Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

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PaulWRoberts
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Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2001 8:00 am

Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Hi! Paul Roberts here. I’m a long-time forum member and also a beta tester for AGEOD. In this thread I’ll be presenting another of two AARs from the design team for REVOLUTION UNDER SIEGE, the new game on the Russian Civil War (1917-1923) from AGEOD.

The AGEOD forums (including the RUS forum) are a good way to reach the designers quickly. They are here:
http://www.ageod-forum.com/

Just a note: I didn’t actually write this AAR, but I’m presenting it for a Francophone member of the team who asked that I edit it. (His English was already quite good, actually!) I’ll try to answer questions as best as I can.

This AAR will feature a scenario based on the civil war that erupted in Finland in the wake of the Bolshevik revolution, as communists and monarchists attempted to gain control of the newly independent nation.



Finnish Civil War

A Scenario for AGEOD’s Revolution Under Siege
Human Red side vs. AI
(Options: difficulty level “hard” (aka “Lieutenant”), no delayed commitment, activation rule penalty, standard attrition.)

“We fully regard civil wars, i.e. wars waged by the oppressed class against the oppressing class, as legitimate, progressive and necessary.”
Lenin, Socialism and War (1915)


Background:


The Communist revolution of October and the resulting chaos in Russia had enabled the Finnish Parliament to declare independence from the Tsar’s Russia on 6 December 1917. The new state was first recognised by the Soviets, and Lenin eagerly offered 10,000 guns to the Finnish Red cadres. Two opposing paramilitary forces then emerged: the White and the Red Guards. The Reds aspired to Russian-style socialist revolution, while the Whites dreamed of monarchy and sought to emulate Imperial Germany. As political violence erupted out of an atmosphere of fear and mistrust, the collapse of the new nation seemed imminent. On January 28, 1918, Russian troops and Finnish Red militias took control of the capital Helsinki by force, sparking a full-scale civil war.


Situation:

Playing the Red side, I am in control of south Finland, including nearly all the major industrial centres. The radical urban Red Guards have "convinced" the leaders of the Social Democrats (who wavered between peace and war) to support revolution at last. However, some rural areas around Helsinki are still controlled by the Whites, and there is no continuous front line. I also control a small enclave in the industrial town of Kuopio, in the middle of the White area.

My conservative opponent (the AI) has relocated the capital of White Finland in the west coast city of Vaasa.

Map shows my starting position and the seven strategic cities (indicated with target marks)


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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by PaulWRoberts »

My objective is clear: to hold at least 1 of the 7 strategic cities of Finland until the end of the scenario (17 turns). According to the Objectives Screen (F9 key), Helsinki, Tampere, and Viipuri are firmly held; Turku and Kuopio are held only by militia and so are considered “disputed”; and Sortavala and Vaasa are clearly controlled by the Whites. Helsinki is obviously the key to the scenario, since by itself it has the same value as all the other objectives together.

Now we examine the F1 screen to see my force listing. All my leaders are mediocre, with poor initiative and very poor combat abilities. Fortunately, most of them have the “militiaman” ability, granting +1 discipline and +10 cohesion to all militia units in the stack under their command.

All in all, I have about 35,000 men, mostly militia and line infantry. Supply is abundant and the morale is average (100). Many regular units are made of Russian soldiers; the majority are somewhat unwilling to fight (Weak Morale, i.e. -5 cohesion). Only the Russian sailors of the Baltic Fleet are highly motivated.

I have only 3 artillery batteries and 2 armored trains available, and my solitary airbase has 24 aircraft in all (12 reconnaissance aircraft and 12 fighters).

My most senior officer is the 3-star General E. Haapalainen. He is the only leader able to form an Army for a full chain of command, but his incompetence (-4 CP) and his occasional drinking bouts are well known in the army! (When not activated, he gives an initiative penalty to any stack he commands and is less effective in deploying his regiments in battle.)

Perhaps my biggest weakness is the lack of information about my opponent. Most of my units have a detection value of 2. In the wooded terrain of Finland, they are unable to see anything in adjacent regions except the largest troop concentrations.

Average civilian loyalty is still poor but not hostile (13% in Finland area and 11% in Karelia). Winning the hearts and minds of the masses takes time, and it is not my priority in this short scenario. (Local garrisons nullify civilian unrest anyway.)


General strategy:


Obviously, I should focus on defence. I will try to slow down my opponent long enough for me to build the strongest position possible in Helsinki. I plan to do this in the following ways:

- by defending Tampere as an advanced position,
- by distracting my opponent with diversionary local actions,
- by hampering his mobility and supply through the destruction of his railroad network.


Turn 1 - Late Jan. 1918

Independent action is not normally encouraged by the Party, and my first decision is to build a formal chain of command. General E. Haapalainen, obviously, will be named Army Commander, while Rahja and Svechnikov are named corps commanders. (Both are moderately skilled, or at least better than most of my lackluster commanders.)

Rahja moves to Kouvala with the Helsinki division (including a detachment of women's militia!) and an armored train, in a diversion approach toward Mikkeli.

Viipuri is reinforced with the garrison from nearby Kotka.

My air base is moved to Tampere, where the 3rd Guard militia battalion is sent north with “evade combat” orders, in a kind of reconnaissance by fire action. I have no real recon units and militia is expendable as bait.

The 2nd Guard militia, isolated at Varhaus, is ordered to destroy all railroads and move to reinforce Kuopio, where the rail network is destroyed too.

All other units are ordered to take position inside the cities, with defensive postures and orders to “hold at all costs.” I am afraid of surprise attack from the regular Finnish White Jaegers.

Finally I order some replacements through the Ministry of War (infantry, militia, artillery) and two 105mm batteries (which will be used to reinforce Tampere).

PaulWRoberts
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RE: Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Turn 2 - Early Feb. 1918

I’m very surprised that my reconnaissance out of Tampere did not provoke an engagement. I did receive a warning message, “Because of low cohesion, we tried to not engage the enemy,” however, so hostile units are definitely present there. My men are ordered to destroy the railroad and try to retreat back to their starting position.

The 2nd Red Guard did not encounter the enemy either, and they began to destroy the railroads of Leppavirta. White Finland is now cut in two.

More action to the east: Comrade Rahja engaged an unknown enemy force in Kouvala, but the Whites retreated without a real fight. Obviously the weather and the terrain will be a factor in any Finland campaign.

Viipuri is besieged by the Sortavala division (despite of the harsh weather, they are probably well supplied). Rahja is sent by train to support Viipuri.

Comrade Manner forms a new Corps with the 8,000 Russian sailors at Helsinki and moves to Viipuri too. If Tampere is not threatened, I’ll risk an attack on Sortavala.

With the fresh conscripts, I form a new militia regiment in Turku to beef up coastal security.


Turn 3 - Late Feb. 1918

The 3rd Red Guard “successfully evaded” a (still invisible) enemy and returned to Tampere, with 3/4 of the men temporarily out of action due to the harsh weather and small skirmishes. Now I know that the enemy is lurking there, unseen, silent, watching, probably waiting for the thaw.

In Viipuri, the Whites prudently retreated before the two corps of Manner and Rahja, but not without destroying the railroads. My two corps push toward Sortavala, I’ll take my chances.

The White militia takes Mikkeli, isolating Kuopio again. The exact size of this corps is unknown; it is too large to elude observation but too small to force its way to Helsinki.

I build 4 new 75mm batteries to defend the capital anyway.
PaulWRoberts
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RE: Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Turn 4 – Early March 1918

The Viipuri rail line is repaired and two Russian armored trains from Petrograd are sent to reinforce Rahja’s Corps and the offensive against Sortavala.

Unfortunately, I also received a communication from Moscow announcing an imminent Russian pull-out from Finland. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk now effectively restricts the Bolsheviks' ability to support the Finnish Red Guards with anything more than weapons and supplies.

On this news, and since Manner has been out of communication this week (in game terms, he is not activated), I transfer all of Manner’s Russian units to Rahja’s control and order an all-out attack on Sortavala.

Haapalainen Army HQ is moved by train to Viipuri to place it closer to the main offensive. (In game terms, Sortavala is out of his command range if it stays in Helsinki.)

The term "HQ" is perhaps misleading because of its professional, military connotation. In the Red Guard, most of these staff committees had nothing to do with military operations but were concerned with organization, record-keeping and police duties at the rear. Such is life in the Revolution.


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Two new heavy armored trains have been built in Helsinki. These are thoroughly modern and frightening weapons. No doubt the twentieth century will be the age of the armored train! I position them to defend the city, along with a fresh militia unit.

I should buy a replacement company for my armored trains, but I cannot afford it this turn. (I need 20 War Supplies.)
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Alikchi2
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RE: Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by Alikchi2 »

This is excellent, please continue!
PaulWRoberts
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RE: Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by PaulWRoberts »

ORIGINAL: Alikchi

This is excellent, please continue!

Will do!

Turn 5 – Late March 1918

Victory of a sort at Sortavala. The first Sailors Detachment distinguished itself in the battle when several lucky grenades even destroyed a light armored train. We also captured a supply unit.

The capture of this strategic town bolstered support for the Revolution (+5 Engagement Points and +5 National Morale Points). Comrade Rahja is warmly congratulated by C-in-C Haapalainen, who never misses a chance to drink a toast. (In game terms, Rahja wins a seniority level).

Other good news: two more armored trains have been built in Helsinki (they are sent to Tampere with the new 105mm batteries) and hundreds courageous Russian volunteers are gathering in Petrograd to join the People's Army of Finland.

I commit almost all my remaining war supply stock to buying a replacement company for my 7 armored trains. Victory shall come by rail!



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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Turns 6 and 7 – April 1918

The Whites launch a large offensive as soon as the snows are gone.

Rahja’s corps (11000 men and 14 canons) was besieged at Sortavala by mounted Jaegers. These then retreated when Rahja prepared and launched a sortie. The sequence of actions took two weeks.

The “coup de main” at Viipuri was more unexpected. Fortunately, the city was defended by Comrade Hapalaainen (sober this time) and a militia division supported by 3 armored trains. Despite their inferior numbers, they opened a devastating fire against the White Guards and won the day despite overwhelming odds. The Putilovian (a train) was almost lost. (Reduced to 5 men and 1 armored wagon, it is effectively out of combat for a long time as I cannot easily buy another replacement unit). I lost 300 men and 22 cannon in this battle, but my opponent lost 3500 men. The White survivors disappeared again.

The biggest surprise was the direct strike on Helsinki. A corps of 5 regular battalions under General Wilkama (who had probably moved unnoticed in the deep woods along Lake Paijanne to avoid the defences of Tampere) took the undefended city of Lahti and laid siege to the capital. Helsinki was lightly defended by 2 militia battalions, 2 armored trains, and 4 light artillery batteries. Its defence is crucial, and I threw all available troops into the battle from Viipuri, Turku, and Tampere. Wilkama retreated after a short rear-guard battle and vanished from the map too.

On the 15th, I learn that the White Government asked assistance of Germany, who will send an expeditionary corps to Finland. This is a dangerous foreign policy option: if they win, the Whites will bind Finland politically, economically, and militarily to Germany. (In game terms, my opponent suffered a loss in victory points).

I form new militia battalions in expectation of the hard battles to come.


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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Turn 8 and 9 – May 1918

I cannot see any enemy unit on the map. Hard to guess where the next big hit will come from. I move Rahja and his Russian Sailors back to Helsinki but he received the orders too late (he is inactivated this turn). Anyway, Moscow eventually withdrew all Soviet units in the end of May, removing both the Sailors and the 106th Inf. Division, my biggest unit.
Well, in spite of emotional bonds of revolutionary solidarity, I must admit that –as a real Finnish patriot– I was embarrassed by the accusation that Red power in Finland only exists due to foreign bayonets.

Fully aware of my relative weakness, the White immediately launched a renewed offensive. The German expeditionary force (17000 regulars) made an amphibious landing at Turku where it was rejoined by Wilkama’s corps. The garrison was crushed. Pori, the other port of the west coast, was lost too. In a clever concerted plan, Manneheim himself led an attack on Tampere with elite infantry. His attack was repelled with heavy causalities on both sides after 3 days of bitter fighting (I lost 4300 men and my opponent lost 1800 men in the biggest battle of the war). I obviously failed in my plan to attract the White on Sortavala, far from Helsinki.

The Revolution is slowly losing support (-5 EP and Morale for the loss of Turku).

This time I pressed into service all the available conscripts, building the 4 last militia units possible (to a total of 20).


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Nibelung44
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RE: Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by Nibelung44 »

Many thanks!
PaulWRoberts
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RE: Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Turn 10 and 11 – June 1918

Mannherheim and his Swedish volunteers attack Tampere again, where they are joined by the German corps. Rahja tries to force the blockade but is repulsed. Due to poor coordination, Svechnikov makes his sortie too late and faces the huge (35,000 strong) Finno-German army alone.

Needless to say, he suffered a heavy defeat, losing 3/4 of his men and his two armored trains (as well as -1 National Morale for my side).

The last defenders of Tampere destoy their airbase to avoid its capture, now unavoidable.

Tampere fell on the 16th of June after two days of fierce close-quarters combat. An infamous day for the Revolution (-10 Engagement Points),





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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Unfortunately, on the 23rd, the isolated position of Kuopio fell as well to a massive assault of 12,000 White Guards (-5 EP).

Manner’s corps left Sortavala to return to Helsinki but met an unexpected enemy position in the woods of Amatra and had to retreat back.

The only good point came from Rahja, who re-took Turku without a fight (+5 EP) and seized the German transport fleet at anchor.

Popular support for war is dwindling rapidly in the country. My National Morale has fallen to 89 (production and cohesion are decreased by 5%). Average civilian loyalty in some areas has fallen to 6%.

Actually, the German intervention and the Soviet pull-out completely changed the equation. I’m now overwhelmed by the Whites and forced to take a fully defensive stand. I fortify Helsinki with all my remaining war supplies. (I even buy a “position batteries” casemate.)
nicwb
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RE: Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by nicwb »

Thanks Paul Roberts - this AAr has inspired me to re-try the demo game
PaulWRoberts
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RE: Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Turn 12 and 13 – July 1918

The Whites have concentrated their offensive in two directions: Sortvala and Helsinki.

Sortavala was stormed on the 6th of July, but Manner resisted. It was a tight-run affair, though, as the Red militia showed worrying signs of cowardice and 200 men surrendered.

Helsinki is a harder nut to crack (23,000 men and 205 cannons). The Finno-German army has begun a siege but has not tried an assault yet.


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PaulWRoberts
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RE: Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by PaulWRoberts »

ORIGINAL: nicwb

Thanks Paul Roberts - this AAr has inspired me to re-try the demo game


I'm glad to hear it!

There are more AARs at the AGEOD forums, if you're interested.
PaulWRoberts
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RE: Finnish Civil War, another AAR for RUS

Post by PaulWRoberts »

Turn 14 and 15 – August 1918

Rahja takes advantage of the captured fleet to make a landing at Vaasa in the hope of distracting the Whites from the capital. (The German fleet itself is busy bombarding Helsinki.) Undefended Turku is lost again, but the siege of Sortavala is lifted after two weeks.

So I still control Helsinki, Sortavala and Viipuri.


Turn 16 and 17 – September 1918


On 6 September, the Germans launch a large assault on Helsinki but are repulsed with heavy losses.

The game ends on a stalemate. The next government of Finland will include some Bolshevik ministers. No doubt the debates will be lively. Revolution is only delayed, not beaten!

A nice game. I was obviously seriously hampered by a lack of information about my opponent and by the blazing mediocrity of my leaders, but I realized most of my objectives.

So ends the struggle. For now…
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