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Thread: I just Stumbled Upon this pic...

  1. #1
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    Default I just Stumbled Upon this pic...



    Look at the numbers!!!!

    Those are the numbers currently on Wikipedia. Although Wiki ain't the most reliable source, those numbers are still pretty impressive!

    Casualties and losses

    Finland:
    25,904 dead or missing
    43,557 wounded
    1,000 captured
    957 civilians in air raids
    20–30 tanks
    62 aircraft

    USSR:
    126,875 dead or missing
    188,671 wounded, injured or burned
    5,572 captured
    3,543 tanks
    261–515 aircraft

  2. #2
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    Default Re: I just Stumbled Upon this pic...

    Couple of things to remember here. The Finns were fighting on excellent defensive terrain, that they'd been fortifying for generations. The Soviets were in a war they weren't prepared for, with an army that was still suffering severely from the effects of the purges a handful of years before (where for instance something like 90% of senior officers were executed). No army will fight well in those conditions. Note how poorly the Finns did in comparison a few years later when the Red Army had time to recover and they no longer had the original terrain to fight over.
    I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate - Curtis E LeMay

  3. #3
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    Default Re: I just Stumbled Upon this pic...

    I was not aware of that. Thanks!

    Still impressive numbers, pretty unusual.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: I just Stumbled Upon this pic...

    Kind of like the Spartians. They had every advantage and used them! So they did well.

    But sometimes victory breeds it's own defeat later.

    Deaf
    “We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality” Ayn Rand

  5. #5
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    Default Re: I just Stumbled Upon this pic...

    Um, pdf27 - I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to when you suggest the Finns didn't do very well against the Soviets a few years later.

    First, in the Winter War - another factor not mentioned was the brutalness of the winter, even by Soviet-Finnish standards. Many, many Soviets froze to death. Others became easy targets as they were framed by the light while trying to huddle around around bonfires during the long, long winter nights of that region. Soviet armor was nearly useless, and their oil froze, much as the German panzers' would two years later. Further more, Soviet Propaganda had the invading soldiers thinking the Finns were ready to welcome them with open arms as liberators, and the reality was just a tad different....

    The Finns did finally come to terms when the Soviets breached the Mannerheim Line. Numbers of estimated Soviet casualties are all over the map - I've seen at least one figure in excess of a million. The Continuation War was the next conflict, in which, as Germany's co-Belligerent, Finland attacked to reclaim territory lost under the terms of the agreements at the end of the Winter War. The general consensus is they kicked ***, and actually, for reasons of grabbing defensible terrain, went a little beyond their old borders. However, they did not, for instance, help the Germans in their siege of Lenningrad, much to the German's disappointment Things were pretty static until the Soviets finally counterattacked in '44. Badly outnumbered (as always), the Finns lost ground at first. What happened next becomes a bit murky. As I understand it, the Soviets' position is that the Finns sued for peace while they were running home with their tales between their legs, and that ol' Uncle Joe was kind enough to agree. The Finns' position is more along the line of having recovered their balance and actually having stopped in its tracks (and some say started to push back) the Soviet juggernaut when Stalin agreed to peace in exchange for the Finns expelling Germans from Finland. Given Soviet attitudes and behavior elsewhere, which version seems more likely? Do you really think the Soviets would have ceased their invasion if they were about to roll the Finns up?

    Stalin himself acknowledged the military prowess of Finland in a post-war toast: you can probably find the exact details with an Internet search. I recall reading German views of the Finns also as being highly favorable. An example: a captain in a German Mountain Division assessed in an official report (!) that any Finn was worth any two of his own men. As I think I said elsewhere, the Gebirgsjager were not exactly a bunch of sissies themselves. And the Finns did kick the Germans out of Finland (Lapland War), in a conflict some describe as bloodless, while others say it was quite bloody. Again, the Germans left -- compare that to, say, their behavior in Hungary or Italy when their presence was no longer desired, and draw your own conclusions about how easily they left.

    I would very definitely hesitate to characterize Finland's army during WWII as performing "poorly" under any circumstances - excepting only the financial sense of the word. While I wouldn't agree with Stalin on much, I would certainly raise a glass to toast Finland's army.
    Last edited by Ardee; 11-03-2010 at 05:04 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: I just Stumbled Upon this pic...

    The Finns were fighting on excellent defensive terrain, that they'd been fortifying for generations.
    Wrong. Look at the photographs from the Winter War, if the border was so well fortified, why are the Finnish soldiers so often lying in some trench or muddy bank of a stream? :-D

    The Finnish pre-war government did not spent money on the army, but on welfare etc, because the Finnish government (incorrectly) believed that the international community would protect them against any attacks (Finland was, after all, naive new country, thinking that nobody would attack them if they weren't a threat to anyone). The Finnish generals were pretty angry that they didn't have money to buy decent armament or men to train or even manpower to build fortifications. The losses for the Finnish side would have been considerably smaller had Finland spent even average amount of money on the army.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: I just Stumbled Upon this pic...

    I’ve read that the Finn’s, using the export model of the dreaded Brewster Buffalo, recorded the highest kill to loss ratio of any fighter in the war! Don’t know if this is true but they liked the plane so much they produced a version for themselves while US and British pilots (flying later models of the same aircraft) were easy meat for the Japanese.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: I just Stumbled Upon this pic...

    Quote Originally Posted by muscogeemike View Post
    I’ve read that the Finn’s, using the export model of the dreaded Brewster Buffalo, recorded the highest kill to loss ratio of any fighter in the war! Don’t know if this is true but they liked the plane so much they produced a version for themselves while US and British pilots (flying later models of the same aircraft) were easy meat for the Japanese.
    It's true. The Finn's inspired use of the Buffalo was mentioned in the book "Buffalos Over Singapore" (the Singapore Buffalos were the "easy meat" you mentioned).

    It's really no mystery why; the Finns were fighting a completely different war against a completely different opponent in completely different circumstances. Some of the reasons the British and American pilots did so poorly in the Buffalo had nothing to do with the plane itself. For one thing, the British, and Australian pilots who flew the Buffalo over Singapore had training that could only be described as abysmal; some of the Australians didn't even know how to raise the landing gear in the Buffalo, nor fire the guns, yet were thrown into battle against Japanese pilots with months or years of combat experience and flying superior aircraft. Also, the British air staff responsible for defending Singapore did a very poor job; they never even bothered to establish an air warning system, for example and planned air operations like rank amateurs.

    The Americans who flew the Buffalo against the Japanese at Midway were also poorly trained, inexperienced, and had little idea of the relative strengths and weaknesses of their own and their enemy's planes. Having said that, the Buffalo was not the right plane to send against the Japanese in 1941-42, so even well trained and experienced pilots would have had problems trying to stop the Japanese.

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