RIVER scenario map

This a sort of mini Market Garden-type scenario.

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

As with near enough any Crossfire game, there should be plenty 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 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 the home side of the river. Ideally, these vehicles should not be turreted tanks. On the home side of the river, are the defender's mortars, on table. FOs may all be hidden.

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.

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 I find that 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 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 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, which his player must decide on before the game start.

Here we see a table set up for the playing of this game. For a lark, on this occasion I used a very long narrow table. In this play-through, the paras at the near end of the table got a thorough beating, and the advancing column of tanks (Shermans this time) had a tough time advancing against the panzerfausts of the defenders. We played that the field either side of the roads were boggy and liable to cause tanks to get stuck. We used my house rules in which tanks get more than one move action, and panzerfausts have very short range, and this gave what I considered to be very realistic results. The Germans couldn't stop a whole column of armour, but they made the tanks and their escorting infantry fight for every yard.


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