Since becoming President of the West coast Southwest chapter of HMGS/PSW much of my time that would have been devoted to updating or just adding to this site has been used for HMGS/PSW business and getting ready for the up coming convention. My main Wargaming buddy Steve Gausche and I did after a long absence get out our 20mm WWII stuff and have a battle! For many years we have used rules that were written by myself and others based off of Steve Lorenz’s Panzer War. They were/are quite good, fun, and give good historically believable results. They are fairly detailed and large games can lead to 5 hour games….. Something we are not as comfortable with now as when we were younger and had more time to spare. Also not playing WWII as frequently as we used to leads to us having to spend a lot of time looking stuff up (yes writing the rules does not mean you know them by heart) and that was not much fun. So this coupled with the fact that I had for a long time wanted to find a simpler rule set that would allow me to game WWII at conventions and at our local club (the Bengal Club) like I used to faster with less fuss. Convention games NEED to be simple and fast to be fun for participants!
I have many sets of WWII rules sitting on my shelf, some read, some played, and others just there! One of the rule sets is Crossfire a small by WWII standards set of rules that I had played over 10 years ago at a convention and hated! Of course I did not understand the concept, and the guy running it did not help much outside of letting me know is was being wiped out. So the rules sat on the shelf…. Most rules have about a 2 year life where they are “the in thing” and then replaced unless they are really good and then 5 years or so. Well it had been over 10 years and I was still hearing about them and searching the web I found lots of really devoted players and the same basic rules were still in effect! This made me decide to give them a try on my own table.
Steve and I set up a small battle of a company of German regulars with support from a mortar and PZ IV-H defended a small French town of 6 buildings some larger light industrial builds among them. We laid down plenty of terrain per the rules and Steve set up his defense. My forces consisted of a reinforced platoon of American regulars, 4 squads, HMG, mortar, and M-36 tank destroyer. Not a lot in my opinion for the attack.
I deployed out of site of Steve’s forces and having the initiative moved out using cover I pushed two squads forward and one of them came into his troops line of sight (LOS) and he used reactive fire to suppress them losing me the initiative. The initiative passing to Steve he proceeded to use group firing to nearly wipe out my platoon in the woods. Quite a wake up for me but when you think about it, it worked. I was silly enough to move the entire unit up into the area where he could bring several units to bear on me and he rolled well, my troops were pinned, suppressed, could not return effective fire and then killed. Now killed is a subjective term, many would argue that the results of two whole squads killed that quick (how quick??? There is no time scale so the fire fight might have been 2 minutes or 22 minutes) but “killed” in the game as I see it means really reduced in combat effectiveness to a point they no longer play a part in the action due to wounds, morale, exhaustion, and actual KIA’s. Works for me and it was fast in game time!
Steve then used the rest of his initiative to move a squad into a flank position to my left and then passed initiative to me. I pulled my troops back and swung my M-36 around the edge of the field where it could engage some of his firing troops that had just caused so much damage. My tank suppressed his one squad allowing my two other platoons to move up into position with out taking reactive fire. So far these rules were allowing the same type of maneuver and producing believable results like our own rules but with much less work and much faster! Steve then advanced his Mark IV onto the road hoping to engage my platoon now starting to engage his most forward squads, and my M-36 called reactive fire, scratch one German tank.
I used two of my mortar 3 fire missions to lay smoke into a gap in cover allowing my right flank platoons and M-36 to move around his flank and form up behind some woods. My M-36 then poked his head out around the factory building to support my 2 squads move into the factory.
Bad move! A Panzer Faust from one of the nearby buildings stopped the M-36 dead, a heap of flaming wreckage. Steve then pulled back his platoon that had take up the blocking position on my left flank in order to counter the threat I was massing on his other flank. This was somewhat of a mistake as it allowed me to move into his position and engage another squad at near even odds. The dice went in my favor there and I moved up again so that now I had 3 platoons attacking his last bunker building containing his CC, 1st Platoon and HMG. While my one squad on the left with my CC, 2nd platoon, and my HMG, held and threatened his center I launched my attack with the other two platoons in the Factory complex. Slightly better die roles on my part and the fact that I could switch my firing from one platoon to the other undamaged platoon was telling on Steve’s defenders. His HMG was positioned to cover his front where my 2nd platoon, CC, and HMG were waiting behind a building for the right moment and could not move with out provoking relative fire from me. Several good shots from me suppressed 2 out of his three squads and after rolling off my “pinned” results moved my 1st squad into close combat! Assaulting the building. This was too much for Steve’s Suppressed squads although his Company Commander went down fighting causing a “kill” on of my assaulting squads. This ended the battle as his last platoon pulled back out of his position in the woods and the town belonged to the GI’s.
We played this battle in about four plus hours, but that was using rules and concepts that were in the beginning totally alien to us! The basic rules were learned in just a short time and we spent the rest of the bulk of the time digging around through the rest of the vehicle, building, close combat, indirect rules, and other stuff. We have a good handle on the rules after just one game and I think another replay of the same scenario could be done in 2 hours. We both liked the rules, simple, elegant, and get you to the same conclusions without all the work. This leaves a lot more time to concentrate on maneuver and fighting the battle! I can’t wait to try these again!