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Finnish Continuation War – Infantry Platoon for Chain of Command

If you follow this blog you are aware that most of my projects end up getting some kind of Nordic twist in the end. The Little One and I have enjoyed the What a Tanker rules (link here). We have been playing this during the 1944 Summer offensive of the Finnish Continuation war. In two earlier blogs I wrote about a Finnish Career ladder based on tanks actually available as well as tanks that could have been (more in the links here and here).  In doing this I felt that I wanted more continuation war so I have painted up a Platoon of 15mm Finns from Battlefront (the same guys who makes Flames of War) and some supports, that I intend to use for playing Chain of Command by Too Fat Lardies (link here, but I suppose that the platoon can be used with any WW2 Platoon based rules).

Incidentally Osprey’s book vote this month offers the following potential title (with only a few days left).

Soviet Rifleman vs Finnish Infantryman: Continuation War 1941–44

From June 1941, Finnish troops fought alongside German and other forces against the Soviets. After recovering territory lost in 1940, the Finns participated in the siege of Leningrad before facing a renewed Soviet onslaught in mid-1944.

In my option there is far too little produced on the Continuation War in English – if you find this period interesting please click and vote here.  Back to the platoon.

From the excellent Jaeger platoon webpage (link here) we find the following information on the Infantry Company from 1943 to 1944 (there is also information there if you would like to run a Machine Gun platoon or an Anti-tank platoon, both these could offer some interesting battles):

  • Command Squad
  • Gas Protection Section
  • Antitank Squad
  • 3 Rifle Platoons (4th Platoon usually only on paper), in each rifle platoon

Command Squad

– Lieutenant/2nd Lieutenant (pistol and/or submachinegun)

– Platoon Sergeant (submachinegun)

– 2 men (messengers) (rifles)

4 Rifle Squads, 9 men in each squad

– Corporal (submachinegun)

– 8 men (light machinegun + submachinegun + 6 rifles)

Relatively straightforward, here is a Rifle Squad.

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The Finnish squad, the Alikersantti (Corporal)  in the Front with a Suomi Submachine gun, leading his squad of six rifle men,  submachine gunner and a light machine gunner (the domestic Lahti, that was relatively unpopular but since I do not have any with captured Russian LMG this will have to do).  The LMG comes in the Jalkaväki Platoon (FI702), this is standard infantry, see more below of what the pack contains (however I have had some variation in the content for the packs I have bought). To get sufficient amount of SMGs you need to buy the Jääkari Platoon (FI703).  This will give you what you need.

and all of the squads

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I made all the squads the same combination of miniatures.

…and finally the company command (note that the runners are not included as per normal Chain of Command praxis).

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Vänrikki Ruotsalainen and Kersantti Pössi

In a discussion on the Too Fat Lardies forum the potential of more Submachine Guns in the squads were discussed (link here), so I did a few more submachine gunners (some of them have very big hands!).

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Some extra Submachine Gunners

In addition the Finns were equipped with both Panzerfaust and Panzershreks in the Summer of 1944.

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Some punch against those Russian Monsters! (They were being used from June 1944).  The Panzershrek was called Panssarikauhu by the Finns and the directive was to repaint them in Finnish Camouflage Colours before being used – I need to rectify that or pretend it was pressed into service without a repaint.  The Panzerfausts were called Panssarinyrkki. Before this (and after) the Finnish infantry man would have used Anti-Tank Mines, Anti-Tank Rifles, logs and Molotov cocktails in trying to stop the metal machines.

I also some did some other supports,

  • Sniper Team
  • Some Medium Machine Guns
  • A medic (a artillery chap with a green stuffed bag on the front)
  • An anti-tank gun

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I will try to get some more types of anti-tank guns and also some Anti-tank rifles, but in  combination with the tanks I already have (see the link above) the force is ready to go and try to stop the Russian Onslaught.

Here are the contents of the various platoon packs from Flames of War (to build the platoon above you need to get FI703 and FI702) :

  • FI703 Jääkari Platoon –  1 Officer with a Pistol, 1 Officer with SMG, 5 No. NCO men (I think, 3 Rifle and 2 SMG), 1 No. SMG man with AT Grenade, 8 SMG Men, 24 Riflemen
  • FI702 Jalkaväki Platoon – 3 officers (one with pistol, the other with binoculars), 5 NCOs (I think, 3 Rifle and 2 SMG), 1 SMG man with AT grenade, 4 LMG, 29 Riflemen.
  • FI706 Pioneer Platoon: 1 officer, 5 NCOs (I think, 3 Rifle and 2 SMG), 13 Pioneers with AT grenades, 18 Riflemen, 2 Flame-throwers.

In addition I got the following packages for supports:

You can buy this directly from the Flames of War website, your favourite retailer (like element games) or occasionally get some good deals on ebay.  The total cost for the above, excluding the Pioneer Platoon, is about £55, excluding postage.  This gives a lot of spare miniatures but I have a cunning plan for those at a later date – it is from one of the scenes from the recent Finnish 2017 blockbuster “The Unknown Soldier”.

Here is a trailer that contains the scene in question., 54 seconds in.

 

I actually bought the Pioneer Platoon pack, but as for variety and uniqueness it only offers the flame-thrower model.  For £12 to £14 for a pack it is perhaps not really worth it, anyway here is a flamethrower team.

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I also have some gents carrying Anti-tank mines, they can also serve as an engineering team, or part of a anti-tank hunter section (with the Panzer knockers! above).

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The platoon can now report for service, where is the enemy?.

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A lonely man is observing the advancing Finns
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He stays hidden and signals frenetically towards the Roller of Ones

Ok, ok, I only have painted one of the opposing side yet.  I thought I start out with some Russian Scouts and make a Recon Platoon (as presented in the Lardies Xmas special 2016). But in writing this I have only done a test miniature.  This one is from Peter Pigs excellent range of Russian Scouts (link here). But that is for next time…

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Привет (Hello), Roller of Ones,  Now get you act together and do my platoon!

/ Hope that was of some interest…

Note to self, paint used for the project.

Paints

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More options for the Finnish Tanker

In a previous blog post I presented a career ladder for a Finnish What a Tanker player for the late continuation war period (see link here) based on known tanks used by the Finns (I also updated this blogpost on the 2 July 2018 with some more pictures of tanks I have made). We are still missing the T-50.  As indicated the Finns did capture a lot of Russian tanks that were pressed into service.  This is an optional list and shows other tanks (and TDs) that were used on the front that theoretically could have ended up being used by the Finns (but were not).

If the Russians had ’em the Finns could nick ’em (all 15mm)

Level 2

Valentine III – Plastic Soldier Company

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Level 3

Matilda II – Zvezda 1/100

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M3 Lee – Zvezda 1/100

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SU-76 – do not have any yet but are waiting for plastic soldier company to release their set (this is from a press release earlier in the year).  Or perhaps Zvezda who also has a model in the pipeline.su-76

 

Level 4

KV-2 – Zvezda 1/100

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Churchill – Plastic Soldier Company

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SU-85 – Battlefront Miniatures

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/ Hope that was of some interest!

 

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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!