Alliteration is one of my favorite pastimes (wargaming is not a pastime, it is an essential, kind of like breathing) and it was gratifying to see that I could use it in a title for an AAR. This scenario clearly was a clash between efficiency and elan. The Slovaks are charged with two responsibilities, hold onto several scattered towns and kill SS troopers. The SS merely have to clear the towns while avoiding the Slovak victory conditions.
There are three towns on the front boards (closest to the SS entry) and one further back hidden in the mountains. The SS need to capture the three front board towns to gain a minor victory and all the towns to gain a major victory.. The Slovaks, knowing this, proceed to set up to defend the largest town, which is really the central point, lightly, reserving their strongest defense (2 companies with HMGs, the mortars and a 75 and LT 38 in close support. The Train holds the last town. A Catnik (I always think of catnip) with two platoons is hiding out in the swamps along the road between the towns with the intention of slowing the advance between the towns
The SS takes the bait and enters en masse to attack the lightly held town. After about 2 hours they have cleared the town and the advancing forces have gotten caught up with the Catnik (who has managed to demoralize a StuG). Upon completing the capture of the town the SS finally realize the predicament they are in. They must now move to capture the towns which are more heavily defended in order to gain a minor victory and then cross the entire width of the board, braving OBA and harrassing fire from the 75mm and an occassional INF platoon or LT 38 before they even have a chance to get to the last town.
There is nothing for it, however but to try and move the Slovaks (a not very easy process as they have the super Porocik and a competent Stotnik in the town for defense). The SS prepares assault teams with armor, engineers and infantry or heavy weaponry and hits the town with OBA. The approach, however, is botched and three platoons of infantry are demoralized and then reduced by repeated hits from the OBA.
The assaults were ultimately brutal with a normal attack being rolled on the 18-24 column for the attacker and the 13-18 column for the defenders. The attack itself required three hours after contact leaving the SS insufficient time to cross the board to try to clear the last town. In addition, the Slovak artillery was very efficient and the assaults took their toll (even the train managed to nail a step) and the Slovaks had eliminated 14 steps and met their minor victory level as well. The sides agreed to separate with the Slovaks having used their elan and guile to stop the SS at their initial goal.
The play was quite enjoyable as the Slovaks had a clear chance to win this one. Only a few poor rolls kept them from reaching the 18 loss plateau which would have been a major victory. This one was well balanced and well worth playing. I give it a solid "4".