Arctic Front #1
|(Defender) Finland||vs||Soviet Union (Attacker)|
|Finland||Neuland Cavalry Regiment|
|Soviet Union||45th Guards Rifle Division|
|Overall Rating, 4 votes|
|Scenario Rank: --- of 565|
|Parent Game||Arctic Front|
|Maps||2: 2, 3|
|Layout Dimensions||56 x 43 cm
22 x 17 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Eastern Front||maps + counters|
As Soviet troops marched across the border, they expected to meet little resistance. Border guards and troopers of Finland's elite Cavalry Brigade set up roadblocks and a few isolated ambushes, but did not stand and fight. This changed when the Soviets approached the first sizable town, the seaside resort of Terijoki. Finnish cavalrymen ignored Marshal Gustav Mannerheim's orders to continue their retreat. They dug in at Terijoki and awaited the Red Army.
The Finnish cavalrymen fought with berserk fury, contesting every building in the town. Superior Soviet numbers forced them back, but the Finnish horsemen fought practically to the last man. The sacrifice of these badly-needed professional soldiers held up the 70th Rifle Division about one day, and left Terijoki a smoking pile of burned ruins.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|1 Errata Item|
The reduced direct fire value in Kursk: Burning Tigers is 4-4.
(plloyd1010 on 2015 Jul 31)
|Cavalry Screen AAR|
This AAR will be the Twitter posts I made as I played each turn. You can see these along with pictures on my CSW blog with the set up here:
and the turns starting here:
1600 hrs 13 Nov 1939. The Soviets move out to attack Terijoki. Finns fire mortars at the advancing infantry, no effect.
1615 hrs Russians close on the town and are hit with small arms fire. Artillery and mortars fall on both sides.
1630 hrs Vicious fighting on the NE outskirts of Terijoki. Soviet artillery has effect. Soviets push around the north.
1645 hrs The Russian pressure is being felt. Finns fall back other town as the sea of commies wash around them.
1700 A Finn counterattack stalls the Soviet assault in the north while Soviets make some progress in the east of town.
1715 the Soviets make slow progress and as Finnish casualties mount, the Finn commander ponders a withdrawal to the SW.
1730 The Soviets continue slow progress as the Finn cavalry tenaciously fights. The Finns reach their loss limit.
1745 Soviets push the Finns hard, killing a HMG platoon. But Soviet C2 problems cause follow on units to halt.
1800 hrs: Fierce gunfire erupts across the center of Terijoki as the Soviets press. But the tenacious Finns hold.
1815 The Russian press hard with 3 assaults with mixed results. The Finns hold fast as more Russian infantry enters.
1845 The Soviets push hard but the Finns are steadfast causing casualties and breaking Russian Units. It looks grim.
1900 Darkness falls and the Soviet Commander calls off the attack. The Finns hold half of the town. The Soviet Commander heads to HQ...
As sporadic fire continues in the town, the Finn cavalry prepare to slip away into the night. Grimly the Kommissar escorts the Russian Commander to Div HQ to face his "relief." The scenario is a draw. The Finns kept the Russians from taking the town but suffer too many losses to their valuable force. One more stymied Russian attack in the cold Winter War.
This one goes to a draw because the Finns lost too many cavalry steps. But they held the Russians fast with their superior morale as they could recover quickly and stay good order during the assaults. Russian fire power was deadly but the artillery could not get results when needed. Russians were also hampered by lack of sufficient leadership to be able to force the entire town while rallying troops.
The key to this scenario is that the Soviet force does not have the "oomph" to throw the Finns out of the town. Despite their numbers, even cavalry defending in a town will hold or at least contest control of the town when faced with a lower morale attacker. Add in relatively small numbers of uninspiring leaders for the Soviets and you have a recipe for the Soviets being unable to reach their victory conditions.
This leaves that imposition of losses on the Finns as the primary rationale for the Soviet action. By causing 6 step losses the Soviets will keep the Finns from winning (and will reach their historical result).
The Soviets will get into the town as the Finns do not have sufficient force to deny entry. It is possible to get carried away as the Finnish commander and try to use your cavalry in assaults outside of the town (to get the charge bonus). Agression of this sort is the only way the Soviets can win the scenario. It is fun to get that +1 bonus but the ultimate result is cavalry in open ground while artillery lands all around. Just don't do it.
The idea of a relatively passive Finnish force may not sit well but the goal is to keep your losses low. Feel free to give ground in the latter part of the scenario in order to avoid getting pinned down and taking those losses. Use your mobility to continually change the part of town that you hold and to avoid strong Soviet concentrations.
In the end, use the name of the scenario to guide you. This is not a cavalry "battle" it is a cavalry "screen". Act accordingly and a victory could be in reach. This was a tense battle all the way to the end. I give it a "4".
Kinda new something was up when I only drew the best leaders for the Finns, while the Russians had the flip side. Seems like this kind of luck lasted throughout the whole scenario.
I took what I expected to be the normal setup for the Finns - holding the town only with a reserve of about 1/3 to allow for an active reserve. I also knew that the Germans probably couldn't get any reductions due to morale because of the excellent leadership and high morale, so assault would be the attack du jour.
16:00 hour: I did the typical of any Russian attack - get close (the nearby city), then do a "Wave" attack along the whole front. Unfortunately, the Finns had other ideas. The whole northern flank of the attack was left withering in fear or totally disarrayed. The armor support and about 1/2 of the attack made it in the south. Bombardment proved totally ineffective. No Finnish casualties.
17:00 hour: Attack! I managed to get two smaller stacks into close combat on turn 4. I had everything in the hex for the Germans, but the rolls kept coming up roses for the Finns. During the next hour of assault, the Russians had lost about 8 INF steps, 2 leaders, and 2 steps of armor, The Finns lost only 1 step of Cav. The northern flank continued to be a mess while the recovered Russians moving toward the front had to fight the tide of Russians fleeing the front.
18:00 hour: Things were looking grim for the Russians, losing another 3 steps of INF (even to direct fire) and another leader at the top of the hour. Seems like there was no end to 6's for the Finns when assaulting, while Russians seemed to perennially come up 1 shy of a M. By 16:30, the Russian's commander finally called it quits with 8.5 INF and 2 leaders in the grave bucket, and over half of their force under the cover of a disrupted / demoralized counter. The Finnish death toll ended up with 1 full CAV counter.
End Result: Decisive Finnish victory, with morale of the Finnish Army now set to 10 for all regulars. Mannerheim, who originally thought that a fighting withdrawal was bad, bestowed the order of the Lion of Finland to the cavalry commander.
Overall, I believe this would have been a more exciting game if the dice weren't so skewed for the Finnish troops. But just by going on the 1 playing I had, I would call this one mediocre.