Troop Scale in Crossfire

British Tommies in Normandy - AB Figures from my collection.

British Tommies in Normandy - AB Figures from my collection.

Something that Is not always generally recognised is that it is intended in CF that all (on table) vehicles and heavy weapons are modelled at a scale of 1:1 – i.e. 1 model of a tank, half-track, or gun is one real tank, half-track, or gun. While this seems logical to some, based on extrapolating the scale of Rifle Squads, HMGs, and Mortars to these, it is not always so to all players, however Arty has also stated this on a couple of occasions when asked… So in the interests of providing a clear guide from the author himself I have asked Arty again to reconfirm that this is what his original intent was, and we have had an ongoing discussion confirm & clarify this. As such the following is the key parts of a post and subsequent discussion on the Crossfire Yahoo Group, and Arty has also read and approved the main content prior to public posting so it can be considered as the closest to an official clarification there is likely to be on the subject.

Infantry & Support Weapons (HMG/Mortars)

As everyone will know a real-life Rifle or SMG Squad or Section is a Stand (Squad) in Crossfire – whether it’s 6 men or 13 men. Likewise a HMG or Mortar Section of 2 (or occasionally 3) real weapons is also a Stand (Squad) – again this is a logical extension of the Rifle Squad/Section being the basic manoeuvre element in Crossfire.

An important thing here is where possible to model the real life manoeuvre element – e.g. some forces have HMGs in real-life sections of 3 MGs not 2. A platoon of 2 sections (6 HMGs) would still be modelled as 2 stands/squads, not 3, because the basic denominator (the Section or Squad) – to model it as 3 Stands (each representing 2 real life HMGs) might potentially give it an unreasonable level of firepower or allow it to operate in a way that is unhistorical. However ultimately it is scenario design rather than the scaled down TO&E which should determine how many HMGs are on the table, so a Russian MG Company (which had 2 Platoons of 6 HMGs in real life) could have 2 Platoons of 3 HMGs each in CF, you just wouldn’t’ normally have both Platoons on table together in normal scenarios…

Vehicles & Heavy Weapons (AT & AA Guns)

After this (larger) weapons and all vehicles on table are essentially 1:1 – vehicles, AT & AA Guns, and such like, are intended to represent a single real vehicle or weapon. The “Vehicle carrying 4 Squads” section of the rules (Page 18, Section 11.1.2) is a little ‘scale-fudge’ to avoid having hundreds of Sdkfz 251 or M3 half-tracks running all over the table, as Arty wanted to ensure infantry were the dominant or majority troops on table… To quote Arty from a recent email to me: “…there are intended inconsistencies to prevent heavy stuff from being too dominant”, and also more recently “note that in future [i.e. CF2] this will change so that an APC carries one squad as it did organizationally. It will then be up to players to control the number of APCs and Tanks on table.” Effectively all vehicles are modelled at 1:1 but there are a couple of scale-fudges in the rules to avoid needing large numbers of vehicles on table.

I asked Arty to verify to me that ATGs and other towed heavy weapons were definitely intended to be modelled at 1:1 and NOT a scaled down 1:2, 1:3, 1:4 or 1:5, or such like; his response was: “No. They were seen as 1:1 also.” So all guns (incl. Infantry Anti-Tank Rifles, Bazookas, etc) are represented at a 1:1 scale ratio on table.

Artillery & Mortars (On & Off Table)

We asked Arty specifically if (indirect fire) Mortars, IGs & Other off-table Artillery models/stands were intended to be Sections of 2-3 real weapons or actual full ‘batteries’ or ‘troops’ of 4 or 6 weapons. Arty confirmed: “Sections”. Effectively a FO is actually seen as (technically) always controlling a section of usually just 2 (real life) weapons, not a full Battery/Troop of 4 (or more) and Arty confirmed that there was actually a bit of arbitrary abstraction for off-table artillery and that he “…just did what was necessary to have” artillery that was:

  • Off table artillery of larger calibre.
  • And make sure it was not absurdly destructive.

Arty commented “Realistically, many full batteries [or troops] of 4 guns would be under one FO” and it was agreed use of guns indirectly in sections was rare (as opposed to Mortars and IGs that often, or nearly always operated in individual sections). Arguably while off-table “artillery gun stands” are nominally representing a section of 2 (or 3) guns in many cases the firing concentration wouldn’t be just 2 real guns IRL due to how actual artillery operated. But as Arty went on to say “…whatever works for the game must be done when it can not be logically and technically supported otherwise”. Going forward this will also hopefully be clarified better in CF2 and/or the scale of indirect fire adjusted, and Arty has subsequently added that once that happens “hopefully we won’t see full batteries of large calibre Guns too much, save special scenarios!” So for the current original Crossfire all off-table artillery (as well as mortars & IGs) represent 2 (or rarely 3) real weapons (i.e. a Section not a full Battery).

Note that Arty did not give consideration to larger scale artillery barrages as it was beyond the scope of the original game at the time of publishing… and obviously since then the popularity of Crossfire has seen players take the game well beyond that original scope.

Note that for on-table deployment those same indirect fire artillery gun stands (2 real guns) would be modelled at 1:1 so you’d actually have 2 guns on table for direct fire purposes… Compare the direct factors of a 75mm Gun versus the indirect HE factors for an artillery stand (representing 2 real guns).

The Crossfire Rulebook TO&Es

When it comes to the TO&Es, these are, like the squads in a vehicle thing, arbitrarily changed (i.e. in this case reduced), not scaled down – although admittedly in some cases they do give the impression of being scaled at 1:4 for some things and 1:2 to as much as 1:6 for some others. ATGs, AAGs, are at 1:1 and Mortars/IGs (indirect weapons intended to be off-table) are section stands at 1:2 or 1:3 (depending on how many tubes in a real life ‘section’).

The TO&Es for support weapons are more _indicative_ than actual literal scaled down organisations. All Arty did was he chose not to list the full complement of weapons, i.e. the scale is still 1:1 but Arty only specified a half, third or quarter, or just 1, of the actual heavy weapons or vehicles to prevent that dominance of non-infantry weapons. So the German Armoured Infantry Coy 1943 on bottom of page 21 has 1-Pak40 ATG/Tractor listed but the actual complement is 3 or 4 – only 1 is listed to avoid flooding the CF game table with PaK40s, not because its scaled at 1:4… Likewise a British Infantry Battalion with 4 to 6 of 2pdr or 6pdr ATGs only has 1 model actually listed to balance the on-table troop mix, not because the heavy weapons are being scaled down to a fixed ratio. Again gamers have probably taken the game beyond its original scope, and proven it actually works okay with a larger number of troops on table, and consequently a higher concentration of support weapons present on occasion.

So Support Weapons listed in the TO&Es are just a representative sample of what that unit had, not a full representative TO&E that’s been scaled down to a specific ratio. As Arty’s last comment on this says “The idea is to provide organizational representation but without disrupting the balance between arms and game balance overall.”

A classic example oft quoted (as confirmation of scaling at a ratio of 1:4 is) of the first German TO&E on page 20, this is almost certainly a genuine typo – historically normal non-motorised German infantry did not have Anti-Tank Companies, or even ATG Platoons, at Battalion level, BUT they did have ATG Companies at Regimental level – so it’s possible both the name (company) and/or quantity (3) could be an unintentional typo, or the unit is incorrectly listed under the Infantry Battalion. Arty commented that this “may not be a typo. But I do not have access to original sources for my data. I suspect it is [intended to be] a Platoon as Spearhead has same unit listed identically”. (Note: Arty used the same sources for both Spearhead & Crossfire TO&Es as they were published only a couple of years apart, and this is a consistent typo in both rule sets for the early German Infantry Battalion – having a Battalion AT Platoon – implying it’s a typo copied from the original source material).

Conclusion

Anyway hopefully that helps explain what the original logic was – obviously on table a tank is a tank and an ATG is an ATG so it doesn’t really change anything in terms of game play, but likewise it isn’t Spearhead or similar and those vehicles/guns are NOT representing whole Platoons of 3-5 vehicles/guns, they are simply representing a single actual vehicle or heavy weapon… “Exactly” was Arty’s last final comment to the above paragraph/statement when he proof read this FWIW.

With luck most of this will be addressed in the proposed CF2 edition and the scale methodology will be clearer and/or better understood and consistent. In the case of indirect artillery might be changed, or at least made clearer (Arty has committed to reviewing all this in CF2)… Meanwhile hopefully this helps everyone be on a level playing field in understanding the logic behind the original CF TO&Es, it won’t directly change anyone’s games or what happens on table, but should provide a consistent baseline for further discussions here and help anyone researching custom TO&E info, and so on…

Closing Summary

Ultimately if you have the correct real world organisations from sources it should be quite simple to verify existing, or write your own, Crossfire TO&Es; Infantry, Tripod HMGs, and Mortars are all 1 stand for each Section/Squad (and off-table Mortars usually have a FO for each Section). Infantry Guns are 1 off-table stand per Section (usually 2 guns), but should be modelled 1:1 if on-table firing in direct support… Everything else (ATGs, AAGs, Vehicles, Carriers, Half-Tracks, Trucks, etc) are straight forward 1:1… And Artillery is just a ‘unit’ of guns for each FO on table (you can call it a Section, Troop, Platoon, or Battery as desired). But remember you wouldn’t necessarily want to model every last one of any of these – just enough to provide a reasonable cross section of those support troops and/or vehicles that would be present – most units are never at full strength, and often never have all their assets (such that they may have) freely available at anytime…

Hopefully this is a useful summary to provide some clarity to the scale methodology in the CF rulebook.

Posted in Crossfire, Crossfire FAQ Tagged with: , , , ,
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