Winter War losses -- a short historiography

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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Ilmarinen
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Post by Ilmarinen » 20 Jun 2006 08:31

Yuri wrote:This figure finds confirmation in the book "World war". In this book Vermaht's general-lieutenant Ditmar writes, the truth, about the Finnish army of the sample of 1941. However it is improbable, that the Finnish army of 1939 and the Finnish army of 1941 could strongly will distinguish.
In the beginning of the Winter War the Finnish Army had 9 infantry divisions, by the beginning of the Continuation War in 1941 16 divisions (48 infantry regiments). In addition to this (1939) there were some detached units and of course the tiny air force and navy including the coastal artillery units. Also the weapons situation had greatly improved by 1941. There indeed was a significant difference between the Finnish Army of 1939 and 1941.
Yuri wrote:It is possible to not doubt that the mobilization potential of Finland in 1939 was above, than in 1941. Hence V. Molotov was right, when spoke, that in 1939 the Finnish army totaled 600,0 thousand men.
Sorry to say but this is no doubt a counterfactual proposition.
Yuri wrote:P. S. If, how us here assure, the Finnish army in Winter war has lost only 24,0 thousand killed there is a reasonable question and why, as a matter of fact, then the Finnish army capitulated on March, 12th, 1940?
Another counterfactual proposition. In fact, Finland did not capitulate, neither in 1940 nor in 1944.
Yuri wrote:It is impossible to believe that the Finnish army capitulated, having lost only 4-5 % from the aggregate number.
They didn't capitulate, and - no offense, Yuri - you wouldn't end up making this kind of conclusions if you based your argumentation on facts.
Yuri wrote:Access to Russian archives is free. Whereas in the Finnish archives of an easy approach is not present about this day. And there, where access to the Finnish archives to eat, collect full data on losses of the Finnish army it is not obviously possible. It is necessary to think, that to Finns, unlike Russian, is what to hide.
Sorry, nothing personal - but this is total garbage. It is very easy to gain access to the war archive in Finland and there even is a public web based database of the fallen soldiers in 1939 - 1945. It may contain individual mistakes but, in principle, you can put a name on every deceased soldier.

As Sami_K says the size of the Finnish Army didn't reach 600,000 soldiers even at the peak of its strength in the Continuation War.

-J.[/quote]

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Harri
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Post by Harri » 20 Jun 2006 09:01

Yuri wrote:The Finnish army had 14 infantry divisions and 7 brigades.
It is considered to be, that two brigades are equivalent to one division. Then we receive, that the Finnish army had 17,5 divisions.
That figure was true sometime during the Continuation War and includes also some coastal brigades. At the beginning of the Winter War in 1939 Finnish Army had nine infantry divisions and Cavalry Brigade. There were also three replacement divisions (two activated during the war in 1940) and one brigade (activated in December 1939) as well as about 30 separate infantry battalions (including three independent Jäger Battalions). Basically they did present a remarkable force (of about 3 divisions) but had only light mortar support.

Three infantry brigades formed 1st Division while the fourth one was composed of two separate battalions. At that time Finnish infantry brigades had only three battalions and they were reinforced with a light artillery battalion which later formed the Field Artillery Regiment 1 of the 1st Division. Basically Finnish brigades were reinforced regiments from which the artillery, engineer and signals units of the 1st Division were later formed.
Yuri wrote:Number of one Finnish division made, approximately, 18 thousand men. Hence, only one infantry Finns had had 315,0 thousand men.
Finnnish division was never that strong.
Yuri wrote:However, in the Finnish army there were still special parts: artillery, an antiaircraft artillery, sappers, connection, supply and so forth. We shall add here military pilots and military seamen, and as frontier guards. It is necessary to remember and about spare and accessories.
All armies have "special parts".

During the Winter War USSR had a crushing superiority both in aircraft (more than 1:10) and naval forces altthough Finland did have a considerable strong coastal artillery.

At the beginning of the Winter War Finnish divisions didn't have organic anti-aircraft units. Anti-Aircraft Detachments (It.Os.) formed since 1.2.1940 consisted of two light 7.62 mm twin AAMGs and two 20 mm heavy AAMGs. Also each army corps was to be equipped with one Light Anti-Aircraft Battery (4x 40 mm Bofors) and one heavy AAMG Company (6x 20 mm guns).

Finnish field artillery was relatively weak because infantry divisions didn't have any heavy artillery pieces. there was only one light field artillery regiment usually with one light howitzer battalion (122 mm) and two light cannon battalions (76 mm). 12th and 13th Division which mauled soviet forces north from Lake Ladoga had only light short barreled cannons.
All heavy units (equipped with bigger than 105 cannons or 150 mm howitzers) belonged either to the troops of the army corps or Finish Supreme HQ.
Yuri wrote:It is impossible to forget and about, so-called, foreign volunteers whom was 11,5 thousand men.
Thus, when Molotov spoke, that the Finnish army totaled about 600,0 thousand men he most likely, has underestimated number of the Finnish army, than has overestimated.
Actually, in 1939 the Finnish army totaled more, than 600,0 thousand men.
Foreign volunteers fought mainly only in the Finnish Air Force and at Salla fron since January 1940 (Swedish Volunteer Group [SFR] which also had Norwegians).

Molotov was a well know liar, so I would not take quite seriously what he has said.
Yuri wrote:This figure finds confirmation in the book "World war". In this book Vermaht's general-lieutenant Ditmar writes, the truth, about the Finnish army of the sample of 1941. However it is improbable, that the Finnish army of 1939 and the Finnish army of 1941 could strongly will distinguish.
General-lieutenant Ditmar writes, that the population of Finland made 3,8 million person, and in lines of armed forces 18 % from an aggregate number of the population of the country that gives figure 684,0 of thousand men have been called.
It is possible to not doubt that the mobilization potential of Finland in 1939 was above, than in 1941. Hence V. Molotov was right, when spoke, that in 1939 the Finnish army totaled 600,0 thousand men.
Are you talking about the year 1939, 1940, 1941 or 1944?
Yuri wrote:P. S. If, how us here assure, the Finnish army in Winter war has lost only 24,0 thousand killed there is a reasonable question and why, as a matter of fact, then the Finnish army capitulated on March, 12th, 1940? In fact, at Finns still more more than 600 thousand military men?
Finnish Army did not capitulate. Soviet troops could not bet any Finnish Army units during the Winter War. Signing a peace agreement is not same as capitulating.
Yuri wrote:To the beginning of March, 1940 against Finland were 46 divisions of Red Army are directed in total. This grouping had 800,0 thousand soldier and officers. From this 46 divisions of Red Army have taken participated in operations no more than 35 Soviet divisions.
Further, to the beginning of March, 1940 the Red Army has lost killed, missing, wounded and freezed more than 350,0 thousand person. Hence, in the beginning of March, 1940 against the Finnish army with number more than 600,0 thousand men operated no more than 450,0 thousand soldier and officers of Red Army.
Certainly, in Winter war of loss of the Finnish army there were less, than losses of Red Army. But the difference could not be so big as to us here draw.
Find out the correct figures first known well today.
Yuri wrote:It is impossible to believe that the Finnish army capitulated, having lost only 4-5 % from the aggregate number.
It is impossible to believe because Finnish Army didn't capitulate like said above.
Yuri wrote:Perhaps that not understanding, but the one who confirms similar, offends the Finnish army and its brave the soldier.
24,0 thousand killed Finns during Winter war - this figure for propagation. Unfortunately, neither in Finland, nor in Germany, in any other country there is no capital historical work about losses armed forces. Such work is available only in Russia: it is capital work of the professor and the general-colonel G. F.Krivosheev " Russia and the USSR in wars of XX century. Losses of armed forces. Statistical research ".
Finnish loss figures are well known and anyone can go to check these from archives. Finland did announce these figures already in the 1940's. It didn't take 60 years.
Yuri wrote:P. P. S. In the summer and autumn of 1941 the Finnish armies and German 20-th army (army " Norway ") had in total more than 800,0 thousand men.
This Finnish and German grouping was resisted by Soviet 23th, 7th and 14th armies which had in total 147,0 thousand men.
Why in this case Finns and by means of Germans could not take in top above Russian if Russian perished six times more?
It at that Russian this time was almost five times less than their opponents.
What this has to do with the Winter War? Anyway it strongly depends on how you count the figures. More than half of the Finnish and German soldiers were in home area or auxiliary duties, not combat troops. Finns and Germans didn't basically receive any considerable reinforcements during the war unlike the Soviet side. Troops were just arranged from the front to another.

And AFAIK Finnish troops did conquer Karelian Isthmus and East Karelia like was planned? :roll:

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Post by John T » 20 Jun 2006 09:59

Yuri wrote: P. P. S. In the summer and autumn of 1941 the Finnish armies and German 20-th army (army " Norway ") had in total more than 800,0 thousand men.
This Finnish and German grouping was resisted by Soviet 23th, 7th and 14th armies which had in total 147,0 thousand men.
Why in this case Finns and by means of Germans could not take in top above Russian if Russian perished six times more?
It at that Russian this time was almost five times less than their opponents.
The basic reason for the Soviet losses where that attacking against a well dug in defender in deep snow did cause losses on the scale of world war one. The Finnish December counter attack did not fare much better that Soviet attacks, only that the Finns pulled back when they took too much losses rather than press on.
On the Karelian Isthmus the force level in number of soldiers per kilometre where so high that a successfull attack had to be very well coordinated and with massive superiority of firepower.

If I remember it correct the Finns losses during the advance during summer of 1941 almost as high as during the winter war. It is cheaper to defend than attack. Nothing about nationality

Cheers
/John T

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Post by John T » 20 Jun 2006 10:16

Yuri wrote:
It is impossible to believe that the Finnish army capitulated, having lost only 4-5 % from the aggregate number.
Perhaps that not understanding, but the one who confirms similar, offends the Finnish army and its brave the soldier.
This is not only a statistical number but 25 000 men like you and me and the Finns loved their children.
And as previous noted, the war was fought over an "adjustment of borders" after January 1940, not the existence of Finland as a independent country.

The Finns considered it easier to give up a part of Finnish territory than continue to fight a war that could not be won and lose more of their citizens.


Cheers
/John T

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Post by Janne » 20 Jun 2006 10:20

I have a rather bleak view of the prospects of this discussion, but I'll just note that the mobilization rate of 16% (not 18% as Yuri or Dittmar erroneously states) refers not only to the entire manpower of the defense forces (including all branches and services everywhere) but also that of the womens' auxialiary corps, of the civil defense organisations and the manpower drafted for road and other construction work for the military. i.e. the entire manpower that is out of civilian life. The strength of the defense forces never surpassed 500.000 even when convalescents in military hospitals and conscripts learning rifle drill were counted in.

Also, although certain demographic factors meant that the mobilization potential was larger in 1941 than it had been in 1939-40, it should be noted that potential is always one thing and real mobilizable strength quite another. I'll leave it as an intellectual exercise to Yuri to think of at least three factors that contributed to the difference.

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Post by Steady » 20 Jun 2006 10:30

Yuri wrote:Access to Russian archives is free. Whereas in the Finnish archives of an easy approach is not present about this day. And there, where access to the Finnish archives to eat, collect full data on losses of the Finnish army it is not obviously possible. It is necessary to think, that to Finns, unlike Russian, is what to hide.
Sorry, nothing personal - but this is total garbage. It is very easy to gain access to the war archive in Finland and there even is a public web based database of the fallen soldiers in 1939 - 1945. It may contain individual mistakes but, in principle, you can put a name on every deceased soldier.

As Sami_K says the size of the Finnish Army didn't reach 600,000 soldiers even at the peak of its strength in the Continuation War.

-J.
You can even put a face on almost every fallen soldier. Almost immediately after Winter War, the Finnish bi-weekly magazine Suomen Kuvalehti published a book named "Vapautemme hinta" (Price of our freedom), which shows every casualty by their home county, name, age, photograph (for nearly everybody), place of death and military rank. Even those men who died in hospitals during the months after the war are included. In an open society like Finland's, it would have been impossible to hide even single casualties, because mothers and fathers and wives would have been asking very loudly why their sons and spouses were not included in this book about our fallen heroes.

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Post by MarcusaQ » 20 Jun 2006 10:49

Yuri wrote:P. S. If, how us here assure, the Finnish army in Winter war has lost only 24,0 thousand killed there is a reasonable question and why, as a matter of fact, then the Finnish army capitulated on March, 12th, 1940? In fact, at Finns still more more than 600 thousand military men?
- -
It is impossible to believe that the Finnish army capitulated, having lost only 4-5 % from the aggregate number.
Perhaps that not understanding, but the one who confirms similar, offends the Finnish army and its brave the soldier.
As someone already stated, the Finnish army did not capitulate. It actually held its positions that in the peace treaty of Moscow in 1940 were to be ceded to the Soviet Union.

But why did the Finnish government make a peace? I see the following reasons:

1. The Finnish army was truly on a verge of collapsing because of exhaustion. Finns did not have fresh reserves to be taken to the front. Peace was necessary to save the army.

2. The tactical situation of the Finnish army was becoming disasterous as the Soviet army was advancing over the frozen bay of Vyborg to the Vyborg-Helsinki road. It was losing its most advantageous defencive positions.

3. Stalin finally agreed on a peace treaty that Finns had been willing to sign already earlier. The main single reason for Stalin was the fear of Great Britain's and France's involvement to the war.

And, Yuri, you might want to update your figures of the Finnish losses of the Winter war: According to the latest statistics 26 662 persons fell in the war.

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Bair
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Post by Bair » 23 Jun 2006 08:35

I think the saying "History is not a pissing contest" applies to this thread very well.

Would it make Finns happier if they know that Russian losses in Winter War were 100 000 KIA, not 70 000?

Would it make Russians happier if they know that Finnish losses in Winter War were 26000 KIA, not 25000?

What is done is done. If one is seriously interested in history studies, it is important to try to get as close to establishing the true course of events as possible with as much neutrailty as possible.

with best regads

Bair

Jarkko Hietala
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Post by Jarkko Hietala » 23 Jun 2006 15:05

Additional to that, you have an access to that information via internet:
http://tietokannat.mil.fi/menehtyneet/index_en.php3 Tell me another country, that offers such a service.
This site is great it contains full name, military rank, and date of death, date of birth, unit and place of burial of every Finnish soldier who died in WW 2.

Why would Finnish Historians or military leave any casualty who has also a name and is or could be somebody's spouse, brother, child and relative out from the site to tell untruths about our casualties to lower or higher than they were?

There could be individual errors as database is very large it’s hard to find and correct all mistakes but generally this site is as accurate as all casualties are named and easily accessible that it makes very hard for those people with politically biased agenda to start change history on this without ruining their own creditability. If somebody sees a need to there is always a birth archives and church books and some of veterans and relatives alive where to check so these named casualties are not invented or added trough error.

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Yuri
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Post by Yuri » 25 Jun 2006 08:34

John T wrote:
Yuri wrote:
It is impossible to believe that the Finnish army capitulated, having lost only 4-5 % from the aggregate number.
Perhaps that not understanding, but the one who confirms similar, offends the Finnish army and its brave the soldier.
This is not only a statistical number but 25 000 men like you and me and the Finns loved their children.
And as previous noted, the war was fought over an "adjustment of borders" after January 1940, not the existence of Finland as a independent country.

The Finns considered it easier to give up a part of Finnish territory than continue to fight a war that could not be won and lose more of their citizens.


Cheers
/John T
They are soldiers.

If to follow your logic Finns should not begin war, and will agree with the offer of the Soviet government on a mutual exchange of territories.
In fact in this case:
- These were alive all 25 000 men;
- The cities of Vyborgs has remained with Finland;
- Finland received in four greater size of territory, than what at it asked to concede Soviet Union.

The Finnish government has disagreed very favourable conditions of an exchange of territories. War has as a result begun.
Then, the Finnish army loses only 3-5 % of battles structure.
After that the Finnish government agrees to concede territory, which size in some times it is more, than the size of territory, which USSR asked from Finland to concede.
Will agree it looks somehow not absolutely logically.
How it is possible to explain it?

/

udachi! / Good luck!

Yuri

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Juha Tompuri
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Post by Juha Tompuri » 25 Jun 2006 09:20

Yuri wrote:Finns should not begin war
8O 8O 8O... you're kidding...yes?
- These were alive all 25 000 men
26 662 soldiers (including Lotta Svärd members?) + ca. 1000 civilians (mainly women, children and elderly people) killed at Soviet bomb raids & strafing runs against Finnish cities & civilian targets and killed/died at Soviet civilian POW camps.
Then, the Finnish army loses only 3-5 % of battles structure.
1940-1945 Estonia lost 24-25% of it's population as executed, killed, deported and refugees.
The Finnish government has disagreed very favourable conditions of an exchange of territories.
Baltic States agreed Soviet very favourable conditions and trusted the words of Soviet leaders and what followed...



Regards, Juha

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Yuri
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Post by Yuri » 25 Jun 2006 10:04

Juha Tompuri wrote:
Then, the Finnish army loses only 3-5 % of battles structure.
1940-1945 Estonia lost 24-25% of it's population as executed, killed, deported and refugees.
It, excuse, propagation.
I would like to receive the answer to the question.
This question me very much interests.

/
udachi! / Good luck!

Yuri

P.S.
The thesis about that Russian like to eat babies that especially Russian like to eat the Estonian babies, I already heard many times.
And this theme casts over me already boredom.

Yuri

John T
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Post by John T » 25 Jun 2006 10:45

Yuri wrote:They are soldiers.

If to follow your logic Finns should not begin war, and will agree with the offer of the Soviet government on a mutual exchange of territories.
In fact in this case:
- These were alive all 25 000 men;
- The cities of Vyborgs has remained with Finland;
- Finland received in four greater size of territory, than what at it asked to concede Soviet Union.

The Finnish government has disagreed very favourable conditions of an exchange of territories. War has as a result begun.
Then, the Finnish army loses only 3-5 % of battles structure.
After that the Finnish government agrees to concede territory, which size in some times it is more, than the size of territory, which USSR asked from Finland to concede.
Will agree it looks somehow not absolutely logically.
How it is possible to explain it?

/

udachi! / Good luck!

Yuri
Spaciba Yuri
(sorry for my terrible spelling)

History is not logical in hindsight.
The Finnish govenment did not trust USSR not to make any further demands and where hoping on a reopening of the negotiations.
Hitlers salami tactics versus Czechoslovakia where already a fact and, Sorry if I bring up again, the Baltic states did conceed to Soviet demands to no avail.

The finns where formost citizens of the independent state of Finland and secondly soldiers.

So How would USSR ensure that they never would make further demands on Finland?
If that conditions where met, I agree that the Finns made the wrong choice
but with a terrijokki govenment I can't say they did act unwisely.

But if we do not agree on that the Sovietunion started the winter war I see no reason to further the discussion.

Sincerly
John T

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Yuri
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Post by Yuri » 25 Jun 2006 11:22

John T wrote: But if we do not agree on that the Sovietunion started the winter war I see no reason to further the discussion.
The Soviet-Finnish war was started by Soviet Union.
Here two opinions cannot be.
However, war begin and conduct two states (at least).
Here Czechoslovakia in 1938 did not begin war with Germany and consequently there was no Czechoslovak-German war.
Same it is clear.
And the Soviet-Finnish war was.


udachi! / Good luck!

Yuri

Jarkko Hietala
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Post by Jarkko Hietala » 25 Jun 2006 14:09

Yuri wrote:They are soldiers.

If to follow your logic Finns should not begin war, and will agree with the offer of the Soviet government on a mutual exchange of territories.
In fact in this case:
- These were alive all 25 000 men;
- The cities of Vyborgs has remained with Finland;
- Finland received in four greater size of territory, than what at it asked to concede Soviet Union.

The Finnish government has disagreed very favourable conditions of an exchange of territories. War has as a result begun.
Then, the Finnish army loses only 3-5 % of battles structure.
After that the Finnish government agrees to concede territory, which size in some times it is more, than the size of territory, which USSR asked from Finland to concede.
Will agree it looks somehow not absolutely logically.
How it is possible to explain it?
This post is totally off-topic this thread is about winter war losses not political reasons for winter war or winter war territory demands. Could you please stay in topic only.

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