Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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Re: Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Post by materials scientist » 04 Jan 2011 21:36

Martti Kujansuu wrote:
materials scientist wrote:What rifles were used by the Finnish snipers during the winter and continuation wars, and what bullets?
http://www.jaegerplatoon.net/RIFLES7.htm
materials scientist wrote:What was the typical target distance?
What I can make out of the daily sniper reports 100 to 200 meters can be considered to be an average distance between the lines and the kills.
Kiittän, Martti.

Now, going on an even wider tangent from the OP's intention (so I appeal to his leniance): what was the situation with anti-material snipers like the norsupyssy and their use for long-range sniping? Any record on these feats? Actually, now I realize this is not really that distant from the OP's original intention, since we're still talking about sniping of soft targets.

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Re: Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Post by Mangrove » 07 Jan 2011 07:45

materials scientist wrote: What was the situation with anti-material snipers like the norsupyssy and their use for long-range sniping? Any record on these feats?
Two instances of machine-gun nest sniping with an anti-tank rifle can be read from JR 15's war diary.
Grid 379 is located approximately at N60° 25' & E30° 25'.
http://digi.narc.fi/digi/fullpic.ka?kuid=3386638
http://digi.narc.fi/digi/fullpic.ka?kuid=4932676
http://www.karjalankartat.fi/?language= ... ayer.WMS_4
9.1.43. [...] [N:o] 52. [klo] 16.05. IP puh. Klo 13.30 vaimensi oma pst. kiv. kk. pesäkkeen r. 379 ampuen yht. 20 kr.
10.1.43. [...] 58. 16.10. IP puh. [...] Oma pst. kiv. klo 12.30 r. 379 15 kr. vaurioittaen lievästi kk.pesäkettä.
See also:
http://digi.narc.fi/digi/fullpic.ka?kuid=4932691 (I/JR 15's sniper training manual for February 1943)

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Re: Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Post by Mangrove » 26 Feb 2011 06:55

JR 101's report of sniper activity and a list of snipers with their tally records from 1943, including some maps of where the kills occured. One Pvt. Runar Friman from 3./Er.P 22 claimed 74 kills before he was killed in action by enemy sniper on 25 October 1943. Kills at the regiment where always confirmed by an observer.

http://digi.narc.fi/digi/view.ka?kuid=2698141 (1 January - 24 November 1943)
http://kronos.narc.fi/menehtyneet/index ... raportti=1

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Re:

Post by Mangrove » 06 Jul 2011 11:32

Martti Kujansuu wrote: This reminds me of book I read few months ago. The writer had fought on the Svir Front. He participated to a shooting contest and was selected to a special sniper team unique among the Finnish armies.
The book in question is Olavi Huikuri's Arktisen taigan taistelijat. He fought on the Uhtua Front during the Continuation War and was supposedly selected among the seven best marksmen in JR 11 in autumn 1942. These seven men formed a seperately sniper team under the first battalion, its jäger platoon and Lt.Col Linden of 3.D. Only one of the men had a scoped rifle while others had SMGs or open sight rifles targeted to 300 meters.

Here is an order, given on 27 October 1942, to form sniper teams of nine men to all of the battalions of JR 11. The order is connected to orders given by 3.D on 4 March and 23 October 1942 (see my earlier links). It is quite clear to me that Huikuri is wrong and his sniper team was not that unique as he remembers.
http://digi.narc.fi/digi/view.ka?kuid=7759008

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Re: Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Post by Mangrove » 17 Mar 2012 07:53

National Defence University Library has digitized study Suomalaisten tarkka-ampujien toiminta sodassa 1941-1944 by Jyrki Tulppala. It contains quite good summary how Finnish snipers were organized during the Continuation War and what were their tactics.

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Re: Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Post by Lotvonen » 19 Mar 2012 11:52

Part of the abstract translated:
The Action of Finnish Snipers in the War 1941-1944 by Sr. Lt. Jyrki Tulppala (April 1990)
The initial attack phase of the Continuation War was followed by an almost two-year phase of trench warfare. Each side declined to engage in any major offensives, battles were local and the front line static. Despite staying in entrenched positions the aim was to inflict a maximum of losses to the enemy. This was not possible with standard means. In these conditions sniping was the modus of fighting.
The Russians were clearly in the upper hand in sniping in the early phases of the war and Finns were in the position of students. The enemy had qood quality in training and equipment. Having inflicted considerable losses to our troops the enemy snipers increased their successful actions.
This insufferable situation forced counter-action and our own sniping was started almost in a diletantte way, without proper armament. Full scale sniper training was being created hastily. In autumn 1943 a general training guide had been completed. Wide and relatively advanced sniping action had been already launched by that at some front sections, while at other sections it was only the guide that started it.
For the entire duration of the Continuation War the greatest problem was to get proper weapons for all snipers. Everyone had a rifle but only few were mounted with sighting scope . Equipment was purchased from Germany, also there was a minor quantity of war booty from the enemy. There was not enough equipment at any moment of the war.
One of the essential skills of a soldier is shooting, but sniping showed how important it is to be familiar with the trajectory of the bullet and the effect of weather on it. Range estimating became more important as the equipment was improved and the target distances consequently increased.
During the war our sniping tactics were greatly advanced, yet following that of the enemy. What the enemy found good, we adopted, too. During the trench war period our snipers were able to inflict considerable losses on the enemy. Our own losses could be diminished by training and care.

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Re: Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Post by Mangrove » 22 Mar 2012 11:42

I took the liberty of writing a summary of the study for the pleasure of those who are interested on the topic but do not know Finnish. I have disregarded pages 32 to 63 from as they are appendices containing general instructions to sniping.

Finnish snipers were first recorded to the OOB in October 1942, one in each rifle platoon or 156 in a regiment. However it seems that at least at Maaselkä Group the training did not start before the beginning of 1943 as there were too few scopes available for their rifles. Thus the first courses were equipped with issued m/39 rifles. The length of the courses varied from two days to two weeks, which is quite short compared to Soviet courses which could run up to five months. The number of students per a course varied a lot from six per a company to six per a battalion. Apart from riflemen, sniper training was also given to some medics and gunners.

The first official training manual by Päämaja was released in September 1943 (see pg. 33-). The main change for individual battalion and regimental training was the number of training days going up to around 30. However the training was supposed to take place only once a week so that the whole course would take around six months to complete. Päämaja also planned to found a special sniper school for officers and NCOs but the idea never got off the ground.

The main scope used by Finnish snipers during the Continuation War was Finnish-made Physica weighing around 900 grams. Väisälä Oy made also couple of test scopes and some scopes were also bought from Zeiss and Ajack. Some thought that Soviet scopes were the best of all.

The best tactic was found to operate in pairs under platoon CO. The usual firing distance was from 150 to 450 meters while some kills were also archived up to distances of 600-800 or even 1000 meters. Fog was considered to be the best weather for hunting as the enemy became careless. The downside of this was that scopes also tend to gather moisture on them. Distinguished snipers were awarded with awards, promotions and leaves.

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Re: Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Post by Mangrove » 02 Jan 2013 16:00

http://digi.narc.fi/digi/view.ka?kuid=3073835
...the POW [belonging to the 588th Infantry Regiment in 1944] told that the Red Army soldiers respect the Finnish snipers. They cannot be compared with the Soviet snipers. The Soviets had to fill up the embrasures on the trenches at Valkeasaari sector due to the Finnish snipers shooting soldiers passing through them...

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Re: Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Post by Mangrove » 05 Jan 2013 09:28

Here a list of Finnish snipers listed based on the number of claimed confirmed kills at the end of year 1943 according to my findings. Most of the soldiers belong to the Infantry Regiment 101, which was pulled out of the line and disbanded in December 1943.

Most of the time the name of the sniper is not mentioned in the daily kill count, so below the Top 10 there would be many snipers missing. However e.g. most of the snipers in average in the 15th Division archived only few kills between September 1943 and June 1944.

1. Cpl. Simo Häyhä (II/JR 34) = 259. WIA on 6 March 1940.
2. 2nd Lt. Kalle Moilanen (Krh.K/JR 37) = "+200". WIA on 26 February 1940.
3. Pvt. Runar Friman (Er.P 22) = 74. KIA on 26 October 1943.
4. Cpl. A. Jaatinen (Er.P 23) = 33. As of 24 November 1943.
5. Pvt. O. Nevander (Er.P 22) = 27. As of 24 November 1943.
6. Pvt. V. Ripatti (Er.P 23) = 24. As of 24 November 1943.
7. Pvt. V. Haglund (Er.P 23) = 23. As of 24 November 1943.
7. Pvt. A. Kallio (Er.P 23) = 23. As of 24 November 1943.
8. Pvt. H. Helenius (Er.P 22) = 21. As of 24 November 1943.
9. Pvt. T. Tikka (Er.P 23) = 14. As of 24 November 1943.
10. LCpl. L. Linjamäki (III/JR 58) = 11.

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Re: Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Post by Mangrove » 24 Aug 2013 13:16

As far as I can see, there are two set of SA-kuva sniper photographs that can be considered authentic, n:o 126801 and 158992-158995. The others look to me more or less staged or very hard to verify as to be taken during authentic combat conditions.

1. N:o 126801. "A sniper is stalking the russkies' positions 100 meters away. Rajajoki, 18 April 1943".

Image

2. N:o 158995. "Our sniper has got his sight set on an enemy. The central sector of the Vuosalmi bridgehead, 28 July 1944".

Image

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Re: Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Post by Mangrove » 27 Nov 2013 20:04

Finnish soldiers with sniper rifles photographed during the Winter War:

1) SA-kuva N:o 2072. Suomussalmi, 15 December 1939. "Captured Russian rifle at Suomussalmi". See also N:o 2073.

Image

2) SA-kuva N:o 3999. Kollaa, 20 January 1940 (?). "At the front line".

Image

3) SA-kuva N:o 4607. Valkjärvi (?), 13 February 1940. "Russian sniper rifle [at] 3./Er.P.5".

Image

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Re: Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Post by Mikko H. » 28 Nov 2013 18:36

The pic 2072 is interesting, because it's the first of two photographs. The second one (2073) is one of the most reproduced pictures of a Finnish infantryman in the Winter War. Nice to see the original with time and place.

Image

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Re: Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Post by Juha Tompuri » 28 Nov 2013 19:11

Another one:
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Re: Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Post by Juha Tompuri » 30 Nov 2013 21:23

A sniper's rifle:
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Re: Finnish snipers during the Winter & Continuation War

Post by Juha Tompuri » 15 Dec 2013 22:18

This one should also be from Winter War era.
A Finn with a captured rifle:
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Last edited by Juha Tompuri on 15 Dec 2013 22:20, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: adding info

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