The Suomussalmi battle is a very interesting scenario, there aren't the usual two sides of the board. Both sides have forces in the opposite side of the board as well as their own. Additionally the AirPower card is played as a Barrage in this scenario.
The oddities do not end there! The battle is between the Finns and the Russians, and half of the Finnish forces are ski troops this means they can move three and battle but do suffer from a maximum range of two.
Of course the Russians are also playing with their own special rules that mean they have to select a card to play a turn ahead.
A lot of variables there. It's also a very bloody battle with victory being reached at 6 medals or by the Finnish troops occupying the central multi hex town. The immediate win is obviously an attractive goal, However in this case it does feel near impossible. For the Finns to win that type of victory they have to take over three of the town hexes, fair enough, however the town in garrisoned by 6 infantry units and an artillery unit all of them in town with sandbags or in a bunker!
I played this with my son the other day and he choose to go for the immediate victory but he lost because that central block of russians is very tough and well entrenched.
The session I'm going to talk about is where I played the Finnish against his Russians.
I decided to bypass that central knot of Russians for as long a possible and to rather nibble around the edges.
On my right flank there was an infantry and a tank unit well in advance so I decided to take them on first. I moved my right most finish troops into the woods and that just put them in range of the Russians. The opening salvo just pushed the tanks back.
My son new his strengths and used his guns to return fire and I took damage from that.
On my left flank I advanced my guns, as they start on the back line and out of range. I also used the infanty on that side to take some long range shots at the russians on their own baseline.
My son's brown horde came out for blood. His right flank moved forwards opening a gap for the tanks to shoot through, he put some damage into the sandbagged troops on that side.
On the centre I advanced my left ski troops forwards into the woods to support the left flank and moved the ski troops on the right up onto the hill where they could start attacking the russians who were most advanced. Again I pushed them back rather than eliminating them.
My son now embarked on using his guns almost every turn and when every possible sniping long range at my Ski troops who could not reply due to their shorter range. I was now being wittled down.
In my next turn I barraged his guns but only got a single hit. I wasn't able to hit them again during the rest of the game.
On the russian right they pounded my sanbagged troops and forced one of them to retreat thereby losing the entrenchment.
On my right I once again pounded on the lonely tanks and infantry knocking them both for troops and getting another retreat.
The Russian guns pounded my right flank seriously reducing the ski troops in the woods.
On my left I moved my ski troops on the enemies base line north to close the gap in the line and took some shots at the russian infantry over there and started scoring some serious hits.
I lost some ski troop from the center and yet again took damage from the guns on my right.
In a last gasp type situation I moved my ski troops all with only a single troop each, forwards out of the woods and close assaulted the remaing tanks and infantry. I killed the last tank and forced the infantry to retreat onto the frozen river where they fell through the ice.
The russians took full advantage of my advancing into the opening and took out one of the units on my right and killed off another on the left for a close 6-5 win.
Over all I really enjoyed this scenario. At first it looks like an easy Russian victory but in truth the scenario is really very well balanced and a great deal of fun.