Game Spotlights

Published: August 11, 2021


Sisu – The Battles for Suursaari Island

Sisu – The Battles for Suursaari Island 1942 & 1944 from Red Sash Games is projected to release: Summer 2021

Sisu – The Battles for Suursaari Island 1942 & 1944 places you on this centrally-located tactical lynchpin landmass in World War II.

major general pajari victory suursaari island

Finnish Major General Aaro Olavi Pajari speaking on the ice at Suursaari Island in 1942 after the Finns recaptured the island from the Soviet forces. Photo credit: Weapons and Warfare, 2017.


Sisu is a Finnish concept, alleged to have no literal English equivalent. It is described as “stoic determination, tenacity of purpose, grit, bravery, resilience, and hardiness, and is held by the Finns themselves to express their national character[1].”

finland wwii wargame war game

Photo: Osvald Hedenström; License: CC BY 4.0; Changes made in accordance with license.

The Battles for Suursaari Island

Suursaari Island (also called Hogland, or Gogland) is perfect for dominating sea lanes leading to Leningrad, or those crossing between Finland and Estonia. Float planes and ski planes could use it as a base. Strings of minefields could be monitored from it, and coastal guns emplaced on it could engage passing ships.

Red Sash Games covers two of the most geopolitically important stories of Suursaari Island:

Scenario 1 | The Finns Recapture Suursaari from the Soviets (Winter 1942)

sisu - the battles for suursaari island finnish soldiers cross ice

Photo: Lieutenant Eronen; License: CC BY 4.0; Changes made in accordance with license.

The Finns were forced to give up the island to the Soviets during the Winter War of 1939-40.

In the winter of 1942, Finnish forces attacked across the frozen Gulf of Finland, using a snowstorm as cover. After three days of fighting, they overtook the frozen Soviets.

Scenario 2 | The Nazis Fail to Take Suursaari Island (Summer 1944)

finnish sniper aims at nazi army during operation tanne ost battles for suursaari

Photo: Lieutenant Eronen; License: CC BY 4.0; Changes made in accordance with license.

During Operation Tanne Ost, Nazi forces attempted to take Suursaari from their Finnish former allies. After an unsuccessful attempt at convincing the Finns to simply give the island to them, an unprepared and exhausted Nazi force landed at Suursaari.

The Nazi’s suffered heavy losses and the Finns held the island.

Game Features

  • Scale: 300m across each hex
  • Contour lines are at 20m intervals
  • Turns are one hour
  • Unit scale: sections(squads), platoons, and companies
  • Other counters: batteries of artillery and mortars, naval craft, individual commanders, and bunkers
  • Attack with: direct and indirect fire, airstrikes, naval gunnery, and hand-to-hand combat
Soldiers on Suursaari Island, approx. 1941-1944. Photos courtesy of The Kymenlaakso Museum. Size alterations made in accordance with CC BY 4.0 International license.

Special Rules

  • Snow storms
  • Finns attacking across the ice in winter
  • German naval landings using barges and assault boats
  • Naval gunfire by flak barges and a destroyer squadron
  • Airstrikes
  • Variable visibility due to terrain, weather, and time of day
  • Anti-tank guns that can fire high explosives in an indirect role
  • And more!


Photos of Sisu – The Battles for Suursaari Island 1942 & 1944 during its development, 2017. Source: Red Sash Games.
  • 2 Maps (winter and summer)
  • 240 die-cut counters
  • Rules, charts, tables, and display cards
  • Historical commentary

You can secure your copy of Sisu – The Battles for Suursaari Island 1942 & 1944 today!

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