What is Spearkrieg? 
Spearkrieg is a House rules set that is a hybrid of Spearhead and Blitzkrieg Commander (BKC).  I’ve played the former for years pretty much as written but always found the Order rules using arrows clunky and unsatisfactory.  As a mechanic, it is trying to reduce the god-like ability of the players to see the whole table and also reflect the ability of different nations to change their orders and react to the battle.
BKC borrows from Warmaster (a system we love in our club) the idea of command rolls to move and fire its units.  This is done passing command tests against a command value (e.g. 7, 8, 9 or 10) using 2D6 which can be modified by other factors e.g. terrain, distance from unit, proximity of enemy.  Unfortunately BKC’s combat system is slow and clunky involving rolling lots of dice for little effect.
So, having just insulted bits of your favourite rules, what did I do next and why?  Well, touching on the latter, one of the things that irritated me in Spearhead was this: you could have a situation where a company (3 platoons) of Tigers or panthers it hull down on a hill covering a plain in front of it.  Across this plain charges a 1944 T-34 brigade of 18 platoons moving 12” a turn.   They enter the 18” fire range of the panzers, the three Tiger platoons fire and, let’s assume no low rolls, kill three T-34 platoon.  Next turn, the T-34s move another  12” and are all round (front, sides) the Panzers.  The Germans fire again and kill another 3 tanks.  Next turn, the 12 T-34s fire and wipe out the Panzers.
Trouble is, historically, there are after battle reports of the Germans holding off and destroying T-34 Brigades with just companies of Panthers etc. but Spearhead can’t do this.  But with a different command system it can – enter Spearkrieg.
In Spearkrieg, a company can move and/or fire up to 3 times a turn (e.g. be commanded to move, fire, move or fire, fire, fire) but a failed command order stops that unit’s turn and that of the commander used.  Thus, a turn in Spearkrieg is roughly 1 ½ hours of real time i.e. three spearhead turns.  Secondly, the non-active side has reactive fire available against enemy that come within 8” but can only fire once.
Returning to our example of the panzers and T-34s, let’s give the Tigers a command of 9 or 10 for the Regt commander.  The T-34s have a command of 8 and that 18 platoon brigade breaks down to 3 battalions (pseudo companies) of 6 platoons.  Now, the T-34s approach but only move/fire on rolls of 8 or less on 2D6 (with a -1 for the second order on the same unit, -2 for the third order, -1 of within 8” on enemy, -1 for every 8” distance from commander to unit).  They still can move 12” and in theory cover 36” but this will be difficult given the command penalties and remember failure ends the turn for all of the T-34 battalion units.  However, come the German turn, the Tigers can now fire up to three times from their position giving 9 shots at the T-34.  It is now a very scary prospect for the T-34s...
The beauty and fun of these rule changes is none of it is predictable.  The Tigers could fail all their rolls and the T-34 pass low rolls, move and fire into the rears of the Tigers.  Movement and combat are less predictable: there is more friction and fog of war for the player to deal with.  Furthermore, the system allows you to separate the technical ability of the weapon from the man/crew firing it.  For example, if the tigers had a command of 8 and the T-34s one of 10, I hope you can see how the fight would potentially be very different.  In fact, well led units are more important than well armed ones, e.g.  allowing early war German panzers to perform better.  Conversely, you can make a German platoon with the same stats less or more effective by changing the command e.g. representing the late war fall in troop quality.
With the command system, you can also add “chrome” in the shape of supply points (command re-rolls with can be allocated by the referee or random) or recon where the discovery of the enemy by recon grants a temporary 1 pip increase in command.  You can also make special events occur on rolls of 2 or 12 (blunder!) and make them campaign specific:

Stalingrad Snake-eyes random events on roll of 2:
1– Sniper! 
Remove one enemy command stand that is within 8” of an Infantry stand that is part of the battalion just ordered.  The enemy miss one whole turn and then can replace the commander but with a Cd value 1 less.
-3 (for Russians) – Sniper! as above.
-3 (for Germans) Death from above! This bonus Stuka attack can, if wished, be aborted.  A dive-bomber group armed with bombs attacks the nearest platoon in the nearest enemy battalion to the friendly unit just ordered. However, on a natural 1 the attack hits the nearest (<6”) German unit (roll attack die again for effect).
– For the motherland/fatherland! For the rest of the day, this commander counts as 1 Cd better (Max 11).
– Deadly fire! If this is a shooting action, you may re-roll 3 dice involved in the firing action.
– Urrraaah! The unit ordered gains 2 Actions.

Blunder – Air support

1-2 – The FAC is attacked; next turn, he can’t call in an air sortie.

3-4 – The sortie arrives but is shot down by fighters/AA.  The sortie is lost.

5-6 – Requested sortie attacks the nearest friendly company to the target.

Blunder – Artillery support

1-2 – The FOO is attacked; next turn, he can’t call in any artillery.

3-4 – The Artillery battalion is attacked by counter battery fire.  Roll for each platoon against a 5 attack.

5-6 – Requested barrage is targeted on the nearest friendly company to the target.

Blunder – Movement and firing

1 – HQ attacked!  Next turn, command is -2.

2 – Cross-fire!  Fire at the nearest friendly platoons of another company.

3 – Panic!  If in the open, then move D6” in a random direction.

4 – Pull back! All unsuppressed platoons in the open half move away from the nearest visible enemy.

5 – Arghh! Fire! Fire!  The company fires as normal if was fire order but with a -2.

6 – Let’s get’em!  All unsuppressed non-support platoons in the open half-move towards the nearest visible enemy.

Spearkrieg is flexible, fast and fun.  It allows massive battles to be played and provides interesting challenges for the player as they balance the problems of supply, recon, movement and combat.

Spearkrieg Links:

Stalingrad South Campaign Report
TOEs for Stalingrad Game:


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