As usually, we are given pictures to model the battlefield after. This is a field neither of us would have put together on our own. The yellow and green bushes we normally use count as full woods in this game. That meant line of sight is incredibly hard to come by on the western side of the board. Units had to be almost right next each other to see, and sometime not even then. The white rocks counted as crates which we both avoid as much as possible. All in all a very strange board to play on.
Here is the very crowded Soviet force. Soviets did receive an additional 25 bonus points. The Soviet list includes the following:
HQ T-72 x1
T-72 x3 w/ mine clearing devices
T-72 x3 w/ mine clearing devices
T-72 x3 w/ mine clearing devices
BMP-2 motor rifle company (AK-74 x4, RPG-7 x3, BMP-2 x4)
2S1 Carnation x3
2S1 Carnation x3
BMP-1 OP x1
ZSU-23-4 Shilka x4
SA-13 Gopher x4
MI-24 Hind x6
25 Extra Points
T-72 x3 (added one to each of the three T-72 units above. Therefore, each unit of T-72s above had four tanks in them, not three)
Shilka x2 (this unit was place into Flanking Delayed Reserves)
In addition to this the Soviets Campaign assets are a BMP-1, Hinds x3 on Turn 1 and Frogfoot x2 on Turns 2 & 3, and the Off-Board Artillery is 2S1 Carnation x6.
Here is the US force pictured. The picture includes the following:
HQ M1 Abram
M1 Abrams x3
M1 Abrams x3
A-10 Warthog x2
AH-1 Cobra x2
M163 VADS x4
M109 w/Copperheads x6
In addition to this the US Campaign assets are a FIST x1, AH-1 Cobra x2 on Turn 3, A-10 Warthog x2 on Turn 2 and the Off-Board Artillery is M109 x3 w/ Copperheads and Bomblets.
The US has Immediate Reserves which meant half my units had to be place in reserves. The gap in the picture above shows which units start on the table (front half) and which units were in reserves (aircraft and second Abrams). The first unit of Abrams are sideways to show they are also in Ambush.
This time we got the Breakthrough mission which divides the field into quarters. The Soviets have the Northeast table quarter. The US can deploy in either the Northwest and/or Southeast quarters. Given that the Southeast has almost no terrain in it, I deploy most my force in the Northwest. The Southwest quarter is were the attacker places the objectives and his reserves come in. The defender (US) has to place half their force in Immediate Reserves and may place an addition unit into Ambush, which I already describe above who went where. No one can win the game until turn 6. The attackers are trying to control at least one of the objectives while the defender is trying to push the attackers away from the objectives.
Since the Southeast had almost no terrain I deploy a single FIST in very small patch of woods so I could have some vision on the Soviets. Everything else US deployed in the Northwest. I quickly learn the M109s could not see anything without a spotter unless the target is within 6 inches. The VADS and HQ wasn't much better. The Soviets had trouble trying to fit its large force into its deployment zone. Soviets got first turn.
Soviets failed to get in the Off-Board artillery and strike aircraft this turn. Several unit chase after the lone FIST but it was the machine guns of the Hinds that had first crack at it. The volume of bullets hit the FIST multiple times causing it to bailed out multiple times. This force remount checks which failed and cause the FIST to run off. All of the T-72s moved towards the main body of the US. One unit could fire on a single M109 and destroyed it. Two units fire on the other FIST and a lucky shot destroyed it. The last unit fired at the HQ and penetrated the armor. However he failed the firepower check so he only bailed the HQ Abram out.
US failed to get Strike Aircraft but did manage to get reserves and Off-Board Artillery. The artillery ended up being a hollowed victory since no one had vision to spot for it. I brought the Abrams in from reserves though I kept the the ambushing unit hidden. The Abrams moved up along the northern board edge and fired on an unit of T-72s. 4 shots landed but did no damage because 3 made their armor saves and I failed firepower on the glancing hit. My HQ blew up a nearby T-72. No one else could see anything so that was it for my turn.
For Turn 2 Soviets did not get their own strike aircraft but the campaign gave them 2 Frogfoots and they receive Off-Board Artillery. The leaders of the Hinds and Frogfoots spotted for artillery, Hind for Off-Board and Frogfoot for on board. The Hind was able to range in to hit 6 vehicles, resulting in the destruction of one VADS and one M109. The Frogfoot spotter failed to range in. Many T-72s shot at the HQ and doing nothing. This included two T-72 rolling 6 and 5 to hit, which I followed it up with 5 and 6 for my armor save. Another unit of T-72s return fire on the newly arrive unit of Abrams and bailed out 1 tank. Two groups of Shikas shot at the VADS and only bailed out one vehicle. The unit of 3 Hinds launch Spiral missiles at the Abram unit. This destroyed 2 Abrams and bailed out the third (the Abram bailed out earlier was destroyed). The other Frogfoot fire a missile that went wide. The remaining members of the six Hinds fired on the VADS. The anti-aircraft fire of everything I had left downed 3 of the 5 firing Hinds. The two left over Hinds destroyed another VADS. Because all the destroyed Hinds were around the leader leaving no else near him, this force a morale check which the Hinds failed and flew off. The VADS and Abrams also had to do morale checks but they both passed. It is at this point we both realize we could have used the mistaken targets rule to lessen our damage. Live and learn.
US did not get their strike aircraft but did get nearly everything else. I got Off-Board Artillery, reserves which I pick the Cobras to come in and the campaign assets gave me 2 A-10s this turn. A single M109 could see a Shilka and then blew it up with a straight shot. The single Abram remounted and returned fire on the T-72s. One T-72 was bailed out while a second was destroyed. My HQ fired at a different unit of T-72s and destroyed 1. The bailed out VADS remounted so he was able to shot. He returned fire on the Shilkas and destroyed one. The Cobras came in and spotted for the Off-Board Artillery and ranged in on the perfect spot, getting 5 vehicles under the template. Was only able to destroy a single Shilka though. The A-10s endured a lot of AA fire which eventually brought down a plane. The other plane Maverick missile a T-72, destroying it. Despite all the destruction, not enough concentrated fire happen to force a check on the Soviets. Rules wise we learn the aircraft are subject to the no movement requirement of being a spotter (at least when spotting for someone else). We allowed the Cobras to spot because the Soviets did the same on his turn.
Soviets this time gain both their own strike aircraft and the campaign gave them 2 Frogfoots. However the Soviets did not get in their Off-Board Artillery. Gophers tried to take down the Cobras but couldn't land anything. An unit of BMP tried to dash towards the objective but most of them bogged down instead. Shilkas took out their arch-rivals by bailing out the remaining VADS and the VADS failing the morale check to stay in the game. The HQ/T-72s knife fighting ended with the destruction of my HQ tank, but the character survive to jump into a M109. A different unit of T-72s move up to deliver side shots into the lone visible Abram, killing him. A lot of firepower went into the M109s but the only result was a single bailed out vehicle. That vehicle was bailed out twice with the help of the mistaken target rule and made the follow up remount check.
The US failed to get in strike aircraft. Their last reserved automatically came in but it was the A-10s so it didn't help. Off-Board Artillery was available and the campaign gave the US 2 Cobras. However due to the sheer amount of AA fire I felt it wasn't worth the risk to fire. The other Cobra unit tried and failed to range in for the perfect Off-Board Artillery template. The bailed out M109 failed to remount. Two other M109 had targets but roll a combine of 3.
No strike aircraft or reserves for the Soviets. They did get their Off-Board Artillery but had no option to actually use it. An unit of T-72s roll into the forest to wipe out the M109s but manage to only destroy one vehicle. It did force a moral check which the M109s passed. The Shilkas and Gophers combine fire over 30 shots at two Cobras and manage to only bring down one. No one else could see or was in range to fire.
US strike aircraft finally came in ... and were shot down. Off-Board Artillery did become available. A M109 remounted. All remaining M109s, including the now HQ fired straight shots into an unit of Shilkas. Only one hit but each hit is a death sentence. The campaign asset Cobras spotted for the Off-Board Artillery and ranged in on Gophers behind a hill. One Gopher was destroyed and a second was bailed out. The lone Cobra from the main list loitered off the board.
Soviets got both strike aircraft and Off-Board Artillery though the latter wasn't able to be used. Shilkas came in from reserves and took out the Cobras. A lot of firepower went into finishing off the M109s but could only bail them all out. Infantry was able to move onto the objective while the rest of the force spread out to prevent the US ambushing unit from entering. The M109s failed the morale check and were destroyed. However the M109 turned HQ was still around.
I was unable to reveal the ambush which meant there was nothing the US could do to stop the Soviets from winning next turn. The HQ did manage to remount and as a final middle finger to the Soviets destroyed a Shilka which force a morale check. The check failed, forcing the Shilkas to run off and giving US its second unit kill. That meant on top of Turn 6 Soviets win 5 to 2 instead of 6 to 1!