Challenges of Insurgent Warfare for Crossfire

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My Portuguese Colonial War project has stalled. I’ve got the forces for both insurgents and Portuguese security forces. I’ve got palms for jungle. I should be ready to game but instead I’ve stalled.

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.

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Portuguese Panhard AML-60 Armoured Car

The Portuguese used a variety of equipment, both foreign and local made, during the Portuguese Colonial War and n the mid-1960s the Portuguese acquired a batch of Panhard AML-60 Armoured Cars for their reconnaissance squadrons. These vehicles have a mortar as the main armament, an unusual weapon for an armoured car, so I thought I’d do some research on them.

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Al J Venter on the Portuguese Colonial War

I’ve just got all the books by Al J. Venter I could find … at least those related the Portuguese Colonial War. Al Venter is unique – a journalist, with military experience himself, willing to go into the combat zone with the Portuguese security forces, who then wrote about his experiences. The result is a set of books with rich descriptions of real life conditions in the field in Africa during the 1960s and 1970s.

These books are not general histories. For an overview of the war you’ll have to look else where. They are first hand accounts of the war from the Portuguese stand point by an informed but independent observer.

I thought I’d type up my notes for all of Al’s books in one place.

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Animal Blinds: Ghosts in the African Darkness

For the Portuguese Colonial War – set in Africa – I used Wild Animals as my Blinds. Lion, Tiger, Giraffe, Rhino, Croc, African Cow, Hippo, Ostrich, Antelope, Warthog, Hyena and Ape on a tree. This is also a nod to the movie “Ghosts in the Darkness” where some supposedly supernatural lions kills a whole bunch of people in southern Africa.

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Unit IDs: How I distinguish my Portuguese Colonial War units

I’m still debating what rules to use for the Portuguese Colonial War but I am likely to start with something from Two Hour Wargames or Two Page Skirmish Rules. Both of which use individual based figures with individual characteristics. Because of that I have uniquely identified each figure with a label similar to those I use for Battalion Code in my Crossfire Unit IDs.

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Crossfire Order of Battle for the Portuguese Colonial War

Portuguese Commando Combat Group 02

These are the orders of battle for Fogo Cruzado my Crossfire variant of for the Portuguese Colonial War of the 1960s and 1970s. They are based on the historical orders of battle. As Fogo Cruzado is more or less 1:1 scale the basic stand is a Fire Team rather than a Squad. Similarly heavier weapons such as Medium Machine Guns (MMG) are individual weapons rather than sections of 2 or 3.

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Musing on fieldCraft, concealment, and tracking in Fogo Cruzado

Bushman Tracker

Fieldcraft, concealment, and tracking were major features of African conflicts. So I though I’d see what that could look like in Fogo Cruzado, my Crossfire variant for the Portuguese Colonial War. The rules are quite complicated and I’m not sure they would survive play testing. None-the-less they provide a starting point. At some point these rules might return to my Fogo Cruzado: Crossfire House Rules for the Portuguese Colonial War or, more likely, appear as a special rule for a specific scenario perhaps “Patrol” or “Search and Destroy”.

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