Väinö Linna's novel "Unknown Soldier" as a critical source

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John Hilly
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Re: Väinö Linna's novel "Unknown Soldier" as a critical sour

Post by John Hilly » 17 Jan 2013 11:54

CanKiwi2 wrote:Another question: In the english-language translation, approx. P151, they have just occupied Petrozavodsk, have gone into town as part of the garrison and the first battalion is roaring drunk and busy plundering as the second battalion marches in.
Here's we have another example of errors in this translation.
Although Linna doesn't say it precisely,
"Captain Usko Antero Lautsalo... nicknemed The Storm Of God. Russkies horror number one... because 'the storm goes over them'..."
was from 1st Division and Linna's first battalion from JR 8/11.D came to replace them because of this boozing party going on. :P

Jarkko thanks for finding the right song for us!

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Re: Väinö Linna's novel "Unknown Soldier" as a critical sour

Post by CanKiwi2 » 17 Jan 2013 12:46

John Hilly wrote:[Here's we have another example of errors in this translation. Although Linna doesn't say it precisely, "Captain Usko Antero Lautsalo... nicknemed The Storm Of God. Russkies horror number one... because 'the storm goes over them'..." was from 1st Division and Linna's first battalion from JR 8/11.D came to replace them because of this boozing party going on. :P

Juha-Pekka :milwink:
Thx Jarkko, one more question satisfied :D

So Captain Usko Antero Lautsalo was the CO of the battalion that was drinking - he was the drunk Captain in the book?
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

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Re: Väinö Linna's novel "Unknown Soldier" as a critical sour

Post by John Hilly » 17 Jan 2013 12:56

John Hilly wrote:"Captain Usko Antero Lautsalo... nicknamed The Storm Of God. Russkies horror number one... because 'the storm goes over them'..."
This was my quick translation from the original book. "The storm goes over them" part is from the bible, I think...

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Re: Väinö Linna's novel "Unknown Soldier"- new translation

Post by Lotvonen » 28 Jan 2016 07:10

To you who have read "Unknown soldiers" translated by Ms. Liest Yamaguchi:
Do you know of a forum that discusses the factual errors and deficiencies of the translation?

The translation is far better than the first one but...

Maybe I am nitpicking but what annoyed me is the translator´s or the editor´s ignorance about weapons technology.
For example:
p.61 "Machine gun's still red hot. Feel!"
- The MG is a liquid cooled Sokolov-Maxim - impossible.
P. 204 "...each time a hand grabbed a cartridge from a pocket..."
- Mosin type rifles were loaded using five round stripper clips, especially in battle, and riflemen had ammo pouches on their belts.
p.385 "Ukkola sat with his cap backwards...Machine gun cartridges dangled from his waistband."
- Pvt. Ukkola was not a machine gunner but infantry platoon SMG gunner, why would he carry MG ammunition? Why would anybody carry MG ammunition at one's belt when there were ammo cans for the purpose?

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Re: Väinö Linna's novel "Unknown Soldier"- new translation

Post by Fliegende Untertasse » 28 Jan 2016 18:03

Lotvonen wrote:
Maybe I am nitpicking but what annoyed me is the translator´s or the editor´s ignorance about weapons technology.
For example:
p.61 "Machine gun's still red hot. Feel!"
- The MG is a liquid cooled Sokolov-Maxim - impossible.
"Kookoonvaippa vieläkin tulikuuma.Koitahan"
How would you translate that ?

I could not find the rest of your examples.

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Re: Väinö Linna's novel "Unknown Soldier" as a critical source

Post by Lotvonen » 29 Jan 2016 11:01

Suggested translation: "The MG water jacket is still piping hot"

The pages referred to are from the hardcover edition ISBN 978-0-141-39364

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Re: Väinö Linna's novel "Unknown Soldier" as a critical source

Post by Fliegende Untertasse » 03 Feb 2016 17:03

Lotvonen wrote: The pages referred to are from the hardcover edition ISBN 978-0-141-39364
And in Seura 60th independency anniversary pocket edition ?
The chapters and paragraphs I mean .


Anyway my point really was:
Is "red hot" wrong expression here in the context of exaccurated collogial 1940's late adolescent American English ?
And is water jacket a fluent enough term that members of an MG crew would bother to specify it in the situation ?

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Re: Väinö Linna's novel "Unknown Soldier" as a critical source

Post by Lotvonen » 21 Apr 2016 06:21

What a resourceful and fearless man can accomplish

by Esko Aukee
Journal Kansa Taisteli vol. 3, 1957

The book”Unknown soldiers” by Väinö Linna (a veteran of JR8) includes some detailed descriptions of environment that make the survivors recall the incidents of the period. Linna writes how Rokka made up in his mind a plan to blow up an enemy bunker during the trench war.

Rokka did not blow up the bunker, missing the promised furlough, but actually this bunker was eliminated later by JR29.

II Battalion of JR29 held the front line during winter 1942 at Syväri in front of Homorovitsa in a bunker landscape. The 9th Company held the “Million” dugouts in front of which was open field which included an enemy forward stronghold, the one that Linna describes. It was made up of a partly shelled up house, the basement of which had apparently been fortitied by the enemy, the embrasure was visible to Finns. The structure was a base for enemy F.O.O.s and snipers. Since it was situated on rising ground the enemy was able to observe and harass our positions in daytime, causing continuously losses. The distance to our nearest stronghold, “Little Million”, was less than 300m. We had tried to take it out by mortar and artillery fire. Plans to blow it up had been made but without result so far.

In January 1942 we received replacements, among them Cpl. Erkki Ilmari Tuomela. He had just been released from a military hospital, having been wounded in the face. He had lost one eye and the other one was not yet up to standard. Despite that he had volunteered for front line duty during his convalescence and finally he had been granted his wish.

Cpl. Tuomela had become interested in the no-man's-land immediately after his arrival and began to visit it in the cover of darkness, alone. After one of his trips he came to his superiors asking if he would be allowed to eliminate the enemy bunker. This was an unexpected request, and being made by a half-blind man it was not taken seriously initially. After a while Tuomela repeated his suggestion and said that in the dark he is able to see as much as any man and his hearing was the very best. Since he had proven himself a dapper man and he did not present any symptoms of lunacy – rather the opposite - his plan was accepted and developed on.

After the Battalion HQ approved the operation on condition that there would be necessary preparation and caution, the details were worked out and the operation was executed.

A coil of telephone cable was hauled in the farthest foxhole of the “Little Million” containing new cable enough to reach the enemy bunker. One end of the cable was tied around Cpl. Tuomela's waist. Then he shouldered an explosive charge. It was custom made by Sappers, fashioned like a backpack covered with tent fabric and included a can of petrol plus the explosive and a stick grenade as the detonator. Tuomela was armed with two hand grenades and a pistol plus the ten kilogram charge

Tuomela crept out of the foxhole laden with his gear and began to creep to the enemy
bunker. Two men joined him: one to stay at the wire to assist Tuomela in passing it both ways and one to secure his advance until mid-way.

It was early night and dark. Tuomela had to advance using his instinct and landmarks learned by heart. The telephone cable was uncoiled as he proceeded and we in the foxhole were able to estimate his advance. In the beginning the cable was moving evenly but then long pauses followed. We guessed that Tuomela was listening or digging in the snow that was thick in the no-man's-land. The men in the nearby firing positions had been ordered to keep firing every now and then, but not so much as to attract the enemy's attention, yet enough to mask any sounds of Tuomela's creeping.

Time passed, more than one hour had gone. The cable kept moving in brief jerks. It was agreed that should Tuomela meet with anything unexpected, get wounded or anything else forcing him to abandon the attempt, he should give a strong jerk at the cable. Then the cable men would assist him to retreat. But there was nothing such, the cable was slack for long periods. We estimated by the remaining cable that our man should by now be about at his target.

We were staring in the darkness of the no-man's land. There was a light rocket from the enemy side – Tuomela may be in trouble. I remembered the folk tale of Pekka who was sent in the den of a hibernating bear with a rope around his leg. He was told to kick if attacked by the animal. He did kick, he was pulled out – but he was missing his head.

Cpl. Tuomela in his own words: “ Creeping the second half of the mission was slow and heavy but without any surptises. Then I knew I would have the toughest part ahead. During my previous trips I had spotted two sentry posts, on each side of the bunker, thirty meters off it. I had to find my way between them. Fortunately I had a gap of a few dozen meters, but I had to keep quiet and low. I spotted one sentry as he carelessly lit up, at least I imagined what the small flicker of light was. As to the second one I just had to sense him.

I managed to creep near the house, there was less snow which also had been hardened by shells. I feared it might rustle under my movements. Nothing happened, though. I reached the basement wall. As I got up on my knees one sentry fired a light rocket. I kept glued at the wall, without moving. Do they see? If they do I shall have to hurry up. They did not spot me, they kept watching the no-man'-land, neither did the groove I had made in the snow reveal me.

I began to feel for a spot to place my package. The windows were too high. I spotted the embrasure in the middle of the house, I crept on all fours under it. There it should be, I thought. It will be hard task, but if I can make it, it will make my day.

I unshouldered my load and began to lift it to dump it in the embrasure, keeping my pistol at hand in case my present would be rejected. The opening was big enough for my package. I had untied the phone cable from my waist and tied it to the lanyard of the stick grenade. I gently shoved in the charge while keeping the cable slack.

I stood up and reached in the embrasure while holding the straps of the packet until it met the ground. There it rested, now I had to return using the same route, quietly.

I had to spend time to pass the sentries, then in mid-way it occurred to me that it could make sense to remove the slack from the cable. I pulled it slowly and suddenly there was a flash and rumble. The charge worked, I found, but a bit too early, because the plan was to ignite at our wire. After the explosion shooting broke out and I had to lie lown to avoid becoming a target.”

Cpl Tuomela dropped in our foxhole, undamaged. We had a F.O.O. Observing the situation and he had the blown-up bunker shelled. Riflemen and machine gunners fired, too. At first it seemed the house-bunker would not catch fire despite the tremendous flame of the explosion but by the by we could see the light of a fire through the darkness. Next morning the structure was still smoking and we could see that the house and its fortifications had burned up so well that only the armouring around the embrasure, reinforced with concrete and steel plate, was standing.

Tuomela was granted a furlough. Once again it was proven what a resourceful and fearless man is able to accomplish.

(1361 words)

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Re: Väinö Linna's novel "Unknown Soldier" as a critical sour

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Jul 2021 11:04

Philip S. Walker wrote:
02 Apr 2011 16:20
@Jagala
The "uncensored" version was published in 2000 as "Sotaromaani".
And it's a great shame it hasn't been translated into any other language.
I recently watched the most recent film adaptation of the novel and am eager to read it.

This post is from 10 years ago and I haven't read the whole thread... Has the original version been translated?
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Re: Väinö Linna's novel "Unknown Soldier" as a critical source

Post by John Hilly » 07 Jul 2021 13:33

Yes. A few years ago it was translated in English as The Unknown Soldiesrs. It uses American-English slang in conversations which I didn.t like.
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Re: Väinö Linna's novel "Unknown Soldier" as a critical source

Post by John Hilly » 07 Jul 2021 13:34

Unknown Soldiers Paperback – International Edition, May 24, 2016

'There they stood, bumbling into lines with a bit of difficulty: Mother Finland's chosen sacrifice to world history' Unknown Soldiers follows the fates of a ramshackle troupe of machine-gunners in the Second World War, as they argue, joke, swear, cadge a loaf of bread or a cigarette, combat both boredom and horror in the swamps and pine forests - and discover that war will make or break them. One of Finland's best-loved books, this gritty and unromantic depiction of battle honours the dogged determination of a country and the bonds of brotherhood forged between men at war, as they fight for their lives. 'A rediscovered classic... profound and enriching ... Unknown Soldiers still has the power to shock' Herald
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Re: Väinö Linna's novel "Unknown Soldier" as a critical source

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 08 Jul 2021 13:09

Isn't Unknown Soldiers just a new translation of the book by Liesl Yamaguchi, not a translation of the unedited ("uncensored") manuscript. If "the original version" here means "Sotaromaani".

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Re: Väinö Linna's novel "Unknown Soldier" as a critical source

Post by tramonte » 18 Jul 2021 12:21

Linna got it right: Finnish forces north from Lake Ladoga were really exhausted, very tired and near break point in Sept 1941. Besides their losses were coming near to those figures of Winter War which really tells quite a lot. And all the time Finns had 2:3 or even bigger superiority of nimbers of combat forces.
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