Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Normandy Orchards – 15mm Crossfire game

View from the US side: Americans occupy the
fields and woods (nearside), the Germans are
holding the bocage and village (far side)
The excellent Crossfire games  put on at the recent SELWG show by Martin Groat, Steven Thomas and friends reinvigorated my interest in wargaming in general and CF in particular.

Although my main immediate CF project is the 'Crossfiregrad' scenery makeover  (more anon), I thought I'd give my Normandy game an outing. As it happened two new club members fancied giving it a go, so we had two teams of two, each consisting of novice and veteran. CF is essentially a 2-player game, but we are used to taking a 'committee approach'.

The scenario was untested and of no particular distinction or novelty, but it served well enough as an introduction for the new players and the game seems to have been enjoyed by all. It featured a US attack in battalion strength on a German company. The TOEs were as in the book with the Americans rated as Green and the Germans as Regular, but the Americans were reinforced by a platoon of Assault Engineers (Regular) which was just as well for them. The US side also enjoyed virtually unlimited mortar rounds but the Germans were more restricted. The disparity in numbers was partly to demonstrate that numbers aren't so important in CF, but they do count if used properly.

The battlefield measured 3' x 3' using nine cork floor tiles. As I wanted to keep things straightforward and 'apparent', we didn't use hidden placement, but by way of compensation the American attackers deployed first (in the nearest three tiles). The Germans then deployed in the bocage and village and the Americans began the game with the Initiative.

I was on the American side. We deployed two companies on table and left one company, the engineers and the battalion assets in reserve.

View from the flank: Germans (left), Americans
As the scenery and the German deployment was fairly symmetrical, we made an arbitrary choice to probe forward on the right flank. An initial assault, rash and premature, was wiped out, mea culpa, but enjoying superior numbers we just brought up fresh platoons, including the Assault Engineers, to replace those pinned or depleted.  In this way we won the firefight and what was left on the German left flank pulled back to the road.

We then moved up a heavy mortar observer (always risky because of Reactive fire) and some independent HMGs and these wiped out the German left flank in short order. The Germans meanwhile mounted local counterattacks on their right flank and in the centre which was just the sort of thing they would have done historically and these counterattacks did a lot of damage.

Time was passing and the moment of decision had come, so we sent the engineers forward to the furthest field (back right-hand corner in the heading picture) and successfully assaulted the nearest building from the flank. As buildings are limited to two squads in vanilla CF, they are not necessarily the strongpoints that they might appear to be. Although this didn't strictly fulfil the victory conditions, German morale crumbled at this point and the game was conceded.

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