Stiltzkin wrote: ↑
26 Dec 2018 02:57
Sounds like a line straight out of a fantasy novel.
Artillery is always going to inflict the highest casualties, even in the more "asymmetric" conflict of the Winter War. The weight is still going to be greater, even in the Jungle or Forested areas.
That would the case under normal circumstances. I already told you the last time that Finnish artillery was suffering from ammunition shortage, but apparently you did not consider that to be significant in any way. Maybe I can explain what that actually meant in real terms. Some basic things about Finnish use of artillery at that time:
- Standard fire unit: Artillery Battalion (Patteristo) normally containing twelve field guns or howitzers.
- Use of artillery support was based in use of forms of fire (tulimuodot), each of which was intended for particular or several uses. One example of these would be barrage fire (sulku) normally used to stop movement of enemy unit of battalion size or smaller and cause cause casualties to it in such extent that this would be effective to stop its attack. Barrage fire was normally fired to target area of 300 meters x 150 meters with 1/10 unit of fire landing on target as barrage lasting about 120 seconds.
- Unit of fire (tuliannos) refer to number of shells which according calculations was needed for type of field gun or howitzer to achieve the results. For example for 76 K/02 field guns - the gun type with which practically all Finnish field artillery units in Kollaa had been equipped with - the unit of fire was 100 shells per gun.
These were all based to mathematical calculations about how much shells were needed to target area of which size in what kind of duration for achieving the results that were needed.
So, if you would have been Finnish company commander in Kollaa in March of 1940 and would have spotted Soviet infantry battalion heading your way and would have asked field artillery forward observation team assigned to you to drop barrage fire on them - what would have happened? In theory field artillery battalion to which the FO-team belonged would have shot artillery barrage of 120 76-mm HE-shells on top of that enemy battalion. But due to ammunition shortage Finnish artillery had no real possibility of doing that. Hence early on the war you might be lucky and get half barrage fire with 60 shells landing on target with duration of 60 seconds - likely insufficient to stop it from attacking, but still quite useful. As ammunition shortage got worse and worse, by March you might on average get "barrage" of 6
shells total. To make things worse by February and March snow would be over half-a-meter deep. Practically all ammunition used by Finnish field artillery was high explosive (HE) variety and due to most commonly available fuses not being sensitive type (*), they would normally explode only after going through snow and hitting in frozen ground under it - which would impact projectile fragmentation pattern, reducing their efficiency. In addition on average about 1/4 - 1/3 of pre-war (old Russian production from WW1) artillery fuses would be duds. So instead of theoretical 120 shells you would probably get barrage of 6 shells, from which on average maybe 4 might actually explode. If you would be lucky 1 or 2 of the 4 shells might hit tree trunks in target area and explode before hitting ground, which would make them more effective.
(*) Artillery fuses were the worst bottle-neck of artillery ammunition production.
In case you are wondering about the number of shells actually used for average on each fire mission, here is one of the war journals belonging to 1st Artillery Battalion of Field Infantry Regiment 12, which was the Finnish field artillery to serve longest in Kollaa. The war journal contains daily lists for number of shells fired in barrage for each day:
Anyway, after those 4 shells exploding the Soviet battalion slowly wading through half-a-meter of snow would attack against your entrenched rifle company, which would normally have MG-platoon with four heavy machineguns supporting it. In addition your company would have 8 light machine guns, 8 submachine guns and over hundred rifles.
BTW: Winter War is commonly considered to be part of World War 2. Only country which did not consider it to be part of World War 2 was Soviet Union, which for its own propaganda reasons preferred to keep politically inconvient events such as their part in invading Poland and Winter War outside of it and claim that World War 2 only started with start of "Great Patriotic War" in June of 1941.
http://www.winterwar.com/other/weather/ ... snowdepths
Some info about HE-shell fragmentation: