Race Through Normandy – A Crossfire Campaign

This three round Crossfire campaign simulates both the fighting in the bocage in Normandy, June 1944, but also the competitive spirit prevailing between the American and British / Commonwealth forces fighting in Europe. Nominally the campaign represents the Canadian drive on Caen and the US drive on St Lo. It is a version of the Race for … X Campaign.

Setting: Jun 1944

This page has the generic rules but there is also a Order of Battle page which mainly contains the Orbat I used with the guys at the Shed on a huge table.

Campaign Size

This game is aimed at the Shed with it’s big table, but I thought I’d present smaller alternatives as well. The table below shows the various parameters for different sizes of campaign. The details are described in subsequent sections.

Aspect of game Size of campaign
Small Medium Large Huge
Maximum number of Players in each Team 1 2 3 4
Table Size 4′ x 4′ 6′ x 4′ 9′ x 6′ 14′ x 6.5′
Size of each Allied Main Force (points) 50 100 150 200
Size of each Allied Support Unit (points) – get two 10 20 30 40
Size of each German defending force (points) 40 80 120 160
Number of Minor Terrain Objectives on Map 0 1 1 2
Number of Major Terrain Objectives on Map 2 3 5 6
Number of Major Terrain Objectives upgraded to “Vital” by Allied Team 1 1 2 2

Campaign Structure

The campaign is played with two teams: one American team, one Canadian team. There are three rounds, with each round using a different table. Both teams conduct an attack each round and when one team is attacking the other team plays the Germans. An attack lasts one session of play, i.e. three hours of real time (as opposed to game time). The attacks are in this order:

Round/Table Session Attacking Team
1 1 US
2 Canadian
2 3 Canadian
4 US
3 5 US
6 Canadian

Suggestion: The last pair of sessions can be played in an all day bash.

Force Composition

The forces in each session have to be arranged so the Allies have about 2 to 1 odds in terms of points – the Allies are expected to win, although it might be tough. The German defenders in a particular session are determined randomly or by the referee. Each Allied team gets a fixed main force and in each session they also get two support units from a predetermined list of options. All forces are at full strength at the start of each new attack; casualties are not carried over between battles as it is assumed that the Allies have sufficient reserves to fill any gaps and that the predetermined German Orbats factor in battle attrition.

The troops could be from these historical units:

Static Defense Troops: 736 Regiment, 716 Division
Regular Infantry: 346th, or 711th Divisions.
Panzer Grenadiers and armour assigned to the above: 21st Panzer Division
SS Panzer Grenadiers: 12th SS Panzer Division (Hitler Jugend)

See the Shed specific Order of Battle section for a Huge campaign.

Maps, Tables and objectives

Rough maps will be prepared and distributed to teams before the campaign starts. Terrain is typical bocage country with predominantly in-season fields surrounded by bocage hedges, but also having roads, hills, rough, depressions, villages, woods, and streams. The table is an open playing field, i.e. there are no sub-tables and players can potentially move their troops anywhere on the table.

Each table is divided into three bands from north to south. The northern band is the Allied deployment zone; it is 1/3 of the table. The other two bands comprise the German deployment zone. Of these the second/middle band is the German forward zone; it extends from the Allied deployment zone to the middle of the table. The final band is the German rear zone; it comprises the southern half of the table.

US deployment zone (1/3 of table)
German forward zone (up to middle)
German rear zone (1/2 of table)

Each table has major and minor terrain objectives marked on the rough map; the Campaign Size section gives the number of objectives of each type (minor, major and vital). Objectives might be a prominent building in a hamlet, a vital crossroads, or a significant hill. Minor Objectives must be in the German forward zone; major Objectives must be in the German rear zone.

Note: the advantage of only having one table layout per Round is that the terrain doesn’t have to be changed for every session. On the other hand it means in the second game on a table both sides have the benefit of hindsight when deploying.

Pre-session preparation

Players have to do some chores before the session starts:

  1. At the start of each round somebody must set up the terrain on the table based on the rough maps distributed before the campaign. Probably a good idea to mark the objectives with a flag or some such as well.
  2. The referee randomly determines the German defending forces from a pre-determined list. The force composition is kept secret from the Allies.
  3. The Allied team gives referee their priority order for the Support units from the
    predetermined list, and the referee rolls to see which ones they get. Start at the top of the
    list and proceed in order; on a roll 4+ on 1d6 a particular support unit is successfully
    acquired for the current session. Continue until the team acquires two support units for the
    attack. If you reach the end of the list and the Allies still have less than two support units,
    then start again at the top. The force composition is kept secret from the Germans.

    Assume there are four support units numbered 1-3 in the pre-determined list. The Allies nominate
    a priority order of 3, 1, 2. The referee starts at the top of the list and rolls for unit 3
    first; on a roll of 2, that unit is not acquired. The referee then rolls for unit 1 and gets a
    4; the Allies gain unit 1. They must still get another unit, so they roll for unit 2; a 1 means
    they miss out on that unit. Having been through the entire list the referee starts again at the
    top. A roll of 2 for unit 3 is another failure. Unit 1 has already been acquired and is skipped
    on the second pass through, making unit 2 the next unit to roll for; a 6 means unit 2 is

  4. The Allied team secretly writes down those major objectives to be upgraded to “vital”, making them worth more victory points if captured. The Campaign Size section gives the number of major objectives that can be upgraded to in this way. The “vital” objectives are revealed when the victory points are tallied.
  5. Both sides allocate all available troops to specific players.
  6. Based on the map, the Germans should roughly plot their hidden deployment.
  7. Based on the map, the Allies should roughly out a plan of attack
  8. Both teams have a look at the table before the Allied players are expelled from the room.
  9. Somebody organises the figures so the game can kick off.


Each session follows a strict schedule:

Phase Time Description
1 15 min Germans deploy hidden troops Germans must deploy hidden troops on table. Any troops not deployed within that time will arrive at reinforcements on a 4+ at the start of any German initiative.
2 2hr 45 min Play the game Allies deploy and start with initiative.
3 15 min Calculate VP
Calculate VP for this session

Victory conditions

Terrain and Casualty objectives

The team with the most victory points (VP) after the last Round is the winner. A team gets VP only when attacking, never when defending. At the end of three hours playing time, total the attackers VP:

+5 VP for each minor terrain objective captured
+10 VP for each major terrain objective captured
+15 VP for each vital terrain objective captured
-2 for each Allied Squad, Heavy Weapon, CC, or BC killed (but not PC or FO)
-4 for each Allied AFV killed

Capturing an objective means the Allied team was the last to occupy the feature and it is not disputed at the end of the game.

Special rules

Uses standard Crossfire, Hit the Dirt and House Rules. Also needs rules for:


Typhoons specifically – check out my Aircraft page.

Planned Operational Zones – Multiplayer rules

Check out my House Rules on Multi-player

Recon troops

Check out my House Rules on Recon_troops

Hidden Troops

You can play with the normal rules for hidden troops, or you can use the special rule where hidden troops are revealed on a one on any dice. This will make the defenders much tougher. I wouldn’t, however, change the Orbats, as the competition is between the Canadian and US teams, not with the Germans. And relatively speaking it all balances out.


Linear Obstacle for movement. Target touching the feature gains protective cover from indirect fire and also from direct fire if the Line of Fire crosses the feature. Block LOS unless the spotter or target is touching it. Impassable to Guns and anything but fully tracked vehicles. Fully tracked vehicles (i.e. tanks and such like) can cross, but expose their belly when doing so (no protective cover when on the hedge, +1 to enemy ACC and ARM 0).

Specialist tanks (dozers or hedge cutters) need to roll 3+ on 1d6 to cross. Failure loses initiative. Success removes the section of Bocage.

Engineers can blow up sections of Bocage (up to 6″) in the same way they remove wire sections.


For some interesting tidbits on fighting in Normandy check out Lone Sentry: “Fighting in Normandy” from Combat Lessons, No. 4.

Leave a Reply