Musing on being stationary in Crossfire

Crossfire and Hit The Dirt have several mechanisms for being stationary. I thought I’d list them to see if I get any insight for my revised anti-tank rules

Definition of stationary

Lets start with a definition. Google tells me that stationary is defined as “not moving or not intended to be moved”. No real surprise there. But it does hint, as I go searching in the rule book, that just looking for the word “stationary” won’t be sufficient.

CF on being stationary

Crossfire has a few rules that involve troops being stationary. I’ve also thrown in one special rule from Hit The Dirt.

Squad status

CF 1.0 Prepare to Play (p.1) lists several statuses for a Squad: Pinned, Suppressed, Ground-Hugging, NO FIRE. Pinned, Suppressed and Ground-Hugging stands cannot move. Seems stationary to me.

Pinned: “A Pinned Squad may not move until it is Rallied but it may fire (CF 6.5.1 Hits and Pins, p. 11).

Suppressed: “A Suppressed Squad may not move or fire until Rallied” (CF 6.5.2 Suppressions, p. 13).

Ground Hugging: Ground Hugging “is permitted only by stationary Squads in Open Ground and in / on any terrain Feature that does not offer Protective Cover from all forms of Fire (CF 4.1.2 Ground Hugging, p. 4)

WW2 Soviet infantry units in prone position at the outskirts of Stalingrad, 1942
WW2 Soviet infantry units in prone position at the outskirts of Stalingrad, 1942


Hidden Squads are stationary by definition as they are revealed when they move (CF 5.3 Hidden Placement, p. 7). Hidden stands benefit from Ambush Fire (CF 6.10, p. 12) and Surprise Encounters (CF 8.5, p. 16)

WW2 Concealed German MG 34 machine gun crew
WW2 Concealed German MG 34 machine gun crew


Minefields encourage squads wandering into them to become stationary:

“Any Squads that remain stationary in Minefields are not attacked, but if they attempt to leave the minefield they are attacked” (CF 10.1 Minefields, p. 16)

And Engineers have to be stationary to remove minefields. Being Pinned doesn’t interfere, but being Suppressed or shooting does.

“An Engineer Squad may remove a Minefield section when … The Engineer is adjacent to, or inside, a Minefield, and the Engineer is Stationary, Unsuppressed and does not fire for one entire Phasing Initiative” (CF 10.1 Minefields, p. 17)

WW2 NAM 102077 Two sappers sweeping for mines in the aftermath of the 8th Army's attack on Rommel's forces in Egypt, 1942
WW2 NAM 102077 Two sappers sweeping for mines in the aftermath of the 8th Army’s attack on Rommel’s forces in Egypt, 1942

Indirect Fire

CF 7.0 Indirect Fire which says “an FO may control fire only if he remains stationary the entire Initiative” (p. 13). By the way, “An FO may not control fire if he is Suppressed” (p. 13)

WW2 From a mountain perch, an Artillery Forward Observer of the US 34th Division scanning the Liri Valley just south of Cassino
WW2 From a mountain perch, an Artillery Forward Observer of the US 34th Division scanning the Liri Valley just south of Cassino

HTD Special Rule 7 – Indirect Fire on Vehicles

According to Crossfire, Indirect Fire “may not be used as Reactive Fire, or against vehicles.” (CF 7.0, p. 13). But Hit The Dirt over turns this. Special Rule 7 – Indirect Fire on Vehicles (p. iv) allows weapons 80mm or larger to shoot indirect fire at vehicles that have been stationary for two initiatives. Indirect fire at vehicles suffers a -1d6 modifier. At armoured vehicles, indirect fire suffers the -1d6 modifier and also requires a 6 to hit. Unusually for CF, this fire can cause a PIN, SUPPRESS, or KILL on the vehicle, just like infantry shooting.

Conclusions on being Stationary

Okay, what do I make of that? I see some themes in the above:

Being stationary provides protection e.g. when hidden, when ground hugging, and when avoiding mines blowing off your feet.

But being stationary makes a stand more vulnerable e.g. stationary vehicles becoming a target for indirect fire. A more complicated example is Suppression; both Pinned and Suppressed Squads are stationary, but a Suppressed Squad is more vulnerable because it cannot Ground Hug.

Being stationary enables actions that take longer e.g. calling in indirect fire and when clearing mines.

Being stationary, while hidden, enables some nasty attacks e.g. Ambush fire and Surprise Encounters.

Going stationary is instant e.g. ground hugging. But benefiting from being stationy takes time e.g. indirect fire and removing minefields.

So have I got the insight I was looking for? Unfortunately, no, not yet. But there is something there. Perhaps my subconscious will pull it together for me.

6 thoughts on “Musing on being stationary in Crossfire”

  1. This was a thing in Advanced Squad Leader, so you might get some inspiration from those rules. Stationary AFVs are easier targets to hit, but also benefit from more accurate fire themselves. Moving infantry in the open have a very bad time when fired on.
    In principle, a unit is stationary if it has had the chance to move and didn’t (whether that’s this turn, this initiative, including the previous initiative, or even including a commitment not to move for a period of time into the future). For example, if an AFV wanted the benefit of firing “at the halt”, it might be required not to have moved in the current initiative, and also place a “stationary” marker to remind the owner not to move it until the initiative ends (even after a successful shot).

    • That was my direction of travel. Stationary tanks are easier to hit but also get a to hit bonus. Mind you, shooting on the move wasn’t really a WW2 thing.

      • The British thought it was, at least in the desert. SOP for the most part, they even ran some “experiments” which they claimed to show 30% to-hit at 30mph!

  2. Shooting on the move wasn’t, even after the US started fitting their rudimentary gyros. That said, according to ‘Brazen Chariots,’ good crews were very proficient at holding movement very briefly and moving off rapidly after each shot. This may apply mostly to desert warfare, but the same crews adapted their tactics for NW Europe.

  3. I neglected to mention Crossfire gun movement rule. Limber, move, unlimber. Guns can only shoot when unlimbered, which means when stationary.

  4. When playing an attack/defence scenario, often solo playing, the defender army remains stationary with minor adjustments to protect the flank. The FO is always deployed being in LOS. Today I have played a small game and a Hmg and a F0, on a hill, annihilated two enemy platoons.


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