Gun versus Arm Matrix in Crossfire

Some musing on Gun versus Arm Matrix for anti-tank fire in Crossfire. This idea was tossed around by a few people on the Crossfire-WWII discussion forum. I first noted if when Robert Tesfro mentioned it. Others have given variations. Essentially anti-tank fire is handled with the same rule as infantry fire. No PEN and ARM.

Rules as Steven would play them

Both anti-tank guns and armour are rated as Light, Medium or Heavy. The rating is dependent on the period, so, for example, a Pz III (both gun and armour) is medium from ’39-’42, and light from ’43-’45. A Matlida might have medium anti-tank gun and heavy armour in the early period, but then become light plus medium in the later period.

Use the Gun versus Armour Matrix to compare gun rating with target armour. This gives the number of firing dice, from 2d6 to 5d6.

Gun versus Armour Matrix Light Armour Medium Armour Heavy Armour
Light Anti-tank Gun 3d6 2d6 1d6
Medium Anti-tank Gun 4d6 3d6 2d6
Heavy Anti-tank Gun 5d6 4d6 3d6


  • +1d6 for a flank shot (Crossfire defines this as behind the rear line)
  • -1d6 for reactive fire (moving targets are harder to hit)
  • -1d6 for cover (but risk of bogging depending on scenario house rules)
  • 6s needed to hit if hull down

3 Hits = Killed. Tank is KO or the crew have bailed out. Either remove the model to reduce clutter or leave the smoking ruin on the table for aesthetic appeal.

2 Hits = Suppressed. Tank has minor damage and/or the crew is shaken. Vehicle cannot move, rotate turret (if any) or fire.

1 Hit = Pinned. Tank engine has stalled and/or the turret has jammed and/or the crew are rattled. Vehicle cannot move or rotate turret (if any) but can fire.

Robert Tesfro Variation (18 Sep 2002)

I have been tinkering on the back of my envelope (I only have one and it is getting a bit tatty) trying to work out a better AT firing system than rolling for ACC and PEN. What do you think of the idea of using 3 firing dice for AT guns, just like normal firing? It should work like this…. Rate the guns by year, so a 50mm in 1940 is heavy and by 1944 is light and do the same for tank armour. A Pz III is heavy in 1940, light in 1944 for example. ATRs will count as light, bazookas as medium and so on. Then a simple grid, with gun rate down one side and target armour across the top will give us the number of firing dice (hopefully you should get some idea).

Gun versus Armour Matrix Light Armour Med Armour Hvy Armour
Light Gun 3d6 2d6
Med Gun 4d6 3d6 2d6
Hvy Gun 5d6 4d6 3d6

Have dice deductions for cover as usual and usual hit scores.

3 Hits = a kill, tank is KO

2 Hits = suppressed, the crew is shaken and cannot move or fire until it sorts itself out. One failed morale roll and they bail out. Keep the tank on the table, just remove the crew.

1 Hit = either the engine stalls or the turret jams, dice for which and rally as usual, with no need to bail out.

Paul Ward (11 Nov 2011)

Personally I treat vehicles as infantry, they can do what they like until they fail an action. The same checks and balances apply as in a normal
infantry game and in 12 years of playing like this I have never had a vehicle dominate the game unfairly.

I know some like more granularity but I can’t be bothered with it.

Paul Ward (2 Mar 2021 – an update)

From Paul Ward’s Introduction to Crossfire 5: Indirect Fire and Tanks.

These are my tank rules:
Light tank
4 shooting dice

Medium tank
5 shooting dice
Attackers drop 2 dice

Heavy tank
6 shooting dice
Attackers drop 4 dice

Paul doesn’t have this as a matrix, because the tanks are rated not the guns and armour. But I thought I’d present it as one anyway to aid comparison to the other options.

Paul Ward’s Gun versus Armour Matrix Light Armour Medium Armour Heavy Armour
Light Anti-tank Gun 4d6 2d6 No chance
Medium Anti-tank Gun 5d6 3d6 1d6
Heavy Anti-tank Gun 6d6 4d6 2d6


  • Tanks shooting into the rear of another tank add +1 die
  • -1d6 for cover (but risk of bogging depending on scenario house rules)
  • 6s needed to hit if hull down

Paul doesn’t mention cover or hull down. I assume he plays the standard rules for these.

In the video Paul also mentions tanks have unlimited movement and shooting. Anti-tank Infantry use their normal shoot dice against tanks, regardless of the tank being shot at.

Note: A heavy tank would need to be firing into the rear of another heavy tank to be able to kill it outright. Seems a tad harsh to me. A Soviet assault gun (animal hunter) could kill a Tiger or Panther frontally.

Si Booknek Variation (12 Nov 2011)

Like Paul Ward I allow vehicles to do anything in the same manner as infantry, including maintaining LoS in order to move according to quality. I allow Germans and late war UK/US tanks to operate in pairs, whilst Russians (usually) and similar can only use platoons of three or more vehicles. On a CF table this makes them difficult to use effectively.

As for firing, I use a system which is on Steve’s Balagan site (IIRC) basically basically a matrix cross referencing gun against armour. Hits on 5s & 6s as for infantry fire, effects as for infantry. Medium gun vs medium armour = 3 dice. Medium gun vs heavy armour = 2d6. Plus a dice for a flank shot, minus for moving target, 6s needed to hit if hull down.

Against infantry vehicles fire as HMGs. Tanks have a 180 deg arc, SPGs 90 deg.

I think the basic matrix is also in the files section here too. I find it works really well, requires no reference to charts being very similar to the infantry system and allows tweaking for scenarios. I rate vehicles by period, ie a PzIII is medium from ’39-’42, light from ’43-’45.

Richard (Doctor Phalanx) Comments (12 Nov 2011)

I’ve used a version of this originally developed, I believe, by Mike Caudron. It’s essentially the same idea but not in matrix form. One difference compared to infantry fire is that it is easy to get down to one dice (e.g. medium gun against heavy armour in cover) as I found in a recent game. This can make a target invulnerable. This is not necessarily unhistorical. It obliges the weaker tank to seek a flank/rear shot.

Si Booknek again (12 Nov 2011)

I found the same which is why I either go to hits on 6s rather than a single die, or simply state 2d6 as the minimum. Actually, I’ve only used the 6 to hit for Hull Down, for which it seems to work well. Obviously not removing a die as well!

Although 2d6 may appear a bit strong for a pea-shooter against a Tiger, I rationalise it as a high volume of fire at comparatively short ranges, causing peripheral or superficial damage and perhaps giving a crew pause for thought. A veteran Tiger crew are likely to recover quickly, whilst the plucky recce car may escape in the meantime. On the other hand a novice crew may remain pinned for some time, again in my little world, not unreasonable.

As you say though, they’d have to get a flank or rear shot for a kill. I differentiate between flank and rear and have no issue with a light vehicle killing a heavy one. A kill doesn’t have to mean ‘catastrophic’ after all.

Steve Phenow’s comment (12 Nov 2011)

You K/O an AFV with different ways, and the die roll is a simple “Yes, you did” or “No you did not.”

Tanks breakdown for all sorts of reasons, the 37mm round may have just scratched the paint of that Tiger I, but the turret may have jammed, the engine stalled, hit the gunner’s optic block, etc. Anyway you look at it the tank is U/S for combat.

At Ghazlani on 26-27 Feb, 1991, the t-72s that faced the M2 Bradleys, couldn’t be harmed by 25mm rounds, yet so many of the chain gun rounds would saturate the target, that the t-72 external baggage was set on fire, optics destroyed, radio shot off, AAMG dismounted, turret jammed, main gun traverse jammed so that the tank was useless. The M2 would usually finish the job with a TOW.

2 thoughts on “Gun versus Arm Matrix in Crossfire”

  1. Would it be simplest to just give tanks a shooting and armour rating?
    So rate the guns from light to super heavy (as they do in bolt action – could directly port the classifications to save time) and then armour the same way as a negative modifier. Again can take from BA rules. Then set a minimum of 1 dice as a light AT weapon can always frustrate a tank it cant penetrate. So something like:
    Light 4d6
    Medium 5d6
    Heavy 6d6
    Super heavy 7d6

    Medium – 1
    Heavy – 2
    Super heavy -3

    Then there’s no need for a matrix or table.

    Then apply the flanking and cover mods you suggested, but always apply these modifers AFTER the armour modifer. This means that to destroy a heavy tank with a light gun you will need to flank. Realistic. But you can annoy them from the front.

    The actual values might need tweeking up or down in a playtest so as not to overwhelm infantry. If need more play room on armour can make light a +1dice and medium no modifier etc.


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