Close Combat in Buildings and Building Structures can sometimes be a little perplexing for players new to Crossfire. This page attempts to outline the process in clear logical steps to help walk the new player though the mechanics. While it may appear complex at first it is in fact relatively simple and will become second nature after a few combats.
In Crossfire, an individual building is generally intended to represent a single small to medium size dwelling or similar. It might also occasionally represent a small complex of 2-3 small buildings (like a small Eastern-European farmhouse with attached barn). As a rough guide, the playing area occupied is roughly about the same as what 4-6 squads would occupy.
Occasionally there will be exceptionally large buildings (such as the tractor factory in Stalingrad, or a row of adjoining terraced houses) – these are known as building complexes, and are treated as multiple ‘buildings’ with some special considerations (see page 6, Section 4.4.1a of the rulebook).
Other ‘structures’ (such as pillboxes or bunkers) are treated exactly the same as buildings with regard to capacity and close combat. To summarise:
- Regardless of whether a ‘building’ or ‘structure’ is a single building, one part of a building complex, or a bunker or pillbox, it will normally hold 2 squads and/or weapons stands, and an unlimited number of PCs, CCs, BCs, FOs & Snipers.
- Occasionally special buildings, structures or hard points may be noted as exceptions by a scenario designer and deemed to only have a capacity of 1 squad (e.g. a small pillbox), or have a capacity of 3 squads (e.g. a large free-standing town house or similar) – however these are special exceptions and are not part the norm for the standard game. Note: buildings or structures (such as a large manor house or farm) should not have a capacity of 4 squads or more, as these should instead be treated as building complexes with each section holding 2 squads as usual.
- Surprise Encounters may occur when attackers enter a structure or building containing hidden unspotted enemy who have not fired. The attackers suffer a combat disadvantage in close combat when surprised.
The Process for Close Combat in Buildings
- The Defender must divide his defending force up into as small groups as possible – essentially every Rifle/SMG* Squad must initially be considered a separate combat or group. Any CCs & BCs may be counted as separate ‘combats’ at this stage if desired by the Defender (but likely a bad idea as the attacker may choose to ‘gang-up’ on them), however they must be if no other Rifle/SMG* Squads are present. Note: as above a normal structure, building (or building complex sector) can ONLY have two squads or weapon stands defending it unless a scenario specifies otherwise that it is a special capacity structure or building.
- Defending Crew Served Weapons stands (HMGs/Guns/Mortars/etc) have the option to each combine with of the one Rifle/SMG* (or CC/BC) Squads (as per normal Close Combat), or they can of course choose to fight individually if the wish (again likely a poor option in most circumstances). A HMG or Crew Served Weapon may only pair with a squad from within its own organisational unit (e.g. a Company HMG stand can only pair with squad’s from the platoon’s or HQ of its own company, not those from the adjacent company). A maximum of one Crew Served Weapons stand may combine with each individual Rifle/SMG/CC/BC* Squad (same as a normal Close Combat). e.g. if 2 HMGs & 1 Rifle Squad defend a building against 4 attackers, 1 HMG may choose to pair with the Rifle Squad the other must fight on its own, or both can choose to fight on their own. Each Rifle/SMG (and/or CC/BC*) Squad with or without any combined Crew Served Weapons is then defined as a defending ‘combat’.
- Finally any defending PCs/FOs (and CCs/BCs not already committed), then pair with any of the defending ‘combats’ above (in the case of CC/BC’s assuming they haven’t already chosen to be a separate combat and/or paired with a Crew Served Weapons Stand already above). These may be paired off in anyway desired with any combat containing at least 1 subordinate stand, and it is usually best to put 1 PC/BC with each defending combat if possible (to provide their modifier to assist the combat). You should put your FO’s in the strongest combat (or pair them off evenly if more than one present to increase chances of survival – FO’s do not fight so suffer the result of the other squads fighting). PCs, CCs, & BCs, must always fight alone if no subordinate troops are present (remember PCs are automatically killed or taken prisoner if fighting alone). It should normally be rare for multiple leaders to be present in most combats typical games.
- The Attacker must then match off his forces to the defending ‘combats’ – he/she must put at least one of his/her Rifle/SMG* (or CC/BC) Squads against every one of the defender’s ‘combat(s)’ that he/she is able to – the attacker can’t deliberately ‘target’ one defending ‘combat’ with multiple squads and leave others unopposed. If the attacker has more Rifle/SMG* squads than defending ‘combats’ the balance can then be placed against the opposing combats in anyway desired. e.g. in an extreme situation an attacker has 5 squads & defender 2 squads; the attacker can put 4 on 1 and then have 1 on 1; or instead do it as evenly as possible and have 3 on 1 and 2 on 1. However, they cannot do one of 5 on 1 and leave the other 0 on 1. Also note that any CC/BC who are have chosen to join the assault will need to pair up against defenders as if a normal Rifle/SMG Squad if there are not already sufficient other Rifle/SMG* Squads attacking to pair up at least one to every defending ‘combat’ (as they fight as normal squads in Close Combat). e.g. a Rifle Squad and a CC assault a building with two SMGs defending, the Rifle will fight one SMG, and the CC will fight the other, as there is no other Rifle/SMG Squad in the attacking force).
- The Attacker then includes any remaining PC/CC/BC to each ‘combat’ subject to them being initially within 1-stand width of the Squad(s) they are joining as per the normal requirement to join a Close Combat (and assuming any CC/BC haven’t already been included as a Squad and paired off with a defenders ‘combat’ as above). A second or subsequent leader may be added to any combats as desired by the attacker, subject to being within 1-stand width of the assault troops contacting the building that they join as normal. Note: as the attacker there is no inherent benefit to adding 2 leaders to the same combat, as long as the one with the highest modifier is added, so this should not normally be a desirable (or even a sensible) action by the attacker.
- Finally, if for any reason the defender has ‘combats’ left with no opponents (e.g. again in an extreme situation an attacker had just 1 squad alone and the defender had 2 squads so attacker couldn’t allocate at least 1 squad to each defending squad or ‘combat’), the defender then reallocates those unpaired Squads/Leaders/Crew Served Weapons to the other combats any way desired. Any of these squads/leaders/crew-served weapons can be allocated to any of the remaining combats as desired by the Defender – but they must all be allocated to an active ‘combat’.
- Each Combat is then resolved as usual. After combat resolution if a second or subsequent round of combat is required (i.e. stands survived from both sides after the combat was resolved within the structure), the entire process starting from Step 1 is repeated afresh.
* Rifle/SMG Squads include Japanese HMG Squads, the rules state the latter do not count as Crew Served Weapon Crews so consequently they also cannot choose to ‘pair’ with another Rifle/SMG Squad in step No.2 below – in game terms they are simply another Rifle/SMG squad for Close Combat purposes that must be allocated as such.
- A structure, building, bunker, pillbox, or hard point does not normally add any benefit to the defender in a close combat unless they have achieved a surprise encounter.
- It only needs one Squad or Crew Served Weapon in any Close Combat (normal or in a structure) to be from a PC’s unit for their bonus to count. e.g. The PC & a Squad from Platoon 1 and a Squad from Platoon 2 attack a defender, the PC bonus counts despite not all the squads being from the PC’s Platoon Number 1, because at least one is.
- A PC can never join any close combat voluntarily that has none of his troops involved (whether in a building or not) so do not leave them defending alone in a structure or building or with non-subordinate troops! CCs & BCs always get their bonus in Close Combat.
- You cannot pair 2 crew served weapons with a single Rifle/SMG* Squad ever (whether a normal close combat or in a structure or building). As mentioned above when pairing a Crew Served Weapon it must be with a Squad from their own organisational unit (e.g. Company HMGs, Guns, etc, with any Rifle/SMG* squad from any platoon of that same Company; and Battalion HQ or Support Company (or attached Regimental/Divisional) HMG, Guns, etc, with any Rifle/SMG* squad of the Battalion…
Obviously the actual process isn’t as complex or hard as it sounds but the idea is to make it as clear as possible so people can read it once, understand the intent & process, and hopefully not need to refer to it again unless a new player needs help to understand the logic or process or such like…