Should be mercifully brief
Theater of War Mission Pack: Operation Barbarossa
Mission: Oka River
Difficulty Level: General
Commander: Any with call-in mortar half-tracks.
A frozen river runs through this one, and it’s very challenging not only for the usual reasons but also because the usual Germany 1941 strategy of holding all VPs/FPs early and consistently is hard to execute here.
Start by using your pios to cap the left VP. Call in an HMG to follow and cover that point. The pios after capping the VP can build a sandbag wall and a fire-pit there, and later upgrade with flamethrowers to help maintain control of that VP (the busiest point of Russian attacks).
The next HMG (no delay) goes in the building below the left fuel point. Then more HMGs in order: covering the middle VP, into the building below the right fuel point, middle VP again, right VP (building to right of VP).
When you have all these HMGs in place or on their way, ask yourself this question: Have the Russians had control of either fuel point for more than a minute? If the answer is yes, then Russian tanks are coming soon (usually by 10-12 minutes) and you’ll have to bring in a pio, tech for Paks, and make five Paks (left VP, middle VP, left fuel point, left VP, middle VP).
If the answer is no, then Russian tanks will be delayed and you can bring in a pio for support at the middle VP and then just call in mortar halftracks to support your left two VPs and left FP area until the mission ends. Your pios can lay mines in and near the VPs, as munitions supplies permit, to slow the Russian tanks if they do arrive before the Russian score goes to zero—which should be before 16 minutes.
Can you play from the right-side base with a CPU-ally in the left-side base? Yes, but that means the CPU-ally will attempt to hold both VPs on the left bank (as opposed to focusing on just the right VP in the default mission), which I’m pretty sure it cannot do except temporarily. In fact, my experience has been that, within 15 minutes and usually much sooner than that, the CPU-ally collapses entirely so that it won’t hold even one territory point. This occurs even if I extend some help at the start of the mission, e.g., in the form of an MG42 in the building below the central VP and another one or two covering river flanking approaches from the right bank. To win from the right base, one would have to somehow control the right and middle VPs and cover one’s long left flank where the CPU-ally has disappeared, which I think would require more resources than are available.
[updated 15 Feb 2021]