I'm hoping to get this one on the table tonight. After reading the rules, I think (hope) I have everything down pretty well. One area I do have a question about, however, are recon units. IIRC, the only time that having recon units matters is when determining initiative? Other than that, are they the same as rifle units (except for recon units being uneligible for execution by the NKVD)? Oh, and does initiative determine who plays the first combat card in any particular battle?
You are right. The recon units are most valuable to determine initiatve since many of the carnage cards have the recon symbol.
Yes, the first player action (doesn't necessarily have to be a combat card) in a battle goes to the player who wins initiative. Also, don't forget to add fires when determining battle intensity and initiative. The fires added equal the number for battle intensity. I kept forgetting this.