Sunday, October 28, 2012

Scenario Review: Line of Fire 13 - "Hot in the City"

I've just played Mark Mitchell's scenario, "Hot in the City" from the new Line of Fire 13 and it was pretty great.  The scenario uses the Day of Heroes map and the Heroes of the Gap counters to showcase a battle between the Americans and Soviets in a small Libyan city just after a sandstorm passes through town.




There's a semi-random setup in the scenario, which is great for replayability and it's really exciting as both sides scramble for prime real estate on the Day of Heroes map, the entirety of which is available for play.  To add to the tension, each side has a Mobile Reserve Force consisting of some armor and an additional squad.  These forces might come on at any time during the game so there's a lot of tension here.

The battle gets deadly very quickly, especially with the addition of tanks and the paltry terrain values on the map.  The lighter construction buildings only offer a defensive value of 1 while the rubble hexes offer the most defensive value at 3.  With a scenario full of modern weapons and armor, you can imagine that it's not long before casualties are stacking up on both sides.  In the scenario I played, the game stopped two turns short of the turn limit due to the massive losses incurred by the Soviets.  

Soviet Political Officer gets taught a lesson
 in "Hot in the City"
Here are a few highlights of the game I played.  

-The Soviet side rolled a 12 on a fight or die rally attempt while sitting adjacent to an American M1 Abrams.  I've been playing HotG pretty regularly since it came out and this was the first time it happened.  Anyway, the shaken squad rebelled and killed the political officer.  I felt immense pride in that little squad that decided it wasn't going to be pushed around anymore...Unfortunately, it was eliminated in melee shortly thereafter.

-The Soviet Mobile Reserve Force entered the map and started mopping up the lone American squads left and right.  Any units that were isolated were quickly destroyed as they took cover in cardboard huts while a T-80 tank fired on them point blank.  No less than 3 US squads were eliminated in this fashion.

-An American squad managed to capture an RPG-16 during melee in a previous turn and as a BMP rolled up to the door to fire at it on the subsequent turn, the US side rolled a "2" to hit, and ended up killing it.  I always love it when squads use enemy weapons to great effect on their opponent.  It's hilarious and impressive to see.

-A Soviet squad actually managed to shake up an M1 Abrams tank with close range small arms fire, which I've never really seen before.  The Abrams kept failing its morale checks in the next three turns and it reversed uselessly back to the edge of the map.  It was quite impressive and it's something that really only happens on these kinds of maps where the fighting is in cramped streets.  I guess this event highlights the up close and personal nature of the scenario due to the map.
A look at the end result as Turn 6 came to a close.  Carnage and shaken units everywhere.

Anyway, my overall opinion is that this is a terrific scenario.  It breathes some new life into the Day of Heroes map and it focuses on a region other than Central Europe so it offers something different for the 1985 WWIII LnL universe.  You also have to adjust your tactics quite a bit to take into account the very short range combat and the deadly weaponry versus meager defensive terrain on the map.  Both sides have to think about where their opponent will enter the map with their armor and plan accordingly.  Finally, the scenario is very well balanced and the handful of matches I have played see-sawed back and forth until one side finally crumbled completely.

Kudos to Mark Mitchell for doing a great job and I look forward to playing this scenario again and writing a full report on it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Red Backer One: Soviet Opening Moves

Red Backer One is a scenario from LnLP's Heroes of the Gap which centers on a tank battle between the Soviets and Americans.  The Russians get a relatively large number of tanks to start out with.  They have 9 T-72s and a couple of ATGM vehicles perched on the hillside to the east of Eisenbach and they have to capture the city from the Americans in only six turns.  The Americans have only 3 tanks but these are M1 Abrams, deadly and highly effective at long range killing.  They also get an ATGM vehicle and a platoon of infantry for defense.

I've played this scenario a few times with opponents and, each time, I have lost badly as the Soviets.  After a few turns, my T-72s wrecks litter the battlefield around Eisenbach, perhaps getting a successful kill on an M1 before declaring game over.  After playing around with the scenario solo many times, I think I *may* have found the key to Soviet victory.  I'd like to look now at some possible opening moves that might help the Soviet player overcome the odds.

The usual fate of my Russian tanks when I play as the Soviets in "Red Backer One"


In order to inflict damage on the Americans and to avoid getting wiped out, the Russians need to close the distance between themselves and the M1 Abrams.  Sitting on the hill blasting away at the American tanks is probably not going to work out well due to the armor thickness of the Abrams in defense and the long range accuracy of the Abrams on offense.  So the trick here is to close the gap with the Americans, surround their tanks with large numbers of T-72s and hopefully score some rear-shot kills or at least shake up the tanks and end up with an abandon result.  The Soviets are going to lose some units in the attempt but hopefully with just a little forethought and planning, they can preserve just enough of a force to win the day.

The Setup:  Keep it Together


Setup is everything here.  The Soviet player gets one tank leader to start off, which is key to a good Soviet first turn.  A smoke artillery mission is also granted to the Soviets, which is terrific but must be used very conservatively.   Although the Soviets get a large number of tanks here, they have to be used carefully and with the capabilities of both sides in mind.




The Soviets should place their tank leader just slightly back from the hillside and surround himself with stacks of T-72s (remember that you can stack two vehicles per hex).  Both ATGM vehicles should be placed in the 1 hex command range of the Soviet leader and at the lip of the hill with an LOS to any American armor of Team Yankee.  The Soviet leader will activate all surrounding hexes on the first impulse of Turn 1.




You can also stack your BMP1 with one of the BRDM ATs and add to the chaos.  I would recommend expending the BMP1's ATGM on the US M901 if it's out in the open and close enough and spotted.  Otherwise, fire it at a US tank or maneuver it into Bergengipfel to stall the US reinforcements there from reaching Eisenbach..

Opening Impulse:  The Wonderful World of ATGMs

If the US player places his Abrams out in the open in LOS of the ATGMs, you can shut down the opportunity fire capability of the Abrams by starting off the game targeting these units with your ATGMs.  Of course, a smart American player will attempt to use opportunity fire on the ATGM units when they start targetting his tanks because the ATGMs are the biggest threat to his forces at this point.  The good thing about this is that, according to the rules, opportunity fire against targeting ATGM units that are busy aquiring can only be done with DFT (machine guns) and cannot be done with OFT (main cannons and other ordnance) so there's actually a decent chance that your ATGM vehicles survive the opportunity fire although they may be shaken.  In either case, they have done their job successfully, which is to force the US players tanks to use up the opportunity fire they would have otherwise used on your tank rush.  You may want to spare one ATGM to hit at the American M901, which is a guaranteed kill on your tanks if and when it does fire.  Otherwise, make the M1 Abrams your priority targets.




Once you have soaked up the American opportunity fire with your ATGMs, get your T-72s rolling off that hill and towards Eisenbach!  Remember that you have surrounded your Soviet leader with tanks around his hex so this should all be happening in the first impulse of the first turn.

Hopefully, you have used your offboard HE artillery mission on the American units in Bergengipfel and it has shaken up enough of them to prevent your tanks from getting hit from behind as they approach Eisenbach.  If you have a particularly wily opponent who loves to set up unpredictably, then just fire the 122mm artillery rounds a little west of Bergefipfel so that the arty will degrade and/or block the LOS to your tank units as they rush towards Eisenbach.  Remember that artillery effectively creates degrading terrain and it's as almost as good as Smoke in terms of blocking LOS.  It's even better than Smoke because it stalls enemy movement.

If the Americans have set up their tanks close to your own set up area, you should try to isolate and surround them with your tank units and kill them on your next turn. If the Americans are set up further back, you should try to get as many units as possible into Eisenbach itself, use the buildings as cover and try to goad the US into a close range street battle.

Hopefully the end of Turn 1 looks something like this for the Soviets.  Note that several tanks are in the Soviet leader's command range

The key here is to preserve as much of your forces as possible on their way to the city, inflict maximum losses on those American tanks and then prepare for the US to start sending reinforcements from Bergengipfel right away.  This is not an easy task for the Russian player but luckily, the Americans also have 99 problems to deal with too.  For example, the US player has a terrible dilemma here because sending M113s from Bergengipfel to reinforce Eisenbach will surely result in a quick death from T-72s and moving out in the open on foot is equally deadly.

Also, even if the Americans win initiative on Turn 2, they will be forced to choose between targeting your Soviet tank leader, adjacent enemy units and any remaining ATGM vehicles sitting back on Hill 320.  In the picture above, Capt. Bannon will likely activate himself and the adjacent M1, hit the Soviet leader tank (scoring a kill) and then the adjacent M1 will kill one of the T-72s sitting beside it.  Big deal. That still leaves 7 tanks to contend with at close range.  The Soviet player can then spend the rest of the turn assault moving the rest of the T-72s adjacent to the rears of the M1s and firing at them point blank (save one or two tanks for opp fire on any US units foolish enough to try and reach Eisenbach).

If the Soviets win initative, fire at the US leader tank with your ATGM unit and then use the next Soviet impulse to activate your leader and the surrounding Soviet tanks to kill it.

At first, this scenario looks like a cake walk for the Americans as the Soviets have to send masses of armor out into the waiting fire lanes of the Abrams tanks.  However, with the right amount of setup and a very aggressive opening, the Soviet player can pull this one off.

Update:  After trying this out a bit more, I can see some problems with the above advice.  First of all, the US units will probably be out of range to return opportunity fire at the ATGM units with their machine guns.  Secondly, the Soviet ATGM units may not be quite the American tank killer I had initially thought.  HEAT missiles that attack vehicles with a red armor factor have their penetration reduced by 4, which means that the penetration of the Soviet BRDM ATGMs is a meager 12 - still a threat that might shake up the Abrams but probably not potent enough to score kills.

As a result of all this, I would modify my advice as follows:  The Soviets should sink their two off-board smoke artillery just to the west of Bergengipfel and then fire their HE artillery just to the northeast of Eisenbach.  The latter might be effective in blocking the American Abrams LOS to the Soviets as they move off Hill 320 in the initial impulse.  This should effectively protect the Soviet tank rush as it pours towards Eisenbach.

My basic advice of keeping your units together and in command range of the leader, using smoke and artillery to block LOS and rushing your tanks as close as possible to Team Yankee in the opening turn remains the same.

Monday, October 22, 2012

LoF 13: Nations at War: Come As You Are

The latest issue of Line of Fire 13 has a bunch of pretty cool scenarios.  I decided to try out Matt Lohse's scenario "Come As You Are", which features an attempt by the US 82nd Airborne to capture the bridge at Nijmegen during Operation Market Garden.  The Germans hastily assemble a reaction force of whomever is around and try to stop them.  The scenario lasts 12 turns and each side checks for reinforcements to arrive at the start of each turn.

Here's our play area on boards B and C. The Americans enter from the east and the Germans are in the west.


The US sets up with a couple of meager infantry platoons and a bazooka along with an officer and advance towards the city.  They're trying to capture the bridge in the middle of the city.  The other bridges don't exist.



The Germans have the option of basically setting up in a concealed area after the US has moved, which they do.  Not a very exciting first turn.





The US infantry advanced towards the city.  The Germans open up on them and score a disruption but the US quickly recovers.




The US enters the city and destroys the lone German platoon with an infantry assault.  This leaves the Germans desperate for reinforcements to prevent the US from capturing the other side of the bridge.  They are forced to use fate points to get reinforcements on the next turn.  The Germans get a Puma recon vehicle and two armored infantry, which roar into the area mounted in German half-tracks.


At the beginning of turn 5, the Germans get a chit pull activation and start pushing towards the city.  Unfortunately, the German infantry with the HQ are all still mounted due to their need for speed.  The US now has some reinforcements too, in the form of the HQ for the 82nd Airborne (note that it should be reduced as per scenario setup rules but I caught this before it affected play later on).


The US gets a chit pull at the end of turn 5 and the US officer and his two infantry platoons cross the bridge and capture the other side.  The Germans have their work cut out for them now!



In the subsequent turn, chit pulls end up with End Turn markers.  In Turn 7, however, the US activates and pulls the HQ into the city on the other side of the bridge.  The US officer on the German side of the bridge along with his platoons, try to score hits on the German HQ sitting outside the city but they roll miserably and only score a single disruption.




The Germans decide to dismount their infantry and move it into the city to the south of the US platoons.  The Puma fires ineffectively on the US units.



On Turn 8, everything goes crazy.  The US activates and fires away at the Germans across the bridge, disrupting and reducing the German HMG unit.  The US HQ sends one of its platoons across the bridge and to the northwest hex to hassle the Germans.  US reinforcements including an HMG unit start moving on from the east but they are still pretty far away.


The Germans go all out.  The Puma disrupts one of the US units nearby and the German HQ follows up with a successful assault, eliminating the bazooka platoon with the officer.  The remaining para unit retreats north.




The German HQ and infantry have taken back the other side of the bridge!  This will prevent a US victory.


On Turn 9, the Germans get some reinforcements.  A PzIV (reduced) and a mounted infantry unit enter the map from the west.



The Germans follow up their successful assault with another one on the US infantry platoon that retreated last turn.  They destroy both US infantry but this leaves the Germans with the HQ unit disrupted and the other side of the bridge open for capture.



The US HQ takes advantage of this and moves across the bridge with its platoon w/ attached HMG.  Can they hold out?  German reinforcements are approaching.  The US has an ATG towed by a jeep on the eastern outskirts of the city while other para units are slowly but surely on their way.



On Turn 10, the Germans pull the first chit and their HQ with disrupted units retreat to keep away from the US HQ.  The German Puma fires on the US HQ and platoon but with no effect.  The PzIV sits at the edge of the city pouring fire at the American troops but does not score a hit.



The US activates and pulls their towed jeep with ATG across the bridge (shown crossing to make this clear).  The US platoon with the HQ disrupts and reduces the adjacent German Puma.


By the end of turn 10, the US reinforcements have edged closer to the city.  However, German reinforcements are pouring in too.


Turn 11 and the Germans are still unable to undisrupt their HQ unit.  A German Puma and mounted infantry are on the approach.  The PzIV manages to hit the American ATG and almost eliminates it except for the US use of Fate Points to save it.  The US activates and moves a couple of platoons from outside the city towards the bridge.


Last turn:  Turn 12 and the Germans are desperate to dislodge the US HQ.  The US gets first activation.  The US pulls two platoons across the bridge and an undisrupted infantry reinforcement that joined up with the German HQ opens up, scoring a hit with opportunity fire.

Meanwhile, the US HQ finally destroys the German Puma thanks to the use of the ATG and infantry support.


The Germans get a chit pull on this last turn and decide to go for it.  The HQ units recover from disruption.


The German PzIV opens fire on the HQ units but fail to score a hit.  The Puma stacked with the PzIV try for an assault to see if they can soften the US up for an assault by the German HQ.  Unfortunately, the Puma disrupts the US ATG but is instantly destroyed by the Americans in the counter assault.


The German HQ unit moves down through the wrecked Puma marker to the south and assault the US HQ.  The odds are even here and this is for all the tea in China.  Unfortunately, the German HQ units score 2 hits on the Americans, destroying the ATG and eliminating the American HQ.  However, the US HQ units roll for their assault.  The US infantry scores 3 hits and even the disrupted ATG unit rolls a 6 and scores a hit.  Four hits on two reduced German infantry completely destroys them along with the HQ.  And with that, turn 12 ended and the game was over.



Summary:  As you can see from the last round, this was a very tense scenario.  Without knowing for certain when or if reinforcements will arrive, both sides have to "wing it" and try their best with whatever they have at their disposal.  There were several back and forth moments in this game, especially when the Germans recaptured the bridge just after the mid-way point of the game and the US had the majority of its reinforcements sitting way out.  Had the Puma in its final assault managed a hit on the US infantry instead of the ATG or if the German HQ had rolled a little better (or better yet, had the fate points it needed) to score more hits on the US infantry, the Germans likely would have won the scenario.

A couple of things the Germans can be proud of:  1.)  They took the time on turn 7 to calmly dismount their infantry in the city rather than hastily dismounting and assaulting the US from outside of it.  The US also did a great job of just feeding units into the western part of the city to keep the Germans occupied while US reinforcements made their way to join the fray.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Line of Fire 13: A Sneak Peek

I've long been a fan of LnL Publishing's "Line of Fire" magazine.  The writing is crisp and the content is always a grab bag of fun.  In the words of a fabled Vietnam veteran, "You never know what you're gonna get."  Another great thing about LoF is that you always find new scenarios in there that breathe new life into any LnLP products you've bought so it's nice to see the company supporting its published products.

Line of Fire 13 is at the printers as of this writing and, in my opinion, it's probably the best one yet.  Here's why:

1.)  Blood on the Alma



Blood on the Alma is a complete new game that depicts division-level combat between the Russians the Allies near the River Alma in 1854 during the Crimean War.  It's a refreshing take on the ZOC wargame combined with chit pull.  Historical events and situations are taken into account, such as the Minié rifle and its extended range, the training and discipline of the Jaeger division and the various effects of certain commanders (both good and bad) on the course of the battle.  The maps look beautiful as well as the counters.

Part of the map from "Blood on the Alma"


Check out Kev Sharp's video and you'll get an idea of just how much thought and effort has been put into this game by designer Tom Russell, artist Gabriel Gendron, and editor Jeff Lewis.



Although I haven't played it yet, the rules seem quite intuitive and I'm sure it will be quite refreshing to take a break from modern warfare and try something as unique and historical as this game.  From my own guess, it would seem that BotA alone is worth the price of the magazine.  I really hope that LnL continues this trend of providing full games in LoF.  The previous issue featured a complete game called Raid & Riposte based on the Soviet defense of Tannenhause in the World at War series, which was amazing.

2.)  New Scenarios

There are 20 pages of 13 new scenarios in this issue of Line of Fire, an impressive number to be sure.  Almost as impressive as the number of scenarios is the breadth of them.  In this issue, we have new scenarios for 3 systems, including LnLP's World War II platoon-level combat game, Nations at War, the Lock 'n Load series of tactical squad combat, and the World War III platoon-level game series, World at War.

Nations at War fans get some shiny new scenarios in the form of "Come as You Are", a scenario based on the 82nd Airborne's attempt to capture a bridge in Nijmegen during Operation Market Garden.  The Germans get a hastily assembled group of tanks and men to stop the Americans.  Rolling for American and German reinforcements keeps the tension high throughout the scenario's 12 turns.

Many of the new Nations at War scenarios use the counters and maps from Operation Cobra, the recently released expansion for White Star Rising.  If you were lucky enough to get a copy of Operation Cobra before it sold out in record time earlier this year (don't worry, it's back in stock and shipping along with a downloadable print 'n play version) then you'll be happy to know that this issue of LoF has plenty in store for you.  "Grossbeek Heights" is a follow up to "Come as You Are" and features another battle between the Germans and the 82nd Airborne during Market Garden.


"Operation Goodwood Day 1" and the follow-up scenario "Operation Goodwood Day 2" feature a British attempt to break out from Normandy just after the D-Day landings.   I should mention that these three scenarios were all designed by Matt Lohse, who created many of the great scenarios from the original White Star Rising among many other games so you can expect first-rate stuff.






















After that, we have the Lock 'n Load series of scenarios.  The first one up is a scenario I designed for the Heroes of the Gap game, which uses three maps from "Band of Heroes".   This scenario, called "Goin' Under", is a bridge crossing by the Soviets and the Americans get a handful of squads as well as an impressive amount of C4 explosives to try and stop them (I know what you're thinking - if they had all that C4, why didn't they just blow the bridge?  Well, because that would be boring to play).

I should note that although this scenario has my name on it, I had a lot of help from suggestions by Kev Sharp, who graciously playtested it with me.  I agonized over this scenario for a long time and now that it's out there, I hope people enjoy it.  If you have any feedback or comments, please feel free to leave them here.

"Hot in the City" is another Heroes of the Gap scenario but this one uses the map from "A Day of Heroes".  It's a battle between the Americans and the Soviets in El Adem, Libya 1985.  There's a neat surprise in the scenario, which I won't give away, but it's guaranteed to sweep you away!  It's from Mark Mitchell so it's no surprise that it's excellent stuff.

The last two scenarios for Lock 'n Load are from Jeff Lewis.  "Deft Leopards" and "Appelation Brag Contrôlée" (you've got to appreciate the guy's wit) both feature units from the Heroes of the Gap expansion, Honneur et Patrie.  "Deft Leopards" has the Belgians and French teaming up to beat some pretty serious Soviet armor, not the least of which includes a pair of T-80s.  "Appelation Brag Contrôlée"" is a more intimate scenario with a small order of battle but with a compelling personal storyline set in Forbach, France as the Soviets push through Western Europe in 1985.

The good ole World at War series gets some nice scenarios and some lesser-known expansions get a work-out here as Arrigo Velicogna's "Lancers to the Front!" features a battle between the Soviet 93rd Recon and the British Lancers on the Bitterfeld map from the downloadable expansion, Battles within Battles.  Matt Curtis also breathes some new life into the Operation Garbo maps and units with his depiction of a real corker between the Soviet 63rd Guards and the Swedish Mechanized Brigade in a scenario called  "Nynäshamn".

Rounding out the scenarios is Part 2 of Arrigo Velicogna's World at War modulette based on a Chinese invasion of Vietnam during the summer of '85 set in the World at War universe.  Anyone who has enjoyed his previous work will surely do the same with the new material he's provided here.




3)  The articles:

This issue of LoF has some interesting articles.  Sean Druelinger kicks things off with a preview of "Stalin's Triumph", the upcoming P500 expansion to the Nations at War series.  As an aside, I thought Sean's scenario "NAN-White" from LoF 10 was terrific and I'm looking forward to seeing his future work. Matt Lohse chimes in with some thoughts about the future of the Nations at War series and it all sounds very cool.  Jeff Lewis rounds this out with lots of very thoughtful advice on tactics for NaW players.

Marco Anaudo, who has acheived a sort of fame through his prolific number of quality game reviews over the recent years, gets interviewed by Jeff Lewis.  Several great articles on the French in "Honneur et Patrie" were included in this issue.  Kev Sharp and I wrote a battle report of "Down Time" from Heroes of the Gap, which is included in this issue.  All I can say is that if you think you're a bad player, you'll feel much better after reading about my tactics.

Finally, there are several great reviews of various games, some of which are decidedly outside of the standard wargame genre, but provide an interesting look at what's happening out in the hobby.  I know previous reviews in other issues have driven me to purchase games that I otherwise would not have bought.

In terms of wargames, however, Lt. Col. Robert G. Smith reviews Commands & Colors: Napoleonics.  Lt. Col. Smith always writes thoughtful reviews and this one is no exception.  Finally, Richard Mataka looks at Sergeants Miniatures Game, which I've been curious about since it was published.  It looks fun and I have to admit that I'll always have a soft spot for minis in my heart even though I have no room for them in my apartment.

Conclusion:

Well, I hope that gives you a better idea of what to expect in this Line of Fire issue.  Of course, there's plenty more and I've just scratched the surface of what's in there.  I'll be playing through some of the scenarios in the near future and uploading reports right here.  Thanks always for reading.  Kudos to Jeff Lewis, who always does a great job editing and sewing together all the pieces to make the magazine come to life, not to mention the patience he has for contributors like myself who don't always get it right the first (or second or third) time around.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Firepower: WW3 - First Probe

I've been playing quite a bit of Firepower lately (and badly, I might add - I still don't have a great grasp of the advanced rules) and it's been a lot of fun.  After my first few forays into the game with the Soviet-Sino border clashes, I decided to have a good series of matches between the Soviets and NATO set in LnLP's "World at War" universe.

If you're familiar at all with "Heroes of the Gap", you'll know of a nice little scenario called "First Probe", which features a mostly infantry fight between the Americans and Russians in the tiny West German town of Bergengipfel.  After playing the LnL game earlier today for some inspiration, I decided to set a Firepower scenario in the same battle, zoomed in on the actions of just two squads and a handful of buildings on the outskirts of the town.

I had actually played through this scenario a few times, with wildly varying results.  This is just one of those sessions which I think will amply demonstrate how deadly and unforgiving this game can be.  So...without further ado, here we go:

The Americans start out this LnL scenario with their location "hidden" from the Soviets.  I have tried to do the same way by rolling for US soldier locations in each building after the Soviets come into view.  If you're playing 2-player, then just have the American player secretly write down his various unit locations on a beverage-stained napkin.  The Soviets get a couple of smoke artillery missions to start the scenario, so I've decided to just roll 1d10 and let the Soviets place that number of smoke markers anywhere on the southern board.


Here's the map.  It's based very loosely on the terrain near Bergengifel.  The Americans write down their setup locations in any of the buildings on the northern board (or, since I'm playing solo, we'll just roll randomly for it).  The Soviets will approach from the south.  Their objective is to take 3 buildings.


The Soviets get 6 smoke markers to start off with. They will last for two turns before dissipating.


The Soviet Motorized Rifle squad is well trained and well led, with 3 leaders.  It gets 4 activation chits (dark green) while the Americans only get 3.



The Soviets split up into 3-man teams and approach the buildings.  One squad comes straight up the middle with the smoke blocking LOS of the advance.  The squad leader (Sgt. Buryshkin) and two men stand near a tree at the edge of the smoke.



The other two teams approach along the east side of the map.  Their plan is to go over the hill and try to take the American-held buildings using coordination and close assault.



The American positions are revealed!  Boone (7), Curtis (6) and Tanaka (26) stand in the windows of the building closest to the Soviet advance, waiting to kill any approaching Russians.  Sgt. York (2) stands at the window in the building to their left.


The other buildings to the side and in the rear have three US soldiers each, ready to lay on the hurt.


Pvt. Tanaka sees shapes moving through the smoke and throws a hand grenade at Buryshin and his team.  Luckily for them, the grenade disappears in the smoke and explodes about 12 yards away, harmlessly.


York opens up with his M-16A1 at the Soviets on the hillside.  He suppresses them and wounds one of the Russians in the arm.  Pvt. Cherkesov (18) lays prone and stunned from the wound.  Will poor Pvt. Cherkesov ever catch a break?


Buryskin fires back at Tanaka, standing in the nearest window, and hits him in the chest.  Tanaka falls dead to the floor.


Pvt. Cherlin  (19) and Kuzmin (5 - stacked below him) approach the house and crouch around the corner.


Cpl. Coleman (25) fires his grenade launcher at another team of Soviets on the hillside to the south.


The round lands right in the middle of them, killing Dmitriev and Vasiliev.  The remaining Russian soldier is stunned and prone.


Curtis (6) moves to the nearest window and steps over Tanaka's body, spraying the crouching Soviets and killing Kuzmin!


Coleman lets loose with the M203 grenade launcher again, hitting the other team of Soviets on the hillside.  The grenade doesn't kill anyone but it manages to start a fire in the hex.  The nearby tree goes up in flames.




Coleman quickly chambers another grenade and fires off the last one at the Soviets who lay prone and stunned near the burning tree.  It misses by a wide margin.  Unfortunately, the Russians are pinned and cannot move.  The fire spreads very quickly and Smirnov and Cherkesov die.


 Cherlin (19) spins around and see Curtis in the window, letting off two shots.  Both rounds hit the rifleman, killing him instantly.


Buryshkin (6) decides to try and help infiltrate the nearby building with only one American left inside.


Unfortunately, the Americans get their command chit pulled twice (the Soviets have lost two chits already thanks to taking so many casualties) and Lee (5) moves from the building to the north to melee the prone Sgt. Buryshkin.  Lee kills him.


Boone (7), the lone American left in the building comes out of the window, sneaks around the corner and kills Cherlin (19).


What a mess!  Only two Soviets are left at the end of the turn.  The Russians decide to call it quits.

Epilogue:

A couple of things went disastrously wrong for the Russians.  First, the command chit pulls heavily favored the Americans, who seemed to find the Soviets vulnerable at the start of every turn.  Second, and this cannot be stressed enough, the Soviets bunched up in groups to make movement and command easier.  Unfotunately, this left them open to attack from area-effect weapons.  Bad luck hampered them too.  Being stuck in a fire hex while being too stunned to move led to the loss of an entire 3 man team.  Careless movement near a building without good coordination led to the end of another.

A recent play of this scenario led to some very interesting results in the form of a Soviet sweep to victory.  The Russians bunched up and charged into the buildings after some lucky chit-pulls.  Once they get into the buildings, the Americans have a hard time focusing their heavy weapons on them.  I'll be playing through this one again with different tactics to demonstrate the various results from the game.