Winter War losses -- a short historiography

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Winter War losses -- a short historiography

Postby MarcusaQ » 11 Jun 2006 19:11

Hi all,

I have written a short text about the Finnish and Soviet casualties in the Winter war. I'd be gratefuls for all comments & corrections!

Markku


V.M. MOLOTOV AND THE CASUALTIES IN THE WINTER WAR
A Historiographical Overview

Markku Valtanen

Finland and Soviet Union fought a war in 30 November 1939 – 13 March 1940 that in Finnish came to be called ‘the Winter war’1. The war was motivated by Soviet Union’s interest to bring Finland under its political influence and military control. Stalin had in 23 August 1939 made an agreement2 with Germany about dividing Bessarabia, Poland, Baltic countries and Finland into two spheres of interest. In this agreement Finland belonged to the Soviet sphere. Unlike the Baltic countries Finland did not bow to Stalin’s demands to exchange territories and grand Soviet army military bases on its area. In 30 November 1939 Soviet army launched a massive offensive against Finland on all fronts from the Carelian isthmus to the Arctic sea claiming that Finland had provoked the war by an artillery strike at Mainila3. As an explicit reasoning for the war Stalin used Germany’s and Western power’s preparations for a military offensive against the Soviet Union from Finnish territory, and a need to strengthen Leningrad’s defensive position. Stalin also pronounced a Finnish puppet regime, the Terijoki government4 to represent the ‘workers’ of Finland with which he ‘negotiated’ as long as the war seemed favourable to the Soviet army. Stalin’s reasoning does not find support from contemporary political history as Germany’s attitude towards Finland had been rather aloof, and Sweden (and Estonia) had been the only Western country showing a more extensive interest (which interest dwindled fast when the war became more obvious) in military cooperation with Finland. Part of the Russian history writing have sought for a reorientation in its views on the political history of the Winter war, but history writing reproducing the Stalinist era’s conventions is still published.

Severely defending Finnish army, extremely cold winter, educational and tactical weaknesses and
ill-suited terrain for armoured and mobilized troops caused a surprise for the Soviet army. The war ended to be by far the most bloody war for the Soviet Union during the period from the first world war to the German operation Barbarossa. The war caused considerable losses to the Finnish army, too, and when a peace with the Soviet Union was agreed after 105 days of heavy fighting, its condition was already alarming. In the Moscow Peace Treaty5 Finland had to cede Soviet Union nearly all of Finnish Carelia including the second largest Finnish city, Vyborg; it’s part of the Rybachi peninsula, Salla region in Lapland; the islands of Suursaari, Tytärsaari, Lavansaari and Seiskari. The Hanko Peninsula was leased to the Soviet Union as a naval base for 30 years.


Finnish casualties

The first estimation of the Finnish casualties in the Finnish – Soviet ’Winter war’ in 30 Nov 1939 – 13 March 1940 is from a speech of foreign minister V.M. Molotov in 29 March 1940. Molotov said that

According to the most cautious calculations by our General Staff the number of those fallen is at least 60 thousand, not counting the fatally wounded, and the number of the wounded is at least 250,000. When you start from the fact that the number of the Finnish army has been at least 600 thousand men, you have to draw a conclusion that the Finnish army lost half its ranks as killed or wounded.6

It was evident for the Finnish counterpart that Molotov’s numbers were exaggerated. As marchal Mannerheim writes in his biography, the size of the Finnish field army was between 175 000 and 200 000 men. According to Mannerheim real casualties of the Finnish army were 24 923 dead and 43 557 wounded.7 The number of dead seems to be close to information provided by high command’s field provost J. Björklund: the number of killed in action was 19 576 and the number of lost 3 273 persons. The number of lost fell after 847 prisoners of war were returned after the war. In the ministry of defence announced in 30 May 1940 that 1 437 persons had died in military hospitals after the war, which number more than doubled later. All in all, these figures show a total of 24 876 persons killed in action, lost and dead in wounds in the Winter war.8

The number of Finnish casualties in the Winter war has been under research also later. According to the latest statistics 26 662 persons fell in the war. This includes 16 725 died in action whose bodies have been evacuated and buried; 3 671 dead in wounds; 3 433 killed in action whose body could not be evacuated from the field; 1 727 lost that were juridically declared dead; 28 known having died as prisoners of war; 715 died in accidents or decease; and 363 died for unknown reasons. 1 300 persons who died in wounds and were declared as dead after the war have to be added to these numbers.9

Molotov’s number, 60 000, is thus clearly inflated, as it is 215 % bigger than what the Finnish research show. Molotov’s numbers for the amount of wounded in Finnish army seem similarly inflated. Army high command’s information that was mentioned above contains 16 437 heavily wounded and 27 120 lightly wounded. Molotov’s figures are 574 % larger than those of Finnish high command. Where did Molotov base his numbers? In his speech he refers to two sources, indirectly to “efforts made” on the Finnish side “to diminish the number of their victims”, and directly to “the most cautious calculations by our General Staff” 10 The real state of the affair could not have been clarified by any research made by the Soviets as the Finns, following a practise taken into use during the Winter war, evacuated the corpses of the fallen to be buried at their home congregations. Thus Molotov could not have had any reliable Soviet numbers of the Finnish casualties in his use. He must have had, however, a much more accurate information about the size of the Finnish field army. As Molotov’s speech indicates, he does not seem to care much about the historical fact here as he doubles or even triples its size, which carelessness, as a matter of fact, is evident with many other figures (mainly about foreign aid) in his speech.11

It seems clear that Molotov could not have had accurate and independent Soviet numbers of teh Finnish casualties because it would have been impossible to gather that information without a reference to Finnish documents and archives. Use of Finnish documents would have produced considerably lower figures. Furthermore, as Molotov inflates the size of the Finnish field army and other numeral information, it becomes easier to believe that his claims of Finnish casualties are propagandistic in essence. The aim of the propaganda may have been to direct audience’s attention away from the Soviet casualties and make the war look more successful from the perspective of Soviet army than it in reality had been.

Soviet casualties

In the speech mentioned above, Molotov announces the number of Soviet losses in the war in Finland followingly:

According to estimates of our General Staff, the number of those fallen and fatally wounded is on our side 48,745, thus somewhat less than 49,000 persons and the number of the wounded is 158,863 persons.12

Ohto Manninen13, a Finnish professor, who has followed the discussion about the Soviet casualties in the Winter war writes that for over half a century after the war no research were published on the matter. Nikita Hrushtshev’s biography that was secretly brought to the west suggests that the Soviet army lost over one million men in the Winter war. This is clearly an exaggeration and Manninen writes that textual context indicates that Hrushtshev’s intention was to present reasons for Hitler’s decition to begin his offencive against the Soviet Union.14

During Glasnots and the collapse of the Soviet Union new estimations of the Soviet losses came into publicity. In year 1989, professor Mihail Semirjaga15 presented casualties that differed clearly from Molotov’s figures. In a book that he published one year later Semirjaga writes that in the Winter war the Soviet army lost 53 522 as killed in action, 16 208 missing, 163 772 wounded and 12 064 frostbite. The figures Semirjaga has collected from the loss reports of the forces. At the same time professor N.I. Baryshnikov16 presented that the number of Soviet casualties was 53 500 men. This claim is based on the Soviet army archive’s fond number 40442:1875. A Russian research made for the History of the Great Patriotic War used the same source and presented as the total number of the Soviet army’s casualties 257 579 men, which does not include the frostbite and sick. Information that was collected by Stavka’s administration in 1940, possibly from the same above mentioned source was published in 1990 in Voenno-istoritsheskij zhurnal. According to this study the number of killed in action was 72 408 men and the number of missing 17 520 men, total number of casualties being 293 510 men.17

Manninen believes that the numeral differences in Russian studies are not caused by mistakes but researcher’s expertise. Making estimates is different as the statistics may overlap each other. In 1994 Manninen was doubtful about the possibility of finding exact numbers as at that time the material was still secret. The secrecy was based on marchal D. Ustinov’s declaration in early 1980’s which made publishing personal losses of the Red army forbidden.18

Manninen estimates that the year 1940 information on the losses is incomplete.19 He assumes that all statistical information could not have been brought together in time. Manninen, by scrutinizing studies made by a Russian archive specialist Pavel Aptekar, has also found out that the information gathered from the 15th and 9th armies were in both cases sent to general headquarters 30 % smaller than they were. Manninen thinks that this can be explained by a coincidence or then the practise was based on a command of Leningrad area military authorities.20

In his latest publication on the matter Manninen reproduces the latest results of Russian research, published in G.F. Krivosheev’s21 book Soviet Casualties & Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century in 1997. Manninen refers to page 68 which contains the information that the Soviet army lost 84 994 persons as killed, missing and captured, 186 584 persons as wounded and handicapped 51 892 persons as sick and 9 614 frostbite, total number being 333 084 persons. This information has been gathered from reports that forces have produced.22 Krivosheev’s opus presents also numbers that are based on different sources than those reports. Soviet ministry of defence collected more precise casualty estimates of the dead and missing in years 1949-51 to a roll, and the author consideres these figures as more reliable than those collected from the forces. According to this source the Soviet army lost 71 214 as killed in action, 39 369 men as missing and prisoners of war, and 16 292 men as dead in wounds or decease in hospital, totalling 126 875 men as ‘irrecoverable’ losses. Wounded, concussion and burn were 188 671 men, sick 58 370 and frostbite 17 867 men, which makes the sum of sick and wounded 264 908 men. The total of irrecoverable losses, wounded and sick is thus 391 783 men.23 Krivosheev’s and his teams’s study is the latest historical research on the matter and they seem to have taken more sources under scrutiny than previous studies including some of those that Manninen referred to earlier. Manninen’s choice to refer to Krivosheev’s unaccomplished statistics (table 46) is odd when the author himself consideres the latter statistics (table 55) as more reliable and complete.24

The conclusions are that the numbers Molotov presented in March 1940 are only a half of that what Soviet army’s administration had found out only a couple of months later as killed and missing. The discrepancy between the numbers of wounded is one third. The difference can be explained with genuinely incomplete and/or administratively manipulated statistics, or simply as Molotov’s propagandistic attempt to make the Soviet losses look smaller than they were. The latter would go well together with his exaggeration of the Finnish losses and other military data. The discrepancy even grows when the later Soviet research on the matter is taken into account, which research has been published only during and after the era of Glasnost. The publications of the Soviet researchers have managed to produce historically more truthful picture of the losses of the Soviet army in the Winter war than what prevailed during the fifty years after the war.

1 Winter war, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War, quoted in 9 June 2006.
2 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov-Ribbentrop, quoted in 9 June 2006.
3 Shelling of Mainila, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelling_of_Mainila, quoted in 9 June 2006.
4 Terijoki government, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terijoki_Government, quoted in 9 June 2006.
5 Moscow Peace Treaty, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_Pea ... %281940%29, quoted in 9 June 2006.
6 Molotov’s speech in 29 March 1940.
7 Mannerheim 2004, 244.
8 Lentilä & Juutilainen 2005, 825.
9 Lentilä & Juutilainen 2005, 825.
10 Molotov’s speech in 29 March 1940.
11 Lentilä & Juutilainen 2005, 825.
12 Molotov’s speech in 29 March 1940.
13 Manninen is a professor of military history in National Defence College. Previously he worked as a professor of Finnish history in the University of Tampere. Manninen is a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters.
14 Manninen 1994, 296.
15 Semirjaga has published an article in Ogonjok journal in 1989 and in the next year he published a 56 paged book in Moscow on the matter. Semirjaga’s views on the political history of the Winter war follow the conventions of the Stalinist era’s history writing even though he did deviate himself from them in certain matters. See: Vihavainen 2006, 902-4.
16 Baryshnikov is a specialist on the Soviet Union’s and Finland’s relations. He has published books on Leningrad’s security and Finland’s position during the second world war. In his views on the political history of the Winter war Baryshnikov is even more traditional than Semirjaga. See: Vihavainen 2006, 906-11.
17 Manninen 1994, 296-7; Manninen 1997, 303-4, 384; Manninen 2006, 880.
18 Manninen 1994, 297-9.
19 He assumed that losses should be gathered not only from the fond 40332 but also from fonds 34980 and 31980.
20 Manninen 1994, 298.
21 Krivosheev is an emeritus Red army colonel-general and historian. He is the general editor of the opus, that he has written with a team of six researchers. The chapter about the ‘war with Finland in 1939-1940’ reproduces the same view on the political history of the Winter war that was used by Stalin and Molotov as a reasoning of beginning the war against Finland. Furthermore, Krivosheev’s book is giving misguided information about the size of the Finnish military forces, e.g. Finland having 600 000 men in arms (see Molotov’s speech), 270 airplanes and 29 ships, whereas the real numbers were ca. 200 000 men, 119 airplanes and 14 ships.
22 Manninen 2006, 811. Krivosheev 1997, 68.
23 Krivosheev 1997, 68-79, see especially the table 55.
24 Krivosheev 1997, table 46, 68; table 55, 79.



Bibliography

Krivosheev, G. F. (1997) Soviet Casualties & Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century. Greenhill Books: London.

Lentilä, Riitta & Juutilainen, Antti (2005) Talvisodan uhrit. – Talvisodan pikkujättiläinen. WSOY: Helsinki, 816-28.

Mannerheim, Gustav (2004) Suomen marsalkan muistelmat, 3rd ed., Otava: Keuruu. 1st edition was published in 1954.

Manninen, Ohto (1994) Molotovin cocktail - Hitlerin sateenvarjo. Painatuskeskus: Helsinki.

Manninen, Ohto (1997) Yksin suurvaltaa vastassa. Talvisodan poliittinen historia. Eds. O. Vehviläinen & O.A. Rzesevski. Gummerus: Jyväskylä.

Manninen, Ohto (2006) Venäläiset sotavangit ja tappiot. – Talvisodan pikkujättiläinen. WSOY: Porvoo, 810-5.

Molotov’s speech in 29 March 1940, http://www.histdoc.net/history/molotov.html, quoted in 6 June 2006.

Vihavainen, Timo (2006) Talvisota neuvostohistoriankirjoituksessa. – Talvisodan pikkujättiläinen. WSOY: Porvoo, 893-911.

Wikipedia articles. http://en.wikipedia.org

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Juha Tompuri
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Postby Juha Tompuri » 12 Jun 2006 08:11

Thanks for very interesting and detailed post MarcusaQ.
Welcome to the Forum

Regards, Juha

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Postby MarcusaQ » 12 Jun 2006 21:19

Thanks, Juha!

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Postby Tero » 13 Jun 2006 05:22

You might mention the Finnish estimate on Red Army KIA was 200 000 in 1940 (after Winter War).

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Postby MarcusaQ » 13 Jun 2006 09:02

Thanks, Tero! Do you have a source for that?

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Postby Tero » 13 Jun 2006 09:14

IIRC it was mentioned at least in the History of Winter War books. But don't quote me on that. ;)

The figure is mentioned also at

http://www.verkkouutiset.fi/arkisto/Ark ... kp1000.htm

Talvisodassa kaatui rintamalla runsaat 23 000 suomalaista ja 45 000 haavoittui. Venäläisten tappiot olivat suomalaisten arvion mukaan noin 200 000 kaatunutta. Neuvostoliiton oma ilmoitus oli yhteensä 217 500 kaatunutta ja haavoittunutta.


but there is no source given.

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Postby Mikko H. » 13 Jun 2006 09:37

Mannerheim stated aleady in his daily order on 14 March 1940:

Mutta te olette myös jakaneet kovia iskuja, ja kun nyt parisataatuhatta vihollistamme lepää hangessa ja tuijottaa särkynein katsein tähtitaivaallemme, ei syy ole teidän.


But You have also delivered hard blows, and when a couple of hundred thousand of your enemies lie in snow and stare with broken eyes the stars of our sky, the fault is not yours.


(Source: http://www.histdoc.net/historia/mheim.html)

IIRC some versions of this order give the exact number 200,000.

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Postby Juha Hujanen » 13 Jun 2006 15:39

Fine post and indeed welcome to forum :D

Cheers/"the other" Juha

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Postby Yuri » 19 Jun 2006 09:30

The Finnish army had 14 infantry divisions and 7 brigades.
It is considered to be, that two brigades are equivalent to one division. Then we receive, that the Finnish army had 17,5 divisions.
Number of one Finnish division made, approximately, 18 thousand men. Hence, only one infantry Finns had had 315,0 thousand men. However, in the Finnish army there were still special parts: artillery, an antiaircraft artillery, sappers, connection, supply and so forth. We shall add here military pilots and military seamen, and as frontier guards. It is necessary to remember and about spare and accessories.
It is impossible to forget and about, so-called, foreign volunteers whom was 11,5 thousand men.
Thus, when Molotov spoke, that the Finnish army totaled about 600,0 thousand men he most likely, has underestimated number of the Finnish army, than has overestimated.
Actually, in 1939 the Finnish army totaled more, than 600,0 thousand men.

This figure finds confirmation in the book "World war". In this book Vermaht's general-lieutenant Ditmar writes, the truth, about the Finnish army of the sample of 1941. However it is improbable, that the Finnish army of 1939 and the Finnish army of 1941 could strongly will distinguish.
General-lieutenant Ditmar writes, that the population of Finland made 3,8 million person, and in lines of armed forces 18 % from an aggregate number of the population of the country that gives figure 684,0 of thousand men have been called.
It is possible to not doubt that the mobilization potential of Finland in 1939 was above, than in 1941. Hence V. Molotov was right, when spoke, that in 1939 the Finnish army totaled 600,0 thousand men.

P. S. If, how us here assure, the Finnish army in Winter war has lost only 24,0 thousand killed there is a reasonable question and why, as a matter of fact, then the Finnish army capitulated on March, 12th, 1940? In fact, at Finns still more more than 600 thousand military men?
To the beginning of March, 1940 against Finland were 46 divisions of Red Army are directed in total. This grouping had 800,0 thousand soldier and officers. From this 46 divisions of Red Army have taken participated in operations no more than 35 Soviet divisions.
Further, to the beginning of March, 1940 the Red Army has lost killed, missing, wounded and freezed more than 350,0 thousand person. Hence, in the beginning of March, 1940 against the Finnish army with number more than 600,0 thousand men operated no more than 450,0 thousand soldier and officers of Red Army.
Certainly, in Winter war of loss of the Finnish army there were less, than losses of Red Army. But the difference could not be so big as to us here draw.

It is impossible to believe that the Finnish army capitulated, having lost only 4-5 % from the aggregate number.
Perhaps that not understanding, but the one who confirms similar, offends the Finnish army and its brave the soldier.
Access to Russian archives is free. Whereas in the Finnish archives of an easy approach is not present about this day. And there, where access to the Finnish archives to eat, collect full data on losses of the Finnish army it is not obviously possible. It is necessary to think, that to Finns, unlike Russian, is what to hide.
24,0 thousand killed Finns during Winter war - this figure for propagation. Unfortunately, neither in Finland, nor in Germany, in any other country there is no capital historical work about losses armed forces. Such work is available only in Russia: it is capital work of the professor and the general-colonel G. F.Krivosheev " Russia and the USSR in wars of XX century. Losses of armed forces. Statistical research ".

P. P. S. In the summer and autumn of 1941 the Finnish armies and German 20-th army (army " Norway ") had in total more than 800,0 thousand men.
This Finnish and German grouping was resisted by Soviet 23th, 7th and 14th armies which had in total 147,0 thousand men.
Why in this case Finns and by means of Germans could not take in top above Russian if Russian perished six times more?
It at that Russian this time was almost five times less than their opponents.

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Postby Mangrove » 19 Jun 2006 09:53

Yuri wrote:Number of one Finnish division made, approximately, 18 thousand men.


http://www.veteraanienperinto.fi/suomi/t_pankki/frame/tietoP_6.htm

Divisioona (D) = 14200 men.

Martti

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Postby MarcusaQ » 19 Jun 2006 14:10

I will try to return to your post in its entirety, but here only a few quick remarks:

Yuri wrote:Access to Russian archives is free.


Did you read my text through? Could you comment on marchal D. Ustinov’s declaration, then, please.

Yuri wrote:Whereas in the Finnish archives of an easy approach is not present about this day.


Quite the opposite. Yuri, come to Helsinki, and we'll get to the Finnish archieves together. The questions concerning permission to achieves you can ask here: http://www.sota-arkisto.fi/inet/englanti/index.html

Additional to that, you have an access to that information via internet:
http://tietokannat.mil.fi/menehtyneet/index_en.php3 Tell me another country, that offers such a service.

Yuri wrote:Unfortunately, neither in Finland, nor in Germany, in any other country there is no capital historical work about losses armed forces.


Finnish losses have been documented in several publications. You will find the latest numbers in my text and bibliography, when you read it.

Yuri wrote:Such work is available only in Russia: it is capital work of the professor and the general-colonel G. F.Krivosheev " Russia and the USSR in wars of XX century. Losses of armed forces. Statistical research ".


Yes, Yuri, and that is the author I refer to in my text. It is Krivosheev's book that gives the Soviet losses:

71 214 as killed in action
39 369 men as missing and prisoners of war
16 292 men as dead in wounds or decease in hospital
totalling 126 875 men as ‘irrecoverable’ losses

Wounded, concussion and burn were 188 671 men
58 370 sick
17 867 frostbite
the sum of sick and wounded 264 908 men

The total of irrecoverable losses, wounded and sick is thus 391 783 men.

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Postby Bair » 19 Jun 2006 16:06

Thanks for a detailed post!

As for access to the Russian archives:

if you would like to study archives on the Winter War in the RGVA, it is indeed no problem to go there and get the documents. The problem is to find ALL the documents related to the topic of your research and then interpret them correctly, which might be hard...

272nd Regiment of the 123rd Rifle Division had daily casualty reports and it would take two weeks just to get all the casualties counted... So it is a matter that needs much further research. I have not heard anything about the Order of Marshal Ustinov, it is probably obsolete or it means exactly the same that you have in Sota-arkisto in Finland: no researcher can have access to personal files of casualties without a special permission, or only relatives can get the file.

with best regards,

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Postby Yuri » 19 Jun 2006 16:43

Bair wrote:

As for access to the Russian archives:

if you would like to study archives on the Winter War in the RGVA, it is indeed no problem to go there and get the documents. The problem is to find ALL the documents related to the topic of your research and then interpret them correctly, which might be hard...

272nd Regiment of the 123rd Rifle Division had daily casualty reports and it would take two weeks just to get all the casualties counted... So it is a matter that needs much further research.

Yes, it so. But, in fact, in this, on mine, also work of the military historian consists...

I have not heard anything about the Order of Marshal Ustinov, it is probably obsolete or it means exactly the same that you have in Sota-arkisto in Finland: no researcher can have access to personal files of casualties without a special permission, or only relatives can get the file.

In Russian archives it is possible to receive and a personal file.
However, it is impossible to receive freely a file in which there are data on a conviction.

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Postby Sami_K » 19 Jun 2006 20:43

Yuri wrote:The Finnish army had 14 infantry divisions and 7 brigades.


When? At the start, during, at the end of or after the Winter War?

Yuri wrote:It is considered to be, that two brigades are equivalent to one division.


Roughly yes, but if memory serves, the 1st division consisted of all three 1st-3rd brigades.


Yuri wrote:Number of one Finnish division made, approximately, 18 thousand men.


During the Winter War the establishment strength was 14,200 men (that is including eg. the supply troops, artillery men, signal men and sappers within the division's organization).


Yuri wrote:However, in the Finnish army there were still special parts: artillery, an antiaircraft artillery, sappers, connection, supply and so forth.


As do any other army. However most of the artillerists and a large part of the sappers (for instance) were already counted within their organic parent division.


Yuri wrote:We shall add here military pilots and military seamen, and as frontier guards. It is necessary to remember and about spare and accessories.


The Finnish navy had some 3,500 "seamen" (if you like), but the total strenght of the Navy was 33,200 but this includes 20,700 men in coastal batteries and coast defense-units, and 8 650 regular infantry. The number of pilots in the overall number is pretty miniscule.


Yuri wrote:Actually, in 1939 the Finnish army totaled more, than 600,0 thousand men.


Hardly, since between 1918 and 1939 some 509,000 men were conscripted. Some 200,000 of these received refreshement training during the 1930s. There simply were no 600,000 trained men in 1939, and weapons for only roughly half that number. Hence the combined strength of all services of the Finnish Defensive Forces totalled 337,000 men in December 1939 (and that is counting also the pilots, seamen, cooks and REMFs).


Yuri wrote:This figure finds confirmation in the book "World war". In this book Vermaht's general-lieutenant Ditmar writes, the truth, about the Finnish army of the sample of 1941. However it is improbable, that the Finnish army of 1939 and the Finnish army of 1941 could strongly will distinguish.


I'm not sure I fully understand what you mean here, but if you mean that the Finnish army in 1941 was different than in 1939 then you are totally correct.


Yuri wrote:It is possible to not doubt that the mobilization potential of Finland in 1939 was above, than in 1941.


Actually no, since the total number of trained men in 1941 was way higher than in 1939. There was time between during which new conscripts were trained.

Yuri wrote: Hence V. Molotov was right, when spoke, that in 1939 the Finnish army totaled 600,0 thousand men.


The Finnish army at its peak strength (1944) never reached that high a figure, even when the Finnish nation was mobilized to its highest extent.


Yuri wrote:P. S. If, how us here assure, the Finnish army in Winter war has lost only 24,0 thousand killed there is a reasonable question and why, as a matter of fact, then the Finnish army capitulated on March, 12th, 1940? In fact, at Finns still more more than 600 thousand military men?

They didn't.
By March 1940 pretty much ALL trained reserves had been committed (of course, someone conscripted in 1919 who never received refreshment training is NOT counted as a trained reserve).

Sure there would've been tens (even hundreds) of thousands of young boys and over-aged men in the Home Front to be thrown into battle with little or no weapons, but for some reason no-one wanted to do that.


Yuri wrote:24,0 thousand killed Finns during Winter war - this figure for propagation.


http://www.winterwar.com/War%27sEnd/cas ... DailyD.htm

Feel free to do your own research with the database.
http://tietokannat.mil.fi/menehtyneet/index_en.php3

Cheers,
Sami

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Postby Whiskey » 20 Jun 2006 08:00

Yuri wrote:P. S. If, how us here assure, the Finnish army in Winter war has lost only 24,0 thousand killed there is a reasonable question...

Hi, Yuri, and welcome to the board!

For the Finnish military burial traditions, check http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=84704, where I have introduced this peculiar Finnish habit a little bit. Also veteran organizations and other interested parties had collected regionally the names and basic information from all fallen soldiers to the books, published soon after the war. There is no discrepancy with the number of graves and the number of fallen soldiers given in the statistics of ministry of defence for each parish.

As you understand, this kind of burial customs are not good for hiding casualties, as you cannot leave any man not to be buried to these graves; it would create the very loud complaints from the relatives of such soldier. After the war there hasn't been any such complaints.


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