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

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

Post by Fliegende Untertasse » 09 Jan 2013 20:10

John Hilly wrote: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
Showing long nose
Image
http://www.nokianuutiset.fi/Ajankohta/1 ... lassa.html

it is a bit childish gesture,
but the whole hand signals custom is kind of un-Finnish.
John Hilly wrote: Maybe the insulter showed the thumb down?
"Thumbs down" would have been known to educated people from Roman gladiator tradition as signal of killing the defeated.
Maybe the insulter had PhD in classical literature.

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

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 09 Jan 2013 20:57

Finland was a society of strong women and I saw "Ellun kanat" translated somewhere: ”When duty calls, we react, when bunk calls, we relax”, but would this work:


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

Post by Fliegende Untertasse » 09 Jan 2013 22:24

CanKiwi2 wrote: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?
You mean this one
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.

Vanhala leaned over the side. “Wish us luck” he called out to the soldiers. One of them turned away, spat to ground and pushed his hand towards Vanhala "to hell with you".
Vanhala laughed, raised his hand and waved happily goodbye.


In Finnish culture smiling implies amusement. If you show happy face to angry people , you signal you are not taking them seriously. That is all the insult you need here.

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

Post by CanKiwi2 » 10 Jan 2013 00:29

Fliegende Untertasse wrote: You mean this one
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.

Vanhala leaned over the side. “Wish us luck” he called out to the soldiers. One of them turned away, spat to ground and pushed his hand towards Vanhala "to hell with you".
Vanhala laughed, raised his hand and waved happily goodbye.


In Finnish culture smiling implies amusement. If you show happy face to angry people , you signal you are not taking them seriously. That is all the insult you need here.
Ah-ha! Yes, that would be perfect. Humorous and semi-insulting at one and the same time.

The long nose thing would be a bit difficult in the back of a bouncing AFV, sticking tongue out would be a bit childish (and dusty...) and the chicken thing would not really apply, Vanhala was not implying they were chickens at all, just mocking them a bit the way guys in one army unit do to guys in another unit without it being serious. The thing with this stuff is I am not quite sure whats is appropriate for the 1940 timeframe and what is not. If you catch me out in anything in future, sing out and let me know. Really appreciate all the help

Kiitos..........Nigel
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Väijytys (The Ambush)

Post by CanKiwi2 » 15 Jan 2013 14:19

Väijytys (The Ambush)

The road wound on and on through the forest. It wasn’t the best maintained road in the world. Highway would have been a misnomer, it was more of a leveled and metalled one-lane track. Ruts and potholes forced the speed down. Everyone found themselves being painfully battered against the interior of the Sika’s. “Perkele, try missing the potholes Määttä,” Salo grunted over the intercom as a larger than normal pothole caused the Sika to buck wildly. Hakkarainen found himself hanging on with both hands, hoping a wheel didn’t collapse or an axle break. If that happened, orders were to strip and abandon the Sika, but even that would cost them a few minutes, and minutes were precious. The difference between surprise and giving the enemy time to prepare. The difference between life and death. The difference between success and failure. “You can try yourself if you want.” Määttä sounded annoyed. “There’s more goddamn holes than there is road.” Hakkarainen grunted as another pothole jarred him mercilessly. “Fast as you can Määttä,” he said. “Try and keep up with Lammio's joukkue”. “Doing my best,” Määttä responded between bumps. “Saatana.” That was Linna as his chin whacked into the Lahti. They stopped criticising Määttä, but the swearing continued. No doubt much the same thing was going on in every other vehicle, Hakkarainen thought wryly.

The Kettus’ were keeping up although Hakkarainen thought the men inside them were in all likeliehood worse of than the men in the Sika’s. The Bantams were small and maneuverable enough to drive around the potholes. Most of the time. Tthey were also keeping up, although from what he could see the men in them were having to hang on like grim death just to stay inside them. Riitaoja came up on the intercom. “Forward Air Observer Reports 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 at 5 klicks ahead, FAO says it looks like there’s a Russian infantry battalion moving up in trucks crossing the bridge and coming our way. Says they're just sitting in their trucks.” “Roger,” Hakkarainen said. “Understood.” He passed on the observation over the Komppania net. “Paska,” Salo muttered, “a bleeding battalion is it.” Sihvonen turned his head to look at Hakkarainen, bared his teeth in a grin. “Let’s put Lehto in front, he’d love to meet them.” Hakkarainen grinned. “Watch your sector,” he said, but there was no bite to the command. He was thinking about the Russian Battalion, they’d have to deal with them, it’s not like the Russians would just sit there watching them drive past and then surrender. And an air strike as they crossed the bridge was out, the one thing they needed was that bridge. And he didn’t have long to think about it. Abruptly, he made up his mind. “All Hakkarainen elements,” he transmitted, “Väijytysmuotoon! Lammio, pick a good ambush position and lead us in. All Hakkarainen elements acknowledge. Hakkarainen Out.” Lammio acknowledged immediately, Koskela and Kariluoto also within seconds. The Kettu joukkue CO responded also, then the other two Bantam joukkueet CO’s.

The Sika’s roared and bounced and bumped down the appallingly bad Soviet road – you really couldn’t call it a Highway Hakkarainen thought yet again. The FAO 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. Lammio came up on the RT. “All Hakkarainen elements, Move north of the road into the trees on my mark. Ambush formation…… Now. Lammio Out.” A series of clicks were the acknowledgements. No voice. With the ease of painfully repeated practice, the line of vehicles slowed and turned into the trees, men leaping out to guide the vehicles deep into the concealing trees, other men leaping out to conceal the tyre marks on the edge of the road as the vehicles, men pulling out their hukari and hastily slashing off branches for concealment, working as a synchronized team – a synchronization that was the result of that painful practice back at the training base outside Viipuri. Training that already seemed as if it was an eon past, rather than just a few days.

Now they were silent, no chattering, no yelling, no jokes. This was serious work, speed and silence were the rule. Where the men communicated, it was the flicker of hand signals and gestures. The four 76mm AT guns positioned themselves to form a chokepoint at the head of the ambush site, supported by the troopers in the other Bantam joukkue, the six Kettu’s positioned themselves in pairs interspersed between the three Sika ryhmät. It all happened in minutes, without any radio communication, with a minimum of confusion and with no drama. Just a matter-of-fact “get the job done and get it done right” pragmatism, fast and silent. The way they’d trained to mount an ambush. Just enough time to be ready shortly before the first Red Army truck drove into the ambush zone. Hakkarainen relaxed a little as the men completed their last checks and rushed to remount their vehicles. His own crew adjusted their positions, taking care not to move the guns once they’d aligned them on their sectors. Once in, no-one talked, no-one moved. Movement too soon gave you away, as they had long ago discovered. The sound of voices or radios could give you away as well. Silence and stillness, those were the rules. Those who hadn’t learned fast had died back on the Isthmus. Birdsong filled the trees once more. The scent of pinetrees and grass and ripe wildberries filled the air, a scene of pastoral tranquility and peace.

The engines of the Red Army trucks were faintly audible now, a rumble that grew closer and closer. They entered the ambush zone, rumbling on. The danger now was that something might give them away before the ambush was initiated. Hakkarainen was tense, so much could go wrong. But nothing did, the trucks continued on, passed by obliviously, closed up, seemingly unaware of the risk of being attacked from the air. That in itself indicated inexperienced officers in command, new to the fighting. After months of Ilmavoimat dominance of the skies over the battle area no Russian officer with any experience would have permitted a convoy to move in daylight closed up so closely. The Red Army infantry in the trucks that carried them towards the Syvari were seated facing outwards, back to back down the centre seats, seemingly bored, nervous, their faces smooth and baby-fat. “Puppies,” Hakkarainen thought to himself, “Puppies up against wolves, god help them.” They all looked very young. It was unlikely that many of them were going to get much older. And they were certainly going to need God’s help when the Lahti’s and the 12.7’s opened up. Halfway down the ambush position, standing in his Sika, Lehto had taken over the twin-Lahti gunner position, he was watching the trucks and singing soundlessly under his breath, a look of unholy glee on his face. Rokka, his Sika the last in the line, waited, his face grim. He too had taken over the twin-Lahti in his vehicle, he would take no pleasure in this killing but he would also give no mercy. Behind him, Kärkkäinen had already prepared additional belts of ammo. On the left hand 12.7’s, Tassu’s face was set, hands held the grips, ready to fire.

The Russian trucks trundled down the road. Nobody in the trucks saw the ambush, although they were within twenty metres of the strung out line of Sika’s, Kettu’s and Bantams hiding back within the trees. After what seemed to Hakkarainen to be half a lifetime, the first truck reached the end of the ambush zone. Hakkarainen (and everyone else in the ambush) knew that had happened when the four 76mm AT guns fired as one. Amateurs initiate an ambush with loud verbal commands and other unnecessary noise before they start shooting – this can give the ambushees a second or two of warning – enough time in fact to react to an ambush in ways that can reduce the initial casualties. Professionals on the other hand initiate an ambush with maximum firepower and everyone else, keyed up and ready, joins in. After surviving eight months of on-the-job training where, if you didn’t learn, you died (or didn’t die, which could often be a worse outcome), Hakkarainen’s men were all professionals. Even Riitaoja in his own snivelling way, buried in the bowels of the Sika with the radios.

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 almost instantaneously and certainly before the Russians could react, if indeed they had been trained to react, the entire Komppania firing as one. There was sudden alarm on the faces Hakkarainen could see in the truck parallel to his Sika. Alarm that ended almost instantly as Linna’s twin Lahti’s blazed a line of fire down the truck, bodies disintegrating in a welter of blood and body parts as the 20mm cannon shells fired at point blank range tore them apart. The fuel tanks ignited, the truck began to burn. “Must be petrol engines” Hakkarainen thought absently as the truck abruptly turned into a fireball. Somehow surviving the rain of shells and bullets, half a dozen blazing figures stumbled from the inferno, Rahikainen, in the driver’s assistant seat, dispassionately cut them down with his machinegun without a word. More of an act of mercy than of war. Everyone knew what to do, no orders were needed. Hakkarainen found himself a mere spectator as his men dealt out wholesale slaughter. For that was what it was.

The Bofors 37mm guns of the Kettu’s barked sharply at almost the same moment as the 76’s, adding their share to the mayhem. The Lahti’s and Dshk 12.7mm’s roared, 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 bullets or shells hit them and the drivers died. Bodies and parts of bodies lay sprawled in the rag-doll finality of death. To Hakkarainen’s right, Sihvonen’s 12.7 and one of Korsumaki’s had hosed down another truck. Not a man had escaped from the truck, the driver lay on the steering wheel, in the back the bodies lay piled as the machineguns had left them, blood trickling out of the tray onto the dusty road, a wet stain that the dirt and dust soaked up, it would soon dry under the summer sun. Up and down the road, the same act had been repeated again and again. Here and there, a Russian soldier had miraculously been missed. Some picked up their rifles and fired aimlessly into the forest. Here and there other survivors of the initial carnage leaped from the trucks and started to run towards Hakkarainen’s men. They died. A few, more than likely by sheer luck, ran into the forest on the other side of the road. Desultory rifle shots showed than some of these were fighting back. Not enough to make any difference to the outcome.

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 came up on the net, advising the rearmost trucks had been outside the ambush zone and were attempting to turn and run, some of the men in them had abandoned the trucks and bolted into the forest. His joukkue was pulling out to engage. He repeated that some Russians had escaped into the forest. “All Hakkarainen elements, move out,” Hakkarainen ordered. “Formation Aarne.” The same as they had been in. “Don’t stop for the enemy trucks Lammio, just shoot them up and 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 the surviving Russians in the woods and advising that they were moving on. Both Autio and Pataljoona HQ acknowledged. Hakkarainen grinned as he heard Majuri Sarastie instructing Autio to put his foot down and catch up. Fifteen minutes after they’d pulled off the road, Rynnäkkökomppania Hakkarainen was back on the road, in formation more or less and accelerating. He checked his watch. It was only 1pm. They were five kilometers into the Russian rear and they’d wiped out a Battalion that had had no idea they were there. Certainly it had been a better ambush than any they had staged in training. “Train hard, fight easy,” he muttered, feeling slightly ill as he took in the carnage they had wreaked. Then, keying on the RT, he broadcast, “All Hakkarainen elements, well-done!”

At the back in the column, the men in Rokka’s Sika’s were alert as they passed by the long line of destroyed Russian trucks and windrows of bodies. The burning trucks were the worst, the smell of burning paint and metal and meat. They’d long learnt to ignore that particular scent of the battlefield. There were worse, after all. Unburied bodies in mid-summer for example.
“Good start to the day.” Rokka sounded grimly happy.
“Not for those Russians, poor devils.” Tassu was matter of fact.
“Well, it’s them or us,” Kärkkäinen chipped in. “Speaking for myself, mind, I’d rather it was them.”
Jaakko laughed. “Can’t argue with that,” he said.
“Sniper near the big grey rock” came over the RT. Everyone ducked. Eyes scanned the trucks, the forest on either side of the road. No-one slowed down. One of the Sika’s ahead fired a burst into the trees. Then another. “Got him.” The voice on the RT sounded satisfied. The small fighting column was quickly picking up speed again, men reloading the guns, checking each other for any unnoticed injuries, quick status reports. In his Command Sika, Hakkarainen checked the maps. The bridge was close now, the Forward Air Observer reported no signs of any change in status. “They must have heard the shooting,” Hakkarainen said, half to himself. He must have transmitted to the FAO without thinking about it. The FAO responded. “No sign they heard a thing, they’re all just sitting around, not even shooting at me.”

****************************************************
Coming up Next: Silta (The Bridge)

As Rynnäkkökomppania Hakkarainen sped towards the bridge, the tip of the 21st, the tip of the armoured spearhead, heavy fighting spread outwards in their wake, flaring up to both the north and south as the Red Army belatedly realized a gap had been opened between two Corps and was being forced wider by the hour. ……
Last edited by CanKiwi2 on 15 Jan 2013 20:50, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 15 Jan 2013 14:46

Just noticed, I am switching here and there between miles and kilometers. Which did Finland use in WW2? The old miles, yards and feet, or kms and metres? Wanted to make sure it was correct and consistent. Personally, I grew up with miles, yards and feet so when I'm typing away, my natural reaction is to use those....
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by John Hilly » 15 Jan 2013 19:18

Like all countries in continental Europe, Finland has used kilometres and metres etc.
Minor Refines:
“Satanaa.” That was Linna as his chin whacked into the Lahti. = Saatana.
“Väijytys muodostuminen. Lammio, pick a good ambush position and lead us in. All Hakkarainen elements acknowledge. Hakkarainen Out.” = “Väijytysmuotoon!”
“Formation Alpha.” Alfa is used in international duties only. Official Finnish radio call is “Aarne”
Sillan (The Bridge) = either Silta or To The Brige = Sillalle

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 » 15 Jan 2013 20:42

John Hilly wrote: “Formation Alpha.” Alfa is used in international duties only. Official Finnish radio call is “Aarne”

With best
Juha-Pekka :milwink:
Re official Finnish radio talk, is there a site that documents them somewhere? As well as any standard phrases like "Roger" and "Out". Will likely need to use a few more and my NZ Army codes wouldn't quite apply.

Thx for all of those. Editing completed :D
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 15 Jan 2013 23:26

You can find Finnish radio alphabet here:
http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioaakkoset

Over: kuuntelen
Roger: selvä
Out: loppu
what I can remember now...

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

Post by Mika68* » 15 Jan 2013 23:45

I'm seeking one Danish man who moved to Ireland to answer some questions.

Danmark surrendered to Nazi-Germany without fightnings 10.4.1940.

Finland fought against Nazi-Germany's ally Soviet Union 1939-40 and survived as independent nation.

Why you hate that we fought against the winner and you surrendered to looser of the WW 2? Why you didn't fight against Nazi-Germany?

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

Post by CanKiwi2 » 16 Jan 2013 01:03

Mika68* wrote:I'm seeking one Danish man who moved to Ireland to answer some questions.

Danmark surrendered to Nazi-Germany without fightnings 10.4.1940.

Finland fought against Nazi-Germany's ally Soviet Union 1939-40 and survived as independent nation.

Why you hate that we fought against the winner and you surrendered to looser of the WW 2? Why you didn't fight against Nazi-Germany?
Hi Mik68, sadly, Phil was banned for transgressing against the forum rules. Perhaps we could resurrect him :D if the moderators permit.

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

Post by CanKiwi2 » 16 Jan 2013 01:04

Seppo Koivisto wrote:You can find Finnish radio alphabet here:
http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioaakkoset

Over: kuuntelen
Roger: selvä
Out: loppu
what I can remember now...
Ah-ha. Many thx :D . From now on, some of the RT transmissions will use these!
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by John Hilly » 16 Jan 2013 12:31

Second thoughts about Ambush Formation.
"Väijytysmuotoon" may be too much like formal drill order.
More suitable might be "Väijytysasemaan!"

Nowadays Panssariprikaati uses one word orders pre-trained.
Opinions anyone?

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

Post by CanKiwi2 » 18 Jan 2013 22:43

As Rynnäkkökomppania Hakkarainen sped towards the bridge, the tip of the 21st, the tip of the spearhead, heavy fighting spread outwards in their wake, flaring up to both the north and south as the Red Army belatedly realized a gap had been opened between two Corps and was being forced wider by the hour. Behind and to the north, closer to Lake Laatoka, there was heavy fighting. The Red Army had been pinned in place by the Divisions on front of them, the 12th Division was rolling them up from the south, reporting strong opposition as they defeated the Red’s in detail, Osasto Nyrkki units were deep within their rear attacking headquarters and logistical units whilst any Red Army unit that attempted daylight movement was pounded from the air by Ilmavoimat CAS and Bomber groups. Another Armeijan Division was moving laterally across the rear of the 12th, moving forward in an attempt to encircle the Reds. The Russians were putting up a grimly determined defense, as they always had, but experience, superior firepower, speed and total dominance of the air above was having its effect.

To the south west, where the 8th Divisoona was rolling up the flank of the Red Army units south of the Syvari, there was also continual fighting, with further armeijan Divisions moving to exploit the gap and surge into the rear of the Red Army. Supreme HQ was aiming for nothing less than the annihilation of all Red Army units between Lake Laatoka and Lake Aanisen. But between the Red Army Corps to the north of the 21st and the Corps to the South, there was a gaping hole in the Russian defences – a hole that was being ripped wider by the hour. Instructions from Supreme Headquarters, and from the Headquarters of the Army of Eastern Karelia, were to exploit to the greatest extent possible, halting only when determined resistance in strength was encountered. Kenraaliluutnantti Ruben Lagus, Commanding Officer, 21st Panssaridivisoona, intended to obey that order fully. His orders to his subordinate units had been crystal clear, an inspirational clarion call to many of his officers and men. To others of the men, those orders had been a source of somewhat cynical amusement.

“Thinks we’re going to go running headlong at the enemy does he?” Kersantti Lahtinen had said.
“Well, that’s what we’re doing isn’t it?” Vuorela had laughed at him.
“Paska! You’re right.” Lahtinen had shaken his head.
And all the while, they were driving deeper and deeper into the Soviet Union. And thus, while Rynnäkkökomppania Hakkarainen led from the front, seemingly out on their own, panicking, joking and laughing, alert most of the time, behind them an entire Army was in motion, Division after Division on the move. Infantry, Artillery, Pioneeri, Armour, all the logistical support. One hundred and fifty thousand men and women, hundreds of tanks and armoured cars and armoured fighting vehicles, hundreds of guns, all of them on the move.

One of those men on the move, a straggler from his Company, had watched the column of Sikas, Kettus and Bantams of Rynnäkkökomppania Hakkarainen rumble past him only a couple of hours earlier. Jalmari Lahti, unskilled labourer by profession, walked on alone, his unshaven face furrowed by fatigue. He’d slowly climbed up the small ridge as vehicle after vehicle, tank after tank, batteries of guns, half-tracks, truck loads of infantry, all had rumbled past, were still rumbling past in an unceasing line that stretched as far as he could see in either direction. And on the road, long columns of men trudging forwards, rucksacks on their backs, rifles and machineguns carried any old how. Tired and exhausted as he was, the sight still stirred his pride. To think that little Finland could put together an Army like this and thrash the Russians. “Serve the damn Russians right”, he thought as he struggled on over the ridge, step by step, pausing to look down at the burnt out Karelian village in the valley below, piles of logs still smoldering in the midst of small yards full of summer flowers. “Why the hell couldn’t they just leave us alone.”

On the far side of the little valley, the forest still burned, smoke rising into the shimmering blue summer sky, a fresh harvest of bodies scattered across the fields and meadows. A long thread of vehicles crossed the valley, disappearing into the forest on the far side, groups of men crossed the fields, heading into the forest. It occurred to Jalmari Lahti that one of those groups of men was probably his infantry company, how he would find out where they had got to he had no idea, but no thought of turning back crossed his mind. If he couldn’t find his Komppania, he’d just join another one. They were all going to fight the Russians after all. Behind him, the artillery thundered, their shells screaming overhead, who knows what they were firing at, but someone was getting it hard. Above, waves of Ilmavoimat aircraft, who knew what their missions were but wave after wave they passed overhead, ruling the skies. Whenever he saw them, he thought of his son, now a pilot in the Ilmavoimat. Perhaps he was flying one of those aircraft flying so confidently in the skies above. God knows, he’d been shocked speechless when his oldest son had returned home way back before the war started and told them he’d been selected for pilot training. The son of a ditch digger was now a Pilot in the best Air Force in the world. That was something to be proud of.

His thoughts turned to home as he walked on. His daughter had written a letter not to long ago, telling him things at home were well, his army pay was going to his wife, not that it was much, but it was enough to live on and his wife had a job cutting hay. The last letter that his daughter had written said that she’d joined the Lottas now she was old enough and that she was about to go away for the military training they gave the girls now. She had said she wanted to join one of the Rocket Artillery Battalions. Who would have thought they would train the girls to fight. But he’d seen his daughter back when he’d had some leave, she’d been in her last year in the Cadets back then. It wasn’t like the old days that was for sure. Now the girls wore uniforms just like the boys, they learned to shoot and they were all taught that new-fangled stuff where they punched and hit and threw each other around. And knives. They taught the girls to knife fight. He didn’t think that was right, teaching the girls to fight like that. But his daughter had had her own damn puukko and her own hukari that she kept razor sharp – he’d tested it himself and it was as sharp as his - and a rifle she brought home, one of those crappy Italian ones that Mussolini had given them, and kept by the door of the cabin with her uniform which was just like a mans. He shook his head, almost forgetting his aching feet for a moment. Girls in the Army, fighting. Who’d have thought it. But then, a Finnish girl with a rifle and a hukari was worth ten of these damn Russians. Half smiling at the thought, he dragged himself on.

By the time he’d reached the forest on the far side of the valley, he no longer looked up. He no longer cared much about the war either, the pain in his back had returned, his feet were blistered and sore, he was hungry, exhausted, hoping he would eventually catch up with his Komppania, although he had no idea where they’d got to. Further down the road he came to a Field Kitchen Unit, seemingly on its own, manned by a group of young Lotta soldiers, Sumoi SMG’s and rifles slung over their shoulders as they dished out food and water to the passing soldiers. Jalmari Lahti gratefully stopped and took the bread and hot stew one of the Lotta’s handed him, slightly surprised that they were so close to the fighting. He said so to the girl ladling the stew into his tin. She grinned cheerfully and patted her Suomi with one hand. “They train us to use these now,” she said. “Besides, there’s all you men around and we’ll be moving on before it gets dark.” She filled his tin to the brim. “It’s that australialainen kangaroo stuff again”, she said apologetically, “it seems to be all we get these days”. He smiled in good humour. “Better than I used to get at home,” he said before finding a spot under a tree in the shade to seat himself and eat. After he’d finished, he climbed to his feet and dragged himself onwards stubbornly, one of a long line of soldiers walking along the dusty Karelian road.

Like Jalmari Lahti, almost all the men pouring through the gap in the Russian defence were reservists. But now, after eight months of war, they were some of the toughest, most experienced soldiers in the world, whether they knew it or not. The men here, men like Jalmari Lahti, they were not the disciplined stormtroopers of the German Army, or the spit-and-polish soldiers of the British Army. There was little or no military spirit, they gave not one damn for the Army or for pressed uniforms and shining boots, they sang obscene songs rather than the patriotic marching songs beloved by the officers. But their Lahti-Saloranta SLR rifles, their Suomi submachineguns and their Sampo LMG’s, their artillery and their tanks and anti-tank guns, they, were some of the best fighting weapons in the world and these men knew how to use them. They had the confidence that came from victory after victory against enormous odds, they had been killing Russians for months now, these men, and they would go on doing so until they had won, however tired and worn they felt.

And around Jalmari Lahti, who was just one ordinary soldier among many thousands, the entire 21st Pansaaridivisoona continued to advance at breakneck speed westwards towards Leningrad, with more Infantry Divisions and Armoured units moving up in support. And at the very tip of the armoured spearhead, Rynnäkkökomppania Hakkarainen led the way, as ignorant of Jalmari Lahti as he was of them – but the stubbornness and the determination to beat the damn Russians until they finally gave in was something they all shared.


The entire 21st Pansaaridivisoona was advancing west towards Leningrad at breakneck speed
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 » 21 Jan 2013 00:00

And for anyone wondering, this is what a Dshk 12.7mm looks and sounds like.....

'
Not an unimpressive weapon....
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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