Jamie Wish and I had a play test of Crossfire Missions v2. Mac’s automatically generated Crossfire Missions provided another great game of Crossfire. In what turned out to be a fighting withdrawal, I managed to blunt the attack of Jamie’s Germans and withdraw the majority of my Soviet force.
If anybody wants to try a nice little scenario with a reinforced company a side, you could try refighting this game. I’ve included the orders of battle with victory conditions of each side to enable you to do this.
Made up Table
Jamie set up the table. Just filled it up with about 50 terrain pieces. I had the option to move some stuff around but, as the table already looked aesthetically pleasing, I didn’t bother.
One of the nice features of the Crossfire Missions system is that you don’t know the other blokes objectives. You know your’s but not that they are trying to do. It creates a nice bit of uncertainty.
Each player randomly, and secretly, selected a mission card from the six available. Jamie got “Attack” so had to push into my rear sector.
Advance: Your company is to advance aggressively and seize enemy positions to your front.
VP: 10 + the points value of all friendly troops in the enemy rear area
I got “Withdraw” so I had to hold him up and then slip off table.
Withdraw: Our army is being overwhelmed, the army is withdrawing. Your company will cover the withdrawal.
VP: The points value of all friendly troops who have moved off your base edge
Orders of the battle
We each got to chose an order of battle card from the four available for our nationality. This choice is also secret, creating more uncertainty.
I thought I’d use one of the ideas from Hiding Hidden Forces in Crossfire to keep each player ignorant of the other’s order of battle for as long as possible. I put all of the troops for all of the four possible orders of battle for each side, into a box. Each player chose a single order of battle (of the four) and put the card in the box as well. This meant that the players could pull out the troops they need without revealing which order of battle they had selected … at least until something unique came out of the box.
Jamie chose “German Order of Battle 1 – Attack” presumably because he was under Attack orders and, again presumably, he wanted the armour.
German Order of Battle 1 – Attack
- 1 x Grenadier Company
- 1 x CC (+2)
- 2 x HMG
- 1 x FO for off-table 81mm Mortar (12FM)
- 1 x Rifle Platoon: 1 x PC (+2); 3 x Rifle Squad
- 2 x Rifle Platoon: 1 x PC (+1); 3 x Rifle Squad; One Rifle Squad per Platoon has ATR (Red dot)
- 1 x FO for off-table 120mm Mortar (12FM)
- 1 x Stug III F-G
Command & Control: German
I chose the “Russian Order of Battle 2 – Attack/Defence”. I went for this option for three reasons. I wanted to obscure that I was going to try to pull off the table so went for something that said “Attack” as a bit of subterfuge. I also like the idea of more troops, so went for an option that gave me four platoons. Finally, I avoid the options with fortifications … they might be useful in blunting any attack, but they can’t move so taking them would restrict my maximum potential victory points under “Withdraw” orders.
Russian Order of Battle 2 – Attack/Defence
- 1 x Rifle Company
- 1 x CC (+1)
- 1 x HMG
- 1 x On-table 50mm Mortar (12 FM)
- 3 x Rifle Platoon: 1 x PC (+1/0); 3 x Rifle Squad; One Rifle Squad per Platoon has ATR (Red dot)
- 1 x SMG Platoon: 1 x PC (+1/0); 3 x SMG Squad; One squad has ATR
- 1 x HMG
- 1 x FO for off-table 82mm Mortar (12FM)
- 1 x FO for off-table Heavy Artillery (4FM)
Command & Control: Russian
Russian PCs get +1 for close combat but not for rallying.
We threw to see who would place the first platoon and then alternated. As we had both selected visible options all of the troops were deployed in the respective rear areas.
I spread my four platoons across the front with a weighting towards the right. Two of my platoons were placed to give them a large fire zone. The sole platoon on the left was place to be able to cover the hill in the centre of the table. I also occupied the hill on the right side to allow me to shoot most of the way across the table. The remaining rifle platoon was between these two, as a sort of reserve. The SMG platoon was on the right, placed in the open on the edge of my deployment zone to suggest I wanted to attack forward (ground hugging, just in case).
Jamie also weighted his force on my right flank. He had a single rifle platoon facing mine on my left. Against my three platoons on the right, Jamie has two rifle platoons and a StuG III. A StuG III!! The biggest anti-tank weapon I had were the anti-tank rifles in each platoon. I got scared.
I wanted Jamie to think I was coming forward so he might be more cautious in his own attack. So I immediately sent my reserve (3rd) platoon to the left flank. I was hoping this would give him pause, and possible even encourage him to pull troops that way. In hindsight it might have confused him about my intentions but otherwise didn’t seem to impact the game. All the fighting was on my right.
That scary StuG III made its presence felt immediately. Jamie rolled it forward and starting shooting up the HMG on the hill on my right from long range. I dropped smoke in front of the vehicle to block his line of sight. Jamie also pushed his infantry forward on my right.
The German infantry came under fire from my platoon on the hill and started taking casualties.
The smoke in front of the StuG was such a success in blocking Jamie’s fire that I kept doing it. Jamie pushed the assault gun up to the edge of my smoke. By doing so he’d given me an opportunity that I would exploit shortly.
The combination of the little wood, the smoke and the StuG itself gave me a covered approach to the flank of the vehicle. So I hit it with a squad armed with a anti-tank rifle supported by the PC. In my Vehicle Close Combat house rules this is the best odds I could hope for and I scored enough to burn the vehicle. Now that tipped the odds considerably in my favour.
I also started getting kills on the German infantry. First blood was from mortar fire on a stand already suppressed in the open.
Jamie kept trying to push forward but I had a lot of fire power up on that hill. Three rifle squads and an HMG, backed by mortars.
My SMG assault guys has scored a notable successful but I had to get them out of the open. They ran for cover in the woods with the rest of the platoon. They, more or less, made it intact.
Having regrouped the SMG platoon saw another target … an isolated German HMG
Having dealt with the HMG the SMG guys pulled back again.
In the centre I’d managed to suppress a three German stands in a wood. Another tasty target.
I sent the entire SMG platoon off to get the nearest suppressed German. In individual moves. Unfortunately, I neglected to spot a supporting line of fire and Jamie managed to score a suppress on the last of the squads to contact. As you know, a suppress on a Russian recklessly charging to contact turns into a kill. And the other squads in contact are pushed back out of contact.
But in my next initiative one rifle squad closed to contact. A another German squad succumbed.
The German HMG was next up.
With over half his force destroyed Jamie conceded. I had lost a single squad. We had used 40 of the 70 clock ticks in the game. If we had continued I had ample time to inflict more casualties and still get off table to score my own victory points.
Conclusions and Observations
It was a great little game. The uncertainty of forces and objectives certainly adds to the game. And the fact that I was faced with armour and had no effective anti-tank capability was certainly focussing.