I have had a change in plan. Instead of starting with the ancient campaign of many years ago, I will report on our most recent game of Flames of War.
This game was between the Finns and Russians at the beginning of the Continuation War the winter after Germany invaded Russia. It was played by myself and two other members of our small group of gamers. William the Communist (he played the Russians of course) and Wendell ( a fabulous cavalry man). Wendell and I were the Finns.
The Finns were defending a frozen river crossing and the road beyond while the Russians were attempting to break the Finnish defences and pour into the heart of Finland. The weather was clear but the terrain was heavy snow. The river was cross able at all points and there were three sections of light woods with a small Farmstead near the river crossing on the Russian side.
The Finns started in prepared positions and with a hidden deployment of our own device. This was to reflect the poor intelligence provided the Russian commander. The Finns also had reserves to bring on the table. The timing of the arrival was left to die rolls but what came in and where was left to the Finnish commander to decide. We used Flames of War rules played with 15mm figures from Battlefront, Old Glory and Gaming Models on a 5'X10' table. Total number of turns was seven and there were three objectives on the table. To win the Russians had to take ant two objectives and hold them at the beginning of their turn. Any other result was a Finnish victory. The Finns had about 2900 points and the Russians about 3600 points involved in the game. I will provide specific units for each side at your request.
As with all of our games we started off the gathering at the designated time and after appropriate greetings and exchange of jovial and witty words we got down to setting up the game and talking politics and history. I will not bore you with the politics as they are never a suggest that can bring any two people into total accord but will continue on to the more important task of reporting on the game.
The Finns were already set up saving much time as the Russians were only able to see two of the Finnish units at the start plus a number of markers on the table that were to indicate the possibility of other Finnish units. Played along the wide side of the table, the Finns had a light woods on their left flank with a road running off the table through it (the entry to this woods on the road was one objective), An open area in the center to the frozen river and then another light woods on their right flank that went to the table edge.
Deployed on the table for the Finns were an infantry platoon mixed with a heavy machine gun platoon in the entrenchments. Russians wet up within 18" of their table edge and from side to side of the board. The Russians placed their armor closest to their front and from the center of the table extending to their right. In the left half of their front they placed two armor car platoons and a motorized infantry company. To the right of the armor was a scout platoon and infantry platoon supported by an infantry company to their rear. Support for their attack came from a heavy mortar battery placed in the farm compound, Katusha rocket battery behind the farm compound and priority air support. Sadly for the Russians they failed to bring any heavy artillery.
The Russians started by advancing all units as far as the snow would let them. Unfortunately this prevented them from shooting this turn. The Finns unable to pass up an opportunity, placed their field guns on the table thus revealing their position to the Russians which was behind their entrenchments. Both Russians and Finns received air support this turn. So after some minor shooting and very light casualties, Turn one ended.
The Russians continue their advance and receive air support again for this turn. They use this air power to attack the Finnish heavy guns. To defend against this attack the Finns put out their light AA Battery and completely destroy the attacking planes. Again this turn light casualties.
This turn the Russians slow down their advance and try to shoot up as many Finns as possible. Air support, mortars and rockets pour into the Finnish positions but without the devastating effect they anticipated. The Finns however continue to chip away at the Russian advance using their artillery and now this turn exposing a mortar platoon the was dug in near a swampy area on their right flank. The bombardment of the mortars stops the motorized infantry cold. Air and heavy artillery chip away at the rocket launchers and Russian mortars. At this point everyone is still in the fight and eager for more but the Finns are having trouble bringing up their reserves( poor die rolls).
More blazing away at each other. The Russians are most fortunate as their air force has not let them down yet! The Finns reveal a pair of anti tank guns near the left flank of the Russian armor. The Russians are methodically destroying the Finnish heavy artillery while pressing toward the Finns main line of defence. The Finns anti tank guns do their best to stop the Russian armor and the mortar platoon begins to take apart the motorized infantry platoon. A Finnish Pioneer platoon attempts to stop the Russian armor by assaulting the 1st platoon of T-34's. Bravely they charge into the fight only to be cut to ribbons by the machine guns of their foes.
At this point the Russians are wearing thin. They continue to wear down the Finns but have taken too many losses while doing this.The Finns had hoped that their assaulting of the armour would cause the Russians to break but their hopes were dashed against Soviet steel. Finally though the Finnish reserves appear. They consist of a pltn of BT-42's, a platoon of T-28's and a platoon of KV-1's. The firepower they provide will prove to stem the Red Tide by crippling the Soviet armor and finishing off the Russian mortars. The Finnish mortar team eliminates the motorized infantry while Finnish armored cars eliminate their Russian counterparts.
At this point we called the game as the game was to last 7 turns and in their last turn the Russians could not reach any of the other objectives. We declared a Finnish victory!
As always there was more enjoyment in our gathering together than in winning a game. Everyone enjoyed themselves but Wendell was most impressive with spectacular die rolling this day.