The following rules cover both Tactical Air Support (TacAir) and helicopter support in Fogo Cruzado, my variant of Crossfire for the Portuguese Colonial War. Only the Portuguese can use aircraft. Air support may be detailed as part of a scenario and/or requested during the course of a game. I admit these rules are a bit rough.
Around 2000 Barrie Lovell published, on the Grunt! website, a tip for adding undergrowth to Crossfire / Incoming! bases. Barrie dyes sisal string and uses this as vegetation. Since Grunt! has disappeared I thought I’d republish the article here. Barrie had in mind Vietnam / Incoming! and World War 2 / Crossfire. But this is a good technique for the Portuguese Colonial War / Fogo Cruzado.
The Portuguese Light Infantry (Caçadores) were the mainstay of the government forces in the Portuguese Colonial War. Unfortunately their quality varied enormously with the ability of the officers largely influencing the quality of the troops. Both infantry and artillery were organised into temporary Caçadore battalions for service in Africa. Must have been a shock for the specialists who suddenly became riflemen. So far I have a single combat group (i.e. platoon) of Caçadores. More will come.
The Special Groups (Grupos Especiais or GE) were African para-military formations raised in Angola and Mozambique during the Portuguese Colonial War. They had a distinctive black uniform with a colourful beret. The GE were so successful that, in Mozambique, the Portuguese recruited a battalion of Paratrooper Special Groups (Grupos Especiais Pára-quedistas or GEP) from the GE. I have one unit that, with yellow berets, can do double duty as a GE or GEP combat group.
John Cann published “Flight Plan Africa” in 2015. If you are interested in Airpower in Counterinsurgency, particularly the Portuguese experiences in 1961-1974, then get this book. I’ve taken a few notes, mostly quotes of bits I found interesting. To liven it up a bit I’ve included photos from other sources.
I have blogged before about my figures for the Portuguese Colonial War but they were on on individual bases. Now I have rebased for Fogo Cruzado – my period specific variant of Crossfire. That means each base is a fire team. I had to expand the numbers considerably. This week features my commando combat group.
2013 was a great year for books in English on the Portuguese Colonial War. One of them was John P Cann’s book on the Flechas (Arrows), a specialist indigenous unit fighting for the Portuguese in Angola and later in Mozambique. The book is part of the AFRICA@WAR Series. What a find! I took a few notes.
I grab English Language books on the Portuguese Colonial War any time I see them. Mostly they are second hand so imagine my surprise to find a book called “Portugal’s War in Angola 1961-1974” in Foyle’s, my favourite bookstore in the centre of London.
The author, W. S. Van der Waals, is interesting because he had personal experience of Angola during the Portuguese Colonial War. He is a South African combat officer who served as military liaison with the Portuguese authorities in Angola during the war. He also connected to Angola later, during the subsequent Angolan Civil War, when he trained UNITA forces in conventional warfare. And unlike many South Africans VAn der Waals learnt Portuguese. All of which gives him a unique insight into the Portuguese Colonial War.
I’ve taken a few notes from the book to incorporate into my wider material.
My problem is figuring out how to wargame the the common Combat Missions in the Portuguese Colonial War when using Crossfire. Combat missions of a insurgency are different to conventional warfare such as World War II. So, as a step forward I thought I’d jot down my thoughts about these challenges. I’m not trying to solve those problems just articulate them clearly. These problems are probably present in other game systems but the initiative system, with the potential for infinite movement and repeated firing, makes some of these problems more acute in Crossfire.
Although I’ll focus on the Portuguese Colonial War these observations are also relevant for partizan warfare in WW2.