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Author: Earth Knowledge Bureau（地球知识局）
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NO.2038-True arrogant soldiers will lose
Proofread: Gu Hanying / Editor: Salted Hairtail
“Soldiers, the country’s major events, the place of death and life, the way of survival, must be observed.”-“Sun Tzu’s Art of War · Tactics”
For any country, war is a very serious matter. At the beginning of the Second World War, the Soviet Union experienced a war that “all the game loses if it is careless”. Although the Soviet Union won in the end, it also exposed its own serious shortcomings. It was invaded by Nazi Germany 15 months after the war, and the country was plunged into war.
This war that exposed the Soviet Union’s shortcomings is the next thing to talk about, the Soviet-Finnish War that took place from the end of 1939 to the beginning of 1940.
It’s no exaggeration to say that this is the battle for the founding of Finland.
(A country of ice and snow, blue crusader flag on a white background, photo: wiki)▼
At the end of 1939, although Britain and France had declared war on Germany, the war in Europe was strangely calm at this time. After the Soviet Union and Germany joined forces to carve up Poland, the British and French soldiers also stayed in the trenches on the Western Front with nothing to do. At this time, in the ice and snow in northern Europe, an unexpected war broke out.
After the Soviet Union and Germany partitioned Poland, the Soviet Union and Germany directly bordered on each other.
In order to avoid fighting on the two fronts, Germany must first defeat Britain and France on the Western Front.
The Soviet Union does not want to go to war at this time, but it also wants to continue to expand the buffer zone
Before the 19th century, Finland did not exist in the Nordic region, it was only part of the eastern part of the Kingdom of Sweden. At that time, Sweden once held the hegemony of the Baltic region. With the rise of Tsarist Russia, the two countries fought fiercely in the 18th century. As a result, Sweden was completely defeated. Since then, it withdrew from the ranks of European powers and was replaced by Tsarist Russia.
There is no doubt that St. Petersburg is that era and Peter the Great
The most important legacy left to Russia
Two key nodes of detailed expansion in Russian history
One is to capture St. Petersburg, the estuary of the Baltic Sea
One is to divide Poland with Prussia and Austria
The next goal is to defeat Sweden again and win Finland ▼
Between 1808 and 1809, Russia waged another war against Sweden, and finally annexed Finland and designated it as an autonomous buffer state. A hundred years later, Finland seized the gap in the Russian civil strife at the end of the First World War and had no time to take care of, and declared its independence on December 6, 1917.
As a result, the Finnish people take their destiny into their own hands
The current situation not only authorizes but also orders the Finnish people to do so
——Finland “Declaration of Independence”
In October 1920, Finland and the Soviet Union signed the “Tartu Treaty”, confirming the old border between the Grand Duchy of Finland and Tsarist Russia as the new Finnish-Soviet border. However, in the opinion of the nationalists who advocate “Greater Finland”, the Finnish-majority Su-Karelia region should be merged into Finland. For this reason, relations between the two countries are still very tense.
Document of the Soviet Union’s recognition of Finland’s independence
There are the signatures of Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky
On the other hand, as the domestic situation stabilized, the Soviet Union wanted to restore the “former Tsarist Russia” land lost in the long-term chaos and began to change its foreign policy towards Finland. The Soviet Union hopes to strengthen the security of Leningrad (St. Petersburg), which is only 32 kilometers away from the Finnish border, in response to the rise of Nazi Germany, because here is the only ice-free port in the Soviet Union facing Western Europe, and the importance is self-evident.
From Tsarist Russia to the Soviet Union, and now the Russian Federation
St. Petersburg is an extremely important military port
(Peter and Paul Cathedral is set against warships, photo: Kremlin)▼
In 1938, the Soviet Union told Finland through covert channels that the Soviet Union did not trust Germany and believed that there was a possibility of war between the Soviet Union and Germany. The Soviet army must go out to protect Leningrad and suggested that Finland cede or lease some islands related to Leningrad in the Gulf of Finland. The result was rejected by Finland.
In October 1939, during the Soviet-Finnish negotiations, the Soviet Union requested that the border of the Karelia Isthmus be moved to the Finnish side, and Finland ceded the islands of the Gulf of Finland and the Rybach Peninsula. In exchange, the Soviet Union would cede the cities of Rebola and Polajärvi in East Karelia, an area twice the size of the territories requested by Finland.
Finland was bigger than it is now
Mainly in the three areas of Karelia, Sara, and Petsamo
Karelia is an area that Russia is bound to win, and it is also the main battlefield this time ▼
The Finnish government was divided on this, but under the opinions of the public and parliament, it once again rejected the Soviet proposal. At the same time, both sides have begun war mobilization.
Before the war, of course, the Soviet Union did not pay attention to small Finland. Not long ago, the Soviet army swallowed eastern Poland in just three weeks at a cost of fewer than 4,000 casualties. Moreover, the three Baltic countries quickly succumbed, allowing the Soviet Union to establish military bases and garrisons on their territories.
The Soviet Union used force against Finland to defend Leningrad as a motive and an excuse
(Soviet mobilization poster, St. Petersburg is painted in the background)
Despite some conservative opinions, the Soviet leadership is generally optimistic. The Soviet front-line commander Meletskov publicly stated that the Finnish campaign will only take two weeks at most. In the Soviet soldier’s instruction manual, there is a sentence: “Don’t cross the border and enter Sweden by mistake!”
On November 30, 1939, the Soviet Union dispatched a huge force of 450,000 troops from 21 divisions to invade Finland, and the Soviet-Finnish War broke out.
The Soviets’ arrogance and underestimation of the enemy violated the military taboo
To describe it in Chinese idioms is: arrogant soldiers will lose
Can’t paint a tiger
The blitzkrieg carried out by Nazi Germany in Poland left a very deep impression on the Soviet army. They planned to imitate it on the Sufen battlefield but underestimated the impact of Finland’s harsh terrain-most of the terrain here is forests that are difficult to pass quickly. And swamp.
A lonely Soviet T-26 deep into the snow forest
It is easy to be hunted by the Finnish army
At the beginning of the war, the Finns’ defense mainly relied on the Mannerheim Line on the Karelia Isthmus, about 30 to 75 kilometers from the border. The 130,000 Finnish troops deployed here will face an offensive of 250,000 Soviet troops.
We are very different, the Finns did not choose to raise their hands
Instead, they dig deep into the trenches and set up machine guns to wait for battle at any time.
(Soldiers on the Mannerheim Line, picture: wiki)▼
Due to the gap in military capabilities, Soviet armored units that attempt to copy the German Blitz often regard this tactic as a simple frontal tank charge. However, the Finnish army seriously lacked anti-tank weapons and anti-tank tactical training and suffered a lot from Soviet tanks in the early stages of the war. But soon, the Finns learned how to deal with these tanks.
Soviet tank destroyed by the Finnish army
On December 6, 1939, all Finnish cover forces were withdrawn to the Mannerheim Line. Before the Soviet army launched its offensive, the Finnish artillery had already conducted reconnaissance on the front line and formulated a firepower plan in advance, which caused heavy casualties for the Soviet infantry on the open ground. For more than half a month, the advance of the Soviet army, which had all the advantages, was blocked.
I have learned a lot of theoretical knowledge, but not enough to defeat the severe cold
On the northern front, the Battle of Kola lasted until the end of the war, and the Soviet army failed to break through the Finnish defenses. The record of more than 500 kills of the Finnish army sniper Simo Häyhä, known as the “White Death” by the Soviets, was created here.
During the battle, Seamus Haye was shot in half of the face by the Soviets.
He survived a catastrophe and later passed away at the age of 96
The Battle of Lat Road in the Battle of Sumsalmi, further north, caused the Soviet army to suffer even more heavy losses. Here, about 14,000 Soviet troops were ambushed by the Finns during the march. The Soviets suffered 7000-9000 casualties, and the Finns suffered 400 casualties.
With the huge superior force, the blitzkrieg did not come out, and in turn, was beaten by the Finns. Such a war situation and the heavy price paid obviously made the highest level of the Soviet Union very dissatisfied.
Boris Shaboshnikov, the Soviet chief of staff, who is solely responsible for the Finnish theater, ordered the suspension of the frontal attack in late December. Subsequently, the Soviets replaced their field commanders, increased their total force to 600,000 in the main attack direction, deployed more tanks and artillery, and strengthened targeted preparations.
Facing the steel torrent, the Finns threw grenades with a slingshot
On February 1, 1940, the Soviet army resumed its large-scale offensive. By February 11, the Soviet army deployed about 460,000 soldiers, 3,350 artillery pieces, 3,000 tanks, and 1,300 planes in the Karelia Isthmus, ready to force Finland. About 150,000 people in the 8 divisions of the Finnish army on the opposite side began to collapse in the face of a powerful offensive. On February 15, Mannerheim, the commander-in-chief of the Finnish army, ordered a full retreat to the backup line.
Faced with overwhelming strength, Finland is unable to resist
But it must be said that they played very tenaciously
(Finnish soldiers in the trenches of defense, photo: Yitu.com)▼
In the face of the absolute power gap, Finland can no longer support it.
On March 9, 1940, Finland faced a very severe military situation on the Karelia Isthmus: heavy casualties, exhaustion of artillery and ammunition, and massive losses of weapons. The isolated Finnish government had no choice but to accept Soviet conditions.
This is a difficult decision, Finland has no choice
Local advantages on the battlefield cannot make up for the gap in national power
From the perspective of the Soviet Union, in addition to the huge casualties, with the arrival of the spring thawing, ground traffic conditions are getting worse and worse. If you really want to eat Helsinki hard, the casualties will be even greater.
Therefore, the two sides signed the “Moscow Peace Treaty” on March 12, 1940, and the war ended. Finland had to cede part of Karelia, the entire Karelia Isthmus, and the land north of Lake Ladoga. The total area of this area is equivalent to 8% of Finland’s territory.
After this war, there is another “second war”
Finland wants revenge against the Soviet Union with Germany
As a result, the rest of Petsamo in the north is also lost ▼
According to data from different sources, more than 50,000-150,000 people died in the Soviet army, and the total casualties were between 270,000-400,000; 1,200-3,500 Soviet tanks were destroyed; about 1,000 planes were lost, of which Less than half are combat losses. On the Finnish side, 25,904 people were killed or missing, and 43,557 were injured; 20-30 tanks were destroyed and 62 aircraft were lost. Judging from the comparison of losses in battle, although the Soviet Union won, it was a disastrous defeat.
When the war comes, nothing is spared
The shells roared, smashing everything you treasure to pieces in an instant
(During the war, the Soviets bombed Helsinki, photo: wiki)▼
This war has had a profound impact on all sides.
The Soviet Union reformed the organizational structure, equipment, and tactics of the military in accordance with the conditions of the war, but by the time Germany launched the Barbarossa plan to invade the Soviet Union 15 months later, all these tasks had not been completed.
The Soviet Union and Germany did not intend to let each other live in peace at all
The so-called non-aggression treaty, but temporary non-aggression
(German forces invading the Soviet Union, picture: wiki)▼
The Soviet-Finnish war had different effects on countries: it was a political success for the Germans, it was humiliated for the Soviet army and the League of Nations, and it exposed its confusion and powerlessness to the Anglo-French Supreme War Council. More importantly, the poor performance of the Soviet army in the war made Hitler mistakenly believe that the Soviet Union was really vulnerable. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, he declared: “As long as we kick open the door, the entire rotten structure will be wiped out.”
Barbarossa was indeed the same at the beginning, the Soviet Union suffered extremely heavy losses
But Hitler still underestimated the Soviet Union, just like the Soviet Union underestimated Finland
The torrent of steel was scrapped again in the cold mud
(Germans in the quagmire in extremely cold weather, photo: wiki)▼
The slow and poor performance of Britain and France in the war proved that they could not carry out effective war mobilization and led to the collapse of the French Daraday government. On the other hand, this war established close ties between Finland and Germany, prompting Finland to join the German camp in order to avenge the Soviet Union.
The Axis powers at this time have exposed the essence of fascism
The Finn tied himself to a German tank and really got on the thief ship.
Compared with the Soviet Union, Finland is undoubtedly a very weak country. But even so, the Soviets still fought extremely hard and paid a great price. The main reason was that they underestimated the enemy, did not expect the enemy to be lenient, and seriously underestimated the Finns’ will to resist.
If you lose, you don’t lose, when the Finns just beat the Soviet Union.
They did not give up, but broke them into pieces and guerrillas on the spot.
(Reindeer is better than any vehicle, photo: Yitu.com)▼
Before the war, the Soviets agreed that Finland could be taken in a few weeks, so they did not prepare for the upcoming winter: the tanks were still painted in olive green, the soldiers’ uniforms were also khaki, and they were not allotted for winter. Field tent for combat.
In the snow and ice, Finnish soldiers can eat hot food
The Soviet army can only eat dry food and fight unprepared battles.
(Picture: Yitu.com / wiki)
However, the winter during the war was extremely cold. On January 16, 1940, the Karelian Isthmus recorded an ultra-low temperature of -43°C. Thousands of Soviet soldiers died of frostbite. Soviet soldiers who do not know how to ski can only be forced to march in long columns. It was not until late January 1940 that the Soviet Union distributed snowsuits to the troops and painted the equipment white suitable for snow combat.
This picture is the truth, what about the “battle nation”
Once the logistical support can’t keep up, you can’t hold the cold
(The Soviet Army frozen to death outdoors, picture: wiki)▼
The Finnish army has a good geographical position. They are good at cross-country skiing. The cold, snow, forest and polar night have become Finns’ friends. The Finns are heavily dressed, and the skiers wear light white snow capes. This snow camouflage makes it difficult for Finnish skiers to be found, which greatly facilitates their implementation of guerrilla tactics.
Mountains and trees, wind, thunder, rain and snow, all can be used by me
According to local conditions, although the Finnish army is small, it occupies a good place and people.
In addition, the Soviet political struggle in the 1930s severely affected the military, and most of the military’s officers were replaced by inexperienced personnel. As a result, the Soviet military’s tactical literacy fell sharply and the command system became inefficient and useless.
All in all, this unexpected encounter between the Soviet Union and Finland removed the seemingly invincible appearance of the Soviet army, made the Germans think they had a glimpse of the Soviet Union’s cards, and prompted it to repeat the mistakes of Napoleon’s expedition to Russia, and eventually lead to defeat.
The Germans who did the work first were finally pushed back against the base by the Soviet Union
(The Soviet Army captured Berlin and was killed by the SS, photo: Yitu.com)▼
- “History of World War II: Strategy and Tactics” (English) GFC. Fuller
- “The Clash of Giants: A New History of the Soviet-German War” (US) David Grants, Jonathan House
- “The Second World War” (Germany) K. Tipelskig
- Winter War-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War
- Soviet invasion of Poland-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_invasion_of_Poland
*The content of this article is provided by the author and does not represent the position of the Earth Knowledge Bureau