Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Discussions on the Winter War and Continuation War, the wars between Finland and the USSR.
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Tuco
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Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Post by Tuco » 17 Nov 2005 00:31

Volunteers in Winter and Continuation Wars

Does anyone know of a complete listing (accurate listing) of the nations that had volunteers fighting in Finland in both wars? As well as the numbers sent from each nation?

Meaning something like
Sweden ---- this many
Estonia --- this many
USA ---- this many
Denmark – this many

If you do please post it. Note – I will need source listed as this might appear later in a written text. Thanks.
:o

Esa K
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Post by Esa K » 17 Nov 2005 18:10

Hi

As a start some numbers:

Sweden: Winter War: SFK - Svenska frivilligkåren - Swedish Volontary Corp = around 8260 + approx 500 in other units.

Sweden: Continuation War 1941: SFB - Svenska Frivilligbataljonen - Swedish Volontary Batallion = around 900.

Sweden: Continuation War 1942-1944 : SFK - Svenska Frivilligkompaniet - Swedish Volontary Company = around 400.

Source: Claëson, Sten: Svenska frivilliga i Finland 1939-1944 / Förbundet Svenska Finlandsfrivilliga. Stockholm : Militärhistoriska förl. 1989. ISBN 91-85266-46-9


Regards

Esa K

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Post by Esa K » 17 Nov 2005 18:20

From the same source some more numbers, allthough i think theres more exact numbers aviable today in other sources:

Norway - around 700
Denmark - around 1100
USA - around 400
Hungary - around 350


regards, again

Esa K

Tapani K.
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Post by Tapani K. » 17 Nov 2005 20:16

This might be a helpful link for Winter War figures:

http://www.axishistory.com/index.php?id=6299

regards,
Tapani K.

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Tero T
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Post by Tero T » 25 Nov 2005 04:53

Good Day Brent!
With reference to your volunteer question. I interviewed one of these veterans several months ago. His name is Godfrey Millington Hogg. An extroardinary man. I will be writing a biography on him for the KevOs4 website when I have a chance to run it through with Godfrey first to check for errors. Godfreys name shows up in Justin Brooke's book the " The volunteers" . He was training to be an airgunner in the Finnish airforce when the Winter War ended. He like many other volunteers from England were moved to Sweden . Here he was able to get a diplomatic flight out in 1942 to England . The previous flight was shot down by the Germans for some reason. He wound up as a tank commander through Italy and northern Europe Holland and into Germany. A remarkable person of great character. Regards Tero T
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Post by Hanski » 21 Jan 2006 12:50

The contract form used by the British volunteering in the Winter War.
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Post by Hanski » 28 Jun 2006 18:25

More pages to the volunteer contract...
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Post by Hanski » 28 Jun 2006 18:27

...signatures...
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Post by Hanski » 28 Jun 2006 18:30

... and the solemn oath.
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Tuco
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Post by Tuco » 29 Jun 2006 20:40

Thanks for sharing this as it is interesting reading.

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Post by Tapani K. » 05 Jul 2006 14:56

The volunteer cotract was that of a person who had quite an interesting career. I mentioned him in this thread: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=60322

The Estonian bit mentions that his career ended in 1960 as a British Military attache in Ethiopia. He was pensioned with the rank of a colonel.

regards,
Tapani K.

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Post by Hanski » 05 Jul 2006 21:23

Thank you, Tapani, for your most interesting additional information!

As for the contract pages posted above, the first page I photographed in the Imperial War Museum in London, where there is a small "corner closet" vitrin on the Finnish Winter War. The remaining pages are those of Karl Nurk's contract, which I came across with in the Military Archives in Helsinki, while recently looking up documents on foreign volunteers. I was puzzled by his name, which sounds quite unusual for anyone from Britain.

It is fascinating to read those original documents from various countries all over the world, including South America, Australia, and Egypt, where men were inspired by Finland's struggle and expressed their willingness to contribute in person. There were even high-ranking emigrant White Russian officers offering their services to Marshal Mannerheim in the battle against the Bolsheviks. The archives also contain plenty of telegram correspondence between various Finnish embassies and legations all over the world, requesting instructions from Helsinki on how to deal with incoming volunteer offers. I hope to post more on the subject on this thread later on.

Karl Nurk arrived from London, but quite a few Estonian volunteers crossed the ice across the Gulf of Finland and then reported themselves to the Frontier Guards. Considering all the foreign volunteers, to say the least, the final outcome was quite a colourful "Foreign Legion" that had arrived on site to help Finland, a relatively isolated country until then. With the language and cross-cultural skills of those days, the Finnish military authorities responsible for the administration of such a corps must have faced a real challenge, if not a nightmare!

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Post by Hanski » 05 Aug 2006 07:46

When Hitler and Stalin started carrying out their division of Europe in accordance with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and Germany had invaded Poland on 1 September 1939, Britain and France gave an ultimatum with a threat of war, unless Germany would withdraw its troops. It did not by the deadline of 3 September, hence a declaration of war followed by Britain and France. After Germany had already defeated Poland with its Blitzkrieg, the Soviet Union then took its share of the spoils of war, and occupied Eastern Poland. Britain and France never declared war on the USSR for this.

The world watched holding its breath, but nothing really seemed to happen for months. Soon the declared war was coined “the phoney war”, as it went on only formally but not in practice. Europe took measures of self-protection and prepared for another destructive Great War, but no one knew when the European great powers would actually clash in battle.

Stalin wasted no time in getting his share of Europe. He demanded negotiations for Soviet military bases in the Baltic countries, which each in turn agreed to provide them for the USSR, and eventually were joined into the Soviet Union. Finland was subjected to similar demands, but refused to cede its territory. Finnish volunteers fortified the border on the Karelian Isthmus, and the army was mobilized in the so-called Extra Manoeuvres. The negotiations then broke out. On 30 November 1939, without a declaration of war, Soviet troops crossed the border all along the 1000 kilometres from the Arctic Ocean to Gulf of Finland, and Finnish cities were bombed by the Soviet Air Force causing civilian casualties.

While nothing spectacular took place elsewhere, the world media now focused on the Russo-Finnish war. The collapse and conquest of Finland was expected in a matter of weeks at most, but against all odds, the small unknown country of less than 4 million seemed to outperform its mighty adversary. Instead of a quick Red Army parade march, the world saw an “epic” battle evolving between David and Goliath in an exotic environment of snow and extreme cold. The Biblical dimension was reinforced by photos of Finnish troops wearing their white snow camouflage with their bared heads bent for prayer, as they gathered strength for fighting their enemy, the godless atheist state that had attacked them unprovoked and now threatened the lives of their families and intended to set up rule of tyranny. No one with a sense of honour could remain indifferent.

Sympathy was overwhelming and men all over the world identified themselves with the heroes who astonished the world by decimating divisions with their light arms fire, as evidenced by sensational photos of frozen convoys and dead enemies on the Raate road circulating in the world press. The remote war going on in unusual conditions became the centre of media attention.

The general atmosphere inspired various forms of spontaneous support all over the world, even willingness for personal participation for idealistic motives. The Republic of Finland, having badly neglected its national defence, welcomed any help offered. Applications started pouring in to Finnish legations all over the world, which in turn requested instructions from Helsinki on how to deal with all the inquiries and offers.
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Post by Hanski » 05 Aug 2006 08:04

Some kind of an administrative system had to be set up to handle the applications. Below are samples of forms in French language to collect basic personal data.
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Post by Hanski » 05 Aug 2006 08:15

More men of honour, pouring in from all over the world...
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