"CROSSFIRE is a unique set of rules for World War II company level wargaming written by Arty Conliffe and published by Quantum Printing in 1996. On this website you will find lists of CROSSFIRE websites, FAQ links, hints & strategies, as well as information regarding the CROSSFIRE supplement book 'Hit The Dirt'."

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The River Crossing

Pegasus Bridge? Normandy 1944.

Pegasus Bridge? Normandy 1944.

The board is rectangular. Across the centre width-ways, is a canal or straight section of river, dividing the table into two “square” halves. In the centre of the board is a bridge crossing the water.

This a sort of Market Garden or Pegasus Bridge type scenario.

The defender has regular troops. He has two or three companies of these, depending on the strength of his vehicles. He may deploy BOTH sides of the water, and half his forces may be hidden. He has some decent anti-tank guns, which may be deployed hidden. He also has a number of other vehicles (SPGs, armoured cars, prime movers etc.) which are on his home side of the river. Ideally, these vehicles should not be turreted tanks. On his home side of the river, are the defender’s mortars, on-table. FOs may all be hidden.

As with near enough any Crossfire game, there should be LOTS of cover.

I had lots of buildings on both sides of the river, pillboxes protecting the bridge, and a fair amount of wire and anti-tank obstacles, as well as the usual scattering of woods, fields, walls, hills, and rough ground. The wire and obstacles should be mainly on the attacker’s home side of the table. The bridge and road are assumed to be used by the defending side, so may not be blocked solid with obstacles or mines.

The attacker has two companies of veteran troops (paras would be especially suitable), with no vehicles and few support weapons (one mortar per company max, one HEAT weapon per platoon max) which may come on from one or two (no more) places (perhaps one-foot sections, or defined by one or two terrain features) on the edge of the defender’s home side of the water. The attacker may find that simply getting all his forces on the board at this end of the table proves difficult (remember: the defender may have placed units, perhaps hidden, within sight of the edge of the board where the attackers are trying to come on). At first it may seem impossible, but eventually a breakthrough is made and the troops rush on, though early casualties may be high.

The attacker also has a company of regulars and a few light vehicles (scout cars, light tanks), and a significant number of decently heavy tanks (I was using Churchills). These may come on to the board from the end edge of the attacker’s home side. This edge should have a road leading from it to the bridge, preferably not straight, and perhaps with walls lining some of it. The heavy tanks arrive on the road, but may leave it once on the board. If there are many sections of wire and the like (you could add mines, but I did without them), then the attacker should also have some engineers with his regulars.

The attacker must get as many of his heavy tanks across the board as he can. The more of his tanks he gets across, the greater his victory. However, if he uses his tanks to smash through to the bridge, then he risks losing some of them, and thus risks failure or a lesser victory. If he keeps his tanks back too long, then the unsupported paras at the far end of the table may start to take too much of a beating, especially as the defender can reinforce that end of the table from the other. The one company of regulars must locate all the threats as far as the bridge as quickly as possible, but if all the initiative is used up in this endeavour, then the paras may again take a beating.

It is assumed that the commander of the paras has a flare pistol with a couple of different flare colours as ammo. With this he can signal “Far end of bridge secure – advance tanks now” and one other pre-arranged message.

Since the defending forces are not expecting the attack, they have not got front-line vehicles such as heavy tanks, but do have defensive tank-killing equipment. Also, the bridge has not been prepared for demolition.

Nikolas Lloyd