From: Greeneville, Tennessee - GO VOLS!
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Mikser
[B]Folks, sorry for bumping up this old thread, but I felt the need to make my own views on the matter apparent.
It seems to me the Finnish leadership of the time was cautious and opportunistic;
Do you have any references to this opportunism of the Finns? What I've read of the matter says very clearly the Finns wanted nothing to do with attacking Leningrad.
Contrary to Soviet propaganda, Finland did not join Hitler in the siege of Leningrad either, in fact Finland did what it could to keep the Murmansk supply lines open, according to the writer's father who was there. Most of the nuisance was caused by Hitler's submarines in the North Sea. General Mannerheim himself said he did not want the blood of the Leningrad people on his hands.
Keep in mind the Finns didn't attack the Soviet Union at the beginning of Barbarossa, the USSR attacked them first, The Soviets made it clear they would attack Finland if Germany attacked the USSR, regardless of circumstances. The Finns wanted no part of the Continuation War, they just simply had no choice, it was fight or die.
Another thing, the Finns actually demobilized much of their army after all the initial advances were over in the Continuation War to allow manpower to return to agricultural work that Finland depended on. So there was never a build up of Finnish forces near Leningrad, in reality the number of Finnish troops in and around Leningrad actually went DOWN.
Another discussion like ours that occured elsewhere, including a Finn, or someone familar with the history, who says virtually the same thing I did in my first post in this thread. One excerpt:
Also, the "attack phase" of the Finnish "Continuation War" (1941-1944), in where Finns advanced to the old border in the Karelian Isthmus and took a big chunk of Russian Karelia (NE and E of Lake Ladoga), was very costly as casualties. The Finnish manpower pool couldn't have supplied enough men to replace very heavy losses, which are usual to urban combat.
I've read this elsewhere too, the Finns just didn't have the population to fight a war of attrition. Because WIR doesn't separate the individual nations manpower pools on the Axis side, you can't see this weakness.
One of the main reasons to the Winter War (1939-1940) was the Soviet claim that Finland "threathened" Leningrad. So even while Finland was at war with the USSR, so for political reasons, no Finnish plane ever attacked the city itself, and no gun ever shelled the city.
(Finns could've cut the supply road to Leningrad, without needing to invade into the city itself). Also, the Finns could started to shell the city, harass the supply transports by air units, all which weren't made).
Finland never posed a threat to Leningrad even when it was in its power to do so in 1941- 44. Especially when it was under siege by Hitler, Finland kept the Murmansk food supply line to Leningrad open, thereby proving that no threat existed from Finland. Despite evidence to the contrary, the Allies insisted that such a threat existed as per Stalin's insistance, even labelling Finland as a Fascist country - a serious error, the consequence of which was born by Finland. Many history maps still show Leningrad being attacked from the South by Germany, and from the Karelian Isthmus by Finns, which is false.
I'll repeat my claim. If you want to play Finland historically, then Finland only takes back the Karelia, and NEVER attacks deeper into the Soviet Union (north and east of lake Ladoga) and NEVER attacks Leningrad (the other disputed area where Finns attacked is off the map). If you want, you can make a rule that requires some minimum Soviet force in Leningrad and the square to the northeast as long as 40,6 is held by the Finns to represent the Soviet's alleged suspicions (which I believe is a lie, the Soviets knew d*a*m*n well the Finns had no interest in Leningrad, but I can't prove that) about Finland's intentions.