|The Germans roll out toward the Soviet lines.|
|German forces pre-game.|
|"Quality of Quantity" for the Russians.|
|View of the table pre-game. The German entry is at the top right of the photo, and the Russian table edge is at the lower left.|
|Stug IIIs give the German foot sloggers some armoured support.|
|Russian 76.2mm guns take defensive position behind the rail line.|
|The Russian infantry await the German assault.|
This was a variation on a scenario I last played in 2007 with the gang here in Winnipeg. I switched it up to better reflect the elite status of the GD Panzer Grenadier division, giving them more Mark IVs in place of the late model Mark III panzers that filled the Panzer battalions of most other line units in this period. Besides I had just painted a bunch of Mark IVs and wanted to get them on to the table...
One of the aspects of Spearhead I enjoy so much is how well it reflects the relative flexibility (or lack thereof) of the different nations' command and control. Curt put the German flexibility to good use, creating four different Kampfgruppen by cross-attaching companies among his battalions, so all the tanks had infantry support, and the infantry had some big guns to help. The Russians can't really do this kind of thing (or they can't in 1943). On the other hand, you have lots and lots of them.
|Germans prepare to run over the Russian infantry.|
|The German engineers punch a hole in the Russian lines.|
|Here come the Russian reinforcements....|
|A Russian tank brigade races to engage the Germans.|
|Light tanks (aka "ablative armour") lead the Russian advance.|
|KV-1s rumble into battle.|
|It starts to go pear-shaped - T-34s fan out, but can't find the range...perhaps all of the burning wreckage obscures the view...|
|Luftwaffe makes a visit - the KV-1s are no match for the twin 37mm cannons on the wings.|
|ISU-152s deal a small check to the Germans.|
|This Russian brigade is on fire - but not in the good way...|
End result was a ton of burning Russian tanks, and a win for the German side. The Russian did achieve a Thorpian Moral Win with a last-turn air strike by the Sturmoviks that mowed down most of a heavy tank company, but the fact is the Russian defences were going to need a lot more "depth" to stop the GD Panzer Grenadiers that day....
While the game went a little pants for my side, it was a real thrill to play another big Spearhead game. The rules are outstanding. Sadly the scenario books available for the game are chock full of unplayable encounters (a problem not limited to Spearhead, unfortunately), but the rules themselves are simple, elegant and fun.
|Thorpian Moral Victory as the IL-23s light up some Tiger Tanks....|
Big thanks to Curt C and his wife for their incredible hospitality in Regina. Can't wait to game with the group out west again!