1939. With the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, eastern Europe was secretly divided up into Soviet and German spheres of interest. Finland was to fall under the Soviet sphere. Yet, unable to obtain concessions from Finland through negotiations, the Soviet Union invaded. The Winter War
Outnumbered, with essentially no tank forces, a tiny air force, and a lack of materiel, the Finns attempted to stop the Soviets.
This will be me controlling the Finns, versus a Soviet attack, in 1939, very early in the Winter War. It's cold and still, overcast, and there has been a light snow recently. The battle will be 50 turns. The terrain is mostly flat, some very gentle slopes, covered with a lot of scattered trees.
Overhead view of the battlefield.
High angle view.
3x Jaakari ("fighter" I believe, basically, infantry) platoons.
4x Maxim machine guns.
3x Boys 13.9mm anti-tank rifles.
5x Lahti L-39 20mm anti-tank rifles.
2x machine gun bunkers.
1x BA-20 armoured (ha!) car.
They are laid out thusly:
1) Lahti ATR team and BA-20 AC. Guarding my left flank, Lahti on the upper floor.
2) Glad's platoon.
3) Airaane's platoon, approx 70% strength, with Maxim and Lahti teams.
4) Narvola's bunker. Surrounded by barbed wire, will not be easy for infantry to assault.
5) Maxim and Lahti teams. Covering the road from the upper floor.
6) Viljakainen's bunker and Lahti team in trench behind it. Covering Eriksson's platoon.
7) Maxim and Boys teams. Covering the road.
8) Eriksson's platoon and Lahti team. Sitting in trenches, behind barbed wire.
Not shown are two Boys ATR teams, one on the far right and far left, guarding against flanking vehicles.
Hold the village. Soviet penetration into Finland must be stopped dead.
My ATRs should be mobile and respond to armoured threats. The two Boys ATRs out on the wings especially should be prepared to come in quickly and engage passing armour. Eriksson's platoon should be able to hold, given its prepared position, but the other two will have to be fluid and keep moving if needed. The BA-20, ideally, will not get killed by a tank, and will provide quick-response MG fire. My Maxim MGs have plenty of ammo, and they can lay down all the fire they want. I want to keep the bunkers alive as long as possible, so they will be covered by MGs and ATRs.
On the left, Lyytikainen's Lahti team watches over the BA-20 AC, their view impeded by trees, but with clear lanes of fire extending up to 700m in places.
The 20mm Lahti L-39 anti-tank rifle is heavy and unwieldy, but the three-man team are adept and have grown used to it. They no longer curse it as much as they once did, anyway. With 112 rounds of ammo, divided roughly 50%/40%/10% between AP/HE/T, they know they can give a good account of themselves.
On the opposite side of the Finnish position, Eriksson's platoon are as happy as men in open positions can be.
It is their turn to occupy the trenches instead of the warm houses of the village, but they make the best of it, huddled down close to each other for warmth, in good cold weather gear, feet clear of the slush in the bottom of the trenches. The Lahti team are on overwatch, looking and listening for the enemy. Situated so close to the roadblock, they know this position is likely to be where first contact with the enemy will happen.
Dedicated to covering the road are a Maxim team in the house on the left, and a Boys team in the house on the right.
Each team has sorted out a good firing position, stacking ammo neatly close by, lining their weapon up on the road, noting ranges and likely routes of approach. They know that when the enemy vehicles spot the roadblock, they will have a few seconds to take advantage of that surprise.
To their left lies Narvola's bunker. Dug several feet into the earth, which is as hard and as cold as iron, it is stoutly constructed of local lumber, and fenced off on three sides by barbed wire. Its machine gun has thousands of rounds of ammo on hand, close by and safe from the elements.
Not sited to cover the road itself, but the approach to the village through the forest if, say, a column of vehicles spotted a roadblock and then sought the shortest route through the woods. It is watched over by a Maxim team and a Lahti team, sharing the upper floor of the village hall.
And to their left lies Airaane's platoon, accompanied by a Maxim team and a Lahti team.
With 8 men missing from 31, the platoon is under-strength, but they are the only veterans there, scoured and chafed rough by their recent acquaintance with war. The solid core of the Finnish force and position. They have more Molotovs and grenade bundles than the other two platoons combined.
Behind Airaane's platoon, covering the other side of the road, lies Vil's bunker, covered by a Lahti team. The bunker, identical in construction to Narvola's, lacks only the finishing touch of barbed wire.
The bunker is sited to cover Eriksson's platoon and the right side of the road. The Lahti team, secure in their trench and managing to stay at least somewhat comfortable, ensures no tanks will be able to KO the bunker without trouble.
Last but not least, between the BA-20 AC and Ariane's platoon, lies Glad's platoon.
No casualties, but no experience of war, yet, they sit in houses which are dry, if not as warm as they would like because the NCOs will not allow fires, and wait. One man begins to whistle and is promptly cuffed around the head and asked if he would like his face to be used as a sleigh.
The Lahti team in the village hall decides that perhaps a more forward position, somewhere covered by Narvola's bunker, might be better, for early warning purposes, if not for shooting. Just as they leave the building's warmth for the still, frigid air of winter, an enemy is spotted. An armoured car?
The Boys ATR team opens fire, and misses. The shooter swears at the gun and reloads. He misses again. The Maxim team across the road, watching this happen with something between horror and hilarity, decides to help. Two bursts of fire send rounds spanging
off armour. The Boys misses again. A Lahti joins in.
A hit, a scream, and the armoured car rolls to a halt. "That's what you want, lads." The Lahti shooter slaps the massive rifle affectionately. "Good Finnish engineering, none of that British shit."
The surviving crewman piles out of the armoured car and runs for it. The Maxim team let him have a few rounds for a laugh, and watch him disappear into the trees. "Come back, Ivan, you've left your engine running!"
Merikallio's Lahti team, spurred on by the beginning of the battle, hurry on and reach their destination, a house just forward of Narvola's bunker, with a good view of the road.
They set up quickly, the abandoned armoured car a cheering reminder of what they can do.
With every unit now alerted, waiting becomes painful. Men check their weapons for the tenth time. Airaane nudges the closest private. "Have they all ran away?"
Merikallio's decision is quickly justified by the appearance of another armoured car. The death of its predecessor doesn't put it off.
Nor do three 20mm penetrations, to Merikallio's annoyance. A third armoured car comes into view.
As the second armoured car is hidden by trees, Merikallio spots the third and swaps targets. Multiple penetrations stop the armoured car.
It reverses out of sight. Merikallio grins smugly. And although hidden from him, the third AC is still in view of the Boys ATR...