[Russo-Finnish War] Tolvajarvi - December 12, 1939

By: Brycie35 - Last update: 06/05/2006
Axis Player: Allied Player:
x4 x5 x4 x5

There are problems with this scenario: it cannot be set-up using the standard terrain tiles of Memoir '44 and the selected extensions. There are too many terrains of one or more types. Please contact the author.

Historical Background:
After only one week of fighting in the Winter War, the Russian 139th Rifle Division have pushed the outnumbered Finnish defenders back almost 40 miles down the Tolvajarvi road, and, threatened to produce the first Russian breakthrough. The somewhat well trained and lead 139th Rifle Division was making good progress. The flanks of the Finnish defenders were continually under threat. Without air or artillery support they were becoming demoralized. Into the situation, Field Marshall Mannerheim, without any reserves to spare, sent Colonel Talvela. This lively and able officer was able to stabilize the front in a matter of days. He countered the Russians tendency for flanking actions, by aggressively patrolling the trackless forests, and gained some remarkable tactical victories over isolated pockets of Russian detachments. With the Russian offensive now stalled, Talvaela then launched a series of counter attacks. The plan on the 12th of September was to capture a large tourist hotel on the banks of Lake Tolvajarvi, then to secure the Hirsivaara ridge to the North. The 16th Infantry Regiment was to do the latter, but on the way ran head on into two battalions of the Russian 718th Regiments who were themselves manoeuvring to outflank the Finnish position.
In the confusing open minutes of the surprise encounter in the woods, Russian troops went to ground while the Finns attempted to push past the Russian and move on their objective. On the far left flank the Finnish 3rd company was hard hit by Russian machinegun fire, and many of the survivors then fell back. Fortunately for the Finns the 2nd company, who at first moved towards the sound of the fighting, were able to manoeuvre passed the Soviets and cross the frozen lake to Mount Hirsivaara. However there they were halted as they run into heavy Russian resistance. Around noon the attack was deemed hopeless by Finnish commanders. They called for their men to fall back. Most of the Finns managed to withdraw, escaping to the northwest. However, for some reason 100 Finnish troops stayed and dug in along the ridge. Whether by accident or by their own initiative, these troops determined stand proved to be invaluable to Colonel Talvela as it kept a large force of Russians tied down. Partially due to this, the assault on the Tourist Hotel was a success. From there the Russians only supply route, a narrow road of Kivisalmi Bridge could be brought under fire. The Bulk of the Soviet 139th Division was now trapped.
The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.

Finnish Player: 5 command Cards
You move first.

Russian Player: 2 command cards (Russians are surprised). Draw two cards after turns 1 and 2. You will then have a hand of 4 command cards for the rest of the battle.

Conditions of Victory:
5 Medals.
A Finnish unit that exits off the Russian side the board is worth 1 victory medal. The Finnish unit is removed from play. Place one figure from this unit onto the Finnish medal stand.

Special Rules:
Russian Command rules are in effect (refer to Eastern Front p.3).
The Air Power card is played instead as Barrage Tactic card: 'Target 1 enemy unit and roll 4 battle dice, ignore terrain and battle die reduction, score hits for each unit symbol or grenade, flags may not be ignored'.
The single figure Finnish Special forces unit is a Sniper. Place an Axis sniper badge with this unit to distinguish it from other units.
The River represents the frozen lakes in the area. Refer to Eastern Front p.3 about frozen rivers.

Scenario Bibliography:
The Oxford Companion to World War 2 - By John Keegan
The World War 2 Databook - By John Ellis
Atlas of World war 2 - By David and Andrew Wiest
ASL Scenario A88 Surprise Encounter

Please note that this scenario was not approved by Richard Borg or Days of Wonder, so you have to check yourself about playability, potential gaming issues, etc.

Set-up Order