Thursday, 23 March 2017

Great War Crossfire

The empty field (lower left-hand corner) had contained a
German platoon. Despite eliminating this, the British
platoon (lower centre) was beginning to lose the firefight
with the German platoon in the copse on the left edge.
Many of you will know Robert Dunlop from his contribution to the Great War Spearhead rules and scenario books and his extremely well-informed forum postings on WW1 topics. It was thus a pleasure and privilege to welcome him to my local wargames club and to play a WW1 Crossfire game which he organised.

Robert has recently been quoting chapter and verse on the Yahoo Crossfire group about low level training and actions during WW1 - the level that Crossfire represents - so I was keen to see how a WW1 game would work with these WW2 rules.

The game was a meeting battle, a common occurrence in northern France in the early days of WW1 during the Race to the Sea. Robert posted an eloquent account of the game in the Crossfire Yahoo Group placing it in historical context.

The absence of smoke and the relative scarcity of HMGs made this a significantly different style of game to the WW2  ones I've played but the rules worked equally well.

Plenty of reserves but nowhere to send them except into
the German meat-grinder. Miniatures are 15mm Peter
Pig and Minifigs.
The game has rekindled my interest in doing some 1914 armies, but I once again find myself spoilt for choice. For Crossfire armies, which are small and predominantly infantry, I would normally go for 15mm figures, but for early WW1 I am very attracted to the superb 12mm Kallistra ranges. But the armies might also be used for Square BashingBloody Big Battles! and/or Great War Spearhead which all require relatively large numbers of bases, so 6mm Baccus figures might be a better option.


  1. Kallistra also do their own hex based rules - free download.

  2. Have you played any of the Kallistra rules?

  3. No, though I have the medieval set and army lists. I get the impression that both these and the WWI set have been very well playtested and at each show that I have attended, Kallistra have usually had a demo game of the Marne in front of their stand.

  4. Interesting that the rules would be suitable for 1914. I'd assumed that linear tactics were still being favoured by the Germans. Obviously I can see how it would be fine for the last 100 days in 1918.



  5. I believe some revisionism is called for. Robert referred me to this account of German small unit tactics in 1914:

    It mentions "The company bounded forward by platoons and sections."

    1. Thanks for the link. Makes for interesting reeading, it's hard to argue with a primary source like that.



    2. Robert has many other sources relating to doctrine, training and practice which build a very different picture.