Where to start with this conflict?
I’ve read enough on the topic both old and new – S&T 33’s take on this battle, as well as more recent writings using new archival data in a book called The War of the White Death, to do a bit of brain dump. However I think nearly everyone has a good handle on the situation and the result!
All good stuff. The bottom line is we face a situation not unlike that of the Prussians fighting @ Jena in 1806. Where the Prussian Army fought a conventional (for then) battle. While the French brought their innovations in Corps structure, maneuver warfare and encirclement to bear upon the Prussian forces, who were summarily crushed.
The here Russians fought a WWI style conflict, of massed arms, and bloody frontal assaults. While the Finns through need and lack of resources fought a more modern style of battle. The result is different but the dichotomy of approach is the similar.
Out manned, out gunned the Finns had to innovate. They did, and they fought tenaciously and in some cases fought the Russians to a stand still, killing for starving 10’s of thousands in barbarous weather conditions.
At the end the Finns fought the Russians to a negotiated peace. Which was better than abject destruction. The Soviets took the reforms currently under way to heart and learned a lot from their adventure in the Icy wastes of Finland.
The scenario presented offers some replay value and the over historical situation is interesting but really a forgone conclusion similar to Case White. So lets reserve some ink for the meatier portions of WWII where I shall be taxed to grasp the situation and share lucidly with you! A historical map to get you familiar with terrain and forces:
Our examination will focus upon the higher level conflict using the ’76 title from S&T magazine Winter War. Still a mainstay, still a good game, it captures with a few 100 counters what happened and why at a simple level. At some point in the future we will examine some detailed titles at the platoon level for specific engagements to better understand the small unit tactics that the Finns brought to bear against the Russians.
That will be a Platoon scale fight to the death in A Frozen Hell and possible Red Winter.