Some musing on Company Sized Group Moves for Crossfire. This post started with ideas shared by Nikolas Lloyd published in the Crossfire-WWII discussion forum. Since Company Group Moves come up every now and again, I have subsequently added to the post.
Lloyd’s BIG group moves
Nikolas Lloyd shared his idea for a “BIG Group Move” on the Crossfire discussion forum:
I’m sure Russian command was up to the job of ordering a lot of men forwards at once. I allow BIG group moves, using an extension of the command system. Just as a PC can order all his subordinate squads forward if he can see them, so a CC can order all the platoons forward, if he can see all his PCs. You could go up to Battalion if you wished. However, this is no good unless you also do the same thing for reactive fire. This would mean that a Battalion human wave charging a platoon would probably suffer a fair few casualties, but then wipe out the platoon. A Battalion human-wave charging a Battalion, though, would be mincemeat in seconds. (Nikolas Lloyd, Crossfire-WWII discussion forum, 14 June 2002)
Really only applies before radios were common.
Lloyd also made some general observations on mutually supporting companies that might be relevant:
What I did play, was that troops from one unit could not move, or fire mortars (but could shoot) in support of another unit, unless a more senior officer in command of that potentially-supporting unit could see the need. This, for one thing, gives more senior commanders something to do, but it also stops a rather gamesy thing that CF gamers might otherwise abuse.
Example: a unit manages to suppress an enemy unit, but has no clear safe route to close combat that unit. Another platoon, the other side of the board, far out of sight and part of a different company, and not being needed, then pulls back, runs across the table, craftily picks a safe route to the suppressed unit, kills it in close combat, and then goes back to its starting position.
How the blinking flip did that other platoon know it was needed? If this play tactic were used against a newbie, he might be fairly understood to doubt the rules.
If the company commander of that adventurous platoon were in a position to see his platoon and the suppressed enemy, THEN it could be understood. THEN people might bring their CCs forward where they could see more. If a senior officer is moved to a position where he can see the need, then he may not order the move in the same initiative, a bit like FOOs not being allowed to call in fire after they have moved. (Nikolas Lloyd, Crossfire-WWII discussion forum, 30 April 2002)
Reda’s Battalion Group Move off Landing Group
Reda suggested something similar in one of his posts on wargaming the Pacific. This to simulate US landings against Japanese but I thought it worth mentioning as another variant of the company group move:
We played a sort of ‘Company Group Move’. We had 2 companies landing and the landing itself was played differently. The defender was hidden except on places where good RBF (limited) has taken place before the game but after the placement of the landing crafts and still after the preplanned bombardment.
So All squads go out simultaneously out the landing craft. The defender can react as in the normal game but if a suppress or kill occurs the initiative does not shift to the opponent. Still the landing player will have to move all the remaining squads from his LCVP.
Anyway the only thing the landing player can do is put a squad before the door of the landing craft or besides or in front of a preceding squad of the same barge. OK the squads just spread out. Once all the landing takes place, the initiatives may shift if the defender has realised a suppress or kill. (Reda, Crossfire-WWII discussion forum, 10 November 2003)
Reda continued with …
More details about our landing rules. First of all, we do NOT ignore NoFire during this ‘landing phase’. But you could. But you know as well as me the effect of HMG on targets in open ground…Normally among all the defending weapons and squads, one can manage to take the initiative. Anyway if no one scores a hit…that’s life and dice games… However the success of a good playable landing scenario lies in 2 things : proportionate forces and a nice objective which is beyond the beach itself. Otherwise you will get either a butchery or a boring scenario of cleaning a beachhead. (Reda, Crossfire-WWII discussion forum, 10 November 2003)
I like Reda’s caution on scenario design. Allowing big company or battalion group moves could lead to dull games. Games should not be dull.
Tim’s Company Group Move
In 2004 Tim Marshall proposed a comprehensive Company Group Move rule. This house rule leverages the normal CF group move rule.
Company & Battalion Moves
A company or battalion move allows ALL squads which are part of the parent unit and which qualify to perform one movement action. All move actions are attempted and each has the potential to fail via reactive fire. However, if any move action which is part of a company/battalion move fails, initiative does not switch until ALL qualifying units attempt their move.
To perform a company or battalion move, the phasing player announces the company or battalion to which it applies.
Immediately, all NO FIRE status markers are removed from ALL non-phasing squads.
To qualify for a company move:
- A squad must begin within LOS of its PC (even for German type Command Control); and
- The PC must begin within LOS of its CC
To qualify for a battalion move, the conditions for a company move above apply, plus:
- The CC must begin within LOS of its BC
Once a battalion or company move is announced, ALL QUALIFYING STANDS MUST PERFORM THE MOVE ACTION, THERE IS NO OPTION NOT TO DO SO. The move actions should be performed by platoon and by company, to better keep track of who has moved and not moved.
Minimum Move: The move action performed by each stand must either take the stand out of the current feature it occupies or bring the stand into a close combat situation. Stands which begin the company/battalion move outside of any feature will have to move a minimum of a stand’s distance.
The move action can be any distance, and any restrictions on normal Crossfire Command Control are ignored for a company or battalion move. As long as the initial qualifying conditions above are met, destinations for squads, PCs, CCs can be anywhere, even if the destination takes the
stand out of Command Control of its appropriate PC/CC. Note that for subsequent moves, however, normal Crossfire Command Control or the above conditions (if another company/battalion move is being performed) must apply for movement. Again, remember there is no option not to move for stands which qualify when a company or battalion move is announced.
Reactive fire, although reset at the beginning of a company/battalion move, is conducted normally and NO FIRE results still apply during the company/battalion move. Any suppress/kill results will not halt the company/battalion move; all qualifying stands must first attempt their move action. However as long as at least one suppress/kill result has been obtained by reactive fire, initiative switches.
Close Combat: if, after the company/battalion move there are some close combat situations and initiative has not been changed, ALL CLOSE COMBATS RESULTING FROM THE COMPANY/BATTALION MOVE MUST BE RESOLVED. If close combat situations have occurred as the result of the company/battalion move, but initiative has been lost, stands are backed away from contact as per Crossfire rules.
I would also add a movement restriction that participating squads may not move into close combat with any non-phasing squad revealed by reactive fire during the company/battalion move. (Tim Marshall, Crossfire-WWII discussion forum, 14 August 2004)
And a couple of days later …
The intent, which I did not make clear, was that the company/battalion move would be executed in individual squad or platoon group moves, with
normal reactive fire applying.
So, reset reactive fire (this represents the fact that the move is one big simultaneous thing, not the normal breakdown by squad/platoon in normal Crossfire not necessarily sequenced as it plays on the table), then, in a company move, for example,
Platoon 1, squad 1 moves separately, receives reactive fire, is suppressed
Platoon 1, remaining squads and PC a bit further away from squad 1, perform group move, receive reactive fire and a squad is pinned.
Platoon 2, squad 1 does not move (is not in LOS of its PC)
Platoon 2, squad 2 moves individually, receives reactive fire, no effect
Platoon 2, squad 3 & PC group move, no reactive fire as there are no non-phasing squads in LOS of their move
Platoon 3 is lumped together behind platoon 1 and 2 as a reserve and do a group move forward, receiving no reactive fire as no non-phasiong squads in LOS
Company commander moves forward and receives reactive fire, pinning him.
Initiative then passes as out of all this series of reactive fire and moves, there was a suppression (platoon 1, squad 1).
The reactive fire was conducted normally right from the get go. Say if there was only one non-phasing MG stand in view of this company move and
it whacked first at platoon 1 squad 1, suppressed it, then when firing at the remainder of platoon 1’s group move, it pinned and then finally got no hits against the squads moving in that action, then no reactive fire would be forthcoming against the others. (Tim Marshall, Crossfire-WWII discussion forum, 16 August 2004)
And he elaborated a bit further…
Sometimes a company commander may wish to line up his guys and off they go. Against positions that can see the whole or parts of the force making the move, woe betide the CC. My experience was with tanks, and very, very, very often, my squadron (company) would form up in dead ground in extended line and charge an objective, with our infantry in tow, a fire base of another squadron directly blasting the objective with artillery raining down and occasionally, air strikes thrown in for good measure. This would also happen sometimes at regimental (read battalion) level. It did not happen as frequently as platoon level and individual movement, but one of the things missing in CF, to me, is a coordinated company or even higher level move. (Tim Marshall, Crossfire-WWII discussion forum, 17 August 2004)
Why not use a Company Group Move
Personally I’m philosophically opposed to BIG group moves. Whether or not they are being used to simulate the Banzai charge. BAs part of the thread started by Tim, I responded to the question, “if a platoon can make a coordinated move, why not a larger unit too?” with:
Because the bigger the group, the harder it is to coordinate. I would have thought mass movements would have been workable outside small arms range. However, Crossfire’s platoon group moves will simulate this fine already – just do them one at a time, but as nobody shoot then all succeed.
Once within small arms range it all got a bit messier. From my reading I understand WW2 infantry Platoon commanders – of any nationality – spent most of their time when attacking getting the guys up and moving forward. This was particularly difficult in open areas; once under fire the men would immediately hit the dirt (Ground hug, pin, or suppress). A company has three times the problems ’cause there are three times the number of chaps to get moving. This means it is likely that one of the platoons will go first. Which takes us back to Crossfire’s platoon group move with a company mass move being three separate move actions which happen to be in parallel.
Your own experiences with mass moves involved strong support from other tanks, artillery and air strikes. Surely any mass attack across open ground would need some such heavy support to succeed (or smoke). Without this attacks were mowed down. The same would happen in Crossfire. Seems to me that with adequate support, Crossfire’s Platoon group moves will get the company/battalion forward without any rule changes. (Steven Thomas, Crossfire-WWII discussion forum, 17 August 2004)