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The following rules additions/amendments are things we have considered:
In the modem period the differing levels of professionalism and training throughout the world has a significant impact on combat ability. Whilst the existing rules reflect this in the order system and artillery response table - it is not reflected where it counts most - in combat! The morale ratings reflect it in close assaults only, but as it stands an Ethiopian with a 1950s bazooka shoots as well as an SAS man with a laser guided Hellfire. Thus for any scenario one force (of part of a force) should be designated as Better Trained which improves their direct fire response.
Mark Bevis continues his series of articles commenting on and examining Modern Spearhead - this article originally appeared in the SOTCW's Journal No.44 (Mid-2002).
3.2.1 Higher Level HQs (page 4)
Allow Brigade & Regiment HQs to form battle groups in their own right, just as divisional and Corps HQs can. It does seem a bit odd that your RHQs and Bde HQs have to attach themselves to a front line battalion with all the risks that entails. I quite often form a brigade battle group with the Brigade HQ, brigade AT Coy and Engineer Coy as a small blocking or reinforcement unit. Whilst not having the same resilience as a battalion battle group, I feel it makes more sense of the Brigade HQ and gives it more of a role.
5.7.2. Combat Teams (Page 11)
Change the bit that says that the decision to dismount infantry from their MICVs is irreversible. Both are deployed as models when operating dismounted, can fire at full effect, but each infantry Stand and APC model counts half for morale purposes. An APC that has not unloaded its infantry and that is destroyed lose the infantry. An APC that has not unloaded infantry that is suppressed can still unload infantry behind their APCs.
6.1 Spotting (page 12)
TI against troops in targets in cover add 3" if spotter halted.
6.1.2 Ground Surveillance Radars
See Section 16. Treat as an Electronic Warfare mission (page 37). Thus regardless of how many GSRs their are in a brigade, there is only one attempt per brigade per turn, and this counts as one of your ECM missions. The suggestion is, as normal spotting ranges are 1800m maximum, and no rules for GSR are included, then allow It GSR detection in the Movement Phase (see Section 16, page 37, of the original rules). Roll as Radio Location, and if successful, one moving enemy BG is detected and identified and placed on table. Maximum range would be 12km at least. The target Battle Group then counts as Spotted to whichever BG has line of sight to it, even if it is over 1800m away. The moving BG detected should be the one nearest to the GSR, where there is a choice.
No set up time if vehicle mounted. If tripod mounted, take one move halted to set up.
7.1 Order of Fire Attacks (page 14)
Within each segment 3b and 3c and 3d, a force that is classed as Better Trained is allowed to fire first. Thus for example two opposing forces that have moved into contact and would usually fire simultaneously, this changes and the better trained force is allowed to fire first.
8.5.6 Chemical Smoke (Page 24)
TI blocking smoke is only in service with Sweden.
Soviet and some NATO tanks can use snorkels to deep wade, although in practice not thought very practical by most tank crews! Rules suggestions are once a Tank unit with snorkelling tubes reaches a river it takes two full moves (1 hour) to prepare the tanks for deep wading. It would then take another full move to cross the river and remove the equipment on the other side. All this assumes that the unit is not under fire. However, the place where the crossing is to be attempted must have been visited by a divisional or corps engineer stand for at least a full move to represent divers going down to check the riverbed and banks for safe passage. Most 1980s Soviet Divisional Engineer Battalions have a diver section in BRDM-2 just for this task. To make a mini-diorama of this stand, use filler/tetrion to make a river bank and a lower watered thin layer to represent the water, on your 32mm square card base. Then glue a BRDM-2 onto the river bank, and take a Russian WW2 flamethrower figure from H&R, remove the flame nozzle and his legs and stick him the water, representing the diver wading out - the flame thrower tanks on his back make ideal oxygen tanks for a diver.
Drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)
Ever since the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, UAVs have been used to provide real-time recon information to observers. By 2002 they were being used in Afghanistan to fire ATGW at bunkers, and their future seems secured in front-line armies of the world. To ignore them for Modern Spearhead games seems strange, given the level of the rules.
UAVs should be deployed in Batteries/Companies at divisional level, with pre-ordered missions, typically 2-4 UAV models per Battery. Assume all UAV have 3 hour endurance, i.e. 6 turns. They can be launched off-table, but would only be available if a DHQ is part of the game, or unless scenario specific. For our game purposes, the following missions would be relevant to the wargames table. Other missions such as electronic warfare and strategic recon are beyond the scope of the Spearhead game, and don't need rules here, or are already covered in the EW rules. It could be argued that UAVs on EW mission allow an extra ECM mission per turn, on top of the existing one per brigade. For movement purposes UAVs operate as helicopters, i.e. they use the same phase, and must have a waypoint ordered, based on a terrain feature or on a previously located battle group size unit or bigger. In the AA phase drones can be shot at by any available AA, but manned planes and helicopters must have priority before the UAV can be targeted.