Since no one is posting AARs for this game, I might as well give it a shot, although I am not yet that familiar with the game. I only have the demo so far (available from the IMpulse site and maybe some others but apparently not from Matrix). The demo has only one campaign or scenario. A scenario is actually a series of mini-games which is a bit complicated to explain. First you place your units on a strategic map, then you make moves on the strategic map until a battle breaks out as indicated by a fire icon on the map, then you click on the icon you want and are taken to the tactical map which is a photo-realistic 3-D hige game map. The units participating in the battle are (I think) the units that were adjacent to the region where the battle is taking place, so you might have a single unit facing 4 enemy units or the opposite.
This AAR does not describe the first couple of battles, where I got clobbered by the AI (not to say annihilated), bwecause although the briefing says so, I did not understand that the Russians are fighting a defensive battle, so I became impatient when nothing happened early on and went on the offensive - big mistake! Just place your units and THEY WILL COME! I also neglected that recon units are not very good at assaults - especially when outnumbered .
The second time I made the same mistake - I went on the offensive and got clobbered. The Germans are a large fighting force retreating from another battle trying to link up to other forces in the SW, and my job is to stop them. This AAR describes my third attempt, but some of my forces are depleted from the previous battle. I chose another area far from the recon battle, so their fate has no effect on this battle. One can use replacements and reserves between batles, but I have not figured that out yet.
The units are platoons, with sub-units that are squads. A squad typically has 7 men and a platoon has 2-5 squads and usually a commander. For this battle, I had four infantry squads with 2-5 squads each. Three are pure infantry squads and one is an antitank rifle platoon with five squads that I mistakenly took to be a machinegun platoon until the end due to unfamiliarity of the icons.
To avoid another disaster, I chose the option that to see all enemy units, which gave me a huge advantage over my two previous attempts, and had I not done so my result would probably have been the same.
I had lined up three platoons in an E-W line along a road facing the enemy, and the two others along the railroad track in a roughly N-S direction, but when I saw the enemy, I quickly moved one of the latter to lenghten my right flank of the E-W line, because the enemy was coming at me all from the N. They had divided their force into three columns with their artiolery left behind, and the rightmost one would have outflanked my right flank. I left the small two-squad platoon in reserve along the RR track behind my other units.
There are 3 ways to view one's units (F6): one is to see icons, one for each squad and a special icon for the platoon commander. You can give commands to either the full platoon or to individual squads. You cannot give units to individual soldiers. The other view (F6) shows the individual soldiers, each with a little red ball over their heads - yours are red and the enemy's are blue. The third just shows individual soldiers, but unless you are much zoomed in you cannot see them, so I only use the other two. The disadvantage of the former is that one might have the impression that units are not going where you want them to go (for example in a house), but the icon is only an "average" location, so if you want to see where each individual soldier is, use the latter view. Note that when you give an order to the commander, what the sub-squads will do depends on whether or not they are selected in the menu on the top right, so for example you can give an assault order to the whole platoon or only to the commander (not recommended) or to a single squad.
Let's get to the meat of this AAR. Note that this is the strategic map, and the tactical map is a Command Mission -like 3-D map that shows terrain, roads and so on.
So the enemy is coming down in 3 columns along 3 roads, and except for the right flank my units are well-placed in defensive positions to meet them. The closest one is on my right, and I have had time to move one of my platoons to face them. I give them arcs of fire which I think allows them to hold their fire until they get within the arc, and eventually they do. There are a couple of line-of-sight tools, but the area one I don't understand and the other only allows to view LOS from one location in the squad, so it is not possible to check out various locations to find the best LOS.
When they get close enough, the rightmost column is taken under fire by some of my units. They are roughly at the junction between two platoons, so it is unclear exactly who is firing, but they are taking damage, as shown by some little blue balls turning grey which means that they are dead.My squad to the extreme right is too far to the right to participate, so when the fight is well engaged, I order them to loop to the right and to assault the enemy. To my delight this works well, and the Germans caught in a crossfire are soon slaughtered. Prisoners are taken and no Germans are left there, freeing this platoon for further operations.
By now the second column (the center one) is approaching, and they are also met by a hail of gunfire from their front. When they are a bit softened up, I order my rightmost platoon to assault them from the side, and soon they too are sent to wherever good German soldiers go when they die.This is going great.
But now the third column on the left start to have second thoughts about coming down the road where they will be facing and entrenched platoon they may or may not be aware of and a flank attack by the others who have slaughtered the other two columns; so they begin to move to my left, probably hoping to outflank me. So I order my entrenched platoon (who so far have not fought) to also move left along the convenient road along whose length they were stationed, and I also ordered the ATR platoon to do the same. For the time being I leave the other platoons in reserve on the right, with the option of intervening if necessary, or maybe to later move North to say hello to the German artillery further back. With FOW, I would have no idea whether or not there were any other German columns coming down the roads, so I would have left them there as reserves.
The German column keeps moving left and I keep moving left too, until I get tired of this and I order an attack hoping to stop their movement. I also order the ATR platoon to attack their left flank, and the Germans are soon caught in a deadly crossfire and are neutralized (to use a military euphemism they usually employ after a massacre).
If it were not that dinner was almost ready, I could have continued and it might have been interesting to send some platoons up the roads to attack those German support units, not to mention capturing some objectives, but at this point I accepted the offer of a ceasefire and the result was a draw, because I had not captured any new objectives, although I had caused 2:1 casualties to the enemy. The original forces were about 140 men vs about 80 Germans, and they lost about half their force.
Had I played with FOW on, the result could have been much different, because I would not have expected a three-pronged attack by the Germans, and as I had done before when the first column hit me, I would probably have sent my whole force there only to be taken in the flank and rear by the other two columns.
Having said this, because of the complexity of this game, I recommend that new players begin to play with enemy units visible, otherwise it can be extremely frustrating to be crushed time after time while trying to figure out the mechanics of this game.
Also not that contrary to games like Combat Mission, this game seems to allow considerable leeway for maneuver warfare, due to the mechanics of the strategic layer and the huge size of the maps that give plenty of room to maneuver since the tactical battles usually involve a small number of units.