What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
Hosted by Juha Tompuri
Dave Bender
Member
Posts: 3533
Joined: 24 Apr 2006 21:21
Location: Michigan U.S.A.

Sweden was leary of any confrontation with the USSR

Post by Dave Bender » 17 Dec 2010 02:30

Everyone who shared a border with the Soviet Union was afraid of Stalin, and with good reason. But the fact remains that Sweden was an economic giant compared to Finland. Finland stands a much better chance of deterring Soviet aggression if allied with Sweden.

User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
Posts: 17487
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: What If - Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by phylo_roadking » 17 Dec 2010 02:54

Sweden was leary of any confrontation with the USSR
....and yet didn't declare herself Neutral when the Winter War broke out, just her non-belligerency. Which was quite a step to take...
Twenty years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs....
Lord, please keep Kevin Bacon alive...

User avatar
CanKiwi2
Financial supporter
Posts: 1009
Joined: 26 Nov 2010 15:48
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: What If - Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 17 Dec 2010 13:02

phylo_roadking wrote:
Sweden was leary of any confrontation with the USSR
....and yet didn't declare herself Neutral when the Winter War broke out, just her non-belligerency. Which was quite a step to take...
Indeed! Sweden did more than any other country to help Finland - 8600 Volunteers, a third of the Swedish Air Force, weapons, ammunition - considering their own lack of readiness, quite something.
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

User avatar
CanKiwi2
Financial supporter
Posts: 1009
Joined: 26 Nov 2010 15:48
Location: Toronto, Canada

Sidebar - Finnish Army ATL - Combat Training

Post by CanKiwi2 » 17 Dec 2010 13:39

Straying away from logistics, economics and infrastructure briefly, there were other reasons why the Finnish Army emerged triumphant from the 1939-1940 Winter War. One of these was the emergence of a new doctrine placing an increased emphasis on hand-to-hand combat and on training soldiers in effective shoot-to-kill techniques.

The Army and the Suojeluskunta in particular encouraged its men (and women) to maximize their physical capabilities - Finland was also one of the very few countries in the world in the 1930’s whose Army encouraged the learning of unarmed and armed martial arts combat techniques. From the early 1930’s on, a synthesis of techniques from Savate, Judo, Ju-Jitsu and Karate together with knife and bayonet fighting techniques were taught within the Armed Forces. Conscripts got this in full measure. Combined with a backwoods penchant for savage brawling and knife-fighting, the Finnish soldier wasn’t somebody you wanted to meet on a dark night in the woods. Or any night for that matter.

Hand to Hand Combat and the Pyschology of Killing

The introduction of formal Hand to Hand Combat Training into the Finnish Armed Forces first occurred in the early 1930’s thanks to Gustaf Johannes Lindbergh (1888 – 1970), a Finn of Swedish origin from Turku. Lindbergh had spent almost all of the 1920’s living in Japan where he worked for a Shipping Company, learnt Japanese and became a student of the Japanese Martial Arts. A successful student of wrestling and boxing in Finland in his school days, where he had often represented his School and local City Teams in competitions, in Japan he primarily studied Karate, Judo and Ju-Jitsu, but he also studied Aikido in it’s early from, Aiki-Jujutsu, under Morihei Ueshiba. An eclectic student and a quick learner, he seems also to have studied Tae-Kwan-Do under a Korean Sifu living in Japan, as well as various Sword and Weapon Fighting Techniques.

Lindberg returned to Finland in late 1929 and, having found work in Tampere, established his own Gym. A conservative, he found himself involved in factory politics in a city where many of the Workers belonged to the militant left-wing. Very quickly, he began to teach hand-to-hand combat techniques to fellow Conservatives and members of the Tampere Civil Guard who were often involved, despite the political rapproachment between the SDP and the Civil Guard, in street brawls and bar-fights with left-wingers. No tee-totaler himself, Lindberg very quickly realized that the formalised wrestling, boxing and Japanese/Korean martial arts techniques he had studied had very little in common with real combat. As a result, working with some of his Gym members, he began developing a system of combat techniques for practical self-defense and offense in life threatening situations. On the streets, he continued to acquire hard won experience in a brutal school where losing meant a severe beating. This rapidly led him to a crucial understanding of the differences between sports fighting and street fighting.

Over the next couple of years, he developed his fundamental hand-to-hand combat principles: 'use natural movements and reactions' for defense, combined with an immediate and decisive counterattack. From this evolved the more refined theory of 'simultaneous defense and attack' while 'never occupying two hands in the same defensive movement.' The fighting technique he developed was certainly eclectic, incorporating techniques of wrestling, grappling, striking and kicking, with many elements borrowed from the Japanese and Korean Martial Arts he had studied. He rapidly became known for his schools extremely efficient and brutal counter-attacks.

Due to his Gym having a large number of Civil Guards as members, in particular many Officers (who could afford the membership fees), Lindberg was invited in 1931 to become the Hand-to-Hand Combat Instructor and Chief Instructor of Physical Fitness for the Tampere Civil Guard units. In this capacity, between 1931 and 1933, he continued to develop and refine his hand-to-hand combat methods, and also began including physical endurance training, psychological techniques, the practical usage of cold steel weapons (knives, machetes, entrenching tools, bayonets and rifles), knife and stick fighting techniques and aspects of close quarter combat such as sentry removal. By 1933 this had evolved into a system for military closequarters combat, which he named, with a certain lack of originality, Kädestä Käteen Torjumiseksi, or KKT for short (off topic – does this translate OK into Finnish, or does something else make more sense?)

Following a demonstration for Marshal Mannerheim and Senior Officers of the Army in late 1933, organised by the Senior Officers of the Tampere Civil Guard, Mannerheim worked to ensure the promotion of Lindberg to Chief Instructor of Physical Training and Unarmed Combat for the Finnish Army. Lindberg moved into this position in mid-1934 and drove the rapid expansion of KKT training throughout the Finnish Army and into High Schools through the Military Cadet organisation. At the same time, he continued to work on the evolution of fighting techniques as well as the psychological aspects of hand-ro-hand combat training, emphasising physical endurance and the ability to take physical punishment in combat without being unduly perturbed, elevating and strengthening the spirit, emphasizing threat neutralization, simultaneous defensive and offensive maneuvers and developing an always aggressive mindset.

Under his leadership, KKT became an essential part of training for all members of the Armed Forces, women included. KKT fostered an aggressive mindset and the training, paricularly in the Army during the Basic and Advanced Training periods, was intense (and intensely phsyical). Many recruits later spoke of it as one of the highlights of their training and the occasional foreign observer found the displays they were given by skilled practitioners during the Winter War itself verging on the terrifying, particularly those involving fighting with the Finnish Army’s Combat Issue Machetes and also with Entrenching Tools, each of which were more than capable of taking off a man’s head or a limb.

From 1934 to1936, Lindberg had also devoted considerable time, in conjunction with two psychologists who he had met through his gym, to the psychological aspects of combat. In his hand-to-hand combat training, Lindberg had placed a great deal of emphasis on overcoming what he had seen initially as a reluctance to fight effectively. He had later come to see this as a generic phobic-level aversion to violence which he then trained his students to overcome. He theorised that this might also apply to soldiers and their willingness to kill and began, in conjunction with the two psychologists, a systematic study into the improvement of the effectiveness of soldiers in combat.

The involvement of Finnish volunteers in the Spanish Civil War gave Lindberg a practical theatre for his studies and for two years, he and the pyschologists were attached for long periods to the Finnish Volunteer Division fighting with the Nationalists. During these studies, they determined that for many soldiers, despite having volunteered for combat, there was a deep seated aversion to actually killing the enemy, with only 20-25% of individual riflemen actually deliberately aiming at the enemy before firing (with non-Finns, it was generally around 15-20% - Lindberg theorised that perhaps the difference was that many Finns were outdoorsmen who hunted recreationally). While they were willing to die, they were not willing to kill. They also identified that there was no such problem with long distance weapons, where the enemy was out of sight and therefore de-personalised. Specialized weapons, such as a flame-thrower, usually were fired. Crew-served weapons, such as a machine gun, almost always were fired. And firing would increase greatly if a nearby leader demanded that the soldier fire. But when left to their own devices, the great majority of individual combatants appeared unable or unwilling to deliberately kill.

In addition, they identified a number of physiological responses to combat involving vasoconstruction, tunnel vision and hyperventilating as well as “fight or flight” stress responses to the stimulus of combat. Studies Lindberg carried out identified that this process was so intense that soldiers often suffered stress diarrhea with loss of control of urination and defecation being common. Lindbergs surveys identified a quarter of combat veterans admitted that they urinated in their pants in combat, and a quarter admitted that they defecated in their pants in combat. He also identified that there was a parasympathetic backlash that occured as soon as the danger and the excitement of combat was over, taking the form of an incredibly powerful weariness and sleepiness on the part of the soldier. This seemed to occur as soon as the momentum of the attack was halted and the soldier briefly believed himself to be safe. During this period of vulnerability a counterattack by fresh troops could have an effect completely out of proportion to the number of troops attacking.

These were revolutionary insights into human nature and into a military problem – a 15-20% aiming and firing rate among riflemen is like a 15-20% literacy rate among librarians. Step by step through this period, Lindberg worked from a military perspective to correct these problems as they were identified. And correct them he did. In the Winter War, the “deliberate aiming and firing” rate among riflemen in the Finnish Army was over 90 percent and there was no appreciable reluctance to kill enemy soldiers. Measures taken included replacing the old “bulls-eye” targets with man-shaped pop up targets that fell when hit and repetitious “snap-shooting” range training against the same man-shaped pop-up targets, creating a reflexive reponse pattern that became ingrained after constant repitition (constant repitition was stressed as the key to success). Stimulus-response, stimulus-response, repeated hundreds of times proved to be a successful conditioner. After this training, when soldiers so-trained were in combat and somebody popped up with a gun, reflexively they shot and shot to kill without conscious volition ("..they shoot like automatons..." a foreign journalist wrote at the time, "...with unbelievable accuracy, aiming and killing with no visible emotion.....").

He also worked to understand the physiological responses to close-range interpersonal aggression. Tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, the loss of fine and complex motor control, irrational behavior, and the inability to think clearly were all observed as byproducts of combat stress. A key conclusion was that in many ways soldiers in combat were actually less capable than normal and conditioning was needed to overcome these physiological responses. Again, Lindberg developed techniques to do just this, training soldiers to consciously adjust their physiological responses, largely through a combination of breathing exercises and “battle-conditioning” training under conditions of extreme stress and exertion simulating real combat as closely as possible.

By early 1938, he had proved his training and conditioning techniques to his and the Army’s satisfaction and these were rolled out in general and refresher training through 1938. With actual war looming in 1939, most soldiers received at least an abbreviated form of this training as part of mobilization referesher training in the Autumn of 1939. It was training that served the Army well in the Winter War, with the Finns achieving unprecedented effectiveness in the willingness of Finnish soldiers to aim to kill, shooting with an accuracy and effectiveness that was not reached in other Armed Forces until decades later. In this of course they were also aided by the outstanding individual firearms brought into service through the late 1930’s by the Finnish Armed Forces.

Those very very few foreign military observers who were permitted access to the front during the Winter War were in awe of the Finnish soldier’s military prowess. As one such observer was quoted as saying by a foreign (american) journalist “I don’t know if they terrify the Russians, but they sure do terrify me.” This particular observer had just witnessed an encounter engagement where an advancing Finnish Infantry Company of less than 100 men had wiped out a counter-attacking Russian Infantry unit of somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 men in an engagement that lasted less than 5 minutes. ("In addition to the effective use of accompanying support weapons, the individual Finnish Soldiers immediately went to ground, making effective use of available cover and fired aimed shots at approximately 10 second intervals with oustanding accuracy," he wrote in his report, "almost every shot seemed to find a target, the attacking Russian unit was wiped out to the last man. The Finns suffered 1 casualty, a light wound. They then resumed their advance.")

A great deal of the credit for this must go to Lindberg, the revolutionary insights into human nature that he came up with and the training techniques he devised to overcome these. Lindberg continued as the Army’s Chief Instructor of Physical Training and Unarmed Combat until 1948, when he retired from the military, though he continued to supervise the instruction of KKT in both Finnish military and law-enforcement contexts, and in addition, worked indefatigably to refine, improve and adapt KKT to meet civilian needs.
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

User avatar
CanKiwi2
Financial supporter
Posts: 1009
Joined: 26 Nov 2010 15:48
Location: Toronto, Canada

Part 2 - More on Finnish Economic Growth thru the 1930's

Post by CanKiwi2 » 17 Dec 2010 13:57

The Development of the Finnish Mining Industry

The nickel mine at Petsamo in the far north of Finland has already been noted in passing. Given the growing importance of mining to the Finnish economy through the entire decade of the 1930’s, the entire mining sector is worthy of further examination, following which we will in the next section look at other areas of the economy that grw together with the financial and social ramifications of the rapid growth and industrialization of Finland’s economy – particularly on state income from taxation and from state-owned companies – and the flow-on effects for the defence budget.

Nickel was an important strategic resource, potentially of great importance for production of munitions, tanks and other war-related materiel as it was used to make alloys of steel (particularly stainless steel) important for improved corrosion resistance (shipbuilding) and outstanding high temperature performance (aircraft engines), armor plate and ammunition. The first Finnish nickel deposits were found in the Petsamo area on the Barents Sea, the northernmost part of Finland in the early 1920’s and were Europe’s richest nickel deposits. Finland had gained control of Petsamo in the Tartu Peace Agreement reached with the USSR in 1920. An early assessment of the region's natural resources revealed that the forest and mineral exploitation would be expensive and risky, and unlikely to attract sufficient capital. An early proposal for a rail link to Rovaniemi was rejected by the Government.

The Government conducted a geological survey of the area in 1921. On the Norwegian side of the border an iron ore field had already been found, and it was hoped that the ore would continue on the Finnish side. In the summer of 1921 the survey identified Neck Kolosjoelta Fell, near the Norwegian border and about 40 miles from the coastm as a nickel-copper ore deposit. In 1922, the Finnish Geological Commission mapped out the preliminary size of the orebodies and explained the content of the ore. The ore was calculated at about two million tons, and was estimated to contain 1.3 per cent nickel and 1.6 percent copper. A preliminary assessment determined that while the result was modest, the ore might still be enough to start mining. The calculated concentrations later proved to be significantly below those of the actual nickel content, which proved to be 3.9 percent over a thirty kilometer trendline.

The deposit was first offered to a Finnish state-owned mining company, Outokumpu Oy, but Outokumpu was already heavily committed and had insufficient resources for two projects. Early interest was shown by several international mining companies, including German companies Krupp and IG Farben and the Canadian International Nickel Company of Canada (Inco), which controlled 90 percent of world nickel market and owned most of the world's known nickel resources. Demand for nickel on the world market was growing rapidly during the 1930s due to the use of steel/nickel alloys, used to improve the strength of the steel as well as humidity and temperature stability characteristics. Negotiations with Inco were long and thorough, but the agreement was approved in June 1932 At this stage, the ore was estimated at double the original calculation. The contracting parties were the State of Finland and the UK registered subsidiary of Inco, Mond Nickel Company . Mond held the right to the Kolosjoen orebodies for a fifty year period. Work began in 1933 to build a mine to Canadian plans. A three mile long underground tunnel was built, with work going on in 3 shifts.
Image
Kolosjoen nickel mine entrance in the mid 1930s

Initially, the ore was shipped to the United States from the small Finnish Barents Sea port of Liinahamari (which was ice-free all year round) for smelting, but when it became clear that electric power would be available, Inco decided to build a smelter in Petsamo, where ore was processed to semi-finished 50% nickel (matte). The high brick chimney of the smelter, when completed, was the highest in Europe at 163 meters (the Masons were Americans). By 1936 the mine, powerplant and smelter were fully operational and producing approximately 3,000 tonnes of pure nickel annually (although it was processed and shipped as matte - the refined so called "Matte" contained about 50% of nickel. There were usually other metals with nickel, particularly copper, gold and silver). The mine employed about 1,400 employees.
Image
Kolosjoen mine smelter - the165-meter high chimney when completed was the highest in Europe

When development started, the area was untouched wilderness. To accommodate the employees, an entire town was planned, with roads, utilities, a market, cinema, tennis courts, workshops and administration buildings. The town was designed by architects Kaj Englund and Olav Hammarstrom and was completed over a two year period from1934-35 with 140 homes. The buildings were modern, with central heating, bathrooms and modern kitchens. Building material used were new porous concrete hole bricks. The site of the town was also connected by road to the south in 1931 (construction of the road from Sodankylä through Ivalo to Liinahamari started in 1916 and was completed in 1931. After that Petsamo became a popular tourist attraction as it was the only port at the Barents Sea that could be reached by an automobile).
Image
Residential Units at the Kolosjoen Mine

At this stage Finland was also of increasing interest to Germany, who saw Finland’s nickel deposits as a vital war industry in any major conflict. In 1937 the Germans expressed an interest in purchasing nickel from Petsamo. This was of concern to the British Government, who were again concerned when they found, in September 1938, that the the German General Staff’s Economic Representative had traveled to Finland to investigate materials available for use in the production of munitions and had expressed the wish that Finland would sell all Nickel production to Germany (at this stage, Nickel was a major source of concern to Germany –their nickel self-sufficiency was only 5 per cent). At the same time, Finland was also seeking to raise revenue to finance further defence spending and pressured Inco to increase production at the Petsamo facility. Smelter capacity was expanded, port capacity Liinahamari was increased and, with open-cast mining introduced, by 1939 production had expanded to 220 000 tons of ore, (8,000 tonnes of pure nickel). Of this, more than than half of ore was smelted into matte on site, while the remainder was shipped out as ore to Britain and the United States. This was a valuable source of foreign exchange for Finland and, increasingly, was carried on Finnish-built and owned merchant shipping.

However, while the nickel deposits at Petsamo were important, there were two other nickel mines in Finland that had entered operations in the mid to late 1930’s, one of which, the Kotalahti mine, was almost as significant as the Petsamo deposit. The Kotalahti mine in Leppävirta was mined from 1934 to 1967 and the Makola Mine, near Nivala, entered production in 1937. The Makola Mine yielded around 500 tonnes of Nickel annually, the Kotalahti Mine was producing 424,000 tonnes of ore annually by 1939, yielding 2,800 tonnes of pure Nickel. Both of these deposits were mined by the state-owned mining company, Outokumpu and a political decision was made to sell a good part of this production to Germany. Accordingly, in early 1937 the Government signed a contract for the supply of 3,000 tonnes of Nickel annually, sourced from the Kotalahti and Makola Mines and generating substantial revenue for the Government (and for Outokumpu).

Outokumpu Oy itself had, by the late 1930’s, become a significant player within Finland’s economy. Outokumpu was a mining and metallurgical company, headquartered in Espoo and managed by Eero Makinen. The company took its name from the town in the eastern part of Finland where a rich copper ore deposit was discovered in March 1910. The deposits owners, both the Finnish State and private players, could not agree on a clear direction for the project and WW1 then intervened, with financial difficultiues and limited capital hindering the launch of efficient production. From 1913, copper ore was smelted and refined in a small copper works next to the mine. While the process was inconsistent, sufficient raw copper was produced to meet domestic demand together with some exports.

Things began to take off in 1924 when the State became the sole owner of the deposit and then when, as part of the Industrialisation Legislation of 1926-27, the deposit was transferred to the ownership of a state-owned mining company, with Eero Makinen appointed as manager. The old copper works was closed in 1929 as Ourokumpu began drafting plans for an integrated copper chain. The first step in Outokumpu’s integrated copper chain was completed in 1931 when an electric smelting plant, the largest of its kind in the world at that time, was built in Imatra to take advantage of the power from the newly completed Imatra Dam. The next step was the building of a metal works in Pori, where the raw copper produced in Imatra was refined into semi-finished prodicts such as wire ingots, sheets and rods (Outokumpu's "concentrated copper ore" contained 4% copper, 28% iron, 25% sulphur, 1% zink, 0,20% cobolt and additionally 0.80 grams of gold and 9 grams of silver per ton of ore).
Image
Harjavalta Nickel Works Furnace Aisle

The opening of new nickel, zinc and copper mines in Finland in the 1930’s enabled Outokumpou to develop into a multi-metal company, with a new nickel works built at Harjavalta in 1934 and zinc and cobalt works in Kokkola in 1936. Outokumpu was also the owner of the newly constructed Tornio Steel Works, in the small town Tornio on the coast of Gulf of Bothnia, with up to 85 pct of the product exported. In the late 1930’s, Outokumpu also opened another major Copper mine at Ylöjärvi, near Tampere. Outokumpu also started down the road to stainless steel in 1937, when it began to exploit a large chrome ore deposit in Kemi. The construction of a ferrochrome smelter in Tornio (a joint venture with the Swedish firm Avesta), combined with the nickel works in Harjavalta, provided Outokumpu with the key raw materials for stainless steel, and the production of this was a natural next step, with 10,000 tonnes annually being produced by late 1939. The company’s net sales increased tenfold between 1930 and 1939, by which time Outokumpu was Finland’s third largest export company.

As the pressure from the USSR grew ever more pressing in the late 1930’s, Finland began to use it’s position as a key supplier of Nickel to Germany and an important supplier to the UK as leverage in negotiations for the purchase of weapons, munitions and technology. In the case of Germany, this resulted in Germany supplying Finland in early 1938 with some two hundred 88mm Anti-Aircraft guns together with ammunition, designs and a manufacturing license as well as shiploads of coal (as Finland began to build up strategic reserves of coal and oil). The 88mm guns were pressed into service as Anti-Tank Guns in the Winter War, first used in the Battle of the Summa Gap with devastating effect on Russian armor. In the case of the UK, Finland was able to exert less pressure (the Inco Mine in Sudbury, Canada, supplied the bulk of the Nickel needed for the USA and the UK) but was able to pressure the UK into selling aircraft, including a limited number of Hurricane Fighters, as well as the transfer of technology. This included a license for the State Engine Factory to build the Rolls Royce Merlin engine, export licenses for the De Havilland Wihuri and designs for the Miles M20 Fighter, all of which would be invaluable to Finland in the Winter War.

At the same time, increasing amounts of metallurgical products from Outukumpu and other Finnish companies were going into the expanding Finnish Maritime Construction Industrial Complex. Both merchant ships and warships demand large quantites of steel, and between the demands of the new Finnish shipping lines, the ongoing Finnish Naval construction program, sales of merchant ships to the Soviet Union and the building of both Baltic and transoceanic ore carriers and Oil Tankers, the Finnish Maritime Industrial Complex was expanding rapidly. There were other internal demands – for the burgeoning automobile industry as well as for the internal Armaments Industry that had been slowly developing through the 1930’s to meet Finland’s defense needs.

But besides the keystones of the Finnish economy of the 1930’s – Lumber, Pulp and Paper, Metallurgical and the heavy industrial companies (The Maritime Complex, Sisu, Neste and othere) - there were other Companies within Finland that were beginning to emerge, less significant in terms of pure percentages, but significant in terms of technology and knowledge.
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

Dave Bender
Member
Posts: 3533
Joined: 24 Apr 2006 21:21
Location: Michigan U.S.A.

Sweden did more than any other country to help Finland

Post by Dave Bender » 17 Dec 2010 13:58

It was in their interest to do so. Finland provided a buffer between Sweden and Stalin's Soviet Union.

If Hitler had a clue concerning international affairs he would have used Poland the same way, as a buffer between Germany and the Soviet Union.

User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
Posts: 17487
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: What If - Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by phylo_roadking » 17 Dec 2010 14:01

Didn't he? :wink: He certainly ued it as a trade-off between the Third Reich and the USSR....
Twenty years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs....
Lord, please keep Kevin Bacon alive...

Dave Bender
Member
Posts: 3533
Joined: 24 Apr 2006 21:21
Location: Michigan U.S.A.

Re: What If - Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by Dave Bender » 17 Dec 2010 14:50

Didn't he? He certainly ued Poland as a trade-off between the Third Reich and the USSR....
Hitler used the division of Poland as incentive to prevent Stalin from signing a military alliance with Britain and France. A poor bargain for Germany (and Poland!). They no longer had Poland as a buffer state. Britain and France were still eager to sign an anti-German alliance with Stalin.

Swedish foreign policy towards Finland was much smarter. They also got lucky. If Germany had not beaten the Anglo-French invasion to Narvik then Sweden might have been forced into the war anyway as an ally of Norway vs Britain and France. If Finland had not held the Soviet invasion for several months then Sweden might have become a full fledged ally of Finland vs the Soviet Union.

User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
Posts: 17487
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: What If - Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by phylo_roadking » 17 Dec 2010 15:26

If Germany had not beaten the Anglo-French invasion to Narvik then Sweden might have been forced into the war anyway as an ally of Norway vs Britain and France.
This is unlikely; the Oslo Group had no element of common defence policy or mutual defence agreement IIRC This had been proposed in the early 1930s but the attempt had collapsed...because the Norwegians didn't want to end up in a putative war between Finland and the USSR!
Twenty years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs....
Lord, please keep Kevin Bacon alive...

User avatar
CanKiwi2
Financial supporter
Posts: 1009
Joined: 26 Nov 2010 15:48
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: What If - Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 17 Dec 2010 16:00

Yup. Same problem with the rest of eastern europe as well. In General, there was no commonality of interest - you would have thought Czechosolvakia and Poland at least would have gotten together, but nope. Likewise Czechosolvakia and Hungary but nope again. Lots of reasons why they didn't get together in point of fact. But as it stood, they all got hung up to dry seperately and in detail. Sweden got lucky.

"If" Finland had managed to hold on a bit longer and "if" the Brits and French had pushed back the Germans in northern Norway, then pushed thru into Sweden to "aid" Finland (most of their troops were earmarked to seize and hold the Swedish ore fields), they would have (a) pushed Sweden into the war on Germany's side because the Swede's weren't going to roll over for anyone and (b) the #'s the French and British had committed would have made little difference in the Russo-Finnish fighting and indeed, given their rather sad performance against the Germans, probably wouldn't have done so well against the Russians either.

Anyhow, I do get into this as my scenario develops - but it'll be a while before I make it that far - lots of background to paint in first.
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

User avatar
phylo_roadking
Member
Posts: 17487
Joined: 30 Apr 2006 23:31
Location: Belfast

Re: What If - Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by phylo_roadking » 17 Dec 2010 16:13

and "if" the Brits and French had pushed back the Germans in northern Norway, then pushed thru into Sweden to "aid" Finland (most of their troops were earmarked to seize and hold the Swedish ore fields)
Remember that

1/ they DID push the Germans right back and over the border into internment in Sweden :wink:

2/ due to the timing of it all, they did so knowing that they were going to turn right round, dynamite Narvik - and leave. The Gallivare occupation part of their plans had been abandoned long since.
Yup. Same problem with the rest of eastern europe as well. In General, there was no commonality of interest -
Well...actually, there was; against certain things. The Oslo Group grew out of the amount of bullying and economic pressure the Scandanavian countries had gone through to force them into the WI Quota System.....and subsequently, because of their post-WWI dire ecomonic straits facing various Western European trade cartels...and began as a free trade agreement between them to protect themselves within the group from similar happening again. It was only by default that it happened to be a group of Neutrals...because it was as Neutrals they had traded with Germany in WWI and been forced into the Quota System...except as we saw when one of its number decided later NOT to be Neutral!
Twenty years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs....
Lord, please keep Kevin Bacon alive...

John T
Member
Posts: 1153
Joined: 31 Jan 2003 22:38
Location: Stockholm,Sweden

Re: What If - Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by John T » 18 Dec 2010 19:38

CanKiwi2 wrote:
phylo_roadking wrote:
Sweden was leary of any confrontation with the USSR
....and yet didn't declare herself Neutral when the Winter War broke out, just her non-belligerency. Which was quite a step to take...
Indeed! Sweden did more than any other country to help Finland - 8600 Volunteers, a third of the Swedish Air Force, weapons, ammunition - considering their own lack of readiness, quite something.
Note that IRL Sweden spent roughly twice as much on defence as Finland during the thirties.

And some general notes on this scenario -
My biggest gripe is that if Finland did this economical revolution wouldn't rest of the world follow suit?
After "fifteen consecutive Nobel prices in economics for Finland" :) , some other countries must have followed, leading to possibly a Very different world in 1939.

My second biggest problem is one of national education, you need to factor in a huge expansion in higher education to be able to get all these improvements done.


And as it all ripples though all of society and if Finns would been so industrialised Isn't there a chance Finns in general would have been much less accustomed to the wilderness and becoming more like the Russians ?

But I find your scenario quite nice and I see forward to more :)

BTW
Once upon a time in the beginning of the century, there where a thread here on "ten improvements Finland could have done before the winter war", but I failed to find it now. It was much more limited in scope only dealing with procurements and priorites within the armed forces.

Dave Bender
Member
Posts: 3533
Joined: 24 Apr 2006 21:21
Location: Michigan U.S.A.

Re: What If - Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by Dave Bender » 18 Dec 2010 20:14

Sweden spent roughly twice as much on defence as Finland during the thirties
That's to be expected since the Swedish economy was over twice as large.

User avatar
John Hilly
Member
Posts: 2586
Joined: 26 Jan 2010 09:33
Location: Tampere, Finland, EU

Re: What If - Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by John Hilly » 18 Dec 2010 22:36

CanKiwi2 wrote:By 1933 this had evolved into a system for military closequarters combat, which he named, with a certain lack of originality, Kädestä Käteen Torjumiseksi, or KKT for short (off topic – does this translate OK into Finnish, or does something else make more sense?)
Kädestä Käteen Torjuminen "hand to hand defence". Very interesting term!
"Kädestä Käteen~ Hand to hand" literally means a helping hand, i.e. if your Neighbour's house is burned down, you collect money "kädestä käteen", to help him. So, not very suitable term for hand to hand battle.
In Finnish there are two beatiful phrases for this:
"Käsirysy" and "Käsikähmä"! :lol: :lol: :lol: Try to pronounce them, I must laugh a little more... :lol: :lol: :lol:

In fact "Käsirysy" could be the best word to use in the street-fights between "Lahtarit - the Butchers" vs. "Punikit - the Reddies".

"Käsikähmä" can mean a real man to man fight. KKT could be "KäsiKähmäTaistelu". The best I can make up! 8-)

Isn't Finnish a lovely language or isn't it!!! :D :D :D

Greets
Juha-Pekka :milwink:
"Die Blechtrommel trommelt noch!"

User avatar
CanKiwi2
Financial supporter
Posts: 1009
Joined: 26 Nov 2010 15:48
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: What If - Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 18 Dec 2010 23:15

Kädestä Käteen Torjuminen "hand to hand defence". Very interesting term!
"Kädestä Käteen~ Hand to hand" literally means a helping hand, i.e. if your Neighbour's house is burned down, you collect money "kädestä käteen", to help him. So, not very suitable term for hand to hand battle.
In Finnish there are two beatiful phrases for this:
"Käsirysy" and "Käsikähmä"! :lol: :lol: :lol: Try to pronounce them, I must laugh a little more... :lol: :lol: :lol:

In fact "Käsirysy" could be the best word to use in the street-fights between "Lahtarit - the Butchers" vs. "Punikit - the Reddies".

"Käsikähmä" can mean a real man to man fight. KKT could be "KäsiKähmäTaistelu". The best I can make up! 8-)

Isn't Finnish a lovely language or isn't it!!! :D :D :D

Greets
Juha-Pekka
OK, "KäsiKähmäTaistelu" or KKT for short it is from now on. And yeah, you would laugh at my attempt to pronounce that. I work with some Finnish translation software, a dictionary and a finnish grammer book. One tricky language to learn. So far Ive managed about 4 books in Finnish - scan them in, run the s/w and then work thru trying to make sense of it. The basic stuff is fine but military terminology does not translate easily. Did Michael Cleverleys bio of Lauri Torni, Born a Soldier, that way and even the title took me a while to figure out from the Finnish.

BTW, just in case nobody figured it out, that was lifted from the development of Krav Maga in Hungary in roughly the same pre-war timeframe - now used by the Israeli defence forces. I invented a few things but its more or less for real as far as technique and training goes.
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

Return to “Winter War & Continuation War”