|Hey, careful with those tanks!|
Iron Wolves scenario 5 has the type of things I look for in a PG session: 2 maps, 18 turns, mixed forces, clear objectives. It's a hypothetical 1939 clash between a Lithuanian invading force and Polish reserve troops (the dreaded 4-2 ON guys). But the Poles have some guns, and start with control of the town hexes that the Lithuanians need to win.
The Poles put roughly equal forces in the 3 main towns, and will react according to where the Lithuanians attack.
For the Lithuanians, I tried something new as a solitaire player. I assigned 3 possible attack plans (concentrate on northern town on board 21, concentrate on southern town, attack both simultaneously) die roll numbers and rolled a 4 (main thrust at southern town). The armor will hide until the 37mm AT gun is knocked out. Some troops will move through the woods, others will attack from a 3-hex range, where the Polish infantry can't hit them. Hopefully OBA will also put a dent in the town's defenses.
I did put a small force up near the northern town to keep the defenders there
End turn 4
For the first two turns, the Iron Wolves (or IW, Lithuanians is too long to type every time) push forward toward the southern town, with a firing line forming in front and others moving through and behind the woods. Defensive fire from the town disrupts/demoralizes a stack, but otherwise there is not much action.
Things starting happening in the next few turns, though. While the town defenders, aided by their artillery in the rear, fire away at the attackers to their front, the IW manage to reach the edge of woods near the town. At the same time, two columns of V4t tanks have swung around the town and are in firing range, and out of sight of the AT gun. The IW get a huge break when their OBA lands a direct hit (roll of 12) on the town hex with the Polish HMG and INF unit, demoralizing the HMG. It subsequently fails its recovery check, so moves out of the hex. The IW use this break to advance to the edge of the town, surviving the now-depleted defensive fire.
So things are looking pretty grim for the Poles at the start of turn 5. If the IW win activation, they will advance into the town with a clear advantage.
End turn 6
I think this is a tough one for the Poles -- they have too much ground to defend and not enough units. Plus, the Lithuanian player has ample time to prepare his assaults.
At the end of turn 6, the IW have taken a hex in the southern town, and are contesting two others. One of the town hexes consists of just two demoralized INF units, so they will not be long for this world.
A lucky artillery strike on the northern town opened the way for an assault there next turn. Meanwhile, a column of tanks has sped east to begin softening up the next large town. Poles have lost two steps so far, the IW four. I've never seen so many 2s and 12s rolled in a two-turn span, but often one extreme was followed by another, enabling the victims to pass morale checks. It's this kind of unpredictability that makes the game fun for solitaire play.
End turn 12
The wild die rolling continued in turns 7-12. More 2s and 12s than seem statistically possible.
Turn 8 featured a colossal mistake by the IW, as they sent their tanks around the eastern town to get a shot at the Polish guns. But the brave Poles advanced out of the town and assaulted the tanks, using their special AT rifles. Each squad gets one shot if it rolls a 5 or 6. Both squads rolled 6s, and then each killed a step of tanks! The ensuing assault disrupted one tank and demoralized the other. The demoralized tank failed its recovery and fled. The disrupted one died in a subsequent turn. To add insult to injury, the guns in town took a Hail Mary shot at the fleeing tanks and rolled a 3, and sure enough the demoralized tank failed and disappeared. That's 4 tank steps, worth 8 VPs! Moral of the story -- be careful with those tanks!
Meanwhile, to the west, the Polish defenders hang on, always seeming to roll a 6 in assault defense, even on the 1 column, and disrupting the attackers. Some more lucky OBA, however, whittles a few more Polish steps away.
Turns 9-10 saw more fighting in the western town with little result.
The tide turns, however, on turns 11-12, as the IW inflict some step losses in assault, and manage to drive a stack out of the northern town with tank and OBA fire. Step losses are roughly equal (12 for IW, 13 for Poles), and what defenders remain in the western towns are reduced and/or demoralized. More defenders are fleeing for the safety of distant woods up north. The icing on the cake came when the Poles' best leader in the west, a 10-1-1 Porucznik, died after rolling a 2 for a leader loss check.
End turn 18 - IW win big
The 2s and 12s continued -- this was one weird scenario. I think a total of four units made complete recoveries from demoralization by rolling 2. Also, the fog of war wasn't a factor until things got tight near the end, and then two straight turns ended very early. And there was one poor reduced Polish INF unit in the eastern town who failed something like 10 straight recovery rolls, even with the town bonus!
But in the end, the Iron Wolves pulled out a victory, 41 VPs vs 23 VPs. The last two turns gave them 8 VPs by taking the last two town hexes in the west. Given that the Poles got only 8 of their VPs through a bone-head move by me with the V4t tanks, I have to say this one strongly favors the Lithuanians.
Still, it was fun to play. I give it only a 3, due to balance issues.