Saturday, January 28, 2017

WWII CROSSFIRE MADNESS: Russian Scouts & Mac's Missions

Dave came over Friday evening for some gaming and I thought it would be a great opportunity to test out a scenario from "Steven's Balagan" blog which has a ton of Crossfire (and other gaming) resources.

The scenario I planned was a small one, Steven's own "Russian Scouts" scenario which we played, originally thinking it would take the entire night.  This scenario is, I believe, inspired by the "Recon before Pontecorvo" scenario in "Hit the Dirt" and is a different scenario in that both sides have some considerably more difficult missions, rather than capture an objective or kill every living thing on the table.

The Soviets must spot German positions (so there is incentive for the Germans to remain hidden) and get to the other side of the table, while the Germans must prevent this, kill Soviets, and prevent them from spotting the main German defensive positions (the main line of resistance).  It's really an outstanding scenario but if anyone could screw something up, I can!

view from the Soviet side.  I think as the scenario designer intended, the hill was definitely "key terrain"
 Dave placed his heavy weapons sections along the 2 high speed avenues of approach that both intersected at the water tower and had a clear view into most of the lower terrain features on the table.  Big trouble for the would-be Soviet player (yours truly).  They would cause lots and lots of casualties for me for this game.

The whole table

The Soviet recon force moving out, working their way up both flanks
 My Soviet plan is to send a large force up the right and a smaller force skirting the collective farm on the left.  Dave has a platoon in the collective farm who cut into my flank but luckily I left an HMG section at the line of departure and they spoil Dave's initial plan but he has quite a few more aces up his sleeve as i'm to find out...

Ace up the sleeve #1  German HMG starts hammering my troops in the open
 Dave also skillfully makes use of Reactive Fire by allowing my first squad to reach their destination before opening fire on the second squad as it moves.  He did this throughout the game to good effect and it scatters my platoons.

Dave's counter attack in the village is stopped by the HMG of mine in the woodline at the Soviet startline.
 By this time in the game, Dave still has 2 platoons out there "somewhere" and I'm nowhere closer to spotting the bunker or the positions.  Additionally, I've got numerous squads down and in big trouble.  Meanwhile Dave's HMG barrels are red hot!

Note all the german forces still not deployed in the lower left of the pic.

Wife captured this brilliant pic which pretty much sums up the game. Me scheming a way to kill Dave's HMGs.  I didn't use smoke at all which was my first big mistake. 
 The Soviet FO sneaks up into position and starts calling in the 82mm mortars onto the German HMGs at the water tower but they don't hit anything.

I manage to score 1 kill in the entire scenario.  Hence the picture of the Soviet box cars...
 We counted up the victory points in the scenario and Dave wins by a whopping 42 points to my mere 8 points.  I moved no single squads off the board, spotted zero German positions, and pretty much lost every squad I had, save for one and some support stands.  I had a blast!!!

Dave rallies the Germans in the collective farm and wipes out my left platoon.

Meanwhile my right platoons are all pinned, suppressed, and eventually KO'd
 The Russian scouts scenario was over so fast, we decided to try another Crossfire game, using the exact same forces but using "Mac's Missions V2 Revised Pick Up Games for Crossfire"

 I have to say that this game was a TON of fun.  I drew the "dig in" mission order, and Dave drew the "advance" mission order - PERFECT!  We ended up switch the starting positions 90 degrees.
Soviet positions facing the German positions.
 My plan is to draw Dave  in then launch brutal counterattacks.  I get victory points for having people still alive in my rear area.  Dave needs to have people in the Soviet rear area for victory points.

Soviet counterattack force

I was going to move these guys back, but Dave's cursed HMG is back!
 Things get "stuck in" on the Soviet left and a big firefight breaks out.  Dave's HMG gets suppressed and his Company Commander, under brutal fire, moves all the way over to the German right flank to rally them.  It's crazy and epic!  I pin or suppress the CC, then he rallies, then he's pinned, you get the idea.  This is the stuff of movies!

 Anyways, with the attached HMG, things eventually go Dave's way and my left platoon is KO'd.  My mortar FO can't get into a good position to bring down fire and Dave can advance pretty much unimpeded.

Dave launches a significant attack into the Soviet rear area on my left his right but since I have no flank guard, what's standing in his way?  my mortar section, an HMG section, and the company command stand.....all of whom have a really rough time fighting as they're overrun.

The kommissar gets on the radio and promised Ivanovsky, the company commander, that if he can hold off the German blitz long enough, he'll arrange for a commuted sentence at his court martial, and if he can actually kill a German squad in Close Combat, the Order of Lenin!

Ivanovsky is killed quickly as his command post is overrun by screaming Germans.  A sharp firefight breaks out and the pick up games' turn clock hits 70 and that's a wrap.  David counts up his points and I count up mine.  David's assault ripped through my rear area and he scores a total of 36 points to my Soviet 38 points (Soviet platoons are more expensive than German ones in the Crossfire rulebook - which is silly in this instance because David's force was clearly successful but Soviet platoons have 4 squads to the German 3).

Dave's troops in the Soviet rear area

The FO, not long for this world, has the green die next to him to track firemissions.  The Red and White dice are to track the 50mm mortar missions.

Thumbs Up!


sharp firefight breaks out with my Soviet counterattack force

Soviet NO FIRE marker

Gratuitous shot of the table

Dave's sniper skulking into position

Dave's other sniper

Anyone who reads my blog knows how much I absolutely love CROSSFIRE.  It's one of the few games that captures the tension, and see saw action of a close up infantry fight  I'm keen to try Steven's Armor rules which enhance Crossfire's suitability for bigger battles.

From these 2 games, one feature I loved was the moving clock.  So whenever the Germans won the initiative in the first game, we rolled a D6 and on a 4+ the time advanced 30 minutes.  We started at 0300 hours, and ended at 0830 hours.  So the time clock adds some considerable tension.  For the pick up game from "Mac's Missions" we used the D6 roll at the end of each initiative and when we reached 70 from the rolls, the game ends.

The idea that there is a variable ending and you never know when it's going to be, but you have a rough idea, is a really exciting feature that adds a new consideration and tension to Crossfire battles.

Even though I lost the recon scenario and probably shouldn't have won the Pick Up game, I still had a blast and I suspect Dave did as well.

Crossfire also scores big points for simplicity as we consulted the rules literally twice the whole game and used the QRS maybe a handful of times.

I will continue to play Crossfire games and continue to build up my forces and terrain to play more Crossfire battles.  A great and exciting set of games for Friday night gaming!  Mission Accomplished!


  1. Great post and reminds me that I still have Crossfire on the 'to do' list.
    I have never played it, believe it or not. Must get this sorted, as the post reads really well, and I know there are mechanisms in the game I will love.
    The table looks great, and good to see that your wife has captured you on film during that 'command decision' moment :)

    1. Cheers Darren. This game is one of my absolute favorites as the decisions I'm making are not gamey, they're on-par with the decisions a company commander has to make when preparing the plan for an assault or defense.

      I love how Crossfire puts you into those shoes and you pay a heavy price for bad decisions. The mechanisms for initiative switching are genius. I want to try the special home-brewed armor rules in "Steven's Balagan" for even larger battles.

      Yes the Mrs was down there snapping pictures of my epic defeats! At least she didn't capture me making "knife hand" gestures at my or Dave's troops! :)

      I have a feeling when you play CF, you will immediately see its potential for both Vietnam, Arab Israeli, and quite possibly even Falklands games.

      Also - check out Matakishi's Tea House (I believe linked on this blog as well) for more ww2 and modern Crossfire inspiration.

  2. Great stuff- thanks for such a good game report. Must move 'revisiting crossfire' higher up my to-do list.



    1. Thanks for stopping by Pete. Crossfire really shows its strengths in the pre game planning and executionof that plan where my considerations center around where the best cover is to support my advance, best possibke locations for the enemy, and the location of the enemy's weapons. Exact same thing a real coy commander would focus on.

  3. Great report...with such great enthusiasm! Cool!

    1. Thanks Nick glad you enjoyed it and i hope my enthusiasm is contagious!

  4. Steve,

    Your table is looking fantastic! I love the water tower, and I just picked up some rugs to make fields out of (the astroturf and the 'wheat' welcome mat). Looked like the Soviets had a rough go in both fights; kind of surprising about the points in the second fight.

    I'm almost ready to get started. I was reading on the t'internet another interesting way of 'doing' Crossfire: rather than hidden deployment for attack-defense scenarios, both sides start on their own table edge, nothing hidden. This simulates the attacker crossing the LOD, entering the battle area, and the defender being wrong-footed by the attacker and/or the confusion caused by preparatory fires. Doesn't really work with prepared defensive positions like trenches and bunkers I guess, but I'm looking to try it as another means to ensure plenty of maneuver.


    1. Thanks Jack im going to try to "up my game" this year with terrain and that starts with my table.

      That sounds like a good way to play. When you start with everyone on the table the action heats up pretty quick and the fighting gets brutal. I love it! I think ill give that a shot.

      Need to buy some more terrain features. Im thinking if picking up carpet floor tiles for out of season fields.

    2. Steve,

      I know what you mean, I've been working hard (okay not working, but spending a lot of money) to get my table looking better. Part of it is wanting the table to look better, and part of it wanting to spend money on wargaming stuff, but realizing I already have more troops than I could ever use!

      I just posted a batrep for a test game of Crossfire my son and I played today. It didn't go quite as well as expected, I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've got time. I don't want to overreact, but I can't say I'm not a bit concerned...


    3. Hey Jack thats a pretty common issue with the rules and i commented a little more on your blog but i would say a few things:

      Try the turn clock.
      Add a few platoons or support weapons.
      Try some heavy artillery.

      Failing those, ill help you pick a new rules set!

      (By the way, the Neil Thomas WW2 rules in his Wargaming: An Introduction are awesome and i think perfect for kids. Great toy soldier feel to them if CF doesnt work out. )

      By the way your table looks awesome!

  5. I can never get enough Crossfire :)