Fuego Cruzado: Crossfire House Rules for Spain’s Wars

Fuego Cruzado is my Crossfire variant for early 20th century wars involving the Spanish, notably the Spanish Civil War and Rif War. All of my normal Crossfire House Rules apply. These house rules are additions specifically for Fuego Cruzado.

(See also my general Crossfire Musings.)

Cover and scenery selection

Crossfire and it’s supplement Hit The Beach mention quite a few terrain features (I have a full list of these and their characteristics). All the terrain types, except Bocage, are appropriate for Spain and the Rif.

The Crossfire website suggests using “scrubby, rocky low rises that block line of sight in lieu of having many woods features” in a Spanish Civil War battle. If you want other LOS blocking features then Crests or Boulder fields from Hit The Beach will do the trick.

Riffi houses were surrounded by a Cactus Hedge

Cactus Hedge: (Identical to a HTD Thorn Hedge). Linear Obstacle. Target touching the feature gains protective cover from indirect fire and also from direct fire if the Line of Fire crosses the feature. Block LOS unless the spotter or target is touching it. Chance of getting Hung-up like barbed wire with automatic +1 modifier.


The Aircraft special rule is applicable to the SCW and the Rif War.

Riffi had no aircraft so only the Franco-Spanish can have planes in the Rif War.

Air Superiority: Planes, but are they ours? (SCW Only)

Use this rule for the Spanish Civil War to simply simulate a fluctuating situation where both sides have planes in the sky. For this period the air superiority modifier depends on which year the games is being played in:

Year Air Superiority Modifier
Republican Nationalist
1936 +1
1938 +1
1939 +1

Each side throws 1d6 for air support at the start of their own initiative, adding or subtracting their Air Superiority as they choose. On a 6+ something happens:

  • If there is already an aircraft (of either side) over the table the aircraft is immediately driven off the table by enemy fighters. It or a replacement, however, can return in subsequent initiatives.
  • If there is no aircraft over the table then a plane friendly to the player whose initiative it is arrives over the table.


Ground Attack

Each bound the plane is on-table the player must draw a straight line across the table, representing the flight path. The aircraft can only attack targets along the flight path, and is only susceptible to AA fire along this path.

Once on-table aircraft act in a similar way to off table artillery. As with artillery fire, failure to suppress or kill with an aircraft’s attacks does not end the phasing player’s initiative. The ground attack process goes like this:

  1. Player nominates the target and type of attack.
  2. Anti-aircraft reactive fire is resolved.
  3. If the aircraft is not driven off or shot down, determine the result of the ground attack itself.

Each plane has a certain number of bombs, of a certain potency (HE/EFF), plus machine guns for strafing. A plane’s bomb/rocket load is roughly analogous to the FM of artillery. Bombs/rockets are treated as indirect fire for Protective Cover and strafing with machine guns as direct fire. A plane can do one of the following each initiative it is on table:

  • Drop one or more of its remaining bombs (Dive Bombers can only drop one bomb per initiative)
  • Fire a pair of Rockets
  • Strafe with its machine guns

An aircraft may not engage the same target in two consecutive friendly initiatives.

Weapon HE/EFF
Machine Guns 4/0 SQ
Small bomb (up to 100lb) 4/1 SQ
Light bomb (250lb) 4/2 SQ
Medium bomb (500lb) 5/3 SQ (2 EFF in structures)
Heavy bomb (1000lb+) 6/3 SQ (2 EFF in structures)
Pair of Rockets 4/2 SQ

Spanish Civil War Aircraft Data

Aircraft Role Bombs Rockets
4/2 SQ
6/3 SQ
5/3 SQ
4/2 SQ
4/1 SQ
Aero A-101 Light Bomber
Casa-Breguet Br.XIX Light Bomber 440 kg bomb load
De Havilland Dragon Bomber
Dornier Do17E, Do17F, Do17P Reconnaissance Bombers Bomber
Fokker F.VII Bomber 1,000 kg bomb load
Fokker F.VIII Bomber
Fokker V.XII Bomber
Heinkel He51C Fighter Bomber Ground Attack
Heinkel He111B, He111D, He111E Bombers Bomber
Junkers Ju52 Bomber Bomber
Junkers Ju86D Bomber Bomber
Junkers Ju87A, Ju87B Dive-Bomber Dive-Bomber 1 2 Dive Bomber
Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Bombers Bomber
Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 Bombers Bomber
IMAM Ro.37bis Ground Attack Aircraft Ground Attack
Aero A-101 Light Bomber
Bloch MB200, MB 210 Bombers Bomber
Grumman GE-23 Ground Attack
Northrop Gamma Bomber
Potez 540 Series (540, 542, 544) Bomber
Polikarpov I-16 Mosca Ground Attack 2 Used in SCW and WW2.
Polikarpov R-5 Ground Attack Aircraft Ground Attack
Polikarpov R-Z Ground Attack Aircraft Light Bomber
Tupolev SB 2 Bomber 6 Used in SCW and WW2. Cold carry either a light or heavy payload.
Tupolev SB 2 Bomber 1 Used in SCW and WW2. Cold carry either a light or heavy payload.
Vultee V1 Bomber Bomber

Rif War Aircraft Data

The Spanish first fielded aircraft in Morocco in 1913. The air force had a serious upgrade in 1921.

Aircraft Role Bombs Rockets
4/2 SQ
6/3 SQ
5/3 SQ
4/2 SQ
4/1 SQ
Breguet XIX Fighter Bomber 12 x 10 kg bombs
Dornier Do-J Wal Seaplane (“Ballena”)
Vickers Wildebeest Torpedo plane used as Bomber
De Havilland 4 Fighter bomber from 1921
De Havilland 9A Bomber from 1921
Farmin F60 Goliath Heavy Bomber from 1921
Breguet 18 Fighter Bomber
Farmin F60 Goliath Heavy Bomber

regulares_P1030356_HMG_side.jpg (59805 bytes)

HMG Crew

HMG versus AFVs

The official Crossfire site includes a rule that is particularly suitable to early periods like the Spanish Civil War and 1948 Arab-Israeli War when AFV crews scared easily and HMG fire caused crews to abandon their vehicles.

HMG can fire at AFVs, but require an extra hit to affect them. So it takes:

  • Two hits to pin
  • Three hits to suppress
  • Four hits to kill

Cavalry = Mounted Infantry

Both sides in the SCW fielded cavalry although I suspect they predominantly operated as mounted infantry. If you think otherwise then you can use the Cavalry special rule.

There are specific rules if a scenario dictates the Mounted Infantry must start mounted. Whilst mounted they:

  • Fight in close combat with normal infantry modifiers (i.e. they don’t get the +2 of charging cavalry), but they take a -2 versus armoured vehicles.
  • Cannot shoot or initiate close combat (they must dismount to do either)
  • Require a successful Rally from Pin roll to dismount – and remember the +1 for being out of sight of enemy; failure means loss of initiative. Once dismounted, they cannot remount.
  • Can’t enter buildings or fortifications, or cross barbed wire, and may not ground hug or use trenches.

Flame Throwers (SCW Only)

The musing on Flame thrower special rules is applicable to the SCW as the Nationalists had the Flame Thrower version of the Italian CV-33 tankette

Man portable flame-throwers are assumed to be used by assault engineers, and these get bonuses in close combat as per the rules. On the other hand vehicle mounted flame-throwers

  • Get a +2 in close combat in addition to other modifiers for being a vehicle.
  • Can close combat stands in buildings (and hardpoints, etc), although it does this by flaming them from outside and the defenders are assumed to be using grenades from the windows in defence (or running for it). The vehicle is moved up to the side of the building and remains outside if the defenders are destroyed.
  • If the vehicle wins a close combat against a building it is assumed to be on fire and can not be occupied for the remainder of the game.

Dinamiteros (SCW Only)

This rule is really only applicable to the Spanish Civil War.

Dinamiteros relied on bombs in combat, particularly bombs improvised from tin cans and sticks of dynamite. Often their bombs were their only arms, i.e. few had rifles. They carried lit fuses to light their bombs from. All of which means Dinamiteros have these special attributes:

  • They get a +1 in close combat if all squads are Dinamiteros
  • They are visible at night if in LOS unless deployed hidden at the start of the game and not yet revealed.
  • They fire with the normal 3d6 of a rifle squad.

republicans_P1030373_commissar.jpg (48036 bytes)


Commissars (SCW Only)

Described in Hit the Dirt (p. 8). The rule is optional but is applicable to Soviets in WWII – in particular between July 1941 and November 1942 – and Communists in the Spanish Civil War.

A Commissar moves and participates in combat as a CC. It may attach or detach itself to or from any Communist BC, CC, or PC at any time during the game. The Commissar provides a +2 modifier in all close combats in which it is involved and provides +3 rally modifier when helping any Communist stands to rally. However, if a 1 is rolled during a rally attempt by a Commissar the failing stand’s state becomes one step worse, i.e. a pinned stand becomes suppressed and a suppressed stand becomes killed.

In Hit the Dirt a Commissar is based like a PC, i.e. a single figure on a 15 mm wide x 30 mm deep stand. To distinguish the two types of officer I have based my own Commissars on 20 mm x 20 mm stands.

Human Wave Attacks

Early war Republican militia often had insufficient weapons to arm all the volunteers, so as the armed milicianos became casualties, they were replaced by new bodies that picked up their weapons. This can be simulated by WWII Soviet style human wave attacks.

Hand of Fate (SCW Only)

The Hand of Fate represents a number of random events including unexpected enemy Air or Artillery strikes, friendly fire, or just getting lost.

A Hand of Fate roll is similar to Reactive Fire. It is a 4d6 attack irrespective of cover. It can only be applied against an enemy move action. Unlike Reactive Fire, it does not need a friendly unit to be shooting, or even to be in line of sight of the target unit. Like fire combat, a Hand of Fate roll can inflict a Pin, Suppress or Kill. Initiative passes on a Suppress or Kill.

The scenario will specify how many Hand of Fate rolls a player gets. Typically one, although Political Cooperation will modify this.

Auto-Pin Variation

Use the rules above but the Hand of Fate is automatically a Pin. When Hand of Fate is invoked one enemy moving stand is immediately pinned. The moving player must immediately try to rally the pinned stand. Success means the stand rallies and can, if the player with initiative wishes, then take the intended move action. Failure means initiative passes. In the case of a group move only one stand is pinned.

Political Cooperation (SCW Only)

Poor cooperation between the forces of different political parties plagued both armies in the Spanish Civil War – particularly the Republicans.

All stands have an allegiance: Regular Army, Communist, Socialist, Basque, Marxist, Republican or Anarchist. For cooperation purposes all Nationalist forces have an allegiance to the Regular Army, even the militia, ditto for Paramilitary forces including those on the Republican side. Even when the Republican Popular Army was formed units retained their previous allegiances. So, for example, an POUM militia unit that is incorporated into a Republican Mixed Brigade is still counted as a Marxist unit even though it is officially Regular Army now. “Republican” allegiance means a allegiance to the Republican party, as opposed to Communist party etc. It is not a catch all for all those on the Republican, i.e. government side, of the war.

A player gets extra Hand of Fate rolls depending on the composition of the force opposing him. The number of rolls is determined from the following table.

Factor Extra Hand of Fate rolls
Any enemy with allegiance to Regular Army +0
Any enemy with allegiance to Socialist party +1
Any enemy with allegiance to Communist party +1
Any enemy with allegiance to Marxist party +1
Any enemy with allegiance to Republican party +1
Any enemy with allegiance to Basque nationalist party +1
Any enemy with allegiance to Anarchist party +2
A significant portion of the enemy (>25%) do not have Spanish as their first language +1

Example, if a player is facing an enemy force containing both Socialists and Anarchists, then the the player gets +1 (Socialist) + 2 (Anarchist) = +3 Hand of Fate rolls.

The language barrier factor reflects the difficulties facing higher echelons of command when directing units using different languages.

Example, if a player is facing a force containing both Spanish and Foreign Communists then he would get +1 (communist) + 1 (Language Barrier) = +2 Hand of Fate rolls.

Random Terrain selection

If you want a random method of selecting terrain the try this:
For each 4 foot by 4 foot section of the wargaming table:

  1. Roll for the number of features of each terrain type on the following table.
  2. Ignoring roads, and counting other linear terrain features as 1 feature per 6″ of length, count up the number of features.
  3. If the total is less than 50 then add crests to make up the total to 50. Each 6″ of crest counts as one terrain feature.
Terrain Type Die Roll
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 Major River (4″ wide)** + crossing (bridge or ford) 36″
2 Stream (1/2-1″ wide) 6″ 18″ 24″
3 Low hills 4 8 12 16 20 24
4* Fields, rock fields, or rough 4 8 12 16 20 24
5 Depressions 1 2 3 4 5 6
6* Woods, orchards, boulder fields 2 4 6 8
7* Houses 1 3 5 7 9
8* Walls 12″ 12″
9 Roads 24″ 24″ 24″ 48″ 48″ 48″

* These features can be layered on top of hills.

** Uncrossable except at the designated crossing.

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