A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by Guest, Mar 3, 2003.

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    zombienomore
    Member
    Posts: 7
    (2/16/02 9:19:55 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del All A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    I knew absolutely nothing about The Winter War until I started collecting Mosin Nagant rifles, Finns in particular. I wanted to know more about Finland, and it's war history.

    I found these links to be very interesting and helpful.

    For those who haven't heard of The Winter War or The White Death, or who have no idea of how a tiny country held it's own against the Russian Giant, and dealt them hideous losses in the winter of 1939'

    " According to Khrushchev, 1.5 million men were sent to Finland and one million of them were killed. 1000 aircraft, 2300 tanks and armored cars and an enormous amount of other war materials were lost.

    www.geocities.com/ojoronen/AREDSNOW.HTM

    home.interserv.com/~tazio/7dSuomu.htm

    www.winterwar.com/mainpage.htm

    my_gunsite.tripod.com/mygunsite/

    Much thanks to the authors of these pages!


    This is part of why I like MN's so much.............
    ...and the fact that they are fantastic shooters!

    Also recommended:

    " A Frozen Hell" by Wm R. Trotter. A great read. Written in an easy style. Not as "dry" as most history books. Very descriptive and thorough.

    Edited by: zombienomore at: 2/16/02 10:46:48 pm

    kdub01
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 260
    (2/16/02 10:20:31 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    Might want to read "When Hell Froze Over", also. It's a book about the Allies (US included) intervention in Russia in 1918. The English generaled the incident, took the Enfields away from the US troops and issued them the '91 MN in it's place. Do you know the US and Japan also landed troops at Vladisvostok at the same time as at Archangel? Interesting reading!

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 1672
    (2/17/02 11:09:15 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    Hi Zombie.....nice to see ya here in the HistoryNuts Forum.

    " According to Khrushchev, 1.5 million men were sent to Finland and one million of them were killed."

    Since the ratio of KIA to Wounded is usually between (in those days), from one to five and one to ten, even taking the lower figure....if the Soviets had 1 million killed, they would have had 5 million wounded.

    That means that of the 1.5 million Soviet troops there, they had 6 million casualties.

    "Ivan, how many times have you been killed or wounded?"

    "Let's see, Boris....as of last Tuesday, been killed twice and wounded 9 times."


    zombienomore
    Member
    Posts: 10
    (2/17/02 11:25:25 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    The fact that Russia had such a hard time with a small country like Finland played a major role in Hitler's decision to invade Russia.

    What he didn't know, was, the Russians actually learned from the Finns how to fight a winter war.

    Boris was much smarter than he thought.

    Doctor Xring
    Member
    Posts: 18
    (2/17/02 6:09:36 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    Nice post Zombie.

    Superior leadership and tactics, the will to remain independent,
    a prepared Army and Civil Guard, a united citizenry, expert marskmen, defense of home turf, tough fighters, one of the worst winters in history.

    Some of the things leading to the enormous overkill of
    Soviet soldiers in this war.

    It's an honor to own one of these Finnish rifles.

    Who knows who may have Simo Hayha's M28 that he
    used to take down some of the 510 confirmed kills
    made by this one brave and skilled man ? I believe
    these were all killed just once.

    For those wanting a good book that focuses on the Finnish
    weaponry used during this period I recommend "Rifles of
    the White Death" by Doug Bowser. This also has a very
    good summary of the Winter and Continuation Wars (WWII).

    A Finnish veteran was asked once if it was worth it?
    He replied, "The Soviets are gone and we are still here."

    An epic event that Americans should identify with and deeply
    respect.


    DXR

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2886
    (2/17/02 6:46:50 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    A lot of the praise must go to Mannerheim, he did a GREAT job walking the thin line...between the slimy Nazi and the hungry Bear...and the Mannerheim line in the Karelian ithsmus WAS a pretty easy defensive line to defend, a bear to attack, could only be done frontally, in other words ALL the tactical advantages were with the Finns, lines of communication, friendly natives, knowledge of the terrain and prepared defensive works, BUT the Russians still DID breach it and end the war....

    His diplomacy is REALLY what allowed Finland to survive, and ultimately become the ONLY Axis ally to survive the war in better shape than before...and gain the respect of the world in the process.

    People still forget that Finland LOST the Winter War, and what the tremendous Russian losses did was convince them NOT to occupy Finland, which MAY, (maybe not) have been a mistake, allowing them to keep a civil guard and rearm certainly was...and to REALLY do nothing when the Finns made overtures to Hitler was assinine...AND what happened to the Soviets after "beating" Finland and not "keeping" it, PROBABLY doomed all of Eastern Europe after WWII, to the Russian yoke of servitude and occupation until 1989....

    The winter killed as many of the "green" Russians as the Finns, and wherever the fight was fair the Russians DID usually win, by simple numbers and artillery....and if the blooded Armored and Infantry Divisions under Zhukov that had just decisively beat the Japs in Mongolia had been used...the outcome MAY have been different.

    I believe Comrade Kruschev was "embellishing" the numbers, to show Soviet ability to withstand losses and persevere, and win!

    Stalin kept those numbers as close to his vest as he did the reserves available to him during the war, he had MANY more than anyone, including historians for 20 years after the war knew about...even Kruschev in Stalingrad had no idea how many divisions Stalin had "in the hole" available for the counterattack...

    The point is, I DON'T think Stalin would have shared those figures with a relatively minor commissar during the war, and after the war with the oppressive secrecy of the USSR, he may not have known even then...

    The Russiand DID lose many men and much equipment, but I don't think even the Finns claim that much...

    With at most, 200,000 Finns TOTAL fighting, they would each have to kill 2.5 Russians, if the Winter killed the other 500,000....and even the Finns had "REMFs"...

    But still, the Finns did a HECKUVA job and we owe them respect.

    THEY defended their future by FIGHTING, not by "Neutrality" where the future was "bought" like the Swedes and the Swiss...



    We must make war as we must; not as we would like. - Field Marshal Kitchener, 1915

    zombienomore
    Member
    Posts: 11
    (2/17/02 7:01:13 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    Mannerheim is an overlooked figure in history.

    He was a bit of an enigma.

    Leading the Finns, he needed a translator to issue commands, as he did not speak the language. He considered the Finn language to be a low class barbaric tongue.

    After all, he was "The Baron".



    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2888
    (2/17/02 7:26:51 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    Yeah, but there STILL is two official languages of Finland, and it WAS a "province" of Russia until the revolution of 1918-20.

    I think Mannerheim would have been an important Historical figure if only for THAT...the only place the "Whites" beat the "Reds."

    All his training and loyalties for most of his life, until really his 50s or 60s, was to Moscow and the Tsar...

    If the Russian Revolution does not occur, Finland might still have been Russian territory...

    Which makes what happened after the Winter War, and the Continuation War, even MORE astounding...after the Soviets won not one, but TWO wars against the Finns, the fact they DIDN'T claim land which WAS historically theirs is interesting, when they had no problem claiming lands that NEVER had been Russian in Eastern Europe.

    I'm wondering if the fact the whole world rushed to aid Finland against Russia in the Winter War had anything to do with it.



    MY favorite aspect of both wars is that the best Finnish Fighter of the war was the Brewster Buffalo...they did wonders with it, when the rest of the world thought it was crap...
    We must make war as we must; not as we would like. - Field Marshal Kitchener, 1915

    zombienomore
    Member
    Posts: 12
    (2/17/02 7:31:46 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    The Buffalo, as modified, was a sturdy, durable fighter.

    www.geocities.com/ojoronen/BREWSTER.HTM

    www.sci.fi/~fta/fintac-5.htm

    Pilot Wind Hans-75 kills (Top Brewster B-239 ace with 39 kills)

    Edited by: zombienomore at: 2/17/02 7:38:36 pm

    Halo12
    Member
    Posts: 1
    (2/17/02 10:22:54 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    “and the Mannerheim line in the Karelian ithsmus WAS a pretty easy defensive line to defend, a bear to attack, could only be done frontally, in other words ALL the tactical advantages were with the Finns, lines of communication, friendly natives, knowledge of the terrain and prepared defensive works, BUT the Russians still DID breach it and end the war...”

    The Mannerheim Line was never what some to think it was. The Line was spread out and large sections of it not even finished. As for all the tactical advantages I would not agree with that, less men, far less numbers of artillery, and next to no air force. You are correct they did breech the line by sending in 850,000 fresh troops at the final push of the war. I have been to this line a number of times and can tell you it is not what many seem to think it was and to state only attacked from the front ignores the flanking attacks and those over frozen areas (including the Gulf of Finland that was so frozen heavy tanks could cross) the Red Army used to break the line.. There was next to no lines of communication on the Finnish side.

    “His diplomacy is REALLY what allowed Finland to survive, and ultimately become the ONLY Axis ally to survive the war in better shape than before...and gain the respect of the world in the process.”

    The Finns after the Winter War lost large parts of their nation, and about 1/3 of their population had to be relocated. They had a horrific war debt after WW2 ended and paid every cent to the Russians. They also were indeed under the thumb of the Russians for many years to come with only the Finns emerging again since the fall of the USSR. With all due respect I am not sure how one can state they were better off. They lost about ¼ of their population, their cities were in ruin, their economy was gone, and they were in massive debt. To me that is in better shape than before but much worse.

    “The winter killed as many of the "green" Russians as the Finns, and wherever the fight was fair the Russians DID usually win, by simple numbers and artillery”

    The fight was fair? In most cases the Red Army had the Finns outnumbered about 20 to 1 and in some cases it was much worse than that. To say the Russians usually won is not correct as for the most part the war was a stalemate until the Russians sent in 850,000 fresh new troops to attack. The Russians made next to no headway after the start of the war until the new troops came in late in the war.

    “With at most, 200,000 Finns TOTAL fighting,”
    Finnish forces were closer to 300,000 with Army, Civil Guard, and reservists called up.

    “Yeah, but there STILL is two official languages of Finland, and it WAS a "province" of Russia until the revolution of 1918-20”
    Yes the two are Finnish and SWEDISH with Swedish now taking a backseat to English. Finland was a part of Sweden before Russia, as Finland was taken under Peter The Great.

    “All his training and loyalties for most of his life, until really his 50s or 60s, was to Moscow and the Tsar”
    I think you mean Saint Petersburg the capitol of Imperial Russia.

    “I'm wondering if the fact the whole world rushed to aid Finland against Russia in the Winter War had anything to do with it.”
    In fact almost non of the aid got there and the West left Finland to defend itself. Very few nations supported Finland by 1941 as the Germans were the threat. The West needed Russia so sold out the Finns. In fact the English wanted Finland to be held to the same terms as the rest of the Axis powers, with an unconditional surrender but the Soviets decided this was not needed.

    I believe Comrade Kruschev was "embellishing" the numbers, to show Soviet ability to withstand losses and persevere, and win!”
    Very doubtful as that would be very un-Russian. More than likely stated to further attack Stalin, which Little Nick was quite good at. Even though he was a follower of Stalin he made more of a name for himself by showing Stalin for what he was. He did seem to forget to show what he was himself but that is very Russian.

    You can say what you will but the Finns won the Winter War. The Finns kept their government and nation intact even though they had been invaded by one of the largest armies and nations in the world. Finland stayed intact after the Continuation War but really Finland is just now becoming the nation it once was. Finland suffered for years after World War Two. Finland was slated to be invaded by Stalin in 1941, Soviet records once hidden are now public and show these plans, so the Finns were forced to enter the Continuation War. It was a war next to no one in Finland wanted but were forced into.

    Written with respect to the host of the site but in many regards I could not disagree more with sections of the above.


    Doctor Xring
    Member
    Posts: 19
    (2/17/02 10:49:51 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    This last post is congruent with what I have read
    and understand about the Winter War.

    DXR

    zombienomore
    Member
    Posts: 13
    (2/17/02 10:50:12 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    Has anyone seen the movie "Winter War"?

    I wish I could find it on DVD.

    Doctor Xring
    Member
    Posts: 20
    (2/17/02 10:52:42 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    Zombie -

    check your e-mail


    DXR

    zombienomore
    Member
    Posts: 14
    (2/17/02 10:55:25 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    DXR,

    Nothing......try my alternate one again.

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 1676
    (2/17/02 11:03:24 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    A Big Welcome Halo! What a wonderful post!

    Stick around and be disagreeable some more....we HistoryNuts absolutely thrive on disagreement.

    zombienomore
    Member
    Posts: 15
    (2/17/02 11:09:31 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: A little Finn history. I love Finn Mosin Nagants,
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    Halo,

    As a relative newcomer to both Finn history and this board, I welcome your info most wholeheartedly!

    It would seem that there are also quite different versions of how things happened, depending on who the historian is or was. I have heard that Wm Trotter's book "A Frozen Hell" is fairly neutral as far as "taking sides". Have you read it? It, and info I have gleaned from the internet have been my only sources.

    There are some other books, translated straight from Finnish, that I understand are rather hard to read because of the translation.

    Halo12
    Member
    Posts: 2
    (2/18/02 2:36:45 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del The books above are pretty good for the most part.
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    You should also check with Tuco at Mosin-Nagant Dot Net as he has info on his boards as well, dealing with the war as well as militaria. They also run a reenactors group of Finns and have good info on one unit www.armscenter.com/kevos4 I was a member of this unit but back surgery put that on hold until at least next year.

    One other issue not addressed above was the fighting done outside of Kannas as there was also much happening above the lake. The Russians were wiped out in many of these areas as their advances early in the war were encircled then killed. This is the area the great Finn Simo Hayha operated in. The idea of the line stopping the advance in this area does not apply as the defense line here were not strong at all.

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2904
    (2/18/02 9:59:02 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: The books above are pretty good for the most part.
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    Welcome, Halo, you make a lot of good points, And obviously DO know more details than I do about it, BUT we are not too far apart...

    You made my point about coming out better than any Axis partner...I did NOT say "made out..."

    They WERE the only the only one to come out with their Government and Nation "relatively" intact, they did NOT face the economice or more importantly PHYSICAL ruin of Germany, Japan, Italy, or any of the Baltic States...

    That WAS my point.

    But be that as it may, if you check a basic thread of ALL my posts, it is to "tilt at windmills," especially generally "accepted" facts that are not necessarily what they seem...

    Whether it is the "superiority" of German Weapons, the fact the Russians were a pushover if not for the Winter and massive numbers and Hitlers blunders, the Japanese or Germans were only beat by massive production, etc, etc, etc, you will see me on the other side of the argument, no matter how slim the thread of reason...

    And there IS a trend now by the unsophisticated to elevate Finns to "superhuman" status, much as they did to the German's after the Blitzkrieg...they were NOT, they were simply patriots doing a HELLUVA good, honorable, and brave job defending their HOMES...against hopeless odds...

    And the Finns DID lose the Winter War... now maybe it was just like the US "lost" in Vietnam, even THAT is debateable today, or maybe "won" the War of 1812, which is likewise debatable, but at this moment, the Finns lost, after a HELLUVA fight, I will grant you, but still, they lost.

    I know the Mannerheim line was NOT finnished, but the fact remains for months if no years before the FInns spent MUCH time and money on it...Finns spent summer VACATIONS volunteering to work on it...it STILL was an "improved position..." to say the least, in terrain more easily defended than attacked.

    And again, welcome, Halo, we welcome your expertise, admittedly it is NOT an area of mine, as are many in history...an area I know just enough to get me in trouble...


    But remember, the MORE you know the less you know...
    We must make war as we must; not as we would like. - Field Marshal Kitchener, 1915

    zombienomore
    Member
    Posts: 16
    (2/18/02 10:16:51 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: The books above are pretty good for the most part.
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    I believe, at the time the "truce" was called, the Finns were down to next to nothing in the way of supply and ammo, and the Russians had another 500,000 troops at the ready.

    It wouldn't have been pretty.

    Halo12
    Member
    Posts: 3
    (2/18/02 10:32:51 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del The goal of Stalin
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    was to take Finland as whole, they failed, Finland stayed free. Finland won the Winter War. If not for the Winter War the Finns would not have been in the position they were in at the end of WW2. They were never occupied which is one reason the Soviets did not take Finland as they did other such nations. The end results of the Winter War are directly related to Finland being free and not like Estonia or other such nations. The history of Finland could have been just as the history of Estonia if not for the Winter War. That is why the Finns won the war.

    kdub01
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 272
    (2/18/02 10:37:00 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: The books above are pretty good for the most part.
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    Know next to squat about the Finnish/Russian conflict, but must thank you guys for some really entertaining and enlightning reading!

    The extent of my knowledge is that a very small country tweaked the nose of the giant Russian bear and humiliated him for some time until the bear could marshal overwhelming forces and resources. That the Finns joined the German side of WWII, then sued for peace prior to the end of the war. They were scrappy fighters with limited supplies and manpower. They knew how to use terrain, hit and run tactics and had unbelievable courage and committment by all.

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 1689
    (2/19/02 9:47:56 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: The books above are pretty good for the most part.
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    I don't think it's entirely accurate to say "the Finns joined the German side". The Germans were the only country willing and able to supply the Finns, and it was more a case of "any port in a storm" and "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

    I don't think that the Finns had any illusions about Hitler being a "nice guy".

    kdub01
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 277
    (2/19/02 9:59:38 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: The books above are pretty good for the most part.
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    Well, "X" - They certainly didn't exactly stand off on the sidelines during the war! If they didn't "join" the Germans, just how did it come about they were fighting side by side with German units, supplied by the Germans and shared intelligence with the Germans?

    Halo12
    Member
    Posts: 4
    (2/19/02 10:29:20 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Remember
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    the Russians declared war on FInland in 1941. The Finns did indeed allow Germans to move in Finland and air attacks to take place, but did not invade the USSR until the Soviets declared war on the Finns. Stalin was going to invade Finland in 1941 and already had the plans in the work.

    Halo12
    Member
    Posts: 5
    (2/19/02 11:30:17 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del It was also pretty
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    rare to have Finnish and German units fighting together or in the same area. The Finns only pushed a bit futher than the old 1939 border then set up positions. The Germans went much deeper into Russia. The Finns had no love for the Germans but were much like the Baltic States in that they knew what the results with Stalin would be but were not sure what the results with Hitler would be. Hitler did indeed take a pretty hands off policy with Finland and the Finns did indeed thumb their nose at many of the German "requests". Of all the German "allies" (not really the correct wording) the Finns were by far the least cooperative in regards to the Germans. The Finns fought for Finland and for Finland alone.

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2905
    (2/20/02 8:39:02 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: It was also pretty
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    I like some of the pictures from the Winter War I've seen...some were pretty grisly though, like Russian tanks in the snow with the whole crew frozen to death...

    Like the stack of Russian Skis the Finns captured...

    ...the caption said "firewood."

    I guess the Russians had pretty crappy skis, no Finnish stamping SA on them and reusing...
    We must make war as we must; not as we would like. - Field Marshal Kitchener, 1915

    Enfield Von Mauser
    Member
    Posts: 14
    (2/23/02 8:42:42 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del "The Winter War"
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    I got interested in this topic after buying my M39, and just found a copy of "The Winter War" on ebay, subtitled, VHS. Can't wait to view it.
    "Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock" Will Rogers

    Edited by: Enfield Von Mauser at: 2/23/02 8:51:11 pm

    17th FA Bn
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 81
    (2/24/02 8:21:42 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Makin the best of a bad situation
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    The predicament of the Finns reminds of a bad old country song "Well he's makin the best of a bad situation, I reckon I'd do the same if'n it were me."

    The U.S. did the same thing, we held our nose and allied our selves with Joseph Stalin's U.S.S.R. because it met our immediate needs.

    Edited by: 17th FA Bn at: 2/24/02 11:21:03 am

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 1732
    (2/24/02 9:55:07 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Makin the best of a bad situation
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    Right, 17th! The Finns had suffered badly during the Winter War. They lost a lot of territory, the Russian Bear was just across their now-shrunken borders and was waiting to swallow them. The Allies had deserted them and were now supplying their enemy, Russia.

    What were they to do?

    The Germans were willing to assist them. They jumped at the chance. In their circumstances, I would've too!

    17th FA Bn
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 82
    (2/27/02 12:02:36 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Slavic allies
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    I wonder how Hitler and his nazi buddies liked being allies with the Finns? I assume that the Finns were a Slavic people, which Hitler and his nut bag buddies considered "Inferior".

    Edited by: 17th FA Bn at: 2/27/02 12:04:19 pm

    Halo12
    Member
    Posts: 6
    (2/27/02 1:40:04 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Finns were put in Ayran
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    class as Northern Europeans in no way a Slavic people.

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 1756
    (2/27/02 4:54:46 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Finns were put in Ayran
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    Well, the Japanese were hardly a part of the Aryan Race either....and Hitler allied himself with them.

    Actually I'm not sure of what racial category you'd put the Suomi in......I don't think they're Scandanavians, and they're not Slavs like the Russians.

    Whatever they are, they're tough buggers!

    Edited by: Xracer at: 2/27/02 5:08:40 pm

    SixTGunr
    Member
    Posts: 19
    (3/3/02 12:23:51 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Finns were put in Ayran
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    Top Nagant is my Finnish rearsenal. Shoots like a dream! Have a great day. Six



    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2961
    (3/6/02 12:21:57 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Finns were put in Ayran
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    What kind of scope is that on there? A Russian PU?

    Nice pictures of nice rifles. Thanks!
    A tiger never changes his spots.
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