2-3 Companies a Side – A Crossfire Battle Report

A while ago I created a couple of generic scenarios to play test new elements of Crossfire . One of them featured three companies attacking two and is called the amazingly creative name 2-3 Companies a Side – A Generic Crossfire Scenario. Andrew Fisher and friends played this scenario and Andrew sent through a battle report. Unlike the original this game features Germans and Poles in the 1939 Polish Campaign. Most words are Andrews.

For context here is the scenario map again:

Table 2 to 3 Companies

Table 2 to 3 Companies


Introduction

Ray, Andy, Mike and I played this scenario as a multiplayer game. As an early experiment connected with the big game we are planning later this year, we used my ’39 Germans and Poles – the Poles defended with 2 rifle companies and HMGs, the Germans had 3 rifle companies and some tanks. As it was a multiplayer game we used planned operational zones. Andy and Mike stood for plucky Polish freedom, whilst Ray and I donned our jackboots.


The Big Plan

The German plan involved giving most of the troops to Ray for a broad sweep along the North edge of the board and then down into the SE corner (the building objective). My smaller force would advance on the southern board edge, seizing the objective hill on the forward edge of the Polish deployment zone. From that hill I would have good sight lines to interrupt any Polish attempt to redeploy to fight off Ray. Things didn’t quite work out like that.


The Game

I advanced a couple of tanks and then threw forward a platoon to attack the hill itself. This uncovered Mike’s Poles lining the hedgerows south of my objective, and my first platoon was halted in the open, which naturally led to some casualties. I used smoke to deny those Poles line of sight, and then threw in a second platoon which managed to lose it’s hand-to-hand combat against the suppressed mortar crew on the hill so the smoke cleared to show the wreckage of two platoons in the open under fire from front and flanks. Meanwhile on the German right, Ray was bringing up two companies and some tanks, but he bumped into a platoon with a couple of HMGs in the orchard right at the end of the line GG. This powerful force began to inflict significant losses on Ray.

I attacked my hill again, and finally threw the Poles off it, but Mike immediately counter-attacked and drove me off in turn. As I had now lost two of my three infantry platoons, I decided to make the best of a bad job and concentrate fire from my 75mm IGs, tanks and HMG on the couple of rifle squads Mike had placed on the hill. Naturally I lost the resulting firefight because Mike’s dice were much better than mine, and the remaining German riflemen were wiped out in exchange for scant Polish losses (I think one squad). Ray was also taking casualties, but he finally managed to get enough troops shooting to suppress the Poles in the Orchard and went in with the bayonet. Both Poles and Germans were falling in large numbers here, but the Germans were not able to advance beyond the original Polish front line. As I was reduced to a handful of heavy weapons, and Ray had taken pretty heavy infantry casualties too, the Germans gave up. Andy then pointed out that his own casualties were so heavy that he had nothing much left to resist Ray’s remnants, but it was too late…


Conclusions

Overall I thought the game worked well. The operational zones concept worked simply and was fine. There were a few cases when we got out of sync across the table and this would need watching in a bigger game so that it doesn’t become too chaotic.

Ray commented that we should try to ensure that everyone plays at least one practice game before any big weekend game: Crossfire isn’t complex from a rules perspective, but the tactics are a bit different to other systems and can be disconcerting initially.

The early war tanks were a real threat, but also had to treat even the most trivial AT weapon (the Poles only had 4 anti-tank rifles) with respect, and the rule I implemented to limit artillery (Forward Observers needed to have line of sight to the gun they were calling in as well as the target, on the basis that man-pack radios didn’t really exist in 1939) seemed to work OK. I’ll be doing some further experiments along the same lines.

3 comments to 2-3 Companies a Side – A Crossfire Battle Report

  • Ashley Jenkins

    That’s a spooky coincidence. We played the 2 Company per side variant at my wargaming club last night. Despite being under-strength, the German defenders were able to destroy half the attacking force without taking a single loss, however there was some controversy in the early game. As the scenario states that all German platoons and entrenchments are deployed hidden, this was ultimately interpreted as meaning you could essentially hide stands in the open by deploying them hidden within entrenchments that were themselves hidden. This tactic and the use of ambush fire allowed the defenders to smash a hole in the attacker’s line and counter-attack into their deployment zone which ultimately won the game.

    We continued discussing the issue of hidden entrenchments and the troops inside of them for a little while and I wonder if this is what was intended, or if it’s simply a gap in the rules. What’s your take on the matter?

  • The used of hidden deploymy, given sufficient time, would prove effective, given sufficient time to prepare positions that provide enough cover for the positions needed. If they’re adequate positions. Especially if the MG’s present interlocking fields of fire with supporting infantry positions, it can be deadly. I think the rules present an excellent understand of this facet of infantry combat.

  • Andrew Fisher

    I think it depends partly on the scenario. The Soviets in particular were real experts in camouflaging positions, so an entrenchment hidden in the open wouldn’t seem out of line to me for a Soviet force that has been in position long enough to complete their preparations. On the other hand late-war Brits or Americans generally dug in wherever without a lot of thought about positions or camouflage, as they had air superiority and were almost always on the attack – the emphasis was much more on depth and comfort.

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