I have lots of ruins already, but I’ve mentioned “cool ruins” a couple of times over the last couple of years. Most recently in my 2021 Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian where I planned to “Buy, build, paint more 3″ x 3″ sectors so I can play both Crossfiregrad and Ponyri Station solely with cool ruins”. So what do I mean by “cool” Ruins? Well Ruins that look the best in my collection (i.e. commercial MDF structures that I’ve enhanced) and that are 3″ sectors. I don’t have enough. I want more of them, lots more of them. Here is my plan.
I was filing old papers tonight when I found a few photos of a very early game of Crossfire. Real photos, you know, the ones on photographic paper, from a shop. It took a while but I figure the game was Ponyri Station. I thought I’d share because, aside from the fact these are the only photos I have of a game of my favourite scenario from Hit the Dirt, they also show how I started out in Crossfire – using anything I had.
I’m very interested in the fighting around Ponyri front on the northern flank of the Battle of Kursk. As it happens Vasiliy Krysov was at Ponyri. He commanded an SU-122 platoon within the 3rd Battery of the 1454th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment within the 13th Army. I fancied some SU-122s anyway, and reading about Krysov was sufficient excuse, so I purchased 3rd battery in 15mm scale.
I picked up a 15mm Ruined Factory feature from Wargames Tournaments. Perfect for snipers perched on an upper floor. The trouble is that Crossfire demands that building are made up of regular shaped building sectors. Mine are usually 3″ x 3″. So what should I do? How can I use that big feature in Crossfire?
I volunteered to run a day long Crossfire multi-player event for my old club in Guildford. This scenario represents one attack and counter-attack cycle of the battle around Ponyri Station and Hill 253.5 on 7 July 1943. The parameters were:
- 6-8 players
- one big table (’cause I wanted to try out the Multi-player Rules with the Guildford chaps)
- playable by a mix of Crossfire novices and more experienced gamers
- using the kit I have available (Germans and Russians)
- must finish in about six hours of gaming (set up and pack up time was in addition)
This is what I came up with.
Hit the Dirt, the supplement for Crossfire, has a scenario set at Ponyri on the northern flank of the Kursk Salient during WW2. It is one of my favourites and I’ve played it several times. But it was obvious that there was a much bigger story behind the brief outline in the HTD. I wanted to find out more. It seems Ponyri Station was the focus of heavy fighting and was viewed as a “little Stalingrad”.