“Race for … X” Crossfire Campaign

A Race for … X mini-campaign can be used anywhere where two friendly forces are competing to reach the same objective – the “X” of the title. The campaign mechanisms are based on some work by Martin Rapier as modified by Huda (2003). I have tried to make it more generic than either of the originals, and also show how to apply the mechanisms in Crossfire.

Campaign Objective

The game simulates the forward elements of the offensive trying to seize important road junctions, towns, etc to keep up the momentum of the advance. It is assumed the offensive will succeed; what is at stake is which of the players will reach the target first.

At the smallest level this might be competing battalions racing for a town a few km down the road. Examples of larger races include:

  • Germans race for Leningrad (1941) – see Martin Rapier’s original Leningrad scenario
  • US and British race for Rome (1944)
  • Soviets race for Berlin (1945) – see Huda (2003)
  • The battalions of the 44th Lowland Brigade racing to link up with the British 6th Airbourne Division in Operation Plunder (1945) – also see my one off scenario for this
  • Summer 1944 as British and Dominion forces push for Caen and the Americans head for St. Lo – see my Race Through Normandy campaign for this.

Campaign Map

The campaign is played on a very simple map. Essentially there are two routes from the Base Zone to the Objective; Player A goes down one path and Player B down the other. Whenever one player is in offensive mode, the other player controls the defensive forces, thus providing additional incentive for the defensive player to block their opponent’s efforts. Players advance by winning battles and the first player to take the objective wins the campaign.

Campaign Map

Pre-game Preparation

Pre-game preparation involves identifying the full Offensive Order of Battle (Orbat) for each player, and a range of Defensive Orbats to be used as required.

Offensive Order of Battle

The main pre-game preparation is to decide the full Offensive Orbat for each player. The composition of each player’s campaign force is fixed for the entire game, and must be determined before the game starts. The size of the full OrBat depends on the scale of the game you’re playing but it should be about 10 times the size of the smallest force you want to field on table at any one time.

The following table gives suggested points for Small, Medium, Large and Huge Crossfire campaigns. S1 is the minimum points worth of defensive force for the given size of campaign. S5 is the largest offensive force fielded at any one time, and S10 is the full Offensive Orbat. Defensive forces will vary between S1 and S4 in size depending on the circumstances, but will normally be S2. On-table offensive forces also vary depending on campaign circumstances, including losses, but will be up to S5 in size; the full Offensive Orbat (S10) is never deployed on-table at one time.

Size Example Force Size of campaign
Small Medium Large Huge
S1 Min Defensive 25 50 75 100
S2 50 100 150 200
S3 75 150 225 300
S4 Max Defensive 100 200 300 400
S5 Max Offensive 125 250 375 500
S10 Full Offensive Orbat 250 500 750 1000

The points values in the table above assume a platoon is 25 points when including appropriate supporting elements (e.g. PC, 3 x Rifle, Bazooka, HMG, FO for 81mm mortar). Similarly a company is 75 points, and a battalion 225 points . For example in a medium sized campaign, the minimum on-table force would be a couple of rifle platoons plus some support elements from company and battalion (about 50 points total). The full offensive Orbat would be 10 time this figure, i.e. 500 points, which is a couple of battalions plus considerable supporting elements. With a 14′ x 6′ table the Shed could probably cope with a maximum Offensive force (S5) of 500 points, so would be in the realms of “Huge”.

All stands in the full Offensive Orbat must be organised into units before the campaign starts. These must generally correspond to historical organisations. Stands cannot be moved between units during the campaign. There are four types of unit:

  • Rifle/SMG platoons (including PC)
  • HQ unit with a commander (CC, BC, RC, but not PC) plus up to three accompanying squads, crew served weapons and/or FOs. Examples are a CC with the company heavy weapons, or a BC with accompanying SMG squad and FOs.
  • Crew served weapon unit containing 2-4 crew served weapons and/or FOs, and an optional PC. Examples are a heavy weapons company within a battalion or an attached ATG company.
  • Vehicle platoon, i.e. 1-3 AFVs or APCs.

Example: Assume it is a small campaign where the full Offensive OrBat is an Early Russian Battalion plus 3 tanks and an ATG company of 3 ATG (about 250 points total). Such a force might be organised into 19 units made up of:

  • 1 x Battalion HQ unit (BC and 45mm ATG)
    2 x Crew Served weapons units from the Heavy Weapons Company (one of HMG and one of Mortars)

    3 x Company HQ units
    9 x Rifle Platoons
    3 x Tank units
    1 x Crew Served weapons unit, i.e. the ATG company

Higher level organisations such as rifle companies and battalions are not counted as units as such, but are taken into account when organising the forces to deploy in battle.

Players must monitor losses to their Offensive force during the course of the campaign, but also have opportunities to recover those losses.

Defensive Order of Battle

You also have to work out a variety of defensive orbats to use during the campaign. You’ll need at least one orbat equivalent to each of size S1, S2, S3 and S4. Ideally, you’ll have alternatives in each size. So assuming two alternative orbats for each size you’ll need eight defensive orbats to choose from.

When building these defensive orbats it is possible to buy FOs with half the normal Fire Missions (FM) at half the cost. For example, 12 FM for a 81mm mortar normally costs 6 points, but for 3 points you can buy 6 FM. Other proportions are not allowed; you must either take half the FM or all the FM.

For example for a small campaign where an S1 force was 25 points, the defensive Orbats could be:

Size Option A (1-3 on 1d6) Option B (4-6 on 1d6)
S1 PC (+1), 3 x Rifle, IAT
FO for 81mm (12 FM)
PC (+1), 2 x Rifle, IAT
PC (+1), 2 x Rifle, IAT
FO for 81mm (6 FM)
S2 PC (+1), 3 x Rifle, IAT
PC (+1), 3 x Rifle, IAT
2 x HMG
2 x FO for 81mm (12 FM)
CC (+1)
PC (+1), 3 x Rifle, IAT
PC (+1), 2 x Rifle, IAT
PC (+1), 2 x Rifle, IAT
FO for 81mm (6 FM)
S3 CC (+1)
PC (+1), 3 x Rifle, IAT
PC (+1), 3 x Rifle, IAT
PC (+1), 3 x Rifle, IAT
2 x HMG
1 x FO for 81mm (12 FM)
1 x FO for 81mm (6 FM)
CC (+1)
PC (+1), 3 x Rifle, IAT
PC (+1), 2 x Rifle, IAT
PC (+1), 2 x Rifle, IAT
FO for 81mm (6 FM)
3 x Tank
S4 CC (+1)
PC (+1), 3 x Rifle, IAT
PC (+1), 3 x Rifle, IAT
CC (+1)
PC (+1), 3 x Rifle, IAT
PC (+1), 3 x Rifle, IAT
3 x HMG
1 x FO for 81mm (12 FM)
1 x FO for 81mm (8 FM)
1 x FO for Heavy Artillery (4 FM)
CC (+2)
PC (+2), 3 x Rifle, IAT
PC (+1), 3 x Rifle, IAT
PC (+1), 2 x Rifle, IAT
FO for 81mm (12 FM)
3 x Tank (All Veteran)

IAT = Infantry anti-tank weapons. Depending on the nationality 1 squad per platoon has a Bazooka, Piat or Early Panzerfaust, or the entire platoon has ATR.

You don’t have to monitor the losses taken by the defensive forces. It is assumed they can dredge up new forces to momentarily fill any new gap or to throw into a counter-attack.

Sequence of Play

The duration of a campaign turn is dependent on the context of the campaign, but could be a day, a week, or even more.

Each campaign turn goes through a serious of steps:

  1. Each player chooses an offensive action for the campaign turn, either Attack or Regroup.
  2. Player A campaign turn:
    1. Determine type of battle (Counter-attack, Prepared defence, Hasty defence, Meeting engagement)
    2. Determine the on-table forces available
    3. Fight battle
    4. Determine Battle Result, i.e. map movement
    5. Recover losses
  3. Player B campaign turn (as Player A above)

Offensive Action: Attack or Regroup

Each player chooses their offensive action for the campaign turn.

Attack: Ensures a battle, however, during an attack the Offensive player recovers less casualties. An Attack preceded by a Regroup will go in with additional troops.

Regroup: Allows the player to recover more casualties and also allows extra troops in an Attack next campaign turn. The only type of battle allowed during a regroup is a counter-attack.

Type of battle

Throw 1d6 to determine the type of battle – this is affected by the Offensive Action selected.

1d6 Offensive Action
Attack Regroup
2 or less Counter-attack Counter-attack
3-5 Prepared Defence No battle
6-7 Hasty Defence No battle
8 or more Meeting Engagement No battle


+1 for each zone the offensive player advanced last campaign turn.
-1 if the offensive player retreated last campaign turn

A Counter-attack is where the defensive player attacks the offensive player in a Hasty Defence scenario. The other three types of scenario (Hasty Defence, Prepared Defence, Meeting Engagement) mentioned in the diagram for the Campaign Structure are described on my scenarios and objectives page, although there are some tweaks to the rules described there:

  • There are always two Terrain objectives.
  • These are decided by the players by mutual agreement.
  • One terrain objective must be in each half of the table.
  • The on-table part of a defending force in a Hasty Defence or a Prepared Defence can be hidden, thus reducing the forces available (as per the optional rule mentioned under Hasty Defence).

On-table forces available

Size of offensive force

The size of the offensive force is given as a percentage of units in the full Offensive Orbat.

Condition Units in Attacking force
Fighting in Base zone (i.e. Zone 1)
or if last campaign turn the Offensive Action was Regroup
Last campaign turn advanced 1 zone, made no advance, or retreated 40%
Advanced 2 zones last campaign turn 30%

There are some provisos:

  • This percentage is about units, not stands. This means, for example, that a depleted platoon still counts as one unit when calculating how many units are present.
  • Round down, so 50% of 19 is 9 units not 10.
  • HQ units of a CC or BC (but not RC) must be deployed if 50%+ of the subordinate units are deployed. For example:
    • A CC must be deployed if 2+ of his 3 platoons are deployed.
    • A BC must be deployed if two of his rifle companies are deployed.
    • A BC does not necessarily have to be deployed if only one rifle company plus his heavy weapons company are deployed. In this case, the BC might be deployed anyway.

Example: Our Early War Russian Battalion with 19 units would field 9 units when fighting in the Base Zone (or Regrouped last campaign turn), 7 units if it advanced 1 zone the previous campaign turn, and only 5 units if it advanced 2 zones. Possible Orbats would be:

5 units: Rifle Company (HQ unit + 3 Platoons) + HMG unit
7 units: Rifle Company (HQ unit + 3 Platoons) + HMG unit + ATG unit + tank
9 units: 2 Companies (HQ unit + 3 Platoons) + Battalion HQ unit

In all cases it doesn’t matter whether these units are depleted or not, they still count as a full unit. Obviously, as the campaign progresses and units take losses, a player will want to rotate the units fielded thus using those that are still full-strength.

Size of defensive force

The size of the defending players force is determined by the type of battle and the zone it is fought in

Type of battle Zone
1 2 3 4 5
Counter-attack S3 S3 S3 S3 S4
Prepared defence S3 S2 S2 S2 S2
Hasty defence S2 S2 S2 S2 S1
Meeting engagement S4 S4 S4 S4 S2

From there you have to refer to defensive orbats you made up at the start of the campaign.

Fight battle

Use Crossfire. Make up the terrain any way that suits.

Special Rule 4: The Moving Clock is in use. Each game lasts 12 ticks of the clock. The clock advances one tick on a 5+ at the end of each defending player’s campaign turn (in the case of a counter-attack this will be the offensive player).

Make a note of the stands lost in the Offensive force, but don’t bother noting those lost in the Defensive force.

The victory points (VP) achieved by the Offensive player are calculated at the end of the game. The score can be zero or negative.

Victory Condition Size of Crossfire game
Small Medium Large Huge
Control two terrain objectives 140 140 140 140
Control one terrain objective -35 -35 -35 -35
Control neither terrain objective -140 -140 -140 -140
Each fighting stand that exits the enemy base edge 12* 6* 4* 3*
Each of own fighting stands killed -24 -12 -8 -6

* VP for exiting troops are doubled if the Offensive player controls all terrain objectives at the end of the game.

A Fighting stand is any squad, crew served weapon, vehicle, CC, BC or RC (but not FO and PC).

Control of terrain objective means the player has more fighting stands in it at the end of the game than the opponent does, or if it is empty to be the the last player who had fighting stands in it.

Determine Battle Result

Throw 1d6 to determine the whether the Offensive player must advance or retreat after the battle – this depends on the Offensive Action taken. If no battle was fought then no movement is possible. Retreat is not possible if you’re already in Zone 1.

1d6 Offensive Action
Attack Regroup
0 or less Retreat 1 zone Retreat 1 zone
1-3 No Advance No Advance
4-8 Advance 1 zone No Advance
9 Advance 2 zones No Advance

The only modifier is based on the VP earned in the preceding battle:

VP Modifier
-246 or less -4
-245 to -176 -3
-175 to -106 -2
-105 to -36 -1
-35 to 35 0
36 to 105 +1
106 to 175 +2
176 or more +3

Recover losses

You should keep records of the Offensive stands killed.

Immediately after a battle all killed commanders (PC, CC, BC, RC) from the Offensive force that haven’t already been replaced using Rule 2.3.3. Killed Commanders, must be replaced by a squad or crew served weapon. If possible the replacement must be a subordinate stand, however, if this is not possible then any stand can be used.

After all commanders have been replaced the Offensive player can roll to recover any stands that are still lost (i.e. killed in any of the previous battles or lost as replacements for commanders). Roll once a campaign turn for each stand that is still lost; the score required depends on the Battle Result and the Offensive Action:

Battle Result Offensive Action
Attack Regroup
Retreat 6 6
No advance (or no battle) 5+ 4+
Advance 1 zone 5+ N/A
Advance 2 zones 6 N/A

So, for example, a 5+ is required to recover each lost stand if the Offensive Action was Attack and the Battle Result was Advance 1 zone.


You win the campaign if you advance from Zone 5 and if your opponent fails to do the same this campaign. The campaign is a draw if you both achieve this in the same campaign turn.

Special Rules


Huda, S. (2003,Spring). Race For Berlin: A WW2 Spearhead mini-campaign for Germany 1945. The Journal of the Society of 20th Century Wargamers, 47, 4-11.

Rapier, M. Race for Leningrad

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