AAR - Nordic Twilight

Critical Hit 40

Reached the century mark in games played by doing CH40, Nordic Twilight. Good way to celebrate - very nice scenario against a good opponent (David Scholz).

This Finn-Russian fight takes place on half-boards 34 and 32 with 7 turns. The Finns basically have to clear the buildings on bd 32 of GO Russian units; a few building overlays make for a small village around the 32D4 area. On turn 1, the main Finnish force comes in from the east and/or south sides of bd 32. Meanwhile, a Finnish screening force attempts to block/delay the Russian reinforcements coming in from the west side of bd 34. Interesting and tense action all over the map between interesting units.

What really spices this one up is the variable OB's - both sides get a few mandatory units but get to choose the bulk of their forces from a 3-selection menu. To top that off, both sides get 50 purchase points to buy various and sundry items - mainly SW, but a few juicy tidbits like SAN increases, OBA, and ? counters. Neato.

I was the Russian, so I have more opinions about their side. Among the 3 selections for the main Russian force to start on bd 32, I think you definitely want to avoid #3. That 9-2 is tempting, but he's gonna draw fire like crazy, and you won't be able to use any Commissars because the other two leaders onboard will only be 7-0's. In addition, the T28 is way superior to the BT7 in this scenario because of its thicker armor, heavier MA, and greater MG capability, and Group 3 gives you two BT7's and no T28's.

I like Group 2 better than Group 1 because the 8-0 can become a 9-0 Commissar and the 9-1 is a nice leader. Plus the two 458's are good for manning MG's in your stand-and-die position. Capping it off is the two T-28's. The only advantages Group 1 has over group 2 are the two extra squads, which sure would come in handy when you're hurtin' for squads, and the 8-1 leader which can be converted to a 10-0 Commissar if you like 10-0's.

Looking at the board, it seemed to me that the best defense would be a hedgehog around the 32 C1/D1 building, which you'll want to fully fortify with 12 of those purchase points. Stick a T-28 on either end along with some Sangars, the 458's with MG's, and the 9-1 and 9-0 leaders, and you've got a nice little defense. The 32i3 and e8 areas just seem too far forward and too easily accessible to defend well, whereas to get to 32C1/D1, the Finns will have to brave a good amount of open ground.

Therefore I spend 30 of my 50 points on creating that hedgehog:
12 points for fortifying both C1 and D1
18 points for 1 MMG and 1 HMG

I also spent 5 points for a SAN increase to 4, which seemed worthwhile and was. Since I'd never played David before, I thought it was worth 5 points to place a HIP 426 in 32H5 for purposes of winning the game by virtue of hiding out in the VC area. Some opponents, especially those who haven't had to hunt down HIP IJA in the PTO before, aren't ready for that trick, but David was. Ah well.

I was very afraid of the Finn buying the pre-game SAN attacks (SSR 8), so I bought many more concealment counters than I needed in order to set up sniper bait dummies in various places, especially around the C1/D1 hedgehog. It turns out that I over-estimated the effect of SSR 8 - the Finn would get to roll several times to see if he gets an effective sniper attack (a 1 or a 2) - he doesn't automatically get several effective sniper shots. Whew. Regardless, the dummies were pretty valuable, especially the 5/8" dummies and 5/8" ? counters that concealed the identities of my real AFV's.

I didn't buy the 122mm Btn mortar OBA because 28% of my purchase points is a heck of a lot to spend on something so precarious as OBA. David didn't buy his 76mm OBA either for much the same reason. I also passed on the Russian Gun purchases because the Guns wouldn't be allowed to Emplace by SSR. Geez.

I set up the SU-12 Gun Truck in 32J3 with its turret facing L3 because I figured he was gonna die real quick-like anyway and perhaps he could defend that little strip of woods before doing so. It pretty much played out this way, as he went down in the first player turn but kept the Finns from exploiting the J4/i5 corridor. If anybody has a better place for that vehicle, I'd like to hear it. Being unarmored with all that Finnish firepower running around is not a prescription for a long life.

The way it played out, David's main force came in like gangbusters toward 32i2 while a smaller force snuck along in their snow smocks from the south edge toward the e8 area where I had a similarly small force. By turn 3, he had four squads with LMG's arrayed in the H0/H1/H2/G3 area standing off against my C1/D1 hedgehog. He also put a 9-1,HMG/MMG force in J4 to duel against my 9-1/HMG in D1. LOTTA firepower out there.

On bd 34, the Finn 838/LMG and 648/ATR shot up my relief convoy heading down the plowed road. Two of my 3 tanks went down to consecutive shots from the Lahti - damn thing! That left my 10-0's platoon free to run along the 34N9-K9 path where they ran into the Finns coming over from the D5 area. The situation resolved itself when the damn Lahti finally missed the last Russian tank, which allowed the Russians to run up and place some DC's on TPBF-Frozen Finnish units and open the way to relieving the C1/D1 garrison.

Ultimately, even after both Russian MG's in the C1/D1 buiding malf'd, the Finns didn't have enough to overcome the two T-28's guarding that building. Not much you can do when you have to cross open ground without smoke against two AFV's with 76mm Gun, 6 FP MG's, and a good amount of supporting infantry. Even the vaunted Lahtis only have a final To Kill # of 4 against those beasts.

Couple of notes for either side.

Russian -

Finn -

Therefore, don't sweat the AFV's and just concentrate on breaking/capturing /killing Russian infantry. The bd 32 village isn't good skulking terrain, so just set yourself up for good Dfire opportunities and figure you'll win the battle of attrition by virtue of your superior morale, firepower, SAN, and rally capability. Eventually the Russian commissar will be overloaded and the Russian MG's will break, and you'll really have the edge in firepower then. Keep breaking the infantry and keep the bd 34 reinforcements from breaking through and you ought to be in position to take out the AFV's with CC and any DC's you have left floating around.

All in all, a very interesting scenario with a lot of tense action all over the board. Lotta chances to personalize your OB based on the kind of game you like to play. Give it an 8.5, maybe a 9.