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

Post by Juha Tompuri » 18 Dec 2012 21:44

Well written Nigel!
Your military expertise really makes the text live.

Regards, Juha

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

Post by CanKiwi2 » 18 Dec 2012 21:58

John Hilly wrote:
CanKiwi2 wrote:“Saatana,” Linna said, his voice hushed, almost inaudible under the roar of the twin Lahti’s.
The rest of the crew, Hakkarainen, Kapteeni Kaarna and the Instructor watched as the targets disintegrated in a maelstrom of 20mm cannon shells, splinters and dust. “Vitun mahtava” Linna screamed at the top of his voice as he hosed the targets down.
How about "Perkele", Linna said...
"Saatanan mahtavaa", Linna screamed...

Juha-Pekka :milwink:
Done. Many thx everyone for all the editing :D
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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

Post by CanKiwi2 » 18 Dec 2012 22:01

Juha Tompuri wrote:Well written Nigel!
Your military expertise really makes the text live.

Regards, Juha
Happy you're enjoying reading it. The challenge for me here is to not get to Anglo-Saxon in my interpretation of events and mindsets. Reading Linna keeps me on the straight and narrow..... more or less ... and having him in the story keeps me thinking - how would he write this.... and then at least trying to stay with his style here and there .... he really knows how to capture a scene in a few words. Anyhow, on to the next bit now that the last seems to be more or less done....
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 28 Dec 2012 20:44

The next day’s exercise was another bitch. By the end of a day that was straight from hell, Hakkarainen was seriously considered applying for a transfer to a position as a weather monitor on the Kola Peninsula. Kapteeni Kaarna beckoned him aside as they began cleaning up the Sika’s outside the shed. The sinking feeling in his stomach disappeared as Kaarna asked him where the Lahti’s had come from. Hakkarainen did his best to diplomatically state that they had been “acquired” from the Ilmavoimat, in the best traditions of armiejan scrounging. “Dammit Hakkarainen, just tell me who it was that got them,” Kaarna finally exploded. “I want to know if we can get more of the damn things.”

“Oh.” Hakkarainen deflated. “Sihvonen got them, his brother’s an armourer in the Ilmavoimat, they’ve got a warehouse of them down the road and they did some sort of a deal.”
“Thankyou Vänrikki Hakkarainen.” Kaarna still sounded exasperated. “Perhaps you would be so good as to summon Sihvonen to join us.”
Hakkarainen did. Sihvonen came over, snapped to attention. Even, wonder of wonders, saluted. “Cut the crap Sihvonen, we’re not in the field, there’s no enemy snipers around,” Kaarna’s mouth half-twitched into what might have been a smile. “Now, do you think your brother could lay hands on a few more of those Lahti’s, say a pair for every Sika we’ve got? Plus ammo for training?”
Sihvonen forgot military appearances instantly, wrinkling his forehead, removing his cap and scratching his head. “Have to talk to him Sir, its easy enough to explain a couple going missing, but forty of them, that might be a bit much to ask.”
“Well, you can take the evening off, take Linna and Salo with you and have a chat with your brother, I’m going to talk to our Majuri Järvinen and see if there’s anything he can do for us.”

As it turned out, Majuri Järvinen went up through his own line of command. His request for forty Lahti 20mm’s was expeditiously declined. Conversely, his request for large amounts of 20mm ammunition for training purposes was approved almost immediately. Sihvonen in turn advised that his brother could not see his way to “losing” that many Lahti’s, but certainly the small bunker that they had been moved to was somewhat isolated and not guarded. Thus it was that two nights later, a surprise Soviet air raid took the airbase by surprise. Over a period of an hour or so, a number of sporadic explosions wracked the airbase, none of them doing any appreciable damage - with the single exception of an isolated bunker that was being used to store a number of Lahti 20mm AA guns. A Soviet bomb had blown the whole bunker to fragments, leaving nothing but an overly large hole in the ground and some fragments of wood and metal. The base Armourer, one Sihvonen, reported the writeoff of some forty Lahti 20mm AA guns and put in the paperwork for replacements.

A couple of hours after the Soviet air raid ended, Sihvonen, Salo, Linna and half a dozen other men from Hakkarainen’s joukkue drove into the army base in four rather heavily laden old Ford Muuli trucks, the springs groaning under the weight of their loads. Strangely enough, the Komppanian Vääpeli was at the Gate when they arrived and waved the trucks through himself without a security check. The Kersantti of the Guard, who strangely enough was also from Kapteeni Kaarna’s company, blinked not once as the four trucks groaned and squeaked past. Indeed, he even waved at Sihvonen as he leaned nonchalantly on the sill of the passenger’s window. The trucks disappeared towards the Shed that was home to the Sika’s and very shortly afterwards, the sounds of a large group of soldiers hard at work could be heard.

Over the next few days, the Sikas rotated through the shed, a three or four at a time. Each morning a few more would emerge with the modifications completed. It took more than a week before the last one was done. And then, on the gunnery range, with the entire Komppania lined up in their Sikas, the sheer firepower of twenty twin-Lahti 20mm cannon and forty twin-12.7mm heavy machineguns was tried out ….
“Impressive,” Kapteeni Kaarna stated blandly.
“Mahtava” one Sotamie Maatta was heard to say as he watched chunks flying off the old Russian T-26, which was now looking more like Swiss Cheese than a tank. “Impressive” was something of an understatement. Even the Instructors from the Combined Arms Experimental Combat Group stood there with their jaws hanging, a look of stunned amazement on their faces. Marjuri Järvinen was frantically making notes.

After the day’s live shoot on the gunnery range ended, Kaarna summoned Hakkarainen to his temporary office. “And bring Sihvonen, Salo and Linna with you Vänrikki,” he added, almost as if it was an afterthought. What followed there arrival was not what you would call a speech, but the Kapteeni made it plain to Sihvonen, Salo and Linna that was he well pleased with the initiative they had shown. “Quite impressive Korporali Sihvonen, Korporali Salo, Korporali Linna,” the Kapteeni said blandly, grinning at the surprised look on their faces. “Congratulations on your promotions.” He handed each of them the sleeve and collar insignia’s for their combat uniforms. “I expect to see you wearing these by the morning.” He turned to Hakkarainen. “And lest I forget Luutnantti, these are for you.” He handed Hakkarainen a set of sleeve and collar insignia for a 1st Lieutenant. Then shook his hand. “Good work Luutnantti.”

Another week of training followed. Orders came to be prepared to move out the next day. Kapteeni Kaarna gathered the company together outside the Shed to announce their eminent departure. To Vänrikki Koskela, of the Third Joukkue, he had delegated the task of issuing instructions to the Company. In his opinion, Koskela, who was taciturn & overly self-conscious, needed all the command experience he could get. Koskela stood in front of the company, looking as though he was meditating how to begin. He always had difficulty giving orders and he would have far preferred Kapteeni Kaarna to issue them. “Er … we move out at 6am tomorrow morning with our Sika’s. …. You NCO’s ….. it’s up to you to look after things. See that all extra equipment is handed in. Make sure you have a change of underwear and socks and your greatcoats and blanket in your packs. And of course bring your weapons and body armour and helmet. Anyone who needs replacement kit, see the Quartermaster. Sika commanders, make sure your Sika’s get all their maintenance done today, all fuel to be topped up, a full combat load of ammo for the Sika’s as well as your personal weapons. Be as quick as you can.”

Kersantti Hietanen ventured a question. “Where are we going? Way the hell out in the wilderness I suppose?” Koskela’s glance first sought out Kapteeni Kaarna, who stood looking blankly inscrutable, then sought the horizon as he answered. “I can’t tell you. All I know is the orders. Get going now, and don’t waste time”. That was all the men learnt. Indeed it was all anyone except Kaarna knew, yet everyone was eager to be off. The rest of the Army was fighting, not training, and while noone was eager to go back to the war, the sooner the war was won, the sooner everyone could go home again. Such was their eagerness that men even asked the NCO’s what else they could do, a rare occurrence in any army. With Hakkarainen off with the Kapteeni, Kersantti Hietanen took charge of the Joukkue. His booming voice rose above the din as he directed the preparations, first in the barracks and then as they worked on the Sika’s. Hietanen was a powerfully built and cheerful young man who had established his authority over the joukkue chiefly due to his immense strength.

They gossipied as they worked, but nobody knew more than anyone else where they were going. One of the men from Lammio’s joukkue came running over. “The panzers are moving out.” They abandoned their tasks for the moment to step out of the shed and watch. The panzers were indeed moving out, long columns of them on their transporters, followed by the seemingly endless logistical tail. It seemed that the entire Divisoona was indeed moving. Orded back to their tasks, all day they worked on the Sikas. Maintenance. Engines. Oil and grease, topping up everything that could be topped up, servicing everything that could be serviced. Clean the guns. Fill the ammunition belts and the ammo lockers. Check personal weapons, check their individual Lohikäärme Vuota, the body armour that had proved so valuable in battle on the Isthmus, sharpen puukko knives, the now standard-issue Isotalo-Taistelut-Veitsi (“Isotalo fighting knives) and the almost two-foot long combat machetes that could be used to chop down a tree or take a man’s head off, load up on extra food – you could always fit in something extra inside the Sika. Extra kit tied on the outside – cammo nets, tarpaulins, spare tires, chains and rope for towing, planks for getting out of the mud if they got stuck, axes, saws, spare parts, whatever seemed necessary, whatever could be scrounged. When they moved out the next morning, Rahtainen’s Sika had a live pig in a hastily made cage tied on the back. Kapteeni Kaarna looked at it expressionlessly as it passed by, squealing loudly. Luutnantti Lammio looked shocked as he stood in his command Sika watching Hakkarainen’s joukkue drive past him.

Hakkarainen grinned at Lammio from his command Sika, which his men had named Anssin Jukka, after the notorious Ostrobothnian knife fighter of the same name. Behind him, Salo started singing. The rest of the crew joined in first, roaring out the words, then the rest of Hakkarainen’s joukkue joining in, as much to shock the rather prim and proper Luutnantti Lammio as for any other reason. Also, much to Hakkarainen’s embarrassment, his men seemed to have altered the words somewhat….

“When Luutnantti Hakkarainen set out for the war
the Devil sat down on the shaft
like a gust of wind drove Anssin Jukka
past the Pikku-Lammio Sika…”


Hakkarainen wasn’t quite sure what that said about him or his men, given the rather grim melody of the song, which told of "The Horrible Wedding in Härmä, with drinking and fighting going on -- from the hallway to the head of the stairs dead bodies were carried..." In a way, Hakkarainen thought, the singing of the song rather typified the joukkue’s spirit of aggressive intent – though whether it was towards the Russians or towards Luutnantti Lammio was perhaps the question to ask. As if to illustrate the song rather more graphically, Salo flipped his Isotalo fighting knife in the air and caught the blade in his fingers, raising it to his forehead in an ironic salute to Luutnantti Lammio as they drove past. Behind Lammio, his men were grinning. Hakkarainen thought perhaps he should rebuke Salo, but then he gave a mental shrug. As long as the men followed his orders, a certain amount of leeway was permissible. With a grin, he turned his face to the road, caught up in the grim elation of the moment as they headed off towards battle once again……

And just as a bit of an informational post-script….

In the mid-1800s in western Finland, in a region called Ostro-Bothnia along the Gulf of Bothnia, there was a tradition similar to that of the “gun-slingers” of the old American Wild West. Only these guys, mostly wealthy and strong farmers, used the Finnish puukko-knives instead of six-shooter colts to settle their disputes - so perhaos one could call them knife-slingers. They liked fast horses but did not ride them. Instead they had the horse draw a two-wheel cart with iron wheels. They liked to gallop through the villages and enjoyed the drumming of horse hoofs and the rattling of the wheels on the gravel roads. In this they were like some present day Finns in their cars...

Now these guys were very proud of themselves and wanted to be kings of the hill. They used to crash parties like weddings and do all sorts of mischief, fighting against others and against their own gang members. The result was of course a high murder statistic. Some of the most famous of these knife-fighters (and they WERE famous within Finland) were Isontalon Antti, Rannanjärvi, Pikku-Lammi and Hanssin Jukka (more often spelled Anssin Jukka, Anssi being the family name and Jukka "John" the first name, so Anssin Jukka translates to Jukka of Anssi). The memory of these knife-fighters still lives in a very popular song about a wedding at a village called Härmä in 1868 and it can still be bought in many versions, recorded by many military bands. The words go about like this:

"There was a terrible wedding at Härmä
with plenty of drinking and fighting.
Blood was carried there in a damn big pile.
When Anssin Jukka went to the wedding
the devil sat on the shaft of his cart.
Like a gust of wind he galloped past Pikku-Lammi on the way".


Anssin Jukka arrived at the wedding and shouted from the door: "Good evening, are you not going to show me the beautiful Tilda of Alitalo?" Alitalo was the name of the farm, Tilda being the bride. The song continues, telling that people were playing and dancing till Anssin Jukka came – and then the fight started at once. By the time the fighting ended, there were so many corpses that the row of them reached from the vestibule down to the porch stairs. On the way to the wedding, Anssin Jukka had insulted Pikku-Lammi by galloping past him. This, of course was an insult so they got into a fight at the wedding and ….

"Anssin Jukka had a knife
and Pikku-Lammi had a stake.
There on the floor heaven opened
for Pikku-Lammi as Anssin Jukka cut his throat".


The song ends by wondering whether the authorities rest well knowing that “the best of the boys has spent ten years in the prison of Vaasa.” Anssin Jukka was a bit of a hero - for instance in the 1930s the glider club at Vaasa had their Grunay Baby glider was named after Anssin Jukka. Also, Marshal Mannerheim’s personal transport aircraft, a DC2, was named “Hanssin Jukka” – one can in all honesty say that very few Military commanders of any nation have had their personal aircraft named after a knife-fighter. This in itself should perhaps have been a warning to the Russians not to attack Finland and probably the popularity of “Anssin Jukka” reflects some deep characteristic of the Finnish soul, who knows..... Anyway, everybody knows about Hanssin Jukka, a Finnish knife-fighter of the 1800s...

Here's the Finnish lyrics for Anssin Jukka Ja Härman Häät. No translation available at this stage but hopefully soon….. along with the song itself…..

Härmässä häät oli kauhiat
siellä juotihin ja tapeltihin.
Porstuasta porraspäähän
rumihia kannettihin.

Anssin Jukka se häihin lähti
ja valjasti hevoosensa.
Eikä hän muita mukahansa ottanut
kun Amalia-sisarensa.

Anssin Jukka kun häihin lähti,
niin aisalle istuu piru.
tuulispäänä ajoo Anssin Jukka
Pikku-Lammin sivu.

Mikähän silloon sen Anssin Jukan
mieles olla mahtoo,
kun se tuota rytkypolkkaa
soittamahan tahtoo.

Pienet poijan perhanat
sen tappelun aloottivat,
kaksi oli Anssin veljestä,
jokka tappelun lopettivat.

Rytkypolkkaa kun soitettiihin,
niin poijat ne retkutteli.
Hiljallensa se Anssin Jukka
helapäätä heilutteli.

Anssin Jukka se heilutteli
tuota norjaa ruumistansa.
Kehuu Pohjan Kauhavalta
sankari olevansa.

Anssin Jukalla puukkoo oli
ja värjärin sällillä airas.
Alataloon laattialla
aukes Pikku-lammille taivas.

Herran Köpi se puustellin portilla
rukooli hartahasti.
Anssin Jukka se puukoolla löi
niin taitamattomasti.

Anssin Jukan puukkoon se painoo
puolitoista naulaa.
Sillä se sitten kutkutteli
tuota Pikku-Lammin kaulaa.

Anssin Jukan puukoonterä
oli korttelia ja tuumaa;
sillä se sitten koitteli,
jotta oliko se veri kuumaa.

Anssin Jukan puukoonterä
oli valuteräksestä;
sillä se veren valutti
tuon Pikku-Lammin syrämmestä.

Mitähän se harakkakin merkitti,
kun saunan katolle lenti.
Vihiille piti mentämän,
vaan rumihia tehtiin ensin.

Kahreksan kertaa minuutis
tuo rivollipyssy laukes.
Alataloon laatialla
Pikku-Lammin kurkkuk aukes.

alataloon häis kun konjakki loppuu,
niin ryypättihin viinaa.
Niinimatosta Pikku-Lammille
tehtihin käärinliina.

Ja voi kukn se yö oli kauhia
kun juotihin ja tapeltihin,
ja pirunmoosella lehmänkiululla
verta vaan kannettihin.

Eikä se Anssin Jukka olisi tullu
rautojen kantajaksi,
jos ei menny alataloon häihin
konjakin antajaksi.

Jokohan ne herrat Kauhavalla
on hyvän levon saaneet,
kun kymmenen vuotta parhaat poijat
on Vaasan linnas maanneet?
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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

Post by CanKiwi2 » 28 Dec 2012 22:30

They drove all day in convoy, following the road north of Lake Laatoka and then turned south. “It’s the Svir then,” Kersantti Lehto muttered from his Sika. The entire armiejan seemed to be in motion, not just the 21st, but other divisions mixed in, everyone rumbling south towards the Svir – armour, artillery, infantry, pioneeri, soldiers of every branch imaginable, all with their orders, all looking grim and unsmiling. They knew what was coming and not many were looking forward to it. There were a few who were and Lehto was one of those. He was singing quietly to himself as his Sika rumbled along. His front gunner, Kaukonen, looked sideways at him. “Sounds like you’re enjoying this,” he grumbled. Lehto looked at him and grinned. The grin never touched his eyes, which were an icy blue. “Killing Russians makes me happy,” he said. “And with this baby,” he patted Kaukonen’s twin Lahti’s, “I can be sure I’m going to be very happy indeed.”

In his command Sika, Hakkarainen was studying the map. “Almost there,” he muttered to himself. Twenty kilometres to the Svir. Already the sound of the artillery was a constant, if distant, rumble that was audible even over the diesel engines and the road noise. The Kapteeni had been clear about the movement orders, but aside from the assembly point south of the Svir, he knew as little as Hakkarainen about what they were to do after that. Battalion HQ came up on the radio net. Riitaoja, who Hakkarainen had moved to his Command Sika as the Sig, piped up, “Message from Battalion Sir.” He flicked a switch to relay the radio signal over the internal intercom so everyone could hear.
“Possible Russian infiltrators anywhere between here and the Svir,” the Battalion HQ Sig’s voice was clear. “Entire Battalion on Alert posture. HQ out.”
The Radio net came alive with chatter, Komppania and Joukkue both. Hakkarainen ordered his joukkue to full readiness, guns cocked and ready. They rumbled on, the men now scanning the forest and the intermittent fields they passed by.

Hakkarainen did a quick positional check. His Sika’s were all maintaining standard close-up convoy distances, Lahti’s angled alternately to left and right. Alikersantti Virtanen’s Sika was in the lead, followed by Hakkarainen’s, then Lehto’s, Hietanen’s, Lahtinen’s and lastly Rokka’s. Ahead of them was Koskela’s joukkue and the Komppania HQ Sika’s, behind, bringing up the rear, was Lammio’s joukkue. Apparantly there were remnant Red Army units on the Finnish side of the Svir, Red units that had survived the Finnish counter-offensive and were continuing to fight behind the Finnish lines. Not to much effort had as yet been put into mopping them up, the main focus was on the new fighting south of the Svir and the destruction of the Red Army units on the front. These stragglers had been left for later, but they could still prove a nuisance. Which, indeed, turned out to be the case just a few kilometres down the road. A checkpoint. A truck further ahead, half of the road, burning sullenly. Shooting. Rifles and machineguns. Russian and Finnish. A thin line of Finnish soldiers burrowed into the ground, facing south, older men, their faces grim. An NCO came running over to Kaarna’s command Sika. “Sir, there’s Russian’s up ahead, don’t know where they came from, they ambushed our trucks, there’s fighting up ahead.”

Kaarna leaned over. “Any idea how many Russians?”
“No sir, my men and I, we were in the last truck. Some of the others from up there joined us, there’s fighting up there, we was just about to advance down the road.”
Kaarna thought for a moment. The Sig could get Battalion HQ, which was behind them with Two Company, commanded by young Autio. He advised Battalion of his intentions. Majuri Sarastie concurred. He looked down at the old NCO. “You and your men stay here, I’ll send anyone we recover back to join you. When you have enough, send a group up to recover the trucks.” He got on the radio, issued commands to the joukkue commanders. The Komppania fanned out either side of the road, forming an extended line, Hakkarainen’s joukkue on the left, Lammio’s on the right, Koskela’s on either side of the road and the HQ section as reserve. Virtanen was first to spot their own men from his command position in the lead Sika. Sweaty men bolted towards then, running with their last strength, looking backwards over their shoulders.

“Something’s scared the rabbits.”
“Not “Something”, it’s the enemy. Just be alert on the guns!”
“Shit! The enemy can’t have penetrated this far behind our lines.”
“Well, I doubt they’re running from the Germans.”
Hakkarainen leaned over the side. “You, where’s the enemy, what strength?”
Ignoring him, the men ran by, heads down, panting. At least all of them so far still had their weapons. An NCO, an old, greying, overweight Kersantti, stumbled towards them. Hakkarainen leapt straight over the side of the Sika to the ground and grabbed him with both hands, swung him round and thumped him hard against the side of the Sika. Behind him, Linna had followed him, Hietanen and one of his men piled out of their Sika, all of them manhandling the running men, grouping them behind Hakkarainen’s Sika. Seeing a semblance of organisation and the armoured bulk of the Sika’s offering at least a sense of security, more stragglers joined them.

They were all older men, greying, overweight, rear-echelon transport and logistics troops without any real combat experience. Hakkarainen interrogated them sharply, found they couldn’t tell him much, just that a horde of Russians had emerged from the woods, shot up some of the trucks, they’d mostly run without fighting. He sent them back towards the road to join the men already there. “Take any other’s you find with you, mind,” he told them. “We don’t want to leave anyone behind out here. Start getting the trucks ready to move again, get any badly damaged ones out of the way. We’ll clean out the Russians.” Reassured by the presence of the armoured Sika’s and the aggressive confidence of Hakkarainen’s men, the transport men headed in the indicated direction, at least now looking like they were in an army.

Hakkarainen piled back into his Sika. There was fighting going on ahead, that was for sure. Russian and Finnish rifles, grenades, Russian machineguns. Lammio’s joukkue was in action on the right, he could hear the chatter on the Komppania radio net. Koskela was moving down the road, small groups of the transport troops coalescing around his joukkue and clearing out the Russians as he went. As he scrambled up and into the Sika, his driver threw it into first and they move forward.
“Bounding overwatch,” Hakkarainen ordered. “Virtanen, your section leads. We’ll cover you.”
“Move out.”
“Faster.”
“You drive then,” Maatta’s voice was an angry snarl on ther intercom as they bucked through the forested ground, weaving around large trees, crashing through the scrub and the smaller trees. The first Sika, Virtanen’s, crossed a small stream, climbed up the bank, and halted to wait for the others to follow. The gunners looked around, alert. Someone spotted a small group of Finnish soldiers moving back in good order. Hakkarainen shouted out: “You there, where’s the enemy. What strength?”

An NCO ran over. “Where do you want my men? There's Russian's back there, no idea how many,” he yelled up at Hakkarainen. More soldiers were trickling in, some running, some seemingly prepared to fight. “Get a hold of these men falling back and move back to the road.”
“Right,” the Kersantti said, and like a shot he was off, rounding up stragglers.
From beside Hakkarainen, Linna chuckled. “He looks happy to be going.”
“At least he was still fighting,” Hakkarainen snapped. Then, as the second ryhmä moved up, “One ryhmä, move out.”
They moved up and over the slight ridgeline, pausing as the second ryhmä moved up and through. Then leapfrogged again. “Ambush”. Virtanen’s voice on the joukkue radio net was very controlled. “Estimate two hundred romeo alpha’s. Taking fire.”

The twin Lahti’s and the 12.7’s on Virtanen’s Sika blazed lines of fire into the scrub and forest as his Sika accelerated into the ambush, closely followed by the other two in the ryhmä, Hakkarainen’s and Lehto’s, the drivers following their training without orders. Behind them Hietanen’s ryhmä was fanning out to the left and accelerating, engines roaring, machineguns and Lahti cannon blazing lines of fire into the trees. Standard training. Accelerate into an ambush and break through, then circle back and criss-cross through the ambush zone machinegunning everything in sight. To either side of One Ryhmä’s three Sika’s moving in their arrowhead formation, Russians bolted. The cannon and machineguns cut them down, Hietanen’s ryhmä now swinging right and driving into the flank of the ambush, rolling it up from the side. Rifle bullets pinging and whining of the armour.

“Don’t stop!” Hakkarainen barked at gis driver. “The others will follow. Just keep on going!”
“Tank. Left. Eleven o’clock,” Linna yelled, swinging his cannon around.
“It’s one of our own panzers!"
“No, its not!”
There was a moment of indecision as the T-26 nosed towards them. No Finnish markings on the front. Still they hesitated. Hakkarainen saw Russian soldiers moving beside the T-26. They wouldn’t be doing that if it was Finnish.
“It’s Russian. Fire!” he screamed.
Although their Sika was still moving, Linna on the Lahti’s fired. Simultaneously the driver braked hard, and the Sika halted. It stopped so suddenly, that the everyone in the back, Hakkarainen, Linna, Salo, Sihvonen and Vanhala crashed into each other and the side of the troop compartment. Regardless, Linna kept firing, keeping the Lahti's on target. From below, Riitaoja was alternately swearing and crying. Hakkarainen kicked him in th helmet, as much to quieten his own nerves as to shut Riitaoja up, although it managed that as well.

The T-26 halted and it’s cannon began to swing towards them. Virtanen’s Sika opened fire at the same time as Linna opened up. Two streams of 20mm AP rounds hit the Russian T26, which jerked, turned sideways and stopped. The big white number and a red star were clearly visible on the turret. The 20mm shells poured in; every one was a hit. Flames beginning to flicker from the engine compartment. Two more enemy panzers appeared through the trees. One of them stopped abruptly, as if it had run into an obstacle. It had – fire from Hietanen’s ryhmä. Linna’s Lahti jammed. He tried the cartridge-remover, but it slipped, and fell to the floor. The hammer and the screwdriver didn’t work either and went down there with the cartridge-remover. Vanhala joined him, hands bleeding, because of the bolts and the tools slipping as he tried to pry the jammed cartridge out. Lehto’s Sika took out the third T-26. Nobody tried to escape from any of the T-26’s. The 12.7’s chattered continuously, cutting down the Russian infantry.

“Forward,” Hakkarainen ordered.
They moved forward in a line now, weaving around the trees, crashing over logs and through bushes, the guns firing bursts at anything that could hide a Russian, cutting down Russian soldiers mercilessly.
“Cleared,” Linna and Vanhala frantically loaded belts for the Lahti. Linna fired a quick burst at nothing in particular, just to make sure the guns worked. The burst spooked a small squad of Russians who emerged from wherever it was they’d been hiding, right in front of Lehto’s Sika, hands held high. Lehto pushed Kaukonen aside and swung the twin Lahti’s of his Sika’s to cover them and, after an infinitesimal pause, fired a long burst that cut them down. The 20mm cannon shells at close range blew them apart, blood and body parts sprayed in all directions. From the driver’s seat of Lehto’s Sika came a howl of rage. “Sataana, Lehto, did you have to shoot the poor bastards. You can clean the perkele glass, it’s covered in blood and I’m not touching it!”

“Forward,” Hakkarainen ordered again.
They criss-crossed through the ambush zone, then swept back towards the road. Russians were running away from the road, towards them. The guns continued to cut them down. Riitaoja was on the Komppania net, making sure everybody knew they were sweeping in. Nobody wanted to be taken out by their own side’s fire. They reached the road, turned and swept back down the side of the convoy. It seemed Koskela’s joukkue had done a pretty good job. Groups of Finnish soldiers were already recovering the trucks, policing up the wounded and the bodies of the dead, collecting weapons. At the roadblock that had been their starting point, an infantry company was dismounting from trucks and preparing to move out in a sweep through the woods. Their CO walked by, looking at Lehto’s Sika in disgust. The front looked as if it had been painted red, a dismembered arm was stuck in the front grill. Lehto jumped out, walked around to the front, tugged the arm out and looked at it, looked at the infantrymen passing by and grinned. “You men look like you need a hand,” he said, tossing the arm at a young soldier. Who promptly threw up. Lehto chuckled.

Hakkarainen felt inexpressibly weary as he waited while Lehto wiped down the glass. Around him the Sika’s of his joukkue stood, their engines idling, the gunners continuing to eye their sectors warily. Summoning up some energy, from where he wasn’t sure, he got on the radio and reported in to the headquarters section. Kaarna came up on the net.
“Form up and move to the front of the Convoy Hakkarainen, there’s a rear security unit taking over.”
“Acknowedged. Move back onto the road, front of the convoy and form up. Hakkarainen Out.”
He issued the orders to his joukkue. They backed and filled, turned and moved up the road again. The log troopers waved as they went by.
“Well, I’m glad that’s over,” Salo muttered. Hakkarainen didn’t say anything, but he agreed.


(Viewer discretion advised i.e. if bodies are a bit much, don't watch.....and just do a bit of mental substitution if you're watching it....)

He wears green boots and he's coming to get you
Sika on his sleeve and I can bet you
There ain't no place where a Russkie can run
or hide his face in Karjala-land.

Now he's quick with a puukko and he's fast on the draw
and in Karelia he is the law
He don't know a word of fear,
everybodies safe when a Sika’s near.

He wears green boots and he's coming to get you
Sika on his sleeve and I can bet you
There ain't no place where a Russkie can run
or hide his face in Karjala-land.

Put a tracker on him now, in front of the car,
showing us where the Russkies are
There's one thing you must understand,
The Armiejan is the law in Karjala-land.

He wears green boots and he's coming to get you
Sika on his sleeve and I can bet you
There ain't no place where a Russkie can run
or hide his face in Karjala-land.

Repeat chorus.

He was part of a unit, he could do it
As hard as a rock was Eugene De Kock
To say the things that he has done,
made him enemy number one.

He wears green boots and he's coming to get you
Sika on his sleeve and I can bet you
There ain't no place where a Russkie can run
or hide his face in Karjala-land.
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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CanKiwi2
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 28 Dec 2012 23:04

Having led the Finnish offensive on the Karelian Isthmus through April and May 1940, fighting southwards from their starting point on the Mannerheim Line to the outskirts of Leningrad in six weeks, the 21st Panssaridivisioona, nicknamed “Marskin Nyrkki” - The Fist of the Marshal – had been withdrawn from the Front to reequip and train replacements for the casualties. As part of this re-equipment, two of the Division’s Jääkäri Battalions had been equipped with the new Sika Armoured Fighting Vehicles together with a miscellany of armoured and unarmoured support. Much of June and early July had been spent reequipping and training in the rear and thus the 21st Panssaridivisioona would not be heavily involved in the initial defensive fighting and counter-attacks on the Svir in late July and early August 1940. They, together with the other 3 Armoured Divisions, two of them the newly created Divisions using captured Red Army tanks and equipment, would be held back in reserve, leaving the localized counter-attacks to the Infantry Divisions, who bore the brunt of the fighting through the furious battles of mid-Summer. Their moment to shine would arrive soon enough.

Like the other officers of the 21st, if not the men, newly promoted Luutnantti Hakkarainen fretted at their inactivity through late July as the fighting carried on. Training palled, but worry turned to hope and then to elation as the news of the fighting at last turned positive and Finnish defensive positions were regained, Russian units annihilated or driven back. In the second week of August, the 21st was moved up towards the front and crossed the Svir, halting in the bridge head that the men and the guns of the British Commonwealth Division and the Armiejan’s 8th Infantry Division had forced as the Red Army fell back in increasing disarray under the relentless counterattacks, breakthroughs and encirclements. And now the 12th Infantry Division had moved ahead, breached the weakened Red Army lines, creating an ever-wider gap through which the 21st would pour, the spearhead of the attack, the massed armour, infantry and guns pounding down the road towards Leningrad, two other Armoured Divisions and the Infantry Divisions of the Strategic Reserve thrown in to the offensive while the Infantry Divisons of the Eastern Karelia Army fanned out, rolling up the Red Army’s flanking units, eradicating the rear area support and logistics units. And all the while the men of Osasto Nyrkki and the Parajaegers were deep in the enemies’ rear, cutting communications, eliminating headquarters units, destroying supply dumps, supported by the fighter bombers, bombers, ground attack aircraft and ground attack gyrocopters of the Ilmavoimat in creating havoc. And always overhead flew the air superiority fighters of the Ilmavoimat, dominating the skies, forever watching for any Russian aircraft which dared to approach.

The destruction of the Red Army on the Syvari Front was a prelude to the great “cauldron” battles of Barbarossa. It was to be a classic demonstration in the use of armor in warfare along the lines articulated by some of the early theorists in tank warfare such as Basil Liddell Hart – or indeed, of Tukhachevsky with his “Deep Penetration” theories - finding a weak spot and pouring an “expanding torrent of mobile firepower through it slashing at the enemy in the weak underbelly of his rear echelon, cutting communications and supply lines and driving him into defeat.” As a battle it is now virtually unknown outside of Finland – more or less deliberately forgotten by Russian historians, unnoticed by the British, who were at this time deeply involved in their own struggle for survival and in the midst of what would become known as “The Battle of Britain”. The Germans vaguely noted the Finnish victory but saw it merely as part of the ongoing Finnish defeat of the Red Army – a sign of weakness that predicated the success of their own inevitable offensive against the Soviets. For the Americans, the battle was a footnote in history, noted for a day by the military attache’s in Helsinki and duly forgotten. The senior officers of the British Commonwealth Division, who were heavily involved in the battle, took lessons from it but were never in a position to apply those lessons during WW2.

Kapteeni Kaarna was injured by a stray Russian artillery burst as they moved up towards the front after crossing the Syvari. It was a fluke. Battalion HQ had ordered a halt to refuel and replenish ammunition before they moved up to their start positions. They’d paused at the designated point, waiting for the log vehicles to catch up, Kapteeni Kaarna had ordered an impromptu Orders Group when a few stray Red artillery rounds dropped in. First, the evil shrieks of the shells, then violent explosions off in the forest to their left which set the earth quaking, trees toppling. The men were ducking for cover either in or out of their Sika’s. Lammio and Hakkarainen dived to the ground, Hakkarainen wriggled a little further into a slight depression, Lammio hiding behind the illusory protection of a tussock of grass. Koskela was running back to his Joukkue, Kaarna continued to stand there, looking down at them, a bemused smile on his face. “Just random artillery,” he said quite calmly, “not aimed at us.”

Ashamed at seeking cover while the Kapteeni continued to stand, Hakkarainen was about to rise to his feet when something exploded very close. The ground heaved, a crashing explosion half-deafened Hakkarainen, a shower of dirt enveloped him, and as he struggled to brush the dirt of his face, he half-sensed the Kapteeni and Mielonen, the Kapteeni’s Orderly, collapsing. As Hakkarainen struggled to his knees and then to his feet, Mielonen rose instantly and stumbled to where the Kapteeni was lying motionless, his body strangely twisted. Mielonen knelt beside him, deathly pale, calling out in a shaky voice. “Medic …. Medic ….. Quickly, Quickly ….He’s bleeding ….. Quickly!”

Hakkarainen and the Medic from the Kapteeni’s HQ Sika arrived simultaneously. Hakkarainen carefully turned the Kapteeni over on his back and the men saw that one leg was bent unnaturally to the side. Kaarna had taken a direct hit and only the tattered cloth of his breeches kept the leg from falling off altogether. Dully, Mielonen mumbled as if to himself: “Got me in the arm too …. Got me, too ….. Medics …… where the hell are they …. Medics!”

A couple of the men moved Mielonen out of the way, cut the sleeve of his shirt, began to apply emergency dressings to his arm. The medic and Hakkarainen worked furiously on the Kapteeni, Hakkarainen frantically trying to remember his first aid training as the Medic issued instructions dispassionately. The medic had wrapped a tourniquet round what was left of Kaarna’s leg, stopping the bleeding, Hakkarainen was working to keep it on while one of the men applied a pressure pad to the stump. The Medic had found a vein, stuck a needle in and was frantically fitting a bottle of distilled water to the tube as one of the soldiers with medic training worked to reconstitute a 400cc bottle of freeze-dried plasma. The three minutes it took to reconstitute seemed like a lifetime, but the distilled water kept the blood volume up enough to keep his heart beating. As soon as the plasma was ready the medic had it hooked on to the drip with a second unit already being prepared. Kaarna’s eyes opened and looked around, his mouth working. Hakkarainen took one of his hands, leaned in above him. “You got hit sir, medic’s getting you stablized.” In the background, Hakkarainen could hear Lammio talking urgently into the Radio, then yelling at the men. “Clear the road and mark a strip, one of the Storch’s is on its way, be here in ten minutes.”

It was the longest ten minutes of Hakkarainen’s life as they poured unit after unit of reconstituted plasma into the Kapteeni, redid the tourniquet on his leg, dusted the stump with sulpha powder, reapplied pressure pads and bandages, injected morphine, checked for any other injuries. The Storch arrived in nine minutes, sinking down to the narrow strip of road and landing almost next to them. Even before it had stopped an armiejan doctor was out the door and running towards them, medical pack in hand, yelling instructions at the men to bring the stretcher from the Storch over. Kneeling beside them, he did a quick check, nodded his approval and opening his pack, retrieved a bottle of Fresh Whole Warm Blood from his cooler and swapped it in, removing the almost empty plasma bottle. By the time he’d pumped a couple of 1 litre bottles of real blood in, Kaarna was looking more like a casualty and less like a corpse. They moved him tenderly onto the waiting stretcher, strapped him down, waited while the Doc fitted another unit of Fresh Whole Warm Blood and then loaded him into the Storch, the Doc dancing attendance the whole time. He looked out at Hakkarainen just before they shut the door and grinned. “He’ll make it now,” he said. “You men did everything right., never lost a man yet that was in this good shape.” The door shut, the Storch lifted almost vertically, banked over the treetops and was gone.

Hakkarainen stood, looked around, realized his hands were shaking. Kersantti Lehto was beside him, his face as expressionless as ever, proffering a pack of cigarettes. Hakkarainen opened his mouth to say he didn’t smoke, then snapped it shut and started to take one, found he couldn’t get it out of the pack. Lehto flicked the bottom of the pack with one finger, Hakkarainen managed to take the cigarette that popped up, put it to his mouth and gratefully accepted the flaming match that Lehto held to the tip. The cigarette smoke was strangely soothing. Hakkarainen noted that his hands were no longer shaking. Lehto looked at him for a moment, as if checking that he was all there, then turned and walked away. Lammio was beckoning him over. “Battalion CO on the RT,” Lammio said sourly, “He wants a word.” Hakkarainen took the proffered headset and mike.
“Alpha One Leader acknowledging” he said.
Majuri Sarastie came up. “You’re in command replacing Kaarna. You’ve got a field promotion to Kapteeni. I’ve told Lammio. I’m sending you up a replacement for your Joukkue. Be prepared to move out in an hour.”
Hakkarainen blinked. “Alpha One Leader acknowledging, take command, be prepared to move out in an hour. Out.”
“Good man,” Sarastie said. “And good work getting Kaarna patched up. The Aid Post called in to say he’s good, they got him stable and he’s being moved to a Field Hospital for emergency surgery. Tell the men he’s going to make it. BUT! From now on, remember patching up the casualties is the Medic’s job, not yours. You should have taken command right away. No damage done so you’re forgiven. Once. And Kaarna, he’s going to be a hard act to follow, so don’t fuck up on me. Out.” He cut out.

Hakkarainen handed the headset and mike over to the waiting Sig. Lammio still looked sour. “Any orders Sir?” he asked.
Hakkarainen blinked. The log vehicles were arriving. “Get the Sika’s replenished, be ready to move out in an hour, your joukkue will take the lead. There’s a replacement officer for Second Platoon coming up, we’ll put them in the middle with my HQ section. Koskela will bring up the rear.” He looked around. “Where’s Korsumaki?” He breathed in the comforting cigarette smoke and realized it was almost gone, he’d smoked the entire cigarette without realizing it. Well, there was no chance of women out here. Wine possibly, if you counted the rotgut that Rahikainen no doubt had stashed away in his Sika somewhere. Song? Possibly, but singing didn’t really qualify as a vice. Smoking would just have to do for now. He realized he was still a little surprised at his sudden promotion and assumption of command. Kaarna would be a hard act to follow, he’d been an officer that the men admired. He’d led all of them, Hakkarainen included, in battle down the Isthmus to Leningrad and very few of them had been killed under his command. He refused to waste his mens lives with needless heroics. Not that he mollycoddled them, rather, he had been scrupulously fair and he made sure the officers and the NCOs led by example. That, the men respected. Enough woolgathering, there was work to do. He shook his head as Korsumaki’s voice behind him said “Sir?”

A day later, a day that seemed as long as a lifetime, Kapteeni Matti Hakkarainen looked from his perch in the back of his command Sitka back down the double line of vehicles drawn up on either side of what passed for a road. Three joukkueisiin of his Sitka’s plus his Headquarters joukkue, twenty Sitka’s altogether plus the two armoured trucks with additional fuel and ammo, an attached joukkue of six Kettu Armoured Cars, a couple of half-track Mortar Carriers, two Half-Tracks with the new vehicle mounted Flamethrowers that could fire a jet of the stuff out over a hundred metres, a dozen of the small light Bantam gun-buggies attached from the 1st Jääkäri Brigade that the Brigade CO, Jääkäri Lieutenant-Colonel Väinö Merikallio, had personally assigned to him. And the kicker was the Joukkue of four of the new 76mm Anti-Tank guns towed by their own little Bantams – “If you run into anything serious,” the Majuri Sarastie had instructed him, “fall back behind the anti-tank guns, fight a delaying action to pin them down while CAS hit them and the rest of the Pataljoona moves up in support. No mad charges into the teeth of any real opposition, that’s not what we’re here for, the tanks can do that better than us.”

Hakkarainen was confident that it’d take a lot to stop his Jääkärikomppania. Mind you, the Russkies did have a lot, he thought somewhat absently as he checked the vehicles and men for about the fiftieth time in the last hour. Each of the Sika’s bristled with a twin Lahti 20mm cannon and twin 12.7mm machineguns mounted on each side, each of the Kettu’s armed with their deadly little Bofors 37mm’s and a Lahti 20mm, even the Bantam Gun-Buggies had a twin machinegun and a pedestal mounted Lahti 20mm each and the four men in each bristled with an assortment of personal weapons, looking even more like pirates or bandits than his own men.

Already, Hakkarainen was inordinately proud of his not so little Jääkärikomppania. Rynnäkkökomppania Hakkarainen – Assault Group Hakkarainen – as the men were already calling themselves somewhat cynically (the rather more cynical, he knew, were calling themselves Itsemurhapulja Hakkarainen - Suicide Group Hakkarainen), was ready to roll. The men themselves were mostly sitting in the shade or on the hulls of their Sika’s and Kettu’s and Bantams, eating kangaroo-tail stew from the Field Kitchen unit that had set up next to them. Some of the men were flirting with the Lotta’s, who were giving as good as they got. Rahikanen had been standing there talking to them since the girls had arrived. Matti grinned and spooned down his own stew before it got too cold. He’d come to like the Australian stew over time, and it never seemed to run out. In fact they’d never run out of food since the war started and the ships with food from Australia and New Zealand and Argentina had started arriving. He’d heard some of the men talking about that early on, in the Isthmus days. How they’d never been hungry since the war started. They’d also talked about what it was like in the years before, the Depression years of the early 1930’s. In a rare moment of talkativeness, Lehto, who was the same age as Matti, had told them how he’d lived on the streets of Tampere, going to the soup kitchen with an old tin which they filled with soup once a day. They’d been tough times for everyone back then. Absent-mindedly, Hakkarainen wondered how many kangaroos there actually were in Australia. Obviously more than enough to feed the entire Armiejan for months on end. And from what the Quartermaster had said there were warehouses of the stuff back home. He tried to visualise enough kangaroos to make that mush stew, failed, and laughed at his failure.

Somewhere ahead of them as they sat around were the sounds of battle – artillery firing, artillery shells exploding, rifles and machineguns crackling, occasional bullets whining overhead. The front wasn’t far away, the remnants of the fast moving battle – burning Russian tanks, trenches, shell holes, decomposing bodies bloated by the sun and swarming with flies, discarded weapons, the stink of sudden and violent death, lay all around them, ignored. After eight months of war, the debris of battle, the bodies, the smashed and burning vehicles, the flies and the smell, all of it was just a fact of life, something you ignored as best you could. Still, all of them were tense, they’d seen enough fighting in the last few months to know what lay in store for them. His own crew, except for Riitaoja, his Sig who was monitoring the Pataljoona radio net, not that he expected any radio calls, were no exception. Linna, the front gunner, was over in the sun reading a book, one of the half dozen he had stuffed away in his ruck. Beneath Hakkarainen’s perch high on the hull, Sihvonen, who was a real fighter, and Salo were seated in the shade, talking. Just the usual talk, a bit of grumbling, he’d be worried if they weren’t grumbling and complaining. That’d mean something was really wrong.
“Hope we get a longer rest. Sounds like the infantry are managing OK by themselves up on the Front-line.”
“Perkele, listen to that artillery fire!”
“I hear it.”
“Then don’t talk about resting. They’re having hard times up there.”
“Its war, not a party. Their turn today, ours tomorrow.”
“Maybe sooner than tomorrow.”
“Perkele! Don’t remind me.”

Behind him, down in the bottom of the troop compartment, Riitaoja, grunted. Riitaoja was a coward, everyone in the Company knew that. It was one of the reasons why Hakkarainen had made him a radio operator. Tucked down in the Sika where he could see nothing, he had no chance of running away and Hakkarainen could kick him if he balked. So far it seemed a good choice, he was happy not to have a gun to shoot or to have to fight, but it turned out he was meticulous with his radio equipment. And despite everything, he still complained. Hakkarainen wondered what he was going to come up with.
“You know we’re screwed, right Kapteeni? Out in front, dicks hanging in the wind. If the Russkies have anything major in front of us, we’re screwed, we’re all going to die.”
Despite his own nervousness, Hakkarainen couldn’t help grinning. “You’re right,” he said. “So you better be quick on the RT when the shit hits the fan, no screwing around, right!”
“Yes boss,” Riitaoja snivelled. Hakkarainen chuckled. At least with the Radios, Riitaoja was always quick to do his job, on the ball. It kept him away from guns. He’d been the Joukkue radio operator back from when they first got the new-fangled Nokia radios, and back then he’d grumbled about the weight, the reliability, the atmospherics,

He looked over his command once more. Talk about leading the way, he was at the front of the entire Division. Behind his Jääkärikomppania stretched the entire Jääkäripataljoona, a long line of Sitkas, Armoured Cars, some attached Tanks, Self-propelled Mortar Carriers and even some Artillery and the new Rocket Launcher half-tracks - fairly bristling with guns, some of the men hunkered down inside their vehicles, waiting. Other men outside, standing or lying in the sun wherever they could find somewhere comfortable. Some had their shirts off, some their boots, hardly one dressed in the regulation uniform. With sudden good humour he thought that although his men were a scruffy looking lot, nothing like the soldiers of the Brittiläinen kansainyhteisö divisoona that they’d passed through just yesterday as they moved up towards the starting point for the 21st’s attack. But they were really rather good at what they did which was perhaps why they were the leading company. When Hakkarainen had been a boy, he’d always thought of soldiers as being immaculately uniformed, saluting and standing to attention and obeying orders without question, brave and heroic.

Well, his men (and he too for that matter) were certainly nothing like that, although they were soldiers, but of a rather different kind. Rag-tag, no two in the same uniform, half of them wore boots taken from dead Russians (Hakkarainen did, for that matter, the Russian boots were better than the Maavoimat boots, although the boots from Australia and New Zealand were pretty good – if you were lucky enough to have been issued them), always complaining and grumbling and trying to put one over the NCOs and the Officers. But their weapons were immaculate, their machines were all well looked after, they could fight like devils when it got down to fighting with the Russians. Over by the next Sika, leaning on the side, Lehto grimaced and spat onto the ground. He must have been thinking much the same thing, because his next words echoed what Hakkarainen had been thinking. “Thirty million of us and we’d roll all the way to Vladivostok.” He spat again. “Still, I guess Leningrad will have to do for now.”

Out of sight down the road behind them was the rest of the Divisoona, columns of tanks, more infantry, more guns, the supply carriers and trucks, engineers, all the rest of the tail, all waiting to move. All waiting to follow his Jääkärikomppania down the road towards Leningrad. “Marskin Nyrkki” - The Fist of the Marshal – was getting ready to punch the Russkies in the balls once more. Hakkarainen wondered if he’d survive, then tucked the thought away. If you started to think like that, you’d catch one. He’d seen it all to many times over the months of fighting. His thoughts broke off at the sound of a motorcycle coming up the road. Eating halted. Spoons stayed between their mouths and the mess tins. A quick look at the neighbour and some wrinkling of foreheads was all the men did. The eating resumed, faster now. The sound of the motorcycle came closer and louder.

“Eat up fast!” That was Korsumaki’s voice, loud enough to be heard from one end of the komppania to the other. Hakkarainen waved and then jumped off the side of the Command Sitka to the ground as the dispatch rider drove over. The men knew without being told that this was the signal to move. They stood, stretched, drew on boots, shrugged shirts on, checked their personal weapons, some among them collected the dishes and spoons and passing them back to the Lottas who wished them luck and gave out a carton of cigarette’s for each of the vehicles. The men picked up their breadbags and threw them into the vehicles. Shrugged into their body armour, adjusting the straps and buckles, picked up helmets.“The company is to prepare for action to move forward through the gap the 8th Division has created. Move out at oh twelve hundred hours.” They’d already got clear orders. Knew what they were supposed to be doing. Knew what the objectives were, where they were supposed to halt for the relieving kompanie commanded by Helminen to pass through and assume the point. Knew where they were supposed to be replenished with fuel and ammo. And, unspoken, replacements if needed. And they all knew no plan survived contact with the Russkies. They also knew not many Russkies survived contact with the Armiejan. Especially so with the Ilmavoimat CAS boys flying support. There was an unspoken air of confidence among the officers, NCO’s and men as they readied themselves for the business ahead, grumbles now forgotten.

Hakkarainen checked his watch. Eleven forty five. Fifteen minutes. The Joukkue commanders and Sika commanders were already gathered. He turned to them. “Have the men mount-up, we move out at oh twelve hundred on my signal. You all know the plan, stick to it, everyone monitor the radio net. No radio chatter until we’re in contact with the enemy and then keep it to the point.”

He looked at his senior Luutnantti, then at the rest of them.
“Luutnantti Koskela takes over command if I am incapacitated. Everyone ready?”
There was a chorus of “Yes”. Lammio looked sour.
Hakkarainen looked at them. And suddenly and rather unexpectedly, he grinned. “Right, this one is going down in the history books so let’s go do it then, Leningrad or bust!” Most of them grinned back. A couple of the younger ones looked tense. Hakkarainen patted the new officer, Vanrikki Kariluoto, on the shoulder. “Don’t worry about it Kariluoto,” he said, “if it looks like a Russkie, tell the men to shoot it still it stops moving. If it’s not moving, shoot it anyhow just to be on the safe side. What could possibly go wrong?” They all laughed then, mostly at his tone of voice, which implied that sure enough, everything would screw up. From experience, they all expected that it would. But then again, they were all taught to improvise. “No plan outlasts contact with the enemy” was a given in the Armiejan, and men that couldn’t improvise and adapt under fire didn’t last long in this war. Hadn’t lasted long. Everyone here was a survivor, they’d all fought their way down the Isthmus, even young Kariluoto who’d been an Officer Cadet back then, and lived to talk about it. The tenseness dissipated with the laughter and then they were all striding to their vehicles, last checks that nothing was loose, everything was ready.

His crew were already in the Sika, in their positions, looking around seeing that everything was in order, checking their weapons, cocking the machineguns, checking the ammunition belts. His driver, Maatta, started the big Cummins diesel up as Hakkarainen scrambled up the side and into his usual position tucked down in the front corner where the gunner could fire but he still had a good view. Exposed, but he could see everything in front. He plugged his headset in and tested the intercom. They all did. Ahead and behind, diesel engine after diesel engine rumbled into life, the throaty burbling music to his ears. Now that something was about to happen, not even Riitaoja was snivelling. Yet He checked his watch. Five minutes to go. And then they’d be leading the entire 21st Panssaridivisoona on a charge towards Leningrad through the hole had been carved in the Red Army’s frontline. Straight down the road, guns blazing, overrunning everything in their path. Hopefully! Ilmavoimat and Armiejan reconnaissance said the Russkies had thrown everything into the offensive, and then when that had been smashed, into holding the Svir. Now that they’d been forced back from the Svir and the front had been pierced, there was nothing much between the 21st Panssaridivisoona and Leningrad – and the objective was to hit Leningrad from the South before the Russkies could react, to show that they could, if they wanted, take Leningrad. A demonstration of strength, they’d been told, followed by an equally rapid withdrawal before the Red Army could regroup. Hakkarainen checked his watch. Almost time. He raised his arm high, held it high as the engines of the Sika’s and Kettu’s and Half-track “Hogs” and Bantam’s revved, counted down out loud.

And then it was time. Time for what men in future would come to call the Ukkosvyöry, the Avalanche of Thunder.
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 29 Dec 2012 00:56

CanKiwi2 wrote: Here's the Finnish lyrics for Anssin Jukka Ja Härman Häät. No translation available at this stage but hopefully soon….. along with the song itself…..
There are many versions of this song (not historically very accurate), here is one version from 1928 with fairly good translation. (Pikku-Lammi had beaten the younger brother of Anssin Jukka in a fight earlier. Anssin Jukka killed Pikku-Lammi by stabbing him in the neck to revenge. A muzzle-loading hand gun was fired once, but missed, and the name of the bride was not Hilta Alitalo etc.)
http://archive.org/details/EDIS-SRP-0196-08

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

Post by John Hilly » 29 Dec 2012 12:30

CanKiwi2 wrote: Yesterday, 22:44
The next day’s exercise was another bitch.
Nice, very nice Nigel and thanks Seppo.

In Linna's original text Private Rahikainen was the trader and acquirer of his Company and usually not very careful of ownerships...

Some minor suggestions and corrections in your post on 18.12.:
… in the best traditions of armiejan scrounging = armeijan

“Mahtava” should be “Mahtavaa”, but Sotamies Määttä swearinglauta “Jumalauta” would sound better IMM.

“Quite impressive Korporali Sihvonen, Korporali Salo, Korporali Linna,” = Korpraali Sihvonen etc.

“... the sleeve and collar insignia’s for their combat uniforms.” - Corporals and Junior NCO's got shoulder stripes in their summer blouses. One for Korpraali, two for Alikersantti and three for Kersantti as in the Movies. :D In m-36 in collar tabs or shoulder stripes.

Isotalo-Taistelut-Veitsi = Isotalo- Taisteluveitsi

Rahtainen’s Sika had a live pig in a hastily made cage tied on the back. Rahikainen “acuiring” here. Good!

Jukka "John" ~ Isn't Jukka “Jack”? Johannes, Juha, Jussi are Johns.


With best
Juha-Pekka :milwink:
"Die Blechtrommel trommelt noch!"

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

Post by CanKiwi2 » 29 Dec 2012 14:30

Many thx for the song Seppo. That sure saves me tracking it down and making a youtube clip :D

OK Juha-Pekka - edits are underway. Running spell-check on my Finnish results in solutions which are beyond my meager skills to choose between..... so I really appreciate the edits :milsmile:

G'lad you enjoyed the latest..........Nigel
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 29 Dec 2012 22:25

CanKiwi2 wrote: Here's the Finnish lyrics for Anssin Jukka Ja Härman Häät. No translation available at this stage but hopefully soon….. along with the song itself…..

Härmässä häät oli kauhiat
siellä juotihin ja tapeltihin.
Porstuasta porraspäähän
rumihia kannettihin.

Anssin Jukka se häihin lähti
ja valjasti hevoosensa.
Eikä hän muita mukahansa ottanut
kun Amalia-sisarensa.

Anssin Jukka kun häihin lähti,
niin aisalle istuu piru.
tuulispäänä ajoo Anssin Jukka
Pikku-Lammin sivu.

Mikähän silloon sen Anssin Jukan
mieles olla mahtoo,
kun se tuota rytkypolkkaa
soittamahan tahtoo.

Pienet poijan perhanat
sen tappelun aloottivat,
kaksi oli Anssin veljestä,
jokka tappelun lopettivat.

Rytkypolkkaa kun soitettiihin,
niin poijat ne retkutteli.
Hiljallensa se Anssin Jukka
helapäätä heilutteli.

Anssin Jukka se heilutteli
tuota norjaa ruumistansa.
Kehuu Pohjan Kauhavalta
sankari olevansa.

Anssin Jukalla puukkoo oli
ja värjärin sällillä airas.
Alataloon laattialla
aukes Pikku-lammille taivas.

Herran Köpi se puustellin portilla
rukooli hartahasti.
Anssin Jukka se puukoolla löi
niin taitamattomasti.

Anssin Jukan puukkoon se painoo
puolitoista naulaa.
Sillä se sitten kutkutteli
tuota Pikku-Lammin kaulaa.

Anssin Jukan puukoonterä
oli korttelia ja tuumaa;
sillä se sitten koitteli,
jotta oliko se veri kuumaa.

Anssin Jukan puukoonterä
oli valuteräksestä;
sillä se veren valutti
tuon Pikku-Lammin syrämmestä.

Mitähän se harakkakin merkitti,
kun saunan katolle lenti.
Vihiille piti mentämän,
vaan rumihia tehtiin ensin.

Kahreksan kertaa minuutis
tuo rivollipyssy laukes.
Alataloon laatialla
Pikku-Lammin kurkkuk aukes.

alataloon häis kun konjakki loppuu,
niin ryypättihin viinaa.
Niinimatosta Pikku-Lammille
tehtihin käärinliina.

Ja voi kukn se yö oli kauhia
kun juotihin ja tapeltihin,
ja pirunmoosella lehmänkiululla
verta vaan kannettihin.

Eikä se Anssin Jukka olisi tullu
rautojen kantajaksi,
jos ei menny alataloon häihin
konjakin antajaksi.

Jokohan ne herrat Kauhavalla
on hyvän levon saaneet,
kun kymmenen vuotta parhaat poijat
on Vaasan linnas maanneet?
My effort to translate the song.

There was a terrible wedding in Härmä,
there was drinking and fighting.
From the porch to the end of stairway
corpses were carried.

Anssin Jukka went to wedding
and harnessed his horse.
He didn’t take with him others
than his sister Amalia.

When Anssin Jukka went to wedding,
devil sits on shaft.
Like a gust drove Anssin Jukka
past Pikku-Lammi.

What might then Anssin Jukka
have in his mind,
when he that rough polka
wanted to play.

Little damn boys
started the fight,
two were Anssi brothers,
who ended the fight.

When rough polka was played,
boys were wrestling.
Silently Anssin Jukka
wagged a knife.

Anssin Jukka shaked
his flexible body.
Bragged from Ostrobothnian Kauhava
the hero to come from.

Anssin Jukka had a knife
and dyer’s jack a shaft.
On the floor of Alatalo
the heaven opened to Pikku-Lammi.

Master Köpi at the gate of farmhouse
prayed earnestly.
Anssin Jukka hit with his knife
so unskillfully. (you slit with a knife, don’t stab or you kill somebody)

The knife of Anssin Jukka weighted
a pound and a half.
With it he then tickled
neck of Pikku-Lammi.

Blade of Anssin Jukka’s knife
was a span and an inch;
with it he then tried,
if blood was hot.

Blade of Anssin Jukka’s knife
was of cast steel;
with it he drained blood
from Pikku-Lammi’s heart.

What did the magpie mean,
when it flew on the roof of sauna.
It was to be a wedding,
but corpses were made first.

Eight times in a minute
the revolver went off.
On the floor of Alatalo
throat of Pikku-Lammi was opened.

When brandy run out at Alatalo wedding,
we drank spirits.
Of a bast carpet for Pikku-Lammi
a shroud was made.

Oh how that night was terrible
when it was drunk and fought,
and with a large cow pail
blood was carried.

Anssin Jukka would not have become
a carrier of shackle,
if he had not went to Alatalo wedding
as a server of brandy.

Wonder if masters at Kauhava
have already got a good rest,
when ten years the best boys
have lied in the prison of Vaasa?

One more version of the song:

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

Post by CanKiwi2 » 31 Dec 2012 18:25

Thx Seppo, love the translation :milsmile:
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The Ukkosvyöry

Post by CanKiwi2 » 31 Dec 2012 18:28

Hakkarainen held his arm high, watching the second hand on his watch, throwing his hand forward precisely as the second hand hit 12. Rynnäkkökomppania Hakkarainen – Assault Group Hakkarainen – launched into motion almost as one, accelerating down the road, the rest of the Pataljoona rumbling into life and following. Within half an hour they were nearing the frontlines, passing combat troops filing forwards along the sides of the road, rear area units off to the side, artillery batteries set up in clearings and firing intermittently. Onward. Winding up a small ridge, passing a long column of infantry plodding along the side of the road. According to the latest brief, the frontline was over the ridge.

They burst over the low ridgeline and followed the road down towards a small village several hundred meters away where the land flattened out. The cluster of small one story houses was in the centre of some scattered fields, meadows and small copses. It looked like any village back in rural Finland, but more rundown, looking unloved and uncared for. The Sikas, Kettus and Bantams picked up speed as they plunged down the slope, the big Cummins engines snorting and roaring. The gunners were alert now, the machineguns and cannon cocked and ready, eyes scanning ceaselessly, alert for movement, alert for any threat. The shot that killed you could come from anywhere. From anything. Russian soldiers were running back towards the forest on the far side of the meadows and fields, mortar bombs were exploding along the far forest line, Finnish soldiers moving after the Russians in small groups, sporadic rifle and machinegun fire could be heard over the noise of the engines. They passed through some Finnish soldiers huddled in a ditch along the side of the road.

“Wish us luck” Sihvonen called out to the soldiers in the ditch. One of them looked up and gave him the finger. Sihvonen laughed and blew him a kiss. Lammio’s joukkue in the lead was moving fast, Kariluoto’s Sikas were keeping up the speed, no one was slowing. Määttä floored the accelerator to keep up, the engine roared, they pounded into the outskirts of the village, the little Bantams followed, interspersed with the half dozen Kettu armoured cars, Koskela’s joukkue bringing up the rear, the Third Komppania, Luutnantti Autio’s, was right behind them. The houses seemed deserted, untouched by war, uninhabited, a ghost village. No people, nothing moved. The houses were simple log construction, unpainted, shabby and tired looking. We’re too bunched up, Hakkarainen thought, but they also needed to be able to attack en masse as soon as a threat was spotted. Win a few, loose a few. Except the losing could be final. Better to stay closed up for now. The komppania was halfway through the village, Lammio’s joukkue already leaving when Hakkarainen saw movement in a house ahead of them as Kariluoto’s Sika passed by doing thirty mph. Pointed.

“All Hakkarainen elements. Bandits.” Hakkarainen yelled a warning on the intercom and the Komppania radio net simultaneously. It was unneeded. Linna, on the twin Lahti 20mms, caught the same movement, swung the twin-barrelled cannon with effortless ease and fired a long burst into the window all in the same motion. Vanhala, at the back, swung his Rumpali round and without conscious thought pumped a grenade forward and through the window, reloaded and pumped a second out within seconds, aiming through the window of the next house. A body fell forward onto the windowsill, dropping a grenade on the ground. They all ducked just before it exploded. Harmlessly, although Hakkarainen heard a couple of piiiiings as grenade fragments whined off the armoured hull. Sihvonen opened up with the twin 12.7’s, hosing the house down as they passed, the clapboard sidings disintegrating, flames beginning to flicker from inside. A second Russian soldier stumbled out the door, uniform smouldering. Sihvonen cut him down in passing.

Ahead of them, Kariluoto’s last two Sika’s opened up, stitching bullets through the last houses as they exited the village. A machinegun barrel poked out of a window ahead of them. Before it could fire, Korsumaki’s Lahti gunner, Jaakko, fired, the window and the logs around it disintegrating under the rain of 20mm shells. The Russians had ambushed them at their “weakest” point, just as the leading two joukkueet were almost through and with the HQ section and, the little Bantams and the Kettu armoured cars in the ambush zone. It made little difference in the end. Ahead, from the last of Kariluoto’s Sika’s and from Korsumaki’s Sika, which was leading Hakkarainen’s, lines of tracer from cannon and machineguns volleyed, grenade launchers thumped, houses began to burn almost instantly. Behind them, the twin 12.7’s and single-barrelled Lahti’s mounted on the little Bantam’s and the Kettu’s had a similar effect, while Koskela’s Sika’s were firing from the rear. The noise was deafening, an unending roar, lines of fire criss-crossing the old log houses, chewing them visibly to pieces. Hakkarainen’s Sika was no exception, Linna, Salo and Sihvonen were all firing aimed bursts, continually seeking new targets as they continued forward without slowing.

Rumpali grenade launchers thumped, almost inaudible under the din of the cannon and the machineguns, houses began to burn almost instantly. Vanhala had switched to white phosphorous, pumping grenades into the houses as they passed. On either side the 12.7’s chattered viciously. Ahead of them, the barrel of Russian anti-tank gun jutted outwards a few inches from the corner of a house. Somehow its crew had brought ir out of hiding and moved it into a firing position. Hakkarainen started to broadcast a warning but it was superfluous. The gunners in Korsumaki’s Sika had seen it too, the Lahti 20mm and the 12.7 opened up simultaneously, chewing the corner of the house to pieces. Linna shifted aim, firing past Korsumaki’s Sika. As they passed by the ruins of the gun and the scattered bodies of what had been its crew, Sihvonen opened up, firing down the alleyway between the houses, cutting down a squad that had moved out from hiding and were running forwards holding grenades and makeshift bombs. Behind them, one of the Bantam’s was hit, careering off the road, crashing into an already burning house, abruptly stopping, the men inside folded up like rag dolls, motionless.

A Kettu fired it’s main gun, the Bofors 37mm, on the move. The crash of the gun was deafening even over the Lahti’s and 12.7’s, the round passing just to the side of Hakkarainen’s Sika, crashing into the side of a house, taking out the corner of the upper floor. A machinegun seemed to cartwheel through the air in slow motion, bodies toppled out the hole that had been made and dropped limply to the ground. Salo stitched them while Linna blasted a long burst through the ground floor. Vanhala put a grenade into the upper story for good measure. “Good shooting Kettu One,” Hakkarainen broadcast. Then, on the intercom. “Määttä, keep your foot down.” Then “All Hakkarainen elements. We’re going straight through. No stopping.” Hakkarainen ordered on the Komppania net. “Leave casualties for the followup units. Hakkarainen Out.” Nobody argued. Nobody perceptibly slowed. Hakkarainen had half expected somebody to disobey, the maxim that you never left your casualties was deeply ingrained within the men of the armeijan, too deeply ingrained for mere orders to overcome. Perhaps the limp unmoving finality of the men convinced the others that nothing could be done. Regardless, the remaining Bantams continued on.

To the men of Autio’s Komppania, coming down the hill, it seemed that all hell had let loose in the small village. Ahead of them, Hakkarainen’s Komppania seemed to be surrounded by fire, lines of tracer from every Sika, Bantam and Kettu, houses suddenly bursting into flames, distintegrating, burning. The village was a scene from Bruegel’s Hell and Autio’s Komppania was driving straight into it. “Autio to Hakkarainen, we’re coming right through on your ass, so don’t change your mind, alright. Autio Out.” “Roger that.” Autio marveled at how dry Hakkarainen’s voice could sound in the middle of a battle. “We’re surely going through. Watch out for one Bantam on the road side, middle of the village. Hakkarainen Out.” Koskela’s Sika’s roared through, firing continuously, houses disintegrated, burned, nothing moved. The small village and its single street was a scene of devastation. As they moved out, the infantry behind them on foot were already running forwards, paralleling Auto’s Komppania in its Sikas as they rumbled through. The single Bantam with the four men riding it were Rynnäkkökomppania Hakkarainen’s only loss. The village was destroyed.

Behind, a burning village. Ahead, empty fields and then the forest. The Russians were gone, vanished into the forest that lay ahead on the far side of the valley. The forest was more dangerous in its way than the open fields and meadows. “All Hakkarainen elements. Fast as you can. Out,” Hakkarainen said tersely into the company radio net. Half a kilometre to the forest and who knew if there was an ambush, soldiers and anti-tank guns waiting along the forest line, waiting for them to draw close, too close to miss. Never underestimate the Red Army. He was about to order the Forward Fire Controller to call in some artillery when a wave of Close Air Support aircraft, the Blenheim gunships from a quick glance, swept by fifty feet overhead, cannon blazing, bombs dropping into the forest line as they peeled up and away, explosions that shook the Sika’s even this far away, waves of flame, trees toppling, waves of flame from the jellied petroleum bombs. As the CAS aircraft peeled up and away to circle overhead, artillery shells began to land either side of the road. Hakkarainen closed his mouth. He should have know better that to think about it. The Forward Fire Controller had been with them all down the Isthmus, he knew what he was supposed to do without being told, went ahead and did it. They were already more than halfway to the forest line. The FFC came up on the Komppania net. “Artillery lifting …..NOW.” Fifty metres to go. Twenty seconds. The driver of Lammio’s lead Sika hadn’t slackened off the gas even momentarily. They too trusted the FFC completely.

They plunged into the forest, scanning either side of the road, the machinegun and cannon barrels twitching slightly as the gunners moved. They were relying now on their speed to carry them through any hastily mounted ambush. The road here was more or less straight; the ground more or less flat, the forest was well-maintained, not too much ground foliage which made watching for the enemy a little easier. Riitaoja came up on the intercom. “Forward Air Observer Report. Nothing they can see ahead of us for the next 5 klicks, its all forest and they can’t see much through the trees. There’s a bridge with a guard post and some trucks and AA guns, FFO says it looks like an infantry battalion moving up in trucks crossing the bridge.” “Roger,” Hakkarainen said. “Understood.” He passed on the observation along with orders over the Komppania net.

The Sika’s roared and bounced and bumped down the appallingly bad Soviet road – you couldn’t call it a Highway – a plume of red dust in their wake. The FFO relayed the position of the Red Army trucks as they moved closer to Hakkarainen’s Rynnäkkökomppania. On the Pataljoona net, he could hear Autio’s Komppania, lagging a little. There had been a little opposition as they entered the forest but they were through that now, fifteen minutes behind Hakkarainen. “All Hakkarainen elements,” he ordered. “Move north of the road into the trees. Ambush formation.” With practiced was, the line of vehicles slowed and turned into the trees, men leaping out to conceal the tyre marks on the edge of the road, other men pulling out their hukari and hastily slashing off branches for concealment. The four 76mm AT guns positioned themselves to close form a chokepoint, supported by the troopers in the Bantams, the six Kettu’s positioned in pairs interspersed with the three Sika ryhmät. It all happened in two minutes. Just enough time to be ready shortly before the first Red Army truck drove into the ambush zone.

Hakkarainen’s Sika rocked a little as the men adjusted their positions. The trucks passed by, closed up, seemingly unaware of the risk of being attacked from the air. The Red Army infantry seated facing outwards, back to back down the centre seats, seemed bored, nervous, their faces smooth and baby-fat. “Puppies,” Hakkarainen thought to himself, “Puppies up against wolves.” They all looked very young. They weren’t going to get much older. God help them. And they were going to need God’s help when the Lahti’s and the 12.7’s opened up. Nobody in the trucks saw the ambush, although they were within fifty feet of the line of Sika’s, Kettu’s and Bantams. The first truck reached the end of the ambush zone. The four AT guns fired as one. The four leading trucks blew apart as the 76mm rounds hit them, bodies, engines, chunks of metal flying in all directions. No further orders were needed. The Lahti’s and 12.7’s opened up, the entire Komppania firing as one. There was sudden alarm on the faces Hakkarainen could see and then Linna’s twin Lahti’s blazed a line of fire down the truck. Somehow the fuel tanks ignited, must be petrol engines Hakkarainen thought as the truck turned into a fireball. Half a dozen blazing figures stumbled from the inferno. Rahikainen, in the driver’s assistant seat, cut them down with his machinegun. More of an act of mercy than of war.

Lines of tracer criss-crossed along the road, the 76mm AT guns fired a second round each, trucks burnt or stopped where they had crashed when the cannon shells or machinegun bullets hit them and the drivers died. Bodies lie sprawled in the grim finality of death. The volume of fire had been such that there were very few wounded survivors, and they were not Hakkarainen’s concern in any case. Lammio come up on the net, advising the rearmost trucks had been outside the ambush zone and were attempting to turn and run. His joukkue was pulling out to engage. Some Russians had escaped into the forest. “All Hakkarainen elements, move out,” Hakkarainen ordered. “Formation Alpha.” The same as they had been in. “Don’t stop for the enemy trucks Lammio, keep moving. All units take any surviving Russians under fire as we pass.” Riitaoja was already relaying a sitrep on the Pataljoona net, warning of some Russians in the woods. Both Autio and Pataljoona HQ acknowledged. Hakkarainen could grinned as he heard Majuri Sarastie instructing Autio to put his foot down and catch up. Ten minutes after they’d pulled off the road, a Red Army infantry battalion had died and Rynnäkkökomppania Hakkarainen was back on the road, in formation more or less and accelerating towards the next encounter. He checked his watch. It was only 1pm.......
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 07 Jan 2013 14:52

Bit of a re-write of the above post going on, here's the first chunk....

Hakkarainen held his arm high, watching the second hand on his watch. Precisely as the second hand hit 12. “Move Out.” He spoke into the RT, simultaneously throwing his hand forward. “Here we go boys,” Salo muttered on the intercom as Rynnäkkökomppania Hakkarainen – Assault Group Hakkarainen – launched into motion almost as one, accelerating down the road, the rest of the Pataljoona rumbling into life and following. “Death or Glory.” Sihvonen pumped his fist in the air as he spoke. “Bugger off Sihvonen,” Vanhala snapped. He was about to add something further when “Tactical talk only,” Hakkarainen said drily, “Keep the chatter for the girls after we get back.” The speed had picked up, they were moving at around 30 mph, as fast as the battered road would allow, the men struggling to keep their footing as the Sika bounced and bumped through potholes, Määttä doing his best to weave around the worst. The RT remained silent. Behind the front, there was no real need to communicate and orders had been clear. Keep radio chatter to a minimum

Within half an hour they were nearing the frontlines, passing combat troops filing forwards along the sides of the road, rear area units off to the side, artillery batteries set up in clearings and firing intermittently. Passing a long file of infantry, slowing a little so as to minimize the dust, Vanhala leaned over the side. “Wish us luck” he called out to the soldiers. One of them looked up and gave him the finger. Vanhala laughed and blew him a kiss. “Bloody joker,” Salo grunted. He didn’t find Vanhala’s comedic antics particularly funny. Ahead, Lammio’s joukkue was beginning to wind up a small ridge. Hakkarainen checked the map, more out of nervous tension than any real need to know where he was. According to the latest brief, the frontline was over the ridge, some light fighting going on. The armeijan had pierced the Red Army front lines at the juncture between two different Corps, and the Red Army’s Corps coordination was at this stage of the battle not particularly effective. “Almost at the front” he said into the intercom. No need to repeat on the RT. Every one of the Sika commanders would be saying much the same thing to their crews about now.

The sudden tension was noticeable. Beside Hakkarainen, he could see Linna giving the twin Lahti’s a quick check. Sihvonen was doing the same with his twin 12.7’s. Vanhala was checking ammo belts. They passed an artillery battery, four of the 105’s off in a clearing to the side of the road, firing slowly. “Well, that’s a good sign,” Salo grunted again. “What is?” Riitaoja asked nervously from the bowels of the Sika. Down where he was, Riitaoja could see very little. The legs of the men in the fighting compartment, the radios, the backs of the driver and the drivers assistant. “The 105’s,” Salo explained, more patient with Riitaoja than normal. “They’re firing slowly, if they were going flat out, it’d mean the shit was hitting the fan up ahead, slow means nothing much going on.” Hakkarainen nodded, although of course it was all relative. “Slow” still meant they were shooting at something, which meant likely that something was shooting back.

Määttä changed down a gear, the engine was working harder. They began winding up the small ridge in their turn. Hakkarainen looked back. The rest of the komppania was keeping closed up tight. Another long column of infantry plodding along the side of the road, their faces grim, tight, nervous looking. Just as the faces of Hakkarainen’s men were tightening. They passed the column, ahead Hakkarainen saw a straggler, an older soldier who’d fallen out from his komppania on the march to the front. He was standing on the side of the road looking at them, heavy pack on his back, rifle cradled in his arms, his face masked with dust, inexpressibly tired looking, a man alone. He gave them a half-wave as they passed. Hakkarainen gave a quick half salute as Salo muttered “poor old bugger.”

Lammio’s joukkue was nearing the top of the ridge. Hakkarainen could see him standing. He looked back and waved at Hakkarainen and then he was gone, out of sight. “Floor it Määttä,” Hakkarainen hunched up a little behind the protective armour as they burst over the low ridgeline and followed the road down towards a small village several hundred meters away where the land flattened out. The cluster of small one story houses was in the centre of some scattered fields, meadows and small copses. It looked like any little village back in rural Finland, but more rundown, unloved and uncared for. The Sikas, Kettus and Bantams picked up speed as they plunged down the slope, the big Cummins engines snorting and roaring.

Without a word of command, the gunners were alert, keyed up, the machineguns and cannon cocked and ready, eyes scanning ceaselessly, alert for movement, alert for any threat. The shot that killed you could come from anywhere. From anything. Hakkarainen scanned the terrain through his binoculars. Small groups of Russian soldiers were running back towards the forest on the far side of the meadows and fields, mortar bombs were exploding along the far forest line, Finnish soldiers moving after the Russians, leapfrogging forwards in small groups, sporadic rifle fire could be heard over the noise of the engines. Now and then came the distinctive ripping snarl of the armeijan’s Sampo light machineguns. “Our guys in the ditch on the left ahead,” Linna spoke. “I see them,” Salo responded. “Russians by the big tree, ten o’clock, two hundred metres.” It was Salo again. He began to swing his 12.7’s. Then, sounding satisfied “Somebody got them.” The usual tactical chatter on the intercom. Hakkarainen was as used to it now as they all were. A constant rain of comments identifying friendly and enemy forces, landmarks, suspicious features, possible enemy movement, possible or actual threats that went on incessantly. Ignoring it, that wasn’t his job, Hakkarainen checked the komppania’s dispositions as they plunged down the slope.

Lammio’s joukkue in the lead was moving fast, Kariluoto’s Sikas were keeping up the speed, no one was slowing. Määttä floored the accelerator to keep up, the engine roared, they bucked over a series of ruts that almost had them airborne. Hakkarainen swore as he bounced off the side of the troop compartment. From the front, he heard a snicker. “Bit of a rough ride is it back there boys,” Rahikainen asked superciliously. “Piss off,” Sihvonen grunted. Lammio’s joukkue was pounding through the village now, Kariluoto’s Sika’s following closely, the men alert, guns twitching backwards and forwards as they looked for any threats. A quick glance backwards as Hakkarainen’s Sika entered the outskirts of the village. The little Bantams were keeping up, interspersed with the half dozen Kettu armoured cars, their commanders sitting up half out of the turrets, the drivers hatches open for better visibility, trading of protection for the ability to keep their speed up. Koskela’s joukkue bringing up the rear, the Third Komppania, Luutnantti Autio’s, was right behind them and the First, Kapteeni Helminen’s, immediately behind Autio, a long line of Sikas and Kettu’s pounding forwards. The small village seemed deserted as they entered it, the straggling line of houses untouched by war, yet uninhabited. A ghost village. No people were in sight, nothing moved. The houses were simple log or clapboard construction, unpainted, shabby and tired looking. We’re too bunched up, Hakkarainen thought. But they also needed to be able to attack en masse as soon as a threat was spotted. Win a few, loose a few. Except the losing could be final. Better to stay closed up for now.

Lammio’s voice on the RT over the Komppania net, relayed by Riitaoja. “Keep alert, watch for any movement.” “Teach your grandmother to suck eggs.” Somebody transmitted in clear, anonymously, it could only have been a Sika commander, the crews didn’t have access to the RT. Hakkarainen recognised the voice, Lehto’s. “Keep it tactical,” he snapped on the net. “No wiseassing.” Lammio for once said nothing. A wise move on his part, Hakkarainen thought. The komppania was halfway through the village, Lammio’s joukkue already leaving when Hakkarainen saw movement in a house ahead of them as Kariluoto’s Sika passed by doing thirty mph. Pointed. “All Hakkarainen elements. Bandits. Movement in the house my eleven o’clock.” Hakkarainen yelled a warning on the intercom and the Komppania radio net simultaneously. It was unneeded. More warnings on the RT, more movement sighted at different locations.

By the time Hakkarainen had finished speaking, Linna, on the twin Lahti 20mms, had caught the same movement, swung the twin-barrelled cannon with effortless ease and fired a long burst into the window all in the same motion. “In the upper window” Vanhala, at the back, swung his Rumpali round and without conscious thought pumped a grenade forward and through the window, reloaded and pumped a second out within seconds, aiming through the window of the next house. A body fell forward onto the windowsill, dropping a grenade on the ground. They all ducked just before it exploded. Harmlessly, although Hakkarainen heard a couple of piiiiings as grenade fragments whined off the armoured hull. “Ambush” he broadcast on the RT, “all Hakkarainen elements, return fire. No stopping.” The intercom was full of chatter, Salo, Sihvonen and Linna calling targets, Rahikainen calling instructions to Määttä, Riitaoja on the RT, passing on a quick sitrep to Pataljoona. Sihvonen opened up with the twin 12.7’s, hosing the house down as they passed, the clapboard sidings disintegrating, flames beginning to flicker from inside. A second Russian soldier stumbled out the door, uniform smouldering. Sihvonen cut him down in passing. Salo was firing from the other side, Linna was walking his fire down the houses ahead and to the left while Korsumaki’s Lahti-gunner walked his ahead and to the right.

Ahead of them, Kariluoto’s last two Sika’s opened up, stitching bullets through the last houses as they exited the village. A machinegun barrel poked out of a window ahead of them. Before it could fire, Korsumaki’s Lahti gunner, Jaakko, fired, the window and the logs around it disintegrating under the rain of 20mm shells. The Russians had ambushed them at their “weakest” point, just as the leading two joukkueet were almost through and with the HQ section and, the little Bantams and the Kettu armoured cars in the ambush zone. It made little difference in the end. Ahead, from the last of Kariluoto’s Sika’s and from Korsumaki’s Sika, which was leading Hakkarainen’s, lines of tracer from cannon and machineguns volleyed, grenade launchers thumped, houses began to burn almost instantly. Behind them, the twin 12.7’s and single-barrelled Lahti’s mounted on the little Bantam’s and the Kettu’s had a similar effect, while Koskela’s Sika’s were firing from the rear. The noise was deafening, an unending roar, lines of fire criss-crossing the old log houses, chewing them visibly to pieces. Hakkarainen’s Sika was no exception, Linna, Salo and Sihvonen were all firing aimed bursts, continually seeking new targets, calling targets between themselves as they continued forward without slowing. Vanhala had slammed his Rumpali back in it’s holder and was scrambling to feed new belts to Sihvonen. “Two belts of 20mm.” That was Linna calling for a reload. “Get your ass moving Vanhala.” Vanhala wordlessly shoved Hakkarainen aside as he passed up two 20mm belts.

“Alpha One to Alpha Leader.” That was Lammio on the RT. “Everything alright back there?” Salo laughed. Hakkarainen grinned mirthlessly as Russian machinegun bullets hit one of the little Bantams behind him, the four men inside jerking the chicken dance, the Bantam veering off the road to crash into the side of a house. A Russian soldier leaned out of the window above and dropped a grenade into the Bantam. He followed, cut down by a burst from a 12.7, his body toppling forwards over the windowsill, backlit by a spray of blood, then blown upwards again as the grenade exploded. “Alpha Leader to Alpha Two, it’s all fine back here. Keep going.” Behind him Salo cursed as he swing the 12.7’s and fired a long burst, cutting down a Russian as he poked a rifle through a window.. “Perkele, it’s all fine is it?” Another burst. “I’d like to see something that’s gone wrong then.” He fired again. Rumpali grenade launchers thumped, almost inaudible under the din of the cannon and the machineguns, houses began to burn almost instantly. Reloads done for now, Vanhala had picked up his Rumpali, switched to white phosphorous, was pumping grenades into the houses as they passed. On either side the 12.7’s continued to chatter viciously. “Ahh, shaddap Salo,” he called, ‘Willy Pete’ll make it right.” The white phosphorous burned viciously, flames were licking out of the houses as they passed them.

A Russian ran out of a doorway ahead of them, screaming, twisting, his back on fire, his arms flailing. Nothing put white phosphorous out, when it landed on you, the only way it stopped was if it exhausted itself, or you cut it out. Both were guaranteed to be painful experiences. Rahikainen cut the Russian down with a short burst. He fell forward. His back was burning and smoking as the wheels thumped over the body. Hakkarainen hoped for his sake he was a body. “Good hit Määttä, but Rahikainen got him first.” That was Vanhala on the intercom. “Funny boy.” That was Määttä, he sounded a bit breathless. Wrestling with the Sika’s steering did that, Hakkarainen knew. Bloody tank had been one of the more polite comments about the Sika’s steering. Ahead of them, the barrel of Russian anti-tank gun jutted outwards a few inches from the corner of a house. Somehow its crew had brought it out of hiding and moved it into a firing position. “AT gun,” Hakkarainen started to broadcast a warning but it was superfluous. The gunners in Korsumaki’s Sika had seen it too, Jaakko on Korsumaki’s Lahti 20mm and the 12.7 gunner opened up simultaneously, chewing the corner of the house to pieces. Linna shifted aim, firing past Korsumaki’s Sika. As they passed by the ruins of the gun and the scattered bodies of what had been its crew, Sihvonen opened up, firing down the alleyway between the houses, cutting down a squad that had moved out from hiding and were running forwards holding grenades and makeshift bombs. Behind them, another of the Bantam’s was hit by something, careering off the road, crashing into an already burning house, abruptly stopping, the men inside folded up like rag dolls, motionless. “Another Bantam down,” Salo reported emotionlessly.

A Kettu right behind them fired its main gun, the Bofors 37mm, on the move. The crash of the gun was deafening even over the Lahti’s and 12.7’s, the round passing just to the side of Hakkarainen’s Sika, crashing into the side of a house, taking out the corner of the upper floor. “Sataanaaaaa, that hurt,” Vanhala yelled. Blood was trickling from one of his ears. A machinegun seemed to cartwheel through the air in slow motion, bodies toppled out the hole that had been made and dropped limply to the ground. Salo stitched them while Linna blasted a long burst through the ground floor. A quick shake of his head and Vanhala put a grenade into the upper story for good measure. “Good shooting Kettu One,” Hakkarainen broadcast. Then, on the intercom. “Määttä, keep your foot down.” Then “All Hakkarainen elements. We’re going straight through. No stopping.” Hakkarainen ordered on the Komppania net. “Leave casualties for the followup units. Hakkarainen Out.” Nobody argued. Nobody perceptibly slowed. Hakkarainen had half expected somebody to disobey, the maxim that you never left your casualties was deeply ingrained within the men of the armeijan, too deeply ingrained for mere orders to overcome. Perhaps the limp unmoving finality of the men convinced the others that nothing could be done. Regardless, the remaining Bantams continued on.

Behind them, Koskela’s Sika’s were blazing away with everything they had. “Alpha Three to Alpha Leader.” That was Koskela. “Didn’t leave much for us did you?” Hakkarainen laughed. “Alpha Leader to Alpha Three, help yourselves to any leftovers.” Linna snickered. Behind them, coming down the hill off the ridge, left a little behind by the sudden downhill acceleration of Hakkarainen’s komppania, to Autio’s men it seemed that all hell had let loose in the small village. Ahead of them, Hakkarainen’s Komppania seemed to be surrounded by fire, lines of tracer from every Sika, Bantam and Kettu, houses suddenly bursting into flames, disintegrating, burning, showers of sparks, clouds of smoke. The village was a scene from Bruegel’s Hell and Autio’s Komppania was driving straight into it. “Autio to Hakkarainen, we’re coming right through on your ass, so don’t change your mind, alright. Autio Out.” “Roger that.” Autio marveled at how dry Hakkarainen’s voice could sound in the middle of a battle. “We’re surely going through. Watch out for one Bantam on the road side, middle of the village, second Bantam off the road far side, left. Hakkarainen Out.” Koskela’s Sika’s roared through, firing continuously, Rumpali’s thumping. Houses disintegrated, burned, collapsed, nothing living was left to move. The small village and its single street was a scene of devastation. As they moved out, the infantry behind them on foot were already running forwards, paralleling Auto’s Komppania in its Sikas as they rumbled through. The two Bantam’s with the eight men riding them were Rynnäkkökomppania Hakkarainen’s only loss.

Image
Behind, a destroyed and burning village

Behind, a destroyed and burning village. Ahead, empty fields and then the forest. The Russians were gone, vanished into the forest that lay ahead on the far side of the valley. Hakkarainen felt no sense of relief, no lessening of tension. The forest was more dangerous in its way than the open fields and meadows. “All Hakkarainen elements. Fast as you can. Out,” Hakkarainen spoke tersely into the company radio net. Half a kilometre to the forest and who knew if there was an ambush, soldiers and anti-tank guns waiting along the forest line, waiting for them to draw close, too close to miss. Sihvonen was singing under his breath as eyed the approaching treeline. Salo was muttering something. Never underestimate the Red Army. Hakkarainen was about to order the Forward Fire Controller to call in some artillery when four Close Air Support aircraft, the Blenheim gunships from a quick upwards glance, swept by fifty feet overhead, the noise of their engines a solid wall of sound, cannon blazing, bombs dropping into the forest line as they peeled up and away, explosions that shook the Sika’s even this far away, waves of flame, trees toppling, a wash of fire from the jellied petroleum bombs that everyone feared, the Russians most of all given that they were usually the targets. .

All of them smiled or otherwise reacted with satisfaction to the arrival of the CAS aircraft. “Good to know the boys in blue can hit the target and not us.” That was Kersantti Lahtinen on the RT this time. Someone else chuckled. The FFC came on the net. “We’ve got more on tap if we need ‘em, they’re stacked and waiting for the call, use ‘em or lose ‘em.” “Perkele, will you chaps keep it tactical.” Hakkarainen was getting annoyed and his upper class Helsinki accent was coming through. “Yes Mom.” He had no idea who that was, but after that last comment the RT chatter stopped. The intercom chatter continued, focusing on potential threats as they neared the forest line. As the CAS aircraft peeled up and away, artillery shells followed them, began to land either side of the road. Hakkarainen closed his mouth. He should have know better than to think about it. The Forward Fire Controller riding ahead in Korsumaki’s Sika had been with them all down the Isthmus, he knew what he was supposed to do without being told, went ahead and did it. They were already more than halfway to the forest line. The FFC came up on the Komppania net. “Artillery lifting …..NOW.” Fifty metres to go. Twenty seconds. The driver of Lammio’s lead Sika hadn’t slackened off the gas even momentarily. They too trusted the FFC completely.

The column plunged into the forest, which was burning to either side of the road. There were still Russians out there, a bullet whaaaaaanged off the Sika’s hull. “Paska,” Salo swore, jerked with shock. “That one nearly got me.” Ahead of them, one of Lammio’s Sika’s fired a burst of 12.7 into the trees. “Russian snipers, keep your heads down.” One of Lammio’s Sika commanders. “Keep your eyes peeled.” That was Kersantti Hietanen on the net this time. Everyone scanned their sectors continuously, either side of the road, ahead and behind in arcs that overlapped with the preceding and following vehicles, the machinegun and cannon barrels twitching slightly as the gunners moved, the intercom alive with warnings. “Watch that log on the left…….the black rock by the bush …… there’s a dip over there … “ On the road ahead, a Red Army soldier had been shot, he’d fallen on the road and the Sika’s ahead has run over him repeatedly. By the time Hakkarainen’s Sika hit it, the corpse had been flattened, the guts squished out. “Looks like squashed tomatoes back there,” Vanhala said as he looked back. “Watch out for Tomatoe Man,” Riitaoja announced on the komppania net. “Perkele Riitaoja,” It was Linna that kicked Riitaoja’s helmet. “What?” Riitaoja sniveled, “I didn’t invent it.” “Well Vanhala didn’t broadcast it to the world did he?”

The road wound through the forest. Forward visibility wasn’t great as the trees closed in around the road, with bends restricting line of sight. They were relying now on their speed to carry them through any hastily mounted ambush. The ground was more or less flat, the forest was well-maintained, not too much ground foliage which made watching for any enemy in the trees a little easier. Sika commanders were continually calling potential targets over the radio net as they passed, the gunners eyeballing any potential ambush site. Ahead, the side gunner of the lead Sika (the one commanded by Virtanen) spotted two men lying of in the trees to one side of the road. Virtanen called in the sighting as his gunner opened fire. The men took off running, both were carrying rifles. A long burst from another of Lammio’s Sika’s dropped them in their tracks. A little later Virtanen called in a truck of in the forest. “Light it up,” Lammio commanded on the RT. A ten second burst from the twin 12.7’s riddled the truck with armour-piercing and incendiary rounds. The truck burst into flames, then rocked as secondary explosions erupted inside. Nobody got out. They weren’t sure if anybody was in the truck, but nobody cared either. As long as it was no longer a threat, that was all that concerned them. After eight months of war, killing was impersonal; you shot everything that might be a threat without any thought, without any remorse.
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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CanKiwi2
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 08 Jan 2013 14:41

OK, a characterisation question from me here. As the Sika's pass the soldiers on the road, one of them gives Vanhala the finger in response to a comment made. Vanhala blows him a kiss. Comment was made on the other forum (alternatehistory) that Finns don't blow kisses today, let alone back then. As a characterisation question, is it likely that Vanhala would do something like this and would the gesture fit? It's more or less implying that Vanhala is calling the other soldiers "girlies" but does it fot the period and is it something a Finnish soldier like Vanhala would do as a rather insulting or annoyed gesture?
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John Hilly
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by John Hilly » 09 Jan 2013 18:50

Giving the finger landed in Finland only in the 1970's and sending the kiss was only girls' way.
Difficult to think of any hand signs exept thumb up - down or angry fist.
Vanhala could have shown his tongue, like kids do, to humouresly show his "superiority". :P
Maybe the insulter showed the thumb down?

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

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