The defenders (commanded by Colonel Ore Jonasson) comprised:
- 2 x Regular Infantry Units
- 1 x Regular Mortar Unit
The attackers (commanded by DivCom Litvinoff) comprised:
- 6 x Rifle Units
- 1 x Mortar Unit
- 1 x Anti-tank Gun Unit
- 1 x Light Field Artillery Unit
At precisely 8.00am, the leading SPUR Rifle Units (accompanied by a Mortar Unit and an Anti-tank Gun Unit) advanced up to the border …
… and then crossed into Opeland.
SPUR’s Mortar Unit fired at the nearest Opelandic strong point, but although its shells hit the strong point, the Opelanders inside it suffered not casualties.
Both the left and right-hand SPUR Rifle Units advanced into the minefields in front of them …
… with disastrous consequences for each of them as both suffered casualties.
The central SPUR Rifle Unit moved through the forest and was confronted by barbed wire, which stopped any further advance for the moment.
In the fighting that ensued …
… the left and right-hand SPUR Rifle Units were forced to retreat, …
… whilst the central one was unable to take part as it was trying to clear the barbed wire.
It did come under attack from both Opelandic strong points, and was forced to fall back into the forest.
An artillery duel took place, but the fire from the SPUR Mortar and Anti-tank Gun Units failed to do any damage to the Opelandic strong points.
The Opelandic Mortar Unit did manage to hit the left-hand SPUR Rifle Unit, causing it further casualties and reducing it to a quarter of its original strength.
The central and right-hand SPUR Rifle Units attempted to attack the Opelandic strong point again …
… but both fell foul of the minefields and suffered casualties.
The fighting around the strong points was fierce, but yet again the SPUR Rifle Units failed to break into the Opelandic defences, and were forced to withdraw.
Both sides continued the artillery duel, but their fire was generally ineffective and neither side suffered any casualties.
The second wave of SPUR troops arrived (three Rifle Units and a Light Field Artillery Unit), and advanced towards the Opelandic defences.
The arrival of the Light Field Artillery Unit added considerable weight to the fire directed at the Opelandic strong points, and for the first time the Opelanders suffered casualties.
The exchange was not all one way, and the left-hand SPUR Rifle Unit was hit by Opelandic Mortar fire and destroyed.
The newly-arrive SPUR Rifle Units charged forward, and two of them entered the Opelandic minefields …
… which resulted in both Units suffering casualties.
They were not deterred by these loses, and assaulted the Opelandic strong points. In one instance this resulted in further Opelandic losses, …
… but the other assault was a catastrophic failure …
… which resulted in the total destruction of the attacking SPUR Rifle Unit.
At this point it became very apparent that the human wave attacks that were being used were doomed to failure. The Attacking Units were exhausted, and withdrew to position that were just inside the border.
As night fell DivCom Litvinoff was summoned to Marshall Zirkoff’s Headquarters to explain why his attack had failed. It was not an interview that he looked forward to having.
By the time that this blog entry appears, I will have already uploaded the PDF versions of THE NUGGET and THE NUGGET COLOUR SUPPLEMENT to the Wargame Developments website, and both should now be available for members of Wargame Developments to read online or to download and print.
IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the fifth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2015-2016 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed can still do so if they want to. This can be done by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website.
An hour later the SPUR State Radio station in nearby Kronsgrad began transmitting news flashes about a border incursion into SPUR territory by troops of the Opelandic Army. The newsreader gave a graphic account of the action, and told how a large force of Opelandic troops had attacked a SPUR border post, which had fought back with such ferocity that the invaders had retreated.
At 9.00am on the following morning SPUR’s ambassador to Opeland handed a Diplomatic Note to the Opelandic Foreign Minister demanding that the Opelandic Army withdraw from the border area, which would henceforth be declared a neutral zone. To guarantee ‘the continued peace between our two nations‘ the Opelanders were also required to ‘lease the town of Viputa and its environs to the people of SPUR for one hundred years.’ The Note pointed out that if the terms were no agreed by 1.00pm, that day, a state of war would exist between SPUR and Opeland.
The Opelandic Prime Minister immediately called a Cabinet meeting, and invited Marshal Talenheim to attend. By midday the meeting had agreed to ask if a delegation could be sent to Kronsgrad to negotiate terms. It was also agreed that the Opelandic Armed Forces would be mobilised and begin to occupy the border defences.
At 12.30pm the Opelandic Foreign Minister had a meeting with the ambassador of SPUR, and requested that negotiations between a delegation from the Opelandic government and representatives of SPUR’s Supreme Soviet should begin as soon as possible in order to settle their differences and thus avoid an outbreak of hostilities. When the Foreign Minister indicated that the requests made in the Diplomatic Note were not going to be immediately agreed to, SPUR’s ambassador stated that there was no possibility of negotiations taking place, and requested the return of his diplomatic accreditation.
At 1.00pm SPUR State Radio announced that ‘in the face of naked aggression by Opelandic forces and their government’s refusal to guarantee the safety of the peace-loving people of SPUR, the Supreme Soviet has taken the decision that a state of war now exists between Opeland and SPUR. It greatly regrets having to do this, but feels that due to the intransigence of the Opelandic ruling elite, they were left with no other choice.’
At 1.01pm, Marshal Zirkoff issued orders to his troop to begin their attacks at 8.00am on the following morning.
The photographs appear to show units of SPUR’s Air Force flying northward towards the border with Opeland.
In response to the publication of these photographs, Mr Kollicoff – the Head of SPUR’s Department of External Communications – has stated the aircraft had been taking part in planned annual manoeuvres, and were actually on their way back to their normal operational bases when the photographs had been taken.
It became obvious quite early on that the negotiations would fail, and both sides began to prepare for war. The Commander-in-Chief of Opeland’s Armed Forces – Marshal Talenheim – had a line of defences constructed close to the border with SPUR. The defences consisted of a number of strong points which were protected by minefields and barbed wire. The Marshal was a realist, and knew that what the newspapers had already begun to call ‘The Talenheim Line’ would only delay any attackers, and that the best he could hope for was that the politicians would be able to negotiate a peaceful end to any war before Viputa was captured.
Click on the map to enlarge it.
The Opelandic Army
Marshal Talenheim had the following forces available to defend the border defences and Viputa
- 10 x Regular Infantry Units
- 1 x Regular Mortar Unit
- 1 x Regular Anti-tank Gun Unit
- 1 x Regular Field Artillery Unit
- 5 x Reserve Infantry Units
- 1 x Reserve Mortar Unit
- 1 x Reserve Anti-tank Gun Unit
- 1 x Reserve Light Field Artillery Unit
Click on the image to enlarge it.
The bulk of the Regular Army Units were used to man the so-called ‘Talenheim Line’ and the majority of the Reserve Units were tasked with defending Viputa.
The SPUR Army
The forces allocated to attack the ‘Talenheim Line’ were commanded by Marshal Zirkoff, and comprised:
- 18 x Rifle Units
- 2 x Mortar Units
- 2 x Anti-tank Gun Units
- 2 x Light Field Artillery Units
- 2 x Tank Units
Click on the image to enlarge it.
- 8 x Naval Infantry Units
- 1 x Naval Anti-tank Gun Unit
- 1 x Naval Light Field Artillery Unit
- 3 x Heavy Artillery Units
Click on the image to enlarge it.
Marshal Zirkoff split his forces into four groups:
- Group 1 (The Naval Infantry and Artillery Units) was allocated the left hand sector of the front facing Viputa and was tasked with attacking the defences in their sector on the third day of the attack, should such an attack be necessary.
- Group 2 (Comprising 6 x Rifle Units, 1 x Mortar Unit, 1 x Anti-tank Gun Unit, and 1 x Light Field Artillery Unit) was allocated the left-centre sector of the front, and was tasked with attacking the defences in their sector on the first day of the attack.
- Group 3 (Comprising 6 x Rifle Units, 1 x Mortar Unit, 1 x Anti-tank Gun Unit, and 1 x Light Field Artillery Unit) was allocated the right-centre sector of the front, and was tasked with attacking the defences in their sector on the first day of the attack.
- Group 4 (Comprising 6 x Rifle Units, 2 x Tank Units, and 3 x Heavy Artillery Units) was allocated the right hand sector of the front where the ground was thought to be more suitable for tanks. It was tasked with attacking the defences in their sector on the second day of the attack, and it was expected that they should breakthrough the ‘Talenheim Line’ that day, thus outflanking the defences and forcing the Opelanders to retreat and/or surrender.
IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the fifth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2015-2016 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed can still do so if they want to. This can be done by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website. A printed reminder was sent out with THE NUGGET 283 to all subscribers who had not yet re-subscribed.
The truth of the matter is that almost as soon as the draft rules were written, Sue and I went on a cruise to the Baltic, and by the time I came back I had forgotten all about both the rules and the promise to play-test them. It was my recent re-fight of ‘The Attack on Morobad‘ that reignited my interest in producing a ‘Modern’ version of Joseph Morschauser’s FRONTIER wargames rules … and it was then that I rediscovered my 2013 draft.
The rules need a bit of tidying up (back in 2013 I got some very useful feedback that I want/need to act on) and once that is done, I will begin play-testing them. Thanks to having read FINLAND AT WAR: THE WINTER WAR 1939-40 by Vesa Nenye with Peter Munter and Toni Wirtanen whilst on our recent cruise, and having watched THE WINTER WAR: THE TRUE STORY OF A BATTLE AGAINST ALL ODDS (or to give it its Finnish title, TALVISOTA) since I got back, I have a mini-campaign in mind that will see hordes of Soviet-style troops attacking a series of border fortifications that are being manned by vastly outnumbered defenders.
A ‘Modern’ version of Joseph Morschauser’s FRONTIER wargames rules
(as drafted in July 2013)
- At the start of each turn a playing card tile is picked out of the bag and placed FACE DOWN next to each unit on the tabletop.
- The Artillery Fire Phase takes place.
- Any artillery units (including AFV units and anti-tank gun units) that fire in the Artillery Fire Phase of the Turn Sequence have their playing card tile removed.
- Once the Artillery Fire Phase is completed, the playing card tiles are turned over and units are activated in turn. The order of activation is in ascending numerical/face value and suit order precedence (i.e. Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, and King being the numerical/face values, and Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, and Spades the suit order precedence).
- When activated a unit can move or move and initiate a battle with an enemy unit. A unit may not initiate a battle with an enemy unit and then move unless it is an AFV, infantry, or cavalry unit that is advancing into a grid square that has been vacated by an enemy unit they have destroyed or forced to retreat.
- Once both sides have activated each of their units in turn – subject to any restrictions laid down in the rules – the turn is complete and the next turn can commence.
- AFV guns: Range = 4 grid squares
- Anti-tank guns: Range = 4 grid squares
- Mortars: Range = 4 grid squares
- Infantry guns: Range = 4 grid squares
- Mountain artillery: Range = 6 grid squares
- Light field artillery: Range = 6 grid squares
- Field artillery: Range = 8 grid squares
- Medium/Heavy artillery: Range = 12 grid squares
- Artillery fire is simultaneous; therefore if an artillery unit (including an AFV unit or an anti-tank gun unit) is destroyed, it may still fire that turn before it is removed.
- With the exception of units with turreted AFVs, artillery fires within an arc-of-fire that is 90 degrees forward of the direction in which it is facing (i.e. in an arc sweeping from one 45 degree diagonal line of grid squares to the other).
- Units of turreted AFVs have an arc-of-fire of 360 degrees.
- Artillery ranges are measured orthogonally (i.e. through the edges of the grid squares).
- Artillery units may only fire once each turn.
- If an entire unit can be seen from an artillery unit that is firing at it, the artillery fire is direct fire; if an entire unit cannot be seen or it is in fortifications, a built-up area, or a wood, the artillery fire is indirect fire. N.B. AFV units and anti-tank gun units may never fire at units they cannot see and therefore never fire indirectly, although enemy units that can be seen but are in fortifications, a built-up area, or a wood are treated as if they are being fired at indirectly for the purposes of determining the effectiveness of the AFV units or anti-tank gun fire upon that target unit.
- Before it fires, each artillery unit identifies the grid square it is firing at. They then throw a D6 die to see where their artillery fire will land:
- Die score = 5 or 6: Artillery fire lands on the target grid square.
- Die score = 1: Artillery fire lands in the grid square to the left of the target grid square (i.e. at 9 o’clock relative to the target grid square).
- Die score = 2: Artillery fire lands in the grid square beyond the target grid square (i.e. at 12 o’clock relative to the target grid square).
- Die score = 3: Artillery fire lands in the grid square to the right of the target grid square (i.e. at 3 o’clock relative to the target grid square).
- Die score = 4: Artillery fire lands in the grid square before the target grid square (i.e. at 6 o’clock relative to the target grid square).
- N.B. If the firing unit is an AFV unit or anti-tank gun unit, D6 die scores of 1, 2, 3, or 4 are regarded as misses and are deemed not to have landed in a grid square.
- If the artillery fire lands in a grid square occupied by a friendly unit, the opposing side’s commander throws the D6 die to determine the effectiveness of the artillery fire upon that unit (see below).
- A D6 die is then rolled to determine the effectiveness of the artillery fire upon any unit that is in the grid square in which the artillery fire has landed.
- Direct artillery fire: 5 or 6: Destroys a unit.
- Indirect artillery fire: 6: Destroys a unit.
- Infantry: Move = 2 grid squares
- Cavalry: Move = 2 grid squares
- AFVs: Move = 2 grid squares
- Machine guns: Move = 2 grid squares
- Anti-tank guns: Move = 2 grid squares
- Mortars: Move = 2 grid squares
- Infantry guns: Move = 2 grid squares
- Mountain artillery: Move = 2 grid squares
- Light field artillery: Move = 2 grid squares
- Field artillery: Move = 2 grid square
- Medium/Heavy artillery: Move = 1 grid square
- All movement is measured orthogonally.
- A unit may only move once each turn. Any artillery unit (including AFV or anti-tank gun units) that has fired during the Artillery Fire Phase at the beginning of this turn may not move.
- A unit may move through grid squares that are adjacent to the flank or rear of enemy unit providing that the front of its own unit does not face the enemy unit during the move past the enemy unit.
- A unit may not move through grid squares that are adjacent to the front of an enemy unit. It must stop as soon as it enters a grid square that is adjacent to the front of an enemy unit, face the enemy unit, and end its movement for that turn. If it moves into a grid square that is adjacent to the front of several enemy units it may choose which of the enemy units it will face; it then does battle with that enemy unit.
- A unit that is facing or being faced by an enemy unit that is in an adjacent grid square at start of its move may break contact with that enemy unit and move away providing that it does not come into contact with any other enemy unit this turn as it breaks contact or after it has broken contact.
- Infantry and cavalry units may move forward to replace an enemy unit after it has been successfully attacked and destroyed or forced to retreat; other units may not move forward in these circumstances.
- Infantry: Battle Power = 5
- Cavalry: Battle Power = 5
- AFVs: Battle Power = 7
- Machine guns: Battle Power = 6
- Anti-tank guns: Battle Power = 1
- Mortars: Battle Power = 1
- Infantry guns: Battle Power = 1
- Mountain artillery: Battle Power = 1
- Light field artillery: Battle Power = 1
- Field artillery: Battle Power = 1
- Medium/Heavy artillery: Battle Power = 1
- Battles are fought when a unit ends it move facing an enemy unit that is in an adjacent grid square.
- Units may only attack once each turn but may defend themselves as often as may be necessary.
- When a unit moves into contact with the flank or rear of an enemy unit the latter is turned to face to the attacker at once.
- To determine the outcome of a battle, each unit throws a D6 die and adds the result to their Battle Power:
- If the resulting amended dice scores are equal, the battle is a draw.
- If one unit has a higher amended dice score than the other, it has won the battle. If the winner threw a 6, the losing unit is destroyed; if not, then the losing unit must retreat one grid square immediately. Any unit that is unable to retreat is destroyed.
- If the unit that won the battle is an AFV, infantry, or cavalry unit it may move into the newly empty grid square. If this results in that AFV, infantry, or cavalry unit coming into contact with the enemy unit that they have just beaten or another enemy unit, the AFV, infantry, or cavalry may not attack the enemy unit this turn.
- No unit’s Battle Power may drop below 1.
- A unit that is in cover (built-up areas, woods) increases its Battle Power by 1.
- A unit that is in fortifications (trenches, pillboxes) increases its Battle Power by 2.
- Poor quality infantry or cavalry units (e.g. Militia) reduce their battle Power by 1.
- Infantry units may move up or down one or two hill contours.
- AFV, cavalry, machine gun, and field artillery units may only move up or down one hill contour.
- A unit that is battling an enemy unit that is one hill contour above it reduces its Battle Power by 1.
- A unit that is battling an enemy unit that is two hill contours above it reduces its Battle Power by 2.
- A unit that is battling against an enemy unit that is one or two hill contours below it increases its Battle Power by 1.
- Each grid square of movement made along a road by a unit uses up only half a grid square of movement.
- If a unit moves along a road and then off the road during the same turn (or vice versa), any unused half-grid squares of movement are lost.
- Towns and built-up areas count as roads.
- It costs two grid squares of movement for a unit to cross a grid square with a river in it.
- A unit that is in a grid square with a river in it and is attacking an enemy unit reduces its Battle Power by 1.
- Units from opposing sides that are in adjacent grid squares with a river between them may be in contact with each other if the attacking side decides that they are.
The film is a fictional account of the 1939 – 1940 war between Finland and Soviet Russia, and tells the story of a platoon of reservists from Kauhava in Southern Ostrobothnia who served in the Finnish Army’s 23rd Infantry Regiment. The film features lots of genuine (or accurate replica) military hardware from the period, including T-26 light tanks, a Tupolev SB fast bomber, and Polikarpov I-16 fighters.
I finally got around to watching the whole film because I had recently finished reading FINLAND AT WAR: THE WINTER WAR 1939-40 by Vesa Nenye with Peter Munter and Toni Wirtanen, and I had one or two ideas forming in my head about a scenario for a possible mini-campaign.
The articles included in this issue are:
- Briefing (i.e. the editorial) by Henry Hyde
- World Wide Wargaming by Henry Hyde
- Forward observer by Neil Shuck
- Stoned: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
- Fantasy Facts by John Treadaway
- Remember the Alamo: 2016 marks the 180th anniversary of the battle by Jeff Brown
- The Featherstone Annual Tribute
- Send three and fourpence by Conrad Kinch
- Hex encounter by Brad Harmer-Barnes
- Back in the game: Airfix finally takes wargaming seriously by Alistair Birch
- Enter the dragon: Designing Osprey’s Old School fantasy rules by Daniel Mersey
- Icons of the Dark Ages: Wargaming well-known heroes by Graham Burke
- UK Clubs Directory: Find your nearest wargames club
- Hereward 2015 by Neil Shuck
- The Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal report by Henry Hyde
Particularly noteworthy in this issue were the coverage of Henry Hyde’s Tweeted progress reports on his early WWII project (as featured in the World Wide Wargaming article) and the news about the forthcoming AIRFIX BATTLES wargame (see the Back in the game article) that is due to be launched later this year. The latter uses a card-driven system (Force Cards and Command Cards) and the game will included card counters that can – of course – be replaced by model vehicles and figures, ten introductory scenarios, and some map boards. This all sounds very interesting and I will be giving serious thought to buying this game when it comes out.
The book was written by Gabriele Esposito and illustrated by Giuseppe Rava, and was published by Osprey Publishing as part of their ‘Men-at-Arms’ series No.504 (ISBN 978 1 4728 1406 7).
I have a long-standing interest in the wars of South America, and already have several books about this conflict. Buying this book wasn’t necessary … but having read it, it was well worth the money it cost and will no doubt prove to be a very useful reference book in the future.