The Mighty Finns(me) vs. The Russian Infidels(Dave)
The Finns in this scenario have a lot of ground to cover and relatively few turns in which to cover it. After examining the board, it turns out the Finns have to average four hexes per turn with pissed off Russians firing the whole time. Plus the Finns have to worry about two HIP units just itching to make an unlucky Finnish squad or two nothing more than a bloodspot in the middle of the street. The Finns must cross street after street driving straight into Russian squads holed up in buildings--all this without the benefit of smoke. The only thing the Finns have to rely on is their vastly superior fighting men.
The Russians setup was in a word defensive. It was obvious that the Russians wanted to minimize the chances of infiltration or the Finns stampeding right past them. All of the Russian squads were setup in the V or W hexrows(with the exception of one dummy stack). The initial setup was pretty evenly spread with an emphasis on making sure the Finns couldn't do a "boardedge crawl." Fearing HIP squads right up front(there weren't) and figuring that he would have put them in the stone rowhouses, I decided to spearhead through the west side of the board(his defense also appeared weakest there).
Although I understand the need to have the Russians in a fall back stance, the lack of any opposition in the two building complexes on the north end was, IMO, a mistake. This allowed the Finns to get a solid foothold in buildings before braving withering fire from the Russians. The majority of Finns headed toward the west side, with a few(including the MMG) headed toward the east side. The idea was to breach the Russians on the weak side while holding off reinforcements from the east side of the board.
By turn two the board saw many new flames and blazes crop up, aided by gusts and a pesky HIP unit in the back that systematically tried to set fire to the entire to the entire G hexrow(which, by the end of turn 3, had been largely successful). The Finns advanced steadily, chewing up ground and dishing out as good as they got. The one thing the Russian did not count on was the Finnish thirst for prisoners. By the end of turn 3, three full squads had been taken prisoner(12 VP). A rules debate ensued about whether prisoners killed by friendly fire count toward VP(they do not). Since they do count toward exit VP intact, the Finns split them up into HS to get some of them off the board(and to keep attack abilities). Also, by the end of turn two, the mighty Finns had lost all three leaders(one to a sniper, one in CC, the other taken prisoner(later retrieved)). This hurt the Finnish mobility a great deal with a lot of ground left to cover.
By the end of turn three, however, the Finns had advanced steadily, reaching the graveyard. At this point, the Finns had managed to surround 2 HS and a 9-0 Commissar in the rowhouse. All were put effectively out of commission. The Russians were down to seven squad equivalents by this time; the Finns 12 1/2.
In turn four, the Finns changed tack in the direction of movement. To avoid the obvious chokepoint at G1(where the HIP MMG would logically be trained), the Finns moved across the graveyard, seeking to cut off the two large stacks waiting in K4 and J3, and opening a hole to shoot through G6 toward the exit.
The movement through the graveyard was largely a success; no Finn units got tagged on the way. The Russian had pretty much conceded the right side of the board, waiting until the G1 chokepoint to mow down those squads still on that side. In the meantime, the Russian had done a very good job of placing his units in position to cover Finns crossing the streets to get home. He placed a large stack in the woods in H9, a HS in N8 to cover the street, a couple of squads in I5L1 to get some nasty PB fire, and a couple of squads with the 8-1 leader in F0 to cover the G1 chokepoint.
To avoid getting decimated crossing these deathtraps, the Finns dashed and moved adjacent to the H row street and the G1 chokepoint and advanced into them, seeking to avoid the Residual firepower that was sure to be laid down. Sure enough, the HIP squad with the MMG was waiting patiently in D1L1, providing a huge threat to the squads crossing at G1. The Russian got off many good -2 shots at the Finns during movement, but subsequently rolled spectacular MC die rolls for the Finnish squads(thanks Dave). The Russian turn 5 was punctuated only by the Russians poor Prep fire shots and the devastating Finnish defensive fire shots. The Finns broke the squad in D1L1 with the MMG, securing many exit points through that area. The Russians were left with few defenders to slow the tide now, with only 3 1/2 unbroken squads to face the mass of Finnish(~9 squads).
At this point, the Russian surrendered. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable game. In all fairness, the Russians suffered from poorer dicing than did the Finns. The casualties early on snowballed until the Russian ran out of choices.
Here's an AAR of "Fighting Withdrawal", my first time at this scenario.
I played this scenario with my friend over AOL on Monday (into not-so-early Tuesday). I was the Good Guys (from my perspective that would be the Finns), he was the Evil, Godless Commies (EGC, for short).
The scenario started off in a pretty good way for the Finns. He neglected to set up any units in the open, so the Finns got to grow concealement for everyone. Three kill stacks immediately declare opportunity fire, and the rest of the Finns start to assault across the street. Across the way there were a solid row of mustard colored '?'.
Some Russkies popped out of cover, and took shots at the advancing Finns, who weathered the storm in quite orderly fashion. What followed was an advance into the Russian lines.
Now, with hindsight, I can see that merely moving two hexes in the first turn was a tactical mistake. The Finns really need to hustle, and I do mean hustle, to get across that entire board in the time allotted.
The next turn saw the Finns again crossing open ground as they attempted to press forward. I'll give Sheldon (EGC, as defined above) credit for executing a very skilled withdrawal, never letting the Finns bring their kill stacks to bear. Very frustrating to have the Commies constantly slip away behind the buildings before you get to fire on 'em.
Another lowlight of the scenario was when the Finns managed to corner a Commie 8-0 and a broken HS in one of the rowhouses. The HS died in the hail of SMG fire, but the 8-0 tore off his padded tunic, wrapped a red bandanna (with hammer and sickle prominently showing in the front) around his head, and proceeded to destroy an entire 6-4-8 in HtH. Yes, he died too, but obviously Sgt. Rambovich will be remembered as a martyr of the greater glory of the proletariat state.
After three turns, I had lost two of my leaders, who had been bounced in CC.
I had to concede after the fourth turn, as my front line had broken and I just didn't have enough MP to cross the rest of the board. OK, and as a cheap copout, it was 3AM at this time, and I had to get up for work three hours later. I was obviously no longer coherent at the time.
So anyway, my first ladder game ends in ignoble defeat for the Finns.
Good thing ASL allows for timewarps, as I look forward to again punishing the Russkies with the Finns in this scenario (or guaranteeing that those Capitalist, Oppressive, Dogs pay for the invasion of Mother Russia with their blood).