On 30th of November was the 77th anniversary of start of the Winter War, where Soviet Union started bombing targets in Finland and assaulted the Finnish soil - all without a declaration of war or other warning. This nasty habbit they still seem to have...
It has now become a tradition to play a Winter War battle on this date. This time it was me playing the Finns, defending the Mannerheim-line and Martti and Jussi attacking with a division of Russians each! Kalle acted as the umpire (and as an advisor for trhe Russians), Juha played the role of a war reporter. Pictures from all involved are included in this AAR.
Status 2.12.: most of the pictures are in, working on the report.
Mannerheim-line was buildt in the Karelian isthmus from the gulf of Finland to lake Laatokka.
As the Soviet demands in negotiations grew harder and harder, Finnish reserves were called in for an extra military training. The training turned into a shooting war...
In this scenario the attacker must take all three bunkers set on the battlefield. Attacker wins
if they can take them all. Taking two is a draw. The defender has to
distribute his forces quite evenly on all three defense lines / bunkers.
Field of Battle
View from the attacker's table edge.
Finnish support elements, just for decoration.
I don't think any reindeer have ever been in Karelia.
Thousands of horses served in the war though.
Game started with some preliminary bombardment by Russians. This caused some pin markers
On Finns, but nothing dramatic (or so I thought)
Brave but so few fenders stood their ground.behind their defenses.
The challenge was the fact, that Finnish troops were distributed
between three stages of defensive works - some redeployment would be needed
to bring maximum firepower to bear. Otherwise the Russian bear would
eat the defenders as piece meals!
Day had just begun to clear as Finnish frontiline guardmen spotted first signs of the approaching enemy. Low roar of Soviet tanks could be heard as well as the harsh commands of Soviet officers and comissars. Corporal Määttä raised the alarm: "Asseisiin miehet, Ryssä on tulossa! Linjaan, linjaan!"
In a quick manner plutoon of Finnish soldiers in their white camouflage suits formed behind the defensive works and took their aim...
First division (out of 2) of Soviets poured towards the Finnish lines... how could this great number of men and machines be stopped?
Finnish radioman (whom actually played the role of a medic) reported the assault to HQ. Reinforcements were asked, but to no-ones surprise, there was none to send, the Red Army was attacking across the front and all Finnish forces had been sent to the line already. Command from HQ was clear: "You must hold at all cost, we cannot let them get a breakthrough as that would jeopardize the whole Mannerheim-line. Over and out."
Russian commanders Martin and Timo leading the onslaught.
Assault is imminent!
Soon the first platoon of Soviets assaulted the front line defenders. The assault was bloody repelled.
First bunker is taken!
First line defenders had given a hard fight for the Soviets, but there were simply too many of them. After brutal close combat all defenders, except the medic, lay dead in their positions and the first bunker was overrun. The medic and his aide dashed towards friendly lines as Soviet bullets whirred past them...
Soviet onslaught continued towards the second line of defenses, where also a one more platoon of Finns were heading. Here the Soviets would be stopped! Finnish antitank gun also found it's aim as first enemy tank blowed up.
Vänrikki (ensign) Kujala (me) evaluating the situation. Platoon from the deepest defensive line is sent to bolster the defenses in the middle.
For a moment it looked like the Finnish defenders had lost their nerve, as both my officer and the platoon in the middle failed to rally!
Fight for the second bunker
While the Finns were redeploying and rallying their troops, the Soviets used this opportunity to push forward - URAAAAA!
First wave of Soviets reach the central road, while all Finnish troops are concentrated to
the middle bunker - only the antitank-gun remains as the last line of defense
Hard fighting erupts around the middle bunker: first units of Soviets are
shot to pieces, even the Finnish officer shoots like hell with his Pystykorva rifle. The Finnish Medic reaches so called safety of the second line, he will be busy...
Strict fire discipline is ordered - make every shot count!
(Note the woolen Finish infantry hat for winter conditions)
On the Soviet left flank a unit supported by the armored car dashes past middle defensive line, they are greeted with shots from the antitank-gun.
Several assaults are made against the bunker, gradually depleting most of the remaining defenders.
Russian armored cars prove their worth with high mobility and terrible anti-infantry firepower as
they flank the Finnish defenders and pepper them with machine gun fire... AAARGH!
As the last act of defiance, the only remaining trooper jumps out from the defenses
and peppers the much hated Soviet commissar to his death (Soviet troopers cheer for this)
Only the Finnish medic is still vacating the bunker.
It's time to surrender.
Final situationGuns are now silent, as the short light of the day starts to fade. Finnish defenders have fallen to where they stood and fought so bravely. Soviets have won the day, but at a terrible cost: they outnumbered the Finns 4:1 and have lost so many men as well as their tank support and their "beloved" commissar.
There's no way, they'd have the strength or will to push forward and outflank other sections of the Mannerheim-line (at least not before a replacement for the commissar arrives).
It's a Pyrrhic victory.
- Great and a fun game to celebrate the anniversary of the Winter War start
- My second game with 2.0 rules; I used the new officer rules now to a good effect; I think I forgot to re-roll command test due to full strength squad
- It was a pleasure to play against two new opponents - thanks Timo & Martin
- Few dramatic command failures costed me a lot, I was also unable to stop the Soviet armored cars, which ran rampant and reaped terrible toll on my troops