettingen.  Their failure to keep up with the cavalry means this attack will come in piece meal.

As Grammont's cavalry moves within charge range of the British infantry, Russ has just managed to issue new orders allowing the British to form line.  Behind this thin line the remaining regiments are in column (and we know what happens to columns hit by cavalry!).  George II is just behind the British artillery attempting to deploy it before the cavalry charge.

More to follow in part 2.