by John Moher

One of the biggest advantages of Spearhead is the flexible command system, which allows battalions to employ flexible, low level tactics for their own platoons, while preventing both unrealistic cooperation between battalions, and use of support weapons against targets that aren't the greatest threat to the unit. Furthermore there are no "psychic-phenomena" battalions that run from point to point in answer to the enemy's every move!

This is also the area where some people fail to grasp the importance of the rules, and as such I felt a brief overview might be of interest!

A Summary of Orders, Movement & Recon;


  • All platoons must advance at least 6" per turn facing in the same direction as the order arrow. The HQ element must travel “along” the arrow. Platoons may only use a pivot to follow any change in direction of the command arrow.
  • Once enemy are “visually” spotted any platoon (including the HQ) may halt, or move less than 6". All platoons except the HQ may also pivot up to 45 degrees and/or reverse as well.
  • Once no enemy are “visible” the unit must revert to obeying the 1st condition listed above!
  • Once the HQ (or it’s replacement) reaches the end of the arrow, the Battalion reverts to DEFEND orders. This occurs in the Command Phase and counts as an order change, so “on the following turn” all units may make an unlimited pivot and/or move forwards or in reverse to position themselves as part of the order change. The Battalion is considered to be under DEFEND orders during that turn.


  • All platoons (once deployed) may not move or pivot at all.
  • Once enemy are “visually” spotted platoons other than the HQ may Pivot and/or move Forward or in Reverse to “face” or “move against” the visible enemy! (i.e.. You can’t move around just because you received some indirect fire from an unknown observer) Note that “moving against” could involve reversing away to maintain extreme fire range, etc.!
  • Once no enemy are “visible” all platoons must halt and may not move or pivot (as per the 1st condition above).


  • Remember that if a battalion is to receive an order change from the CinC the HQ must be unsuppressed. Unless German it must also not have any platoons firing and/or being fired on by direct fire!


ALL Troops must obey the command zone requirements. These are;

  • 6" for units up to (and including) 12 Platoons,
  • 12" for units of (or greater than) 13 Platoons,
  • 24" if under ATTACK orders and integral Recon Platoons or attached Recon Companies.

Command Zones may only be disregarded when either:

  • under ATTACK orders and support platoons (except HMG) are “dropped off” to provide fire support while the balance of the unit advances. Note that in this case they must still obey all the requirements of ATTACK orders such as facing in the direction of the arrow, etc., unless enemy have been spotted!
  • under DEFEND orders and the support platoons (including HMG) are deployed “to the rear” of the main position to provide fire support.

REMEMBER: Support Platoons, unless firing in their own self-defence MUST fire in support of their parent battalion (or the one they are attached to), ie. They must fire at enemy that the rest of the battalion is firing at, or that are firing at the battalion, or that are occupying their battalion’s line of advance, etc. They may not fire at enemy some distance away who are engaging a different friendly battalion.


Recon in SH works back to front to conventional skirmish games, the benefit of a Recon unit is the big CZ and that they can engage the enemy without providing the enemy sufficient justification to issue new orders! (Unlike skirmish rules where the Recon elements would get spotting and/or camouflage bonuses instead). To summarise the distinction of Recon means:

  • Under ATTACK orders you have the special CZ (24").
  • When attached out the companies (of a Recon battalion) perform as miniature battalions for morale purposes. (So theoretically the loss of an attached Recon company has no adverse effect on the battalion’s morale).
  • When spotted, Recon platoons can not be used as justification, by the troops that spot them, to change orders (3.12 - 3rd para). But troops that the Recon spot can be used as justification to change the Recon platoon's HQ’s orders!
  • That if you use a whole Recon battalion together as a fighting battalion, the elements count as fighting platoons, not recon platoons (12.2.1 & 4.1). This is important for two reasons;
    • The Command Zone, and
    • Whether they have the special effect described in the 3rd condition above!


As a closing comment I would stress the importance of the basic CZ requirements for all platoons! Understanding this is one of the most important aspects of Spearhead. Good Luck and May You Have Many Victories!


The SPEARHEAD Website is edited and maintained by John Moher. SPEARHEAD is © 1995-2000 Arty Conliffe. The contents of these pages are © 1997-2000 John Moher, Arty Conliffe, Hans Johannsen, John Kovalic, and/or the appropriate Authors and Contributors.