Operation Whitehall / Assault on Chez Patrick – A Crossfire Battle Report

Brett Simpson has kindly been sharing photos of his Crossfire kit as he builds it up. He is doing some nice scratch building for his scenery.

This time, however, Brett shared the battle report from his first Crossfire game. Called the “Assault on Chez Patrick” after the British objective or “Operation Whitehall” after the British operational code name. Most words are Brett’s.


Introduction

Well, it happened! Last night a couple of friends came over and we played our first game of Crossfire; the table was set and although none of my miniatures were painted all agreed that we couldn’t wait to give it a try.

Neither of the gents had ever played a wargame before, but we had the time of our lives and both are keen for more (with one announcing as he was leaving that this was the perfect end to his Easter long-weekend).


Operation Whitehall – the Scenario

This is a company level game that fits on my kitchen table, which is roughly 3′ x 5′, using 20mm figures.

Objectives were kept secret from the opposing force.

The Scene

A ruined town on the outskirts of which was farmland, and a ruined church and graveyard.

Operation Whitehall 1: A rough map of the table

Operation Whitehall 1: A rough map of the table

The British Objective

Secure “Chez Patrick” – the farmhouse located at the centre of the table, which is currently being used by the Germans as a HQ.

Operation Whitehall 2: A view of the table from the British end

Operation Whitehall 2: A view of the table from the British end

The photo of the table from the British positions shows the British CC and PIAT team in the ruins adjacent to the Old Railway Hotel. You can see Chez Patrick at the top middle of the photo.

The German Objective

At the south-eastern edge of the table lies a rocky depression (marked by a green string-line); therein lies a broken-down Panther tank – get the tank up and running or destroy it.

Operation Whitehall 3: A view of the table from the German end

Operation Whitehall 3: A view of the table from the German end

The photo of the table from the German perspective shows the German FO and CC on hills flanking the graveyard. If you look hard you’ll see the rocky depression in the top left of the photo.

The British Advance

The Brits began mobilising troops around the western edge of the table, but were immediately pinned by rifle fire from nearby woodlands as they exited town; after a long and drawn-out firefight they made their way through a field to discover it was mined (losing their MMG to the minefield). Pushing their way through a second (un-mined) field they were pinned again by German MMG and rifle fire but eventually stormed Chez Patrick and bayoneted the German forces within.

Operation Whitehall 4: The British are pinned by fire exiting the bocage at Chez Patrick

Operation Whitehall 4: The British are pinned by fire exiting the bocage at Chez Patrick

The German Advance

The Germans quickly caught wind of the approaching British, and positioned a team of riflemen with the view of stalling the Allied advance, while a squad of troops entered the depression and began repairing the Panther (duly cautious, as the first team to approach the depression were gunned down on the road the moment they broke cover).

Prior to this, the British had spotted the tank and positioned their PIAT team in the upper storey of the Old Railway Hotel. The PIAT team expended all of their ammunition, but were unsuccessful in destroying the stationary tank!

The Germans managed to repair the tank, and were attempting to start it when British troops advanced on them and a bloody melee ensued. After vanquishing their attackers, the Germans managed to start the Panther and manoeuvre it out of the depression.

Operation Whitehall 5: A zeltbahn platoon advances on the depression

Operation Whitehall 5: A zeltbahn platoon advances on the depression

Operation Whitehall 6: British troops attempt to storm the Panther

Operation Whitehall 6: British troops attempt to storm the Panther

The Outcome

The British, having captured Chez Patrick, then came under fire from the Panther. They suffered heavy losses and were unable to hold the farmhouse. In a last desperate gambit, Tommies attempted to storm the tank, only to fall victim to German stick grenades and bayonets.

The Germans were victorious.

Operation Whitehall 7: The Germans open fire on Chez Patrick - they could almost smell victory

Operation Whitehall 7: The Germans open fire on Chez Patrick – they could almost smell victory

Conclusion

Crossfire is a fantastic game. Neither player had played a wargame before, but both quickly got into the spirit of things and tried to gain control of the table.

The German player spent a considerable number of initiatives trying to repair the Panther, start it, and drive it out of the depression, but in the end his sheer determination paid off.

The British player did well to capture Chez Patrick, but ultimately couldn’t hold off against the might of the Panther.

It came down to the wire though, and no one was quite certain who would win until the very end (although activating the tank did a hell of lot to boost German morale!)

In reality, the Germans won by a single squad (the British were unable to hold the farmhouse for the mandatory five friendly initiatives, and ended up losing one squad more than fifty percent of their force, but the Germans weren’t far behind that number themselves).

The Germans now have a Panther at their disposal for the next game: Operation Aftermath.

The Panther was an Airfix kit I put together on the day of the game. I hadn’t built a model in over three decades, and it was the first time I have ever painted one (my attempt at German Ambush Camouflage) – I’m pleased with the result, but joked that I think Arty Conliffe designed Crossfire as an infantry game because Airfix running gear is a nightmare to glue together!

For the most part, the terrain and structures were scratch built – something I started 6 weeks ago; things turned out even better than I imagined. I am very grateful to Mel Bose the Terrain Tutor, Nikolas Lloyd, Nic Robson of Eureka Miniatures, your kindness in answering all of my questions, Steven, and of course the two players for putting their heart and soul into such a memorable first game of Crossfire.

Operation Whitehall 8: Aftermath view of the battlefield - both sides suffered heavy losses

Operation Whitehall 8: Aftermath view of the battlefield – both sides suffered heavy losses

Now, there are troops to be painted, more terrain and structures to be crafted, and a follow-up scenario to be designed…

Best wishes and thank you once again.

Brett

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