Rhine Crossing ala Rapid Fire – A Crossfire Scenario

This Crossfire scenario is based on the Rhine Crossing scenario by Durston (1996) although I converted it from Rapid Fire to Crossfire. Since then I have discovered serious historical flaws in the scenario. It might work as a game but the historical bugs annoyed me so I started playing with a couple of alternatives:

Historical Situation

Setting: Rhine River, Wesel, Germany; 23/24 March 1945

The Crossing of the Rhine on 23/24 March 1945 consisted of three related operations

  • ‘Operation Plunder’ – the overall amphibious crossing by British troops
  • ‘Operation Widgeon’ – a subordinate operation by 1st Commando Brigade to capture and hold Wesel
  • ‘Operation Varsity’ – the subordinate airborne operation involving the 17th US and 6th Airborne Divisions. .

Operation Plunder started at 1800 hours on 23 March with a barrage of 5,500 guns along the 35 km front, and bomber raid on the city of Wesel (250 Lancaster and Mosquito bombers dropped over 2,000 tons of HE on the 23rd, let alone the the raid the previous day). The 51st Highland Division led the river crossing at 2300 hours with Canadians crossing later 6.5 km south of Rees, then the 1st Commando Brigade 1.5 km north of Wesel. The assault craft – assault boats (‘Storm boats’), Buffalo amphibious vehicles and D.U.K.W.s carrying Infantry, LCM carrying armour, and Sherman D.D. tanks – were guided across the river by CDL search lights and tracer fire from machine guns. General Patton had earlier put the US 5th Infantry Division across the Ludendorff railway bridge at Remagen – a day earlier than planned – thus drawing off German reinforcements and reducing the opposition to the main landings.

Operation Varsity – launched after dawn on 24 March – was the largest and last single day airborne action of the war. 17,000 airborne troops were landed and required 1,572 aircraft, 1,326 gliders and 900 fighter to transport them. The troops dropped in the Wesel area were from the US 17th Airborne Division.

This scenario simulates the landing of the 1st Command Brigade and the corresponding airborne operations.

Map produced in CC2
Click on the thumb nail to see the full map


.The table is 14′ x 6′ with a notch out of the corner, i.e. the shape of the Shed’s table. It is divided into three zones.

  • North Zone: West of line A-A and north of line B-B.
  • South Zone: West of line A-A and south of line B-B.
  • East Zone: East of line A-A.

Both North and South zones include part of the Rhine River.

Initial Allied forces start at the crossing points 1, 2, 3 and 4 on the west edge of the North and South Zones. The Airborne troops drop into the East Zone.

German Reinforcements arrive at the points marked (1,2), (3,4) or (5,6).

Note: it would be possible to play this on three 6’x4′ tables where each table is a Zone.

German Players (Defending)


Hold Wesel, the intersections marked with an X and repel the Allied river crossing.

Forces Available

Elements of 180th Parachute Division:

North of line B-B (in North Zone and/or East Zone):

1 x Fallschirmjaeger Battalion (Veteran)
(Replace the 75mm Recoiless Gun with a 75mm PaK 40)

South of line B-B (in South Zone and/or East Zone):

1 x Grenadier Battalion (Regular) with …
1 x 76.2mm PaK (captured Russian field gun)

East Zone

1 x on-table Nebelwerfer (optional truck)
1 x on-table 15.0cm IG (optional truck)


1 x FO for the on-table 15.0cm IG mentioned above
1 x FO for the on-table Nebelwerfer mentioned above
24 x Wire sections
2 x Bunker (2 Squad)
4 x Minefield
As many entrenchments as required

All German squads – including any reinforcements – have early Panzerfausts. One squad per Platoon (the red dot guy) has a late Panzerfaust.


Deploys first. The Fallschirmjager must deploy in the north of the line B-B and the Grenadier Battalion to the south. That means that either or both battalions may have troops deployed in the East Zone. At least a company must be deployed in the East Zone. All Wire and Bunkers are deployed visible, troops are hidden, mines can be hidden or visible at the discretion of the German player .


The action at Remagen initially drew most potential German reinforcements south. When the main landings took place they were redirected north and hence arrive disordered after 0700 (Dawn). The German player checks for reinforcements at the start of their initiative immediately after the moving clock advances, but only after 0700 hours. At that time throw twice to determine what arrives, i.e. two lots of reinforcements might arrive at the same time:

1d6 Reinforcements
1-2 Nothing
3 Grenadier Company
4 Panzergrenadier Company with Halftracks
5 Support Company / Battery 1d6 Specialisation
1 2 x Wespe
1 x FO for Wespes
2 2 x 75mm PaK40
3 2 x 75mm IG
1 x FO for 75mm IG
4-6 Machinegun Company
3 x HMG
1 x FO for off-table 81mm mortar
6 Tank or Assault Gun 1d6 Specialisation
1-3 StuG III G
4-5 Panzer IV G
6 Panther

All reinforcements are Regular.

The reinforcements arrive in the East Zone but the specific entry point is determined randomly (1d6); if two lots of reinforcements arrive at the same time, then they arrive at the same location:

1d6 Arrival point
1-2 Road on southern table edge
3-4 Wesel on southern table edge
5-6 Road on eastern table edge

Until there are enemy in the East Zone, all movement in that Zone is restricted to one move action per initiative.

Allied Players (Attacking)

Begins scenario with initiative.


Capture Wesel and/or the intersections marked X on the map, plus establish a bridgehead on the eastern side of the Rhine.

Forces Available

Allied forces include elements of the II British Corps (2nd Army) and the US 17th Airborne Division.

The game is played to a preset timetable to simulate the factors that were not under local control.

When Troops Crossing Artillery / Air
2300 – 0000

46 Royal Marine Commando (Veteran; German C+C); 3 x Sherman DD tanks
Crossing 1; Storm Boats; Buffalos; DD tanks self-propelled Rolling Barrage
0000 – 0200 1 x Engineer Company (Regular) Crossing 2; Storm Boats; Buffalos Rolling Barrage
0200 – 0300 6 Army Commando (Veteran; German C+C) Crossing 1; Storm Boats; Buffalos Rolling Barrage lifts to next strip
1st Cheshire Battalion (Regular) Crossing 2; Storm Boats; Buffalos
0300 – 0400 3 x Churchill AVRE* Crossing 3***; 3 x LCMs Rolling Barrage lifts to next strip German Barrage
0400 – 0600 Rolling Barrage lifts to next strip; Lancaster raid on Wesel
0600 – 0700 1 x Churchill Crocodile**; 2 x kangaroos; 1 x Firefly; 1 x Daimler QLs Crossing 4; Folkestone 50/60 Ferry Rolling barrage replaced by FO
0700 – 1000 (Dawn) FO
1000 – 1100
1 x US Para Battalion (Veteran; German C+C)
2 x 75mm recoiless guns
Drop on DZ FO
1100 – 1300 FO

* The AVRE is configured as a ‘Crab’ i.e. a flail tank for sweeping mine.
** The Churchill Crocodile is a flamethrower tank.
*** The LCMs must move directly north or south onto the table in their first move, before moving
east across the Rhine.

In addition the FOs for 6 heavy artillery batteries (2 x 5.5″ and 4 x 25 pounder) providing the Rolling Barrage can accompany either of the first two waves. When the Rolling Barrage stops the FOs will take over.

Most organisations can be taken directly from the rules, however, some elaboration is needed for the 1st Commando Brigade. It contains:

3 x Commando Battalion (one of which is held in reserve)

1 x BC (+2)
1 x SMG Squad
1 x on-table 2″ mortar or FO for off table mortar
1 x FO for off-table 3″ mortar
2 x HMG
5 x Commando Troop

1 x CC (+2)
2 x Rifle Platoons

1 x PC (+2)
2 x Rifle Squads (1 squad / platoon has a Piat)

Morale: Veteran
Command and Control: as Germans


Deploys second with the first wave of troops loaded on assault craft at the west table edge.


Once the troops listed in the timetable have been ferried across the river, the Allied reserves can be ferried across. These include:

1 x Commando Battalion
1 x Infantry Battalion
2 x Sherman Platoons each with 3 x 75mm Shermans

Victory Conditions

The side wins that wins in the most Zones.

North Zone

Allied player wins if there are no Germans in the half of the Zone nearest the Rhine, otherwise the Germans win.

South Zone


East Zone

Allied player wins if they both:

  • Dominate the roads into the Bridgehead (in East Zone) by achieving:
    • Undisputed control of the the field marked X
    • Undisputed control of all buildings in the Kopenhof Farm
  • Dominate Wesel by having more fighting stands (i.e. not PC or FO) in Wesel than the Germans do.

If they achieve only one the it is a draw, if they neither then it is a German victory.

Scenario Special Rules


  • Each zone (sub-table) is played as a separate game, although they share aspects such as the moving clock, reinforcements, and objectives. All friendly troops in a zone are controlled by the player of that zone.
  • Special Rule 4: The moving clock is in use. There is one clock for all three zones (sub-tables). The clock advances 30 min on a 5+ at the end of any German initiative in the most active Zone. The most active Zone starts out as the North Zone, but can shift to either of the others depending on a vote of the players. The game starts at 2300 hours on the 23rd March and ends at 1300 on the 24th.
  • Zone boundaries are considered to block LOS; this affects both shooting and command and control.
  • Voluntary movement between zones (sub-tables) is on a 5+ on 1d6 during a normal move; failure loses initiative. Allied troops can move between any zones. Until 1000 hours the Germans can move from any Zone to the North or South Zone (but not to the East Zone); after that any transfer is possible
  • It is possible – because of the River rules – for troops to involuntarily move between zones. These change control to the new player, but may try to move back as above.


The number of assault craft is limited so the vehicles will have to do return trips. Otherwise use
Special Rule 25: Waterborne Troops.

Allied Rolling Barrage and Air support

  • The Allied Rolling Barrage is the only artillery available to the Allies until they land FOs on the eastern bank of the Rhine. Treat as PPB each Allied imitative. The North and South tables are subdivided into 4 roughly equal strips heading away from the Rhine. The Rolling Barrage starts in the first strip, then as a predefined time advances to the next strip, etc. The Allied player must pre-plan, before the game, 6 PPB in each Zone in each initiative in each strip.
  • The Lancaster raid on Wesel is represented by 16 PPB on targets designated at the start of the game.
  • Tactical airpower is given by Typhoon fighter bombers which appear at dawn but must withdraw when the airborne landings take place. Treat as a 5d6 Indirect Fire HE that can target anywhere on table once per initiative. It can fire at tanks at vehicles instead ACC +1 PEN +3.

German Barrage

German artillery only opened up in this sector when the German command were convince the commando landing was not a feint. This is represented by 16 PPB on targets in the North and South Zone designated at the start of the game.

Drop Zone

  • The Allied player in the East Zone must pre-select three Drop Zones (DZ) – these must be field or rough or hill features. These are where his troops are dropped. Use the paper drop method for determining where specific stands land. Any stands that drop on a woods feature or structure are lost. Any troops that drop on an occupied feature are subject to normal rules for ambush and reactive fire, but count as being in the open.

Special Vehicles

Vehicle ARM ACC PEN HE/EFF HD Land Speed Comment
Churchill AVRE 6/2 -1 +1 5/3 SQ Yes 1 Flail tank
Churchill Crocodile 6/2 Yes 1 See rules on vehicle Flamethrower
Sherman D.D. tanks 4/2 0 0 4/2 SQ Yes 2
Buffalo 1/1 MG 4/1 SQ No 2
D.U.K.W 0/0 No 2 Shot at as a squad by small arms.
LCM 1/1 MG 4/1 SQ No
Folkestone 50/60 Ferry 1/1
Nebelwerfer 6/3 SQ No 1 Multi-barrelled rocket launcher

Storm Boats are ignored for combat purposes. If their passenger squad is killed, so are they.

The Churchill AVRE (Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers) is configured as a ‘Crab’ i.e. a flail tank for sweeping mine, but also has the 29cm mortar fitted. It has a speed of 1, so can either move or fire, not both. It must move up to a feature, then as a separate move action move across it, then move away. Only when the AVRE has moved across will the enemy declare if the feature was mined – if so it is now clear.


Terrain objectives

This scenario is based on the following material:

Allen, P. (1980). One More River: The Rhine Crossings of 1945. London: J. M. Dent and Sons.

Durston, J. (1996 Apr). Crossing the Rhine. Wargames Illustrated, 103, 14-17.

British Commandos at this period of the war would have looked much like their standard infantry compatriots with tin hats and battle dress. The cap comforter was long gone but some guys would have worn the Green Beret.

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