A Winter-ish War: The background

During the period of growing international tension, the leadership of SPUR (the Soviet People’s United Republics) were very aware that access to their main naval base could easily be threatened by enemy forces if the latter occupied the area around the town of Viputa in Opeland. Although the Opelanders had espoused a policy of neutrality, they were militarily weak, and the Secretary of the Supreme Soviet decided that SPUR could not rely on their neighbours being able to stop the seizure of Viputa and its surrounding area by a potential enemy power. He therefore ordered his Foreign Minister to begin negotiations with the Opelanders in the hope that they would cede Viputa to SPUR, and ordered his Military Commanders to begin to plan for military action if the negotiations should fail.

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.

12 Comments on “A Winter-ish War: The background”

  1. David Crook says:

    Hi Bob,

    Shaping up very nicely indeed! I really like the map and it is something I need to do myself on the new Mac. Unless I am much mistaken the models look as though they are from your Megablitz collection – the two figure infantry bases look right for this period. My only question concerns air support – do you plan to include any?

    I am going to take a vicarious delight in this mini campaign!

    All the best,


  2. Fascinating to see how you've translated your recent reading (and DVD watching) into what looks sure to be a fascinating battle. Looking forward to further despatches from the front!

  3. David Crook,

    The map was drawn using MS Paint, which I find is simple enough to use and produces passable results.

    The figures I am using are from my Megablitz collection, and are ideal for the sort of games that I am planning to stage. As to air support … well SPUR has three fighter and two bomber units available to them, but these will only come into play if the Opelanders don't capitulate almost immediately.

    I hope to start fighting the first battle of the mini-campaign sometime over the next few days … so keep reading my blog regularly!

    All the best,


  4. David Bradley,

    I blame retirement (I have far too much time on my hands!) and my recent bad cold. The latter has kept me tossing and turning most nights feeling tired and yet wanting to sleep. To help me drift off, I plan wargames scenarios … and this mini-campaign is the result of a particularly disturbed night's sleep.

    More will follow very soon indeed!

    All the best,


  5. Conrad Kinch says:

    Good to see you back in action, even if it is in the grubby old 20th century.

    Is that Talenheim chap anything to Fritz Von Tarlenheim?

  6. Pete. says:

    Looking forward to seeing this develop.



  7. Conrad Kinch,

    It's good to be back in the wargaming saddle, even though I am not feeling 100% fit.

    Marshal Talenheim is Fritz von Tarlenheim's great nephew. The name changed due to a mistake on the Marshal's birth certificate; the clerk missed off the 'r' when completing the Register of Births, and Opelandish Law forbids such mistakes from being subsequently corrected.

    All the best,


  8. Pete.,

    Rumour has it that war is about to be declared, and that fighting will begin soon afterwards.

    All the best,


  9. nobby says:

    Excellent – the product of a fevered mind? :0)

    I am really looking forward to seeing this develop.

  10. Nobby,

    Most definitely the product of a fevered mind … as is so much of what I do! (Some have called it an unhinged mind, but I think that is going a bit too far!)

    I hope to be able to keep the momentum of this mini-campaign going, so keep reading the blog regularly.

    All the best,


  11. Are these dedicated forces for each side or models that see multiple uses? Are some of the Opelanders wearing orange helmets? Intriguing little campaign Bob, very inspiring. Hope you are better now from your cold. Cheers.

    A. Jeff Butler

  12. Brigadier General,

    The figures and models have appeared in different guises in different games. The SPUR stuff is actually Russian and form part of my Megablitz collection, and when used as such represent units of the 66th Army and an Artillery Division. The 'Opelanders' are Germans from the same collection, the guys in sand-coloured helmets and blue uniforms being from a Luftwaffe Feld-Divisione (I love my second-line troops!) and the rest from a standard two-regiment Infanterie Divisione.

    My cold is gradually getting better, but every time I think that I am finally over it, it comes back with a vengeance for a day or so. Planning and fighting this mini-campaign has helped to keep my spirits up in these somewhat trying times!

    All the best,


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