Yesterday at our usual club gaming night, I ran a Combat Patrol(TM): World War II game with a Winter War (1939) scenario. A Russian convoy, consisting of a T-35, two BT-7s, and two squads of infantry was assigned the mission to push up a snow-covered road. The Finns, including a captured Russian AT gun, were waiting in ambush. This was a play test of the scenario I plan to run at the Cold Wars convention in March. The game played well, but there are a few things I will tweak before Cold Wars as a result of this play test — which is of course why you should always play test your scenario before a convention.
I haven’t had my 20mm Winter War figures on the table in quite some time. The Finns were OLD Foundry 20mm WWII figures. The Russians were a mix of manufacturers, but I think most were Platoon 20.
I let the Finns deploy anywhere on the table they liked, and their initial deployment was quite good. They hid the AT gun down a narrow valley and hoped that the Russians, focusing on moving forward would bypass them, giving the AT gun rear shots on the Russian tanks. To keep the Russians’ attention focused away from the gun, the Finns deployed Don’s Finns with rifles in a wood line. Don opened fire on the first turn, and although his marksmanship was pretty poor most of the night, he did keep the Russians’ attention.
A that point, one of the Russian BT-7’s rushed forward, and the infantry began to deploy. At about that time, the Russians realized just how slowly the T-35 moved. While bristling with weapons, Duncan had difficulty bringing all the weapons to bear, because many of his shots were screened by his own men. He did fire quite a bit of 75mm and 45mm into the woods against Don’s infantry — and later against Eric’s infantry to his right front — but with little effect. He was hitting his target, but the Finns must have had great cover or the blasts were being muffled by the dense show, because very few of his shots resulted in casualties. Meanwhile Don kept plinking away at Duncan’s infantry, and one of Duncan’s team leaders decided to run away (morale failure result), leaving two soldiers in the open to be picked off by Don. Zeb had one of the BT-7’s rush ahead of the infantry to try to get some shots on Don’s Finns. Zeb too must have been firing Nerf balls, because he did very little damage.
Then the Finns sprung their ambush. A team of Finns deployed in the woods opened fire on Greg’s advancing Russians. The Russians had advanced without clearing these woods, so the the Finns opened fire at short and medium ranges with submachine guns at Russians in the open. The results were predictable, with this Russian team being wiped out without causing any casualties themselves.
That team of Finnish infantry had actually been placed in the woods to protect the captured AT gun. If opened fire from ambush on the lead BT-7. It’s first shot bounced (he needed anything but a 1 to penetrate, and he rolled a 1!). His second shot penetrated, and the lead BT brewed up.
A turn or two later, the Russians advanced the second BT-7, and it too was air conditioned by the AT gun.
At this point, Eric and Don had pummeled the leading Russian teams, and Kurt’s submachine gunners had decimated Greg’s Russians. There was little likelihood the Russians were going to do anything other than die to a man in the snow, so we called the game. While it was a decisive victory for the Finns, a little better luck with all the HE fire from the tanks could have really changed the scenario. The Russians just didn’t do much damage.
For Cold Wars, I plan to give the Russians an extra squad of infantry and replace most of their submachine guns with rifles. Also, I think I’ll start the T-35, which is a hulking but lumbering beast, a little farther forward on the table.
The game played well, and even the Russians said they had fun, despite the lopsided results.