WW2 spearhead


French Forces for the France 1940 campaign

Ours is a hobby that has a number of recognisable 'moments of excitement'. There is the conception of and commitment to a new project, the completion of a new project, and the appearance of new troops on the table. This is a record of the second of those three, the completion of a project that arose some months ago, the decision to expand a small French force to sufficient size to be able to field attack and defend lists for a French army in the France 1940 campaign. I have a selection of 6mm French forces (about a battalion of infantry, and a small selection of tanks and artillery pieces) that I had painted back in the '90s.Expansion meant requiring up to five battalions of infantry, and a range of AFVs to suit any of the OOB options - infantry, armoured division, and Light Mechanised Division. Finally this week I managed to finish the painting and basing. There is still the base labelling to be done.So, despite poor photography, here is the finished product. The figures and vehicles are all from the heroics

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As yet 'unblooded' on the table top

I've been ill in bed for a week (first sick days off work in 25 years!!) so there's been no painting output, and obviously no games. I felt the need to post something, so.. these T70s, and a Cossack Tchanka, from the 20mm collection. These were all modelled by good friend Gerard, and gifted several years ago. I am sad to say they have yet to see action on the tabletop.

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Action approaching Tula, 1941

Of Marshall Katukov, the record says: "On the onset of the war he took command of the 4th Tank Brigade. In the battle of Moscow in 1941, it was Katukov's Tank Brigade, then part of the 1st Guards Rifle Corps, that checked the advance of Guderian's Panzergruppe 2 near Tula. "And so the scene was set for last night's Spearhead game, my Germans attacking Keith's newly painted Soviet forces. I've taken a liberty there with the reference to Katukov, because Keith's force was taken from an infantry division organisation. It does however make the point that there were pockets of competence, and even brilliance, in those early days of Soviet defence.The Germans were executing a hasty attack against a Russian force of three infantry battalions and an armoured brigade.  Andy commanded the Soviet right, and Keith the left, while Jim commanded the German left and I took the right, with the deep armoured thrust. The forces were relatively thin on the ground after several weeks of hard campaigning, and division hd all

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A masterclass in mobility - Action with Spearhead on the Belgian Plain 1940

White eyes, round as saucers, staring unblinking from smoke blackened faces. White eyes, deep set above sallow cheeks, trying to block out the yelling and the screaming, the smells of emptying bowels, and blood, the piteous cries of men calling for their mothers. White eyes, fighting the terror, staring unmoving into a past that would not be forgotten, a past that showed no respect for pips or stripes, for age or youth.The men of the Dorsetshires had not crossed the channel for this. The men of the Dorsetshires had come expecting to boldly go forward and stop the Bosche in his tracks as their forebears had done in 1914. This was not the war they had expected. This was not the war they had trained for. This was a war that had found them wanting.  And they had paid the price, unable to cope with the roar of engines, the shriek of shells, the speed with which their foe had come upon them."They woz all over us" a voice comes from the middle of the group."Like a bloody rash" another mutters. A corpsman, walki

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OMG ... another new army????? Blimey!!!

These guys have sat in a box, painted, since the mid 90s - French for the 1940 campaign. I seem to have once more lost the old 'painting mojo', and I've found that the best cure is a 'quick win'. So, time to base these guys as the core for a new WW2 Spearhead army. I have also been motivated by our recent France 1940 Spearhead games.. both thoroughly enjoyable and challenging.Sadly the Heroics and Ros web store is currently closed, so I can't yet order the additional figures and vehicles I need to finish the army.Patience, Robin. Patience.These are all from the Heroics 6mm range.The first battalion of infamtryChar B1s Somua S35sThe obligatory FT17s. they are so small I decided to indulge myself with 2 vehicles per baseAnd some of the famous 'soixante quinze' .. I think some of them will inevitably appear on the table as on table artilleryOnwards and upwards .. 'cos I just love Spearhead.. WW1, WW2, and Moderns... bring 'em on

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"BEF blunts and bloodies Bosche beak"

"This is the BBC World Service. News today of a British victory in France, as forces from the BEF blunt the advance of German Panzers in Northern France. Troops from 7th Panzer Division believed to be under the command of German General Irwin Rommel were stopped in their tracks by a determined BEF defence. Field Marshall John Vereker The Right Honorable The Viscount Gort spoke glowingly of the grit and determination of the British troops under his command as he met with Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the War Cabinet today in Whitehall. "We gave Jerry a bloody nose today" he said."Field Marshal The Right HonourableThe Viscount GortVC, GCB, CBE, DSO & Two Bars, MVO, MCDark rings surrounded eyes, lines carrying days of grime streaked from the corners of mouths, as if hope had fled in the face of despair. The Brigadier scanned those same faces, seeking out signs of hope."I know this regiment has suffered losses. I am only too well aware of the fate of my predecessor. But I am not him. Retreat is a conta

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"Packed in like bloody sardines, we was...."

Northern France, May 1940:" 'ere Corp, wot's 'is Lordship up to? 'e's got us crammed in 'ere like bloomin' sardines, 'e 'as.""It's called concentration, me old china.""Well this bleedin' concentration's gonna 'ang us out to bloomin' dry, I tells yer. Bloody Jerry's sniffin' 'round already wiv 'is bloody aircraft, 'an I reckon we've got hole in the line you could drive a whole bloomin' fleet o' London buses through.""Nah, we'll be right me ol' mate. Sarge was talking to his mate over in D Company, in 3 Battalion...""That bloody bastard Bateman? The Sergeant they call the Bus fare Bateman - dishes out charges like they was bus tickets?""Yeah, that's the one. Anyway Sarge was sayin' that he told him that the whole battalion is primed to counterattack as Jerry sweeps past. Meantime we've gotta keep these bloody bridges from falling into Jerry's hands.""An' who the 'ell is gonna pay for that? We is, we's the muggins wot's gonna do the dirty work, we's the muggins wot's gonna be stuka'd to 'ell, we's the muggins wo

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More Spearhead, notionally in France 1940

Our experiments in playing Spearhead with 20mm figures and models continues. In Spearhead everything should be based on bases 1.25" square. This creates more accurate combat frontages, and troop densities.  The issue is the size of vehicles. Vehicles in 1/72 obviously don't fit on bases 1.25" square. This means that individual models, representing troops of 3-5, vehicles occupy a disproportionately large area on the table surface.In our last game we played with a scale multiplier of 1.5X. This meant that vehicles were closer to the right densities, although correspondingly infantry on the standard 1.25" bases occupied too small an area. Even though we played on a larger table area, it wasn't 1.5x the standard 6'x4' area that we usually use. Therefore troops moved further, action was joined much sooner, weapon ranges were longer and so more of the table area could be dominated by fire, and the opportunity to develop the game more fully with manoeuvre disappeared as you were on your enemy far too soon

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More Northern France 1940 action

Northern France, 1940, and the BEF continues its attempts to resist the Wehrmacht's assaults. This was the second WW2 Spearhead game Andy had played, and this time he opted to command the BEF forces.Using Keith McNelly's Scenario Generation System, I'd created a British Armoured Division Defend list, and a German Panzer Division Attack list. There were errors in my lists, as I realised a little too late, in particular, I'd taken two British Armoured Regiments at half strength when the system normally allows reduced strength units that have had no more than a third of their fighting stands removed. However I guess as we are the authors of our own scenarios, this was OK.In this game I layered in artillery, with both sides having access to divisional artillery, and both having corp level guns available for limited counter-battery work.The battlefield, with BEF defending from the left, the German forces attacking from the right Andy deployed one battalion forward holding the most advanced objective, with a s

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