10 June 2018

Retake Suomussalmi

I finally got in a Winter War game yesterday, the first for 3 years. It was nice to get the Soviets and Finns out of their boxes as well as set up some winter terrain. About a month ago, I connected with a relatively local TFL gamer, Greg. He had put on a Sharp Practice game at Huzzah, I did not get to play in the game but we had a bit of a chat and decided in the near future to have a game of Chain of Command. My regular TFL opponent Mike has been pretty tied up with work and we have not been able to get together much in the last year.

We decided to play at my place, which made it very easy as I did not have to lug a lot of stuff about and rush to set up the terrain. I have been working on a Winter War campaign for several years now and this pushed me along and I now have 4 of the 6 planned scenarios done. But more about that later.

Anyway, this specific scenario is set early in December, 1939 and is as laid out in the following pamphlet.
I took a few more photos then usual and the action was quite straight forward as described in the photos. We diced for sides, I ended up with the Soviets. Lately most games I have played, I have been the attacker so it was a change.
The Patrol Phase was very odd as the Finns got 6 free moves and do not have to stay within 12" of each other. I was pretty stymied as we were playing down the short axis of the table and I had 6' to defend. This is where they ended up. You can not see it but there was a Finnish Patrol marker all the way up the table to my left flank. 
Green Soviet Forces
Force Rating -4, 5 Command Dice, 13 Supports
Force Morale 8
2 Senior Leaders
3 Green Rifle Squads
1 Regular NKVD Squad
3 entrenchments
Maxim MMG Team
Flamethrower Team
Pregame Barrage

Elite Finnish Forces
Force Rating +5, 5 Command Dice, 8 supports
Force Morale 11
2 Senior Leaders
4  Elite Jããkãri Squads
Off Table Mortar
? 3 Supports

Greg had the first move as he was the attacker, fortunately I had selected a pregame barrage as one of my supports and with the Soviet National Characteristic of Wrath of the Gods, I was able to get 3 of my sections safely entrenched on the table within the first few phases with overwatch markers before he really could get set up. Most of his JOP points were on my right flank so I felt I could anticipate from where he would attack.
The Soviets look ready, but Greg deploys a FO in the tree line to the far right. ...........

.........and Kaboom before you know it 2 of my squads are under the barrage and I lose a JL almost immediately and my FM drops to 6! Oh dear, I say. I am able to end the turn and lift the barrage but by now.....................
........................Greg deploys a Jããkãri squad from his JOP on my right flank and they rapidly advance on my very shocked squad. The Finns are indeed aggressive......................
...............and in they come. Sometimes however the dice gods are on your side and despite being heavily shocked and pinned I manage to eke out a 1 point victory in the ensuing combat and the Finns are driven back.
Some action missed here but Greg decides to advance a 2nd squad to take out the entrenched Soviets , but this time I am ready and it is my turn....... I pop out a Flamethrower Team which takes care of the advancing Finns and drives them back and I also deploy my NKVD squad directly into close combat (I believe Greg was generous here as I believe I was a little outside of 4") with the Finns in the woods and they are destroyed...............
I have now dropped the Finn's Force Morale down and things are starting to look secure for the Soviets as we are both sitting at 6....................but CoC can be a fickle game, it is Greg's phase and he throws 4xd6.............. 
......................and a random barrage drops down on my left flank! The Finns advance on my right and take out the exposed Flame Thrower team. They are indeed aggressive but the NKVD can be aggressive as well and they advance forward to take the battle to the Finns but I had forgotten about the Finnish FO in the woods and before I knew it another barrage rains down on my right flank.
The game now turned into one of pure attrition where the barrage kept on pounding my right however I was able to fire continuously from my left flank on the exposed troops in the centre, I finally got a double phase and was able to lift the barrage and with constant fire the Finns morale dropped to 2, a Soviet victory was had.
I have to say that I really enjoyed this game, I thought I was done for early on when my FM dropped to 6 in the first few phases. I then got lucky with the dice and with my Flamethrower team and NKVD squad and was able to inflict FM damage on the Finns (I think Greg threw a lot of 6's). In my previous games it was rare to have any close combat, it is bloody.

I also have to say that it was great to meet another local TFL gamer with whom it was a pleasure to play. I am sure we will get in more games. I am also that much closer to finishing my Winter War campaign that has been sitting on the back burner fore quite sometime.


  1. Quite the scrap! Great AAR.

  2. Very enjoyable, just when it looked like things were going one way, it would suddenly swing the other.

  3. Thanks for the AAR John and yes those Barrage can be a pain.
    cheers John

  4. It's great that you've found another player in your area John. Lovely looking game. I look forward to seeing more of the campaign unfold.

  5. Lovely table and good to see you back in the proverbial gaming saddle for this campaign!

  6. Phew! Sounds like you got that by the skin of your teeth. That FOO was nearly a game winner.

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