Some musing on Airborne Troops and Airlandings in Crossfire. Standard Crossfire doesn’t cover this. The suggestions are based on rules from Rapid Fire with some tweaks from myself and Flames of War.
Airborne troops can be landed by parachute or glider. Airlandings must be planned before the game starts, including the location of the Drop Zone (DZ). Paratroops are likely to spread out whereas Gliders could be landed with considerable accuracy but were very dangerous with passengers suffering up to 40% casualties.
Incidentally, accounts from WW2 suggest that paratroops were not vulnerable to fire when actually dropping; they took casualties from enemy fire when they actually landed.
A company of paratroops can drop on each DZ each initiative (say up to 36 stand excluding commanders and FO). For each stand (squad, commander, crew served weapon) drop a base sized of paper from 2′ above the DZ. The stand’s fate depends on where the paper lands:
|On structure, orchards or woods feature, rock or boulder fields, cliffs|
|Off table or in impassable water (lakes, sea, deep/wide/fast rivers)||N/A||Killed|
Paratroops cannot move in the initiative in which they land. Reactive and Ambush fire is conducted normally with the paratroopers counted as in the open in the turn in which they land.
German paratroopers only dropped with side arms; their weapons were dropped separately in containers and the men had to search these out to become fully equipped. As a result throw 1d6 for each such platoon that drops; on a 6 all stands in the platoon are suppressed – looking for their canister.
Initiative does not pass if any are paratroopers are Suppressed or Killed due to the landing itself; initiative passes as normal for other reasons for example reactive fire, failure to rally, etc.
A glider has the same carrying capacity as an APC. Four gliders can land each initiative for each DZ. The DZ must be flattish, i.e. a field, rjough feature, or hill feature count a 6″x4″ clear space as a suitable feature as well). The first glider lands on the DZ itself; the second one on the next closest suitable feature to the DZ that doesn’t have a glider in it already, etc. Clearly if there are few suitable features near the DZ, the gliders will be spread out.
After all gliders have been dropped, determine the result of each landing. Throw 1d6 to see the result:
|1 or less||Crash: Glider destroyed and all passengers Killed|
|2||Rough Landing: Fate depends on type of each passenger stand:||Vehicle, IG or ATG||Killed|
Throw a second 1d6 for each such stand:
|3-6||Safe landing: All passengers OK|
Modifier for drop result:
-2 if land on structure, hedge, wall, woods, orchard, cliff, rock field, boulder field, or contacts another glider.
Standard APC move/dismounting rules apply, so Glider passengers cannot move in the initiativein which they land. They dismount in the following initiative and must deploy within 1 stand width of the glider..
Initiative does not pass if any passengers are Suppressed or Killed due to the landing itself; initiative passes as normal for other reasons for example reactive fire, failure to rally, etc.
Note: Apparently Glider landings were quite risky with some landings suffering 40% casualties.
The defenders are by definition surprised. This means the available troops will be spread over a wide area and will need to be concentrated to deal with the invaders, plus the troops in the area of the landing will be busy doing other activities, e.g. sleeping, eating. In game terms on-table defenders may start pinned or suppressed to represent surprise (throw 1d6: 1-2 Suppressed; 3-4 Pinned; 5-6 ok). 50% of the defenders should be off table as reserves. They should come on from random directions using a mechanism such as the moving clock to determine when they arrive. .
On balance the attackers and defenders should be about the same size. The attackers will take losses in landing and the defenders will be dispersed and surprised.