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 CanKiwi2 » 06 Oct 2013 12:18

Panssari Salama wrote:"Koko onnemme kalpamme kärjessä on"

"onni" is a word with multitude of meanings, often the whole context must be considered to judge the proper meaning. At least: fortune, luck, happiness, blessing, ...

I would weigh towards a translation where 'onni' as used here would be about making one's own fortune, in this case with the tip of their swords, ie. with their skills and will as soldiers.
OK, translation has been tweaked. Fortune it is!
Panssari Salama wrote:I always enjoy to learn there's a new posting by you, to see how this what-if continues to evolve :milsmile:
Hopefully it will once more continue to live up to expectations. :D - change of jobs a while ago meant work on this was almost non-existent for a while (and I was spending a bit of time working on my own website as well). Just started a new contract last week and should as a result have a little more free time for this going forward..... :thumbsup:
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 07 Oct 2013 19:25

OK, here’s where I actively solicit some feedback and discussion on two subjects:
(1)Potential Available Manpower
(2) High Level Table of Organisation and Senior Officers assigned to specific units (Divisions and Regiments) as of November 1939 based on the alternative history scenario outlined so far, together with some stated working assumptions on where this ATL is going.

First up, Potential Available Manpower?

I don’t want to deviate from reality here in terms of manpower availability, but I plan to introduce some changes, such as significant numbers of Lotta’s and Cadets (16-17 year olds) in the military from the start.

I’m working at a fairly high level here. For an estimate of available manpower, I have simply taken the strength of the Army at the peak of its strength in the Continuation War (530,000 men?) and added in casualties from the Winter War (rounded of at 70,000 dead and wounded) for a total of 600,000 men. On top of these numbers, I have added in 150,000 Lotta’s filling Army rear area positions. Although in this scenario, “rear area” can include combat formations (drivers, signals, logistics and transport, medical, etc).

These are round numbers. Also keep in mind in this ATL scenario the increased availability of motorized transport, substantially reducing the numbers of horses used by the military - and the manpower and logistical support that horses required.

The Army in this scenario consists of approximately 750,000 men and women (600,000 men and 150,000 women). Of these, approximately half are in frontline formations (Divisions, Regimental Combat Groups, Artillery, etc.) while the other half fill rear area support units of various types. Compared to most militaries, this is an extremely “lean” organizational structure and there’ll be a fairly lengthy post later on going into the whole philosophy and structural background to this, not the least of which is that most militaries end up with a large organizational “tail” which is not strictly necessary to combat. In this scenario, if it doesn’t fight, it better be female, a cadet or over the age limit for a combat formation. No fluff in this Army!

The end result is around 400,000 men (and women) in combat formations. Working on an average “light” Divisional manpower strength of 15,000, this gives me 25 Divisions to work with, with 3 light combined-arms “Regimental Combat Groups” per Division. Regiments and Battalions will be rather smaller in manpower and more streamlined than Original Time Line (OTL) with a far higher proportion of automatic weapons and much greater availability of organic Artillery.

Lotta’s contribute significantly to unit strength, with approximately 120,000 are Lotta’s in rear area positions and formations, while a further 50,000 are Lotta’s in rear-area positions within “combat” formations – or about 2,000 Lotta’s per Division, for 25 Divisions overall.

Also keep in mind that going forward I will be using “Cadets” (16-17 year olds) and “Veterans” for other rear-area positions. “Total War” in other words.

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

Post by JTV » 08 Oct 2013 06:02

CanKiwi2 wrote: I don’t want to deviate from reality here in terms of manpower availability, but I plan to introduce some changes, such as significant numbers of Lotta’s and Cadets (16-17 year olds) in the military from the start.?
Finnish military did not have cadets of that age. Finland has not really had a cadet system with 16 - 17 year olds serving in it since the Suomen Kadettikoulu (Finnish Cadet School) abolished by the Russians in year 1901 as part of the russification campaign. Since Finland became independent the cadets have been grown men, who have already gone through their compulsary military service. Simply put having already gone through reserve officer training as part of military service is a requirement for applying to Kadettikoulu (Officer School).
These are round numbers. Also keep in mind in this ATL scenario the increased availability of motorized transport, substantially reducing the numbers of horses used by the military - and the manpower and logistical support that horses required.
Where are fuel and tires coming for this? Even with extremely hard rationing Finland had serious issues keeping even the absolutely needed motor vehicles running due to shortage of fuel and tires.
The Army in this scenario consists of approximately 750,000 men and women (600,000 men and 150,000 women). Of these, approximately half are in frontline formations (Divisions, Regimental Combat Groups, Artillery, etc.) while the other half fill rear area support units of various types. Compared to most militaries, this is an extremely “lean” organizational structure and there’ll be a fairly lengthy post later on going into the whole philosophy and structural background to this, not the least of which is that most militaries end up with a large organizational “tail” which is not strictly necessary to combat. In this scenario, if it doesn’t fight, it better be female, a cadet or over the age limit for a combat formation. No fluff in this Army!
What I have read the historically accurate organisation was actually even more leaner than that - there was very little supplies units compared to frontline formations.

Also - experiences suggest that the about 500,000 men mobilised for military service level could be maintained only temporarily before agricultural production and industrial production would decline too much. This was the reason why oldest soldiers got demobilised in late 1941 - early 1942.
The end result is around 400,000 men (and women) in combat formations. Working on an average “light” Divisional manpower strength of 15,000, this gives me 25 Divisions to work with, with 3 light combined-arms “Regimental Combat Groups” per Division. Regiments and Battalions will be rather smaller in manpower and more streamlined than Original Time Line (OTL) with a far higher proportion of automatic weapons and much greater availability of organic Artillery.
IMO it would be smarter to go with (infantry) brigades and increase the number of their supporting heavy weapons - wartime experiences proved that divisions were too large to be commanded effectively while the number of supporting field artillery pieces per infantry battalion had also multiplied since.

At most Lotta Svärd had about 232,000 members, it seems that about 40,000 of them served in duties supporting Armed Forces. Hence the grand majority stay at home and for a good reason. IMO it would have been impossible to mobilise over triple the number to serve elsewhere without disastrous results in huge number of families. Most Lotta Svärd members were likely family mothers - since their men had been already called elsewhere to serve, what happens to children if the mother has to leave as well? Also - one cannot simply order them to do this, Lotta Svärd was a volunteer organisation and I am pretty sure that its members had to separately volunteer (sign a document) for this kind of service before they could be commanded anywhere.

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

Post by CanKiwi2 » 08 Oct 2013 07:22

JTV wrote:
CanKiwi2 wrote: I don’t want to deviate from reality here in terms of manpower availability, but I plan to introduce some changes, such as significant numbers of Lotta’s and Cadets (16-17 year olds) in the military from the start.?
Finnish military did not have cadets of that age. Finland has not really had a cadet system with 16 - 17 year olds serving in it since the Suomen Kadettikoulu (Finnish Cadet School) abolished by the Russians in year 1901 as part of the russification campaign. Since Finland became independent the cadets have been grown men, who have already gone through their compulsary military service. Simply put having already gone through reserve officer training as part of military service is a requirement for applying to Kadettikoulu (Officer School).
I'll be getting into that in a Post or two (may have mentioned it in passing a lot earlier in this) but for this ATL, what is happening is that in the early 1930's, a "Military Cadet" organisation is put in place in schools providing basic military training for ALL school-children, and encompassing teenagers who leave school early up until they do Conscript Training. This would include "Summer Camp" style training as well. Think something similar to the British Commonwealth-style Military Cadet System (which still exists in Canada incidentally, but outside of Schools). Older teenagers (14-17) receive more training. It's taken over from the Suojeluskuntas Boy-Soldiers and Pikku-Lottas to a large extent, although these still exist, complementing each other more or less.

So there's a pool of teenagers 14-17 years old with basic military training and equipment who can perform military tasks under direction. (Perhaps using over-age Officers and NCO's in command positions).
JTV wrote:
CanKiwi2 wrote:These are round numbers. Also keep in mind in this ATL scenario the increased availability of motorized transport, substantially reducing the numbers of horses used by the military - and the manpower and logistical support that horses required.
Where are fuel and tires coming for this? Even with extremely hard rationing Finland had serious issues keeping even the absolutely needed motor vehicles running due to shortage of fuel and tires.
Now fuel was waay early in this timeline. As of the late 1930's, in this ATL Finland has the Neste Oil Refinery in full production from 1934 (see http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 7#p1535991). Sisu Heavy Vehicles and the Ford Plant outside Helsinki are producing motor vehicles, oil has been stockpiled in the Naantali caves. Anticipating the outbreak of WW2, Neste had by 1939 built up large stockpiles of both crude oil and refined petroleum products in the storage cave reservoirs near Naantali, estimated to be enough to supply the entire country for six months. With strict rationing, these reserves proved to be sufficient for the duration of the Winter War of 1939-40.

Ditto rubber, althoo this is also shipped in as "Foreign Aid", meaning Finland has enough raw rubber for tires (and a much bigger vehicle fleet - plus many more trucks shipped in as the war progresses (not forgetting that in this scenario the war lasts thru to October 1940, meaning there is time for foreign shipments to reach Finland via Lyngenfjiord and be brought into service.
JTV wrote:
CanKiwi2 wrote:The Army in this scenario consists of approximately 750,000 men and women (600,000 men and 150,000 women). Of these, approximately half are in frontline formations (Divisions, Regimental Combat Groups, Artillery, etc.) while the other half fill rear area support units of various types. Compared to most militaries, this is an extremely “lean” organizational structure and there’ll be a fairly lengthy post later on going into the whole philosophy and structural background to this, not the least of which is that most militaries end up with a large organizational “tail” which is not strictly necessary to combat. In this scenario, if it doesn’t fight, it better be female, a cadet or over the age limit for a combat formation. No fluff in this Army!
What I have read the historically accurate organisation was actually even more leaner than that - there was very little supplies units compared to frontline formations.

Also - experiences suggest that the about 500,000 men mobilised for military service level could be maintained only temporarily before agricultural production and industrial production would decline too much. This was the reason why oldest soldiers got demobilised in late 1941 - early 1942.
That's good to know. I was looking at the large tail that existed for US and British units compared to German. and then looking at the Continuation War - and was thinking Finnish units were pretty lean on support, so I'll stick with the 50% and maybe even go slightly higher in terms of percentage in combat formations,

Re manpower, I was working on taking the Continuation War numbers and factoring in the casualties from the Winter War to give an "optimal" number of men. Accepted that this would be temporary, but it was achieved in the Continuation War for a while so it was doable in the short term. Also, in my ramped up military-industrialisation, I have Walden insisting that 50% of all hires in defence-related industry be female to allow for continued production expertise in the event of a full-scale military call-up. The grandparents and younger Cadets get left to look after the kids.

There would be problems with manpower come Spring and Summer for sure. That's part of the scenario looking ahead. How do these get addressed is one of the intended discussion points. Hard-times for Finland is a partial-answer. This ATL won't be all Roses for Finland......
JTV wrote:
CanKiwi2 wrote:The end result is around 400,000 men (and women) in combat formations. Working on an average “light” Divisional manpower strength of 15,000, this gives me 25 Divisions to work with, with 3 light combined-arms “Regimental Combat Groups” per Division. Regiments and Battalions will be rather smaller in manpower and more streamlined than Original Time Line (OTL) with a far higher proportion of automatic weapons and much greater availability of organic Artillery.
IMO it would be smarter to go with (infantry) brigades and increase the number of supporting heavy weapons - wartime experiences proved that divisions were too large to be commanded effectively.

Lotta Svärd had about 232,000 members, it seems that about 40,000 of these served elsewhere with the grand majority staying at home. IMO it would have been impossible to mobilise over triple the number to serve elsewhere without disastrous results. Most Lotta Svärd members were likely family mothers - since their men had been already called elsewhere to serve, what happens to children if the mother has to leave as well? Also - one cannot simply order them to do this, Lotta Svärd was a volunteer organisation and I am pretty sure that its members had to separately volunteer for this kind of service before they could be commanded anywhere.
What I was moving towards was essentially what you suggest, under a nomenclature where a "Regimental Battle Group" was essentially a Combined-Arms Brigade. Divisions in this instance would tie together a higher level of command for a number of such "Regimental Battle Groups" but wit rather more independence of command for the Battle group (aka brigade) commanders, giving the greater effectiveness you mention. Also, these units have their own organic artillery and a lot more automatic weapons and mortars (81mm and 120mm both) so they're far more effective fighting units.

Re Lotta Svärd, I have 242,000 Lottas as of 1939, with another 79,000 members in Lotta Svard girl-units (the Small-Lottas) and 42,000 supporting members. Not forgetting also that all girls up to 17 are also in the Cadets. In this scenario all 16-17 year old Cadets, male and female, are called up for service. Assumption is that Lotta's fill a lot of rear area positions. Approximately 100,000 Lottas and some 30,000 older girl-Lottas were assigned to take over jobs from men, who were thereby freed up for military service. (Refer back to http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 5#p1586217).

Basically, younger children are going to be pooled in emergency care by grandmothers, older Pikku-Lotta's and some mothers for the duration. Likely in the countryside rather than towns and cities. I'll be getting into this in a Post on Civil Defence further down the line, but in essence if you stay in child-care, you're going to have raft of other peoples children to look after as well as your own.

Lotta Svärd were voluntary, but this would be a rather more militarised society when the war comes. Unmarried women and ALL older teenage (16-20) Lotta's are going to get called up for service in the military or for assigned war work, with very few exceptions. That by itself gives a fairly large pool of personnel to work with. Younger mothers who volunteer and many older women (catering branch, supply and transport, air base, naval base and rear-area army personnel, medical, rear-area AA-gunners, etc). Come Spring and Summer 1940, it's going to be mainly women working the farms.
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by JTV » 08 Oct 2013 11:58

CanKiwi2 wrote: ...but this would be a rather more militarised society when the war comes.
No offense, but IMO this would be a root of major underlying problem. The largest "Miracle of Winter War" was that a nation, which had been divided by a bloody Civil War just 21 years earlier, succeeded uniting its ranks against common foe, which had been supporter of the loosing side on that particular Civil War. If the society would have militarised to such degree since and would have had such a happy relations with regimes like Franco's, one cannot avoid making conclusions about what sort of state we would be talking about - and half the nation would have been unwilling to fight for such state. All the equipment, troops and training mean absolutely nothing if there is no fighting spirit and half of the nation is more likely to fight on enemy side than for its own country.

The whole thing reminds me how a company suffering problems with its customer service figured out how to most effectively solve the problem - by replacing the customers. :lol:

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

Post by CanKiwi2 » 08 Oct 2013 13:08

JTV wrote:
CanKiwi2 wrote: ...but this would be a rather more militarised society when the war comes.
No offense, but IMO this would be a root of major underlying problem. The largest "Miracle of Winter War" was that a nation, which had been divided by a bloody Civil War just 21 years earlier, succeeded uniting its ranks against common foe, which had been supporter of the loosing side on that particular Civil War. If the society would have militarised to such degree since and would have had such a happy relations with regimes like Franco's, one cannot avoid making conclusions about what sort of state we would be talking about - and half the nation would have been unwilling to fight for such state. All the equipment, troops and training mean absolutely nothing if there is no fighting spirit and half of the nation is more likely to fight on enemy side than for its own country.
Yeah, that occurred to me earlier. Going back a bit (again) I was looking to a much earlier rapprochement between the SDP and the Suojeluskuntas http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 0#p1539851 - See the section Social Cohesion and the rapproachment between the Suojeluskunta (Civil Guard) and the Social Democrats way down in the Post. "The rapproachment between the Social Democrats and the Suojeluskunta in 1930, orchestrated behind the scenes by Vaino Tanner and Mannerheim (with the resultant rapid expansion of membership of both the Suojeluskunta and Lotta Svard organizations) was yet another manifestation of this growing social cohesiveness that would serve Finland so well in the dark days to come........It was this relationship which had led to the unprecedented reconciliation betweent the Suojeluskunta (Civil Guard) and the Social Democrats – a reconciliation that was, incidentally, reviled by the Communists. While we will cover the Suojeluskunta (Civil Guard) and it’s role in Finnish politics and scoiety in detail in a subsequent section, the rapproachment between the Suojeluskunta (Civil Guard) and the Social Democrats Party in 1930 was one of the more epochal moments in Finland’s history, and one that also subsequently removed a major obstacle to increased defence spending...........And with SDP members in particular flocking to join the Suojeluskunta and Lotta Svard organisations, there was an ever increasing public awareness of the gaping holes in Finland’s defences. This rapproachment and growing public awareness somewhat indirectly resulted in some slow but significant adjustments in attitude to defence spending. "

So in this ATL, there's a general consensus on defence. Think Switzerland rather than Fascist. I was actually using the Swiss system as my model (there'll be some writeups on that later as well). Checking through my outline Table of Contents, I have an as yet unwritten section, "The Armeijan in the 1930’s – experimentation and evolution" and under that there's a subheading “Switzerland is our example” – Rifle Shooting Clubs, a Weapon in every Home, Total War, Propaganda and Morale. So in terms of militarization, think along the lines of the Swiss model of total mobilisation, where almost everyone was involved in the military, women and children included, and there was a large propaganda (for want of a better word) effort supporting this.

The involvement of volunteers in Spain is at the behest of the IKL and reviled by the Left, but tacitly tolerated by the government, with members of the military sent to gain experience in modern warfare, particularly against the Russians. Have't got into that yet but that's the way I intended to play it out. Much like Nationalist volunteers from elsewhere except here in a larger group and more organised. Certainly not a lot of support for them within Finland generally. But come the Winter War, their experience in battle is welcomed....... as is the Azul Division, sent by Franco.....
JTV wrote:The whole thing reminds me how a company suffering problems with its customer service figured out how to most effectively solve the problem - by replacing the customers. :lol:
:lol:
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 09 Oct 2013 13:58

I believe somewhere I read that in the late 1930's, the intake of Conscripts for military training was approximately 30,000 men per year. Does this sound correct?
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 09 Oct 2013 17:51

OK, some second and third thoughts here. First, on population.

Finland’s population counts over the period 1870 to 1930 are as follow.
1870: 1,769,000
1890: 2,380,000
1910: 2,943,000
1930: 3,463,000

Anyone born before 1890 would be >49 years old at the time of the Winter War, so I’m using this as the cutoff point for starting from. Between 1890 and 1910, Finland’s population increased by 563,000, or an average of some 28,000 persons per year (approx.. 14,000 males per year). Between 1910 and 1930, Finland’s population increased by 520,000, or some 26,000 persons per year. Thus, approx 13,000 males per year). Given an upper age limit of 50 for military service, and a lower age limit of 18, we thus have an indicated pool of approximately 514,000 (+/- 14,000 or so) males available for military service. Not far off the indicated size of the Finnish Army at the time of the Continuation War.

When Finland declared independence in 1917, her population totalled 3.1 million. In consequence of the exceptional circumstances of the 1918 civil war, the number of children born in 1919 was considerably down on previous years. The number of births went up in the following years but population growth was slowed down by increasing emigration in the 1920s. Population pyramids can be used to study population development. The population pyramid of 1917 still looks like a pyramid and is typical for a country with a high fertility rate. At that time, children aged 0 to 14 made up 35 per cent of the population of approximately 3 million, which again equates to around 500,000 males in the right age bracket for military service in 1939.

Image

In this Alternative History, Finland has industrialised earlier and their are numerous factories and workshops with military-industrial applications (the Tornio Steel Works, the Iron, Nickel and Copper Mines, the Neste Oil Refinery, Tampella, the State weapons and munitions factories, the State Aircraft and Aircraft Engine Factories, the Shipyards and many more, all reliant on indispensable male workers who cannot be called up. Also keep in mind the age pyramid above – life expectancies in the 1930’s and 1940’s was not the same as today, so there simply wasn’t a large pool of older men who could be called back into the workforce. There were some, but not an enormous number.

On the other hand, there would have been immigration into Finland in response to Finland’s industrialisation and demand for labour through the 1930’s. The bright lights of Helsinki would have called young men (and women) from rural Estonia. The Tornio Steel Mills, the iron mines and the Patria works in Tornio would all have employed Finns from the Finnish border areas of Sweden. Smaller numbers of non-Finns would have moved to Finland, brought in by Finnish companies for their expertise or lured by jobs – although the language barriers would have been a limiting factor here. We are thus left with the certainty that the Finnish military-industrial complex would require many thousands of workers to keep running during the war.

And even though Walden had ensured by legislation that 50% of all employees in industries and factories necessary to the military were women, this would still mean 50,000 males of military age held back from mobilisation. We must also factor in the increased personnel size of the Army and Airforce, with their many more ships and aircraft than in reality.

In this Alternative History, rather more Lotta’s and Cadets (16-17 year olds) available for Active Service is postulated. Broadly speaking, the militarisation of the Lottas and Cadets offsets the greater numbers of men held back for military-industrial work. We are left then with an Army pretty much the same size (in person-power) as the Army Finland entered the Continuation War with in reality, although I will factor in the dead from the real Winter War for a total of approximately 550,000 personnel. So unless anyone disagrees, that’s the number I’m going to move ahead with as the basis for the size of the Finnish Army.

Given that Finland had a military which, as Jarkko mentioned, was lean to an extreme in rear-area personnel, I’m going to work with an available resource of 370,000 personnel for combat formations (leaving 180,000 for non-combat formation rear-area units). Using a loose Divisional structure with 3 x combined arms Regimental Combat Groups (aka Brigades) grouped into a Division, this gives the equivalent of approximately 20 Divisions to work with.

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

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 09 Oct 2013 20:35

In 1920 to 1925 over 80 000 babies were born yearly in Finland. Infant death rates were high (10%) and in 1930's 25% of conscripts were rejected due to tuberculosis and other sicknesses. Don't have number of conscript intake, but 30 000 could be possible.

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

Post by CanKiwi2 » 09 Oct 2013 20:51

Seppo Koivisto wrote:In 1920 to 1925 over 80 000 babies were born yearly in Finland. Infant death rates were high (10%) and in 1930's 25% of conscripts were rejected due to tuberculosis and other sicknesses. Don't have number of conscript intake, but 30 000 could be possible.
That's a lot higher than I figured. So assuming 30,000 and discounting 20% (slightly better healthcare and more money for training), the 1939 conscript intake could be as high as 20,000. Ditto 1938 and the early callup of the 1940 Conscript year. This adds about 30,000 + perhaps more for earlier in the 1930's. I think overall though, this just makes my numbers for personnel in combat formations a bit more firmly grounded in reality. It would also allow for more Lottas in military service too (18-early 20's age bracket for sure, which would help the numbers along).

Good to know, thx :D
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 09 Oct 2013 22:17

Gserver.png
Here is also a graph "born alive" from http://pxweb2.stat.fi/Database/StatFin/ ... ynt_fi.asp
Born_alive_boys_1900-26.png
... and boys only.
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 10 Oct 2013 09:39

Whooooaaa, thx Seppo, that was exactly what I needed. Gives a slightly different picture.

So first, below is the data for births from 1890 to 1922 (50 down to 18 year olds. 1.3 million males and 1.2 million females, subtract quite a bit for emigration in the 1920's, add a bit back in for this alternative history for immigration in the 1930's and it's more or less a wash - but basically 2/3 of the population (2 million) are in the 18 to 50 years old age bracket.

The next set of numbers if births from 1923 to 1939 - around 980,000 children. The other 1/3 of the population.

It would be accurate to say life expectancy in the first half of the twentieth century was generally lower than todays, so there wasn't a large population of 60+, so the distribution and numbers are about right.
Finland Births 1890 to 1939.png
Finland Births 1923 to 1939.png
With the 25% of men being ineligible for military service due to TB, health or physical condition, I do recall reading that due to financial constraints, health and general physical assessment was used to screen out men from conscript service. In this allternative history, there's more finance for the military in the 1930's, so I've reduced that from 25% to 15%. I've averaged deaths of infants and young children throughout at 10%. This leaves a pool of 1.1 million men in the 50 to 18 year old age groups. If I reduce this to 18 years to 40 Years (generally at 40+ you're not going to be in the best of shape for front-line military service, the pool is further reduced to 780,000 men. Let's screen out a further 180,000 in essential occupations and positions and we're left with a pool of 600,000. Allocate 50,000 of these to the Air Force and Navy and we are left with 550,000 men. In addition, we have 30,000 17 year old males called up early. And lets say that out of the 350,000 odd male 41-50 year olds there are 20,000 fit and willing to fight. So rounded off, we have a pool of 600,000 men.

On to women. Around 1 million, of whom in this alternative history around 350,000 are directly involved with the Lotta's. Assume approximately 50,000 Lotta's 21 years+ volunteer for military service near the front. In this scenario, 17-20 year old women are pretty much also heavily involved, and there's around 120,000 women in this age bracket. Assume 50% of these are used by the military, and there's another 60,000. Of this pool of 110,000 overall, assume half to the Army and half to the Navy and Air Force.

Plus of course a lot more women and 41 year old+ men, plus men in reserved occupations, serving in Home Guard units and in military depots and in supply/logistics jobs in the rear that canned be manned by civilians without military training.

So including women, the Army overall is sized at about 650,000 personnel, with say (and I'm taking a stab here) 450,000 personnel assigned to combat formations. 200,000 military personnel in rear-area support positions and units, plus civilian personnel augmenting depots and bases. Navy and Air Force combined have about 100,000 military personnel + civilian positions. And this leaves a large labour force for military-industrial work and essential occupations. There's also a further pool of 60,000 16 year old "Cadets" available.

Seems like workable numbers overall.
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by CanKiwi2 » 15 Oct 2013 15:42

JTV wrote:What I have read the historically accurate organisation was actually even more leaner than that - there was very little supplies units compared to frontline formations.
What was the main reason for this? (the lean tail). Was it deliberate or more due to limited finances or other reasons? There were other small armies around at the time that had fairly bloated and inefficient tails, so could there also be cultural factors in play to a certain extent?

And a further question. Were Suojajouko units the same as Border Jaegers? Or were they two different types of units? I wasn't too clear on this.
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Re: What If-Finland had been prepared for the Winter War?

Post by JTV » 16 Oct 2013 05:41

CanKiwi2 wrote:
JTV wrote:What I have read the historically accurate organisation was actually even more leaner than that - there was very little supplies units compared to frontline formations.
What was the main reason for this? (the lean tail). Was it deliberate or more due to limited finances or other reasons? There were other small armies around at the time that had fairly bloated and inefficient tails, so could there also be cultural factors in play to a certain extent?
Very tough question. Limited financial resources must have been a factor and may have created a cycle of sort - lightly equipped infantry does not require heavy logistics tail, but since they lack vehicles and have to carry their equipment on their backs, infantry also cannot be heavily equipped. Motorised and mechanised infantry would have required much heavier supplies organisation than Finnish infantry which typically had its long transfers done by train and otherwise moved by foot. The fact that basic supplies network was based to railways and horse-towed carts/sledges may have also been a factor. But one could argue that the matter may have had something to do with the society and culture as well - what I have noticed Finns seem to be more inclined to making things with their own hands rather than paying some-one else to do it. This is likely a cultural thing - one might even claim that the traditional culture upholds being as self-sufficient as possible as a positive value. Another indicator might be that one of the traditions of Finnish agrarian society was doing things with talkoot (bee) - lets say that one of the farmers needed a new barn, instead of hiring some carpenters to do it, he would probably gather some friends and neighbours and arrange a bee to build it with them. Combine this with the fact that during World War 2 Finland was still for large part an agrarian state - hence much of the soldiers were farmers, lumberjacks etc which for practical reasons had to be handymen of sort - so compared to these more modern times the typical Finnish soldier probably had a very wide skill set of practical skills.
And a further question. Were Suojajouko units the same as Border Jaegers? Or were they two different types of units? I wasn't too clear on this.
The term is suojajoukot (protective/shielding troops). These were troops created and concentrated on border in start of a war to shield full mobilisation & transfer and concentration of troops. Their task was to delay enemy advance until all troops had been concentrated to main defence line. Border guards were typically included to them, but there were also other units included - such as jaeger battalions and some field artillery.

Wikipedia article about battles fought by Suojajoukot in Carelian Isthmus in beginning of Winter War (in Finnish):
http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karjalan_k ... lvisodassa

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

Post by CanKiwi2 » 16 Oct 2013 08:48

Thx Jarkko, that cleared up that question on the suojajoukot for me.

And thx also for the comments on the tail - might it also have had something to do with the German training of most of the Jaegers? The German Army was consistently lighter and tighter than the British and US forces - in WW2 there was a huge difference between the relative percentage sizes of the logistics and support troop s. And in the sizes of HQ units for that matter. The British and Americans did seem to like their comforts when going to war, and perhaps the ability of their economies to provide all the "fluff" was also a factor. Anyhow, I am now off to do some more reading on "tooth versus tail"
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