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Author Topic: Fangs of the Wolf - Game Three Part IV  (Read 971 times)

Offline 7dot62mm

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 75
Fangs of the Wolf - Game Three Part IV
« on: October 02, 2022, 03:34:02 PM »

Gemigabok presents...
Winter of No Surrender
Campaign Eleven – Fangs of the Wolf
Game Three – Part Four

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 on an 8x5 ft table. 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. We're playing on Discord using three 720p HD cameras as most of the players are located at least 600 km from me.

Previously on Fangs of the Wolf:
Campaign Introduction:  https://thewargamersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4954
Game One, Part I: https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=137031.0
Game One, Part II: https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=137317.0
Game Two: https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=137428.0
Game Three, Part I: https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=137800.0
Game Three, Parts II & III: https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=138177.0

You may recall that in Parts II and III of this battle we saw the company from Group Wolf facing stiffening resistance from the Red Army. Acting on limited intelligence, the one hundred Finns had  stumbled upon over 400 Soviet artillerymen and ten 76mm guns on this Table!

Date: 21 December 1939, Day Twenty-Two of the Winter War, 0455 hours, night.
Location: Table J, Ahola Farm, about 40 kilometers north of the village of Suomussalmi, in central-eastern Finland. About forty kilometers from the border of the Soviet Union.

Weather Conditions: Cloudy skies, -20 degrees Celsius (+3 degrees Fahrenheit). There is about 22 cm (9 inches). Visibility is 18” in the dark but reduced to a maximum of 15” due to a heavy mist. Dawn will arrive around 0730 hours.

RED units:
1: 1st Platoon 1st Section (John)
2: 1st Platoon 2nd Section, with platoon leader behind house (John)
5: 2nd Platoon 1st Section (Janne)
9: 3rd Platoon 1st Section (support section for 2nd Platoon) (Janne)

56th Regimental Gun Battery:
B. Command Platoon
C. Headquarters Section
D. Support Detachment
E. Signals Platoon
F. Signals Platoon, 1st Radio Section
G. Signals Platoon, 2nd Radio Section
H. Signals Platoon, 3rd Radio Section
I. Signals Platoon, 1st Telephone Section
J. Signals Platoon, 2nd Telephone Section
K. Reconnaissance Detachment
L. Reconnaissance Detachment, Recon Team One
M. Reconnaissance Detachment, Recon Team Two
N. Regimental Gun Section One
O. Regimental Gun Section One, Gun Team One
P. Regimental Gun Section One, Gun Team Two
Q. Regimental Gun Section Two
R. Regimental Gun Section Two, Gun Team One
S. Regimental Gun Section Two, Gun Team Two
T. Regimental Gun Section Three
U. Regimental Gun Section Three, Gun Team One
V. Regimental Gun Section Three, Gun Team Two

7th Divisional Artillery Battery:
W. Command Platoon
X. Headquarters Section
Y. Headquarters Section, Forward Observer Section
Z. Headquarters Section, Fire Control Section

GREEN units:
7th Divisional Artillery Battery:
11. Headquarters Section, Battery Signals Section
12. Headquarters Section, Battery Signals Section, Telephone team
13. Headquarters Section, Battery Signals Section, Radio team
14. Divisional Gun Section One
15. Divisional Gun Section One, Gun Team One
16. Divisional Gun Section One, Gun Team Two
17. Divisional Gun Section Two
18. Divisional Gun Section Two, Gun Team One
19. Divisional Gun Section Two, Gun Team Two

As we begin this fourth session, John's first Red Army platoon has a Force Morale of 5 and four pips on his CoC die. Janne is still at 8 and he has a full CoC die. On the Finnish side, Jarkko's 1st platoon is at FM 7 and a full CoC die. Mikko is also at FM 7 and he has five pips.

It is the Soviet turn. John's 2nd platoon men run along the forest's edge to a position where they should be able to bring fire on the Finnish MMG section #10. In the nighttime forest, the MMG is busy firing sustained fire at Janne's rifle sections 5 and 9.

In the north-east, a patrol of white-clad Russians makes an unexpected entry onto the table. Doing so they disable the Finnish jump-off point there.

These skiers are a patrol from the 81st Mountain Infantry Regiment, one of the 163rd Division's three regiments.

On the road, Janne's 5th section fires another volley...

...at Jarkko's assaulting 3rd rifle section...

...who suffer three points of shock.

John has a double phase. His men in the forest open fire at the MMG and the adjacent rifle section, firing a long burst of bullets with their LMG and shooting their rifles at the Finns...

The fire is very successful and the MMG suffers three points of shock and a dead, the rifle section suffering seven more points of shock! The rifle section is now pinned, and the MMG gunners are also feeling very uneasy...

Next, the grenadier sends a rifle grenade their way and the team suffers one more shock, pinning them too...

On the road near the farmhouse, John activates the 7th Divisional Artillery Battery's second-in-command, a senior leader, who quickly orders his forward observers (Y) and the two closest gun crews to vacate the premises. They run north-west...

This finally gets rid of the paniced gun crews, who were limiting John's 3rd section's field of fire...

Now it will be possible to have a proper exchange of fire...

Incredibly, John has rolled himself a third consecutive phase, even though we remove one command die for every double phase previously achieved... the roll does not give him many options, but he does get to activate one senior leader. The opportunity galvanizes the company commander Lieutenant Ilyushin into action... he sprints incredibly quickly towards the north-west and attaches himself to the 2nd section there... 

The Finns' situation is really bad... two of the three sections facing the growing number of Russians are pinned and he has already suffered some losses... Mikko knows what is coming... but he is unable to do anything because he has not yet had the possibility to roll his command dice tonight...

Next, Lieutenant Ilyushin Soviet shouts... ”1st Company... for the Motherland, for Stalin! Chaaaarge!” 

”URAAAAGH!!!” the men answer, running howling at the enemy...

A confusing calculation session follows... we actually count everything at least twice in order to ensure that we have the numbers right... it turns out that despite their pinned status, all the shock and previous losses, the defending, automatic-weapon-toting Finns have 29 dice, while the attacking Russians have only 27! This is going to be a lot closer than we thought...

As the unstoppable Russian human wave attack closes in on the Finns, the desperate defenders open fire with their three automatic weapons at point blank range... their tremendous firepower cuts down many of the attackers, but despite that the Red Army men surge forward, shouting and throwing hand grenades...

The scene  in the dark woods dissolves into a messy close-quarters hand-to-hand battle between age-old enemies where mercy is neither given nor sought...

John's Soviet 2nd section lose four men and get four points of shock...

Janne's 6th section lose three men, and the platoon leader (Janne himself) is wounded... in addtition, they have three points of shock... 

Janne's platoon loses one point of Force Morale and is now 7. 

At this point I declare that I'm running out of casualty figures so the players should start shooting less accurately...

Offline 7dot62mm

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 75
Re: Fangs of the Wolf - Game Three Part IV
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2022, 03:34:37 PM »

But despite the losses, the Russian attack is flawlessly executed... end the Finns are thrown back from their positions...

The LMG section #8 loses two men and the section leader is knocked senseless by a head strike from a rifle butt.

Rifle section #7 is reduced to five men and the platoon leader (who is really the Regiment's gas protection officer who took over the platoon before the campaign begun). Their 13 points of shock cause them to rout immediately. The same happens to the MMG team #10 who anyways consist of only two men and their junior leader...

Mikko uses his CoC die to avoid one of the Bad Things Happen rolls and it is a good call. The rout of #7 brings his Force morale down a peg to 6, while that of the MMG team and its leader takes it down to 3... and the wounding of the LMG section leader a further 2 points... his platoon's FM is now 1!

Seeing Mikko's platoon losing two command dice, Jarkko too loses a point of FM, bringing it down to 6.

It is the Finns' phase. Mikko knows there is nothing he can do here. If he does not withdraw, the Russians will just repeat their attack and annihilate the LMG section and with just two command dice left, his chances of achieving anything are very small. He withdraws.

Jarkko needs to get his 3rd section men away so that the Russians behind the trucks cannot target them. He sends them retreating towards the jump-off point.

But his 4th LMG section is far enough towards the south that the men behind the trucks cannot bring them under fire due to the darkness and mist which restricts visibility to 15”...

John's 3rd section is the only enemy unit with LoS to the 4th LMG section, and they are badly shocked...

Jarkko figures that with some luck he should be able to cause the Russians to rout, possibly spreading panic to the Russian 4th section, in a trench behind them.

The LMG section shoots at the Russians, causing only one point of shock.

Then it's the Russians phase. Janne moves one of his many Regimental guns down the road, towards Jarkko's men.

They're unbelievably efficient in their manhandling of the gun, moving it the full 12”.

From their new position they should be able to bring some Finns under fire.

Then John wants to target Jarkko's LMG section, but Jarkko interrupts this, firing at John's men first... but the results are very meager...

… the Russians getting only one more point of shock. They now have ten and there are eleven men in the section.

Janne now brings his 5th section south, still staying behind the trucks but shooting as they move. From their new postions they will be able to target Jarkko's LMG section.

The fire from the moving riflemen causes two points of shock on the LMG team.

But the Soviet phase isn't yet over. Suddenly an armored car bursts onto the scene from the south!

It is a BA-27M armored car. Only two of these obsolete armored cars are known to have been used in the Winter War and both were in this encirclement. Both were eventually captured by the Finns.

The BA-27M is basically a truck with added armor, weighing some 4.4 tons. It is equipped with a DT LMG and the same 37mm Hotchkiss gun as on the Renault FT and its Russian derivative, the T-18. But the weapons are on different sides of the six-sided turret so that when on overwatch the gunner must choose in advance which weapon he intends to shoot with.

The armored car moves sideways in front of the Russian 3rd section, giving them some cover. Janne shoots a 37mm shell at the Finns, but with no results to speak of.

But there is another vehicle trailing the armored car...

This is a T-37A amphibious tankette. On patrol, the amphibious tank platoon were alerted by the tremendous amount of shooting on this table and they hurried here to help.

The T-37A is armed with one DT LMG which is operated by the tank leader. He shoots a burst at the Finns, killing one of them.

The western forest emptied of enemies, John's forces are free to approach the sole remaining jump-off point. Taking it would probably be a setback for Jarkko's platoon. Lieutenant Ilyushin sends a reconnaissance patrol to capture it, but the two men take their good time at it.

Frustrated by his slow men, the company commander dispatches a second patrol on the same mission. These men are far better motivated and they make it to the JoP in no time.

And now the Russians end the Turn....

The two Jarkko's jump-off points which were earlier captured disappear, setting back Jarkko's Force Morale...

Jarkko sees no point in continuing, his troops fade away from sight into the dark forest. The Soviets have retained the Ahola farm, kept their many 76mm guns and have driven away the Capitalist oppressors who attempted to take them! And of course they have also won the scenario!

This was some very determined and high-quality playing by the players. The Finnish plan was very good and relied upon the surprise effect and also the spreading panic. It worked great until the surprise ended with the first Turn. After that the Russians could mobilize very strong forces against the attackers.

Janne's assault on the woods was classic. He moved near enough to take the enemy under fire with two sections, losing one of them, but this is the Red Army, there are so many men that it does not matter... He was then reinforced by a third section who shot once, pinning the enemy. The enemy suffering from shock, John's company commander then ordered a charge, defeating the enemy in close combat, in accordance with the Red Army field manual. Classic stuff!

The Force Morale difference plays to the Russians' favor. John's first platoon loses only one section leader and three men dead and three others are missing until midnight. The platoon leader is Relaxed.

Janne's second platoon loses only one man while one more is missing in action. The platoon leader's opinion changes from Thoughtful to Content. Third platoon (Janne's support section #9 was from this platoon) also loses one man with another missing for the moment.

The 1st company men's opinion falls to -4 due to all the losses...

The second gun section of the Regimental Anti-Tank Gun Battery has suffered the loss of one gunner.

The 56th Regimental Artillery Battery has had three gunners killed, and one gun leader is also dead. Two gunners are MIA. The 7th Divisional Artillery Battery has lost four men dead and another four are MIA. What's more, four teamsters, their transportation group leader (Junior Leader) as well as a gun section leader (Senior Leader) and his deputy (Superior Junior Leader) are prisoners of war, presumed dead as everyone knows that the White Bandits will torture their prisoners to death.

Speaking of the Finns, Jarkko's 1st Company 1st platoon (Luutnantti Suhonen) has lost a man and two more are MIA. Suhonen is Happy. Mikko's 2nd platoon's casualties include three dead and three MIA. The opinion of the gas protection officer leading the platoon falls from Happy to Content. The 1st machinegun platoon (Jarkko's MMG support came from there) has no losses but the 2nd machinegun platoon is now down two men, but one of them will return by midnight.

The 1st company men's opinion holds steady.

The Russians have succeeded in preventing their forces from being split into three encirclements. The situation is bad enough with the forces in two encirclements....

One hundred kilometers to the south from here, in the city of Kajaani, Lieutenant-Colonel Susitaival is awakened for the second time tonight. On the phone is Captain Breitholtz, his adjutant and second-in-command.

”Sir, Lieutenant Avela has failed to take Ahola farm.”
”I see. Any casualties?”
”We're still finding out. Avela says five or ten men. The Russ have around 500 men and many field guns at the farm, as we suspected. And Avela says there are tanks as well.”
”So what's the plan now?”
”We've got some prisoners, one of them is an officer. I'm sending 1st company and 1st and 2nd machinegun platoons and probably something else as well to attack Hallasenaho farm (Table L). Avela says he'll go there himself.”
”Fine. Keep me posted.”

Susitaival sets down the receiver. His Opinion falls from +3 to +2. Perhaps it is not yet time to send all forces into the battle. Bicycle Battalion 6 will be with us soon, and other units are also being formed. But that Avela is a fine fellow, he'll go far I'm sure. He rumbles in his uniform pockets looking for his pipe. It must be on the bedroom table or somewhere.

Meanwhile, in an undisclosed location, Colonel Sharov announces to his headquarters: ”Comrades! Lieutenant Ilyushin of 1st Company has secured us a great victory over the White Finns. More than a hundred vile enemies of the People of Finland have been killed while our own casualties are very modest. And all of this on Stalin's birthday, I am certain that our leaders will be proud of us! Fourth assistant, get on the radio and inform the Division about this! I realize now that victory is at hand and that my earlier decision about conserving resources may have been a bit hurried so I've decided to continue supporting our forces with what we have. The 44th Division should anyhow be here very soon.”

As the sun rises on Table J, Ahola Farm, magpies look at the looted bodies of the dead Kuusamo men with interest.

In the farm house, Ltn Ilyushin and the 1st platoon leader drink a glass or two of Vodka. It is good to be alive!

Join us next time for some more Winter War action!

More on Fangs of the Wolf:
Campaign Introduction:  https://thewargamersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4954
Game One, Part I: https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=137031.0
Game One, Part II: https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=137317.0
Game Two: https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=137428.0
Game Three, Part I: https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=137800.0
Game Three, Parts II & III: https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=138177.0

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 CapnJim

  • Galactic Brain
  • Posts: 4050
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Re: Fangs of the Wolf - Game Three Part IV
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2022, 12:20:39 AM »
Sweet Mother Mary McCreary!  Quite the battle.  Well done, lads!  Unless you're Finnish, that is.... :o
"Remember - Incoming Fire Has the Right-of-Way"

Offline MaleGriffin

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1777
  • Don't bother running.... You'll just die tired....
Re: Fangs of the Wolf - Game Three Part IV
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2022, 01:50:16 AM »
Absolutely fantastic game and write up!
Hoc quoque transibit
Sanguinem sistit semper

Offline Vagabond

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    • Vagabond's Wargaming Blog
Re: Fangs of the Wolf - Game Three Part IV
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2022, 04:30:02 AM »
That was excellent,  thanks for the post.

Offline fred

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  • Posts: 4440
    • Miniature Gaming
Re: Fangs of the Wolf - Game Three Part IV
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2022, 07:44:48 AM »
Great looking game, and a great write up, thanks!

One question, are the yellow dice for shock? And are you using them as counters, rather than using the numbers on the dice? We use similar small dice for shock but use the number values, tends to reduce the number of dice on the table.

Offline 7dot62mm

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 75
Re: Fangs of the Wolf - Game Three Part IV
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2022, 02:17:40 PM »
are the yellow dice for shock? And are you using them as counters, rather than using the numbers on the dice? We use similar small dice for shock but use the number values, tends to reduce the number of dice on the table.

The yellow dice are shock. I'm just using them as counters because my players are online and thus cannot see the pips but they can see an accumulation of yellow dice, much of the time anyways. Also fumbling about in woods, getting all the pips correct and not knocked about by moving figures would be difficult and more time-consuming which I cannot afford as I'm the only person moving the figures (and taking measurements and taking photos and ruling line of sight etc.). I do realize the photos would be better with fewer dice, but this is what we're going with.

At times you also see painted markers on the table, like above. Those are used to show the borderline between two friendly sections (it is all too easy to get sections mixed up and accidentally transfer men from one depleted section to another during the game). For that I have some better, less obtrusive markers that I should start using.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2022, 02:19:34 PM by 7dot62mm »


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