Rising Sun (FW304)

Rising Sun Design Notes
with Wayne Turner

Rising Sun is the latest intelligence handbook for Flames Of War and the fourth book for Early War. It is the first of two books that will cover the fighting in the east centred on the Soviet Union. In a departure from the previous Early War books, where we have handled each theatre in one large volume, this time we decided to divide the fighting between the Soviet Union’s early fighting on the its border in 1939 and 1940, and Operation Barbarossa when the Germans invaded in 1941. Soviet expansion led to wars against Poland and Finland. In the far-east the Soviet Union shared a border with Manchukuo (Manchuria), a puppet-state of Japan and tensions eventually exploded into war 1939 between Japan and the Soviet Union.

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Despite not yet having joined the World War of the western European powers, the Soviet Unions borders were far from quiet in 1939. Soviet forces inside Rising Sun cover troops fighting against Japan in Manchuria, as well those taking part in the invasions of Poland and Finland.
Rising Sun Design Notes
Special rules were quite a challenge in this book. We wanted to impart the feel of the Soviets that we have created in Mid- and Late-war, but also give them the right flavour that reflected their fighting abilities in 1939 and 1940. The Red Army had suffered from Stalin’s political purges of the officer corps, removing many able and experience officers from their ranks. Because of the political nature of the Red Army the Komissars also held substantial power, with officers deferring to them rather than running the risk of the consequences of going against them. This led to military decisions being made by men with little or no military training. To reflect this we introduced a couple of new rules and we have rated them Confident Conscript. The Dual Command rule means that Soviet infantry command teams are also Komissar teams, to reflect the close relationship between the commanding officer and the political Komissar. These teams follow all the rules for Command teams, and Komissar teams. The Close Supervision rule also reflects the need for higher commanders to exercise direct supervision, requiring a Company Command team or Battalion Komissar team to be within command distance of the platoon’s command team to impart a Motivation test re-roll.

The early period is also when the Red Army had the most men at it disposal. To those fighting them the Red Army seemed to have an inexhaustible supply of riflemen to throw against them, describing them as coming in waves. For this we introduce the Wave Attack rule. If a Strelkovy Company is destroyed during a game its positions is marked and the Soviet player has a chance of getting a replacement Strelkovy Company that can arrive behind the old company from the next wave. This makes for some interesting games that present a challenge for both the Soviet player and his opponent.

Rising Sun Design Notes
The Soviets were world leaders in tank development during the 1930s and have a formidable arsenal of tanks at their disposal in 1939 (see page 47 for more detail). You can field these in Rising Sun in three different tank battalions, the Heavy Tankovy Batalon, Light Tankovy Batalon, and Fast Tankovy Batalon. The Heavy Tankovy Batalon lets you field the T-28 and T-35 heavy tanks. These unusual beasts have multiple turrets housing 76mm main guns and machine-guns, and in the case of the T-35 additional 45mm guns. The T-35 heavy tank in particular was such a large compartmentalised vehicle that one section of the crew could often keep fighting on; completely unaware that another section of the vehicle had taken a disabling hit. To reflect this we have introduced the new Land Battleships rules. This rule makes the T-35 hard to knock out completely, converting initial Bailed Out results into Bogged Down and allowing it to keep shooting when Bogged Down. If it is Bailed Out from a second hit, but recovers from its Bogged Down, it can keep moving even though it can’t shoot. Some of you may have noted that the T-35 didn’t enter combat until 1941. However, as a contemporary of the T-28 tank, T-26 light tanks, and BT fast tanks, and the fact it this was available to be used in Poland and Finland if required, we felt it an important and interesting addition to the Soviet forces in Rising Sun.

The other option in the Heavy Tankovy Batalon is the T-28 tank, of which there are three variations available: T-28 obr 1933 with a short 76mm main gun, T-28 obr 1938 with a longer 76mm main guns, and the T-28e (‘e’ meaning: ‘ekranirovannij’ - additional armour) which was also armed with the longer 76mm gun. On the battlefield the T-28 is a formidable sight, it’s a big tank with a central main turret and two forward facing machine-gun turrets.

Rising Sun Design Notes
The mainstay of the Soviet tank forces in 1939 was the T-26 light tank. This Soviet tank based on the British 6-ton tank was made by the thousands in many variations. In a Light Tankovy Batalon you can build companies of 5 to 16 tanks. One of the things we soon discovered in playtesting was the effectiveness of light and fast tanks in large numbers. Their superior 45mm guns (with anti-tank 7 and firepower 4+) made them extremely powerful in large numbers. This ran counter to our experiences with Soviet tanks in Mid and Late War, where larger numbers with less (relatively) powerful guns was less effect, which gives them a bulk points discount. It this case we actually had to turn the points curve around to balance the Tankovy forces in Early War. This means, while you can still get a 16 tank Light Tank Company (which is a historical, but rare, full-strength unit) the best points bang for your buck is around the 8 to 10 tank mark (which is about the average unit size due to loses and breakdowns).

The Fast Tankovy Batalon allows you to field a battalion of BT-5 or BT-7 fast tanks, armed with the same excellent 45mm gun, with the added bonus of good mobility. The Heavy, Light, and Fast tank battalions have a good selection of weapons companies including self-propelled guns, anti-aircraft, flame-tanks and scout tanks. Support platoons include tanks of other types, artillery, infantry and aircraft. The Soviet mobile forces infantry come from the Motostrelkovy Batalon. These infantry forces can either be taken as support for the Tankovy, or as a force of their own with tank support. They get up to two choices of tank support, as well as artillery, sappers, anti-aircraft and aircraft. The Motostrelkovy Company is a strong unit with a Command Komissar team and 18 to 27 Rifle teams. In additions they can add up to two Maksim HMG teams for extra firepower. In the Battalion HQ one to three 45mm obr 1937 anti-tank guns can be added.

Rising Sun Design Notes
The bulk of the Red Army’s infantry are the riflemen of the Strelkovy Batalon. Based around big companies that take advantage of the Wave Attacks rule (see above), they aim to overwhelm the enemy with weight of numbers, making them the true embodiment of Quality of Quantity. They are well supported with excellent weapons companies with regimental 76mm guns, 45mm anti-tank guns, sappers, anti-aircraft, and aircraft. A small flame-thrower platoon is available to attach out to the Strelkovy Companies. Another uniquely Soviet weapon is the Armoured Tractor Detachment. This is purchased with your regimental guns or anti-tank guns and is equipped with T-20 Komsomolyets tractors. These are tank teams and can either be used to tow the guns or can be used as machine-gun tankettes.
Rising Sun Design Notes
The final Red Army battalion in Rising Sun is the Kavalyeriyskiy Polk (Cavalry Regiment). Cavalry has always played an important role in the Red Army dating back the battles of the Russian Civil War. Their mobility across the wide expanses of the Soviet frontier make them ideal troops for fighting in places like Manchuria and Poland. In the fighting during the Nomonhan incident against Japan, the Soviets fought alongside the Mongolian People’s Army, which fielded mostly cavalry forces which were trained and equipped by the Soviets. The Kavalyeriyskiy Polk in Rising Sun can be used to represent both Red Army and Mongolian People’s Army cavalry. A Kavalyeriyskiy Company is smaller than a Strelkovy Company, giving them concentrated firepower and rating them Rifle/MG teams. This is further enhanced with Tachanka machine-gun wagons. Dismounted Kavalyeriyskiy Companies are also available to fight on foot. Additional Tachankas can be found in the Kavalyeriyskiy Machine-gun Company. They also have regimental guns in their Weapons Companies. Support platoons include anti-tank guns, motorised infantry, horse artillery, tanks, sappers, anti-aircraft and aircraft.

For those of you who have been waiting for the Soviets to arrive in Early War, I’m sure there is something for every Soviet fan in Rising Sun.
Rising Sun Design Notes
A lot of the ground-work for the Finns had been stamped out during the development of the Mid War and Late War intelligence briefings. However, one of the unique aspects of the Winter War that had not been covered was the Finnish Ambush ‘Motti’ actions. In these actions the Finnish troops, often from the independent Sissi (Guerrilla) battalion would ambush Soviet columns, isolate them into sections, and destroy them piecemeal if they could, or simply leave them to freeze or starve. These isolated sections of Soviet troops became christened ‘Motti’, after the Finnish term for a measure of wood that had been cut, stacked, and left in the forest for later pick-up.

The Motti Ambush rule we introduce in Rising Sun allows Finnish players with Sissi Platoons to place them from Ambush in both their deployment and no-man’s land in any type of game. This can be quite powerful if used right, so a point premium has been added to the points value of Sissi Platoons. To go with the Motti Ambush rule the Melting Away rule gives the Sissi Platoon an opportunity to be withdrawn from the table during the game and be placed back in Motti Ambush to have another go later.

Finnish players will be familiar with other rules such as Self-sufficient (which gives the Finns Mission Tactics), and Hunters (allowing them to Move at the Double through woods and snow). We have made a change to Bitter Enemies, replacing it with Sisu (Guts), which now gives the Finns British Bulldog against all comers. We reasoned that anybody who attempted to invade Finland in 1939 would have been met with equal determination.
Rising Sun Design Notes
The Finnish forces in Rising Sun consist of three infantry companies and a fortified company. The first two companies are variations on the same theme. They cover the Jalkaväki (infantry) both as a normal Jalkaväkikomppania and as the Jalkaväki defending the Mannerheim Line as a Mannerheim Line Strongpoint. The Jalkaväki are the tough and brave citizen soldiers that make up the bulk of the Finnish army in 1939. They are based around the Jalkaväki Platoon made up of riflemen. For anti-tank work some soldiers have been equipped with ant-tank mines and Molotov cocktails. They are backed up by Weapons Platoons of machine-guns and medium mortars. Support can come from tanks, anti-tank teams and guns, more infantry, artillery, anti-aircraft and aircraft. Infantry support can be Jääkäri light infantry or Sissi Ski Guerrillas, as well as more Jalkaväki.

The fortified company Mannerheim Line Strongpoints places these troop in trenches and bunkers. You can further reinforce the line with Barbed Wire Entanglements, Minefields and Anti-tank Obstacles. Gun positions fortify any gun platoons and Communications Trenches link your defensive system together. Bunker options include HMG Nests, HMG Pillboxes, and FT-17 tank turrets. Both these companies are rated Confident Veteran.

Rising Sun Design Notes
The Finnish light infantry is represented by two briefings. The first is the Jääkäri, based on the light infantry traditions of the Germans. Each Finnish division has a light battalion of Jääkäri to provide scouting and is often used as an elite reserve. The Jääkäri are riflemen, though one platoon can be armed with submachine-guns making ideal assault troops. The third platoon in the company can be a Jääkäri Scout Platoon who are reconnaissance troops. Weapons Platoons consist of Machine-guns, mortars, anti-tank guns and tank-hunting infantry. In 1941 Jääkäri troops were used to form the first infantry units to support the Finnish tanks. A Jääkärikomppania can have two tank support platoons. The Jääkärikomppania can also be supported by infantry (including a Sissi Platoon), artillery, anti-aircraft, and aircraft.

The final Finnish company is the Sissikomppania. These units came from independent battalions formed in local areas to defend them form Soviet invasion. These well-trained units were made up of rural folk intimately familiar with the local terrain and conditions. During the Winter War they found themselves faced with overwhelming numbers of Red Army troops and quickly adapted to this by adopting hit and run, and ambush tactics. They were able to do this by utilising their superior morale, field craft skills, training and local knowledge to out smart and out manoeuvre the Soviet troops at every turn. Sissi Platoons use the Motti Ambush rule, and a Sissikomppania can have up to three such platoons. These lightly equipped companies had machine-guns and mortar as additional firepower. However, because they are operating independently with only limited local support they only have a limited selection of Support Platoons of one each of infantry, artillery, and aircraft. Both the Jääkärikomppania and Sissikomppania are rated Fearless Veteran.

Rising Sun Design Notes
During the Winter War the Finns only had their Vickers 6-ton tanks, but during the war they captured substantial numbers of Soviet tanks, including two T-28 heavy tanks. These were pressed into service in 1941 when they joined Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union. By theming your Finnish force on 1941 you can take T-26 light tanks, T-28 heavy tanks, or BT fast tanks. Due to being a new branch of service, Finnish tank platoons are rated Confident Trained.

I think we have captured the feel of the Finns fighting between 1939 and 1941. They should bring Finnish veterans and new players hours of gaming fun.

Rising Sun Design Notes
Yes that’s right, Japanese! This marks our first dip into the war in Asia. We included the Japanese due to their clashes with the Soviets along the Manchurian border. They fought a long and bloody campaign against the Soviets between May and August 1939 in what has become know as the Nomonhan incident. 

With a new nation we have to create a whole new set of national special rules, which was a lot of fun, but at times a pain in the arse. See more on the Japanese special rules on pages 10 to 13.

The Japanese forces in Rising Sun are based on those that fought at Nomonhan against the Soviets and Mongolians from May to August 1939. At the core of these Japanese forces were the veteran 7th Division and the newly formed 23rd Division. Added to these was an assortment of army troops brought in to reinforce the situation, including the 3rd and 4th Tank Regiments.

Rising Sun Design Notes
The first Japanese force you will find in Rising Sun is the 3rd Sensha Rentai (3rd Tank Regiment), which is a battalion sized tank unit armed with two companies of Type 89 Chi-Ro medium tanks. They was an enthusiastic, but new, unit that would see its first combat at Nomonhan. We have rated them Fearless Trained. Their tanks fought with only basic support from the infantry and artillery and had no organic support of their own. However, you can make a large force of tanks from this regiment, with up to eight tank platoons of two to four tanks, plus the Regimental (Company) HQ. We have organised these a little like the British armoured regiment in Blitzkrieg where you buy a company but the platoons deploy and operate separately. The Type 89 Chi-Ro tank is the oldest design fielded by the Japanese at Nomonhan, it is a Slow Tank, with 1 Armour all round. It is armed with a Japanese Turret MG, Hull MG, and a Type 90 57mm gun with Range 16”/40cm, ROF 2, Anti-tank 5 and Firepower 4+. Additional Type 94 TK tankettes can also be added. This light tank is armed with a MG and has 1 armour all round. The Type 89 Chi-Ro tank is more than capable of knocking out the BA armoured cars and BT fast tanks it faced at Nomonhan, however you do have to close to short range.
Rising Sun Design Notes
The second Japanese force is the other tank regiment, the 4th Sensha Rentai. This battalion had seen action in China and was a little larger with three light tank companies and one medium tank company. The 4th Sensha Rentai is rated Fearless Veteran. They had a similar level of support as the 3rd Sensha Rentai. The 4th Sensha Rentai can make for a large tank force with up to nine light platoons and three medium platoons. The medium company was equipped with the same Type 89 Chi-Ro tank as the 3rd Sensha Rentai, however the other three companies had Type 95 Ha-Go light tanks. The Type 95 Ha-Go light tank was a more modern design, with better manoeuvrability and it is rated Standard Tank. It has 1 armour all round. The Type 95 Ha-Go tank is fitted with a one-man turret mounting a Japanese Turret MG and Type 94 37mm gun with Range 24”/60cm, ROF 2, Anti-tank 5 and Firepower 4+. It also has a Hull MG. Additional Type 94 TK tankettes can also be added to the HQ and medium companies.
Rising Sun Design Notes
The core of the Japanese forces at Nomonhan is made up of the infantry companies, or Hohei Chutai. A Hohei Chutai is based around up to three Hohei Platoons with Rifle teams and Light Mortar teams, and has the option to take Nikuhaku anti-tank infantry teams. The Nikukaku teams always make it into an assault even when the rest of the Hohei Platoon is Pinned Down or halted by Tank Terror. Once in the Assault they get 4 dice to hit Tank teams in Assault. However, they can knock themselves out by rolling a 1 as they are rated Improvised Tank Assault. They company is backed up by machine-guns and battalion guns from their Weapons Platoons. The can even take Field Fortifications containing HMG Nests, trenches and barbed wire. Support comes from rapid-fire 37mm guns or 75mm regimental guns, as well as tanks, more infantry, engineers, artillery, transport and aircraft.
Rising Sun Design Notes
The third and final Japanese force in Rising Sun is the Kihei Chutai, or Cavalry Company. Each Japanese division had either a Cavalry Regiment or a Reconnaissance Regiment. In the first few days of the Nomonhan battles the Reconnaissance Regiment of the 23rd Division was surround and knocked out, leaving just the Cavalry Regiment of the 7th Division, known as the Ioki Detachment after its commander, as the only operational Japanese cavalry force. The detachment was made up of mounted cavalry troops and motorised infantry. The Ioki Detachment soon found themselves deployed as infantry defending the line against Japanese attacks. A Kihei Chutai is rated Fearless Veteran. A Kihei Chutai gives options to field them as mounted cavalry or dismounted as infantry with the option to take Field Fortifications. Weapons platoons include machine-guns, a light tank platoon, rapid-fire (anti-tank) guns, and motorised infantry. Support comes from tanks, infantry, cavalry, artillery and aircraft. The cavalry support comes from the local Manchurian cavalry forces which were equipped and trained by the Japanese.
Rising Sun Design Notes
The Japanese offers in interesting and varied forces that is sure to spark the interest of a those of you looking for something new and different.

What else is in Rising Sun?
As well as the forces mentioned above, the book also includes painting guides, terrain rules and guides, and histories to get you started in this interesting and often glossed over period of fighting in eastern Europe and Asia.

~ Wayne.

Last Updated On Friday, August 9, 2013 by Blake at Battlefront