Friday, August 21, 2015

Winter Stalemate in Karelia

Earlier this week we had another game of Big Chain of Command set in Karelia during first winter of the Continuation War.
Myself and Jeppan were joined by fellow club member Nils who wanted to try the CoC rules. As ever, Jeppan was running the Finns while I commanded the Soviets. Nils joined the Finns and took command of their tank platoon.


The terrain was mixed woodlands with a sprawling village in the centre of the table. Roads were running from all four sides of the table with a crossroads in the centre village.  There were a few low hills and plenty of snow drifts and some plowed fields close to the village.

Mission & Deployment

We decided to keep it simple and do an encounter scenario with the added twist that the tank platoons on both sides could choose to enter from the roads on the short table edges.

Other than that we simply entered our Patrol Markers from our respective long table edges. There were no actual terrain objectives this time and both sides had the same objective; to force the enemy to withdraw. This would give the victor control of the village and the crossroads. This seemed a reasonable mission in a sparsely populated area with limited infrastructure and terrain that limits movement of mechanised forces (lots of forests and swamps). Not to mention it's in the middle of one of our north Scandinavian winters. You really, really want some proper shelter in one of those......


Both sides had one infantry platoon and one tank platoon. We both used platoons of 5 x T-26s as this was the most common tank at this date and we did not want the game to become too centered on the tanks.
We did not roll very high for Force Support, so neither side could add that much extra stuff.The Finn tank platoon added a light armoured car (plus something else that I can't remember), while the Soviets added a Recce squad attached to the tank platoon and some AT hand grenades for the infantry platoon.

Early Game

The Soviets gained initiative and started deploying a couple of squads from the infantry platoon close to the centre village.
Soviet infantry move up to defend the village from counter-revolutionary Finns.

Meanwhile the Soviet tanks started to trundle onto the table from the Soviet right flank.
Soviet T-26s roll into action from the flank
The Finns deployed their infantry platoon opposite the Soviet infantry, and started to bring on their tanks from the centre of their long table edge. This would allow them to both support their infantry in the centre and to counter the  threat from the Soviet tanks approaching from the flank. Unortunately for the Finns, their tank platoon's command dice were not very good and their T-26s only entered very slowly and one at a time. The Soviets could use all their tanks (and their supporting infantry squad) en masse thanks to some good command dice. The Soviet tankers were also lucky to get a double-move at the right time.
Finn infantry squad and the tank platoon command vehicle advance down the centre

 It was a different story in the village, though. The Finn infantry is very good and also very flexible. The Soviets have reasonable quality too, but their platoon is not at all as flexible.
Finn infantry on the Soviet left flank on their way to try and outflank the Soviet infantry in the village

Mid Game

Around the village, the opposing infantry platoons engaged in a major firefight that saw both sides take serious losses. One of the Finn squads routed and another was severely weakened and pinned repeatedly. But at the same time, the Soviet platoon suffered just as badly and was less able to recover.
The Soviet and Finn infantry platoons engage each other in intense fire fight in and around the village

The tank fight on the Soviet right flank was very intense. The outnumbered Finn tankers managed to knock out one of the Soviet tanks, but lost one of their own (crew forced to bail out) and another lost its main armament. The Finns coninued to be unlucky in their attempts to bring all their tanks onto the table (maybe the engines had frozen solid in the winter night?), enabling the Soviets to concentrate fire on individual Finn tanks as they appeared.
The tank battle on the right flank in full swing.

Still, in CoC even light tanks can be quite resilient unless fired on by something truly awesome, like an '88'. So it took some time for the Soviets to actually destroy enough Finn tanks to make a real impact. Most often a tank has to be hit several times before it is actually destroyed. One by one, most Finn tanks were knocked out.

End Game

Eventually, the Soviet advantage in the tank fight proved overwhelming as the Finn platoon commander's tank finally fell to a storm of Soviet 45mm fire from both front and flank.
Soviet tankers surround the Finn tank commander
After that, the Finn tank platoon found it very difficult to fight as the platoon commander was no longer available and the platoon's morale had suffered badly.
The Finn tank platoon commander finally goes down after knocking out a Soviet opponent and damaging others
Finally, the armoured car was also hit and knocked out and the Finn tank platoon was forced to withdraw.
But at the same time, the Finn infantry had managed to grind down their Soviet counterparts (supported by the Finn tank that had lost its main gun, but could still fire the MG). The Finns had taken some serious losses too, but the Soviet platoon was very close to its breaking point, while the Finn infantry was still holding on.
At this point we decided to call it a draw. Both sides were very seriously weakened and we thought neither would be able to both defeat the remaining enemy and hold the village with the forces still available. It seemed reasonable for both sides to fall back to their start lines and try again another time.
So, another enjoyable game with some very tense moments.


  1. Great AAR! Looks like another fun game! I will try to join in on one in the near future.

    1. Thanks. And yes, it was great fun. It would be great if you could join. Also I see that you're working in on some later stuff for the Eastern front. I've got some things for late war as well, so let me know if you want to run something like that. I've got both Germans and Soviets.

  2. Its hard to match the coolness of those Finnish ski-trooper, but those Russian tanks are winning my respect fast - looking forward to seeing how I will fare against these when I bring the lighter German Blitzkrieg armor eastward...

    1. I agree. The Finn Winter guys are awesome.And Jeppan's outstanding paint job makes them even more impressive. Wish I could paint like that.
      As for the light German Blitzkrieg armour, the STAVKA says: 'Bring 'em on!'

  3. Looking good as always guys! Sounds like you had another great game.

  4. Looking good.
    I can hopefully join a battle in the future. Unfortunately my early war finns and russians are in 28mm...