Friday, October 28, 2011

Continuation War - Karelia 1941 near Viipuri

This weeks game that I played at the SESWC on Thursday evening was a 20mm World War II action using the Rapidfire rules.  Colin Jack and I provided the troops. I worked out a fictional scenario set in the Continuation War so that Colin could use his Finnish troops. Here is the player briefing and OB.
Soviet command watches the  impressive T28s roll forward

Northern column with the less impressive T26s
On 27 August as part of their offensive in Karelia Finish troops had cut the road and rail links between the city of Viipuri and Leningrad trapping 3 Soviet divisions in Viipuri. The Finish high command did not want to undertake a major struggle for Viipuri and diverted troops to move south towards the 1939 frontier. Sensing that the ring around Viipuri had been weakened on 29 August Leningrad Front launched a major counterattack to free the units units trapped in Viipuri.

Finish Objective is to prevent Soviet units exiting the table to the north.

Soviet Objective is to break thru the Finish defences and exit motorised units to Viipuri.

Finish OB
2 infantry battalions (veteran) on table deployed each:
HQ: 5 figures incl ATR
Coy: 8 figures
Coy: 8 figures
Coy: 8 figures
Supp: Mg, Mtr & 6 crew
AT coy: ATG & 3 crew

Tank battalion (regular) in reserve comprising
Coy: T28, T26, 6 Tonner
Coy: 3 T26

Finns have complete air superiority

Map of terrain and Soviet deployment - table was 8ft by 6ft
314th Motor Rifle Regt
3 Lorried Btns (regular) ea of:
HQ: 5 figures
Coy: 8 figures
Coy: 8 figures
Coy: 8 figures
Supp: Mg, Mtr & 6 crew

Plus regt support
Art coy: 76mm inf gun, 3 crew & tow
AT coy: 45mm at gun, 3 crew & tow
AA Coy: Qd AAMG truck

56th Provisional Tank Regt (poor)
Btn: 2 T28, T34
Btn: 3 T26B, BA10
Btn: 3 T37/38

Baltic Red Banner air fleet has promised to support this effort.

In the swampy terrain of Karelia all the vehicles are road bound except the Soviet’s T34 and T37/T38 amphibians. In addition the T37/38s could cross the swampy terrain as bad going. The T34 had to dice for breakdown each time it moved - on a 1 it would break down and be abandoned.

How the game played
In the game Colin Jack and Bart Zynda commanded the defending Finns whilst Hugh Wilson and Dougie Trail commanded the Soviet attackers. I umpired and acted as war photographer.

Main Soviet effort - first T28 suffers light damage 

The Soviets advanced with their T28/T34 Btn and an infantry battalion down the southern route with the T26 coy on the northern route each supported by a dismounted infantry battalion. The T37/T38s advanced in the swampy terrain on the far southern flank.

Unexpected - amphibious tanks take to the swamps

They Soviets came under fire from the hidden Finnish AT guns engaging them as they slowly moved forward. The Finns then committed their armour reserve - all the tanks in the Finnish Army - down both routes. Thus the game developed into a tank duel.

The Finnish T26 coy was quickly reduced to 1 runner under the fire of the T28s and T34. The T28s helped their supporting infantry unit occupy a small hamlet.

On the other flank the Finns bested the soviet T26s knocking out 3 of them but the unit held. In addition the Soviet infantry then came under strafing attack from a Finnish Brewster Buffalo. It caused casualties on the Soviet infantry but eventually it was driven of by the lorry mounted quad AA mg. The Red Banner Baltic Fleet airforce did not put in an appearance as I had left them at home.
Finnish airpower - below T26s burn on the highway

Captured T28 explodes

The T34 was moving to support the T26s when its gearbox failed and it had to be abandoned.

However the T28s knocked out the captured T28 and it’s loss caused that Finnish tank company to flee. With the T28s and their infantry doing well and the reserve motor battalion moving up in support it looked like a Soviet victory.

An enjoyable game.

Link to flickr photoset