From: Edmonton, Canada
2) I read this post on gamesquad:
"Finland is very similar (but even more telling) for the Russians. I have seen games end before the Russians and Germans even met, simply because the Red player was inexpereinced with the scenario and bled himself white. Can you believe over 100k light rifles squads destroyed, and Finland still standing strong? Funny thing about this one is that an experienced Axis player will hand a determined (but inexperienced) Russian player his head everytime. And this one truly is a game burner. Failure here = Axis Major Victory.
Try this on for size, if any of you are interested...
Load up a hotseat game, and have several indiviual Finn units dug in to fortified status, make them of various sizes. Stack a zillion Russians next to them all and attack. Look at the thousands of rifle squad losses you took from each battle, and 95% of the time, you will not take a single hex.
There is a 'trick' to unseating the Finns - the country can be taken in a very cost-effective manner. A player must know how, of course. It isn't really a trick either, rather a deeper understanding of how the game functions - it makes perfect sense in hindsight. It's is also a beautiful illustration of some of the frustrations a board gamer will face when learning the TOAW system.
On the cardboard counters, a 10-10 is simply that. But here, that 10-10 can be swept away with a strong breeze, or be virtually invulnerable, depending on the circumstances. (Ever try attacking a fortified panzer unit with nothing but infantry?) When this factor is applied to the Russians strategy in Finland, the answer is obvious (again, with hindsight being 20/20). :D
If someone bites, I'll explain it..."
Does anyone know what this trick is? I don't want to ruin the game as allied player by botching Finland winter war so badly.
Hi JJ, I got your messages about my old post, and came by to offer what help I could! I see that Secadegas has taken you in his capable hands and answered most of the questions for you. Nice! (Hi Secadegas, how goes? )
First thing, please keep in mind that I haven't played since TOAW Century of Warfare, nevermind getting it going on TOAW III... So this is from (faulty, aging!) memory. With that caveat in place, here goes!
The gist of it is that you can't fight the Finns in a straight-up infantry battle. You'll lose. Oh, you might even take Helsinki, but you'll still lose, because you will never recover from the amount of light rifle squad losses you took. (Most likely, you won't be able to budge them from more than one or two hexes during the entire war...)
So if you want to go against the Finns, you need to decide what your overall plan is, and then use every advantage you possess to execute.
If I remember correctly, there was an actual, tangible bonus to going against the Finns... (Was it an efficiency bonus? Was there an equipment dump?) I also seem to recall an event as the game progressed "Lessons Learned From Winter War" or some such...
Aside from that, (and perhaps most importantly), units start green - you need to blood them so they become veterans. Having this accomplished prior to Barbarossa is huuuuuge. Otherwise you have to do it in battle with the Germans, and the bonuses they have when they start attacking you means that the status of most every unit of yours they encounter will be dead, not veteran...
That said, there are basically three ways to attack Finland.
The first is a token effort, just to get whatever event bonus or equipment dump there might be. (You will only upgrade a few units to veteran this way, but your Light Rifle Squad (LRS) losses will be minimal).
The second is to go for a bit of a land grab, see how far you can push without expending too much effort. (You can upgrade a decent amount of units to veteran this way, and your LRS losses should be minimal if you are careful and stop at the right time).
Lastly, go for the throat. Take Helsinki, clear the country, and you basically secure this front for the rest of the war. You can upgrade a very significant portion of your army this way. (I once upgraded almost *ALL* my army in Finland, and was sneak-attacked super early by my opponent (the scenario's designer), but that's another story!) :D As mentioned in the original post I made years back, you can lose the war here. LRS losses can finish you, and I've seen players concede the entire game before even getting past this stage.
I'd suggest maybe going in with a "let's see" plan the first time - get what you can without pushing too hard, and keep going until you meet the firm resistance. If that means you get stopped fairly quick, so be it. If you're getting in a decent way, and you can still exploit, go for it! Just be reactive, and go with the flow.
So now that you've decided what you are going to do, you need to prepare. How many units do you need to pull from the rest of the country, and to where? How long will it take to get in position? Do you have infantry units that can walk there in the X turns you require, to help out and let you rail in more distant units?
From this point I'm going to describe things as if I am attempting to take the country, or at least go quite deep. (Meaning that I am not just pushing to see what gives, I am actively trying to wipe out all their units, advance to the capital, etc). This is due to the fact that the tactics are different if you're going to go for it. But all the lessons here apply to the other options as well.
In the preparation stage, I've have sent A LOT of units to the border. Mostly infantry (of course), but *all* mech units, armor, armored recon, etc are sent. Specifically, I recall two or three armored infantry (mech) units that are going to be your workhorses, and these are also the 'secret' (not a secret) to cracking the Finns defences. I have masses of infantry ready to go, all along the entire border. You advance straight in everywhere, and in the north especially, it's almost all empty terrain. Every time you meet a unit up here, you do NOT engage, you simply start walking around this unit, and another Russian unit behind you takes up the hex you were in, while the other units keep advancing and prepare to do the same. What you do if that Finn stays there, is you advance to another, deeper hex that borders him, and all the other units do the same - you now have him surrounded on 4 sides - if he doesn't retreat this turn, you'll encircle him, so he will back off. (If he doesn't leave, then surround him, and move on. Don't even attack, just let the supply drain bleed him white. If he tries busting out, and/or some of your units are getting in bad shape due to that and horrible supply, swap them out for the units that keep coming behind them... And don't worry about it - if he leaves a hex you can advance in to, do it. Don't attack him, just slide around/surround unless he retreats. This will take some time, but it will get you most of the empty north, and likely a surround or two.
Down in the South, you will meet stiff defences right away. Move up, get right in his face in the Mannerheim Line(but don't attack him!) The key to this position is to flank it from the northeast. Use the tactics outlined above to gain all the terrain required to start flanking the Mannerheim line.
Now you can see that this whole thing is built around not fighting, just maneuvering for all the hexes you can grab, as our opponent has so few units they are unable to counter this tactic and have to give up land or risk being cutoff. But what do you do when we hit the hexes we have to fight for? Especially ones where they still have supply? Again, get the surround if possible. If the battle can wait, let his unit wither on the vine - he'll get weaker and weaker every turn if you can wait him out. But if you *do* have to clear a hex, this is where the mechs come in.
Once you've done all your movement and are ready for combat, our goal is to get as many rounds in as possible, with our attack set as limited attack/lightest losses. (Was it minimize losses? Wow, it's been so long I can't even remember the actual terms for the supply drain attack!) Basically the lightest attack with the lightest tolerance for losses. Now, these are not normal attacks meant to move him or clear an encircled hex, this is just to wear him down. Let's say I have three hexes I need to hit for this turn - one is in the south and is in supply - I need to move him to outflank the Mannerheim line. Two others are in the north, and are surrounded (not in supply). In the south, I will have both of the mechs, which are the key part of this. In the north, I will use my recon units. (If I *have* to, I will split my recon units into three up north to ensure there is at least one for every battle I have). You then set each of these (single) units to attack on the settings mentioned above. (If you have a big battle, you will save these for the last part of your turn). YOU DO NOT ATTACK WITH ANY UNITS EXCEPT THESE! So to be clear, one mech, one attack over and over again on one hex. A second hex means second mech, 3rd hex (and all hexes in north) means one recon unit per hex, or 1/3 recon unit if required!
When you resolve the battle, if you only attacked with the above settings using the mech and recon units, chances are excellent that you still have most of your turn left. Do it again. And again. Hey - if there are no big battles, keep doing this until your turn ends. If memory serves, you are dropping 10% off his readiness and supply for each attack - you will have that Finn glowing cherry red in no time, especially if he is out of supply.
The mech units should take little to no damage when doing this, although the recons may get torn up a bit, especially if you had to split them. (Infantry units doing this - which is sometimes required - take a horrible beating in equipment losses). When you are doing these attacks in the south (which can sometimes get quite crowded as you start flanking the Mannerheim Line), make sure your attacking unit (the mech) is not in an overcrowded hex (has a yellow/orange/red light beside your stack of units), as it will take additional damage when doing these repeated attacks.
The time will come when it is time to clear the encircled hexes - in the north this will be a huge infantry battle where you attack from all sides. (If you have a unit that is super fragile, don't be afraid to swap him out of the encirclement, or don't attack with him - you don't want one of the attackers to evaporate and let the Finn out of the surround!) In the south you might not have the encirclement but need the hex. You will have already hit it over and over for many turns to ensure it is in the worst possible shape. (I seem to recall 33/1, but maybe have that wrong...) Then you hit that hex with the mech (which you never split in three - you lose efficiency, and those mechs are what will open the tough hexes for you!) supported by tons of infantry, hopefully not overcrowding too many hexes and taking the extra losses. (But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!)
The entire key to the whole thing is to never fight if you can walk around. Take another hex. Then take one after that. Make him chose to either attack you (this works in our favor), retreat, or get encircled. When you have encircled him, don't attack unless you need to - let time kill him for you. When you do need to attack, weaken the hex over and over again with a million limited attack/light losses battles (with a single unit!) so you can wear him down to nothing, and then you hit him from all sides possible with overwhelming force, your mech units leading the way.
The mechs are super important because the Finns have virtually no equipment that can touch them. This is where board wargamers have a hard time with the switch. "A 10-10 unit needs to be attacked with 'x' amount of strength to give me a 4-1" etc etc... But as I mentioned in the post from years ago - not all 10-10s are created equal. If you look 'under the hood' at your units, you will see that most of them are made up of several equipment types - some as many as 15 or more! TOAW matches each equipment type up against opposing targets equipment etc each combat round, so it's not simply a 46 vs 10 gives a 4-1 so lets go hit the CRT table and see what I can roll... The game sees the vehicles that are in your mech unit, and when the Finns attack/defend, they have no equipment types that can get past the armor, so the mech units are almost invulnerable. (The only way they will die is if the Russian player basically kills them himself by accident... :D )
If you use the above tactics properly, you can do some great damage in Finland. As a matter of fact, taking it out completely was something I did in every single game after I had all this down pat. There are pitfalls - you can take too long, it can still be too expensive if it doesn't go just right, the Germans may attack early if you send too much, etc. But once you have the hang of it you can do pretty good with this method!
< Message edited by Mantis -- 12/4/2017 11:25:02 PM >