Another Bolt Action gaming day at the club. This time we had four scenarios run by games masters: Burma Road, Operation Market Garden, El Alamein and Portinhoikka. For a change, I wasn't running any of the games and instead just took part in the Portinhoikka game.
|Operation Market Garden|
|A platoon of British paratroopers had to hold out against a larger German force.|
|In the end, the Germans outflanked the British paras and overwhelmed their positions.|
|Burma road. Commonwealth forces composed of Chindits and Gurkhas had to make a breakthrough along the road in a night attack.|
|Japanese forces lurk in the jungle.|
|Gurkhas lead the Commonwealth assault.|
|A Japanese soldier lies in ambush - in the end, the Japanese managed to counter-attack the Chindits and block any attempts of a breakthrough.|
|El Alamein: The Germans attempt to breach the British lines|
The most spectacular and the largest game was a custom-made scenario of the battle of Portinhoikka, where Soviet 45th Guard armoured division attempts to capture a crucial cross-roads from the Finns in the Karelian isthmus in June 1944. Historically, the assault was stopped by a Finnish armoured counter-attack.
|Portinhoikka cross-roads as viewed from the south (Soviet deployment zone)|
|Finnish blocking forces have taken positions at the cross-roads|
The Soviet advance was preceded by a small armoured reconnaissance detachment (non-historically a BA-10 armoured car and T-26 obr 1931 light tank), which pushed forward aggressively. The Finnish PaK-40 anti-tank gun at the crossroads opened up prematurely and gave away their positions. The BA-10 reacted quickly and put the gun out of action with a lucky shot. The reconnaissance elements then radioed in the positions of the Finnish forces (removed "hidden" status). The Finns took their vengeance by taking out the BA-10 with accurate mortar fire, but this was little consolation for the lost anti-tank gun.
|Soviet reconnaissance moves forward aggressively|
Soon, the Soviet main force started to push forward en-masse. Three T-34/85 tanks and a platoon of infantry raced forward. The Finns had advanced with a squad of infantry, which opened fire on the attacking Soviets and distracted their advance. However, this was only a minor hiccup and soon the Finnish squad was routed and the main forces at the crossroads were struggling to hold their positions. Help was urgently needed!
|The Soviet main force arrives|
|Finnish forward positions just before being overwhelmed.|
|Finnish reserves race to the rescue|
|Soviet tanks try to hold the cross-roads long enough for the infantry to secure it|
|Finnish tanks knocked out|
The Soviet tanks were busy congratulating themselves when a new threat appeared - two StuGs rumbled onto the battlefield from the east. The StuGs quickly flanked the disoriented Soviet tanks
and knocked one out. By this time, the Soviets had received further reinforcements in the form of two more T-34/85s and a platoon of infantry. The reinforcements were desperately needed, as the Soviet first wave had become bogged down just south of the crossroads due to losses and withering fire. The StuGs had advanced too far without support and were assaulted by Soviet infantry near the crossroads. One of the Stugs was quickly despatched and the other was forced to retreat. With a shout, the Soviet infantry raced forward and stormed the crossroads. This was too much for the Finns, who turned tail and ran. Victory for the Soviets!
|Finnish Stugs outflank the Soviet tanks|
|Tanks are burning|
|Soviet infantry captures the cross-road. The price has been high for both sides.|