Winter War 1939-1940 || First Soviet-Finnish War || Pak Wap

Call of War Introduction World War II… A struggle in which seventy million people died… A huge hurricane that affected the whole world… Dozens of countries where desires were destroyed… A wreckage left behind by tank pallets… 


Winter War 1939- 1940 Satlin’s Goal In the unpredictable and complex environment of the 1930s, Adolf Hitler rose to leadership in Germany. The new leader would display an aggressive stance in order to compensate for the losses his country suffered after the First World War. 

Winter War 1939-1940 || First Soviet-Finnish War || Pak Wap

This aggressive attitude of his was reinforced by the concessionary movements of the United Kingdom and France. 


While Germany got rid of many economic restrictions, it also expanded its borders. Hitler’s insatiable ambitions and the wrong policies of other great states dragged the whole of Europe and then the world to the brink of a great war. 


The outbreak of this war was when Hitler set Poland as his target. The Germans made an alliance of interests with the Soviet Union, which had aggressive policies like themselves, and divided Poland among themselves. After the sharing, 


the invasion of Poland was attempted in September 1939. You can reach the Occupation of Poland, which we explained in detail in one of our previous videos,

by clicking the card in the upper right. Likewise, you can access many videos about World War II from the playlists on our channel. A few days after the Germans entered the Polish Territories, the United Kingdom and France declared war on Germany. And so the Second World War began… In a short time like 1 month, 


the Germans and Russians entered the Polish territory and divided the region in accordance with the agreements between them. After the occupation was completed at the end of September, a period called “Strange War” was entered between the parties of the 2nd World War. During this period, there was no hot conflict between the parties. 


Everyone was busy setting their overall strategy and preparing. The French and British secretly planned to attack the Rhun region via Belgium. Hitler correctly guessed that his enemies were planning to attack. In this case, he should have acted first and attacked. He thought of invading France in a short time and persuading the British to peace. 


Otherwise, the war would be prolonged. The prolongation of the war could also lead to the defeat of Germany, which did not have as much resource capacity as the Allies. In addition, Hitler did not trust Stalin’s Russia, with which he signed a non-aggression pact. 


That was one reason why it was necessary to be fast. The German Generals did not agree with Hitler. According to them, the army lacked a lot and time was needed. The disagreement in the upper echelon and the climatic conditions kept delaying the German offensive to another date. Similarly, 


the Allies did not take action, and the west and middle of Europe entered a tense process of recovery. While the “Strange War” was raging in the West, the real action was in Eastern Europe. As soon as the invasion of Poland was completed, 


the Soviets turned towards the Baltic coast. According to the secret protocols signed with Germany, the Baltic countries were determined as the “influence” of the Russians. He started to work in order to provide a suitable environment for both those who wanted to take their share and if Germany attacked him one day tomorrow. 


In September and October of 1939, Stalin summoned the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian authorities to Moscow and conveyed their demands. The Russians wanted to settle in these countries by demanding military bases. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, 


which were very weak compared to the Soviets, signed the treaties that were put in front of them to obey all the wishes of the Soviets. It’s the Scandinavian country of Finland. But Finland differed from the other three Baltic states. 


The relations between Finns and Russians were not good for historical reasons. The Finns became independent from the Russians with the help of the Germans during the First World War. For this reason, the Helkinki administration did not hesitate to openly declare its attitude towards the Soviets and the Communist regime.

 

In the situation in October 1939, although Finland was determined as the Soviet sphere of influence, the people tended to maintain their territorial integrity against the Russians at least, intending to remain neutral despite all pressures and threats. 


Stalin did not want Hitler to use Finland as a springboard against him. That’s why he knocked on the door of the Helsinki administration with the following requests: The first request was that all the islands in the Gulf of Finland threatening Leningrad be left to Russia. 


The second was the withdrawal of the Finno-Russian border beyond the range of the Leningrad artillery batteries. In other words, it would move the Finnish border to a point 30 km east of Viipuri. Following the same request, 


all Finnish fortifications on the Karelian Isthmus were to be destroyed. The third request was that the port of Hanko be leased to the Russians for 30 years. The fourth and final request was that the entire northernmost Rybachy Peninsula would be left to the Soviets. This point was a critical place for the defense of the port of Murmansk. 


The total area of the places requested by Stalin was up to 1700 square kilom ters. In return, he offered the Finns up to 3,400 square kilometers of land in the middle of the country, where Repola and Porajorpi are located. The Finns refused this offer, 


saying they wanted to remain neutral. Instead, they made another proposal with fewer concessions. It was a brave move, but standing up against a giant like the Soviets could come at a heavy price. After the first refusal, 


Stalin offered the Finns money in exchange for the aforementioned land. The Finns could take the money and do whatever they wanted. In such a desperate situation, neither taieh nor future generations would help them to do so. However, 


this proposal was also rejected by the government, under the influence of the Finnish people, who were already sharpened against the Russians. 


Unable to get what he wanted with diplomacy, Sralin canceled the previously signed Finnish-Soviet non-aggression plan, one-sided, on 28 November 1939. And it had only one meaning, it was war… Midwinter While the negotiations were going on, 


both sides had already made their preparations to a certain extent. The number of soldiers deployed by the Soviet Union to the region was 425,000, and Finland’s 265 thousand. These numbers belonged to the beginning of the war. Afterwards, 


both sides would increase the number of soldiers, and the number of personnel in the region of the Red Army, the armed power of the Soviets, would increase up to a million. The Soviets had 2500 aircraft and the Finnish had 270 aircraft. 


This disparity was even more evident in the number of tanks. The Finns had only 26 tanks against the 2,300 tanks that the Russians would use throughout the war. Most of the Russian tanks were different model t-26 tanks. 


Apart from this, T-28, T-37, T-38, KV series, Bt Series vehicles would also be used in battles. The Finns had 20 ex-Renault FT-17s and 6 Vickers E-Types. Most of these were vehicles from the First World War. 


The Finns had about 500 against the 3,000 of the Russians. In infantry equipment, Soviet soldiers generally used different variants and models of the Mosin Nagant 1891/1930 rifle. The SVT38 semi-automatic rifle, DP-27 machine gun and Maxim machine guns were also among the most common weapons. Finnish infantrymen, on the other hand, commonly used different models of the Mosin Nagant 1891.


 Carcano M 38, Swedish Mauser was also present in some units. A small but critical number of Finnish machine guns Suomi KP/-31 and LS-26 would also contribute to the army. In the later stages of the war, 


the Finnish army would use many of the equipment they received as booty from the Soviets as their primary weapon. The order and plans of the Red Army were as follows: Although the Russian top management would manage the war, the Leningrad Military District Commander Kiril Meretskov would lead the whole operation.


 The 7th Army, the most motorized and largest force of the Russians, was deployed on the Karelian Isthmus. The aim of this army was to break through the Mannerheim Line and reach Helsinki in 3 weeks via Viipuri and conclude the war. The 8th Army, north of Lake Ladoga, would advance west, encircling the Mannerheim Line from behind.


 The task of the less present 9th Russian army in the Kainuu area was to advance west and divide Finland in two. There was also the 14th Army in Murmansk, very close to the pole. Even having this army the size of a corps here was a costly and difficult task. It was quite a challenge to keep soldiers in the deprivation zone this far north.


 The task of the 14th Army was to take Petsamo and extend it south to Rovaniemi. At the head of the Finnish armies was Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, who would be the brightest name of this war. The Commander


-in-Chief deployed the 2nd and 3rd Finnish Corps, which comprised most of his troops, under the command of General Hugo Österman, to the Mannerheim Defense Line on the Isthmus of Calaria. While the 4th Corps held the north of Lake Ladoga,


 the Northern Finland Group, made up of independent units of border troops, white guards and reserves, would protect the country’s vast northern territory. With the analogy of this international community, Hz.


 It was like the battle between David and Goliath. There was a huge giant in front of Finland. They would either continue a stalling war against this giant until a help from the west came, or they would resist as much as they could and persuade Stalin to sit at the negotiation table. In the middle of the winter, when the air temperature dropped to –


43 degrees in the period, an attack order came from the Russian Headquarters. On November 30, 1939, the Soviet Union with 21 divisions crossed the Finnish border without declaring war. The main attack was on the Keralya Isthmus. 


The 7th Army with 250 thousand present slowly advanced from the border. The 21 thousand soldiers placed on the border by the Finns, after delaying them for 6 days, retreated to the Mannerheim Line, which was protected by a total of 110,000 soldiers. 


The right wing of the 7th Army, which traveled between 25 and 50 km, made contact with the Finnish defense line on 6 December. The first major battles took place in the Suvanto region. In the attacks that continued throughout December,


 the Finns unexpectedly did not give way to the Russians. The defensive line was not as good as its European counterparts, but the soldiers guarding the line turned out to be capable of deftly defending. While the Russians made repeated unsuccessful attempts to penetrate the defensive line in the east of the Isthmus,


 the first Russian attack in the west began on 16 December. The goal was to strike a dagger blow from the Summa area and break the enemy resistance. But the Russians could not break the line of concrete bunkers and trenches at this point, either. There were several factors that made it easier for the Finns to defend the Isthmus of Calaria. 


The first of these was the narrowness of the field. The Finnish-Russian border was about 1300 km, but the area of the main attack was only 150 km. At the same time, the fact that the region was protected by natural barricades such as rivers,


 swamps and forests in winter conditions gave Finnish soldiers a great advantage. In any case, the main defense tactics of the Finnish army were based on geographical advantages. In the face of the attack of the 8th Russian Army in the north of Lake Ladoga,


 the 4th Finnish Corps could not fail at first and had to retreat more than 40 km. The defenders retreated to the vicinity of Kolla Creek and changed tactics and organization with new appointments.


 The steeling of the Finns stopped like December 12. The Tavela Group in the north forced the 1st Russian Corps to retreat with its attacks throughout December. The 4th Finnish Corps, which remained in the south, was also trying to take care of the 56th Russian Army, which was well-introduced. 


Small and highly mobile Finns destroyed their outnumbered enemy with a tactic they called Motti. A road was needed for the Russian vehicles and soldiers to advance. However, in Finland’s sparsely populated region b, 


there were no roads. While the Russians were having difficulty advancing, the Finnish ski troops were advancing rapidly through forest areas and snow-covered fields. Using this advantage, the defenders drew the enemy’s crowded troops to themselves with false attacks, surrounded them from the flanks,


 and cut and packed all their communications. With this practice, which is a kind of crescent tactic, the Russian troops in the region were divided into small bites throughout December and January. The Finns were not so numerous as to devour what they shredded. It was winter that brought the end of the Red Army soldiers. 


The Russians were used to winter, but there was also a Finnish winter that was colder than the Russian winter. Soldiers trapped in pockets died one by one under the Finnish siege, under the grip of the cold. Soviet tanks served no purpose other than being iron graveyards for the soldiers… 


The battles on this front did not hesitate to create their own heroes. The famous Finnish sniper Simo Häyhä, who killed 500 people, the “Moroccan Terror” Aarne Juutilainen and Matti Aarnio were just a few of them… 


Since the Finns did not expect an attack from the north, they kept few troops in these parts of their country. But the Russians had 8 divisions in the north. At the end of November, five divisions of the 9th Army crossed the border and entered the Kainuu region. General Mannerheim immediately moved the 9th Division to the south. 


The 9th Division and currently the military groups there welcomed the Russians in Suomussalmi. The Battles of Suomussalmi and the Battle of Raate Road, which lasted until January, became the most iconic 


Finnish victories of the Winter War. The soldiers of General Tuompo exhibited the sharpest and cleanest examples of the siege tactic in the middle of winter and succeeded in defeating their enemies with the help of geography. The 9th Division managed to surround and lock the 54th Russian Division in Kuhmo, again with Motti’s tactic, at the end of January. 


The 122nd Division, the northernmost of the 9th Russian Army, and its backup, the 88th Division, had arrived in Salla with 35 men. Their goal was to reach the Gulf of Bothnia. Since the Finns did not expect an attack here,


 they did not take large-scale measures. They subsequently sent a small number of troops to the area and formed the Lapland Group in mid-December. A Finnish regiment of 3,500 men confronted the Russians advancing from Salla to Kemijarvi. The regiment resorted to guerrilla tactics. He made hit-and-runs,


 fell behind his enemy, who was far from the supply lines, and blocked the roads. Finally, the Russians, who could not stand, retreated and could not move forward from a certain defensive point until the end of the war. At the end of February, a Scandinavian Division, mostly Swedish volunteers,


 came to the aid. Although this increased the strength of the defenders, the Russians were unable to attack due to dealing with the season, and this is how this front was locked. The area where the 14th Army was responsible was the quietest front of the war. Against the three Russian divisions stationed here, 


the Finns had only one battalion at the port of Petsamo on the Barents Sea coast. The Russians used very little of their strength in the operation here. They took the Rybachy Peninsula and slowly arrived at Petsamo. One of the divisions took a defensive position in the port, as this was a point where Europeans could deliver aid to Finland. It was quite difficult to go south. Aside from the harsh weather conditions,


 the polar nights lasting more than 20 hours reduced the operational power very much. The Russians advanced slowly and came to Nautsi over the highway. Due to the raiding operations of the Finns, they did not go any further towards the end of January and took a defensive position. Air and naval activities in the Winter


 War were very limited. Although the Russians had an undisputed command of the airspace, the planes did not have the effect the Soviets had hoped for. As a result of the difficulties encountered, 400 of the Soviet aircraft were out of use. A similar disappointment was experienced by the Russian navy.


 Since the North Seas and the Baltic were frozen in that season, the ships could not be used as desired. Although the Russian Baltic Fleet was not at a level to go beyond the coastal defense force. The Finnish Army, who was called to give up in 3 weeks, resisted for almost 3 months. The heroic resistance in the Winter War attracted the attention of the whole world, instantly increasing the sympathy for Finland. 


There were many factors in the success of the Finns, or from another point of view the failure of the Russians. The biggest advantage of the Soviets over their rivals was, of course, manpower. Another advantage was the existence of a more equipped and modern army than the Finns. Although there were very important features, these alone were sometimes not enough to conclude a war immediately.


 In fact, the Russian army did not know exactly how to attack. He showed this on the Karelian Isthmus, the main front. The battles here resembled the battles of World War I rather than World War II. It would be in the second half of World War II that the Soviets could bend the offensive. 


It was a big problem that the military cadres were liquidated in the 1930s, the tactical inadequacy of the Russian commanders, the two-headed command system in the army – the inspectors of the communist party were also involved in the process – and the Soviets’ underestimation of the enemy. The most decisive factor in the course of the Winter War; geography and season.


 75% of Finnish country was forest. Much of the rest was covered by swamps, lakes and rivers. This allowed the Finns, who knew their country well, to use this advantage. The fact that the season was so harsh did not affect the Finnish soldiers accustomed to the climate as much as the Russians.


 Finns; With their ski troops, they could easily hang behind Russian lines, cut roads, resort to guerrilla warfare on other fronts except the Karelian Isthmus, sabotage tanks at close range, camouflage, and easily move troops with the advantage of laying the railroads in the country transversely and longitudinally. 


Still, no matter what, there is such a thing as the Finns definitively overthrowing the Russians; It was against the math. Sooner or later the existing situation would be reversed… The Soviet Union was humiliated in the attacks of December 1939 and January 1940, and Josep Stalin was not happy about it.


 He decided to redesign everything from scratch. He put Timoshenko at the head of the army and shifted all focus to the Karelian Isthmus. The army was reorganized and all tactics were reworked. Stalin massed as many men as he could into the front. Only 450-500 thousand soldiers were placed in front of Karelia.


 Thousands of tanks, artillery and aircraft were dispatched to the region. The red army was roaring. The attack began on February 1. The bombs began to tear the globe apart incessantly. Infantry and tank attacks ensued. The Russians were loading regardless of how many casualties they had suffered. They were pouring down the Mannerheim Line, where it had been raining. On February 12,


 Stalin renewed his demands and offered peace , but the Finns left the negotiating table, relying on help from the British and French. The Allied powers had prepared to assist, but the trouble was that Norway and Sweden did not grant military pass. Sweden and Norway feared Germany. Hitler threatened to invade the Scandinavian countries the moment the Allies were given the right of way. Towards the end of February, 


the Russians began to break through the defensive line from Summa. Although the Finns withdrew as per the order, the spell was broken and the resistance was shattered. By 6 March, the Red Army had penetrated a further 15 km from Viipuri. Although the commander-in-chief of the Finnish Army tried to draw his troops there by determining a new line in front of Viipuri for a last resistance,


 the losses were increasing uncontrollably. Finns were not at a level to fill the gaps with their limited population and equipment. Realizing that the expected help would not come, the Helsinki administration agreed to surrender unconditionally so that their country would not be crushed under the Soviet boot. The Moscow treaty was signed on 12 March 1940, and a day later the Winter War ended with the Soviets’ victory.


 Finland had fought proudly throughout its history and was defeated with dignity. But the price of their resistance and desire for independence has come at a high cost to them. With the Moscow treaty, Stalin got more than his initial demands. All the territories shown on the map were transferred to the Russians.


 In addition to losing about 10% of its territory, Finland lost 12% of its population and 30% of its economic assets. If we look at the losses during the war, the Finns lost a total of 70,000 dead, wounded, captured, missing, and fugitive,


 while the Russians lost 320 thousand to 380 thousand men. Considering that the loss in the invasion of Poland was around 5,000, the gravity of the loss in the Winter War will be revealed in all its horror. Winter War; In addition to being an important example of how an army that was far behind its rival numerically


Winter War 1939-1940 || First Soviet-Finnish War || Pak Wap
Winter War 1939-1940 || First Soviet-Finnish War || Pak Wap


 and technically could resist with a good strategy and using geography, it also meant something else for the Second World War. The difficult situation of the Russians during the war led to false assessments on both the Franco-British wing and the German wing. Especially the Germans interpreted the poor performance of the Russians as Stalin being weaker than expected. 


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