Defenders of Karelia

Defenders of Karelia
By John Lee

The Finns have a long history with Russia over territory in Karelia belonging to one or the other nation over centuries.  They also share a common 1340km border between the two countries.  To help keep their neutral stance with the Soviet Union on its doorstep, Finland ensured that they purchased much of their military equipment from the Warsaw Pact countries as well as the West and produced their own armaments.  As in World War 2, Finland planned to trade territory for time and grind down any invaders and make them pay.

This would come down to the humble infantry yet again, so we will look at the BTR-60 Jaakari Company formation to build our list around and look to what options historically would be available.  The Finns had a mix of BTR-50s (various versions and modernised) and BTR-60s.  As we only have BTR-60s in the game we will use that but if you wanted to substitute in the BTR-50, you could look to the Fate of A Nation book to get the vehicle stats from the Arab nations.

The formation itself consists of the following units:

  • 1 BTR-60 Jaakari Company HQ

  • 2-3 BTR-60 Jaakari Platoon

  • 0-1 T-72FM1 Armoured Platoon or T-72FM2 Armoured Platoon or T-55M Armoured Platoon

  • 0-1 95 S 58-61 Anti-Tank Platoon

  • 0-1 ITO 78 Anit-Aircraft Missile Platoon

  • 0-1 81mm Mortar Platoon

  • 0-1 120mm Mortar Platoon

As far as equipment is concerned, we are going to use what was mostly available including BTR-60s, T-72FM1s, T-55Ms, ZSU-57-2s and BM-21s.  For air support, the Finns can take Swedish Viggens and HKP 9s.  The Finns had around 38/62 mix of Drakens and Mig-21s.  If you have models of Drakens, you could use them as stand-ins for the Viggens to reflect the Finnish Air Force in the game.  There are no Mig-21s in the game at this stage, so the closest you could use would be SU-17s for maybe a friendly game. 

Considering all this, here is a 100pt list that you could build around the BTR-60 formation backed up by more artillery, AA, and planes:

Defenders of Karelia

This is a solid formation with nine units for the formation break.  Maxed out all three infantry platoons and I upgraded all 55 S 55 anti-tank teams to APILAS to ensure that there are two AT21 teams to defend against assaulting tanks.  Two platoons of tanks represent the most common types (with one in the formation).  The Viggen Attack Group are reflective of the Drakens the Finns had.  Three artillery templates (one a salvo) for SEAD and suppressing enemy infantry teams.   Two AA missile groups to cover each half of the table and one AA gun platoon to provide cover either for tanks or to use against light vehicles or infantry.  This is a defensive force that is likely put together to slow down the enemy's advance trading space for time so you would use the Defend stance meaning you will have to put units in reserve.  The ideal units are the T-72FM1s, Viggens, and either one of the BTR-60 Jaakari platoons or both the T-55M and ZSU-57-2 platoons.

Defenders of Karelia

A more balanced or counter-attacking force would comprise more tanks with mechanised infantry and artillery to support them and would use an attack or probably more of a manoeuvre stance.  To represent this, I would look at taking a formation on T-72FM1s Tanks and BMP-1 Jaakari Infantry.  The Finnish tank inventory was around 163 T-72s and 117 T-55s.  To represent this distribution of tanks, I would make the third platoon in the formation T-55Ms instead of T-72FM1s as you have the option to do so as per the formation structure:

  • 1 T-72FM1 Company HQ

  • 2 T-72FM1 Armoured Platoon

  • 0-1 T-72FM1 Armoured Platoon or T-72FM2 Armoured Platoon or T-55M Armoured Platoon

  • 0-1 BMP-1 Jaakari Platoon

  • 0-1 2S1 Carnation Howitzer Battery

  • 0-1 ZSU-57-2 Anti-Aircraft Platoon

And the BMP-1 Jaakari formation structure is like the BTR-60 formation and comprises the following units:

  • 1 BMP-1 Jaakari Company HQ

  • 1-2 BMP-1 Jaakari Platoon

  • 0-1 BMP-1 Jaakari Platoon or BMP-2 Jaakari Platoon

  • 0-1 T-72FM1 Armoured Platoon or T-72FM2 Armoured Platoon or T-55M Armoured Platoon

  • 0-1 95 S 58-61 Anti-Tank Platoon

  • 0-1 ITO 78 Anit-Aircraft Missile Platoon

  • 0-1 81mm Mortar Platoon

  • 0-1 120mm Mortar Platoon

This 100pt list comprises the two formations alongside taking the Viggens (as Drakens) giving you flexibility on the battlefield to attack or defend:

Defenders of Karelia

Two formations with six units each for the formation break – so it's going to be hard to break this force.  Like the first list around what each unit is there to do – just has more mobility and gives you options to attack or defend then counterattack.  I think that the Maneuverer stance would favour this list the most (depending on what you are facing of course).

A couple of options to consider based on what is available to the Finns at the time.  Happy list building!

~ John

 

 

 

 
Facebook Twitter Instagram
Events Page
Flames Of War
Great War - The World War One Miniatures Game
'Nam - The Vietnam War Miniatures Game
'Fate of a Nation - The Arab-Israeli War Miniatures Game

World War III: Team Yankee
World War III: NATO Forces
World War III: Nordic Forces
World War III: Red Dawn
World War III: West German
World War III: West German
World War III: Soviet
Stripes - US Forces in World War III
World War III: British Landing Page
Oil War: World War III In The Middle East

Team Yankee Forces
Useful Team Yankee Downloads
Flames of War Digital
Launch Weekends