Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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John Hilly
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by John Hilly » 17 Oct 2012 12:30

CanKiwi2 wrote:Anyone have any comments on this book and whether it's useful?

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“TK-Miehet” about Information Company in the (Continuation) War
A dryish academic research I read some 20 years ago. It didn't raise my spirits much.

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Juha Tompuri » 24 Oct 2012 12:50

Haven't read yet, but looks promising:
A new book about Myllykoski Civil Guard 4.5.1918–3.11.1944 by Reijo Pajuoja, Heikki Sihvola and Matti Punttila

The book deals about local Suojeluskunta, Lotta, "Soldier Boy",and "Small Lotta" units, how they were founded and how they worked. Matti Punttila writes there about the "weapons cache case" at Myllykoski.
In addition to the Suojeluskunta work, there are chapters about other local events the Civil Guard and the other organisations played an active role like: local ski jump hill, sports field, shooting range, war heroes cemetary and the funerals there, air surveillnace, etc
356 pages, over 450 photos, statistics, names of nearly 1000 Civil Guard, members, 185 Lottas, 354 Soldier Boys and 75 Small Lottas.
Price 25e

http://www.kyyti.fi/node/tapahtumat/5767
http://myllykoskenseutu.fi/uploads/sk-mainos.pdf

An invitation to the book presentation at Myllykoski:
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Reason: adding info

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fredleander
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Finnish "Lurps...."

Post by fredleander » 15 Feb 2013 21:14

Author: Mikko Porvali
Swedish title: Bakom Röda Armeens Linjer (Behind Red Army Lines)
Original Finnish title: Operaatio Hokki – Päämajan vaiettu kaukopartio

What a book – and what a story! This is about the Finnish “Lurps” – the true Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols – the “fjärrpatrols”, which can be translated as the “Far Patrols”. And far out it is. I know that this sort of warfare is in the core of the Finnish soldiers’ bones, the way they operated during the Winter War give us a good indication on that. This book confirms it excellently.

While the book describes one specific mission it also gives a good background on the Finnish units tasked with reconnaissance and sabotage actions behind enemy lines. These were Fjärrpatrulj-folkene – the long-range patrol people - of the 4th Independent Battalion, directly attached to the Finnish High Command, a system common to the Nordic countries. Not to be confused with the regular Jäger (Ranger) units.

Operation Hokki was carried out in August/September 1944 with the purpose of exerting pressure on the Soviets during the upcoming Armistice negotiations between Finland and the Soviet Union. The mission was to do maximum damage on the railway centre in the Karelian town of Petroskoj, far behind enemy lines, to stop the supply flow to the front further West. The operation had its name from its leader, the 39 year old Captain Ilmari Honkanen, a veteran from the Winter War with two dozen excursions behind enemy lines already and decorated with the Mannerhheim Cross, the highest Finnish order, in 1942.

The author, Mikko Porvali, is 32 years old and a criminal investigator with the Finnish police. This is his third book. His connection to the operation described in the book is somewhat special as not only his grandfather, but also his grandfather’s brother, participated in it. They were both experienced Sissus, a description which is a little difficult to explain to non-Finns. Maybe a Finn reading this can take it upon himself. To my knowledge the book is not translated into English. It ought to be.

Since there is not a plot as such, it is not a novel, I feel I can give some details on what the book deals with. Operation Hakko, as many special operations, came into being in a hurry. Finland was on the verge of collapse and the High Command needed some spectacular feats to cool off the Soviets during the upcoming negotiations. Hankonen, at the time, was with the training unit of the 4th Independent battalion and as such he had to collect his band from instructors and other specialist present there. He was also able to bring some more, experienced people, in from the outside. In the end they were 50 men, a rather large group considering that they should operate behind enemy lines where stealth was an important factor. But the mission was a heavy one. After the insertion they had to penetrate the local defense around Petroskoj, an important communication center, to destroy rolling stock, rail systems and workshops. Only to carry the explosives for such a mission demanded a large number of men.

Insertion was to be by by two aircrafts, a Heinkel He115 floatplane and a Heinkel He59 seaplane each during two following nights, the common method at the time. Resupply should be according to need, ordered and organized via wireless. The unit had three dedicated radio operators.

OK, here I need to restrain myself not to take away the excitement of anybody wanting to acquire the book. Enough said is that it did not go, as could be expected considering the intricacy of the mission, entirely according to plan. There were losses, there were improvisations, there were successes. But, first of all, there were long marches with the enemy hot on the heels. As one member of the group replied to Field Marshall Mannerheim when he was awarded the Mannerheim Cross and asked what he believed was the main reason for him getting the award: “I have carried a rucksack”.

A problem for the author has been the fact that much of the reports and war diaries were destroyed or hidden away after the war. This was due to the uncertainty on how the Armistice would develop. Would the Soviets enter Finland, would they demand access to reports of the clandestine operations? Some of the members of the unit were ethnic Russians or Estonians and under all this was the wish to protect these persons from future Soviet persecution. Personal interviews with some of the participants has also revealed some discrepancies in how the events were perceived which isn’t so strange considering the pressure and physical exhaustion the members of the group experienced at times.

A nice bonus is the pictures taken by members of the group during the operation.

Incidentally, one of the last persons the author spoke to during his research for the book was Heikki Nykänen who died only recently, on February 13th 2013. (Correction: Nykänen died earlier - 2011 - please see posting below)

Fred

Picture is taken during the patrol. Captain Honkanen center front.
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River Wide, Ocean Deep - a book about Operation Sealion:
https://www.fredleander.com
Saving MacArthur - an eight-book series on the Pacific War:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D3 ... rw_dp_labf

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Juha Tompuri » 15 Feb 2013 21:48

Hi Fred,

Discussion about the book:
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 3569&hilit

Regards, Juha

Mikko H.
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Mikko H. » 15 Feb 2013 21:49

Heikki Nykänen passed away already on 7 December 2011.

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by fredleander » 16 Feb 2013 00:08

Thank you, Mikko and Juha, I wasn't aware of that thread. Also I am afraid I was a little "misled" by HS....:-( ...Anyway, I found the book very entertaining.

Fred
River Wide, Ocean Deep - a book about Operation Sealion:
https://www.fredleander.com
Saving MacArthur - an eight-book series on the Pacific War:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D3 ... rw_dp_labf

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by CanKiwi2 » 22 Jun 2013 15:31

"On Blazing Wings"

OK, not quite recommended, but this is hilariously 1940's-style pulp fiction.... by none other than the founder of Scientology, L Ron Hubbard. I DO NOT recommend buying anything by L Ron Hubbard, but I did think it was worth a mention - the preview on Amazon is enough to put you off - even the first few pages are wild....... anyhow, take a look and hope you survive the fits of laughter (or apoplexy as the mood takes you......)

On Blazing Wings centers on an American wannabe artist, David Duane, who long ago gave up his dream of being a professional artist. Instead, there's something else he's good at, something that countries will pay good money for-his services as an ace fighter pilot on sale to any country whose business is war, regardless of its politics.Duane's cold-edged neutrality takes him to Finland-combating Russian Communists bent on destroying a supply base. After leading multiple attacks against the Russians and pushing them further and further back, his luck runs out when his plane is shot down. Instead of crashing in flames, Duane finds himself in an elusive netherworld-a mystery-enshrouded city of luxury and golden minarets in an afterlife land called Puhjola, where other shot-down pilots of war go to after death. Upon arrival, he is told that his fate has already been set and it cannot be changed. When David returns to real world, he will meet a beautiful Russian woman and fall madly in love with her. This woman happens to be an officer of ranks and she will be the death of him. Despite receiving this information, David is told he will not remember anything about Puhjola when he leaves. He mysteriously wakes up inside his burning plane, but is quickly dragged out and is beaten by Russian soldiers. David would have died if it wasn't for the beautiful Russian woman, just as Deja Vu kicks in. Can David change his own destiny?....."

http://www.amazon.com/On-Blazing-Wings- ... pd_sim_b_7

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Seppo Jyrkinen » 28 Sep 2013 07:30

Paavo Rantanen: Suomi kaltevalla pinnalla

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Detailed and matter-of-fact description of Finnish policy during Interim Peace. A little pinch of schoolbook too which makes it suitable for those also, who are not familiar with the issue. Easy to read but some might take it a bit boring because the writer avoids big feelings.

Rantanen's 30 long carrier in service of Finnish FO (fex. ambassador in Washington, Foreign Minister in mid 90's) is a good background to analyze history. Max Jakobson's books belong to same category: viewpoint is wide.

Writers aim has been just a description of history, not to make a scientific history book. Worst lack is with sources: no detailed sources at all and bibliography could have been longer.
A word irony is baked into the word history.

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by fredleander » 28 Sep 2013 10:37

CanKiwi2 wrote:"On Blazing Wings"

OK, not quite recommended, but this is hilariously 1940's-style pulp fiction.... by none other than the founder of Scientology, L Ron Hubbard. I DO NOT recommend buying anything by L Ron Hubbard, but I did think it was worth a mention - the preview on Amazon is enough to put you off - even the first few pages are wild....... anyhow, take a look and hope you survive the fits of laughter (or apoplexy as the mood takes you......)
Looks cool.... :thumbsup: ..

Fred
River Wide, Ocean Deep - a book about Operation Sealion:
https://www.fredleander.com
Saving MacArthur - an eight-book series on the Pacific War:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D3 ... rw_dp_labf

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by durb » 27 May 2014 11:47

For those who want to read something about airwar in English. Osprey Publishing has quite recently published these:

Kari Stenman: Finnish Aces of World War 2.(2013)
Kari Stenman - Peter de Jong: Fokker D XXI of World War 2. (2013) - covers also the history of Fokker D XXI in Netherlands.

Kari Stenman is well known and respected researcher of airwar in Finland, which is a strong recommendation for these books.

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by durb » 23 Jun 2014 10:46

Geust, Carl-Fredrik: Red Stars, Vol. 5. Baltic Fleet Air Force in the Winter War. Apali Publishing 2004.
Geust, Carl-Fredrik: Red Stars, Vol. 7. The Winter War in the air. Apali 2011.

Books above contain lots of detailed and interesting data of the airwar during Winter War from the Soviet perspective. Both books are recommended. The only problem ist that bodytext runs in two parallel columns through the whole book, which makes the reading sometimes difficult. This is due to the fact that books are directed both to English-speaking and Finnish market at the same time. However, this handicap is not too bad, and is very much compensated by the detailed content, lots of interesting photos and colourplates (which are useful for kit modellers). I considered the price of books little high (around 40 euros, check different salesites of web). However, going through the books I can say that they are well worth of their price.

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by durb » 07 Nov 2014 14:03

A real classic:

The Diplomacy of the Winter War by Max Jakobson. Harvard University Press 1961.

I have not seen this recommended before, so it is time to take up this classical work. Although the original Finnish edition was published in 1950´s, this book has stood well the test of time and is still one of the best books written about the Winter War. Sadly there has not been newer editions of the book in English after 1961, so only used copies can be found.
http://www.amazon.com/The-Diplomacy-Win ... op?ie=UTF8

A good and rather recent overview of research and interpretations concerning Finland´s involvement in WW2:

Finland in World War II: History, Memory and Interpretations. Edited by Tiina Kinnunen and Ville Kivimäki. Brill 2012.

Contains 14 articles covering different themes of the title. All researches have previously published books on their themes. Good coverage of research situation in early 2010´s and definitively worth of look for those who are interested and need something in English about Finland and WW2. http://www.brill.com/finland-world-war-ii

A curious and forgotten document of its own time for those who understand German:

Finnlands Lebenraum. Das geographische und geschichtliche Finnland by Väinö Auer, Eino Jutikkala and Kustaa Vilkuna. Alfred Metzner Verlag 1941.

Although propagandistic and almost forgotten book, somewhat interesting. The authors were high-class and respected Finnish scholars, who were respected also in afterwar time (although not because of this book). This is "what if history" scenario if Finland had really won the Continuation War. The book is rather difficult to find from and a kind of collectors item - I got chance to look this thanks to a friend who had bought it long time ago from the second hand book shop.

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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Tom Houlihan » 09 Nov 2014 18:46

This is a reprint of two FMS series documents. General Erfurth was the OKW liaison officer to Finnish HQ, so he had an interesting perspective on the war. It's available on Amazon, and directly from CreateSpace.
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Aleksander P » 01 Feb 2015 19:31

What did you guys think of the controversial book: Tuntematon Lauri Törni?

It got a lot of shit on it for the criticizing tone of it and I do agree that to an extent it was for publicity reasons, but the book also made some good points and inspected Törni in a more honest way. Also it criticized other books written of him, for purely making things up. I haven't read those books, but I can only imagine how they are and don't serve the purpose of telling the truth, by the examples told in the book. Like Petri Sarjanen's books seem to be FULL of fantasy.
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Aleksander P
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Re: Recommended books on the Winter War & Continuation War

Post by Aleksander P » 05 Feb 2015 05:30

Can anyone recommend on which book to read about Adolf Ehrnrooth?

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