Finnish Artillery

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Finnish Artillery

Post by YAN » 03 Jul 2009 15:54

Hi, I have been putting together Finnish Artillery for wargaming purposes and I have put together a basic list of what I consider to be the most numerous weapons used by Finland from 1939 to 1945.

155mmL/15 H/17
152mmL/14 H/ 09/30
122mmL/12 H/ 10/30
105mmL/31 K/29
105mmL/24 H/37
76mmL/30 K/02
76mmL/16 LK/10/13
75mmL/30 K/17
81mm Krh/36 MORTAR
37mmL/45 PstK/36

I dont know if all were Motorised, except for the 155mm H/17 & 105mm K/29 which was towed by a RasK. Psto Tractor.
I dont know what was the average number of men the Finnish used to crew there Guns and Hows so I have guessed.

81mm Mortars & Guns & Hows from 37mm to 76mm = 5 crew
105mm to 122mm = 7 crew
152mm & 155mm = 9 crew

I dont know how off the mark I am with my data, if anyone has any corrections please reply.
Thanks Yan.

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Re: Finnish Artillery

Post by JTV » 03 Jul 2009 21:15

I suspected that most of these were towed both ways - with horses and with motor vehicles. This is result of quick check from Itsenäisen Suomen kenttätykit 1918 - 1995 (Field Guns of Independent Finland 1918 - 1995) by Jyri Paloharju. It lists all field artillery units and tells if they were horse-towed or motorised - I simply checked if the units issued with particular weapon type were marked as motorised or horse-towed.

Results:
155mmL/15 H/17: both, being horse-towed more common of the two, additional wheels used for motorised towing.
152mmL/14 H/ 09/30: both, more commonly horse-towed.
122mmL/12 H/ 10/30: both, more commonly horse-towed.
105mmL/31 K/29: bit of contradiction, according info designed to be horse-towed, but issued only to motorised units.
105mmL/24 H/37: both
76mmL/30 K/02: both
76mmL/16 LK/10/13: both
75mmL/30 K/17: field artillery seems to have horse-towed, but fortification artillery seems to have used motorised towing and so may have also coastal artillery.
37mmL/45 PstK/36: both (originally designed motorised but special limber designed for horse-towing).

To further complicate things:
1. Some field artillery pieces (typically light field guns) were sometimes transported on trucks.
2. Finnish Army also had sledges designed for transporting antitank-guns, heavy mortars and field artillery pieces in snow-covered roads - while most of these were designed to be horse-towed, some were for motorised towing.

Those crew sizes might be pretty close, if we don't include the men preparing ammunition and carrying them to the guns/howitzers and the men driving their towing vehicles. If the ammunition-men are included, the crew sizes were bigger - rather extreme sample of this can be found with 81-mm mortars - they had crew of seven men, from which four men were taking care of the ammunition while only three were shooting with the mortar.

Little opinion based to experience. Finnish artillery used so many models of field guns and howitzers, that personally I would prefer a considerably longer list. Doing historically accurate battles without weapons used in them is pretty difficult - and the ones listed represent only very small part of the various models used. Also, that list doesn't contain many of the bit less numerous artillery weapons, which still played their own important roles. I suspect this is likely to cause problems by giving distorted picture of the capabilities of Finnish artillery. For example all heavy gun-howitzers (150 H/40, 152 H/37 and 152 H/38) are missing - if the game is done well, without those Finnish artillery is likely to suffer much in artillery duels (since they were the best counter-artillery weapons). Missing are also infantry guns (most commonly used for direct-fire use and also used as antitank-gun in 1944) and 76 K/36 field gun, which for most of the war was the field gun with antitank-capacity (and used as antitank-weapon in some occasions exactly for this reason) in Finnish inventory. Also missing are 203 H/17 super heavy howitzers - so much less capacity for knocking out field fortifications, bunkers etc with artillery. Finnish inventory changed a lot during the wars, which also creates some issues. Doing for example Winter War era battles would be especially difficult with that list - only two of the eight field guns/howitzers listed in it were in Finnish use during Winter War - both of them 76-mm.

Jarkko

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Re: Finnish Artillery

Post by YAN » 06 Jul 2009 16:01

Thanks Jarkko, I was going to keep the amount of captured Russian Artillery to a minimum, but you are right, to recreate the battles you must keep it real and the Finns needed a lot of captured weapons to supplement there small arsenal of guns.
Yan.

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Re: Finnish Artillery

Post by YAN » 07 Jul 2009 16:27

Jarkko I have revised the list, and got together some totals, I hope they are right,

76 LK/13 = 52
76 LK/10/13 = 40
76 RK/27 & 76 RK/27-39 = 254
76 K/00 = 16
76 K/02-30 = 125
76 K/36 = 86
150 H/40 = 48
152 H/37 = 64
152 H/38 = 102

They have a fair amount of each weapon apart from the 76 K/00 (only 16) and I think some of the others in the list were used in the coastal defence role which may make the totals even less for the artillery regiments.
Yan.

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Re: Finnish Artillery

Post by JTV » 07 Jul 2009 17:25

You got these right. Few opinions:

76 LK/13 & 76 LK/10/13 = Total about 90 (2nd most common field artillery piece in Finnish use during Winter War). They were so similar you could simply treat them as a same gun - Finnish Army did.
76 RK/27 & 76 RK/27-39 = 254, correct
76 K/00 = 16 (used in combat during Winter War + 5 used for training), these played rather small role in Winter War and after it even small number were used). Could be one to do without, if the situation demands it.
76 K/02-30 = 125, correct.
76 K/36: 86 = correct
150 H/40 = 48, correct
152 H/37 = 64, correct
152 H/38 = 102, correct

It might be worth noting that coastal artillery it wasn't terribly rare for coastal artillery units to be used against ground targets as well - especially so during Winter War, when several of the coastal artillery forts fired on ground targets on daily bases. However I have to admit that coastal forts typically used heavy coastal guns (152 mm being most common) for that use. I would suggest maybe adding at least 75 K/17 (200 pcs), since it played important role in Finnish use - first with field artillery and later in coastal artillery and fortification artillery. From these two fortification artillery was used like an extension of field artillery - it's units provided fire support in similar manner, but the units were less mobile (much less vehicles) and typically used older artillery weapons.

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Re: Finnish Artillery

Post by YAN » 08 Jul 2009 12:01

Jarkko, Thanks to your help I have revised the wargames list (left out large calibre weapons of over 155mm because they can dominate the battle) and added AT & AA.

ANTI-TANK
20mm pst Kiv/39 = 1.850
20mmL/60 PstK/40 = 210
37mmL/45 PstK/36 = 469

INF GUNS
76mmL/16 LK/13 & 76mmL/16 LK/10/13 = 90
76mmL/16 RK/27 & 76mmL/16 RK/27-39 = 254

FIELD GUNS
75mmL/30 K/17 = 200
76mmL/30 K/02 = 60
76mmL/30 K/02-30 = 125
76mmL/51 K/36 = 86

MEDIUM & HEAVY GUNS AND HOWITZERS
105mmL/24 H/37 = 140
105mmL/31 K/29 = 54
122mmL/15 H/ 10/30 = 180
150mmL/30 H/40 = 48
152mmL/14 H/ 09/30 = 99
152mmL/32 H/37 = 64
152mmL/24 H/38 = 102
155mmL/15 H/17 = 166

AA GUNS
20mmL/65 ItK/35 = 92
40mmL/65 ItK/35-39 B = 300

Thanks Yan.

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Re: Finnish Artillery

Post by YAN » 08 Jul 2009 12:08

Jarkko I forgot to ask, the 40 ItK AA Gun was listed as L/65, but I thought that the 40mm Bofors was only made in to calibres L/60 & L/70, could you advise me in which one the Finns used, I think it must of been the L/60.
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Re: Finnish Artillery

Post by JTV » 08 Jul 2009 20:57

I would strongly suggest adding also these antitank-guns:
- 37 PstK/37 or 37 Pstk/40 (German 3.7 cm Pak 35/36) = 200 guns
- captured Soviet 45-mm antitank-gun with L/45 barrel = about 700 guns
- 75 PstK/40 (German 7.5 cm Pak 40) = 190 guns
While 50 PstK/38 (27 delivered in summer of 1942) and 75 PstK/97-38 (46 delivered in 1943) were not as common, they also were especially important as transitional weapons before 75 PstK/40 was supplied in real numbers.

20-mm and 37 PstK/36 were basically useless as antitank-weapons after Soviet T-34 and KV-1 tanks appeared in large numbers. In summer of 1944 only antitank-guns in Finnish inventory still really effective against latest Soviet tank designs like IS-2 were German-supplied 75-mm guns.

When it comes to 20-mm anti-aircraft guns, you might want to consider maybe including at least two models, since 20 ItK/40 VKT was obviously so much superior in firepower if compared to other 20-mm aa-guns commonly used by Finnish Army (20 ItK/30, 20 ItK/38, 20 ItK/35 and 20 ItK/39 M). These other guns had practical maximum rates of fire around 120 - 250 rounds per minute - while practical maximum rate of fire for 20 ItK/40 VKT about 500 rounds per minute.

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Re: Finnish Artillery

Post by JTV » 08 Jul 2009 21:07

YAN wrote:Jarkko I forgot to ask, the 40 ItK AA Gun was listed as L/65, but I thought that the 40mm Bofors was only made in to calibres L/60 & L/70, could you advise me in which one the Finns used, I think it must of been the L/60.
Yan.
Yes, it's the same gun as commonly known as Bofors L/60 and the barrel lengh was the same as in other guns of this type manufactured in various countries. Notice armour piercing and armour piercing tracer ammunition included to Finnish ammunition inventory of this gun - it didn't happen by accident. If needed 40-mm Bofors could be used for antitank-use as well.

Bofors L/70 was not introduced until after World War 2 and when it comes to its career in Finland, only Navy has been using it.

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Re: Finnish Artillery

Post by YAN » 08 Jul 2009 21:53

Thanks Jarkko, the info was most helpful, I have noticed something about Finnish field artillery, they have the same kind of docterine as the Japanese, in that they treat every field gun as a potential AT gun, I have been researching now for about fours years, and the only nations that issue there field artillery with AP ammo (so early in the war) are Finland, Russia, Japan and Germany.
P.S. I hope I have got it right over AP shells, I bet someone will find another nation to add to the list.
Thanks again Yan.

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Re: Finnish Artillery

Post by JTV » 09 Jul 2009 04:38

YAN wrote:Thanks Jarkko, the info was most helpful, I have noticed something about Finnish field artillery, they have the same kind of docterine as the Japanese, in that they treat every field gun as a potential AT gun, I have been researching now for about fours years, and the only nations that issue there field artillery with AP ammo (so early in the war) are Finland, Russia, Japan and Germany.
P.S. I hope I have got it right over AP shells, I bet someone will find another nation to add to the list.
Thanks again Yan.
Well, the basic idea was for them to have the capacity in case it might be needed. It is worth noting that when it comes to field artillery, this capacity was usually first available to light field guns of 75 - 76 mm caliber with AP/AP-T/APHE/APHE_T ammunition and around 1943 - 1944 they were usually equipped with HEAT (high explosive anti tank) and/or HEAT-T (high explosive antitank tracer) ammunition as well to improve the capability. Some of the howitzers and heavy field guns had APHE (armour piercing high explosive) ammunition as well, but in their case the ammunition was probably reserved for destroying bunkers and such - since the guns were simply too large and heavy to be useful for antitank-role. It is maybe also worth noting that sometimes Finnish military received antitank ammunition with the guns, which it acquired. For example the AP-ammunition type used in 76-mm field guns predated World War 2 and may have been Russian ammunition captured in 1918 and for example ammunition delivered with French 75 K/97 field guns included French-made APHE-rounds.

BTW: Before arrival of 75 PstK/97-38 and 75 PstK/40 antitank-guns in year 1943 Finnish antitank-arsenal was lacking a antitank-gun capable reliably taking out T-34 and KV-1 tanks. This is why the small number of 50 PstK/38 were important. But also 76 K/36 field guns and 76 ItK/31 or 76 ItK/31-40 anti-aircraft guns seem to have used as a replacement every now and then at that time (1941 - 1943) - since both of themhad excellent ballistics or antitank use.

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Re: Finnish Artillery

Post by YAN » 09 Jul 2009 11:15

Did they issue AP round to there infantry guns, I know that late in the war (1944) that they used HEAT, but did they use Anti-tank rounds before 1941.

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Re: Finnish Artillery

Post by Fliegende Untertasse » 09 Jul 2009 11:21

YAN wrote: ANTI-TANK
20mm pst Kiv/39 = 1.850
1850 was the final production figure. Operational strength kept growing throughout the war. Starting with 2 in early 1940.
Last batches were manufactured as AA-guns.
YAN wrote: AA GUNS
20mmL/65 ItK/35 = 92
40mmL/65 ItK/35-39 B = 300
+ 20mm pst Kiv/39 ;)

Several hundred AT-rifles were converted to AA-guns. First at unit level with makeshift mounts. Later as factory conversions.

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Re: Finnish Artillery

Post by YAN » 09 Jul 2009 15:25

Thanks Fliegende, I wonder if they were effective as a AA gun having such a slow rate of fire.
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Re: Finnish Artillery

Post by JTV » 09 Jul 2009 16:22

Fliegende Untertasse wrote:
YAN wrote: ANTI-TANK
20mm pst Kiv/39 = 1.850
1850 was the final production figure. Operational strength kept growing throughout the war. Starting with 2 in early 1940.
Last batches were manufactured as AA-guns.
Actually the select fire (semi/full-auto with selector) version of L-39 antitank rifle intended for anti-aircraft use was called anti-aircraft rifle L-39/44. Although for all practical purposes they were aa-guns. The last batch of L-39 manufactured as L-39/44 was 170 weapons. In addition to this 325 of L-39/44 were manufactured bringing the total to 495 weapons.

It must be noted, that not all L-39 antitank-rifles were used as anti-aircraft weapons, but this seems to have become quite common during late part of Continuation War.

If also anti-aircraft machineguns are included to the game, also 7.62 ItK/31 VKT (140 weapons) and 7.62 ItK/31-40 VKT (367 weapons) were very common. The third most common anti-aircraft machinegun in Finnish use was captured Soviet 7.62 ItK/09-31 (about 80 saw Finnish use).

Jarkko

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