The opening hours of Operation Barbarossa …
My Italian infantry certainly wondered at what strange twist of politics and ideology put them at the point of the spear for a Nazi invasion of Soviet Russia. Whatever obscure rationale they were offered was certainly made no more compelling by finding themselves with four wounded soldiers and about to be overrun by a Russian counter-attack. Word came to pull out, and my boys had no trouble with that … but the scenario prevented us from just running for home, because if the Russians can get to Range Chit 5, they’d win.
So, a firebase to cover our retreat seemed the best plan. I put high morale riflemen in Groups A and D with the idea that they would run for the rear with any movement cards that came my way, and then piled everyone else into two big firebases in Groups B and C.
The action starts fast in this one, as the Italians line up at Range Chit 2, something my Squad Leader Ferraro found out the hard way, when a volley of Russian rifle fire from a nearby hill killed him with nary a wimper. So I was down a Squad Leader and saddled with four wounded soldiers practically before the scenario began, and I was the Italians, the most famously screwed nationality in all of Up Front. But at least I was facing Russians, which meant I wasn’t subject to the surrender or 40% squad break rules. I did still have to deal with a firepower disadvantage, low morale across the board, and crap hand and discard limits, but heck, no one forced me to pick the Italians for this one. I knew the job was dangerous when I took it.
But then … an amazing thing happened. Something actually went according to plan. My firebases poured it on the Russian middle, and scored some pins, while my two wing groups retrograded like rabbits. The Russians couldn’t pull a rally to save their lives. They did eventually shoot one of my firebases to bits, but I had a second base to keep the pressure on the Russians while my wingers kept streaking for the rear. When the Russians got moving I hit them with a marsh, and by the middle of the second deck, my middle was pretty much shredded, but my wings had gotten away with their wounded, and were hunkered down in buildings and gullies.
Victory … Italia? Now I’ve seen it all. Bravo!