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?
Back in June 2012 Andrew Fisher played my Russian Scouts scenario. Admittedly he did changed the theatre of operations, hence participants, and had the Axis attacking. In his game it was German recon troops probing a US position in Tunisia. Andrew published an after action report on the Crossfire Forum and I’ve reproduced it here with his permission. The battle report is Andrew speaking and I make a few follow up points.
I love the tension that comes with a good game of Crossfire. Chris Harrod and I had loads of tension in our game of SU-76i in 1902nd SAP. As a result of this game, and the earlier play test by Dick Bryant, I’m now convinced the secret to a good Breakthrough scenario is defence in depth. The game was knife edge but my Germans managed to hold Chris’s Soviet steam roller.
Chris Harrod and I played my Russian Scouts Crossfire Scenario. Despite the fact I’ve played this scenario before I really botched my job as a Russian scout. Sigh. Penal battalion for me I suspect. None-the-less there were some insights into reconnaissance scenarios and how, specifically, to improve this one.
Dick Bryant has been play testing my SU-76i in 1902nd SAP – A Crossfire Scenario. In his first go he found the same flaw I had previously, i.e. the attacker just makes a hole and pours through. I Mused about how to solve that and suggested he try attacking from the short edge. Dick tried this with much better results.
Mark Bretherton has a go at my Russian Scouts Crossfire Scenario. Mark’s experience echoed earlier play tests of this and other “reconnaissance” scenarios. Basically the attacker can go all out to kill the opposition rather than scout. I’ve made a few tweaks to the scenario to address this.
One Thursday night Chris Harrod and I played my SU-76 “Colombina” in Action Scenario. I picked this scenario because we have at most four hours to play in an evening, including set up. Being on the 4’x4′ table with a small company defending I figured this would be quick enough to fit.
Summary: Chris as the Russians won. Good game with some interesting choices for both sides. But the scenario does need some tweaking to make it even better.
I was talking to Dick Bryant about my SU-76i in 1902nd SAP – A Crossfire Scenario. He’d noticed that is was quite hard to defend this terrain because the fields of fire were limited by the in-season fields. Dick suggested making the fields out-of-season. The question is, would Soviet fields actually be in-season or out-of-season in Aug-Sep?
Crossfire recommends up to 3 tanks in a game, so Rich Wilcox was thinking – shock horror – of exploring other rule sets to allow him to put more kit on the table. I asked why Crossfire wouldn’t work, and suggested we try a tank heavy scenario to see if it worked. This is the battle report, be sure to look at the scenario as well.
Rich Wilcox and I were talking about whether a tank heavy scenario would work in Crossfire, so we decided to give it a go. The scenario is loosely based on Kursk, but only because I have a fair amount of Eastern Front kit for 1943, and we wanted to use all of it (or at least, most of it). See also my Battle Report.
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.