Last night a friend and I got together for a game of Crossfire. This time, we played Nikolas Lloyd’s StuG Smuggling scenario. The details can be found on the Lloydian Aspects website, but in essence the Germans have snuck behind enemy lines and succeeded in locating and repairing an immobilised StuG III. To win the day, they have to manoeuvre it safely from one end of the table to the other.
The British feel this is a terrible idea, and so will attempt to stop them. In fact, they have a 6-pounder anti-tank gun, manned, ready, and aimed along the main road in the direction they suspect the Germans will enter from.
We diced to see who would play the defender first (my friend got Tommy Atkins). Afterwards, we played a second game with reversed roles. There is a long battle report for the first game and an abbreviated one for the second.
This is a rough map of the table. To the south, woods and freshly ploughed fields. At the centre, the village of Chevalier. To the north, the ruined town of St. Michele.
I basically used almost all the terrain I have. I imagine it was about 25 – 30 of each (bocage/hedge/wall and woods/tree-likes/hills/buildings);
The Germans arrived on table through the woods.
First Platoon quickly made its way through West Field, but as the first section broke through the hedge they were suppressed by 2-inch mortar fire from the east.
This caused the rest of the platoon to rush for cover, but they were then subject to rifle fire from the ruined Saddlery to northeast. After a short exchange of fire, they eventually retreated.
(we use red markers to represent suppressions, and white markers to show pinned units).
The German CC then mobilised 2nd Platoon, who advanced through a burned-out farm building on the eastern edge of the table. This action drew fire from British Riflemen in the Central Field, and as they left the farmhouse, one section was pinned by 2-inch mortar fire, but was hastily rallied.
2nd Platoon then ascended a hill just to the north and from this position rained down fire on the mortar crew who quickly fell. This drew fire from the Saddlery, but the Germans pushed northward to the edge of a low wall.
Taking the Village
1st Section, 2nd Platoon quickly jumped the wall and drew fatal fire from a British rifle section at the far end of the road.
Following an unsuccessful rally attempt by the British Commander on a previously suppressed unit, the surviving members of German 2nd Platoon entered the building to their left (a dwelling) and stormed the Saddlery, vanquishing the occupants; they then exacted their revenge on the riflemen who had put an end to 1st Section.
British 3rd Platoon was no more. The Germans were now at the centre of Chevalier.
Mobilising the StuG
At this point, the StuG accelerated forward, through field and over hedges with calculated care…
1st Platoon had patched up their wounded and, with the village secure, were ready to lay assault on the 6-pounder crew; breaking through the bocage, they charged ahead and did just that.
In the meantime, on its way to the road the StuG had gotten stuck trying to pass over the third hedge, and fire from the British somewhere had drawn everyone’s attention to Chevalier. At that point the troops of 2nd Platoon entered the village once more and engaged in close combat with a section of British Infantry; they were no longer guarding the StuG.
Suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, British 1st Platoon took the initiative and stormed the immobilised StuG. With great ferocity, they made short work of the crew, captured the German Command, and then set fire to the wretched steel beast!
The second time we played the game, the German 1st Platoon dashed across the north-south road (heading westward from the woods) and then made their way north along the train line.
They quickly took out the 6-pounder, and then the StuG burst through the bocage with 2nd Platoon in tow, which then made its way past the StuG and up toward the junction (leaving the StuG unguarded). German Infantry then tried to remove the barricade on the road to have a clean run for the AFV, but failed and initiative shifted.
The British Player (me) mobilised their 1st Platoon, which made its way down to the bocage where the StuG lay, close assaulted it from the rear and won the game.
So, the second game lasted two initiatives and probably took about 20 minutes, including troop placement.
I certainly enjoyed this scenario, although both times we played it the Germans found it tough to win. Reflecting on things today, my friend said “We needed the hedge-cutters and flame-throwers!” We both laughed, but I would like to play the scenario again, adding a German engineer section (perhaps allowing +1 to the StuGs die-rolls when navigating major and lesser obstacles if they stay with the AFV, or else going ahead to clear a path). Either way it was great fun. Lloyd is the man responsible for making me aware of Crossfire through his videos and I am very grateful for all he shares.
Very few rounds were fired in this scenario: a few mortar bombs and rifle rounds, but most casualties were received in close combat.
The StuG was a 1:76 Airfix kit, and a pleasure to build and paint. The schürzen were added from a 1:72 Armourfast Panzer III kit.
All miniatures are AB Figures (20mm) and were supplied by Eureka Miniatures (Australia). They were painted using Vallejo Acrylics.