General de Brigade scenario details are here.
Setup for the game.
Russian forces occupy Suurkylä (Lapua proper) on lower left and Liuhtari on lower right as well as crossroads inside the forest east of Liuhtari. Finnish forces start advancing from north. 4th brigade skirmishes through the woods towards SE and 2nd brigade trundles through the rye fields towards Suurkylä.
Russian troops guarding the crossroads in the forest. Troops at Liuhtari and Suurkylä can be seen beyond.
2nd brigade gets an order to carry on an assault to the Lapua church on the south side of the river. Forward elements of 3rd brigade enter the battlefield.
Colonel Gripenberg of the 3rd brigade doesn’t immediately understand the new orders he receives so his troops just keep on entering the battlefield while 2nd and 4th brigades keep on advancing. Russian CIC Major General Rajevski rides to the calvary commander to give him new orders.
Having ridden to CIC Adlercreutz to ask about the new orders, Gripenberg finally understands what is required of his 3rd brigade which is ordered to support the left (eastern) flank of 2nd brigade. Meanwhile front battalions of 2nd brigade start accumulating casualties from Russian jaeger and artillery fire.
1st battalion of Pori regiment deploys in skirmish order while 2nd gets pounded by the artillery. The Russian artillery just north of Suurkylä limbers up and prepares to move to new positions. On the other end of battlefield Russian artillery at Liuhtari opens up against the 4th brigade’s artillery.
Russian jaegers slow the advance on 2nd brigade so enthusiastically that they find out that they have nearly exhausted their ammunition supply.
CIC Adlercreutz receives a report that Russian movement has been seen in the vicinity of Alapää farm (just barely visible on the left) and 2nd brigade is ordered to halt to the brook while this new flank threat is investigated. The 2nd brigade’s artillery hastily deploys in order to shoot at the moving Russian guns but in vain. Karelian dragoons guarding the 4th brigade’s artillery venture carelessly too far and immediately the Russian artillery at Liuhtari switches targets to score some casualties.
2nd brigade’s colonel von Döbeln manages to convince the CIC that no enemies pose threat from the west and he gets the permission to continue the attack and the lead elements of Pori brigade once again cross the brook. Main parts of 1st brigade enter the battlefield and 4th brigade slowly advances in the forest by skirmishing. After having witnessed the long range effect of artillery fire on Karelian dragoons as well as the deployment of 4th brigade’s artillery just opposite them, the Russian hussars wisely decide to deploy in skirmish order. But even thus they are hit from the Finnish artillery fire.
Half battalions of 4th brigade advance in the skirmish order. Karelian jaegers in foreground and three Savo Infantry battalions in the back.
After the short delay the Finnish attack towards Suurkylä begins anew.
While Russian artillery pounds mercilessly against 2nd brigade the 4th brigade’s artillery manage to score another hit on the Russian hussar squadron which disperses. 1st brigade gets orders to assault Suurkylä from the right flank of 2nd brigade.
The 2nd brigade’s lead elements slowly advance towards Suurkylä, but face continuous Russian artillery fire.
the 3rd brigade is slowly catching the leading 2nd brigade whose left flank they should be protecting.
The numerous but small battalions of 3rd brigade try to keep up with the 2nd brigade’s advance.
The remaining Russian hussars decide to move behind the big storehouse so that 4th brigade’s artillery can’t hit them. As they enter canister range the 1st Pori battalion notices why trading skirmish fire against artillery fire might not always be that good a trade off…
Häme jaegers finally engage the enemy but after firing their first salvo they notice that they apparently weren’t supplied with enough ammunition when they marched off to battle.
The 4th brigade is finally about to reach the Russian defense line.
Russians limber up the easternmost artillery section near Suurkylä. All Russian fire during this turn was totally ineffective.
Front elements of 1st brigade reach the other brigades -major Reutercrona and a squadron of Uusimaa Dragoons near a barn.
Russian 23rd jaegers deploy outside Suurkylä to pose flank threat to advancing Pori battalions.
Hardly surprisingly the charge of 2nd Pori battalion falters as they receive canister from the front and an enfilading infantry volley. The 3rd brigade maneuvers for supporting assault but the brigade commander is unable to understand CIC’s orders for 3rd turn in a row. In the forest 4th brigade finally catches up with the retreating Russian skirmish line and a firefight ensues.
Stubborn Gripenberg finally understands that he is to attack and sends two battalions against the Kaluga musketeers. However the fire of the Russians stops the advance of the larger Häme battalion. Nearby the Russian hussar squadron incredibly manages to reform from the skirmish formation. Just outside Suurkylä Pori 3rd battalion charges the 23rd jaegers while Uusimaa Dragoons charges the flank of the same unit forcing the Russians to maneuver back to the village.
Kaluga musketeers push back the smaller charging Häme battalion.
The uncoordinated Finnish attack starts to grind down to a halt in a great confusion. Will the small elements of 1st brigade reach Suurkylä in time to make a difference?
Russian vanguard skirmishers and 23rd jaegers put up a grim defense for Suurkylä. Russian gun section has deployed in new positions on the south side of Lapua river.
Kaluga regiment follows up the beaten Häme battalion but clashes into the larger, now disordered, Häme battalion that wasn’t able to complete their charge earlier on. Pori battalions charge the guns and Suurkylä but both are stopped by Russian fire.
von Döbeln urges his battalions to charge once again enemy positions…
…but Pori battalions just butt their heads against the steadfast Russians.
4th brigade is heavily engaged with Russian skirmishers in the forest.
Having driven the Kaluga musketeers away the disordered 1st Häme battalion is now charged by the hussars lead by the Russian cavalry commander in a desperate charge who is wounded by the disorganized salvo the Finns manage to fire. Uusimaa battalion pushes forward in order to be able to charge the flank of the guns next turn. Once again receiving canister the 2nd Pori battalion breaks causing the rest of the brigade break as well.
The Finnish attack has now completely lost its cohesion.
The Russian resistance at Suurkylä has proven to be much stronger than anticipated.
The broken 2nd brigade retreats as does the Häme 1st battalion, but the hussars that just keep on pursuing the latter. The Uusimaa battalion’s charge to the artillery’s flank causes the artillerymen to run for their lives and abandon their guns. The 3rd Turku battalion fires a volley while advancing towards Suurkylä. The artillery duel between the 4th brigades guns and Russian guns at Liuhtari finally yield results as the Russians manage to destroy the 4 ponder howitzers with a direct hit.
The broken 2nd brigade retreats from the front.
Having broken the Häme 1st battalion the hussars retreat to their own lines. 3rd Turku battalion charges Suurkylä driving the defending Russians away. The retreating Russians draw fire from all nearby Finns which disperses the unit.
Finns finally manage to drive the Russians from Suurkylä, but the casualties have been extremely high.
Russian jaegers flee over the bridge.
2nd brigade gets new orders to attack Liuhtari. 1st brigade occupies Suurkylä and 3rd brigade keeps on pushing towards the church on the south side of Lapua river.
Häme jaegers are the first to cross the bridge.
2nd Uusimaa battalion trundles across the bridge while skirmishing Häme battalions shoot enough artillerymen to disable half of the Russian gun section.
When the Finns charge their flank the few remaining Russian artillerymen turn their gun and hastily fire canister against the onrushing Finns. The badly mauled 2nd Uusimaa battalion isn’t able to complete its charge even with the brigade commander desperately leading it. The whole 3rd brigade breaks because of this.
3rd brigade is retreating after breaking and the Russian are just barely holding their ground. Unfortunately the Finns really don’t have the fresh forces to launch any further attacks. In the forest the Russians in closed order advance slowly along the road and drive the skirmishing Finns somewhat backward.
Thus while Finns did manage to drive the Russians away from Suurkylä they had been so badly mauled due to disorganized attack and continuous Russian shelling that further attacks would’ve most likely resulted in the whole army breaking.
Additional historical tidbits and such
The Finnish army had actually been in the area for over a week but CIC Klingspor was too hesitant to order his troops to engage the enemy as he was extremely worried about his flanks and retreat route. He was rather hesitant and wanted to have more troops even though he had the vast majority of Finnish army at his disposal. But he had, for once, decided to engage the enemy. Finally when he started moving closer towards Lapua he left bigger and smaller detachments to guard strategic crossroads etc.
On July 13th the troops partaking the attack were quartered at Kauhava some 18 kilometers north of Lapua with vanguard of the half battalion of Karelian jaegers and 20 dragoons much closer to Lapua under lieutenant colonel Aminoff. Already around 3 or 4 AM the vanguard was attacked by Russians and the rest of the 4th brigade was sent to help the vanguard around 5 AM and the Russians had to give ground Karelian jaegers started pushing towards Lapua along the forested road.
Pushing towards Lapua was slow going however as the terrain was quite severe and had plenty of marshes and rocks in the quite dense forest. Around 7 AM the Russian resistance stiffened and their forces now consisted of 1,5 companies of Veliki-Loutsk, 1 company of Kaluga and 1 battalion of 26th jaeger regiments which halted the advance of Karelian jaegers. Adlercreutz who was the operational CIC commanded the attack to continue and when 4th brigade reached the vanguard the two battalions of Savo jaegers replaced Karelian jaegers in the front. The attack was personally led by the brigade chief Colonel count Cronstedt but even then the advance was slow. When the remaining Finnish troops arrived to the area the impatient and brave colonel von Döbeln of 2nd brigade wanted to speed up the advance and suggested that his troops should replace the Savo jaegers in the front so that progress could be made. But these insisted that this was not possible as it was their special role as jaegers to engage enemy skirmishers. Finally Adlercreutz strengthened the engaged troops with both battalions of Savo infantry regiment as well as the 3 pounder guns and this quickened the attack to such a pace that according to Adlercreutz the troops on the road almost couldn’t keep the same pace as the fighting troops. The rye fields north of Lapua were finally reached around 4 PM.
The Russian troops were organized in very wide formation along the Lapua river and eastward from it guarding the trails coming form the north. For example out of the 14th brigade 1 battalion of Petrov musketeer regiment and the brigade’s artillery are deployed some 2 kilometers east of Liuhtari guarding a crossroads. These units historically didn’t participate to the battle.
The 2nd brigade advanced towards Suurkylä, but as Adlercreutz received intel that Russian troops had been sighted in the vicinity of Alapää farm to the west, he ordered the 2nd brigade to halt their advance and sent 3rd brigade to engage the threat. However this information was false and apparently caused by some enemy shots being mistakenly perceived to have come from that direction. Meanwhile the 2nd brigade was taking battering from the rye field filled with enemy jaegers as well as their artillery and casualties started to accumulate even though troops were lying in the ditches of the field. It is said that the large Swedish royal storehouse in the field had been used to hide a Russian artillery section.
Apparently the officers of the brigade’s detached jaeger platoons were quite frustrated by the turn of the events and decided that they might as well die somewhat closer to the enemy instead of getting killed in the miserable ditches. Thus with a hurrah they dashed towards the enemy followed by the rest of the brigade with von Döbeln in tow trying to adjust to the situation and make most out of it. Adlercreutz apparently commented this turn of events by saying that it was unfortunate that those lunatics were let loose.
2n brigade stormed Suurkylä and the Russians just had to give away and retreat towards Liuhtari on both sides of the Lapua river. To help the possible retreat on the south side Russians had built a temporary “bridge” out of twig bundles even though the river wasn’t really that deep there. At the same time, after persistent queries from Major Ehrenrooth who knew the terrain, Adlercreutz finally dispatched troops from the 4th brigade to make their way through the forest to try to cut the Russian retreat route but this was done too late to be successful.
Around 7 PM pressed by the Finns Rajevski ordered his troops to withdraw eastward and while they retreated the village of Liuhtari started to burn and with it the apparently large number of Russian wounded located within. It is unclear that who started the fire. Finns blame Russians that wanted to cover their retreat with no regard of the lives of their wounded and the Russians claim that it was the locals that burned their own houses. The latter seems quite unlikely as why would the poor locals burn their own houses just when the Russians were leaving their village? However it is possible that the locals had tried to burn the temporary bridge to hinder the Russian retreat and that the fire spread to the village from there.
After some 13 hours of fighting the Finnish troops were quite exhausted and didn’t have much energy to pursue the retreating Russians who during the night retreated to Tiistenjoki some 14 kilometers southeast of Liuhtari.
Casualties on Swedish side were 20 dead, 140 wounded and 11 missing. 94 of the casualties were from the Pori regiment. On Russian side the total casualties were around 150 men and an unknown number of wounded that burned in Liuhtari. Also Finns took some 50 Russians as prisoners as well as liberated some 30 captured Finns. Swedes and Finns regard this battle as a big victory for their forces and it certainly boosted morale of the troops and captured a strategic crossroads to them but the Russians have a tendency to ignore the whole fight as insignificant.
Scenario specific special rules:
Vanguard (brigade screen) in the forest: 1 company of Kaluga (from 14th brigade), 1 battalion of 26th jaeger and 1,5 companies of Veliki-Loutsk regiments.
In Suurkylä area: 5th brigade; Kaluga musketeer battalion, 23rd jaeger battalion (parts of these units acting as brigade screen in the rye field) and 3 pdr section. The rest of the brigade’s artillery in front of the crown storehouse.
Between Suurkylä and Liuhtari: Russian cavalry squadrons.
In Liuhtari: 21st brigade; Veliki-Loutsk regiment (minus the 1,5 companies of the vanguard) and the 6 pdr battery. On a knoll slightly east is the 3 pdr battery. Non-skirmishing portion of 26th jaegers are guarding the 1st crossroads east of Liuhtari.
East of Liuhtari: 14th brigade: Petrov musketeer battalion is guarding the 2nd crossroads east of Liuhtari and one company is somewhat northwards. The remaining battalion of Petrov musketeer regiment is guarding the 3rd crossroads and has one company detached to somewhat to the north. The brigade’s artillery is at the crossroads. The latter didn’t take part to the battle historically and were some 2 kilometers from Liuhtari..
Marching south towards Lapua on a narrow road leading through forest in the following order: 4th brigade (skirmishing with most parts), 2nd brigade, 3rd brigade, 1st brigade
THREAT FROM ALAKYLÄ & THE BURNING OF LIUHTARI
The scenario is best played if the Finns have a CIC and separate brigade commanders, none of whom should have any details of the battle (the Russian units not visible can be deployed hidden and revealed as they are sighted). The Russian sides could be played by a game master.
When 2nd brigade has advanced to the brook line the CIC will receive report that enemy units have been sighted near Alakylä in the west. If he dispatches any troops towards Alakylä these will notice that no such threat exists when they get to within 20 centimeters of Alakylä.
When Russians retreat from Liuhtari the village will start to burn hindering line of sight and making it impossible to enter the village.