After finishing “Taking the Left Tit“, Martin proposed trying a scenario from the recent Swedish Volunteers pack. I had kind of planned to delay until the MMP-style counters got into VASL, but agreed, and went with one of Martin’s proposals: Absolut Markajarvi.

The Swedes are holding part of the line late in the Winter War (about three days before it ended), and are attacked while some engineers are busy laying wire in front of the line. The Swedes get five squads, a HMG, and an 81mm MTR to defend the board 52 woods, with another two (green) squads, 6+1, and two hexes of wire out in front. On turn two, two squads and a 9-2 enter by the road on either end of board 52. The Russians have twelve squads, HMG, and OBA on board 50. Another squad and a half is out front on board 44 (with three overlays that open things up a bit more by replacing one farm with brush, another with orchards and woods, and the third is out of play), having just run into the engineers. The Russians have five and a half turns to get 10 VP worth of units into the board 52 woods (note, it doesn’t matter what shape they’re in… they just have to be in the woods…).

I took the Swedes, and had the challenge of setting up across most of a board to prevent the Russians from just running in. I put the MTR towards one edge, and the HMG towards the other, and the wire went near some of the only cover on board 44. The forward Russians set up on either side of the engineers, and encircled them first thing (though without result). Then, Martin went for a human wave.

A logical enough move, but I hadn’t really thought of it, so it rattled me a bit. It also took a bit of re-reading, and checking of the basic concepts. Thankfully, deep snow helped slow them down, and I had little I could fire. The engineers actually got a 1MC as the HW ended, but the squad passed. I revealed my MTR, but missed a second stand of trees for the shot to be blocked. His advancing fire broke the 6+1 and one squad of the engineers, and pinned the other, wasting some later rolls that generated PTCs.

Situation, Russian Turn 1, not showing the full board (but showing the full width), nor the mass of human wave movement. North is to the left, deep snow and extreme winter are in effect.

To my surprise, my broken engineer/conscript squad rallied for my turn 1 RPh, though the 6+1 was having none of it. My MTR managed a couple shots to break a squad (even with the +1 for deep snow, which I forgot at first). My main activity was shifting south, to where the Russians were massed. By SSR, the Russians automatically get battery access the first time they use the OBA, and Martin put a AR on top of the MTR. However, the hindrances kept it from being accurate, and the SR went off board. His HMG revealed itself, and pinned a HS in 44G10. A big firegroup fired on the 6+1 to wound him.

Situation, Swedish Turn 1.

Martin rallied his squad for his second RPh. He wanted to shift the OBA to the MTR and convert to FFE, but since off-board is always out of LOS, so it’s not allowed. On the other hand, the SR ended up in 52L9 this time, meaning it would be simple to get it on my MTR next time.

As opposed to the first turn, Martin came up slowly this time, with a lot of assault movement in his main blob. I put down some fire early to get some residual as he advanced, but he was keeping spread out enough for it to not matter, and my fire was ineffective. Except for the MTR, who got a KIA on a squad that went into the woods. His advancing fire pinned one of the forward engineer squads—thankfully not the one who was in danger of CC.

Martin went for CC anyway with a pair of HS vs my 437, and we both blew our rolls (in fact, I rolled a 12, but he declined to leave).

Situation, Russian Turn 2.

I rolled gusts for my RPh, but since the MTR was the only thing with smoke, it didn’t mean a lot (though setting up a smoke screen to boost movement from 1.5 to 2.5 per hex could be interesting, if you though you could get enough down). The MTR got a hit on 44T7 to break his foremost squad. The HMG opened up as I brought my north flanking HS in, but couldn’t get a result. At the other end of the line, I scattered to get out of the FFE about to hit the MTR.

Again, thanks to hindrances (he kept rolling 1s for accuracy), it errored into 52O10, revealing and breaking the adjacent squad, and subjecting the MTR crew to a 1MC that they passed. He fired on some of my other defenders without effect, but also fired into the melee for a PTC which only pinned my squad. I got no result in melee, but Martin captured the squad.

Situation, Swedish Turn 2.

Martin couldn’t self-rally his squad, but I got mine back for his turn 3 RPh. He left the FFE in place, and broke the MTR crew. The HMG tried again at my HS for no result, and then he started forward. He spread out into a rough line covering the south half of the board, and I finally had to do some serious defensive fire, including a fire lane from the HMG. All I managed was a pin from the initial FL attack, and then a lucky breaks in FF on the one HS (with the prisoners) that had nearly made the tree line, and a break on the squad that had come into the FL.

There was plenty of fire at my south-flank squad, who only pinned to three different morale checks, and the remaining engineers in 44P9 passed a 1MC. The HS in U10 had to surrender (with the pace of PBeM, I hadn’t realized the prisoners on him were my HS, and thought that Martin put them out for if I accepted the surrender. I should have re-armed a HS there).

Situation, Russian Turn 3.

I rolled gusts again for the turn 3 RPh, but got no rallies, while Martin got both his squads back, and recovered a LMG. The remaining engineers were still far from cover, so I decided to prep with them… and rolled a 12. Martin only managed one first fire shot against my movement that was mostly in the woods, and for DFPh, while he kept contact with the OBA, his chit draw was red, losing access. However, he got a 1KIA against the engineers in the open, finishing them off other than the wounded 6+1. Fire on my south flank squad eliminated the prisoners, but only made the squad fanatic. I had only one advancing shot (from the fanatics), which broke a squad.

Situation, Swedish Turn 3.

Martin did not get his squad back for his turn 4 RPh, but my wounded 6+1 finally rallied, though the MTR crew did not. He lost contact with his OBA (early Soviet contact number…), and seeing time slipping by, he dropped the HMG as they charged across the open snow. The first few moves were generally expected, but then one squad headed north for some brush, and to get around my defense. I fired the HMG squad at him… and cowered, putting the HMG out of action for the turn. Other squads started going that way, but the second one to do so in the open took a 1KIA, which also malfunctioned the LMG he was carrying.

Naturally, I had a few other shots, but none of them did anything. Thankfully, neither did advancing fire. Advance got him up to the tree line in the south, with a HS getting in, and a squad attacking a concealed squad in CC; I got ambush and reduced him to a HS.

Situation, Russian Turn 4.

My crew did not self-rally for my turn 4, but Martin’s commissar rallied his squad. The HMG managed three shots to break two squads (ELRing one), but I otherwise did not prep. I sent a squad hurrying north to try to help keep the Russians out in that area, and otherwise skulked. Defensive fire revealed my 9-2 and squad, and fired into the melee to break both sides. Advancing fire did break his southernmost squad. The broken units in melee fled from each other, while my 9-2 went to get the HS in 44T10, ambushing and killing them.

Situation, Swedish Turn 4.

Martin didn’t get anything for his turn 5 RPh other than frostbite, as his squad in 44Q7 was reduced to conscripts by the commissar, and to a HS by extreme winter. My crew did not self-rally again, and Martin failed on radio contact for his OBA. Two squads prepped at my adjacent 9-2, and broke my squad there, which certainly complicated things for me as I was now blind on much of the south flank. His commissar accompanied a squad towards the south, but the HMG pinned him, stopping both a bit short of where they were going. His 8-0 headed north, and a couple of shots managed to pin him short of the brush.

Situation, Russian Turn 5.

I had routed so that my 9-2 had a chance to rally both of my broken squads, hoping the -2 would allow me to get one; as it happened both rallied, though the crew still failed to self-rally. Much of my line opened up for prep, but unfortunately the four squads in the south didn’t do more than pin one squad. The HMG got a couple shots, and broke one squad. Movement was minimal as I tried to set up to block his last turn moves, and defensive fire thankfully had no effect, despite some morale checks. The 9-2 stack went in for CC vs the squad in M10, and (barely!) knocked out the squad there at the cost of a HS (which is a little off, we forgot to do a RS to see if it wounded the leader instead).

Situation, Swedish Turn 5.

Martin self-rallied a squad in 44W9 for his last RPh, while I finally self-rallied the crew, and picked up the LMG that the Russians had just dropped. His first prep fire shot was a 3MC that broke the entire 9-2 stack, and set off my sniper to eliminate a broken HS.

His first move was running a squad around the shoulder of the woods where I couldn’t see it, with a shot from my HS as it started doing nothing. Then his commissar went forward, into where the 9-2 was broken. My HMG was just able to get a shot in there (where everything else was blocked), but did nothing more than put down residual. Three squads went in there without trouble, and then another squad went north, but I finally got a result to break him. His 8-0 then ran north to move between two of my already first fired units. He survived a few shots in the open, including a 2MC, to get into the woods, and where breaking him would just drive him further into the woods. I tried FPF at him in case I could double break him, but nothing happened other than pinning my own HS.

Situation, Russian Turn 6.


This left him with 7 VP in 52U10 ready to advance into the woods, a squad (2 VP) in AA10 for the same, and then the 8-0 for exactly 10 VP in the woods at the end of the game, and nothing more I could do about it.

I’d like to know how many times the Russians get into the woods a bit early in this scenario, and the Swedes have to go hunting them down for the last couple turns. It was certainly something I worried could happen.

Martin was fairly down on his chances for much of the scenario, and with good reason, especially towards the end. My line was holding up, the OBA was gone, and he was struggling to advance. However, the victory conditions are fairly generous compared to the usual ‘Good Order’ or ‘unbroken’ clauses, and he still had enough to make a stab at it. The final charge of the 8-0 working was a big surprise for me (and probably him), and tipped him over the edge with nothing else left. There was plenty of opportunities for it to go either way during the last couple of turns.