Monday, 30 December 2013

The Finnish of the Year

On the Saturday between Christmas and New Year's, the Hamilton Road Games Group set up a Disposable Heroes WWII game. Our numbers were somewhat low, but our spirits were not dampened. I requested we do the Eastern Front so I could use my freshly painted Finnish troops (hence the wretched pun in the post's title.) I ended up refereeing while Tyler handled the Finns and Bear took charge of the German reinforcement column. Kevin, Andy, and Rob ran the Russians. The table was snow-covered, the forests were dense with some lighter rough ground areas and a few areas of snow drifts that required anyone entering them to move at slowest speed. The Russians outnumbered the Finns and had a KV-1 and a T-34/76 to assist. The Finn/German side had no armour, but the Finns held a small village and its environs.

Kevin, Rob, and Andy do their moves early in the game.

On the left, Tyler's arm and Bear later in the game. I've changed seats.

The Finn's entire artillery - a small calibre AT gun.
The Soviets moved onto the field and immediately encountered trouble. Since they were using the "early War list", their morale is quite fragile, while the Finn's were using the "Continuation War" list. The "Winter War" list is loaded with snipers and marksmen and their morale is almost super-human. However there is no possibility of German allies, so we used the later list. As I said the Soviet infantry took casualties from the Finn's mortar, HMG (a Maxim!) and the sniper team and the Russian morale cracked early. Quite a few units were pinned early on, so the advance bogged down. The tanks hung back and were used as mobile artillery ... not that the Finn's ATG and anti-tank rifle could do much, but they were legitimately afraid of close assaults - deadly to armour. The Soviet mortars did some damage and Andy pushed his squads forward on the Soviet left.

Soviet armour doing its best to intimidate the Finns. No such luck.

The Red Army advances into the snow drifts. We used smaller patches of white felt to serve as the drifts. Everyone went through at slowest speed, but they served as some concealment.

Andy and his troops.

The Finnish sniper team - the sniper has a morale of "9", equal to most army's commanders!
Although the Soviets had brittle morale and moved slowly, their numbers told the tale. When the German reinforcements (Command, three rifle squads, and a sniper team) arrived on the 4th turn on the Finnish left, they were hurt badly by the Soviet mortars and by rifle and LMG fire. The Red Army continued to advance and got close to the village and their fire punished the defenders heavily, taking out the AT gun, the HMG, and half of a rifle squad. The tanks began to move forward in the last turns, but curfew arrived (Rob had to work that evening) and we called the game as a repulse to the Soviets, leaving the Finns holding the village by their fingernails.
I designed the scenario and I may have made the advance over too much open ground too hard to do. However, at the end of the game, the tide was beginning to turn in the Soviet favour. Had we more time (and more game 'daylight'), the results might have been different. Some more Soviet squads might have helped as well.
More photographic evidence of actual play!

Finns defending the town. The Sturmgewehr 44 is an illusion. It's actually a Soumi SMG or in some cases, a Lahti LMG.

Kevin's mortar battery. Mortars in Disposable Heroes are worthwhile, but tricky.

The Red advance continues!

A Finnish rifle squad, HMG team (should be a Maxim but I had to use Germans), and ATR team (again using WWI Germans painted as 'tween-war Irish Free State army) firing from a tree line.

Soviet infantry, LMG team, HMG team advancing along a tree line. Andy is super-organised with his troops, pasting designations on the base of each.

Finnish  rifle squad and command section in the town. The grey felt is a "paved" space.
A Russian Anti-tank rifle team negotiates the boggy ground.

Finns with two Germans filling in as Finns.

Soviets - some dressed for the weather.

The KV-1 moves up, but not too far.

Maxim team providing fire support.
It was a fun game with which to end the year at the games club. Next week we intend to run a Warhammer Ancients game to kick off the new year. Good gaming, all!

A final view of the Soviet advance.

No comments:

Post a Comment