Saturday, December 12, 2009

Some 70-year Winter War anniversary games

Young General and Old Warrior got in a quick anniversary commemorative game of Memoir '44 about the Battle of Suomussalmi, Dec. 8-16, 1939. The setup is shown above.

It was actually a fairly sedate fight. The very first card the Soviets got to play was a Dig In card, so almost all my force that wasn't dug in became so before the Finns could do much damage. The Finn ski troops milled around a bit, but Young general was a little slow to close the range and in the meantime the Soviets got some good shooting in and soon the Soviets were up 3-0.

The Finns became more energized and made a special effort to take out the Soviet tanks and eventually both did go down, but the Finns also took more casualties and eventually a long-range shot from the Russian guns picked off the sixth Finnish unit. The final score was 6-2 in favor of the Soviets.

This game wasn't the only Finnish anniversary game I got in today. I also visited the local comic/game store and played a few games of Axis & Allies Miniatures. Two of the games were a modified version of Scenario WW-2, the Battle of Lake Toilvajarvi, fought on Dec. 12, 1939.

This scenario came out after the first couple of sets, so there were a lot of substitutions needed. The whole Finnish force was represented with German troops, and the Soviet machine gun unit was represented by a British Vickers machine gun piece.

Since then a lot of the necessary pieces have come out, so I was able to substitute more authentic pieces for much of the OB.

I replaced the two SS leaders with Finnish Officers. Slightly less effective as leaders, but the Finns have a powerful Hand-to-Hand special ability. All the German infantrymen were replaced with Finnish infantry with identical stats and the German MG42 machine gun team was replaced by a Finnish machine gun team with slightly lower stats. The German an light mortar and expert sniper remained,a s there are no Finnish units of those types yet.

On the Soviet side everything was the same except for the Vickers machine gun, which was replaced by the new Soviet MG team.

This is the battlefield:

The blue is are represents a frozen lake. The Finns set up on the left edge with most of the force, with a reinforcing leader and four squads on Turn 5 coming in on the flanks. Their objective is the "hotel, represented by the hill with objective markers in the middle of the map. It starts off held by two Russian squads, but the rest of the Soviet force is nearby on the lake.

The first battle saw my Soviets trying to hold back a young gentleman's Finnish attack, which was remarkable well-run. His sniper, mortar and machine gun team were very effctive at laying doen fire and knocked off quite a few Russian defenders around the hotel. He timed the rush of his infantry well and they swept into the hotel simultaneously with the reinforcing Finns on Turn 5. The Soviets were wiped out.

Young gentleman's dad now had a go at the same scenario. This time my Russians took a little more circumspect defensive posture, trying to avoid Finnish lines of fire more. The Soviets were able to eliminate the light mortar unit early and it turned out that the dad's Finns were much worse shots than the son. Neither the sniper nor the machine gun team did very well in laying down fire. So the final Finn rush found the Soviets fairly numerous and a vicious close-range melee ensued that saw troops flying off the board. It all came down to the very last die roll where a Soviet SMG unit took a shot at the last Finn on one of the objective hexes, getting a "destroyed" result. The Finn failed its cover roll and that was it. There were just two Finnish survivors at the hotel (one rifle and one leader) and the Soviet SMG unit.

It was nice to be able to commemorate this fighting on its 70th anniversary.

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