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Author Topic: Fangs of the Wolf - Game One Part I  (Read 670 times)

Offline 7dot62mm

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 75
Fangs of the Wolf - Game One Part I
« on: June 10, 2022, 08:12:16 AM »

Gemigabok presents...
Winter of No Surrender
Campaign Eleven – Fangs of the Wolf
Game One – Part I

Winter of No Surrender (WoNS) is a series of Winter War campaigns for Chain of Command and other game systems. This is our playthrough of the eleventh WoNS campaign – Fangs of the Wolf. The campaign is currently in playtest and will be released... later.

We're using Chain of Command rules with the At the Sharp End supplement, loads of special campaign rules, and 20mm figures. At the time of writing, we have John as Colonel Sharov and Janne as his assistant commander. We have Jarkko as Lieutenant-Colonel Susitaival, with Mikko as his assistant command.

Previously on Fangs of the Wolf:
Campaign Introduction:  https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=135724.0

After reaching the Palovaara Crossroads on December 4th, Combat Group Sharov headed north. There they ran into the Finnish 16th Independent Battalion and attempted four times to break through their defences at Lake Piispajärvi. Those battles are to be covered in the planned WoNS Campaign 10 – The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Having failed to achieve a breakthrough at Piispajärvi, Sharov pulled his forces back some distance and waited for reinforcements. But they would never arrive... the Red Army's elite 44th Division would eventually be destroyed many kilometers away, on the Raate Road. Few of those Ukranians would ever see their far-away homeland.

On December 19th, the Finns ambushed a Russian convoy at Palovaara, sealing the encirclement. And this is when our campaign begins.

Date: 19 December 1939, Day Twenty of the Winter War, 1600 hours, night.
Location: Palojoki crossroads, 30 kilometers north of the village of Suomussalmi, in central-eastern Finland. About forty kilometers from the border of the Soviet Union.
Weather Conditions: Clear skies, -13 degrees Celsius (+9 degrees Fahrenheit). There is about 20 cm (8 inches) of snow. Darkness has just fallen. A semblance of dawn will appear around 0730 hours.

At the Palojoki crossroads ambush site, Lieutenant-Colonel Susitaival (Jarkko) looks at the scene of destruction... three bullet-hole riddled trucks and two staff cars are visible, steam billowing from their punctured radiators... about forty to fifty Russian dead are strewn about the area, some still in their vehicles, others faces down in the snow, half hidden beneath the branches of spruce trees. There are no prisoners – the Kuusamo men simply did not take any. Some Russians fled east, further into the woods. Without being ordered to do so, some of the northmen just looked at each other, and went walking after them in small groups. Susitaival, himself from the south, has no doubt that those northern men will return in an hour or two, and he is sure that they still won't have any prisoners.

CAMPAIGN TURN ONE, December 19, 1800-2400 hrs

Fangs of the Wolf moves in eight-hour campaign turns. There are 17 of them in the campaign. At the start, the Finns are known to occupy Tables A, B, C and T. The Soviet units locations are unknown, but they may place them anywhere on Tables D through R.

To win, the Finnish players must bring the Soviet leader Colonel Sharov's Opinion to -10. This is best done by causing the enemy some major losses. The Soviets will win if that does not happen. They will win a major victory if they are able to break out of the encirclement.

The Finns do not have sufficient forces to beat the Russians in a conventional, frontal attack. Instead, they must find and concentrate their attacks on the enemy's weakest spots. Campaign Turns One and Two take place in the near-total darkness of the frozen north and it is difficult to do proper reconnaissance in the dark. Nevertheless, Susitaival sends out many reconnaissance patrols to seek out the enemy. As this is an on-going double-blind campaign, I cannot give information on the results though.

The Finns advance to the unoccupied Table S Kukkarovaara and take up positions there. A couple of hours later a Russian patrol dressed in whiteovers approaches the Kukkarovaara hill from the north. There is a short exchange of fire and the Russians retreat towards the north, towards Table R Hyövynvaara.

CAMPAIGN TURN TWO, December 20, 0000-0800 hrs
It is a cold night with no clouds. The wind is rising but luckily it is coming from the south. The mercury falls to -17 degrees Celsius (1 degree F).... it is now so cold that any Russian units wading across the still unfrozen Mustajoki River (Table M) will lose men due to hypothermia. Luckily the bridge on Table M is still intact.

The Finns send more units on reconnaissance missions and move their other troops.
Over on Kukkarovaara Hill (Table S) the Finnish unit there has another encounter with a white-clad Russian patrol.

CAMPAIGN TURN THREE, December 20, 0800-1600 hrs

 It is finally daylight. -16 degrees Celsius (+3 degrees F). The wind, blowing from the south-west, brings with it clouds and a light snowfall... Reconnaissance is now much easier and the Finns take good advantage of this.

At 1500 hrs a Russian ski patrol encounters enemy forces on Table F, Kuohulampi marsh! The skiers use their binoculars and observe the Finns on the other side of the marsh for a while, until they are spotted and the enemy fires their LMG at the patrol, which then withdraws. There is no good info about the number of enemies on F but they are there!

In the south, the Russians again probe Table S.

CAMPAIGN TURN FOUR, December 20, 1600-2400 hrs
Night falls again... -20 degrees Celsius (+3 degrees F). There is some wind from south-by-south-west and it is still cloudy and snowing. Visibility is 18” in the dark, and, do to the snowfall, a maximum of 36” with illumination.

Meanwhile in New York, US President Hoover presides over a special event in support of Finland. In Sweden and Denmark, volunteer medical units are equipped and sent to Finland.

At Kollaa front, not far from here, the Finnish army has taken the initiative and is working on surrounding enemy forces. This is hampered by temperatures falling to -25 degrees Celsius.

In the south, at Ägläjärvi, 400 kilometers to the south-east from here, General Pajari's units continue their assault. They've been at this for a week. Pajari himself is so exhausted that he has to be carried away from the fight.

But here at Suomussalmi, Group Susi is about to swing into action! This is good because we've played almost a quarter of the campaign without any combat :)  They have decided to attack Table N, Konttipuro. Their reconnaissance indicates that the Russians have numerous trucks there, and that there are armored cars which patrol the area.

Table N, Konttipuro

Table N, seen from the east...

In a conventional Chain of Command campaign the attacker has a number of Support Points which are balanced with the defender's by the scenario and the Force Rating. The Support Points are used to buy supporting units and field works. Fangs of the Wolf is different in that the scenarios aren't balanced, in fact the Finn will lose if he fights a fair fight. Both sides get 1d6 support points with which they may purchase some very basic supports such as satchel charges. But any other supports must be allocated by the players from the forces which are available. So if the Finn wants an anti-tank gun in the scenario, he needs to bring his anti-tank gun platoon into the fight.

As both sides have two players, we can have a maximum of two platoons per side. Any additional platoons brought to the fight will furnish their side with one support unit, for example a platoon of two anti-tank guns would give one gun as a support.

The Finns choose to attack with one infantry platoon (3rd company, 1st Platoon - led by Lieutenant Kora, four squads, 2 SMG, 2 LMG) and one machinegun platoon (3rd MMG Platoon, 4 MMG).

The Soviets will field their 22nd and 23rd rifle platoons from the 4th Company. They have 1d6 support points plus three section-sized entrenchments due to their Dig, Comrade, Dig national characteristic. As Deployed First units they will also have a teamster section of sixteen men, sixteen wagons and carts and 32 horses. And a radio team with a Junior Leader.

In addition, both sides will also field a number of support units which will become apparent later.

Konttipuro derives its name from the stream which originates in the marsh and leads east, to the great lake some kilometers away. At its origin it flows underneath the road through three culverts,  which if destroyed would prevent all wheeled vehicles from traversing the Table.

The road runs up the hill, towards the north.

The marsh is now frozen but no entrenchments can be dug in marshland. The woods offer light cover and blocks line of sight after 4” out and 9” inside. The struggling woods also offers light cover, but does not limit line of sight of the use of indirect weapons.

The trucks on the road are from the Divisional transportation battalion. They've been parked there and are mostly out of fuel, having been siphoned dry in order to provide gasoline to the Battalion's combat vehicles. The trucks may still contain some useful supplies however.

The jump-off points are shown in red (Russian) and blue (Finnish). As this is a Big Chain of Command game, there are five jump-off points per side.

The tables are based on real maps of the area. Two sizes are provided, 6x4 and 8x5 feet, we're using the latter.

A special scenario is included with the campaign, the Motti.


This scenario represents a situation where the Soviet defender - stuck in an encirclement - suspects that Finns may lurk behind any tree but is still unprepared for the actual assault.

The defending Soviet starts with six Patrol Markers which must all be placed on a road and no closer than 12" from any edge of the table. These Patrol Markers must be no less than 3" and no more than 10" apart.
The attacking Finn starts with six Patrol Markers. They can be placed on the east and west any table edges as well as on any edge where the Finn occupies the adjacent table. All Patrol Markers on a given table edge must be no more than 12" apart.
The Russian gets the first move. While relying on Russian maps the Russian Patrol Markers must stay within 10" of each other (see special Soviet Patrol Phase rule). He may split his Patrol Markers into two independent groups of three markers.
During the Patrol Phase the Finns may move their Patrol Markers freely. They are not obliged to keep within 12", or any other distance, of other friendly Patrol Markers (see special Finnish Patrol Phase rule).

Once the Patrol Phase ends with one side locked down, the Jump‐Off Points are deployed; the
defender player placing four (all within 18" of a road), the attacker four. In addition, anywhere where a road leads off-table towards a Soviet-occupied Table, the point where the road meets the table edge is considered to be a jump-off point for any vehicles in the Soviet force, which are not Deployed First. This Jump-Off Point may be disabled like any other.

Each side gets support according to the units deployed into the battle (see Battle Sequence, above). In addition, the Russian gets one entrenchment (due to Dig, Comrade Dig national characteristic) + 1d6 Support Points. The Finn gets 1d6 Support Points.

To win a victory, the attacker must force the defender to withdraw from the table, either voluntarily or due to a reduction in his Force Morale but keeping his own Force Morale at 3 or more. If he fails, the defender will win.
The attacker will be the active player in the first Phase of the game.

We played the Patrol Phase using IwouldLikeToRage's great Patrol Phase app. In order to confuse you as much as possible, we used blue tokens for Russians and red ones for Finns.

With the jump-off points established, the Russian places his Deployed First units.

In a normal Chain of Command game all troops are combat troops which are deployed at the player's will when doing so is advantageous to him. But in a Motti situation there is no front line - the Finns can strike anywhere and catch all manner of units by surprise. Deployed First units are, as their name suggests, rear-echelon units which are deployed before the game begins. They may be deployed anywhere on the table but must be within the (often roughly rectangular) area defined by the defending player's Jump-Off Points. They include artillery, supply and transportation units, as well as headquarters units.

Deployed First units will be busy doing whatever they are doing or sleeping around fires if it is Night. Each unit has two two-man teams of guards, which are taken from the unit. Many Russian rear-echelon units have an LMG for this very purpose. These guard teams may activate on a 1 or a 5, if a 5 is used the Soviet player does not accumulate a pip towards a CoC die. If the Soviet player wishes to withdraw them through the Jump-Off Points, he can do it as soon as Surprise allows (see R4. Surprise), but then they will leave their equipment behind. If the Soviet player wishes to withdraw with their equipment, they must first get their vehicles ready and their equipment packed in them, and then drive off the Table. Each sub-unit (section or so) rolls a d6 on each activation. On a 6 they have advanced their goal. The number of 6s needed before they are ready to move is indicated by the number after their Deployed First rating. Once that many 6s have been rolled, the sub-unit is ready to start moving.

John puts his supply wagons in the middle of the road, and the 15 teamsters are spending their evening between the trucks and the wagons. Both types of vehicles will provide light cover. 

The other Deployed First unit that the Russians have is a radio team with a Junior Leader. 

This is one of the Regiment's 6-PK radios. It has a 0.66 Watt output and a range of up to 8 km.

It is dark. The Russians are resting and warming themselves by the fires when suddenly mortar bombs roar in from the sky... BOOM! BOOM!

This is a Pre-Game Barrage by the Finnish Battalion's mortar platoon of two 81mm mortars. In Fangs of the Wolf both sides may fire as many Pre-Game Barrages as they have ammunition for, but there are serious limitations on the amount of ammunition available.

In WoNS, there are different kinds of pre-game barrages, depending on the available artillery assets. A pre-game barrage by two 81mm mortars is more of a harrasment than an actual threat. The Russian units will be able to deploy during it if they roll anything else than a one.

Offline 7dot62mm

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 75
Re: Fangs of the Wolf - Game One Part I
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2022, 08:12:50 AM »

But in WoNS a pre-game barrage can kill or shock the enemy, a bit like a Stuka attack in the 1940 Blitzkrieg supplement. The effect is determined when the unit deploys.

Also we roll for hits on any vehicles the enemy may have... one of the trucks is hit and blows up. We check for its contents and there is nothing special in the truck so no huge explosion for example. But the truck is now on fire and illuminates the area around it. Several other vehicles suffer from shrapnel but there are no other spectacular effects.

Winter of No Surrender campaigns come with Campaign Cards, one card can be selected for each Campaign Turn and if it is not played during that turn it will be lost. Here John has chosen a Warm Borsh card which gives the troops a bowl of soup each, adding one to his Force Morale roll results. 

Jarkko though has chosen the Gas Attack card. As the mortar bombs explode, someone in the Soviet ranks cries: ”Gas attack!” … there is a great deal of panic, everyone fumbling for their gas masks. To restore order, John or Janne must now deploy a Senior Leader who must use all of his activations to ascertain that there is no such attack going on.

In the south-western corner of the table, some Finns appear...

Mikko deploys two Maxim type medium machine gun sections... a machine gun platoon has four such sections so Mikko has now deployed half of his forces.

The sections open fire on the teamsters... the darkness makes it difficult to hit the enemy but the teamsters are soon accumulating major shock...

If you notice some Germanic-looking fellows driving the wagons please ignore them, I don't yet have enough Russian wagons...

John deploys his platoon leader who quickly realizes that there is no gas attack. Then he deploys his 1st section. They have dug a trench on the southern edge of the table. The trench and the darkness gives them excellent cover but they are visible due to the burning truck...

The teamsters need to get out of here. They have lost only one man but with nine shock the remaining 15 men are in danger of becoming pinned if they stay here. One of the Winter of No Surrender rules is that shock does not affect movement away from the enemy. The teamsters run up the hill...

They move more than 10”, reaching a place where they can no longer be engaged thanks to the darkness.

John's platoon leader arrives. Because the Soviet section leaders are Inferior Junior Leaders with only one command initiative, the only effective way to rally shock from the men is to get a Senior Leader involved. But as soon as he arrives, he is immediately winged by a Finnish machinegun bullet!

With two MMGs blasting at them, casualties are mounting for 1st section. They've lost two men and have two points of shock.

More bullets pour in, the section loses another man and gains three more shock. John now deploys his company's Command Group. This consists of the company sergeant major (a JL who can command any unit), the sniper, the medic and two messengers.

The medical orderly patches up the platoon leader.

Meawhile it is discovered that the Russians have a trench in the struggling woods. John deploys his second section there... He is concerned that the trench is so near the enemy jump-off point that if the Finns get a double phase they may be able to deploy and disable the Soviet jump-off point.

In the south-west, Mikko deploys a third MMG alongside the others. He now has 33 dice of firepower which he sends pouring downrange at John's 1st section.

The machinegunners have suffered some shock but, thanks to the darkness, no casualties. The Russians can only see the machine guns' muzzle flashes so hitting them is difficult.

To support Mikko's machinegunners, Jarkko deploys his LMG section and the platoon sergeant at the southern edge of the north-western woods.

The Finnish LMG section has very little in the way of firepower so their contribution to the Russians' problems are not significant.

The Company Command Group loses one of the messengers and becomes pinned with considerable shock...

But another situation is developing in the north-west. There Jarkko is moving a rifle section towards Janne's jump-off point...

This would be easily prevented if Janne can roll a two or a three with his command dice so that he could deploy an infantry section...

...but no, Janne rolls lots of single sixes, fives and ones...

The White Bandits are approaching...

John sends the Company's second in command to oversee the section in the struggling woods...

Meanwhile, Janne again fails to roll any twos or threes with his four command dice! This is incredible... The Finns are fast approaching the jump-off point... something has to be done!

Janne has this radio team, a Junior Leader, three guys and one lady radio operator with rifles... and they activate with a 1...

Seeing the Capitalists approaching, the team grabs its equipment and runs into the trench. Defending a trench with only five people is not ideal, but at least the Finns won't be able to just walk up to the jump-off point...

The trench is actually twice as big as what we see here – I temporarily lost my trench markers although I have at least three more boxes of them somewhere... so the trench actually extends to the left of what's on the map.

Jarkko sees that he needs to act quickly here before the Soviets get reinforcements...

”Rynnäkköön!” (”Charge!”) the section leader shouts. This is the Finnish national characteristic comparable to the German Handgranaten!. The men advance, throwing two stick handgrenades as they go. The grenades fall short and Jarkko's men seem perturbed by this and their movement is rather slow. They do not make it into close combat...

The Command Group's messengers have been killed...

The 1st section's leader has been killed... what remains of it are a two-man LMG team, a two-man rifle grenade team, and one rifleman. Lacking a command die result of 4 so that he could activate the platoon leader already in the trench, John deploys the platoon sergeant to direct the section as he activates on a 3. They fire at the Finnish machineguns....

Meanwhile, it is Janne's turn. Everyone is amazed to see him actually roll a 3 with his command dice so that he can deploy a section into the trench. Doing that will give him a tremendous advantage, first he can shoot at point-blank range and then, if the Finns try to engage in close combat, he will have the advantages of the trench and the LMG...

Jarkko cannot have this! He interrupts the Phase with his CoC die, and the section charges the radio team!

The scene dissolves into terrible violence! Howling, the men of the north jump into the trench, throwing hand grenades and a satchel charge, and wielding vicious-looking puukko knives... the Russians fight back with their bayonet-equipped rifles but in the end the Finnish submachinegun sweeps the trench... all of the Red Army soldiers die, but not before one of them has grievously wounded the Finnish section leader, taking him out of the fight until the end of the Turn.

Janne's jump-off point is now out of action and his 1st section is unable to jump into this trench...

Winter of No Surrender campaigns include rules for the capture of enemy (and friendly) equipment. Here there is a 6-PK radio, which the Finns would find very useful considering the pervasive lack of radios in the Army. To capture the radio, they would have to roll a 5 or 6 but they fail this. Then, the radio team sergeant has a bag with a map, encryption keys and all kinds of other, interesting stuff. The Finns fail to notice that as well as it is dark and they have other priorities.

Recovering from the nasty surprise, Janne situates his 1st section on the nearby hill... from there they can shoot at the Finnish section from short range...

They fire their LMG, rifles and even send in a rifle grenade...

Over in the struggling woods, John turns his 2nd section around and they too shoot at Jarkko's forces...

Not satisfied with that, he deploys his third section onto the northern jump-off point...

They too send their fire at Jarkko's troops...

Concentration of fire is the key to success in many wargames. Here the Soviets have done an admirable job and have succeeded in really pounding Jarkko's section... they have four men left and they have five points of shock, they are therefore pinned.

As his last action, John's platoon leader orders his men to fire an illumination flare. The rocket careens into the sky exactly the way John wants it and it lights up, suspended on its parachute, illuminating a 36” radius. The wind is from south by south-west, and will slowly move the illuminated area towards north by north-east. In the map below, the location of the flare is indicated by an orange circle:


Soviet 22nd Platoon:
SL + 3 sections deployed,  Platoon sgt (JL) + 1 section in reserve. Force Morale 5, 5 pips on CoC die.

22-1: 1st section (in entrenchment in the south): LMG + 2 crew, Rifle Grenade launcher + 2 crew remain (total 4 men). Platoon leader, Medical Orderly, Company Politruk and Company Sgt. Major all in same entrenchment. Sniper nearby.

22-2: 2nd section (in entrenchment in Struggling Woods): JL + 11 men (all) remain. Company 2nd in command in same entrenchment. Firing at Finn section #1.

22-3: 3rd section (at northern edge of table): JL + 11 men (all) remain. Firing at Finn section #1.

The rest of company command team: Annihilated.


Soviet 23rd Platoon:
SL + 1 section deployed, Platoon sgt (JL) and 3 sections in reserve. Force Morale 6, 3 pips on CoC die.

23-1: 1st section just east of road, at northern part of table. JL + 11 men (all) remain. Platoon leader is with them.

R: 5-man radio team: All dead (the team should have been only JL+ 1 man, I confused myself. They must've had additional guys ordered to assist :) )

T: Teamsters in the middle of the road. Junior Leader + 15 men alive, one down. 32 horses which I forgot to place onto the map (will try and correct the situation next time)


3rd Company 1st Platoon (Kora): Platoon sergeant (SL) and 3 sections deployed. Platoon leader, 2 messengers and 1 section still undeployed. Force Morale 5, no pips on CoC die.

1: 1st section: 4 men (SMG man plus 3 riflemen) remain in entrenchment near road. 5 points of shock, Pinned.

2: 2nd (LMG) section: JL + 6 men at southern edge of forest with Platoon Sgt, firing at 22-1.

4: 4th (LMG) section: JL + 6 men moving east in the forest


3rd Machine-Gun Platoon: Deployed 3 MMG sections and 1 Half-Platoon Leader (SJL). Platoon leader, 1 Half-Platoon Leader (SJL), two messengers and 1 MMG section undeployed. Force Morale ?, one full CoC die.

M1: 1st MMG section (team), JL + 5 men, 1 shock at edge of woods. Half-Platoon leader (SJL) deployed and attached to 1st and 2nd Sections.

M2: 2nd MMG section (team), JL + 5 men, 1 shock at edge of woods.

M3: 3rd  MMG section (team), JL + 5 men at edge of woods.

Both sides may still have unknown, undeployed forces.

So how is this going to end? The situation is precarious. The Finns need to retain an FM of at least 3 for one platoon and win the fight in order to conquer this table. The Russians have entrenchments  for just about all of their troops and their basic rifle platoon has much more firepower than the Finnish equivalent unit. On the other hand the Finnish MMG platoon has a serious edge in firepower.. and the Force Morales of both sides are very equal and they are getting to the point where loss of command dice is about to start happening... in short, anything could happen.

This is as far as we got last time...

Stay tuned for Part II and more Winter of No Surrender series games in the near-ish future!

More on Fangs of the Wolf:
Campaign Introduction:  https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=135724.0

The minis:

Some of our Chain of Command campaigns and games:
Rajajoki Station http://thewargamersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4857
Fire in the Sky http://thewargamersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4055
April 9th http://thewargamersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3636
Citadel – The Breakthrough – Grossdeutschland Attack at Kursk  http://thewargamersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1353

Other Games:
The Drive on Minsk; http://thewargamersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=815
Unternehmen Nordwind: http://thewargamersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&p=30957

Our Clubs:
GeMiGaBoK: http://www.the-ancients.com/gemigabok/
Stadin Strategit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/474796192532203

Offline fred

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 4394
    • Miniature Gaming
Re: Fangs of the Wolf - Game One Part I
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2022, 12:21:26 PM »
Very impressive!

The game, the table, and the depth of research to give the real feel to it. Not had chance to read everything yet…


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