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Why did Finland survive?

 
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Why did Finland survive? - 12/5/2011 8:26:16 PM   
Footslogger

 

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I have heard that the Germans were giving Finland weapons to protect themselves from the Soviets, but what was given to them?
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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/5/2011 8:50:41 PM   
Flaviusx


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That's not why they survived.

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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/5/2011 8:53:36 PM   
Aurelian

 

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In the Soviet Union's interest I suppose.

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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/5/2011 9:11:52 PM   
TulliusDetritus


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You mean why the country was not swallowed and became a Soviet Republic? Don't forget Finland had been Russian until the October Revolution. The Soviets didn't give up other republics (various reasons were given) but accepted Finnish Independence as natural. The country was developed, had a strong social tissue unlike the other backward parts of the Russian Empire. The self-determination was applied in this case.

So they had taken their decision. Even if the Finnish joined the Germans the Soviets could perfectly understand that was some sort of "defensive" war (the Soviets had just started a war of agression against them, the Winter War). Unlike the Romanians, Hungarians and Italians.

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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/5/2011 9:40:56 PM   
Klydon


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Finland got small arms, some artillery, and aircraft from the Germans along with ammunition, etc. They also got panzerfausts as well. Finland was totally reliant on the Germans for military aid and the Germans used this fact as a negotiation ploy several times when they would catch wind of Finland discussing a seperate peace with Russia.

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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/5/2011 10:23:17 PM   
Footslogger

 

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OT: Well I remember that the Soviets attacked some country and failed with one million men in casualties..... I'm gettin too old for this

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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/5/2011 10:29:40 PM   
TulliusDetritus


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Footslogger

OT: Well I remember that the Soviets attacked some country and failed with one million men in casualties..... I'm gettin too old for this


Are you trying to imply that the Red Army that got to Berlin and then utterly annihilated the Japanese Kwantung Army in 1945 would not have crushed the Finns?

You are obviously thinking about the Red Army pre-1943 And here's it's about the 1944 Red Army...

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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/6/2011 4:44:33 AM   
Q-Ball


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The primary reason, IMO, was the Finns. Their tough army was obvious. This was reaons #1. But they had, and needed, some help.

The Western Allies exerted pressure on the Soviets to NOT liquidate Finland. The Finns were very well aware of how the Western Allies would perceive their involvement, and were careful to not get too close to Germany.


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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/6/2011 8:06:46 AM   
elxaime

 

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Finland survived due to Soviet policy considerations plus the Finns decision to seek a separate peace. No disrespect to the Finns, but the Soviets could easily have occupied the entire country in 1944-5. Stalin decided he could get all he wanted without the burden of occupation. And this is what happened - Finlandization.

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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/6/2011 12:08:54 PM   
Sardaukar


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quote:

ORIGINAL: elxaime

Finland survived due to Soviet policy considerations plus the Finns decision to seek a separate peace. No disrespect to the Finns, but the Soviets could easily have occupied the entire country in 1944-5. Stalin decided he could get all he wanted without the burden of occupation. And this is what happened - Finlandization.


"Easily" is bit pushing it. But ultimately Soviets could have done it, just like they could have done it in Winter War. Stalin decided that price was not worth the prize.

Largest battles in 1944 all ultimately ended with Finnish defensive victories. E.g. Tali-Ihantala was size of El Alamein battle or more and quite unknown among especially Anglo-Saxon historians.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tali-Ihantala
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vuosalmi

And in Battle of Ilomantsi, encircled couple of Soviet Divisions.

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

This was the ninth major Finnish defensive victory in only a few weeks' period, since the main Soviet offense against the Finnish defences was launched in June 1944. Moscow could now only decide that the Finns had plenty of fight left in them.

Those battles could be seen as example of Soviet Operational Art of War in 1944, that worked so well vs. Germans and others. Unfortunately for them, moving the "schwerpunkt" first to east on Karelian Isthmus and then to NE Karelia got them into unfavourable terrain unsuited for mechanized warfare and ideally suited for Finnish infantry tactics. Thus, Battle of Ilomantsi, led by M. Gen. Raappana, was often called in FDF as "last lesson from encirclement battle master".

Don't get me wrong, that campaign was not victory in normal sense, but bitter struggle of survival. Both sides fought with determination and outstanding courage. And no Finnish soldier fighting vs Soviets would say that they lacked courage or determination in any phase of war. Even in summer 1941, Soviets fought very hard. One good literature anecdote is from Väinö Linna's "Unknown Soldier" (unfortunately english translation doesn't at all do credit to original book, to extent that he himself considered to withdraw the version from market). He himself witnessed the summer 1941 battles as NCO in infantry. And while book itself is fiction, it is based on his experiences, so quote is appropriate:

"Nobody really understood what Russians were defending, since there seemed to be so little to defend. But they seemed to like to keep it, to extent that they preferred to die behind big piles of empty casings."

But it's best said by ex-Finnish president Mauno Koivisto, who himself fought in Battle of Ilomantsi:

The Finnish President Mauno Koivisto spoke at a seminar held in August, 1994, in the North Karelian city of Joensuu, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Finnish victory in the crucial Battle of Ilomantsi. The future President of Finland witnessed this battle as a soldier in a reconnaissance company commanded by the legendary Finnish war hero and a Knight of the Mannerheim Cross, Captain Lauri Törni (who later became a legend also in USA as a Green Beret under the name Larry Thorne, raised to the rank of major upon his disappearance in Laos in 1965, during the Vietnam War):
In the summer of 1944, when the Red Army launched an all-out offensive, aimed at eliminating Finland, the Finns were "extremely hard-pressed", President Koivisto itenerated, but they "did not capitulate". "We succeeded in stopping the enemy cold at key points," the President said, "and in the final battle at Ilomantsi even in pushing him back."


"Nobody respects a country with a poor army, but everybody respects a country with a good army. I raise my toast to the Finnish Army and the representatives of it here, General Heinrichs and General Oinonen" - Josef Stalin, April 6th 1948.

< Message edited by Sardaukar -- 12/6/2011 12:52:10 PM >


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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/6/2011 1:11:33 PM   
von altair


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This text captured from "Battle of Tali-Ihantala - Wikipedia" explains quite well what happened. The Russians maded an all out assault, which was the biggest battle ever made in Nordic Countries.

Today 6.12.2011 Finland is celebrating the Independence day!

----
Ihantala: July 1 – July 9 1944

The ensuing Finnish concentration of artillery fire was the heaviest in the country's military history.[40] It was based on the famed fire correction method of Finnish Artillery General Vilho Petter Nenonen, which enabled easy fire correction and quick changes of targets.[5] At the critical Ihantala sector of the battle, the Finnish defenders managed to concentrate their fire to the extent of smashing the advancing Soviet spearhead.[40] The clever fire control system enabled as many as 21 batteries, totaling some 250 guns, to fire at the same target simultaneously in the battle; the fire controller did not need to be aware of the location of individual batteries to guide their fire, which made quick fire concentration and target switching possible. This concentration was considered a world record at the time.[5]

According to Bitva za Leningrad 1941–1944 ("The Battle of Leningrad") edited by Lieutenant General S.P. Platonov:[41]

"The repeated offensive attempts by the Soviet Forces failed ... to gain results. The enemy succeeded in significantly tightening its ranks in this area and repuls[ing] all attacks of our troops ... During the offensive operations lasting over three weeks, from June 21 to mid-July, the forces of the right flank of the Leningrad front failed to carry out the tasks assigned to them on the orders of the Supreme Command issued on June 21."

By this time the Finnish army had concentrated half its artillery in the area, along with the army's only armoured division, with StuG III assault guns as its primary weapon and German 303. Sturmgeschütz Brigade. The defenders now finally had the new German anti-tank weapons that were previously kept in storage.

On July 2 the Finns intercepted a radio message that the Soviet 63rd Division and 30th Armored Brigade were to launch an attack on July 3 at 04:00 hours. The following morning, two minutes before the supposed attack, 40 Finnish and 40 German bombers bombed the Soviet troops, and 250 guns fired a total of 4,000 artillery shells into the area of the Soviets. On the same day, beginning at 06:00, 200 Soviet planes and their infantry attacked the Finnish troops. By 19:00 the Finnish troops had restored their lines.[5]

On July 6 the Soviet forces had some success, despite the Finnish 6th Division having 18 artillery battalions and one heavy battery for their defence. However, the Soviets were thrown back the following day, and their counterattacks at 13:30 and 19:00 that day did not amount to anything. By July 7 the focus of the Soviet attacks was already moving to the area of Vuoksi, and the Soviets now began transferring their best troops to the Narva front in Estonia, to fight the Germans and the Estonians. From July 9, the Soviet troops no longer attempted a break-through. Nevertheless, some fighting continued.[5] Soviet forces were ordered to cease offensive operations and take up defensive positions on July 10 as Stavka redeployed forces to the Baltic fronts, where the Red Army was encountering "fierce German and Baltic resistance."[42]
----

Had to repeat this famous line:

"Nobody respects a country with a poor army, but everybody respects a country with a good army. I raise my toast to the Finnish Army and the representatives of it here, General Heinrichs and General Oinonen" - Josef Stalin, April 6th 1948."

< Message edited by von altair -- 12/6/2011 1:29:22 PM >


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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/6/2011 1:28:48 PM   
Sardaukar


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Related to von altair post above, story goes that one 2nd Lt. as artillery forward observer made Finnish record during the Battle of Tali-Ihantala.

He (story says, I have no sources to confirm it, it used t be FDF "legend", could verify it one way or another by spending LOT of effort in National Archive, bit difficult when now residing in Malta...) managed *accidentally* (not in purpose) call emergency fire mission on Soviet battallion reinforced with tanks.

His intention was to call artillery fire from his "Fire Group", which in this case would mean 2x artillery regiments and assorted mortars in range. But his phone message about "all units" was taken quite literally in Fire Control Center..so to his amazement, he received fire mission from 258 artillery pieces and dozens of mortars, all landing into 400x400m area.

< Message edited by Sardaukar -- 12/6/2011 1:29:29 PM >


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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/6/2011 1:55:42 PM   
von altair


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Nobody knows, what really were in Josef Stalins mind. There are two known facts though.

1. Josef Stalin respected strong and brave. At the end, he respected the Finns.

2. Stalin and other major staffs respected the Finns for that they didin't attack Leningrad while they could. Hitler demanded
Finns to help them to capture/siege that Big city. However Finns knew that they have to live with Russians as neighbours.
There was a long history between these two countries and one of the main problems always were safety of Leningrad.
Both sides knew about this. Finns were smart enough not to threat that one, as main point for whole war, was just to take
back what was lost in the Winter War. There are evidence that this was one of the major points why Stalin decided to
concentrate elsewhere.

_____________________________

"An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur?"

"Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?"

-Axel Oxenstierna

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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/6/2011 3:06:25 PM   
Sardaukar


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quote:

ORIGINAL: von altair

Nobody knows, what really were in Josef Stalins mind. There are two known facts though.

1. Josef Stalin respected strong and brave. At the end, he respected the Finns.

2. Stalin and other major staffs respected the Finns for that they didin't attack Leningrad while they could. Hitler demanded
Finns to help them to capture/siege that Big city. However Finns knew that they have to live with Russians as neighbours.
There was a long history between these two countries and one of the main problems always were safety of Leningrad.
Both sides knew about this. Finns were smart enough not to threat that one, as main point for whole war, was just to take
back what was lost in the Winter War. There are evidence that this was one of the major points why Stalin decided to
concentrate elsewhere.


Point 2 was reinfoced a lot by FM Mannerheim. He had been M. Gen. in Russian army and knew Russian views quite well.

He knew that if Finns had really participated into Siege of Leningrad, there woud be no quarter. Same with railroad to Murmansk.

Just trivia, but Finland was only country on Axis side where Jewish population fought on that side. with own field synagogue too.

Rest would be too political, so if someone wants to continue discussion about my last line, PM me and we can do that on other forum.

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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/6/2011 3:36:14 PM   
von altair


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There is one a very good site explaining things:

copy/paste:

"Finns block critical operations of Stalin and Hitler":

"Many scholars believe that Mannerheim's refusal to attack Leningrad ultimately saved the city, because a coordinated German-Finnish attack launched in September, 1941, would have overwhelmed the Soviet defenses (Robert Jackson, Battle of the Baltic, The wars 1918–1945, 2007)

By its strategy, the Finnish Defence Forces did not only deny a huge victory from the Nazis in Leningrad, but also allowed the Red Army to release its forces to further south where they were desperately needed. In a big way, what the Finns did - and what they didn't do - effected the course of WW2 in a critical way, and quite possibly even the final outcome of it as well."

Source site: http://continuationwar.com/


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"An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur?"

"Do you not know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed?"

-Axel Oxenstierna

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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/6/2011 4:21:11 PM   
Sardaukar


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quote:

ORIGINAL: von altair

There is one a very good site explaining things:

copy/paste:

"Finns block critical operations of Stalin and Hitler":

"Many scholars believe that Mannerheim's refusal to attack Leningrad ultimately saved the city, because a coordinated German-Finnish attack launched in September, 1941, would have overwhelmed the Soviet defenses (Robert Jackson, Battle of the Baltic, The wars 1918–1945, 2007)

By its strategy, the Finnish Defence Forces did not only deny a huge victory from the Nazis in Leningrad, but also allowed the Red Army to release its forces to further south where they were desperately needed. In a big way, what the Finns did - and what they didn't do - effected the course of WW2 in a critical way, and quite possibly even the final outcome of it as well."

Source site: http://continuationwar.com/



That site (with brief glance, thanks for posting, I was no aware it existed), omits some mine-laying and reconnaissance operations not really in lieu for "neutral" state. Not to mention having loads of German troops in Lapland.

Finland did resume offensive operations only after Soviet attacks, though (casus belli).

_____________________________

"To meaningless French Idealism, Liberty, Fraternity and Equality...we answer with German Realism, Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery" -Prince von Bülov, 1870-


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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/6/2011 7:23:46 PM   
Jakerson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Q-Ball

The primary reason, IMO, was the Finns. Their tough army was obvious. This was reaons #1. But they had, and needed, some help.

The Western Allies exerted pressure on the Soviets to NOT liquidate Finland. The Finns were very well aware of how the Western Allies would perceive their involvement, and were careful to not get too close to Germany.


Soviet 1944 Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive against Finland was a 2x or even more larger offensive than whole allied landing on Normandy it is not fair to say this way. It ended on stalemate Soviet offensive was halted. Goal of this offensive was to occupy whole Finland but offensive never reach its goals.

There is at least one document on youtube about that offensive real Finnish war veterans telling about that offensive dubbed in English.

Part one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACXWvQ9X3xs
Part two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY1XLiECq2s
Part three: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Td8s4UlbTO0
Part four: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkrMH-5vAqc
Part five: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR4A306NTkE
Part six: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-Fo9qom_Ko


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RE: Why did Finland survive? - 12/7/2011 12:14:22 PM   
hmatilai


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Footslogger

I have heard that the Germans were giving Finland weapons to protect themselves from the Soviets, but what was given to them?


Finnish president Ryti made a pact with Germany to get new weapons (panzerfausts etc). What Germans didn't know was Ryti didn't have authority to make such pacts himself without approval from parliament under Finnish law. This was done to get needed help any way possible.( After the war Ryti was personally held responsible for the pact and got punished for it ).

Soviets did push hard the border and achieved a total surprise. Their aim was to destroy Finnish army on the Karelian Isthmus which they failed to do, and subsequently the offensive came to a halt in Battle of Tali-Ihantala. After that Soviets ceased offensive operations and also started moving units to support Operation Bagration (as planned) and didn't push for breakthrough, as many units were depleted. Also, German front was also much more important for the Soviets to get a favorable ending to the war. Invading all of Finland would have only helped to prolong it.

During the battle of Tali-Ihantala Finns received help from Germans in form of Flight detachment Kuhlmey, 303rd Assault Gun brigade and new equipment such as panzerfausts.

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