Thursday 24 October 2019

Winter War Bolt Action

Chum Chris has been slowly building the forces to fight the Winter War of 1939 between the Russians and Finns. With enough for a small game he asked me and Mark to bring the snow mats to the Garforth club for a game using Bolt Action.

The game being restricted by the figures and vehicles available, the Russians would suffer with a lack of infantry but a surfeit of armour. The Finns had the reverse issue with limited anti tank capability.
The Russians were advancing across a frozen lake with tree cover around the edges the Finns were dug in on the treeline at the edge of the lake.

I commanded the Finns, they had 2 rifle units with a command base, a medium machine gun and a bofors anti tank gun along with a Vickers 6 tonner light tanks in support.

Mark with the Russians had 2 rifle units also supported by a medium machine gun, command unit and light mortar. Their vehicle support consisted of 5 light tanks (3 T26 and 2 T37) a tankette and an SU12 truck mounted howitzer. One of the T26's had twin MG turrets rather than a gun which did not bode well for my Finns.
Most of the vehicles have been painted by Rich Croisdale and a fantastic job he has made of them. I particularly like the Finnish Vickers 6 Tonner in winter cammo.
The Finns deployed first from left to right with an infantry unit, the command, the anti tank gun in an emplacement, the next unit of foot, the MG, the tank and a sniper on the extreme right.

I had no idea where the Russians would come from but in retrospect i could have guessed Mark would not storm up the middle but would use the cover on the flanks.

Mark deployed one unit of foot with the MG and 4 tanks on his extreme right where he had most cover. The other tank along with the tankette the SU-12 the other infantry, mortar and command deployed on the extreme left of the table.

This left me a dilemma, I didn't have enough anti-tank capability to hold both flanks, half my infantry were in the middle where I couldn't use them and the right was held pretty much by a tank a sniper and an MG.

The firing started with my anti-tank gun hitting one of the light tanks causing superficial damage and setting it on fire, which effectively just pinned it for a move. I had better luck firing my extreme left infantry which killed all the crew of the Russian MG.

On my right the tanks and sniper fired and did no damage, the rest of my force remained on ambush orders. In retrospect I should have shifted my centre infantry company right to support that very thinly held flank.

The Russian armour returned fire as the infantry tramped forward and did no damage to start off.

The  Finns in the centre waited for a Russian charge over the ice which never came. Mark had realised early with little infantry and facing little anti-tank capability his best bet was to stand off in cover and take chunks out of the Finns with his armour.

Gradually my Finns began to be worn down by the tanks fire with little opportunity to respond.
The SU-12 moved up and despite taking fire from both the Vickers and the Sniper went into action.

Shot number two and 5 hits are scored on the sniper. Oh dear, the right flank just got a little thinner.

This galvanised me to re-enforce the right and the centre unit of Finns begins to make its way over to support the Vickers.
Seeing their chance the Russians on my right break cover and begin to advance. At last a target I can do something about.
On my left the machine gun tank in particular is taking lumps out of my Finns who are not dug in and the infantry force is becoming very much reduced.
On the right withering fire from the MG cuts down the Russians who are forced to drop to cover in the open. Mark however starts to range his mortar into the MG.
The anti tank gun is blazing away but the return fire is reducing its crew every turn.
Finally a good hit on a tank and it brews up, the newly painted crew legging it off over the ice.

The Russians on the right are decimated and going no further but the mortar finally hits the MG and puts it out of action. A consolation prize and the Vickers takes out one of the T-26's but with the MG gone and the anti tank gun down below half crew its time fr the Finns to pull back.
I concede to the Russians, Mark had played his hand well.

A lopsided game but we had used all the figures available so far for this beautiful collection. It looks great and with a few more figures will provide a really excellent game.


  1. Yep the balance just isn't right with so few infantry available. Great to get it on the tabletop. My in hindsight: to represent your prepared ambush position I could have let you set up second! I quite like Bolt Action

    1. That would have worked well, great to get them on table it looks awesome.

  2. The 1931 variant of the T26 with two mg turrets was worth its points faced by infantry

  3. What a grogeous ad atmospheric table, splendid game...except for the poor Russians may be!

    1. Cheers Phil, the Russians were on the other side so no sympathy from me!