Definition: Combined fire is a variation of the concentrated fire action which allows any number of units, that are in range and have LOS to the target and are not fatigued, pinned or disrupted, to each add half their firepower to the active unit’s attack(round up).

Note that while subsequently all units are fatigued, only the active unit expends an action, meaning you will often still have actions left in your action turn.

Combined fire can be used in two or three situations, depending on how exactly you define it:

  1. In a concentrated fire action
  2. In an op fire attack ( do not confuse with the PREPARE op fire action; actually USING op fire is not an action as it occurs during your opponent’s action turn)
  3. Up to two squads may support an active squad in an assault. With a little imagination this could be called “combined fire”, though according to the letter of the rules it’s called “supporting an assault”.

I'd say the biggest advantage of combined fire is the (almost) unlimited number of possible attack dice, so if you really, really want to take out an enemy unit, you’ll almost certainly manage as long as you add enough units to your combined fire attack and the dice gods are not totally against you.

Another advantage is, related to units in op fire mode, that these may also combine fire. As normal these will [all] be fatigued when doing so, so in this case basically the aforementioned advantage applies. However, there’s a distinct additional advantage when only MG crews participate (note the plural form: MG crews!): Most MGs get to throw 3 dice against infantry (range of 5) and 2 against vehicles (range of 3). The German MG actually even has a firepower of 4 against squads. This means that when you have two of MG crews combining fire, they would roll 5 dice (3+2 (1.5 rounded up)= 5 dice against infantry (Germans 6) and 3 against vehicles. The possible lethal effect on enemy infantry will be obvious (i.e. basically unlimited op fire attacks with a firepower of 5 or 6) and light vehicles as well as thinly armoured tanks (armor 3 or less), are certainly not immune to attacks even with a “mere” firepower 3 at range 3. Even at long range ( 4 through 6) the aforementioned vehicle units will sooner or later get hit if they keep exposing themselves to enemy MGs in op fire mode.

Note that putting two MG figures on the same base would nearly always be a very bad idea as this would mean that only two normal hits are required to eliminate the squad; also note that in the rare event one does choose such a squad composition, firing them together does NOT qualify as combined fire as they constitute a single unit.

As pointed out above, there are some obvious inherent advantages to the use of combined fire. However, there is one obvious disadvantage as well:

  • Supporting units are fatigued. Often this may be a minor inconvenience, but will occasionally be more problematic, that is, when you quickly use up your units in combined fire attacks, most of yours will be fatigued, sooner or later, while an opponent who may have been less thrifty in this regard, will still have units left which can then take advantage of your units being unable to respond. In a well-balanced scenario this should be a major consideration, in a less well-balanced one, unfortunately, there’s often no such disadvantage. Fortunately 1A are in the process of slowly but surely rebalancing all clearly ill-balanced scenario that are currently out there.

So when should you use combined fire? I’d say there are four instances in which using CF should be seriously considered:

  1. When rendering a certain enemy unit impotent (i.e. making sure it can’t fire [back] at you- so in case of a squad pinning it may be enough and a vehicle will often require a heavy damage result- is important enough to warrant fatiguing multiple of yours [and when just one unit is unlikely to achieve it].

    This is often a case of timing: if it’s your last activation in an action turn and after that your opponent is up, not dealing with a powerful enemy unit will in all likelihood result in them firing at you, possibly at point blank range, then this would most of the time meet the requirement just described.

    This is also the case at the end of an action phase and your opponent is going to hold the initiative on the next game round. Here’s a concrete example: Each player has 3 actions in an action turn. Say you have 5 Shermans vs a Tiger I in the open. Two have already fired (normal range) and failed to do any damage in normal concentrated fire attacks. You now have 1 action left and 3 unfatigued Shermans. It’s quite likely that if you again choose for a single Sherman to fire, the result will still be a mere light damage or no damage at all (8 attack dice vs 6 armor and the Thick Armor trait). However, if you used all three in a CF attack, you’d get to roll as many as 16 dice (8+4+4). Chances of achieving more than just light damage have now increased significantly! (As I’m very bad at numbers, I’ll leave the maths up to someone who’s better at it than me! (-;). If the Tiger were left undamaged (quite likely in the first example)and assuming it’s still fresh (important!), it would almost certainly retaliate against an as yet unfatigued Sherman, which is quite likely to be severely damaged in the process (13 attack dice vs 4 armor).

    Note that it may also be necessary to eliminate especially a squad rather than just pinning it e.g. at the end of a round if your opponent is likely to have the initiative on the next one. After all, pinned tokens are removed in the status phase and in case a friendly officer is present even disrupted ones. So in such a case, make sure you roll enough dice to actually eliminate/rout the enemy unit(s) altogether!

  2. When in a suppressive attack, at least pinning an enemy unit is essential (and just one unit is too unlikely to achieve it; i.e. because of a combination of cover, the presence of elites and/or officers or simply because when rolling 4 or 5 attack dice it’s not completely unimaginable that they may all be misses)

  3. When there’s nothing better to do (e.g. your opponent’s unit may be the only fresh one or the only one in LOS and it doesn’t make a difference whether you use several attacks to eliminate it or one big one; i.e. a combined fire attack.

  4. Last but certainly not least, when several separate attacks are unlikely to do any damage or the required damage, whereas in one massive attack in which you roll all the dice combined, you are much more likely to achieve success. Basically, this boils down to when there are more red dice than black dice. The bigger the difference, the less likely individual attacks will be successful. Concrete examples would be infantry squads firing at a unit in a pillbox, when firing at a powerful tank, entrenchments in woods with squads in it that still have extra cover due to their composition etc.

But when shouldn’t you use combined fire?

  1. When several concentrated attacks, or even move and fire attacks and/or assaults would likely be more effective. Note again that supporting units in a CF attack must halve their firepower. So 3 squads of regulars would roll 12 attack dice if they each attacked separately, while if the three of them used combined fire, they’d only throw 8 dice.
  2. As mentioned previously, when you can’t afford to have too many of your units fatigued while your opponent still has [too] many fresh ones, which may subsequently wreak havoc on your forces if these are unable to respond due to being fatigued. Whether this is more important or taking out certain enemy units using combined fire is, is often a tough call, but that’s one of the reasons that makes TOI so much fun!


Many players feel that combined fire is overpowered. In its current form sometimes it is, if you ask me, but IMHO, as I tried to explain above, this is often due to poor scenario balance or design or using it too much may come back to haunt you once the game round has progressed. As I tried to explain above whether or not to use CF should be a choice between almost certain “elimination of an enemy unit”(i.e. rendering them impotent) vs the number of units you can afford to fatigue at this stage. Ideally this should lead to sometimes not committing quite enough units to the CF attack which will lead to its partial or even complete failure or committing too many whereupon your opponent will be able to take advantage of your side having fewer non-fatigued units on the board, hence less opportunity to respond to what’s going on on the map. However, I do believe certain operations cards and/or scenario special rules might at times be implemented to restrict the possible (ab)use of combined fire tactics. Just a few suggestions:

  • Coordination effort: units participating in combined fire attacks must expend an action to do so (i.e. the maximum number of possible units taking part in a CF attack would be equal to the number of actions per action turn)
  • Poor coordination/ (no radios for vehicles): units must be in the same hex in order to make combined fire attacks
  • Poor command structure: expend X command points to take a CF action (or: each supporting unit wishing to take part in a CF attack, must pay one available command to do so)
  • Beach assault: units located on beach hexes may not take part in combined fire attacks (the currently available operations card “massive confusion” is different in that it disallows combined fire altogether)
  • Lead from the front: units may only take part in combined fire attacks when they are either in the same hex as or adjacent to a friendly officer


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