Winter War: French Connection

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durb
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Winter War: French Connection

Post by durb » 23 Nov 2014 01:38

Although Winter War history feels sometimes fully analyzed with different interpretations and lots of literature (in Finnish) available, there are still new and interesting stories and points to be found. I found the importance of French connection by reading Henrik Tala´s book with the title of Talvisodan ranskalaiset ratkaisijat - "The decisive French of Winter War". It gives good description of Édouard Daladier´s involvement with Winter War and how Winter War was seen in France. When it comes to Western allies, the truth is that France was more active and made initiatives more to assist Finland. Unlike British the French initially planned operations linked directly to Winter War (via Petsamo) without the idea of controlling North Norway and Sweden to cut ore deliveries to Germany. That western Allies would be involved with Winter War was not a British idea, the initiave was French and British were reluctant.

I think that Finns owe much more to Édouard Daladier than to Chamberlain/Churchill that the threat of French/British intervention in Winter War was something that Stalin had to take in account. Soviets could not push their attack and extend terms to such point that Finns would have been obliged to take western Allied option. Stalin had to content with territorial gains and forget (or postpone) ideas of conquering and occupying whole Finland which had been his goal when Winter War started. In this context the French connection was important for the final result of Winter War, maybe decisive.

Here is a official list of French arms deliveries to Finland connected with Winter War:

- 200 000 hand grenades
- 1000 x 81 mm mortars and 1 million shots for them
- 5000 submachine guns with 1 million bullets
- 50 x 25 mm antitank guns and 2,5 million shots for them
- battery of 75 mm artillery guns with ammunition
- battery of 105 mm artillery guns with ammunition
- battery of 155 mm artillery guns with ammunition
- old Bange artillery guns 12 x 80 mm, 100 x 90 mm, 24 x 120 mm, 24 x 155 mm with 1000 shots for each
- 30 Morane 406 fighters

At least some of the material arrived in Finland to be used in Winter War. Some of the material like Morane planes and Bange guns were donated (thank your, Mr. Daladier) - I do not know if the rest of stuff was paid with money or more likely with other commodities like wood and paper. If someone knows more spesific details about French arms and ammunition deliveries to Finland, please post here.

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JTV
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Re: Winter War: French Connection

Post by JTV » 23 Nov 2014 21:26

durb wrote:Here is a official list of French arms deliveries to Finland connected with Winter War:
If you don't mind, here is sowewhat of improved version of the list you posted:

- 200 000 hand grenades -> Yes, 200,000 promised (Grenade F and Grenade O.F.), from which at least 100,000 delivered.
- 1000 x 81 mm mortars and 1 million shots for them -> Actual promised number only 100 mortars and probably 100,500 shells. Only 50 mortars had been delivered before ending of Winter War.
- 5000 submachine guns with 1 million bullets -> 5,000 Chauchat m/15 light machineguns and 10 million rounds.
- 50 x 25 mm antitank guns and 2,5 million shots for them -> 50 x 25 PstK/37, from which 40 were delivered. The number of shells promised with these guns was apparently 25,000 pcs.
- battery of 75 mm artillery guns with ammunition -> Early on 12 x 75 K/97 was promised and getting more was apparently hightly problematic, but finally resulted Finland being able to buy total 48 guns. From these 48 guns only 12 arrived during Winter War and 6 additional guns in April of 1940. The remaining 30 guns were captured by the Germans when they occupied Norway and were not delivered to Finland until after considerable dela
- battery of 105 mm artillery guns with ammunition -> 12 x 105 K/13 heavy field gun and 20,000 shells. They arrived in February of 1940.
- battery of 155 mm artillery guns with ammunition -> Bit more actually, although not guns but howitzers. 24 x 155 H/15 heavy howitzer and either 20,000 or 32,000 shells depending source.
- old Bange artillery guns 12 x 80 mm, 100 x 90 mm, 24 x 120 mm, 24 x 155 mm with 1000 shots for each -> Not Bange guns, but (Charles Rangon) de Bange guns, with the correct numbers being 12 x 80 K/77, 100 x 90 K/77, 72 x 120 K/78 and 48 x 155 K/77. Also number of shells varied depending caliber, but was highly substantial.
- 30 Morane 406 fighters

In addition there bunch of other stuff like:
- 100 7.5-mm Chatellault m/24-29 light machineguns with million cartridges.
- "Bizerta guns" - 305/52 O (and 130/55 V) coastal guns.
- Range finders and other optical instruments.
- 500 flare guns.

IMO getting all that equipment was quite an accomplishment from to Colonel Aladár Paasonen, who during Winter War was commanded to Paris for the specific mission of acquiring military equipment from France. My understanding is that with exception of de Bange guns and"Bizerta guns" other items were bought, not donated. Admitted original documents are terribly clear in the matter. I have photographs taken from some of the reports and other documents that Paasonen sent to Armed Forces GHQ Ordnance Department from Paris and the list above is partly based to those.

Some prices for the items:
- Light machinegun á 5,000 FIM.
- 81-mm mortars á 40,000 FIM.
- 25-mm antitank-guns á 150,000 FIM.

EDIT - bunch of typos fixed.

Jarkko
Last edited by JTV on 24 Nov 2014 05:36, edited 1 time in total.

durb
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Re: Winter War: French Connection

Post by durb » 23 Nov 2014 21:59

Thanks for the list. When it comes to Morane fighters, I have read from several sources that they were donated (British donated 10 Gladiators). Fifty Moranes were promised, but only thirty made it to Finland. About the bought stuff it would interesting to know the payment arrengements - Finns had not that much funds in hard currencies like US dollars - more likely wood, cellulosa, paper or raw material deliveries were payments? There is also question of payment conditions like payment time. It would not surprise me if there was still some payments due to French governement in May/June 1940 when French had other worries than to think about Finnish payments of arms deliveries. Of course it did not had to stop the payments/pay deliveries to continue in due time (and the business was probably finished with Vichy governement).

According to Tala there were considerable fund raising campaigns in France for Finland, but it took until November 1940 when the collected funds finally were at the use of Finnish governement. Better late than never.

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Juha Tompuri
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Re: Winter War: French Connection

Post by Juha Tompuri » 24 Nov 2014 19:59

Also six Caudron-Renault CR-714 fighters.
JTV wrote:- "Bizerta guns" - 305/52 O (and 130/55 V) coastal guns.
Yep, intended to coastal artillery usage.
12 305mm and 18 130mm pieces were donated to Finland, but only 8 of the 305mm came, the others were confiscated by the Germans, but Finland later was paid a compensation for the guns obtained free of charge.
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 9&t=172999

Regards, Juha

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Panssari Salama
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Re: Winter War: French Connection

Post by Panssari Salama » 27 Nov 2014 20:06

I read the mentioned book a month ago, and warmly recommend it as well.

There was a good book about Italy's support for Finland in Winter War, published a couple of years ago. And now this excellent read.

Yet another book putting a nail to the coffin for the myth Finland was left alone in Winter War.
Panssari Salama - Paying homage to Avalon Hill PanzerBlitz and Panzer Leader board games from those fab '70s.

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Loïc
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Re: Winter War: French military

Post by Loïc » 10 Apr 2017 22:38

■In march 1940 to help and force the Finnish governement to ask a direct allied, at leat French, intervention, as was reluctant the British ally, the 6th march Daladier ordered to sent an air squadron who could be quickly ready
this expeditionary squadron of the Armée de l'Air renamed Groupe Aérien de Volontaires Français en Finlande, GAVFF, was raised from crews of the Assault Bombardment Group I/54 of the Assault Aviation,
it consisted in 12 officers 59 NCO's and Others ranks with 12 light bombers POTEZ 633 under lieutenant colonel Wackenheim
they should reach Helsinki via Norway and Great Britain (Tangmere then Arberdeen airbases)
sent the 11th march to RAF Tangmere base where their arrival "caused sensation", they were waiting the departure for Finland when the armistice was signed...

■reaching them Finland, according to an other forum, it seems there were 55 French Officers and NCO's Artillerymen as training cadres for the artillery delivered from France

■about the Expeditionary Corps having the size of a division organized in France for Finland, High Mountain Brigade from Alpine Chasseurs & Polish Brigade with others elements joined by the 13th Foreign Legion Half-Brigade coming from Algeria, only some auxiliary females drivers of the Sanitary Automobile Section and Ambulance France-Finlande reach the Finnish soil
Image
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ssbm.PNG

Regards
Loïc
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CanKiwi2
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Re: Winter War: French military

Post by CanKiwi2 » 12 Apr 2017 14:05

Loïc wrote:......only some auxiliary females drivers of the Sanitary Automobile Section and Ambulance France-Finlande reach the Finnish soil
......Regards
Loïc
Now that's fascinating. I've never seen any mention of a French ambulance unit reaching Finland. Are there any more details on that?
ex Ngāti Tumatauenga ("Tribe of the Maori War God") aka the New Zealand Army

Seppo Koivisto
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Re: Winter War: French Connection

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 12 Apr 2017 21:46

Six female drivers and three ambulances of SSA arrived to Finland on 14 January 1940. They transported wounded on Lake Ladoga front and Karelian Isthmus. Unploughed roads and freezing temperatures made it difficult for the unaccustomed drivers. After the armistice they evacuated wounded and civilians until 19 March 1940.

http://www.saunalahti.fi/arnoldus/ambulko.htm

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Loïc
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Re: Winter War: French Ambulance

Post by Loïc » 13 Apr 2017 00:53

Indeed first females drivers "lieutenante" Henriette Mendeslssohn, French with Finnish origin, Rhéa Wickman Parisian Finn and Simone Hörlin Swedish from France were attached to a frontline military hospital, a «kenttasairaala near Taipale» explained Henriette Mendelssohn to the French newspapers (transport between Finnish Ambulance n°8 to Military Hospital n°13)

there was also a second contingent more numerous with 5 medical officers and 35 drivers reaching Finland early march and joining the first volunteers at Normaarkus until 5th june 1940
so maybe not only auxiliaries females but few military doctors or others

the link given by Seppo doesn't forget it
Ranskan Punaisen Ristin Vapaaehtoisten ambulanssiosasto (AFF) (Ambulance France-Finlande), johon kuului 5 lääkäriä, 35 muuta henkilökuntaa ja 12 autoa, saapui Suomeen 4.3.1940. Ambulanssiosastolle oli hankittu varusteet 60 sairaansijaa varten, mutta ne eivät tulleet koskaan perille Suomeen. Ambulanssiosaston henkilökunta sijoitettiin sodan päätyttyä Noormarkussa toimivan 6. SotaS:n yhteyteen, samaan paikkaan ranskalaisen ambulanssiyksikön kanssa. Ambulanssiosaston toiminta Suomessa päättyi 5.6.1940.

lieutenante Henriette Mendelssohn receiving the Cross of Liberty at the Embassy of Finland in Paris in april 1940
Image
others pictures from Helsinki dated 1st March 1940
Image
Image

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Juha Tompuri
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Re: Winter War: French Connection

Post by Juha Tompuri » 13 Apr 2017 06:04

Hi,

Perhaps one of the most famous persons of the French ambulance unit:
Susan Travers
Image
In the middle she at Noormarkku, Finland Spring-40
viewtopic.php?f=59&t=70091&p=1883690&hilit#p1883690
https://cervens.net/legionbbs123/showth ... an-Travers

Regards, Juha

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Re: Winter War: French Ambulance

Post by Seppo Koivisto » 14 Apr 2017 08:43

Loïc wrote: the link given by Seppo doesn't forget it
Ranskan Punaisen Ristin Vapaaehtoisten ambulanssiosasto (AFF) (Ambulance France-Finlande), johon kuului 5 lääkäriä, 35 muuta henkilökuntaa ja 12 autoa, saapui Suomeen 4.3.1940. Ambulanssiosastolle oli hankittu varusteet 60 sairaansijaa varten, mutta ne eivät tulleet koskaan perille Suomeen. Ambulanssiosaston henkilökunta sijoitettiin sodan päätyttyä Noormarkussa toimivan 6. SotaS:n yhteyteen, samaan paikkaan ranskalaisen ambulanssiyksikön kanssa. Ambulanssiosaston toiminta Suomessa päättyi 5.6.1940.
The volunteer ambulance detachment of the French Red Cross (AFF), that consisted of 5 doctors, 35 other staff and 12 vehicles, arrived in Finland on 4 March 1940. The ambulance detachment was provided with equipment for 60 patients, but that never arrived in Finland. The staff of the ambulance detachment was located after the war ended at the 6th War Hospital (6. SotaS) in Noormarkku (north of Pori), same place with the (female?) ambulance detachment. The activity of the ambulance detachment in Finland ended on 5 June 1940.

The Noormarkku branch of the 6th War Hospital seems to be located at Eva Ahlström hospital and Havulinna private home.
http://www.ahlstrom.com/globalassets/su ... 47x280.jpg
http://www.virtualpilots.fi/img/histalb ... /dia8.html

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