Lake Kiantajärvi - The Last Agony
I started out disliking this scenario - I guess I was sympathizing with the suffering Soviets and for once, the Finns are the bullies - but it grew on me.
First of all, I downplayed/talked past the brutal mop up aspect in the briefing. Secondly, I think I have this very nicely balanced and it's no cakewalk, believe me!
The first time I played, I almost lost outright:
And bagging all the Soviets while ensuring that none of your units is killed is not easy, as these two results indicate:
Finally, after several tries, I managed a Major Victory. You have to be quick on your feet, moving units to counter the enemy trying to outflank you, shifting units in and out of the line, taking full advantage of resources (the Soviets have none, just like you left it and it makes sense), and making sure that no unit gets so weak as to be in danger of being destroyed:
I went with all auxiliary units, for two reasons:
1) The original scenario description describes the composition of Finnish forces; therefore,
2) I couldn't see the player being able to bring in core tanks, artillery, and other heavy weapons that he has accumulated.
The sweet spot is 14 turns, as you had it, and 10 Finnish aux units versus 16 slightly weakened (and not reinforceable) Soviet units. Actually, 8 1/2 Finnish units because the AA gun is useless (it does serve as a trap if the player allows it to fall in harm's way) and the AT gun is only good for eliminating very weak units (that's a good strategy to follow - it saves time, effort, and resources for your infantry - but don't allow it to be caught by strong enemy units). The Bristol Bulldogs are also useless, or next to useless, but they do provide some eye candy and flying time; they may be more effective with air commanders attached, though.
I included an "Early scenario ending" trigger - it came into play for my Major Victory - because, if all Soviet units are eliminated before Turn 15 (EOS), there is no reason to play out the rest of the scenario.
No goodies in this one, of course. Only some interesting comments for mission descriptions.
An interesting thought, perhaps: I wish there was a way to lock commanders up again. This campaign has gone up and down the scale, from division down to company as in this scenario. When I say this scenario is finely balanced, it's without assigning generals to machine gun teams. I'd be tempted to put in a notice/challenge to the player, advising him not to play with commanders in this one, but it's up to the player to follow his own house rules. I'm thinking, though, in my copy of this campaign, of going back and removing all Finnish land commanders (air aces can remain). After all, there are no Soviet commanders. Your choice from here on.
So, remarkably, Lake Kiantajärvi - The Last Agony is one of my favorites, despite the subject matter. Who knew?
This scenario has been uploaded to the "Back to Erik" folder.
This concludes my work on this campaign, aside from following up on technical matters. When you are ready, I would recommend a beta threat in the General Topics forum for more visibility and feedback.
As far as what's next, this campaign concludes only with the end of the year 1939. The war continues into 1940 and it would be a natural follow-up to have that campaign ready soon for folks who wish to continue this story (and presumably being able to import their core into Winter War 1940). So if that one is ready for work, let me get started on it while I'm on a roll. After that's done, then I will take a short break to work on something of my own.