The Blackshirt Division that Mike drew up has relatively good morale (usually 8/6) and good weaponry. Granted they aren't too good with the tanks but at least the guns are better than the usual run of the mill Italian tanks. In this scenario the Italians advance under cover of darkness to try to pry the Americans off of some hilltops which command a road. The Americans, in an echo of the narrative included in this section have a lot of artillery in comparison to the Italians and they are not saving shells for later.
The tenor of the scenario was set early as a single American platoon was able to spot and hammer the advancing Blackshirts with artillery and mortar fire causing losses, but even more importantly, several morale failures for the Italian leaders. With a fractured command structure and several reduced platoons the Blackshirts lurched forward and started to scale the heights to the south of the road. Due to the disrupted command structure the initial assault went in without a leader. It was supposed to hold on while reinforcements were brought up. Unfortunately for those troops the bombardment fire walled off the assault hex and a strong counterattack, including Lees ripped through the counterattack. When the Italians brought up tanks a Lee on a hilltop got a lucky hit on a PzIV (P26/42 if I remember correctly) and the dominos began falling.
The Americans quickly knocked out 12 steps and threw back the first assault on the southern hills. The northern hill was being invested by most of the Italian tanks and over half of the infantry but the losses incurred made it impossible for the Italians to pull the win out.
My mistake was in treating the Italian troops as something other than political troops. Had I taken the time to reorganize after the affair with the road bump platoon I would have limited my losses and had a much more coordinated attack. This was my mistake. Add to that some tremendous dice for the Americans and you have a loss for the Blackshirts.
The set up is important for the Americans. A concentrated defense will lead to the ability to hand out heavy losses to the Blackshirts. Meahwhile the Blackshirts must be patient. The victory conditions require them to lose no more steps than the Americans. Rash attacks (like the ones I did) will result in unbalanced losses. I continue to fail the patience requirement.
Meanwhile, the Blackshirts in this case acted like the political troops they were. Despite an 8/6 morale they continually failed their morale checks and poor leadership added to the confusion.
This is a fun and pretty straightforward scenario. It plays well solo but can clearly be played ftf without any reservations.