Yikes, what a crazy battle this one is. I enjoyed the heck out of it. Quite the challenge, as you are screwed if you go too fast, and you'll lose if you go too slowly.
So, here are my observations and the course I took.
Per the briefing, I never considered the left flank (green) route. The briefing also noted that the red route had a road block, so I didn't work that one either.
I split my forces into two groups, with equal amounts of BMPs to each, but more tank heavy on the far right (yellow) route. The infantry stayed with the blue route group. The FO stayed behind and the unmounted infantry did some initial scouting ahead. I had the arty start dropping on the really high apartment buildings to the right of strongpoint 2 as soon as possible, to try and blunt any attacks on that strongpoint from the right side. They also had the drone up as soon as possible and covering the right half of the map.
And...one of my tanks bogged and was immobilized within the first 3 minutes. Great!!!
I left the attached infantry mounted for a while, as I moved the tanks up slowly (but not too slowly) and had the BMPs pretty close behind for covering fire. I tried to keep the two columns moving at the same pace. This worked for the most part, except that one column or the other had to stop and address the ambushes. Some were pretty wicked, and my foot sloggers paid dearly by blundering into them. I had to move BMPs and tanks in quickly to suppress and then blow the enemy up fast. I actually found that the BMPs were very good at ripping apart the ambush positions, but I still had to have tanks leading.
Between the red and blue route I pushed three BMPs down that area, which was more of a wide alley. I stumbled on some more ambush spots and reduced them, but at a price. But, I managed to uncover some more enemy positions before they could fire on the blue and yellow routes. So, I guess it was worth the casualties.
Once my columns hit the main cross road, they had to deal with a whole host of enemy troops trying to ambush them. I had one tank immobilized in the intersection on the yellow route and another took a gun hit that left only the driver and no gun. But, the enemy paid dearly and the cross street was now controlled.
I did a very poor job of managing the strongpoint troops. I was so intent on working the columns that I neglected the strongpoints and left them to their own devices until things were really dire there. Some of the strongpoint 1 survivors fled into nearby buildings so I had lost that position. Strongpoint 2 was very much reduced but holding on. This was close to the 1 hour left time. I decided to take some chances at this point, and the streets were really dusted up badly from my columns blasting the enemy positions, so I started running BMPs through the dust and rushing them into the heart of strongpoint 2. I rushed three BMPs and the tank with no gun into and around strongpoint 2, and cut up some enemy troops still near it.
Then I started to rush more BMPs and one of the tanks past strongpoint 2 and out onto the red route to try and clear strongpoint 1. I took some more casualties but I was finally able to retake strongpoint 1 with the breach teams. With the time mark at 57 minutes remaining, I had to decide if I should load up the survivors and scamper back to my lines or consolidate my position and hold. I had two tanks positioned on the yellow route to protect my right flank. I had a boatload of BMPs and tanks around the two strongpoints. The enemy didn't seem to be pushing forward any longer. I chose to stay and hold.
With a ceasefire at 57 minutes left in the game, I ended up with a Syrian Tactical Victory. I was very pleased to have eeked that out.
This was a really cool battle. There were so many nail-biting situations that I lost count and track of all of them. If I had managed the strongpoints better, I might not have risked rushing the BMPs down the dust-clouded streets when I did. But, since things were so critical there, I figured I had to take the chance.
Lots of critical decisions are called for in this battle. I never felt rushed by the game time, but I did feel rushed by the developments of the battle. In that respect, George, you make the player change his plans on the fly and sometimes uncomfortable or aggressive decisions are called for. When I saw my guys bailing out of strongpoint 1 and the guys in strongpoint 2 getting ready to run, I had to rush my columns and take extra risks. I just couldn't leave them in the lurch - so I ordered the BMP guys to risk all.
My stomach was already tightening up when I read the briefing, and I just knew things were going to get ugly fast. I think you did a masterful job of having the AI triggered in such a way as to have the battle rise in pitch and then ease back a little for slight lulls in the action. This really ratcheted up the tension level.
Clearly this is vintage George MC magic. A wonderful battle, filled with tension and suspense, and tactical puzzles to be solved without losing too much of your troops blood in the process. Thanks George for another amazing experience.