Well, you wait ages for the Axis Allies to arrive in FoW v4 and then they arrive in a mighty rush!
Alongside the Late War Bagration Axis-Allies we have also been gifted with a mid war supplement White Death for the Finnish army. So, following on from Coxers preview of the new late war book, I’ve had a look at what they are like in Mid War.
First up what do you get in the box? Well, like all the small booklet type supplements, you get a shortish, in this case 28 page, booklet which is basically the same number of pages as they occupy in Axis-Allies. You get a deck of 18 Command Cards and the Unit Cards in one handy package.
The booklet, like its late war brethren, has an excellent background section covering everything from the end of the Winter War, June 1941, through to the cessation of offensive operations in June 1943. You get all the usual sections, National Rules, Know Your Tanks/Infantry, the Forces, Catalogue information and Basing Guide; pretty much everything you really need.
The Forces are a bit different to Late War.There is still only the three Formations but now we have two infantry formations and just the one tank formation. There is also a shuffling of options between the formation units and the Support units, most notably the Armoured AA moves in to the Armoured formation and the 120mm mortars move out of the Infantry Companies and into Support. Pioneers replace Scouts in the Support options with the later becoming a command card upgrade; more on those later.
The Support diagram remains fairly static with just the Late War options being removed like the Soviet 152mm artillery. Obviously there are some points revisions, mainly in an upward direction as we are now in the mid war period, but equipment wise there isn’t that much change. A nice addition is the return of the Fokker CX (I’m rather a fan of biplanes); armed with 250kg bombs and a trained rating, it is well worth considering adding into a Force thanks to its low cost.
Unlike in Late War, you can’t take any German equipment in this formation now, even using Command Cards, but the organisation now includes the Armoured AA platoon as an integral platoon to the formation, making it more useful. You still only get two teams in the platoon though.
Some units in the formation are also affected by a new rule, Small Numbers; this works a bit like the Limited rule but in this case it also prevents the use across multiple formations in a force. For example, your force can only have a single T-34 platoon.
In total, the most you can spend on an armoured formation is 67 points, so you can combine it with an infantry formation to make a strong combined arms two-formation force (this is the same for the Italians in MW). A nice option is to field a lone KV-1 tank; it’s not cheap but two are the same price as a lone Tiger in MW.
Next up is the Infantry Company. This is a bit different to the Late War version as you can’t take Pazerfausts and Panzershreks now, meaning the Close Defence platoon is no longer available as an AT option. This leaves the anti-tank to the two-team 37mm or 45mm AT platoon. You can now have a fourth infantry platoon as either SMG’s (with enhanced combat ability) or Light Infantry (cheaper with better Tactics) and there are no Scouts either, as well as the already mentioned change to the 120mm mortar unit.
Light Infantry Company
This is the main change between the two periods and this is an interesting formation. Whilst it follows the same organisation as the Infantry Company it has some subtle differences.
The Light Infantry Platoons have everything they need to be self sufficient force but you will need to add the Maxim HMG if you want to stop a Soviet Rifle Battalion; being RoF1 and slow firing rifle teams will seriously limit your chances of stopping a Strelkovy Battalion, even with a full nine-team platoon. You also get integral 50mm mortars which will be handy for taking out supporting Soviet Maxim and PTRD teams. You also benefit from the Crafty Tactics Rating and are a little bit cheaper overall.
I’ve mentioned a couple of these and most of them are things we have seen before in other mid-war books, but I will preview just two of them for you.
Forward Scouts is a way to get a large Infantry scouting unit, making them even harder to hit as they move into position, without the usual penalty of poor Assault Ratings given to scout platoons.
The other is Sissi Tactics. As you can apply this to any formation, it is well worth considering it. It might take a bit of effort to set up properly, to use it to the maximum advantage, but it lasts through out the whole turn, meaning you could do a follow me forward with the HQ and then benefit from it for a Shoot and Scoot order in the shooting step on a unit you have moved near to. The 8″/20cm range is also a boon, being larger than your standard command range.
Well that’s my look at White Death the Finnish for Mid War. Overall, its a really nice supplement with lots of flavour and the fact that these come as a job lot of book and cards is a great. Overall, if you are thinking of playing Finns and investing in a single army, then a competitive army is playable in both periods with the infantry, and all the models for both periods come in the new figure packs.
Oh, and in case you missed it, the Finns are metal models still!