The 65th anniversary of the Winter War




 
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November 30th, 2004  
Hegario
 

Topic: The 65th anniversary of the Winter War


65 years ago on this day, war was declared between the Republic of Finland and the Soviet Union. The war basically started because Finland didn't want to cede parts of its territory in the Karelian isthmus to the Soviets, so Stalin decided to use force.

Some background on the war. The Molotov-Ribbentrop treatys secret addendum which partitioned Eastern Europe with the Nazis and the Soviets had defined that Finland was directly in the Soviet sphere of influence among countries such as Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and areas such as eastern Poland and Bessarabia. In fall 1939, the Soviets made demands to Estonia, Lithuania & Latvia, and soon these countries were occupied by the Red Army. Not long after this, the Soviets made demands for areas in the isthmus so they could make a buffer-zone around Leningrad. The town of Hanko would also be leased to the Soviets as a naval base supposedly for defensive purposes. In exchange they wanted to give some desolate areas in the north.

When the Baltic countries were occupied the Finnish leaders became increasingly sceptic and worried about Soviet intentions and they feared that if they let the Soviets have bases, it would eventually result in an occupation of the country. Diplomatic negotiations over the territory exchange broke in late November and the Soviets quickly severed all diplomatic relations with Finland. On November 26, the Soviets accused that Finnish field artillery had bombarded the village of Mainila in Soviet territory(Later it was proved that they in fact bombed their own forces), thus giving them a "casus belli" against Finland, and on November 30th the Soviets attacked Finland with the Leningrad Military District which comprised of 23 divisions in four full field armies and 450 000 men. This number would increase to about one million as the casualties increase.

In the beginning of the war the Finnish Army was a lightly armed rag-tag force of 160 000 men and it was severely lacking in all sorts of equipment from ammo to uniforms. The most they could spare was a rifle and a coquard for their hats and insignias for their own clothes. The tank arm was almost non-existent as the army had only 27 Vickers tanks. AT-equipment shortage was also critical.

I'll be adding more to this topic as the days go. I'll try my best to explain the events that happened. Unfortunately now I don't have time to write everything as I've just started yoga lessons.

A day to day record of the action. Finnish military website

Soviet order of battle

EDIT: Edited away the first typo I saw and added link to a Soviet OOB.
November 30th, 2004  
EuroSpike
 

Topic: Re: The 65th anniversary of the Winter War


Quote:
Originally Posted by Hegario
65 years ago on this day, war was declared between the Republic of Finland and the Soviet Union. The war basically started because Finland didn't want to cede parts of its territory in the Karelian isthmus to the Soviets, so Stalin decided to use force.

Some background on the war. The Molotov-Ribbentrop treatys secret addendum which partitioned Eastern Europe with the Nazis and the Soviets had defined that Finland was directly in the Soviet sphere of influence among countries such as Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and areas such as eastern Poland and Bessarabia. In fall 1939, the Soviets made demands to Estonia, Lithuania & Latvia, and soon these countries were occupied by the Red Army. Not long after this, the Soviets made demands for areas in the isthmus so they could make a buffer-zone around Leningrad. The town of Hanko would also be leased to the Soviets as a naval base supposedly for defensive purposes. In exchange they wanted to give some desolate areas in the north.

When the Baltic countries were occupied the Finnish leaders became increasingly sceptic and worried about Soviet intentions and they feared that if they let the Soviets have bases, it would eventually result in an occupation of the country. Diplomatic negotiations over the territory exchange broke in late November and the Soviets quickly severed all diplomatic relations with Finland. On November 26, the Soviets accused that Finnish field artillery had bombarded the village of Mainila in Soviet territory(Later it was proved that they in fact bombed their own forces), thus giving them a "casus belli" against Finland, and on November 30th the Soviets attacked Finland with the Leningrad Military District which comprised of 23 divisions in four full field armies and 450 000 men. This number would increase to about one million as the casualties increase.

In the beginning of the war the Finnish Army was a lightly armed rag-tag force of 160 000 men and it was severely lacking in all sorts of equipment from ammo to uniforms. The most they could spare was a rifle and a coquard for their hats and insignias for their own clothes. The tank arm was almost non-existent as the army had only 27 Vickers tanks. AT-equipment shortage was also critical.

I'll be adding more to this topic as the days go. I'll try my best to explain the events that happened. Unfortunately now I don't have time to write everything as I've just started yoga lessons. :)

A day to day record of the action. Finnish military website

Soviet order of battle

EDIT: Edited away the first typo I saw and added link to a Soviet OOB.
Post something about summer -44. About battles of Tali-Ihantala, Vuosalmi, Viipuri bay, Kuuterselkä, Siiranmäki, Ilomantsi etc.