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Destroyed train Guerrilla Train Raids
by Mike Haught and Wayne Turner

The partisan and raiding war that took place behind enemy lines during World War II is a passion of mine. When Battlefront first released the SAS and LRDG raid missions for Flames Of War, I was instantly excited to play them. Shortly thereafter, Wayne published this fantastic train attack mission for partisans on the East Front.
I picked this mission to feature because it is a perfect example of a mission for the Finnish
Kaukopartiojoukot (deep reconnaissance troops) briefing as seen in Wargames Illustrated Issue 269 or in the link below.

Learn about the Finnish Kaukopartiojoukot here...

Destroyed train Derailing the Enemy War Machine

One very effective way to disrupt an enemy’s war plans is to cut their vital railroad lines and destroy their supplies. Trains were a target for all of the major partisan and guerrilla operations in World War II, including Byelorussia, Finland, Russia, France, Yugoslavia, Italy and Poland.

Cutting the railway caused the Germans and Soviets no end of trouble. They had to commit a significant police force to defend the railroads and keep the lines open.

Regular troops like the Finnish Kaukopartiojoukot (long-range scout patrols) managed to cut the Murmansk railway on several occasions, depriving the enemy of vital supplies destined to support the Soviet offensive in Finland. A raid on the railroad could be done at night with a small force, making it an ideal mission for a group of guerrilla fighters. Machine-gun wagon
Radio team There were several tactics that could effectively disrupt enemy trains. One such method was to plant a pressuresensitive bomb under the rail tracks so when the heavy locomotive passed overhead, the mine would detonate and derail the train. A small guerrilla force could set the charge and be long gone by the time the train was derailed.

The main disadvantage of this tactic was that it only delayed the enemy. The supplies eventually made it through, so the sabotage generally had a small impact on enemy operations.

However, if a raiding force was strong enough it could launch a follow-up assault on the train and destroy the supplies rather than just delay them.

The attack on the train would be preceded by the demolition of the rail line, embankment, bridge or tunnel. Sometimes they would place wreckage on the railroad to stop the train. With the trap set, the raiders would lie in wait until the train approached and stopped.

Then, the fighters sprang into action, taking the train by surprise and destroying as much of the cargo as possible before melting away.

The defenders were not completely helpless. As the guerrilla war progressed, the Germans and Soviets armed their trains with weapons carriages and posted small garrisons of troops to defend the train. When threatened, the troops would quickly deploy and defend the train from the raiders.
Defending the train
This made it very important for the guerrillas to hit the train quickly before the enemy could react. Sometimes the raiding forces would launch faint attacks to keep the pressure on the train guards, so that by the time the train had managed to clear several false blocks, the enemy troops were worn out and slower to react. Then the raiders would launch a major assault against the unsuspecting enemy.
Beating off the raiders
In Flames Of War

This Train Attack mission is ideal for all raiding forces, not just the Kaukopartiojoukot. Feel free to play Train Attack with any of your Raiding forces for Flames Of War.

Download a PDF of The Train Attack scenario here, it also includes Mike modeling guide for a machine-gun wagon...
The Train Attack Scenario Mike's modeling guide for his machine-gun wagon

Last Updated On Thursday, July 15, 2010 by Blake at Battlefront