19 October 2014

Modern Spearhead : Saturday Game 1

Mike Baker came by yesterday for a couple small games of Modern Spearhead. "A couple games" you ask? Yes, they were much smaller affairs than is typical for MSH. I based the scenarios off the first two scenarios from this treasure...
I converted the squads to battalions (or companies in the case of very small units) and set the Soviets up as attackers in 1981 Europe, attacking some West German positions. In retrospect, the force balance was a bit off - the Soviets could have used at least one additional battalion in both scenarios, but that's neither here nor there. This was Mike's first time playing any flavor of Spearhead, although he's been a miniature game his whole life so he's no novice. On with the show!

Here's the basic set up of match 1. Oh, and yes, we're playing on a 3 foot by 4 foot area, per the published scenario. The big brown area is a depression. I have two BTR battalions (left and center) and a beat up small battalion of BMPs and T-72s (right). Their order paths are shown in red. My mission was to capture the town, and if possible, exit 10 stands off the far board edge. The Germans have a reduced battalion of mechanized infantry in the town and a company of Leopards in the woods off to my right.

Some fine paint jobs...

I start to hit the wire. Mike placed it after we'd written up our orders, but before minis were on the table. He placed it in such a way that all of my battalions were affected. I did wiggle some platoons around the edges - just seemed to make sense. I had trouble getting a change order to stick.

Ambush fire from the Leopards causes some early casualties to my already weak BMP/T-72 battalion. Yup their BC was too far ahead and was the "only eligible target."

Turn 3. My old nemesis, The Terror of  the Fulda Gap, a PAH-1 arrives. I miraculously run it off for a turn with some ad-hoc AA fire from a couple of BTR stands struggling with the barbed wire. Huzzah!

I did manage to succeed at an order-change for turn 3 and re-routed 2nd battalion around the wire an up the right flank, right into the Leopards. Surely I could drive those Krauts off.

I'm back on the move again. The T72s and BMPs have departed. My battalions are starting to thin out, but some clever change-orders could salvage this!

While Mike amuses himself with pictures of dead Heroes of the Motherland, I get another change order to stick. The plan is to come in on the flanks, eliminating all defensive fire!

Unbelievably, the Leopards were also issued a change of orders and headed out to intercept the battalion I'd just re-routed! Obviously there's a traitor in the Soviet ranks. On the other hand, 2nd battalion licks its chops seeing the vulnerable flank armor of the tanks!

OK, so BTRs aren't exactly BMPs, but I did manage a suppression and some well-placed smoke kept my casualties to a minimum. 1st battalion on my left lost a couple more stands but their morale held.

I managed to engage the Germans (finally!) although things didn't go so well. The BC was suppressed on the way in and my other stand lost its combat. The battalion routed. Oh well. On the other side, I did manage to bag the Leopard but it was too little, too late. The Germans got a solid win.

Afterthoughts... yup an extra battalion of Soviets would have made things very tense for Mike, but I don't think it would have been un-manageable. It is worth noting that we had random additional units and Mike got the best thing he could have hoped for - the Leopards. He also could have gotten some artillery or a second helo. Maybe in the updated OOB, the Soviets will get a T-62 Battalion to ride with the BTRs. It was an entertaining scenario and I'd certainly like to revisit it.

The AAR for our second  game will be posted soon!

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