Aircraft and Air Superiority in Crossfire

Some musing on Aircraft and Air Superiority in Crossfire. Standard Crossfire doesn’t cover this. I borrowed the main idea from the official Crossfire site tweaked and added some mechanisms from Rapid Fire.

KB4R-063 Spanish reinforcements - Stuka - Kills
KB4R-063 Spanish reinforcements – Stuka – Kills

Air superiority

The air superiority tends to vary over time. For simplicity I’ve given a air superiority modifier which is dependent on year the game is being played in:

Year Air Superiority Modifier
SCW Republican Nationalist
1936 +1
1938-39 +1
WW2 Allied Axis
1939-41 +1
1944-45 +2

Planes, but are they ours?

There are two ways of assessing when planes are over the table.

Option 1: Contested skies

This rule tries to simply simulate a fluctuating situation where both sides have planes in the sky.

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.

Option 2: All or nothing

Each side with aircraft rolls a d6 to determine air superiority in the game; if a side can’t have an aircraft then they effectively get 0 for this roll. The player with the higher score gets a plane; a draw means no plane for either side.

The difference between the air superiority rolls is the number of friendly initiatives in which the side with air superiority can deploy their plane over the table.

The plan first arrives on table on a 6 at the start of any friendly player initiative.

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

Anti-vehicle fire: Rockets fire at vehicles with ACC +1 PEN -1, and always fire at the Flank ARM. Bombs use Hit the Dirt’s Special Rule 7 Indirect Fire on Vehicles.

Anti-aircraft (AA) fire

The non-phasing player can reactive fire against the plane as it attacks. Only one stand can perform AA fire this stand can be either:

  • Dedicated AA guns which are the target or with line of fire to the flight path. Such guns fire with their full effect against the aircraft (assume 4d6, unless otherwise known).
  • Other targets shoot with their normal factors (HE factors in the case of guns), less 1d6, e.g. a Rifle Squad shoots in AA with 2d6.

(Other stands cannot reactive fire against aircraft.)

The results of reactive AA fire are:

Hits Effect
1 No effect
2 If aircraft is a Dive Bomber, then no effect. Otherwise the current attack is aborted. Two aborted attacks in consecutive initiatives means the plane is driven from the table.
3 Killed

Points Cost

If you’re using points to build your force then:

  • 20 points for a chance to roll for air superiority
  • +20 points gives a +1 on the air superiority roll (can’t buy more than +1)

Example Aircraft

Aircraft Role Bombs Rockets
4/2 SQ
6/3 SQ
5/3 SQ
4/2 SQ
4/1 SQ
Focke Wulf FW 189 Uhu Recon 2
Focke Wulf FW 190-A8 Dive Bomber 1 Skip Bomber
Henschel Hs 123 Dive Bomber 4
Henschel Hs 129 Ground Attack 2
Junkers Ju 87 Stuka Dive Bomber 1 2
Junkers Ju 88 Bomber 8
Me Bf 109 G Fighter Bomber 2
Me Bf 110 Fighter Bomber 4
Me 262 Fighter Bomber 2
Caproni Ca 314 Bomber 3
Fiat CR 42 Fighter 2
MC 200 Fighter 2
La-5 FN Fighter 3
Petlyakov Pe-2 Bomber 2 4
Petlyakov Pe-2 Dive Bomber 1 2
Polikarpov Po-2 Ground attack 2
Polikarpov I-153 Fighter 2
Polikarpov I-16 Mosca Fighter 2 Used in SCW and WW2.
Ilyushin IL-2 Ground Attack 4
Ilyushi IL-2m3 Ground Attack 6
Tupolev SB 2 Bomber 6 Light payload. Used in SCW and WW2.
Tupolev SB 2 Bomber 1 Heavy payload. Used in SCW and WW2.
Sukhoi Su-2 Bomber 4
Tupolev Tu-2 Bomber 5 Although a bomber, it could be used as a dive bomber and was equipped to strafe. Can replace all heavies with 10 mediums
Tupolev Tu-2 Dive Bomber 5 Although a bomber, it could be used as a dive bomber and was equipped to strafe. Can replace all heavies with 10 mediums
Typhoon “Bombphoon” Dive Bomber 2
Typhoon “Rockphoon” Rocket 4 pairs

Aircraft in Action

Here are a few battle reports where I’ve used the Aircraft special rule. There might be more in the archive.

Push to the City – A Crossfire Battle Report
SU-152s Up Close and Personal – A Crossfire Battle Report 1
SU-152s Up Close and Personal – A Crossfire Battle Report 2
SU-152s Up Close and Personal – A Crossfire Battle Report 4

SU152-474 German stuka arrives
SU152-474 German stuka arrives
SU152-477 Bombs drop wide of Soviets
SU152-477 Bombs drop wide of Soviets
SU152-478 Stuka comes back
SU152-478 Stuka comes back

KB1R Paper Factory – A Crossfire Battle Report from Krasny Bor
KB4R The Swamp – A Crossfire Battle Report

2 thoughts on “Aircraft and Air Superiority in Crossfire”

  1. Hi Steven,

    Thanks for writing these up, I have just tried out your a/c rules for Crossfire. They make a great addition to the game. Wasn’t sure how long you intended them to stay over the table, so I used Arty’s Spearhead rule where essentially they turn up, do one attack and leave. I thought that worked quite well. Please read my report and feel free to leave any comments.



  2. Glad you found it useful. In my rules the plane hangs around. Depending on which option you choose they either (i) stay around until the either side rolls a 6+ in the air support phase; at that point any plane over the table (of either side) is driven off by fighters. (ii) the plane is available for a number of initiatives (the difference between the air superiority rolls). And thanks for the link to the AAR.


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