Panzer Grenadier Battles on December 13th:
Arctic Front Deluxe #4 - Gathering Darkness Little Saturn #5 - Back to the Don
Heroes of the Soviet Union #3 - The Bloodiest Fight Red Warriors #20 - The Bloodiest Fight
Pole-Axed
Author Matt W
Method Solo
Victor Poland
Play Date 2010-11-13
Language English
Scenario IrWo003

This one pits two battalions of Poles of high quality against an entire regiment of Lithuanians of normal quality with significant, though primarily poor quality armor support. The Lithunians are trying to open up two roads leading to Vilnius without decimating themselves in the process

The Poles set up in two company sections, 1 guarding each of the roads and 1 centrally located to support either road. Given their available artillery, they ceded the entry boards completely leaving a significant open space for the Lithuanians to cross prior to contact. This worked to perfection.

The Lithuanians put their major effort in the north, sending two battalions and 80% of their armor. They ultimately did clear off the road but their losses due to the artillery and the opportunity fire as they closed in were significant. The Poles could count and knew that they had a large lead in losses and had inflicted more than the 20 steps necessary to get a minor victory and therefore did not commit their reserves at all.

It was interesting, however, as the possibility of a major victory loomed if the Poles did commit their reserves, but the losses to be incurred were so substantial as to inhibit the move. That tension was felt throughout the play.

For the Lithuanians to win they have to keep their entire force concentrated and should probably focus on the northern road, given the lack of towns there. It will be very difficult to get the Poles destroyed and clear of the road while having a lighter loss. Remember, no combined arms for the Lithuanian armor.

Overall, a reasonably large scale scenario with critical choices for both players. Highly recommended.

A note, however, about "victory" conditions. In this circumstance, if the goal was to open the road to Vilnius it is clear that the Lithuanians won. The ONLY reason that the Poles did not attack to close down the road was that it would have endangered their current easy "victory" by opening their reserves up to losses from artillery (by the way, I did not use the swamp terrain for the Polish defense, something you should not overlook). If this was a real situation one would have expected the Lithuanians to turn and establish a strong defense, perhaps by using the third battalion as a trailer, and the Poles to launch a nasty counterattack.

A long time ago in a very quirky design (The Struggle of Nations, the 1813 campaign in Germany) Kevin Zucker wrote a remarkably strong comment about victory conditions. While the game is in my attic and I don't want to invest the energy to go get it, the comment was basically that only a scoundrel would fail to realize that they have lost. In this case, although, the Poles "won" they cannot be satisfied and although the Lithuanians "lost" they have far more options concerning the ultimate strategic goal, capture of Vilnius and can feel pleased with their efforts.

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