Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Lard Day Plan B - Bag the Hun Winter War

The Plan B option for Come and Have a Go if you Think You're Hard Enough 2 or just Lard Day 2 as I prefer to call it, is to run a couple of games of Bag the Hun, in a similar style to this year's event. I have a number of options here, both 'off the shelf' using my existing painted aircraft or requiring a bit more preparation. I thought about the scenario I was originally going to run this year, a mid-war RAF versus Luftwaffe affair over the Channel Islands, but that doesn't really appeal. So I've decided to go for a 'starting from scratch' option, which is the Winter War or 'Blue Swastika Rampant'*

This would require a new hex terrain cloth or board to start with, which I may have a go at producing myself, and also 1/285th scale aircraft for both the Finnish and Soviet forces. Luckily, I have these already stashed away, having gathered them together over several years from various sources. These are a combination of Raiden Miniatures, Scotia Collectair and Museum Miniatures planes, which together are sufficient to equip a sizeable fighter, bomber and reconnaissance force for the Soviets and a decent fighter force for the Finns.

The games I plan to run would be primarily bomber interception missions for the Finns, as this typified the conflict, but with some fighter vs fighter dogfighting also featuring to make the scenarios more exciting. Toward the end of the war, there were several dogfight engagements between Soviet I-16's and I-153's, clashing with Finnish Fokker DXXI's, Gloster Gladiators and Fiat G50's. A number of good examples of this sort of thing occurred in February 1940:

(On the 13th February)...'whilst six Gladiators tangled with I-153's north of Lake Ladoga, nine SB's of 39.SBAP arrived in the midst of the dogfight just as WO Lautamaki and his wingman SSgt Tuominen joined the battle. With the escorts busy fighting the bulk of LLv26, the two Finns attacked the bombers without interference and shot down five of them in quick succession.'

'(On 25th February) 'LLv 26 was in the thick of the action sending three Gladiators to drive off R-5 artillery fire-control aircraft, escorted by six I-153's from 13.OIAE. After downing four 'spotting' aircraft, two Gladiators were in turn lost and a third damaged in a forced landing following combat with the I-153's.'

'On 26th February 1st Lt Puhakka, leading a formation of three G.50's sent to intercept fighters and bombers south of Kouvola, shot down an I-16 flying FA-4, whilst his wingman, 2nd Lt Linnamaa, destroyed a DB-3.' 

(from Osprey Publishing's Finnish Aces of World War 2)

There's definitely some scope for decent scenarios in these three engagements, with quite a lot of flexibility to juggle the numbers, the scenario set up and the objectives, and I'm sure I can find more examples to work on too. There's even greater potential in the first phase of the subsequent Continuation War but for me this isn't as appealing as the Winter War, which in many ways resembled a Finnish equivalent of the Battle of Britain. 

I'm really enthusiastic about working on a series of two or three games as a result and I'll give this some more thought over the Summer before I make up my mind.  

* from the Toofatlardies Xmas Special 2005

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