Finns vs Russians 1944
Defence of the Bridge across the River ASPE
The day had at first, started like all the others. The sun was beginning to climb over the vast forests of Finland and Cpl Miaka Hellinai was in a good mood. The Reds had crossed the border 3 days ago and had forced there way past the first defence line but had been stopped with some heavy losses. He and the rest of the company that he was attached to had been brought up to the front to act as mobile reserves but it seemed now that they would not be needed. They would get the chance but not today it seemed so he settled in to his coffee.
Having spent so long practicing tactics and fire control it would seem that they did not get the chance to use it.
During the second cup of Acorn coffee the shout went up, the Reds had started another big push and their armour had forced a gap through the line and needed to be stopped and destroyed. As expected they were heading to the bridge across the river ASPE, the bad news was they had a head start and it would be close as to who got there first.Just in the nick of time the Finns made it to the defensive positions that had been recce’d the day before
The plan was simple: 1st and 3rd platoons would support the Jalkavaki infantry around the old logging cabin while the captured BA-10s of the Recce and the 2nd platoon would provide flack screening and protection. Command would stay on the overlooking hill on the friendly side of the river to act as a tactical reserve and to be able to cover with long range fire the open ground to the front of the cabin.
At 10:33hrs the first shot reached out and took the advancing reds by surprise.
Under cover of the forest the Reds had come through. With 2 tank platoons of T34-85 coming through the wood and supported by Su-85’s and KV-85’s who had taken the road they had managed to get within range with out being spotted.
As yet Cpl Miaka Hellinai had not fired a shot but he knew that his time would come.
Hearing a loud roar he saw the German Stukas swoop low over the field and forest to engage the Red KVs.Hearing shot after shot pour from the guns of these planes was a boost to him but it seemed that not one tank was destroyed by the relentless fire. All too soon the reds were on them and the planes would be of no use to the battle.
The long range shooting of the Reds was to be admired as 1st and 3rd platoon received two devastating shots from them reducing them to two platoons of 2. Command ordered that 1st platoon would move forward and attempt to flush the reds from the forest, with the cover being given by 3rd and command from the hill
A brave move which had the desired effect of pushing the Reds from the right side of the battle field to cross the road and onto the left side of the forest. Several T34’s would not follow them but unfortunately nor would 1st platoon who now were no more. Cpl Miaka Hellinai could take some satisfaction as two of the burning reds were down to his shooting
Cpl Miaka Hellinai was now ordered to move to cover the bridge as command and the remaining in tack platoon moved into the left side of the forest to deal with the Reds.
The fearlessness of the Finns meant that they had to be destroyed to the last man and not only enough for them to run away and hide as was the Reds normal manoeuvre.
In these close quarters the Finns knew that a single hit from those devastation 85mm would be the end of them. What was hard for the Reds to do was to hit them though. These were the home forests and they knew how to use them to the best, the Reds on the other hand did not. Although they had better tanks, they did not know how to use them and were hit several times but the Red armour sometimes protected them.
With the Reds pouring more and more armour into the forest it was only a matter of time before there was nothing to be seen above the trees apart from smoke. The Recce had been very lucky and managed to hold off the Su-85’s but that was only due to the extra armour that they had found for the battle – a feat that would never be repeated. 2nd platoon was now also confined to the chapters of history.
Cpl Miaka Hellinai had managed to get another of the dreaded Reds in his sights and had sent the crew to hell but the return fire was too much and his Sturmi was hit several times.The infantry then pushed forward from the defensive position out into the flank of the KV’s and using the newly acquired Panzerschreck used them to great effect
As the Reds fled the battle field the butcher’s bill was looked at. The Sturmi Company was no more.
Cpl Miaka Hellinai thought to himself the bridge had been held and the Reds had been defeated, today, but there were always more reds, there were no more Sturmi’s, there were some in reserve and he would go and get one but the Reds would come again and what would happen tomorrow?