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Panzer Grenadier: Arctic Front

Panzer Grenadier: Arctic Front

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In November 1939, the Soviet Union launched over a million men in an unprovoked attack against Finland. Finland?s army, 160,000 strong, responded with fierce resistance. Though the Finns ultimately lost the war, they won most of the battles, showing amazing tactical skill. It's those battles, and similar ones from the Continuation War of 1941-44, that form the basis of Arctic Front.

Arctic Front is not a stand-alone game: Unlike other games in the series, it requires pieces from Eastern Front to play 18 of its 20 scenarios. One of the scenarios requires pieces from the now out-of-print Heroes of the Soviet Union; one requires two pieces from either Battle of the Bulge or Beyond Normandy.

Arctic Front includes 88 die-cut and mounted game pieces, just like those in Eastern Front. Most of these represent the Finnish Army of World War II. The Finns have outstanding morale and very good leadership. But their support weapons are lacking, and the Finnish side usually has very little artillery and few anti-tank guns or other such pieces.

Finland's strength lies in her infantry, and these troops are very good indeed. Some of them actually sport anti-tank factors, representing the deadly 20 mm Lahti-Saloranta anti-tank rifle. In addition to the typical infantry and machine gun platoons found in most armies the series has covered so far, the Finns also have ski commandos, the feared Sissi, and good cavalry.

Though Finland has weak artillery, the Finnish player does get a new type of transport unit, the sledge. This wagon on runners (some of which were pulled by reindeer during the war) allows fairly rapid movement over the snow, so what weapons the Finns do have will get deployed quickly.

Finnish commander-in-chief Marshal Carl Gustav Emil Mannerheim believed that his country needed tanks, and we haven't left out what few tanks the Finns managed to find. Finland gets the Vickers Six-Ton tanks that made a desperate attack in February 1940, as well as the captured T-26 and converted BT-42 vehicles of the Finnish Armored Division. There are also German assault guns, purchased in 1944, in Finnish colors.

Arctic Front introduces a brand-new unit type, one of the most unusual of the Second World War: the aerosan. Powered by an aircraft engine, this craft had a box-like superstructure mounted on four large, pontoon-like skis. An aircraft propeller mounted on the vehicle's rear pushed it along at very high speeds over snow (the movement factors on the game pieces are deceptive, as these units pay the same costs as foot units).

The Red Army of Workers and Peasants gets some new pieces in addition to the aerosans: BT-5 and SMK tanks. The Soviet units depicted in Arctic Front's scenarios are often of inferior quality to the Finns. With the leadership and morale wrecked by the purges of the late 1930s, the units that invaded Finland in 1939 proved sorely lacking.

Scenarios cover a wide variety of actions. There are several from the deep snows of central Finland in 1939 and 1940, where ski mobility was the key to Finnish victory. Others cover the intense actions on the Karelian Isthmus, where Soviet tanks met the entrenched Finns. Still others are based on the Finnish offensives of 1941 and 1942, and the Soviet counter-offensive of 1944. There's even one scenario where the Finns fight the Germans.

This description is from the Avalanche Press Website used by g2ch with the permission of Avalanche Press.

Avalanche Press is known for its high quality, easy to learn war games with quality maps and counters. Whether you are a Grognard or new to war games, you will appreciate the amount of effort that this company puts into its game.

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