Here is the table. I am borrowing Mark's winter trees for tomorrows game so it won't look quite as odd. I began the patrol phase with the Italians entering from the left hand side of the table and the Soviets from the right. My first mistake was forcing the Soviets to use the ford with their patrol markers. This funneled them through a narrow gap that left them poor starting positions. The Soviet end of the board was horribly open. This placed all of their jump off points on the table edge. The Italians had much more options with thier jump off points.
This is one of the jump off points I made after I ran out of imagination.
The Italians were quick to enter the farm and took one of the farm houses to use as a strong point. They brought the Russians under fire as they crossed the river. My dice rolling was odd. The first squad to cross the stream took 4 casualties before getting to cover. The second squad was absolutely mauled. Taking very little shock the squad was killed nearly to a man. Only one soldier, the squad leader and the platoon leader were left. They were pinned just on the Italian side of the stream. The third squad with the cart was stacked up waiting for its turn across the stream.
I will replay again later today using the patrol markers correctly. We will see how big a difference that makes.