Sunday, January 8, 2012

Closing the Trap - Russo-Finnish AoF AAR

As mentioned, last week my old adversary and I got together and played a Russo-Finnish skirmish game. While I've had the figures (and for that matter, the rules), this was our first time playing a true Arc of Fire game one-on-one. While we had some hiccups, overall I think it went rather well and we both came away agreeing to try again some day. Maybe even get into another theater?

Anyway, we played one of the scenarios in the Skirmish Campaigns book, Closing the Trap. In this scenario, a group of Russians are desperate to break through the Finnish lines and get home to Mother Russia. Not that they would be greeted warmly there, but I suppose that is beside the point.

Jon played the Russians, I took the Finns. The Russians had two rifle platoons, a mortar team, and a political officer. I had a small HQ squad, a rifle squad, an LMG team and an MMG team. As events turned out, the MMG team was the dominant force on the table.

The scenario calls for the Russians to enter down a road, eventually cross an open area, and overwhelm the Finns at a roadblock through sheer numbers. They never came close. The MMG team kept them at bay, with repeated morale failures leading to most of their time being spent rallying the troops. The political officer was useful for a while, until he suffered a K result. Then entire platoons started failing unit morale checks, and the Russians pretty much hunkered down in the woods. The mortar team did some damage, but wasn't as effective as either one of us thought to would/could/should be.

As I said, we really had just a few hiccups. For example, I read a chart wrong on the first turn and got excited when I thought I took out Jon's first platoon's entire command structure with one blast from the MMG. It wasn't so, but that was OE, nothing wrong with the rules. We're still not convinced we handled the mortar correctly, and were confused about what to do when firing into a group of soldiers when some are broken and some are not, but overall things ran pretty smoothly. We both liked the card-driven activation system and the randomness it created. It did play a role.

One other big mistake I made was I thought my table would be too small to put on a decent game, so I went with the small scale distances rather than "large scale." This had the effect of really minimizing the Russian advance speed. Of course, they were struggling through deep snow, but still. We'll definitely go with large scale next time. And maybe we'll have a bigger table.

For now, here's some photos. All figures are Battle Honors.
The Russian viewpoint. Where are those Finns?

The Russian onslaught. Will numbers win the day?

The Finnish MMG team, which really took its toll.

Finnish LMG team.

The Russians tried, but just couldn't do much.

Manning the roadblock: A Finnish rifle squad.

Russian mortar team.

More Russians. Note the broken and confused markers.

Come on, Mother Russia awaits!

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