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Author Topic: Battler Report, France 1940  (Read 2610 times)

Offline Vonkluge

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Battler Report, France 1940
« on: June 03, 2013, 08:03:56 AM »
Just thought I'd post up another of my Battle Reports on our weekly games. Thought a few of you might enjoy the reading! ::)

Gaming at the Bismarck Room last night saw a return to WWII and CROSSFIRE where we spent the evening in France during the period of May 1940. The German army is rolling across North West Europe doing things in a manner no-one expects and doing it well. France, Britain, and their Allies are caught off balance and never recover. Soon the Germans are masters of the European continent. However during the fight for France the Allies did manage to get in a couple of good counter punches and had opportunities for others that if followed by effective plans might have slowed or even changed the outcome. Its these small opportunities missed that make some great gaming during the early pert of WWII where both sides were more unsure of the others capabilities and small battles can be quite interesting.

Since I have recently been working on and building up my 20mm French 1940 force it would be French verse Germans and to make it interesting it would be a recreation of one of the several Allied counter attacks during the period. These counter attacks were at times successful in the beginning but failure of higher command to have any real plan or second group of forces to implement doomed all these to failure in the long run. Doug K and Kevin Walker took command of the French forces, Steve Gausche and I the Germans.

During the Battle for France the lack of overall planning and orders from the French High Command led to individual lower commanders of all ranks taking the initiative and launching their own local defensive measures and counter attacks. French General Charles de Gaulle’s 4th Armored Division made one of the only Allied counterattacks on the Meuse bridgehead. The French tanks, especially the Char B1bis and the Somua, were superior one-on-one to the German Panzerkampfwagen pzkpfw I and II panzers in armor and fire power. However the Germans required their tanks to have radios, had more men in their tanks allowing more task to be preformed faster, more efficiently, and their tank doctrine was to fight as a group. French used tanks piecemeal as infantry support, had few radios, and to few crew members meant that task such as spotting, firing, and maneuver were on a whole much slower than their German adversaries. De Gaulle’s attack was too little too late.

Our battle was loosely based on this and other small counter attacks and having the Germans deal with French fire power when given slightly better leadership, co-ordination and concentration! of force.

French order of battle:

Company command stand.

I Heavy Machine gun stand

1 81mm Mortar (variable fire mission rolled for w/2 d-6, 1/3 total is smoke mission)

3 Infantry Platoons (Regulars)

1 Armor company command in Renault FT17 light tank

Renault FT17 light tank Platoon (3 tanks)

Char B Medium Tank Platoon (3 tanks)

5 fire missions Heavy Artillery (available turn 3 do to other commitments and French indecision)

French Variable Reinforcements rolled up as 1 extra Platoon

French Mission and special rules; French enter board at East end and push Germans aside to exit off west end. French can operate their tanks as platoons (allowed to form crossfire’s) or be attached to infantry (1 single tank per Infantry Platoon and allowed to join in crossfire if the platoon commander is within 1 stand of the AFV)

German OB;

Company Command Stand.

1 81mm mortar. (variable fire mission rolled for w/2 d-6, 1/3 total is smoke mission)

1 Pak35 (37mm Anti Tank gun)

1 Heavy Machine gun

3 Infantry Platoons

2 PZ 38 tanks

Rolled for reinforcements; 2 PZ IIs (These were due to enter on German turn 5 from the extreme west on road but they had no part in the battle as they were not needed)

The Crossfire rules we use are great for battles like this because of the unique mechanism used in the game that allow your forces to exploit mistakes in the enemies deployment, attack, and/or lack of luck in the dice department! By moving around flanks, going through gaps, or bypassing units whose defensive fire is ineffectual. This is very common in real combat but tough to simulate in a “I go / You go” game were the knowledge a player has can be used to pull troops from one area to another because he has info that a real commander would not have.

The French enter on turn one at the east end of the board, the Germans are setup anywhere 12 inches in from that, the battlefield is 4’x6’ with the fight moving along the long axis of the table.

The map above shows the initial force dispositions, their full paths during the game, and yellow marks German units taking fire and losses, Red French losses.

The French start out with a 3 to 1 advantage in armor with German AFVs being not near as good as the French Char Bs and slightly better than the Renaults. The Germans are hidden, but the French should be able to concentrate their force and time of attack to retain the initiative most of the time and push a hole in German defense that while there is thin.

Cross fire games usually move along quite rapidly and the rules are very good for an evenings gaming, this one was fought and decided in less than 3 hours. Initial French moves were in the form of short probes to determine German dispositions. The German Pak gun deployed in the center opened up early (nervous gunners!) and while hitting its target, the French armor commanders Renault FT17, but the weak37mm AT gun could not penetrate the French armor and return French fire pinned the Pak gun. The Pak gun while not causing damage did seem to have the effect of stalling the French attack in the center while the large portion of the French force swung south west in an attempt to flank German infantry positions holding the center ridge.


As the Southern French force pushed on through some protective woods the Germans on the ridge took them under fire causing some pins and suppression's. At the same time the CharBs in the center, feeling a bit bolder facing the German Pak35 pushed out into the open and were taken under fire by two PZ38s lying in ambush behind some woods to the North. Some unbelievable gunnery by the two PZ38s (Major Roller) took out one, then the other CharB. This was a severe blow to the French as it was 30% of their AFVs brewed up, and their best to boot. A third German Platoon was also revealed holding the farm just south of the two PZ38s, the northern flank was blocked as the French forces in the center were now too week to push them away. As the French moved through the woods to the south they were at times exposed to fire from the northern Germans armor as well as some mortar fire from the Germans this killed a few French, slowed their advance, but the French still came on using smoke laid by their arty to cover their movements from the Germans. Three Renaults assigned to support the southern French force exited the woods, climbed the small hill and burst into the German rear area, one of the French Platoons followed right behind outflanking the pinned German force holding the Center ridge position. As the French southern force approached a farm to their front a another Pak35 deployed along one of the farms stone walls opened up on the Renaults…Again the 37mm German gun was ineffectual and the Renaults pushed on to climb the wall and crush the German gun…at the same time the Germans at the Farm (Company HQ, 1 platoon and MG34 “HMG”) opened up on the French infantry but did no damage other then pinning them down at the wall.


The German platoon on the ridge, no longer being under fire, had managed to rally themselves and now moved towards the rear to support the fight at the farm. As they came out of the woods and tried to hit the French infantry from behind alert French reactive fire came down hard on them killing a stand and suppressing another.

At this point the Germans Armor finding that the French to their front were not going to move and with the pak35 and infantry there to stop them if they tried decided to pull back, “march to the sound of the guns” and the firefight at the other farm. With nothing to stop them and given the fact that Germans in Crossfire can move out of sight of their commanders split and swung around the southern farm in a pincer move against the Renaults.

The Renaults had overrun the German Pak gun in a close assault (one got hung up on the wall) and were about to open fire on the Germans in the Farm when they saw the approaching German Armor and took it under fire. Their shots though hitting failed to penetrate the German AFVs and devastating German return fire quickly saw 3 more burning or out of action French tanks! At this point the French conceded the battle, then with their infantry and two AFVs began retreating towards Paris in good order.

The game was lots of fun and well played by both sides! The French played well but a good initial deployment by the Germans coupled with the devastating rolls by Major Roller (me) rolling against the French CharBs that normally could not be penetrated from the front by the German guns EXCEPT in the case of rolling BOX cars (indicates a critical hit and auto kill) which I produced 3 times almost one after another, caused damage to the French forces that they could never recover from. I think the French might get a third Platoon next time BUT in reality they should have a good chance of winning this as it is so will see. Thanks all and we’ll see you soon!

Bill W

Offline robh

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Re: Battler Report, France 1940
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013, 09:19:47 AM »
Nice report.  The Crossfire system is superb and always gives a good game which "feels right". We use it for Infantry only games as I think the various armour add ons (house rules) tend to detract from the core of the game by trying to make it something it was not designed to be.

For lower level games involving tanks etc we use Kampfgruppe Normandy. Does not have the same feel and fluidity of Crossfire but still gives a good game and scales better for larger or multiplayer battles.

Offline 6sided

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Re: Battler Report, France 1940
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2013, 08:57:57 PM »
Nice battle report.  I hated crossfire, ut that was just me being lazy minded.
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Offline Vonkluge

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Re: Battler Report, France 1940
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 06:28:56 AM »
Nice battle report.  I hated crossfire, ut that was just me being lazy minded.

You know your not alone, I hated it for ten years! cause I could not wrap my mind around it...lazy, plus in my area many people played the rules I had co-written.  lol

Offline Colonel Tubby

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Re: Battler Report, France 1940
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 06:06:53 PM »
Nice report, the outcome seemed to reflect history.

Offline Vonkluge

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Re: Battler Report, France 1940
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2013, 07:00:17 AM »
Nice report, the outcome seemed to reflect history.

Thanks Tubby, Crossfire is pretty good for recreating battles from history but as with all miniatures rules and battles it is really the time spent by the GM in designing the scenario and the players themselves co-operating in the spirit of the game that make it come out well. 8)

Offline Helen

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Re: Battler Report, France 1940
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 11:32:59 PM »
Thank you for sharing your report and photos.


Best wishes,
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Offline Mad Lord Snapcase

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Re: Battler Report, France 1940
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2013, 09:42:15 AM »
Great report, great photos.


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