Jamie popped over for a game, and when it is just Jamie and me we try out something more experimental. Jamie wanted to play Crossfire and I wanted to try out my Crossfire Terrain Cards and some draft armour rules. I also wanted to get my 2 Division New Zealanders on table – “Kiwis” in New Zealand slang – and get the German paratroopers (Fallschirmjäger) out again. This was also the first outing for my Kiwi Armour.
Summary: Great little game. Crossfire Terrain Cards worked well, and happy with the test drive of my armour mods.
This was a pick up game. I had some orders of battle prepared, the map came from Crossfire Terrain Cards, and we used typical special rules and victory conditions.
This was a small game so we used a 4′ table. Jamie drew four Crossfire Terrain Cards and arranged them in a 2×2 grid. That gave us our terrain.
Jamie then diced for his entry side. We would let him deploy in a band that was a quarter of the table depth (1 foot). I would deploy opposite in half the table (2 feet).
We got the table to look pretty close to that.
We went for two Terrain objectives. Jamie selected the first terrain objective – a terrain feature in the German deployment zone. Not surprisingly he chose something close to the Kiwi zone. I chose the second terrain objective – a house towards the rear. These selections meant both objectives were in the right flank of the German deployment zone, in and around the village. After Jamie’s selection I thought this was the better option compared to placing an objective in the relatively open left flank.
In hindsight we probably should also have had Casualty objectives. At least for the attacker.
We agreed to use two HTD special rules:
- HTD Special Rule 4: The Moving Clock is in use. The Scenario begins at 1200 hours and ends 1800 hours. The clock advances 30 minutes on 5+ at the end of each defender initiative.
- HTD Special Rule 5: Bogging down is in use. Tanks bog down in woods, rough ground, rock fields, boulder fields, streams, hedges, walls and anti-tank obstacles (ditches, barricades) on 4- on 1d6. They unbog on 5+, becoming permanently mired on 1.
Experimental Armour Rules
We tried an update to the Gun versus Arm Matrix in Crossfire. Basically armour use the same shooting rules as infantry. But I gave them (a lot) more dice because I think tanks should be more potent than in standard Crossfire.
Orders of Battle
Jamie wanted to be the attacker hence was the New Zealanders. I had given the attackers a full company plus generous indirect fire support and three tanks. This was also the first outing for my Kiwi Armour. The tanks were hull number 16, 17, and 18 from HQ Troop, A Squadron of 20 Armoured Regiment, 2 (NZ) Division. So three different types of Sherman – howitzer armed (105mm), Firefly tank killer, and normal. This was both historical and gave me a chance to test out different types tanks in my draft rules.
[Oops, don’t tell anybody, but I failed my Tank geek roll. The Sherman on the right is Hull 15, another Sherman IB. It should have been Hull 18, a Sherman III.]
The full Kiwi order of battle is below.
- 1 x CC (+2)
- 1 x HMG
- 3 x Rifle Platoon: PC(+1); 3 x Rifle Squads; 1 x Piat (AT 7d6/2d6)
- 1 x 2″ Mortar (12 FM)
- 1 x FO for off-table 3″ Mortar (12 FM)
- 1 x FO for off-table 25 Pounder (12 FM)
- 1 x Hull 16, Sherman IB with 105mm Howitzer (ARM 1d6; AT 4d6; AP 6d6)
- 1 x Hull 17, Sherman “Firefly” VC with 17 Pdr (ARM 1d6; AT 6d6; AP 4d6)
- 1 x Hull 18, Sherman III with 75mm (ARM 1d6; AT 5d6; AP 5d6)
- Morale: Veteran
- Command & Control: Okay / British
- Deploys: Visible
- Points: 126.5
- Fighting stands: 14 including 3 vehicles
In the box the Kiwis looked like:
I took the Fallschirmjäger. A weak company (two platoons) but some anti-tank ability and a StuG. They were seriously outnumbered but compensated by being hidden.
- 1 x CC (+2)
- 1 x HMG
- 1 x Rifle Platoon: PC(+2); 3 x Rifle Squads; 1 x Early Panzerfaust (AT 7d6/2d6)
- 1 x Rifle Platoon: PC(+1); 3 x Rifle Squads; 1 x Early Panzerfaust (AT 7d6/2d6)
- 1 x FO for off-table 81mm Mortar (12 FM)
- 1 x FO for off-table 120mm Mortar (12 FM)
- 1 x StuG III F-G (ARM 1d6; AT 5d6; AP 5d6)
- 1 x 7.5cm PaK 40 Aufgw 39H(F) ATG with optional tow (AT 6d6; AP 3d6)
- Morale: Veteran
- Command & Control: Good / German
- Deploys: Hidden
- Points: 120
- Fighting stands: 10 including 1 vehicle
And in the box:
If you don’t have New Zealanders, then any British will do. In fact any US or Soviet will do. If you don’t have Fallschirmjäger then substitute regular Germans.
Also all these troops are classed as Veteran. you can play the same game with Regular morale. on both sides, and not change the number of troops.
Plans and Deployment
Jamie planned to use his armour and two platoons to attack the village. The third platoon was going to attempt a flank attack.
Jamie’s deployment hid his plan as he had everybody opposite the village.
Of course, Jamie couldn’t see my deployment as I was hidden. If you peer closely you can see where I’d planned to be. Basically both platoons in the village with one facing the objective in the field and the other shield the objective in the village. Both the StuG and Pak40 on the flank.
Jamie moved his Sherman III and I knocked it out with my Pak40. A great start for the Germans.
After that false start, Jamie kicked off for real. The 1st Platoon and Firefly headed towards the German right flank, while 3rd Platoon headed towards the left.
3rd Platoon initially advanced down the centre.
But the appearance of my StuG III persuaded Jamie there wasn’t much joy to be expected from this route.
Attention flipped back to the right, and Jamie kept 1st Platoon going to the flank as 2nd Platoon came up behind them. The Firefly went with 1st Platoon.
The Kiwis dropped smoke to shield 1st Platoon’s route to the first objective.
On the other flank, Jamie also used smoke to facilitate withdrawing his 3rd Platoon and allow them to head to the (German) left.
The Kiwi 3rd Platoon went wide and came down the left flank. I let his squads through and then revealed my only squad on that side of the village to take a shot at his PC. Suppress! Good enough.
The StuG turned to face and fired into the Kiwi 3rd Platoon. Suppress.
Unable too respond to the StuG, the Kiwi 3rd Platoon pulled back behind the field.
Having revealed my squad facing the left hand flank, I was now vulnerable to shooting by the Kiwi 2nd Platoon in front of the village.
Suppress and then kill.
My forward observers (FO) were now exposed, and I withdrew the one that was mobile. The other was PINNED and I didn’t want to risk losing initiative.
There was nothing I could do to stop the Kiwis taking the first objective. But I took the opportunity to reveal my 1st Platoon and take a shot. PIN. Sigh.
My big club was the StuG and I figured I had to use it more aggressively, so I rolled it forward. As soon as it was visible the PIAT guy in the Kiwi 2nd Platoon had a go. The experimental rules we were playing meant Jamie scored a PIN. Now PIN isn’t terrible. But it is so annoying. I’d have to rally the StuG to be able to line of sight on the Kiwi infantry.
A firefight started in front of the village. The Fallschirmjäger 1st Platoon against the Kiwi 1st Platoon supported by artillery and the Sherman Firefly. Hmm. Odds weren’t in my favour. SUPPRESS.
Nearby the Kiwi 2nd Platoon tried to reach the village. A squad advanced and I revealed the remainder of my 2nd Platoon to stop it (the other squad in 2nd Platoon had already been destroyed).
I got my StuG working again and brought it to bear on the Kiwi 2nd Platoon. SUPPRESS.
But that annoying PIAT guy managed to PIN the StuG again.
I needed to bring more to bear and got my mortars firing at the Kiwi 2nd Platoon.
The firefight at the village continued. I had a bad feeling about it. Allied firepower was going to tip the scales.
Boom! The 105mm of the Sherman IB opened up. KILL.
And another KILL.
And then a SUPPRESS.
Back on the left flank, the Kiwi 3rd Platoon had had enough of the StuG. So their PIAT guy went StuG hunting. 7d6 into the back of the assault gun and BOOM!
The rest of 3rd Platoon headed straight for the village. But my hidden squad from 2nd Platoon stopped the advance guard.
That SUPPRESS and a NO FIRE gave my company commander and opportunity to counter attack. He rallied some cooks and clerks and took the battle to the Kiwis.
The company commander destroyed the exposed Kiwi squad. German victory.
The Fallschirmjäger company commander settled in next to the Pak40, just in time to receive a charge from the Kiwi 3rd Platoon. The Kiwis lost a squad and PC.
The Kiwi company commander got all bolshy and charged as well. But lost.
My exposed FO was still calling in fire on the Kiwi 2nd Platoon.
On the right the Sherman IB kept firing. Another KILL.
And yet another.
That cleared the way for the Kiwi 1st Platoon to enter the village.
Jamie then moved his armour forward. The IB moved to aim down the alley way.
The Sherman Firefly drove into the middle of the village.
I turned my Pak40 toward the threat and got SUPPRESSED.
Then the Kiwi 1st Platoon did a home run on the final objective.
Observations and Conclusions
It was a great game. Very intense. As is common with Crossfire, neither of us felt confident of victory.
It was great to get the Fallschirmjäger and Kiwis back on table. I haven’t really used my Fallschirmjäger as I’ve been waiting for the Italian Campaign. Well, now is the time. I did use my Kiwis for Dung Farm, but they were in disguise as Scots and Irish. But in this game they were being used as New Zealanders. Yay! A milestone completed.
Jamie did a very good job as the attacker. His main force went for the village but he had a platoon on the flank probing for weakness. The flanking platoon almost got me but Jamie got a bit rash and charged to close combat. But in the meantime I’d managed to get my +2 Company Commander in the way of the flank attack, and he managed to deal with the Kiwis. That left the main attack into the village. The combination of indirect fire, tanks and infantry was unstoppable. Good play.
The Crossfire Terrain Cards system produced a pretty good table which posed interesting tactical challenges. We’ll try the system again.
I might change the deployment zones. As the defender I really wanted to deploy some troops in the line of woods in no-mans land. But we’d agreed to leave it empty. Perhaps next time I’ll give the defender the option to deploy right up to the attacker’s deployment zone. That will give them the option to have outposts.
We should have used Casualty objectives. Given the Kiwis had 14 fighting stands, we might have given them a break limit of 7 fighting stands (50%); lose 7 and they lose the game. This would slightly tip the odds towards the Fallschirmjäger, and they probably need that. I think the defenders were okay with no limit. For lower morale attacker I would have selected a lower number (e.g. 5 break limit).
Jamie thought the defenders needed another tank. Maybe. Or perhaps just a second anti-tank gun.
We liked our armour experiment. The tanks were potent but not super troops. We particularly liked the PIAT from the Kiwi 3rd Platoon sneaking up behind the StuG and blowing it up, without having to go into close combat. It had a good feel to it. We’ll give this experiment a few more test runs.