The Embankment – A Crossfire Battle Report

Jamie Wish and Chris Harrod played “The Embankment” (KB4F), the third game of Krasny Bor, featuring the Blue Division in an epic Crossfire campaign. The Spaniards were defending the area of the Leningrad-Moscow Railway line – the Embankment – against overwhelming odds.

Summary: Jamie’s Soviet both infantry and armour – broke through the thin Spanish line. This will make the fourth battle tougher for Chris.


Setup

The Embankment is the front table battle in Zone 4. My recommendation for two players is to jump from Zone 1 to Zone 4 leaving the fighting around El Bastion to later int he campaign, and the finale in Krasny Bor itself to the end.

As usual with the my Krasny Bor games, the table is 6’x4′.

KB4F01 Table

KB4F01 Table

The dominant feature is the railway embankment down one side. This was custom made for me by S&A Scenics. The embankment splits the table into two unequal sections.

KB4F02 The Railway Embankment

KB4F02 The Railway Embankment

KB4F03 The Railway Embankment

KB4F03 The Railway Embankment

Not much of the Spanish deployment was visible. Just a long, long stretch of barbed wire and the bunker.

KB4F08 Spanish wire stretches into the distance

KB4F08 Spanish wire stretches into the distance

Chris placed the bunker on the railway embankment at the table edge. This gave him line of sight along the entire length of the embankment, smoke allowing. You can see the bunker in the picture below, on the far edge of the table.

KB4F07 Looking across the embankment

KB4F07 Looking across the embankment

Jamie: “I won’t give away too much of my plan. It is very subtle.”

As you might recall the Soviet goal in the front table scenarios is to penetrate the Spanish line and infiltrate troops so they have a better chance of winning in the rear table battle. Jamie set up accordingly.

KB4F04 Depoyment

KB4F04 Deployment

Jamie placed the bulk of his infantry on the flank, over the railway embankment.

KB4F05 Soviet flank attack

KB4F05 Soviet flank attack

In the centre Jamie placed what I initially took to be a holding force. Enough to keep the Spaniards pinned in the centre and over extended across the whole table.

KB4F06 Soviet holding force in centre

KB4F06 Soviet holding force in centre


The Game

KB4F00 0800 hours

KB4F00 0800 hours

Jamie launched his attack in the centre. All his tanks (KV-1s) were here. There are many great thing about tanks in Crossfire but one of them is breaching wire by driving across it. Who needs sappers?

KB4F09 KV-1 of Soviet centre breaches the wire

KB4F09 KV-1 of Soviet centre breaches the wire

Jamie then flipped to the flank force. This is part of Jamie’s gaming style, his focus jumps around. The flank attack, although large, got off to a slow start. Jamie want smoke to shield his attack.

KB4F10 Soviet flank force advances under cover of smoke

KB4F10 Soviet flank force advances under cover of smoke

Back in the centre another KV-1 rumbled forward and more wire disappeared under its tracks.

KB4F11 Second KV-1 breaches the wire

KB4F11 Second KV-1 breaches the wire

As the tanks rolled forward, Spaniards started fighting back. In particular a Pak38 opened up on the KVs.

KB4F12 Spanish main force starts to fight back

KB4F12 Spanish main force starts to fight back

Jamie had a company of infantry to support the tanks and started bringing them forward.

KB4F13 Soviet infantry follow the tanks in the centre

KB4F13 Soviet infantry follow the tanks in the centre

Back on the other side of the Embankment, Jamie extended the frontage of his attack.

KB4F14 Soviet flank attack extends along embankment

KB4F14 Soviet flank attack extends along embankment

This revealed more Spaniards. But there were precious few on that side of the railway line.

KB4F17 Outnumbered Spanish start to fight back on the flank

KB4F17 Outnumbered Spanish start to fight back on the flank

Jamie had two companies in his flank attack. A real right hook.

KB4F18 There are a lot of Soviets on the flank

KB4F18 There are a lot of Soviets on the flank

Jamie flipped back to the centre and pushed more troops forward. More Spaniards were revealed.

KB4F21 Soviet attack unfolds in the centre

KB4F21 Soviet attack unfolds in the centre

Jamie didn’t have tanks in his flank force, so had to resort to sappers to breach the wire.

KB4F22 Soviet sappers on the flank remove Spanish wire

KB4F22 Soviet sappers on the flank remove Spanish wire

Pretty soon we’d discover whether the bunker was sufficiently strong to stop the Soviets.
[I really should make a custom bunker to straddle the embankment]

KB4F23 Spanish bunker perched on the embankment

KB4F23 Spanish bunker perched on the embankment

As I mentioned, Jamie had two companies in his flank attack. All that Chris had facing them, for the longest time, was three stands.

KB4F24 Three Spanish stands face two Soviet companies

KB4F24 Three Spanish stands face two Soviet companies

That didn’t make it easy for Jamie. He still had to find a way to get close. And that required smoke.

KB4F25 Soviets use smoke in an attempt to get covered approaches

KB4F25 Soviets use smoke in an attempt to get covered approaches

Back in the centre the KV-1s were untouchable. They prevented Chris transferring troops to the now threatened flank.

KB4F26 KV-1s dominate the centre

KB4F26 KV-1s dominate the centre

KB4F29 0830 hours

KB4F29 0830 hours

With his sappers through the wire Jamie pushed them forward. Almost to, but not quite at, the hedge shielding some Spaniards.

KB4F30 Soviet Sappers close - almost

KB4F30 Soviet Sappers close – almost

Also to the west of the Embankment, the firefight between the massed Soviets and the Spaniards continued.

KB4F31 Soviets massed to attack embankment

KB4F31 Soviets massed to attack embankment

In the centre a Spanish PAK knocked out a rash KV-1 that advanced with its flank to the enemy.

KB4F32 KV1 Knocked out - Spanish ATG in centre scores

KB4F32 KV1 Knocked out – Spanish ATG in centre scores

The Spanish wipe out a Soviet squad to the west of the embankment.

KB4F33 Situation to the west of the embankment

KB4F33 Situation to the west of the embankment

KB4F34 Not enough Spaniards to halt the Red advance

KB4F34 Not enough Spaniards to halt the Red advance

KB4F36 0900 hours

KB4F36 0900 hours

Jamie called in mortar support for his sappers. They got the Spanish squad near the hedge west of the embankment.

KB4F37 Soviet mortars pound Spaniards

KB4F37 Soviet mortars pound Spaniards

In revenge for the knocked out KV-1, the Soviets destroyed the offending PAK.

KB4F38 Soviets destroy Spanish ATG

KB4F38 Soviets destroy Spanish ATG

Casualties in the fire fight to the west of the Embankment were about even … which was bad for the Latins.

KB4F39 Soviet fire destroys another Spanish squad

KB4F39 Soviet fire destroys another Spanish squad

The Soviet sappers moved on the house near the embankment and cleared it.

KB4F40 Soviet sappers clear the house near the embankment

KB4F40 Soviet sappers clear the house near the embankment

With the house in his hands, Jamie pushed his troops towards the Embankment.

KB4F41 Soviets adavance again

KB4F41 Soviets advance again

That led to a direct assault on the bunker on top of the Embankment.

KB4F45 Soviets sappers clear the bunker on the embankment

KB4F45 Soviets sappers clear the bunker on the embankment

All the Spaniards west of the Embankment were now dead or captured.

KB4F46 Soviet sappers mop up west of embankment

KB4F46 Soviet sappers mop up west of embankment

However, the Spaniards to the east still had some reserved and launched a counter attack to retake the bunker.

KB4F47 Spanish recapture bunker

KB4F47 Spanish recapture bunker

Jamie wanted to get a KV-1 off table to support him in the next battle. So he tried a risk manoeuvre and drove it up the Embankment. Admittedly it was as far as possible from the Spanish. But not far enough. A PAK had line of sight and the Soviet tank went up in flames.

KB4F48 KV1 tries to cross the embankment - caught by Spanish ATG

KB4F48 KV1 tries to cross the embankment – caught by Spanish ATG

KB4F49 KV1 knocked out on embankment

KB4F49 KV1 knocked out on embankment

KB4F50 0930 hours

KB4F50 0930 hours

But, as usual, the life span of a revealed Spanish PAK was measured in minutes. The Soviets destroyed the latest one to reveal itself.

KB4F51 Soviet fire destroys another Spanish ATG

KB4F51 Soviet fire destroys another Spanish ATG

That opened up a route for the remaining KV-1 to drive off table on the Spanish side of the table. Nothing could stop it.

KB4F52 KV1 rolls of the Spanish table edge

KB4F52 KV1 rolls of the Spanish table edge

The Spaniards controlled the bunker but Chris had left a blind spot when he originally placed it. The occupants could not see directly to the west. And that was all Jamie needed to infiltrate the two reserve battalions through the Spanish lines.

KB4F53 Spanish defenders on the embankment

KB4F53 Spanish defenders on the embankment

KB4F55 End Game

KB4F55 End Game


Conclusions and Observations

We’d allocated a whole day for this but it only took a couple of hours. In hindsight this wasn’t a surprise as I’d designed the Embankment as an easy Soviet victory compared to other front tables. Jamie had spotted the opportunity inherent in the terrain – the area to the west of the Embankment – and exploited it. That enabled him to get both reserve battalions across the Spanish base line. There was little Chris could do to prevent it once the game started.

As a bonus, Jamie also managed to punch a hole through the front of the main Spanish battle line and drive a single KV-1 off table and into the next battle.

I haven’t used my railway embankment feature very often and already I’ve decided to replace it. The problem is that it is too high – more or less the same height as the hills. It would be better to have a half height version. And if I’m going to get a new one I’ll go for my normal flocking.

I’m also wondering whether I should build a bespoke bunker to go on the embankment. It is such an obvious position to place it in this scenario. We’ll see.

4 comments to The Embankment – A Crossfire Battle Report

  • Great write up, looking forward to fighting the next battles!

  • Anders Christian Böss

    Interesting to see a railroad ambankment in a game. I have considered using one, or a dike, or something similar. They really define the scenario, though, so it is nice to see how they may be used. I also got the idea to use it, to split the table in two, in a 2v2 game.

    • Steven Thomas

      I got my first Railway embankment because of the HTD scenario “Ponyri Station”. This scenario neatly divides the table in half using the embankment. It would, for example, make it really easy to convert Ponyri into a multi-player game.

      The embankment you see in the photos above is my 2nd generation embankment. I now have a 3rd generation.

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