As we have been giving you an insight into the upcoming Yugoslav army a few days ago, here is another one into the second nation being brought to you with the upcoming Double Nation Pack: REDS, Finland.
Therefore, it is due time (ALB-due, according to some 😉 ) to bring the Puolustusvoimat, the Finnish Defence Force (FDF) into the light.
Finnish models are all done, and although we are still working on balancing it, we have already started play-testing Finland as a Wargame nation. By that, we mean that lead game designer Stephan ‘Panzer‘ Hernandez & game designer Félix ‘FLX‘ Habert have been beating the c… out of their unfortunate colleagues (including your humble servant) those previous days, to “test the water” as they say.
According to those experts, Finland’s prima donna will be its “excellent reconnaissance tab“, providing “a wide array of choices, ranging from the very stealthy to the very powerful“. This ‘recon in force’ will be backed up by a strong infantry line-up, “with an emphasis on close quarter” with their trustworthy WW2 Suomi-KP SMG still equipping several units (and not necessarily second-lines ones, like in other nations) and a “large choice of shock troopers & commandos with CQC MG, giving the FDF an uncanny ability at clearing urban areas & woods“. Some kind of Cold War’s wood elves defending their patch of woods, then … 🙂
Another FDF strong suit will be its support tab: even before the Wall fell, Finland had secured import of high-end AA weapon systems from both East & West, granting it a “well furbished & efficient air defense net“. Besides, Finland has always been a major producer (and consummate user itself) of mortars of all shapes & calibers.
The eyes of the army
Finland’s recon tab is a small army by itself, with powerful infantry units, powerful combat vehicles, stealthy and/or very efficient intelligence operator.
True to the FDF tradition or long range recon/raid, its recon infantry will be represented by the all-era Sissi, wielding the famous Suomi-KP SMG, and a late Special Force unit whose name shall strike terror (or at least, confusion) into their enemy’s heart: the Erikoisrajajääkäri. The latter are a 10-man elite recon squad, armed in the SAS/LSTR way, with heavy LAW (APILAS) & MANPAD (Igla), plus a Stallone-approved SMG: the Jatimatic. Both squads are very useful to lay ambush behind enemy lines or hunt & destroy enemy rangers…
With Finland making its (belated) entry into Wargame‘s universe, we have taken the opportunity to introduce a new unit type: bikers. Or, more exactly, ATV riders, since two-wheels wouldn’t be modeled properly. Thus, the FDF Mönkijä will be a very small & very stealthy jeep, but also more fragile!
Finnish Border Guards will also bring their contribution to the recon tab, in the form of patrol helicopters: the antiquated Alouette II and the much more modern JetRanger, the latter being loaded with night & thermal vision, radar equipment,… hence being granted Exceptional optics ingame.
Finally, the Finland fields several combat vehicles for ‘recon in force’: aside from the ubiquitous PT-76B and a more unusual recon BMP-1 TJJ, the FDF can rely on a late uparmored engineer T-55M Pionpsv & a prototype BMP-1KT armed with… a deadly Bushmaster II 30mm autocannon.
The guerilla army
As mentioned before, the Finnish infantry line-up may be regarded as quite strong, with two variants of elite naval commandos (Rannikkojääkäri), several choices of shock armored riflemen (Panssarijääkäri) & Guards light infantry (Kaartinjääkäri), all of them CQC specialists, plus regular riflemen (Jääkäri). Reserve infantry (Nostoväki) will be another novelty in Wargame: being armed with the WW2 iconic Lahti 20mm anti-tank rifle, they were re-rolled after a few tests from militia 10-man rifle squad to… militia 5-man FIST squad.
Lacking an ATGM squad in early games, Finland was thus (notwithstanding the Nostoväki mentioned above) entitled to a FIST squad: it will come in the form of the Raskassinkoryhmä squad’s Musti 95mm RCL. Later, the PstOhj 82M (Konkurs) and the prototype PstOhj 94 (Spike-MR) teams will give the FDF some better anti-tank options.
Finally, Finnish infantry will include the usual command squad and MANPADs (ITO 78 & ITO 86M).
Never without my mortar!
The Finnish army could be defined by its mortars: it seems like you can’t flip a coin out there without it falling back in the tube of one of those weapons! The Israeli Makmat‘s 160mm heavy mortar actually mounts the Finnish M-66 Soltam. Thus it is only fair for them to field it too (TelaKrH 66), supported by other 82mm & 120mm calibers. The other tube artillery, howitzers, include 122mm PSH 74 (Gvozdika) & 152mm TELAK 91 (2S5 Giatsint-S, a missing Soviet artillery gun so far).
The FDF artillery also field a powerful MLRS choice, with RAKH 76 (BM-21), RAKH 89 (RM-70) & RAKH 91 (BM-27) providing heavy fire support with either HE, napalm or cluster ordnances.
Then we have the air defense … Although lackluster in the early 80’s (Neva, ZSU-57-2 & truck-mounted ZSU-23-2 Sergei), it enjoys a major upgrade in the late 80’s/early 90’s, thanks to import contracts secured with both the West & the USSR: ITO 96 (Buk-M) & ITO 90 (improved Crotale NG launcher mounted on a XA-185 chassis) for SAMs ; ITPSV Marksman (improved Marksman turret on T-55 chassis) & the evilly sly Sergei Mod for SPAAGs. The latter, although still looking like a mere truck-mounted ZSU-23-2, should not be taken lightly: being the most expensive upgrade ever for such a weapon system, it transforms this little gun truck into a formidable killer! Still very fragile, this little spider leaves no chance to a chopper entering its web, and even planes have learned to fear it.
Hell on wheels
Finland’s vehicle tab will include a wide array of wheeled vehicle choice. As Sisu Pasi‘s home country, it was to be expected that the XA-180 APC is very widely represented in the FDF, in many roles: APC (XA-180, XA-185, …), IFV (XA-185KRKK with AGS-17, prototype XA-185KT with Bushmaster II), SAM (ITO 90), ATGM carrier (Pstpsajon), command,…
Unlike Yugoslavia, Finland’s motorized deck might prove very powerful, with a more lackluster mechanized one (ATGM-less BMP-1 & BMP-2).
Regarding tanks, Finland doesn’t have as many than other country, but they are reliable T-55 & T-72, locally upgraded. FLX refers to them as “glass cannons“, with pretty good accuracy and AP but less “heavy” ones than other nations. Yet, the FDF can count on the prototype major upgrade T-72M1MOD, which could be regarded as the illegitimate son of a T-80U & Leclerc.
Plus… they had StuG III, named Sturmi, in their inventory up to the mid-70! 🙂
FDF has some very powerful assets (infantry, recon, …) but suffer from some handicaps: being bound by the 1947 Treaty of Paris, it is forbidden to own AGM missiles or cluster ordnances for its planes. Nor does the FAF have SEAD missiles at its disposal. Yet, the FAF doesn’t lack in bombers and air superiority fighters.
Another bad spot of the Finnish inventory lies with its choppers. Although it owns some late HH-10 (TOW Defender), most of the (few) FDF gunship are Mi-8 hastily rigged with planes’ rocket launchers or cannon pods.
To conclude, from our tests the FDF has been several times compared to a “REDFOR France“, with an emphasis on highly mobile wheeled vehicles, good infantry & glass cannons (by REDFOR standard: we’re talking T-72 glass cannons here, not AMX-30!).
Previews on Twitch next week!
FLX & Alexis will be on Twitch next week to showcase the news armies :
-Monday 21st: FINLAND
-Thursday 24th: YUGOSLAVIA