Advance from Ian Ishora – A Crossfire Battle Report from Krasny Bor

Jamie Wish and Chris Harrod played “Advance from Ian Ishora” (KB1F), the first game of my Krasny Bor Campaign featuring the Blue Division defending against overwhelming odds in an epic Crossfire campaign.


Pre-game Campaign Preparation

The guys chose their sides for the campaign

Jamie: “My preference is for the Soviets.”
Chris: “Very happy to be Axis / Spanish. Come to me Ivan and let us embrace death together.”

Then they allocated troops to each of the eight tables and sent their orders of battle to me. In Jamie’s case he had to decide where to put his Divisional and Corps reserves.

I just waited for the fun to start.


Table KB1F Advance from Ian Ishora

This is the first battle of Phase 1 of the Krasny Bor Campaign. The Soviets are advancing out of a town into farm land. They must punch through the thin Spanish lines into the rear of the Blue Division.

The table was quite nice to look at, with the River Ishora on the Soviet right flank. However, what is not obvious is that the entire battle is fought in snow and the river is frozen. You’ll see tanks on it later on.

KB1F-03 Table 1-Front: Advance from Ian Ishora
KB1F-03 Table 1-Front: Advance from Ian Ishora
KB1F-05 Table
KB1F-05 Table

Like all the games of Phase 1, the Spanish have fortifications. Starting with a long, long line of barbed wire. The Soviets will need armour or engineers to break through that.

KB1F-07 Barbed Wire
KB1F-07 Barbed Wire

The Spanish had a bunker facing the Soviet left flank.

KB1F-08 Spanish Bunker
KB1F-08 Spanish Bunker

Against these fortifications, backed by only a couple of companies of troops, were three Soviet battalions. One battalion starts on table. On a 6′ frontage that makes for a lot of troops.

KB1F-13 Lots of Russians
KB1F-13 Lots of Russians
KB1F-07 Soviet right
KB1F-07 Soviet right
KB1F-09 Soviets in Factory
KB1F-09 Soviets in Factory
KB1F-10 Soviet left
KB1F-10 Soviet left

0800 hours

The game started at 0800 hours. The Soviets dropped 12 missions of Pre-Planned Bombardment (PPB). A couple of them hit Spaniards, although Jamie didn’t know this until later in the game.

KB1F-14 0800 hour game start
KB1F-14 0800 hour game start

However, one unlucky Spanish squad got spotted straight away by Soviet RBF. It was defending the Central Woods.

KB1F-15 Soviet PPB found the Spaniards in the central wood
KB1F-15 Soviet PPB found the Spaniards in the central wood

The Spanish squad in the Central Woods was unlucky enough to have got suppressed in PPB and now found itself within range of the Russian rifles. It didn’t last long.

KB1F-18 Soviet fire clears central wood
KB1F-18 Soviet fire clears central wood

With the Spaniard eliminated the Soviets entered the Central Woods.

KB1F-19 Soviets enter central wood
KB1F-19 Soviets enter central wood

A Spanish squad, entrenched in the open behind the wire, opened up.

KB1F-20 Spanish entrenchment in the open
KB1F-20 Spanish entrenchment in the open

But it didn’t stop the Soviets lining the edge of the Central Wood.

KB1F-21 Soviets line edge of central wood
KB1F-21 Soviets line edge of central wood

That is when Chris revealed his main battle line on the crest facing the Central Wood.

KB1F-22 Spanish main battle line
KB1F-22 Spanish main battle line

Meanwhile, on the right, the Soviets also advanced.

KB1F-17 Soviets advance on right
KB1F-17 Soviets advance on right

Here is a shot of the early part of the battle.

KB1F-23 Early part of the battle
KB1F-23 Early part of the battle

On the right the Soviets attempted to cross the Ishora. But found more Spaniards determined to stop them.

KB1F-24 Soviet advance across river halted by Spanish fire
KB1F-24 Soviet advance across river halted by Spanish fire

Back at the Central Woods, the Spaniard artillery opened up. 15cm guns. Ouch.

KB1F-25 Boom in the central woods
KB1F-25 Boom in the central woods

And on the right an Spanish Pak 38 opened fire on the advancing T34s.

KB1F-29 Spanish ATG snipes at T34
KB1F-29 Spanish ATG snipes at T34

That hill, the one with the Pak 38, dominated the Soviet right flank and would be pivotal in holding the river line.

KB1F-32 Spanish on hill guard the river
KB1F-32 Spanish on hill guard the river

More shells landed in the Central Woods and, more or less, finished off a Soviet platoon.

KB1F-33 Boom in the central wood
KB1F-33 Boom in the central wood

0815 hours

The moving clocked advanced on a 5+ at the end of each Spanish initiative. Despite the odds, we found it didn’t move very often.

KB1F-34 0815 hours
KB1F-34 0815 hours

The best wire cutter in the Soviet arsenal were the tanks. They drive straight through wire. Which is why Chris had a Pak38 behind the line. Unfortunately for the crew, they missed the advancing T34.

KB1F-34b T34 cuts wire and finds another Spanish ATG
KB1F-34b T34 cuts wire and finds another Spanish ATG

Then a Soviet mortar took out the Spanish anti-tank gun.

KB1F-34c Soviet mortar takes out the Spanish ATG
KB1F-34c Soviet mortar takes out the Spanish ATG

In revenge the other Spanish Pak 38, the one on the hill, blew up the T34.

KB1F-34d T34 brews up
KB1F-34d T34 brews up

Of course, that just riled Jamie and he shot up the gun.

KB1F-34e Soviet fire takes out Spanish ATG
KB1F-34e Soviet fire takes out Spanish ATG

Quickly followed by the HMG next to the Pak 38.

KB1F-34f HMG expires
KB1F-34f HMG expires

0830 hours

KB1F-30 0830 hours
KB1F-30 0830 hours

Jamie pushed more troops across the river.

KB1F-32 More Soviets cross the river
KB1F-32 More Soviets cross the river

And more troops into the Central Wood.

KB1F-34i More Soviets enter the central wood
KB1F-34i More Soviets enter the central wood

The woods were a very unhealthy place.

KB1F-35 The central wood is a very unhealthy place to be
KB1F-35 The central wood is a very unhealthy place to be

Chris realised he needed another anti-tank gun near the river and limbered up a piece that had previously been hidden.

KB1F-36 Spanish need an ATG near the river
KB1F-36 Spanish need an ATG near the river

The first house across the river turned out to be a bit of a Spanish strong hold. Jamie moved and up and Chris stopped him. Several times. [I just noticed that the PC got suppressed. As this was a move to contact it should have been killed.]

KB1F-38 Spanish fire halts a Soviet charge
KB1F-38 Spanish fire halts a Soviet charge

0845 hours

KB1F-39 0845 hours
KB1F-39 0845 hours

The sole Spanish squad in the house near the river spent a fair bit of the game suppressed. The first time was 0845.

KB1F-40 Soviet fire hits house
KB1F-40 Soviet fire hits house

Jamie sent his remaining tanks up the frozen river, cutting some wire on the way. Infantry shadowed them in the field to their right.

KB1F-41 Soviets advance along river and  T34 cuts more wire
KB1F-41 Soviets advance along river and T34 cuts more wire

The HQ of the Spanish battalion deployed here, arrived to assist the front ranks. Two stands arrived, the HQ itself and the SMG guard stand.

KB1F-44 Spanish Battalion HQ arrives
KB1F-44 Spanish Battalion HQ arrives

The Spanish in the house near the river picked of the suppressed PC in front of the house.

KB1F-45 Spaniards pick off a Soviet PC
KB1F-45 Spaniards pick off a Soviet PC

Jamie chose to sacrifice a squad of the platoon to bring back another PC.

KB1F-46 Soviets replace the PC
KB1F-46 Soviets replace the PC

More wire got cut up in the tracks of the Soviet armour. This time in front of the Spanish held hill.

KB1F-47 T34 cuts more wire
KB1F-47 T34 cuts more wire

That particular T34-76 had a wide field of fire toward the Spanish positions. Although, in hindsight, it never fired. The one on the river had better targets.

KB1F-49 T34 has over watch over a lot of the front
KB1F-49 T34 has over watch over a lot of the front

Jamie tried to push his infantry forward near the tanks but got stopped by Spanish fire.

KB1F-50 Soviets try to push forward near the tanks
KB1F-50 Soviets try to push forward near the tanks

0900 hours

KB1F-52 0900 hours
KB1F-52 0900 hours

A Spanish Pak 38 rolled up only to get suppressed by the T34-76 on the frozen river.

KB1F-53 Spanish ATG suppressed by T34
KB1F-53 Spanish ATG suppressed by T34

As you can see in the next photo the soviet offensive was in full swing. Jamie had crossed the half way line on the right flank near the river.

KB1F-55 Soviet offensive in full swing
KB1F-55 Soviet offensive in full swing

A NO FIRE finally gave Jamie the chance to close on the house never the river. But the defenders stopped the assault. Dead.

KB1F-56 Soviets fail to take the house
KB1F-56 Soviets fail to take the house

Up on the Spanish held hill things were getting a bit messy. The only fighting stand was suppressed. So Chris was trying to bring any reinforcements he could.

KB1F-57 Getting complicated on the hill
KB1F-57 Getting complicated on the hill

But the T34-76 on the river really had it in for Chris’s Pak 38. Boom.

KB1F-58 Spanish ATG destroyed
KB1F-58 Spanish ATG destroyed

With things really tight in the centre and right, Jamie decided to launch an attack on the left as well.

KB1F-59 Soviets surge forward on the left
KB1F-59 Soviets surge forward on the left

Meanwhile a 50mm mortar team and an FO for heavy artillery climbed the hill. Would they stop the Soviet wave?

KB1F-60 Spanish FOs climb the hill
KB1F-60 Spanish FOs climb the hill

The Spanish occupants in the house near the river – just an often suppressed squad and PC – always seemed on the brink of being inundated by Soviets. But they held on.

KB1F-61 Suppressed Spaniard faces two Soviet platoons
KB1F-61 Suppressed Spaniard faces two Soviet platoons

However, the Spaniards on the hill continued to take a pounding. Hills are good because they give you lots of visibility. But hills all make you very, very visible.

KB1F-62 More Spanish losses on the hill
KB1F-62 More Spanish losses on the hill

The mortars and FO on the hill helped keep the Spanish house active by pounding any concentrations in front.

KB1F-63 Spanish artillery hits right flank Soviets
KB1F-63 Spanish artillery hits right flank Soviets

But every now and then another assault went in. Only to be stopped by Spanish fire.

KB1F-64 Spanish fire halts another Soviet charge on the house
KB1F-64 Spanish fire halts another Soviet charge on the house

Chris kept piling troops onto the hill.

KB1F-65 Soviets and Spanish reinforcements reach hill together
KB1F-65 Soviets and Spanish reinforcements reach hill together

And another Spanish HMG, hidden in woods on the base line, also helped stop the red horde.

KB1F-66 Spanish HMG infers with Soviet advance
KB1F-66 Spanish HMG infers with Soviet advance

Over time the Soviet right crumbled under the pressure from Spanish machine guns, mortars and artillery.

KB1F-67 Soviet right flank crumbles
KB1F-67 Soviet right flank crumbles
KB1F-69 More losses on right
KB1F-69 More losses on right

And a Spanish Pak 38 burnt another T34-76.

KB1F-68 Another T34 brews up
KB1F-68 Another T34 brews up

On the other hand, the Spaniards on the left flank seem to have been lulled into a false sense of security. Ambush fire with 4d6 scored, well, not very much.

KB1F-70 Completely ineffective ambush fire
KB1F-70 Completely ineffective ambush fire

Mind you the guys in the bunker were a bit more alert and started pecking at the Soviets massing on the left.

KB1F-72 Spanish bunker opens up
KB1F-72 Spanish bunker opens up

In the centre the Soviets found the Spanish minefield. Chris had mined the hill in the centre.

KB1F-76 Soviets find the minefield
KB1F-76 Soviets find the minefield

0915 hours

KB1F-77 0915 hours
KB1F-77 0915 hours

Back on the other flank the Spanish house was still holding out.

KB1F-79 Spanish in house still holding the right
KB1F-79 Spanish in house still holding the right

0930 hours

KB1F-80 0930 hours
KB1F-80 0930 hours

The Soviets on the left took the wood facing them.

KB1F-81 Soviets take left hand wood
KB1F-81 Soviets take left hand wood

Then they cleared the Spanish entrenchments near the wire.

KB1F-82 Soviets clear Spanish entrenchments
KB1F-82 Soviets clear Spanish entrenchments

Back on the hill near the river the Soviets killed of the SMG Guard squad.

KB1F-83 Soviets kill HQ guard squad
KB1F-83 Soviets kill HQ guard squad

0945 hours

KB1F-84 0945 hours
KB1F-84 0945 hours

Jamie had taken quite a few loses from Battalion Wave 1, and he wanted to start the Phase 2 game with some assets he’d assigned to Wave 3, so he decided to bring on his second battalion wave. During the battle a random event had been that the Soviet Battalion Wave 2 got lost. So Jamie had to roll for a reinforcement (5+). He got it, so the battalion wave come on table.

kB1F-85 Soviet Battalion Wave 2 arrives
kB1F-85 Soviet Battalion Wave 2 arrives

However, it was 1 AM on a school night and we decided to pack it in.


Observations and Conclusions

Nobody “wins” a Phase 1 battle in the Krasny Bor campaign. Because we stopped before the bitter end of the game we had to decide the outcome. We decided that, with a full battalion to play with, Jamie would manage to infiltrate a Battalion Wave 3 before the Moving Clock got to 1030.

2 thoughts on “Advance from Ian Ishora – A Crossfire Battle Report from Krasny Bor”

  1. Nice table and, as always, interesting battle report!
    (BTW, there’s a typo: “Mind you the buys in the bunker”… you probably meant “guys”).

    Reply
    • Thanks Andres. Typo fixed.

      I admit that after many hours of editing photos I did the report itself rather quickly.

      Reply

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