Friday, June 1, 2012

Al Amarah 2009 - Clearing the 'burbs with Modern Crossfire!

Played a fictitious battle of an actual operation to sweep Al Amarah, Iraq and interdict Iranian support to the Shia militias.  This battle portrays joint elements of 4-1 Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division and an un-named Striker Brigade operating in the desert of Southern Iraq.  Missing are the Iraqi Army and Police units but seeing as how most of the action was centered on the Americans, I just gamed that.

This battle has an American force moving into the northern part of Amarah to seize "martyr's square" a park area where they will set up operations and hold any detainees.  The main objective of the op however is to seize the small "government building" and hold it from the Mahdi Militia.

Make no mistake about it - this was high intensity combat and the US took alot of casualties before declaring northern Amarah "secured."
Squad of American Infantry waiting to move into Al Amarah.  I gave  fireteams 4 fire dice and with the M203 GL, American fireteams ignore all but the hardest cover modifiers.

also, a departure from regular Crossfire - I added M249 and PK or RPK squad automatic weapons modifiers to the mix, giving them extra chances in close combat.

Another American squad on the rooftop to provide overwatch.

A Bradley getting into position to support the advance.  there is a fireteam inside I kind of forgot about...

Striker moves up to support Troops in Contact!  This was a joint op between a unit of a Striker Brigade Combat Team and a Heavy Brigade with Bradleys - hence the reason you see them on the same battlefield!  (okay okay, also the palm trees are coconut palms for all of you with OCD...)
At this point, an American fireteam on the left side of the road moves up to the first building and is ambushed by a small insurgent fireteam inside who miraculously wins the close combat and eliminates the fireteam hence the Striker moving up the road to support.  At the same time, a large, heavily armed militia team emerges on the "Government Building" and opens fire.  The battle begins for real at this point and the US Platoon Leader  is screaming for help from his vehicles...
Militia fireteam.  Note the PK dudes.  I gave this team the ability to ignore some cover modifiers since they are armed to the teeth also.

Winners of the first close combat fight.  Note the team on the building in the background-left. 

In this game I added a unique rule - with modern radios and comm abilities, Regulars could roll a 4+ on a 1D6 and form Crossfires with units across the battlefield from them, provided they had line of sight.  You see the fruits of that rule here with these terrorist assholes suppressed...

Troops in contact.  There was attack aviation present during the real operation.

Mahdi reinforcements moving in.

The terrorist ride.

This operation is proving alot tougher than the Americans originally thought, with 1 squad (2 x fireteams) non mission capable.  The Americans bring in the heavy firepower and move their Bradley up to the road from behind cover.  
Another interesting rule I added was use of the Bradley's main gun.  I had to roll for approval to use it.  If approval was not forthcoming, I used the 7.62mm coaxial machine gun instead.  Again the brad's gun ignored all but the toughest cover and I gave it 5 dice to use against dismounted targets.

Note the striker up the road engaging targets on the roof.  While I desperately needed dismounts to sweep the buildings, it was way too dangerous to dismount them in the middle of the road in this heavy fire.

Finally the Striker makes it up to the building to dismount the infantry - who are immediately pinned down!
 Eventually I wrestled control of the Government building back in heavy fighting and with one epic crossfire that involved my vehicles and dismounts.  ( I allowed the use of vehicle/troop crossfires if I rolled high enough to form a crossfire)
Mahdi fireteam pinned on the road.

Mopping up operations.  The Platoon Command Group along with  an LMG  are pinned in the road , ironically by the Mahdi command team using an Al-Jaleel Commando Mortar and PKM.  Note the Bradley in "Martyr's Park" commencing the mopping up operations.  Thank Goodness for dismounts because I'd have practically no infantry left!

Fireteam in Martyr's park, shooting at the Mahdi command element.

Mahdi Command Group bugging out!
This was a hard-fought battle and while the Americans did occupy the objectives at the end of the game, I'm not sure the platoon is even close to combat worthy.  The militia put up a good fight and knew when to mass their fires.

SEND OUT THE TANKS: Here's a tip for combined arms in Crossfire - use your AFV's to head out first.  Moving the infantry forward when the vehicles weren't in position to support was a fool's errand.  I lost 2 fireteams to enemy fire before the vehicles were in a position to use those beautiful .50 cals or M240s!

IF YOU'RE THE "WESTERN" PLAYER, USE RECON BY FIRE: If your squad has the burden of attack and you have no need to stay hidden, recon by fire is an excellent way to legitimize opening fire on the muhj bastards.  You'll get them to reveal themselves, at which time you can "atomize" them with your superior firepower.

IF YOU'RE FACING REGULAR OR VETERAN TROOPS, ADJUST YOUR PLAN ACCORDINGLY: I gave these "Sadrists" a rating of Regular, which in my opinion is a high honor for insurgent cadres but represents a group of men who have either been in battle with western regulars or have trained with men who have.  They actually rally quite quickly from Suppression and Pinned and if you're counting on that suppressed team to stay suppressed while you calmly move your troops into position, you could be mistaken...

Final thoughts?  well everyone who reads my blog knows I love Crossfire.  I also love that it's so adaptable to a modern setting without losing the flavor of the game.  You can easily assign firepower values to teams without tipping the scales.  Even though Western Armies are lavishly equipped and trained to a high standard, the AIF (anti iraqi forces) were able to give them a tough fight by task-organizing properly and having the discipline to either stay in position and keep shooting, or to remain hidden long enough to defeat follow-on US forces.

For the next round, I'll include rules for RPG fire against US vehicles, as well as US bunker-busting medium anti-armor weapons, snipers, Improvised Explosive Devices, Explosively Formed Penetrators, Attack Aviation Rules, Artillery, and precision guided munitions.

I think the Rules of Engagement rule worked out well and not allowing me to use the Bradley's chain gun without 1D6 approval put a nice restriction on the US player.   Huzzah!

PS I'll also snip the coconuts off the trees for all you rivet-counters!


  1. Great report, and a fantastic use of the Crossfire mechanics.

    Regarding Rules of Engagement - wouldn't that contradict recon by fire in a built up area?

  2. Thanks! Yes RBF would most likely contradict the ROE - when the insurgents were in buildings. However I think the rules could be used sparingly with palm groves or other light, protective cover?

    You bring up an excellent point. I think next time I'll have even more restrictive ROE as this time around I only forbade the use of vehicle main guns without a permission roll.

  3. Very cool. How do you manage the platoon "cohesion" when they are individually based? Is it just a matter of "these three figures have to be x amount close to each other"?


  4. Thanks Gowan

    @ Nick - I will use 3 Soldiers for a fireteam (just because I don't have that many painted up to make a proper platoon with 4 man fireteams).

    You are correct sir - as long as there was at most 1 inch between troops then I satisfied cohesion requirements. You'll notice some of my fireteams were only 2 Soldiers and that also was due to the amount of troops I had and not because of a unique mechanic in the game.

    Thanks for posting guys. Tune in often!


  5. Thanks for sharing. Its nice to see some more new modern stuff from you, your figures and vehicles look great.

  6. Thanks, Ben. I had a blast with playing this game too. I need to get some more guys painted up to do a proper Fallujah, Iraq battle, then finish my Russians for my "Modern Warfare 2 - Invasion USA" Scenario, which should be pretty awesome. Thanks for commenting,


  7. Hi, what is the difference between Crossfire WWII and Modern Crossfire?


    1. Hi Roby,
      Please see this post:

      This has my "recipe" for modern crossfire conversions.



  8. Steve:
    Just came across your blog. Loved the BatRep. I am going to start doing a solitaire version on my computer using a VTT (Virtual Table Top) called Roll20. I keep you up on the details if you would like. My email is -

    Dale Himebaugh