My recent musing on the anti-tank rules in Crossfire got me thinking about my current rules on vehicle actions. CF11.1 Vehicular Actions is massively restrictive as it only gives vehicles the option to move or shoot. So I for 20 years I’ve been giving vehicles multiple move actions (1-3 depending on speed) and unlimited shooting. Both of these rules are contrary to the unlimited actions of infantry in standard Crossfire. It would be great to give vehicles unlimited actions, like the infantry. So I look at the rules that have come before then look at options for unlimited vehicle movement.
What has come before
Have a look at Crossfire, CF11.1, p. 17-18, and you’ll find :
- Vehicles with only MG shoot unlimited or move once per initiative
- Other vehicles only move once or shoot once per initiative
I find this rule massively restrictive. This is what makes vehicles so impotent in the standard rules. Which is why I moved to give vehicle multiple move actions.
Vehicular actions is an idea I lifted from the official Crossfire site. Vehicles get up to three move actions per phase, not just one. This is determined by the vehicles speed. Fast vehicles get up to 3 move actions; normal vehicles get up to 2; slow vehicles get at most 1 move action per initiative. Amongst the Soviets a SU-152 is slow speed, a T-26 is normal and a T-34 is fast. German Panzers is mostly normal speed, except the fast Pz 1 C and Pz II L. US Shermans are normal but Stuarts are fast. etc. See datasheets for details of particular vehicles/gun.
This rule has been good enough to last 20 years of play. The trouble is, it is neither standard Crossfire nor is it aligned with infantry movement. So I kind of lose twice.
There has to be a way to give vehicle unlimited move actions, just like the infantry. In fact some people are already doing this. I could just let tanks get unlimited movement. Unlimited movement by infantry is limited by reactive fire. Most things can shoot at infantry so threats are everywhere. But tanks have armour and that means not everything can shoot at them. In fact, most things cannot shoot at them. I think this would make them too powerful if there is nothing to balance out the unlimited movement. In standard Crossfire tanks are constrained by the one shoot or one move rule. In my current house rule they are constrained by the 1-3 movement actions.
In this section I look at other possibilities for constraining armoured movement.
Paul Ward of Tatakishi’s Tea House talks about his house rule for armour in the video Introduction to Crossfire 5: Indirect Fire and Tanks. Basically he gives tanks unlimited shooting and unlimited movement, just like infantry. Paul plays late war NW Europe and gives all his infantry squad appropriate infantry anti-tank weapons (bazooka, panzerfaust). The high density of anti-tank weapons limits vehicle actions. Looks good for NW Europe.
Unfortunately, the bazooka approach doesn’t work for me because I’m interested periods and campaigns that lack this high density of man portable anti-tank rocket launchers. This category of weapon only started to appear in late 1943 and were never universal. The Soviets used anti-tank rifles throughout the war and, although they might stop Panzer IIs, they are not going to stop tanks in the the late war. Similar for the Japanese – anti-tank rifles all war and only to elite divisions. Bazookas were not issued to all US squads. Nor Piats to British sections. The only exception were that some German units were issued large numbers of panzerfausts in 1945.
Lost in the woods
In Fighting the 1000 Foot General in Crossfire I explored several ways to limit movement without reactive fire. One of them is “Lost in the Woods”:
Once in any game, and only once, a Player can force their opponent to take a “Lost in the Woods” roll (or “Fog of War” roll or whatever). This must be taken at the end of an enemy move action (or group move action). The roll is just like a Rally from Pin roll, including standard modifiers; failure doesn’t affect the stand, but passes initiative (after any group move is completed).
Basically the enemy forces reactive response from the mover. In this case a rally roll.
So I could give each player a a “Lost in the Woods” roll for every enemy tank.
I don’t like it. Since my whole aim of revised anti-tank rules is to align with infantry and the “Lost in the Woods” is both different and introduces a new rule.
Hand of Fate roll
Also from Fighting the 1000 Foot General in Crossfire, and more aligned with infantry shooting, is the “Hand of Fate” roll. A Hand of Fate roll is similar to Reactive Fire. It is a 4d6 attack irrespective of cover. It can only be applied against an enemy move action. Unlike Reactive Fire, it does not need a friendly unit to be shooting, or even to be in line of sight of the target unit. Like fire combat, a Hand of Fate roll can inflict a Pin, Suppress or Kill. Initiative passes on a Suppress or Kill.
Using this rule, I could give a player a “Hand of Fate” roll for each enemy tank.
That is better than “Lost in the Woods”, but Hit The Dirt has a rule that kind of does that already for vehicles: Bogging.
Bogging HTD Special Rule
The Hit The Dirt rule for bogging of vehicles is non-standard involved a 1d6 and interpreting the results. It is not at all aligned with my design goals for my revised anti-tank rules. However, it is possible to align bogging and anti-tank mines with infantry shooting.
This could be the answer: use the revised bogging rule to limit vehicle actions. Vehicles could have a high risk of bogging in difficult terrain and a modest chance of bogging in easy terrain. It might be too restrictive to apply bogging on every move action, but I think it would be okay to apply when the move involves an initial pivot. Something like this ….
“Special Rule 5: Bogging down is in use. Tanks suffer a bogging attack of 3d6 when attempting a move action in woods, rough ground, rock fields, boulder fields, streams, and anti-tank obstacles (ditches, barricades). When moving off road in other circumstances, and the move action starts with a pivot, the bogging attack is only 1d6. There are no modifiers to this attack (e.g. ignore Armour).
So straight moves, outside terrain, would be fine. But fancy moves in the open would be penalised. And any moves in terrain would be very problematic.
That would be worth a play test.
As I mentioned, I can’t rely on universal bazookas for all period and all theatres. So I need an alternative. On balance I think increased reliance on a revised bogging rule offers the most alignment to infantry shooting while leveraging thinking from Hit The Dirt.