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Author Topic: Fangs of the Wolf - Game Four Parts I & II  (Read 929 times)

Offline 7dot62mm

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 75
Fangs of the Wolf - Game Four Parts I & II
« on: October 30, 2022, 06:18:34 PM »

Gemigabok presents...
Winter of No Surrender
http://www.saunalahti.fi/~ejuhola/7.62/chainofcommand/WoNS_1-2/index.html
Campaign Eleven – Fangs of the Wolf
Game Four – Parts One and Two




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, but Janne did not make it to these games so John played both Red Army platoons. 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
Game Three, Part IV: https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=138510.0







In Game Three the Finns of Group Wolf attempted to assault Table J, Ahola Farm, but were repulsed by the over 400 Soviet troops and artillerymen and ten 76mm guns there! In the end, the human wave attack led by the Red Army company commander devastated the Finnish ranks and the attackers had to retreat.









Date: 21 December 1939, Day Twenty-Two of the Winter War, 0803 hours, dawn. Campaign Turn 6.
 
Location: Table L, Hallasenaho Farm, about 38 kilometers north of the village of Suomussalmi, in central-eastern Finland. About forty kilometers east from the border of the Soviet Union.

Weather Conditions: Cloudy skies, -16 degrees Celsius (+3 degrees Fahrenheit). There is about 22 cm (9 inches) of snow.

The sun rises and the mist dissipates. An average wind is now blowing directly from the south. The air warms to -16 degrees Celsius. High in the air, above the thick clouds, Red Air Force planes make their way towards the west, intent on bombing Finnish railyards and population centers...
Distant artillery fire can be heard from the south.







The Hallasenaho farm is a poor homestead in the middle of woods and marshes. But the fireplace is warm and the little farmhouse is full of Red Army soldiers. Some of them are huddled around a telephone, waiting for messages from the HQ of Combat Group Sharov, hoping for some indication of the eagerly waited approach of the Ukrainian 44th Division.



There is no news of the Ukrainians but another Red Army message arrives via the telephone. Apparently a great military parade is to be held today in honor of Josif Stalin's 60th birthday in the liberated town of Terijoki, on the southern coast of Finland. Terijoki is the seat of the People's Republic of Finland, the only legitimate government of that beleagured nation which is enslaved by Fascist lackeys of England and America. 5775 men and commanders of the 1st Division of the Army of the Finnish People's Republic, formed in Leningrad, are to attend the parade, receiving accolades of the grateful population of Terijoki.





Meanwhile, in a comfortable half-platoon tent a few kilometers away from the farm, a Red Army junior lieutenant of the artillery sits barefoot on a mattress set onto a spread of spruce branches, drying his thin summer boots and socks in the heat emanating from the stove. His face is momentarily lit in red as he pulls from a cigarrette given to him by his captors. Why don't we have tents like this? Or rather, why didn't we bring any tents into this terrible, freezing country?

”Your subordinates have already told us a lot,” captain Breitholtz explains in his uneven Russian, ”but I would appreciate also hearing your side of the story.”

”I know that you're just going to kill me anyways,”
the lieutenant answers, bitterly, ”so why would I co-operate with you?”

”I can assure you that we're not going to kill you, But if you ask me, not many of your comrades are ever going to see their homes again, whereas now you have a chance. So, can you remind me of your battery commander's name?”


The lieutenant stares into the flickering, red fire of the stove. Slowly he reaches out and feels the still wet leather of his boots. It would be nice to die in dry boots.







We're now on Campaign Turn 6 out of 17 in the campaign. After the Finnish debacle in Game Three I now have both sides complaining about how difficult or even impossible it is to reach the victory conditions in this campaign. I must be doing something right!



To win, the Soviets must either stay put while retaining Colonel Sharov's Opinion at -9 or higher, or escape from the encirclement with Sharov's headquarters and at least five more platoons. Sharov's Opinion is currently at -2 but getting out of the encirclement may be difficult.



The Finns will win if Sharov's Opinion sinks to -10, or if Sharov is killed or captured. In the latter situation it is presumed that the Soviets will further lose initiative as they have no command chain left. As there are nine Campaign Turns left and every defeat of the Russians will lower the Opinion by one, and there is a 16% chance of the Opinion being lowered by two. So in practice the Finns would have to defeat the Red Army about once every Campaign Turn... But, things aren't as clear-cut as that. Because the Russians will only win a it is possible to defeat the Russians twice in one Turn if they make an attack




But on this morning of Campaign Turn 6 Captain Breitholtz is sending Lieutenant Avela's 1st company to take Hallasenaho farm (Table L). Situated just north of the strategic Mustajoki Bridge (Table M), the farm would be a major headache for the Russians if in Finnish hands. Because the table immediately to the south of M, Table N Konttipuro (see Games One and Two) is already occupied by the Finns, taking Table L too would completely isolate the strategic bridge – the only way to cross Mustajoki River for most vehicles - and the Red Army troops there would be blocked from being reinforced and/or from retreating.







Lieutenant Avela (Jarkko) chooses his 3rd (Jarkko) and 4th (Mikko) platoons for the job. For supports, he allocates the 1st and 2nd MMG platoons, which already fought at Ahola Farm last night  (see Game Three), and possibly some other support units too.











And we begin the Patrol Phase. As this is a Motti scenario, the Russians (in blue, yes – we're trying to confuse you!) start in the middle on the roads.



This is the third time we play the Motti scenario Patrol Phase. As in the official army lists the Finnish patrol markers in this campaign do not need to be within 12” of each other... and now that the Finn players have more experience with the possibilities, they are able to totally dominate the patrol phase, which really isn't a lot of fun.





In the end the jump-off points wind up very close to each other, too close. But this is why we do these playtests. After the session John spends an evening running different Motti patrol phase variants and comes up with a solution which we'll try next time: The Finns will have only four patrol markers and a requirement to stay within 18” of each other. 





And the game begins...



John deploys his Deployed First units. These are second-line troops who must be placed onto the map before the first Phase.

In the small farmhouse, John places unit #13, his 6th Telephone and Semaphore Section. This is a team of five men, led by a junior leader and tasked with communicating with the HQ and transmitting their orders to the forces near this farm. Their field telephone is connected to the civilian phone lines running along the north-south road. Semaphores, usually flags or colored paddles, are useless in this forested Finnish terrain and are thus stowed in their wagon, outside. While waiting for new messages, the team has the cosiest job in this encirclement – they sit at a table and play cards while enjoying the warmth of the fireplace! But this is all about to change...

In the barn, John sites Workshop 1, his unit #14. This is a support unit dedicated to the repair of technical equipment and instruments. Their three trucks – full of spare parts and wood and steel machining tools and equipment – are parked nearby. They are led by a workshop foreman (senior leader) and a master (junior leader). The workshop technicians and artisans are: Six senior weapons technicians, two weapons technicians, two senior artillery technicians, one senior phone technician, one senior radio technician, one senior gas protection equipment technician, two filers, one blacksmith and one carpenter. As the Finns approach the farm unseen, the workshop weapons technicians are busy trying to fix three Maxim machineguns, broken in a pre-campaign battle. They've been at it for several days now, but with no Colonel breathing down their necks, they haven't made much progress... and it is really, really cold in the drafty barn.



Jarkko deploys his 1st section. They immediately reach the edge of the woods and are threatening one of John's jump-off points.





In the south, no one is surprised then Mikko rolls a double phase. He seems to do that very, very often, despite using the same dice bit as the rest of us... He deploys his first section and sends them sprinting towards the closest jump-off point.



In the south-west corner of the marsh, Jarkko deploys his MMG team. From here he can target the farmhouse.




Offline 7dot62mm

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 75
Re: Fangs of the Wolf - Game Four Parts I & II
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2022, 06:19:39 PM »


Jarkko deploys his 1st section and directs them towards the north-east...















On his second phase Mikko's MMG team passes the nearby Soviet jump-off point, neutralizing it. *



Then it is finally the first Soviet phase. With both of his two jump-off points already out of commission, he can only deploy from the easternmost jump-off point which he shares with Janne's troops.

As the Finns have again surprised the Russians, the Russians must use all their command dice every phase.



At the forest's edge, two machinegun sections wheel their tchankas into view. They grab the heavy Maxim machineguns off the carts and set them up.



John's MMG section number one – in the background in this picture - are heroes, the Boys from Kolkhoz Niva. This MMG crew are all from that prosperous collective farm. Their skill in co-operation – so often seen in farm work in the lush Vologdan fields they call home – is exhibited in their excellent marksmanship with their Maxim-designed tool of Socialist Revolution. As long as at least three Boys survive they have a Firepower of 13 when using their MMG. John has also played the Diehards campaign card, which makes them immune to shock for this battle.



In the northern forest, a section of Janne's MMG gunners seploy and go on overwatch.







Meanwhile, Mikko's second rifle section have reached the edge of the forest closest to the barn.









THE FINNS, in Blue:

3rd Platoon (Jarkko):
1 - 1st rifle section

4th Platoon (Mikko):
5 - 1st rifle section, with platoon sergeant
7 - 3rd rifle Section

10 - MMG section from 2nd MMG platoon (Mikko)



THE SOVIETS, in Red:

1st MMG Platoon (John):
1 - 1st  section
2 - 2nd section

2nd MMG Platoon (Janne):
5 - 1st  section
6 - 2nd section

13 - 62 6th Telephone and Semaphore Section (Team)
14 - Workshop 1









Jarkko's 1st section reaches the edge of the forest. As I'm the only one physically at the table, the rest of the players being online, it is my job to point out lines of sight, but here I neglect to notice that Jarkko's men can in fact see some of John's machinegunners, despite the distance and the intervening trucks.






Jarkko then deploys his company commander, Lieutenant Avela, along with his messenger team. Here I make my second mistake of the evening. Because Avela is a Ranking Leader, he cannot be deployed until two sections of each  of his platoons have been deployed, and at this point only one of Jarkko's section has been deployed.





Ltn Avela is a fine leader and in fact if he survives this campaign, he will end his career as a Major General sometime in the late Sixties. His arrival boosts both the Finnish platoons' Force Morales to 11.



Then it is the Soviets' phase...



The two MMGs open fire at Jarkko's troops on the other side of the marsh... If the Finns have wondered where all the Russian machineguns are, well... they've found them!



John's company commander arrives to direct the battle... this raises John's platoon's Force Morale to 10 and that of Janne to 11.













John moves one of his machineguns south, to the southern end of the eastern woods.





Mikko moves his 2nd rifle section back to the jump-off point, to prevent their approach...



At the farm, Mikko's MMG team #10 reach the Soviet trench and occupy it. They have no line of sight to the Red Army workshop personnel in the barn, but as they are six inches away from them we figure they must be able to hear them. They open fire at the barn and perforate it full of holes... the master second in command of the workshop is killed and the rest get two points of shock...



With the Russians under fire, Mikko sends his infantry section to advance toward the jump-off point...



…unfortunately they're not very excited about this and only advance four inches.



This leaves them in a very uncomfotable position... Janne's Soviets could deploy any moment now and catch the section out in the open...























In the western woods, Jarkko deploys his second rifle section...











And then it is two weeks later and we continue the battle. Janne is again not with us so John plays both Soviet platoons.




THE FINNS, in Blue:

0 Ltn Avela and his messenger team (JL + 4 messengers) (Jarkko)

3rd Platoon (Jarkko):
1 - 1st rifle section
3- 3rd rifle section

4th platoon (Mikko):

5 - 1st rifle section, with platoon sergeant
7 - 3rd rifle Section

9 - MMG section from 1st MMG platoon (Jarkko)
10 - MMG section from 2nd MMG platoon (Mikko)


SOVIETS, in Red:

A - Company Commander

1st MMG Platoon (John):
1 - 1st  section
2 - 2nd section
3 - 3rd section

2nd MMG Platoon (Janne):
H - Platoon leader
5 - 1st  section
6 - 2nd section

13 - 62 6th Telephone and Semaphore Section (Team)
14 - Workshop 1



We begin with a Soviet phase. John continues his firefight with the Finnish forces...



Located on the hill at the eastern end of the table, John's MMG platoon has fairly good visibility towards the Finnish positions despite the row of trucks... he now has three MMG sections deployed.  Section number two should be able to hold its own against Mikko's rifle section, while John's sections one and three should be able to overpower the other Finnish forces with their considerable firepower...





At the southern side of the hill, MMG section #2 can just see a couple of men of Mikko's rifle section...



They fire at the two Finnish infantrymen they can see, but to no effect...









At this point in the game the Soviet platoons are still surprised and will continue to be so for at least another four phases, or until the end of the Turn.



John's platoon has a Force Morale of 10, while Janne's has FM 11. The Finns are also at FM 11. Mikko has a full CoC die.





The gunners on the northern slopes of the hill send long bursts of tracers at Jarkko's first section...













John deploys his infantry section #11. This is a support section. He has trouble fitting the men onto the table so that they do not block the line of sight of the machineguns...







Closer to the farm, Janne's gunners are still behind the trucks, keeping an eye towards the west...



From here they can prevent Jarkko's second rifle section from flanking them.





It is then the Finns' phase. Mikko's MMG peppers the hill with bullets and causes three points of shock on the Red Army MMG section there.



Mikko deploys an LMG section at the woods' edge...







They target John's MMG section #2...



Though a Finnish LMG section has only rather limited firepower (FP 9 in fact), they manage to inflict three shock on the machinegunners...





Mikko then moves his rifle section forward while shooting at half firepower...









Meanwhile, at the farm, Mikko's men reach the fence and block the Janne's jump-off point there.



Jarkko moves Ltn Avela and his messengers towards Mikko's men...



And in the west, he moves his MMG team – now unable to support Mikko's assault on the farm – onto the marsh, where they intend to take cover in one of the many ditches there...





...and in the woods he continues his second rifle section's flanking maneuver... 



Here their route keeps them well away from Janne's two machineguns, who are just waiting for them behind the parked Divisional trucks.





In the farm house, one of the telephone men shouts! The Tsuhna are here! They're coming! Take cover!









Meanwhile, in the east, John needs to deploy still more troops... but as his men are Green and have a 4” deploy zone, there is literally no room to site yet one more section so that they could fire at the Finns without blocking the two MMGs.



The deploying section is the MMG Company's Command Group, led by the Company's deputy commander. The Group consists of a company elder (junior leader) plus three scouts / forward observers (responsible for reconnaissance and directing indirect machinegun fire), and five signals telephone men.



John then moves the Boys from Niva closer to the edge of the woods...









John moves his support section, rifle section #11 deeper into the woods...





Despite the intervening trucks, John's MMGs are able to target Mikko's platoon...


Offline 7dot62mm

  • Bookworm
  • Posts: 75
Re: Fangs of the Wolf - Game Four Parts I & II
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2022, 06:20:11 PM »


...the first burst kills two men of section seven, Mikko's second rifle section.





The second Soviet machinegun burst cuts down two more men, one in section seven and another in section 8, Mikko's second LMG section.





This is close to the heaviest casualties the Finns have sustained in any battle thus far! This makes the Finn players wonder why the hell they're attacking in daylight!



Am it's the Finns' phase. Jarkko moves his MMG team along the frozen ditch which provides him with light cover in case any Russians should appear.



Mikko's MMG and some of his infantry target the Russians on the hill. Their fire is surprisingly devastating, and four of the five radio men of the Command Group fall dead into a pile... the two leaders of the Group count themselves very lucky.








In the farmhouse, the situation is getting most uncomfortable. Though the walls are made of strong wood beams, they provide only light cover against rifle-caliber fire and heavy cover vs. submachineguns.



Mikko's men perforate the building with fire from point-blank range. Keeping low and out of sight, the telephone team inside manage to avoid any casualties but they still get three points of shock...



The Soviet phase. Deciding that the decimated Command Group is too exposed in its current position and that there are two leaders there whose loss he cannot afford to suffer,





Meanwhile, Mikko has deployed his second LMG section, #6 left of his second rifle section and John's machinegunners send numerous tracer bullets in their direction. The section suffers two points of shock...





The rest of the Russian fire is however very inefficient...



Again the Finns' phase. Mikko's first rifle section continue holeing the farmhouse... they inflict another two points of shock on the occupants.



Ordered by the company commander Ltn Avela, the rest of Mikko's platoon shoots at John's three MMGs...



The leader of gun #2 is hit in the chest... he crumbles to the ground...



The team #2 now have five men and four points of shock... John's platoon's Force Morale drops by a point to 9...

More rifle fire at the Soviet MMG #3 causes them to lose their leader and another hit on John's Force Morale... what's more, they are now pinned...



In the marsh, Jarkko's platoon's second in command runs after them as they reach the road.

And now the Turn ends. John loses his two capitulated jump-off points and two points of Force Morale. He is now at 6, whereas Janne's Soviets are still at 11, as are both Finnish platoons. The Soviets are no longer surprised and may act normally, or even withdraw if they wish.





At Turn end we also check for changes in the weather, and now there are some! The wind dies down and the temperature climbs four Centigrade to -12 (+10 F)... and it starts snowing hard, obscuring visibility to 12”....



Jarkko continues his double phase...



Shielded by the snow storm, Jarkko moves his men out of the ditch and onto the road...



Then it is the Russians' phase. To everyone's surprise John announces that his platoon is withdrawing, but that Janne's platoon will still remain in the fight. We're a bit flabbergasted by this as it seemed to me anyways that the MMGs were kind of winning the fight against Mikko's platoon at this stage... well, of course they did have two guns pinned or almost pinned.



So, will the Red Army still be able to extract a victory from this situation, or will they lose their workshop along with all its equipment? One unscathed Soviet MMG platoon vs. two slightly shocked Finnish rifle platoons? Can they pull it off?



THE FINNS, in Blue:

0 Ltn Avela and his messenger team (JL + 4 messengers) (Jarkko)

3rd Platoon (Jarkko):
1 - 1st rifle section
3- 3rd rifle section

4th platoon (Mikko):

5 - 1st rifle section, with platoon sergeant
6 - 2nd LMG section
7 - 3rd rifle section, with platoon leader
8 - 4th LMG section

9 - MMG section from 1st MMG platoon (Jarkko)
10 - MMG section from 2nd MMG platoon (Mikko)


SOVIETS, in Red:

2nd MMG Platoon (Janne):
H - Platoon leader
5 - 1st  section
6 - 2nd section

12 – Rifle section
13 - 62 6th Telephone and Semaphore Section (Team)
14 - Workshop 1



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
Game Three, Part IV: https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=138510.0

The minis:
http://thewargamersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=790
http://thewargamersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=84&p=46130
https://thewargamersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=86&t=4987
https://thewargamersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=88&t=5133
https://thewargamersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=89&t=5199
https://thewargamersforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=90&t=5282


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 MaleGriffin

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1739
  • Don't bother running.... You'll just die tired....
Re: Fangs of the Wolf - Game Four Parts I & II
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2022, 06:52:40 PM »
 :o Absolutely FANTASTIC! Magnificent AAR! Great troops and terrain! Thank you for sharing!
Hoc quoque transibit
Sanguinem sistit semper

Offline Freddy

  • Mastermind
  • Posts: 1077
    • My blog
Re: Fangs of the Wolf - Game Four Parts I & II
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2022, 09:30:34 AM »
Fantastic table!

Offline Tom Dulski

  • Mad Scientist
  • Posts: 713
  • BOOKWORM
Re: Fangs of the Wolf - Game Four Parts I & II
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2022, 11:43:31 AM »
Man that is some set up.

 

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