By William Trotter
At 10:30 A.M. on November 30, 1939, a formation of Russian bombers dropped from a cloud financial institution to dump a salvo of bombs on Helsinki, the capital urban of Finland. The wintry weather struggle was once underway. Overwhelming superiority in manpower and guns eventually prevailed, yet no longer earlier than Finland had written a saga of heroic resistance. it's this too-seldom-remembered tale that William R. Trotter recounts in fireplace and Ice. sixteen pages of photos
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Extra resources for A frozen hell : the Russo-Finnish winter war of 1939-1940
Border Guard and local reservist detachments screened the few usable roads, nowhere stronger than a battalion at the beginning. In overall command of this motley assortment was Major General W. E. Tuompo. IN RESERVE: Mannerheim had but a single division as a general strategic reserve, the Ninth, headquartered at Oulu. It had not received more than 60 per cent of its arms and equipment before he was forced to start committing it, as one crisis after another flared up in the forests north of Fourth Corps.
Even by the crude standards of Stalinist propaganda, Kulik’s scheme was remarkably heavyhanded and transparently phony. On November 26, seven artillery rounds detonated near the tiny Karelian village of Mainila, 800 meters inside Soviet territory. Several Finnish observers witnessed and triangulated the shell bursts; all concluded that the trajectory indicated they were fired from within Russian territory. Later that afternoon, the Finnish government received a furious note of protest from Molotov.
But the Finnish Army had neither the sophisticated command-and-control methodology, nor the training, to coordinate such risky, fluid tactics. Most of all, it lacked even a small reserve of tanks to supply the kind of “cutting edge” that might fracture the ponderous Soviet formations. General Oysterman, C. I. C. of all Finnish forces on the Isthmus, had long argued that the Forward Zone strategy was beyond his men’s ability to implement; why, he contended, throw 21,000 irreplaceable men into a chaotic meeting engagement in front of the strong permanent fortifications that would multiply their effectiveness at least three-fold?