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Who needs a Tiger when you have Sisu? – Finnish Late Continuation War Career Ladder for What a Tanker

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I should have pressed on with my GNW Horka Project but seem to have drifted off doing Finnish Continuation War tanks – I started doing some of these a very long time ago and base painted six tanks in 2016 but had done nothing since (see this old blog post).  But as always in this hobby we do come around to things one day, one day…

The reason for this sudden diversion is of course the excellent What a Tanker game from Too Fat Lardies (link here) – it is a fun game and plays quickly.  The Little One and I have set of German and a few Russian Tanks to play with and the two small games we had to date were a blast.  However, like with most things I do, a Nordic angle seems to motivate me more.  The Finnish tanker career is a limited one but there are some interesting Vehicles on offer – some are absolutely hopeless and others as good as they get – but tell me who needs a Tiger when you have Sisu?

I have the spent the last few days painting a large number of tanks relatively quickly (about 30 including some Russians).  I do not have the ability or time to do much more but I think overall the impressionistic approach with washes and mud effects gives a reasonable look. All of the models used are 15mm and from Zvezda apart from the T-28, StuGs, BT-42 and the Landsverk that are from Battlefront.  I have a few tanks I need to add to this post at a later date for completeness – the T28s and the T34/85.

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What follows is a  Finnish Career list for the later part of the Continuation War and covers the major Karelian Offensive in 1944 (from June to September).  The career ladder can be used against a Soviet Opponent using the Soviet 1944 list from the What a Tanker rule book.  Of course there are mistakes in it because nothing is perfect – if you find any I welcome them.  I am an enthusiast with regards to this theatre not an expert.

I may extend this to include a few scenarios based on some of the actual encounters I have come across whilst reading about the offensive. However, this should be a good start,

Finnish Continuation War – A 1944 Finnish Career Ladder for What a Tanker (Karelian Offensive / Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive, link to Wikipedia here)

At the start of the  Soviet offensive in June of 1944 the Finnish Army only had one Armour Division (Panssaridivisioona) that that was mainly equipped with the more or less obsolete T-26 tanks.  The only tanks able to take on the Soviet onslaught were a handful of captured T-34/76 and KV-1s in addition to 30 No. StuGs (StuG 40 G) that had been bought from Germany in 1943.  During the conflict further StuGs were delivered, and some more tanks captured including the T-34/85 and the ISU-152.  In addition, and just before the armistice, some Pz IV J were delivered.  It was a desperate time for the Finns and the young nation’s independence was yet again severely threatened by the eastern bear.

Notes on the list: If I found any mention that at least one tank of a type was used in combat, or ready to be put in service during this period I have made the tank available in the list. Stats for each vehicle can be found in the WaT rulebook apart from the BT-42 and the Landsverk that are provided below.  Most tanks are of Russian origin apart from the ones marked with an asterixis (*) that are German.

The list does not include Armoured Cars or Small tanks like the T-37 and T-38.  Also the Finns did capture both T-60 and T-70 tanks during the 1944 campaign but they were never put into service. If you want to run a more what-if campaign you could just assume any Sovietic tank were successfully captured and used.  Alternatively in a campaign setting you could have any Sovietic tank not destroyed but lost, i.e. where the crew has bailed out, being available as an option for the Finnish player in the next game on a roll of 5 or more (or whatever seem reasonable).  This would to some degree simulate what actually happened during this particular conflict due to the limited armoured resources of the Finns.  Anyway, here we go…

Level 1 – T-26 (any version, declared obsolete in July 1944), BT-42 (separate stats below, only used in the beginning of the offensive and as for the T-26 declared obsolete in July 1944.  It was not a very good piece of kit but the only “Finnish” vehicle of the period), T-28 (either type – go for the best one, also declared obsolete in July 1944), Landsverk L-62 (not really a tank or a assault gun, but perhaps a successful commander could start his career in one after using the AA gun against a tank successfully, or perhaps more adequate to use the word, miraculously. Again, added for Novelty and I did paint one!).

Level 2 – T-28E (see note with regards to obsolescence above)

Level 3 – T-34/76 M41-42, T-50, Pz IV J* (did not arrive until the end of August 1944 so not really in play during the main fighting of the offensive).

Level 4 – KV-1, KV-1a, StuG 40 G*

Level 5 –T34/85 M43 (7 captured vehicles were captured during the offensive and put into service during the offensive)

Level 6 – ISU-152 (only one of two captured vehicles during the offensive were used in combat).

Name / Armour / Strike / Features / From / Points

BT-42 Assault Gun  / 2 / 4 / None / None / 1943 / 6 points

Landsverk L-62 AA Gun / 2 / 3 / None / 1943 / 5 points

 

Level 1

T-26

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BT-42

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T-28 – Battlefront Miniatures (updated 02/07/18)

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Landsverk AA Gun L-62 – Battlefront Miniatures

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Level 2

T-28E Battlefront Miniatures (it is the same tank as the T-28 but with another turret) (updated 02/07/18)

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Level 3

T34 M41-42 Zvezda 1/100

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T-50

There are currently no 15mm models for the T-50 and only one was used by the Finns during the period.

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Pz IV J Zvezda 1/100

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Level 4

KV-1 Zvezda 1/100

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KV-1a Battlefront Miniatures (updated 02/07/18)

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StuG 40 G Battlefront Miniatures (Also called Sturmi)

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Level 5

T34/85 Zvezda 1/100 (updated 02/07/18)

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Level 6

ISU-152 Zvezda 1/100

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/ Hope that was of some interest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Got myself a Hex Mat

To play Bag the Hun (as well as a number of other air wargames) a hexagon mat is required, I do not have one so I decided to buy one. Yes, I hear you saying “…there are ways around it, and why don’t you make one yourself!”. However occasionally, and contrary to popular belief, I do go with that famous flow and just get something off the shelf. I looked around but could not really find anything suitable. I could not really see the cliffs of Dover representing the Karelian Isthmus, neither would Kentish countryside do nor the desert or anything else that I found for that matter. I suppose that some of the Eastern Front battles would have been fought over some forested areas that could pass for what I needed, but none of these seem to be readily available.

What I really was after was an image showing two things – forested areas and lakes. I went on Google Earth Professional (that you can download for free) and realised, probably as the last person on the (Google) Earth, that you can get rid of all the overlays and plainly look at the picture and capture images at relatively high resolution.

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Maximum resolution is 4800 by 3288 which proved more than adequate for my purposes.  I found a piece of southern Finland I liked and saved the picture. I then resized it to a 3 by 5 ratio (as I wanted to get a mat I could throw on the dinner table) and sent it to Tiny Wargames (link here) and asked (i) if the image was good enough to print on one of their 3 by 5 mats, (ii) if he could add a 30mm hexagon pattern on top and (iii)how much it would take me back – the answer was (i) no problem, (ii) of course and (iii) £50 (that inclusive of delivery within the UK). Further he said it would take them 4 days to do it.  Incidentally the cost is the same as it would cost to buy a mat with the same dimension of any of their existing mat designs – I suppose if you can provide a picture with sufficient resolution they will print a mat for you.

I also note that they can do more bespoke mats as well, like taking an old air photo from say D-day and make it into a stylised and coloured mat. However I do not know the cost of doing this as I suppose it would take some time to do – but if you are interested drop them a line.

A small note you need to specify how you want your hexagons printed on the mat – I sent a screen shoot from a Bag the Hun scenario map and told him my hexes should be aligned in the same way as those on the map. Very often the hexagon size is about 1½ inch, but since I went with a small mat (3 by 5) I also condense the hex from 38.1mm (1½ inch) to 30mm. The reason for the smaller mat is that I can quickly put the mat on the dining table and fly, with minimal fuss.

This is the map I sent them.

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And this is what turned up.

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Really happy in the way it came out (note the colour difference is due to the lighting when I took the picture of the mat on the table), I ordered it on a Monday afternoon and it arrived safe and sound on the following Monday.  More than pleased and this is how it looks with some Russian and Finnish aircraft flying on it.

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On reflection I should perhaps had taken a lower altitude picture, but I do like it and gives the feel of forests and lakes I was after.

Note on flight stands

With regards to flight stands the best way to manage it is if you do not attach each plane on a stand permanently but instead magnetise the plane and the base.  There are several reasons for doing this, I think these are the key ones:

  • Base set of stands – you are very unlikely to use all you planes at the same time on the table, so consider what the maximum size your aerial engagements are likely to be. This will determine the number of flight stands you make. For example if you are playing the Check your Six rules more than a handful (that is about five) per player is about right, for Bag the Hun (in my case) where you fly sections a few more would be required – I went for a total of 40 stands (overkill, but what the hell).
  • Changing your mind – If you change the size or type of the base you are using for whatever reason this is easily accommodated as you just need to make some new bases – if you want to revert back you just use the old ones.
  • Storing your flyers – Storing small 1/600 on individual flight stands will take unnecessary space and when my current project is complete I will probably have in excess of 200 aircraft. Without the bases they take hardly any space. If I want to fly some planes for another project, I just use these flight stands again.

I made my flight stands using some transparent acrylic bases (30mm, 2mm thick) that I drilled a hole in and some and acrylic rod (2mm), I also used Neodymium magnets (2mm by 0.5mm).  Remember the polarity when you glue the magnets to allow you to use the same flightstands for all your planes.

Big shoutout and thanks to Tiny Wargames (link here again)

/Hope that was of some interest!