Converting from I Ain’t Been Shot Mum (IABSM) to Crossfire

I Ain’t Been Shot Mum (IABSM) by Richard Clarke and Nick Skinner, like Crossfire, is a company level set of rules for WW2. I’m not interested in moving from Crossfire but the Two Fat Lardies, the publisher of IABSM, put out some nicely presented scenarios and campaign supplements that I’d like to use. One such supplement is B’Maso! The winds of change wars in Africa and I’m keen to try out some of the ideas. You’ll need those books to make sense of this.

I thought I’d look at how to convert these and by implication how to map IABSM onto Crossfire. Obviously I can ignore all the movement, combat, and initiative rules of IABSM and just use the Crossfire ones instead. But there are a few things that need translation. I also mention Troops, Weapons & Tactics (TW&T) a few times.

1.1 The Cards

The IABSM cards dictate the order of events. Most are either unnecessary in Crossfire or won’t work in Crossfire because of its approach to initiative. So just forget about them. These include:

Platoon Cards, Support Weapons Cards, AFV Cards, Anti-tank Gun Cards, Sniper, Artillery Support, FO, Blitzkrieg/Armoured Bonus Move, Rapid Deployment, Reconnaissance Force, Skirl of the Pipes, Tank Killer Bonus, AT Bonus Fire, Machine Gun Bonus Fire, Mortar Bonus Fire, Rally

Some cards need explanation and active conversion.

Tea Break / Sundowner

Use the Turns variation of the Moving Clock to determine when reinforcements arrive. Basically the Moving Clock advances one Turn on 5+ at the end of each initiative of the Defender.


Use the Turns variation of the Moving Clock. Basically the clock advances one Turn on 5+ at the end of each initiative of the Defender, and, in this example, the reinforcements arrive on Turn 5.

Big Men Cards

See 3.2 Big Men

Blinds Move

See Crossfire: Hidden Movement (“Ghosts”)


See Crossfire: Hidden Movement (“Ghosts”) specifically the bit on revealed stands wanting to sneak or sneaking stands wanting to hide.

Air Support / Death from Above

See Crossfire: Aircraft Special Rules


This sounds like a scenario specific rule. But if I used it in Crossfire I’d say that susceptible troops that enter a lootable terrain feature (e.g. European house) outside line of sight of enemy are immediately pinned. They rally in the normal way.

Hesitant Troops

I’m not sure we need this in Crossfire. It could be handled by just giving the troops a lower quality.

Hesitant Commander

In Crossfire I’d just give the overall commander lower modifiers for close combat and/or rallying (down to 0/0).

Dynamic Commander

In Crossfire I’d just give the overall commander higher modifiers for close combat and/or rallying (up to +2/+2).

Heroic Commander

You’ve a couple of options in Crossfire:

  • Give the overall commander higher modifiers for close combat and/or rallying (up to +2/+2).
  • If you have an umpire then just allow the player a Heroic Action once per game. The umpire would moderate the effects just like IABSM.

Petrol Shortage/Vehicle Breakdown

Use the Bogging Down rule of Hit the Dirt to simulate these.

A break down example could be: AFVs will break down on 3- on one die the first time they attempt to move in an initiative. A repair action occur on a 5+; the vehicle is permanently immobilised on a 1 on the repair roll. Breaking down and failing a repair both lose the initiative.

Ammunition Shortage

If a stand which is short of ammunition throws a triple on any to hit roll it has run out of bullets. Regardless of its original type it now counts as a rifle stand with only 2d6 shooting and with a -2 in close combat like heavy weapons.

Poor, Dreadful, or Abysmal Fire Discipline

Choices are:

  • platoon cannot do a crossfire (this is my inclination)
  • platoon cannot do a fire group
  • reduce the number of dice they shoot with – seems a bit harsh.

Uhraaaahhh!/Banzaaaaaaai!/Macho Macho Man

This is just the Russian / Japanese reckless charge in Crossfire.

2. Blinds

See Crossfire: Hidden Movement (“Ghosts”)

3.1.2. The ‘+’ Designation (for Initiative Dice)

In IABSM some units have a bonus to their initiative dice due to higher than normal firepower. This might be because of marksmanship or just better weapons. The closest thing to this In Crossfire are the additional HMG stands awarded to Germans for their good quality and generously issued light machine guns.

3.2 Big Men

All officers are on-table in IABSM but some – the “Big Men” are singled out as inspirational. They coordinate movement, fire and spotting, and reduce the effect of wounds on a unit. The size of force and national characteristics determines the number of Big Men. In IABSM itself Big Men are described as a “Keen Officer” through to a NCO who is “Satan Personified”. B’Maso has a slightly more generic classification scheme (Poor through Excellent).

In Crossfire I’d just give the Big Men higher modifiers for close combat and/or rallying (up to +2/+2). By implication those commanders who aren’t Big Men should be 0/0. Note: A “poor” Big Man is still more capable than an officer that doesn’t count as a Big Man.

B’Maso Classification IABSM Classification IABSM Modifier TW&T Grade Suggested Crossfire Modifiers
Non-Big Man officers and NCOs 0/0
Poor Keen Officer 1D4-2, 1D4-1, 1D4, DAv-1 I or II +1/0 or 0/+1
Average Professional Officer
Scary NCO
1DAv, 1D4+1, 1D6 I, II, or III +1/+1 or +2/0 or 0/+2
Good Hollywood Officer
Very Scary NCO
1D6, 1DAv+1, 1D6+1 II or III +2/+1 or +1/+2
Excellent Satan personified (NCO) 1DAv+1, 1DAv+2, 1D6+1 1D6+2 II, III, or IV +2/+2

If you want to increase the effect of Big Men even more you could also restrict group moves and Crossfires. Big Men could lead these but other commanders could not.

5.2.5. Sewer Movement

See Crossfire: Sewers

6.1.1. Section Armament

Most infantry sections (i.e. squads) in IABSM comprise one light machine gun and a number of rifles however IABSM distinguishes those sections with:

  • no LMG (shoot worse)
  • an extra LMG (shoot better)
  • a preponderance of SMGs (shoot better when firing at short range)
  • assault rifles (shoot better when firing at short and medium range)

The basic squad in Crossfire has rifles with an optional light machine gun. Crossfire treats SMG squads differently (shoot better at short range but worse at longer ranges).

15. Morale

The Crossfire quality ratings of Veteran, Regular, and Green seem consistent with TW&T although you need to group together Good and Elite troops as Veteran. Crossfire ratings can be derived from IABSM stats. I’ve included examples from the Eastern Front , War in South West Africa, and Portuguese Colonial War in the chart below. The two score columns are my way of calculating a single number from the IABSM Rating and IABSM Casualties.

Troops / Dice IABSM Rating IABSM Casualties TW&T Crossfire
0 1 2 3 4 Score Near Miss Wound Dead Score
German Motorcycle Squad 1,2 3 4 5,6 7,8 2.125 Veteran
South African 61 Mechanised Battalion 1,2 3,4 5,6 7,8 9,10 2.0 1,2,3 4,5 6 1.33 Elite Veteran
Portuguese Para-quedista sections 1,2 3 4,5 6,7,8 2.0 1,2,3 4,5 6 1.33 Good Veteran
South African 32 Battalion 1,2 3 4 5,6 7 1.86 1,2,3 4,5 6 1.33 Elite Veteran
South African Koevoet 1,2,3 4 5,6,7 8,9 10 1.7 1,2 3,4,5 6 1.16 Good Veteran
Good German Rifle Squad 1,2,3 4 5 6,7 8 1.625 Veteran
German Pioneers 1,2,3,4 5 6,7 8,9 10 1.5 Veteran
Russian SMG Squad 1,2 3,4 5,6 7,8 1.5 Veteran
Russian Scout Squad 1,2 3,4 5,6 7,8 1.5 Veteran
Good African Insurgents 1,2,3 4,5 6,7 8,9,10 1.5 1,2 3,4,5 6 1.16 Good Veteran
SWAF Infantry Battalion 1,2,3,4 5 6,7 8,9,10 1.4 1,2 3,4,5 6 1.16 Good Veteran
Portuguese Drãgoes 1,2,3 4 5,6 1.33 1,2 3,4,5 6 1.16 Average Regular
Portuguese Caçadores 1,2,3 4,5 6 7,8 1.25 1,2 3,4,5 6 1.16 Average Regular
Average African Insurgent 1,2,3,4 5,6 7,8 9,10 1.2 1 2,3,4 5,6 0.83 Average Regular
Good Russian Squad (e.g. NKVD) 1,2,3,4 5 6,7,8,9 10 1.2 Regular
Poor African Insurgents 1,2,3,4,5 6,7 8 9,10 1.0 1 2,3,4 5,6 0.83 Poor Green
Portuguese Grupo Especiais 1,2,3,4 5,6 7,8 9 1.0 1 2,3,4 5,6 0.83 Green
Poor Russian Squad 1,2,3,4 5,6,7 8,9,10 0.9 Green


Clarke, R. and Skninner, N. (2005). I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum (IABSM): Rules for WW2 company level wargaming. Two Fat Lardies,

Clarke, R. (2008). B’Maso! The winds of change wars in Africa. Two Fat Lardies.

Vis Lardica: Wargaming Rules from the Two Fat Lardies

2 thoughts on “Converting from I Ain’t Been Shot Mum (IABSM) to Crossfire”

  1. Thanks for sharing your ideas. I like the optional “looting rule”. In fact I made a scenario where the buildings contain different challenges that will affect the capabilities of the entering units, and especially the officers such as “wine cellar”, “desserters”, “wounded child” and “enemy desserters”.

    Regarding 6.1.1 I use assault guns as rifles at long range, and SMGs in point blank fire and close combat.

    • Anders, I’ve seen that option for assault rifles, but I don’t use it. If both sides have (mostly) assault rifles or battle rifles then I think balance is retained by keeping the normal 3d6 for rifles squads.


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