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.
In the opening moves of Operation “Zitadelle” on 5 July 1943 the German 9th Army crashed into the defensive lines of the Soviet 13th Army on the northern face of the Kursk Salient. The advance was barred by a cluster of fortified towns and villages strung along high ground about 60 km north of Kursk. For six days one of those settlements, Ponyri Station, became the focal point of immense efforts by both sides. Ponyri Station, sitting astride the main rail link between Kursk and Orel, was a collection and distribution point for the collective farms in the vicinity; this in turn made it a natural goal in the German’s North/South pincer move. The Soviets, being under no illusions that an attack would be forthcoming, had previously fortified Ponyri and were determined to hold the village. Among the many fierce battles of Kursk that around Ponyri Station was one the fiercest, the fighting being likened by both sides to a “little Stalingrad”. From July 6-9 a see-saw struggle for control of the schoolhouse, tractor depot, railway station and water tower took place. On the 7th of July alone, the village changed hands no less than 5 times.
Ponyri Station – A Hit the Dirt Blast from the Past
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.
Steven’s SU-122 Battery – 3rd Battery of the 1454th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment
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.
How to Use a Big Ruined Factory Feature For Crossfire?
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?
Ponyri Station and Hill 253.5 – A Big Crossfire Scenario during Kursk
Timeline for Ponyri Station and Hill 253.5
My timeline on the action around Ponyri Station in the Battle of Kursk. Details primarily taken from Remson and Anderson (2000).
Sources for Ponyri Station and Hill 253.5
An annotated bibliography for Ponyri Station in the Battle of Kursk.
German Order of Battle at Ponyri Station
The German massed a strong strike force against the sector containing Ponyri Station in the Battle of Kursk.
Ponyri Station and Hill 253.5 – The Northern Sector of the Battle of Kursk
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”.