Over the holidays I had the chance to see an old friend an play a short scenario. We decided to try one of the new Schwerpunkt scenarios with SP 12 Piano lupo looking interesting. After looking over the map configuration inlcuding only board 11 and overlay X15, both my opponent (Steve Stewart) and I came to the conlcusion that the scenario looked tough on the americans due to two factors. One, the Time limit and second the massive amount of Axis firepower.
I decided to take the Americans but asked for the balance, that is to exchange my 8-1 for a 9-1. One of the problems in this scenario is that the american player must control a pillbox and a fortified stone building in 4.5 turns with only a total of 5.5 squads.
We had several problems with the writing of the scenario. First, we would like to have had the victory conditions specify pillbox location or hex, however we assumed it was pillbox location only. We also had some problems with understanding the intent of SSR2 stating that the overlay building is a fortified stone building. I felt that this seemed a bit to much to have 4 fortified stone building locations.
A comparision of the forces shows the Axis to have a total of 39 FP with 6 squads while the allies have 49 FP excluding the BAZ and MTR's. While the Axis force is made up of only 6 morale 1st line italian squad, they are bolstered by a 4-6-8 german squad and 8-1 leader. I found the use of the mortars and BAZ to be useless since I was unable to get them into position and hope for a critical hit. In measuring up the forces, it is interesting to note the leader ratio for the axis to the allied. The allies have a 2.75:1 ration (S/L) while the axis have a 2:1.
The american player has two entry sites for his forces, however only one is realistic due to the time contstraints. Interestingly, SSR 4 seems to be unnecessary. Also, my opponent forgot his multiple boresight opportunities as did the playtesters and design comments on page 14 of the Schwerpunkt analysis booklet. I think this could greatly change the game if used correctly.
In the end the scenario was not even close, I did manage to end run into a pillbox, but was subsequently counter attacked and would have had to roll for close combat resolution. However, this was unecessary as I could not get into the fortified stone building. I found the combination of 8 morale troops with 8-1 leader and MMG/HMG stack in a trench adjacent to a hedge quite a formidable defense against my 7 morale troops. I was forced to assault ajacent to this and face a 20-1 attack due to my opponents clever use of a 7-0 leader to prevent my gaining wall advantage. As any units in a foxhole/ trench may not gain wall advangtage, he simply used the italian 7-0 leader not in the trench. I did have to prep fire at him and he of course passed his 2 MC. I then tried to run around this tough defense, but in the end my failure to push ahead into the teeth of a 20-1 cost me the game. There was very little manuever for the axis player, it was a sit tight and wait game for him.
I believe scenarios that are very small such as this one have an inherent amount of diceyness to them, which is difficult to avoid, however, I am at a loss of how to defeat the axis player with this one even with the american balance and no boresighting. In our game, we cannot say there was any extreme luck on one side or the other.
A finale note, the comments on this scenario from pg 14 of SP give little insight into how to play the americans. Apparently, there Idea is to charge across and take the buildings. and then the pillboxes. I tried it the other way and it did not work. However, I think if my opponent had placed his 468 into the foritified building, it would have made things even worse.