70TH ANNIVERSARY DISCUSSION (3) THE WINTER WAR 1939-40



  • Question:  In your opinions…how did Finland hold out against the superior numbers of the Soviet Army?  Was it because of the Finnish Ski troops that were specially trained in that type of warfare? Why is the Winter War so overlooked in the history of World War II?

    Looking forward to your answers…



  • All of the Soviet head generals had already been purged, so the Soviet command system was very inadequate and unprepared for war.  Believe it or not the Soviets were also unprepared for winter warfare compared to the Finns in terms of winter gear and survival necessities.



  • I shouldn’t say all soviet heads of command were purged, but most were.



  • a lot of people dont realize how importaint the Winter War was in the scheme of WW2…heres a link to it

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_war


  • 2007 AAR League

    the soviets gameplan(as always) of winning through sheer superiority in numbers of soldiers and equipment didnt work well when they couldnt move through the snowy forests.  They got eaten alive until they thought “what we need is even more troops, tanks, planes, and supplies.  A ridiculous amount even”

    then they had their victory.



  • For this i think there are various factors that contributed.

    First the sovjet army did not have any experienced senior officers, so they where severly crippled by this. Also they thought it would be an easy victory and did not deploy that many troops they could deploy and they could only focus on a few small reinforced points.

    The roads and passes are ideal for ambushes and favor the defender highly. Large troups need a lot of supplies per day that need to get over those same small roads then the reinforcements have to move through.
    Finish people however where well trained in using ski troops and where highly motivated, they also where more familiar with the terrain while the russian troops came from different regions.
    When fighting a gerilia style of warfare you need a lot of extra troups to defend yourself against counterattacks while you yourself have verry little to counterattack against.



  • still amazing how the Finns held off such large numbers of soviet troops with those ski battalions of theirs


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