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In exchange, the Soviet Union would cede Repola and Porajärvi municipalities from Eastern Karelia , an area twice the size of the territory demanded from Finland. The Soviet offer divided the Finnish government, but was eventually rejected with respect to the opinion of the public and Parliament. The Finns made two counteroffers whereby Finland would cede the Terijoki area to the Soviet Union, which would double the distance between Leningrad and the Finnish border, far less than the Soviets had demanded, [67] as well as the islands in the Gulf of Finland.

On 26 November , an incident was reported near the Soviet village of Mainila , close to the border with Finland. A Soviet border guard post had been shelled by an unknown party resulting, according to Soviet reports, in the deaths of four and injuries of nine border guards. Research conducted by several Finnish and Russian historians later concluded that the shelling was a false flag operation carried out from the Soviet side of the border by an NKVD unit with the purpose of providing the Soviet Union with a casus belli and a pretext to withdraw from the non-aggression pact.

In turn, the Soviet Union claimed that the Finnish response was hostile, renounced the non-aggression pact and severed diplomatic relations with Finland on 28 November. In the following years, Soviet historiography described the incident as Finnish provocation. Doubt on the official Soviet version was cast only in the late s, during the policy of glasnost. The issue continued to divide Russian historiography even after the collapse of the Soviet Union in In , Russian President Vladimir Putin stated at a meeting with military historians that the USSR launched the Winter War to "correct mistakes" made in determining the border with Finland after He quotes Molotov, who commented in November on the regime-change plan to a Soviet ambassador that the new government "will not be Soviet, but one of a democratic republic.

Nobody is going to set up Soviets over there, but we hope it will be a government we can come to terms with as to ensure the security of Leningrad. Others argue against the idea of a complete Soviet conquest. American historian William R. Trotter asserted that Stalin's objective was to secure Leningrad's flank from a possible German invasion through Finland.

He stated that "the strongest argument" against a Soviet intention of full conquest is that it did not happen in either or during the Continuation War in —even though Stalin "could have done so with comparative ease. Chubaryan in , no documents had been found in Russian archives that support a Soviet plan to annex Finland.

Rather, the objective was to gain Finnish territory and reinforce Soviet influence in the region. Before the war, Soviet leadership expected total victory within a few weeks. The Red Army had just completed the invasion of Eastern Poland at a cost of fewer than 4, casualties after Germany attacked Poland from the west.

Stalin's expectations of a quick Soviet triumph were backed up by politician Andrei Zhdanov and military strategist Kliment Voroshilov , but other generals were more reserved. The Chief of Staff of the Red Army Boris Shaposhnikov advocated a fuller build-up, extensive fire support and logistical preparations, and a rational order of battle , and the deployment of the army's best units.

Meretskov announced publicly that the Finnish campaign would take two weeks at the most. Soviet soldiers had even been warned not to cross the border into Sweden by mistake. Stalin's purges in the s had devastated the officer corps of the Red Army; those purged included three of its five marshals, of its division or higher-level commanders, and 36, officers of all ranks.

Fewer than half of all the officers remained. Unit commanders were overseen by political commissars , whose approval was needed to ratify military decisions and who evaluated those decisions based on their political merits. The dual system further complicated Soviet chain of command [79] [80] and annulled the independence of commanding officers. Soviet generals were impressed by the success of German Blitzkrieg tactics.

Blitzkrieg had been tailored to Central European conditions with a dense, well-mapped network of paved roads. Armies fighting in Central Europe had recognised supply and communications centres, which could be easily targeted by armoured vehicle regiments.

Finnish Army centres, by contrast, were deep inside the country. There were no paved roads, and even gravel or dirt roads were scarce; most of the terrain consisted of trackless forests and swamps. War correspondent John Langdon-Davies observed the landscape as follows: The Soviet forces were organised as follows: The Finnish strategy was dictated by geography.

In pre-war calculations, the Finnish Defence Command , which had established its wartime Headquarters at Mikkeli , [88] estimated seven Soviet divisions on the Karelian Isthmus and no more than five along the whole border north of Lake Ladoga. In the estimation, the manpower ratio would have favoured the attacker by three to one. The true ratio was much higher; for example, 12 Soviet divisions were deployed to the north of Lake Ladoga. An even greater problem than lack of soldiers was the lack of materiel; foreign shipments of anti-tank weapons and aircraft were arriving in small quantities.

The ammunition situation was alarming, as stockpiles had cartridges, shells, and fuel only to last 19—60 days. The ammunition shortage meant the Finns could seldom afford counterbattery or saturation fire. Finnish tank forces were operationally non-existent. Some Finnish soldiers maintained their ammunition supply by looting the bodies of dead Soviet soldiers. The Finnish forces were positioned as follows: On 30 November , Soviet forces invaded Finland with 21 divisions, totalling , men, and bombed Helsinki , [89] [95] inflicting substantial damage and casualties.

In response to international criticism, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov stated that the Soviet Air Force was not bombing Finnish cities, but rather dropping humanitarian aid to the starving Finnish population, sarcastically dubbed Molotov bread baskets by Finns.

Paasikivi commented that the Soviet attack without a declaration of war violated three separate non-aggression pacts: In a further reshuffling, Aimo Cajander's caretaker cabinet was replaced by Risto Ryti and his cabinet , with Väinö Tanner as foreign minister, due to opposition to Cajander's pre-war politics. Kuusinen's government was also referred to as the "Terijoki Government," after the village of Terijoki, the first settlement captured by the advancing Red Army. From the very outset of the war, working-class Finns stood behind the legitimate government in Helsinki.

The Red Army soldiers on the Isthmus numbered ,, facing , Finns. The Finns had few anti-tank weapons and insufficient training in modern anti-tank tactics. According to Trotter, the favoured Soviet armoured tactic was a simple frontal charge, the weaknesses of which could be exploited. The Finns learned that at close range, tanks could be dealt with in many ways; for example, logs and crowbars jammed into the bogie wheels would often immobilise a tank.

Soon, Finns fielded a better ad hoc weapon, the Molotov cocktail , a glass bottle filled with flammable liquids and with a simple hand-lit fuse.

Molotov cocktails were eventually mass-produced by the Finnish Alko alcoholic beverage corporation and bundled with matches with which to light them. By 6 December, all of the Finnish covering forces had withdrawn to the Mannerheim Line. The Red Army began its first major attack against the Line in Taipale —the area between the shore of Lake Ladoga, the Taipale river and the Suvanto waterway.

Along the Suvanto sector, the Finns had a slight advantage of elevation and dry ground to dig into. The Finnish artillery had scouted the area and made fire plans in advance, anticipating a Soviet assault. The Battle of Taipale began with a forty-hour Soviet artillery preparation. After the barrage , Soviet infantry attacked across open ground but was repulsed with heavy casualties. From 6 December to 12 December, the Red Army continued to try to engage using only one division.

Next, the Red Army strengthened its artillery and deployed tanks and the th Rifle Division forward to the Taipale front. On 14 December, the bolstered Soviet forces launched a new attack but were pushed back again. A third Soviet division entered the fight but performed poorly and panicked under shell fire.

The assaults continued without success, and the Red Army suffered heavy losses. One typical Soviet attack during the battle lasted just an hour but left 1, dead and 27 tanks strewn on the ice. Ladoga Karelia, a large forest wilderness, did not have road networks for the modern Red Army. On 12 December, the advancing Soviet th Rifle Division , supported by the 56th Rifle Division , was defeated by a much smaller Finnish force under Paavo Talvela in Tolvajärvi , the first Finnish victory of the war.

In Central and Northern Finland, roads were few and the terrain hostile. The Finns did not expect large-scale Soviet attacks, but the Soviets sent eight divisions, heavily supported by armour and artillery. The th Rifle Division attacked at Lieksa , and further north the 44th attacked at Kuhmo.

The rd Rifle Division was deployed at Suomussalmi and ordered to cut Finland in half by advancing on the Raate road. The Arctic port of Petsamo was attacked by the th Mountain Rifle Division by sea and land, supported by naval gunfire.

The rest had to make do with their own clothing, which for many soldiers was their normal winter clothing with a semblance of insignia added. Finnish soldiers were skilled in cross-country skiing. The Finns dressed in layers, and the ski troopers wore a lightweight white snow cape. This snow-camouflage made the ski troopers almost invisible as the Finns executed guerrilla attacks against Soviet columns.

At the beginning of the war, Soviet tanks were painted in standard olive drab and men dressed in regular khaki uniforms. Not until late January did the Soviets paint their equipment white and issue snowsuits to their infantry. Most Soviet soldiers had proper winter clothes, but this was not the case with every unit. In the battle of Suomussalmi , thousands of Soviet soldiers died of frostbite. The Soviet troops also lacked skill in skiing, so soldiers were restricted to movement by road and were forced to move in long columns.

The Red Army lacked proper winter tents, and troops had to sleep in improvised shelters. The Red Army was superior in numbers and materiel, but Finns used the advantages of speed, manoeuvre warfare and economy of force. Particularly on the Ladoga Karelia front and during the battle of Raate road , the Finns isolated smaller portions of numerically superior Soviet forces. With Soviet forces divided into smaller groups, the Finns dealt with them individually and attacked from all sides.

The men were freezing and starving and endured poor sanitary conditions. Trotter described these conditions as follows: If he refused to fight, he would be shot. If he tried to sneak through the forest, he would freeze to death.

And surrender was no option for him; Soviet propaganda had told him how the Finns would torture prisoners to death. The terrain on the Karelian Isthmus did not allow guerrilla tactics, so the Finns were forced to resort to the more conventional Mannerheim Line, with its flanks protected by large bodies of water.

Soviet propaganda claimed that it was as strong as or even stronger than the Maginot Line. Finnish historians, for their part, have belittled the line's strength, insisting that it was mostly conventional trenches and log-covered dugouts. Many were extended in the late s. Despite these defensive preparations, even the most fortified section of the Mannerheim Line had only one reinforced-concrete bunker per kilometre.

Overall, the line was weaker than similar lines in mainland Europe. On the eastern side of the Isthmus, the Red Army attempted to break through the Mannerheim Line at the battle of Taipale. On the western side, Soviet units faced the Finnish line at Summa, near the city of Vyborg , on 16 December. The Finns had built 41 reinforced-concrete bunkers in the Summa area, making the defensive line in this area stronger than anywhere else on the Karelian Isthmus.

The Finns remained in their trenches, allowing the Soviet tanks to move freely behind the Finnish line, as the Finns had no proper anti-tank weapons. The Finns succeeded in repelling the main Soviet assault.

The tanks, stranded behind enemy lines, attacked the strongpoints at random until they were eventually destroyed, 20 in all. By 22 December, the battle ended in a Finnish victory. The Soviet advance was stopped at the Mannerheim Line. Red Army troops suffered from poor morale and a shortage of supplies, eventually refusing to participate in more suicidal frontal attacks. The Finns, led by General Harald Öhquist , decided to launch a counterattack and encircle three Soviet divisions into a motti near Vyborg on 23 December.

Öhquist's plan was bold, and it failed. The Finns lost 1, men, and the Soviets were later estimated to have lost a similar number. They also had a support group of three brigades , bringing their total strength to over 30, The Soviets deployed a division for almost every road leading west to the Finnish border. The Soviets had a 3: Finnish forces panicked and retreated in front of the overwhelming Red Army.

The ensuing battle of Kollaa lasted until the end of the war. A memorable quote, "Kollaa holds" Finnish: Kollaa kestää became a legendary motto among Finns. To the north, the Finns retreated from Ägläjärvi to Tolvajärvi on 5 December and then repelled a Soviet offensive in the battle of Tolvajärvi on 11 December. In the south, two Soviet divisions were united on the northern side of the Lake Ladoga coastal road.

As before, these divisions were trapped as the more mobile Finnish units counterattacked from the north to flank the Soviet columns. On 19 December, the Finns temporarily ceased their assaults due to exhaustion. They were expecting reinforcements and supplies to arrive by air. As the Finns lacked the necessary heavy artillery equipment and were short of men, they often did not directly attack the mottis they had created; instead, they worked to eliminate only the most dangerous threats.

Often the motti tactic was not applied as a strategy, but as a Finnish adaptation to the behaviour of Soviet troops under fire. Some specialist Finnish soldiers were called in to attack the mottis ; the most famous of them was Major Matti Aarnio , or "Motti-Matti" as he became known. The Finns used effective guerrilla tactics, taking special advantage of their superior skiing skills and snow-white layered clothing and executing surprise ambushes and raids. By the end of December, the Soviets decided to retreat and transfer resources to more critical fronts.

The Suomussalmi—Raate engagement was a double operation [] which would later be used by military academics as a classic example of what well-led troops and innovative tactics can do against a much larger adversary. Suomussalmi was a town of 4, with long lakes, wild forests and few roads. The Finnish command believed that the Soviets would not attack here, but the Red Army committed two divisions to the Kainuu area with orders to cross the wilderness, capture the city of Oulu and effectively cut Finland in two.

There were two roads leading to Suomussalmi from the frontier: The battle of Raate road, which occurred during the month-long battle of Suomussalmi, resulted in one of the largest Soviet losses in the Winter War. The Soviet 44th and parts of the rd Rifle Division, comprising about 14, troops, [] were almost completely destroyed by a Finnish ambush as they marched along the forest road.

A small unit blocked the Soviet advance while Finnish Colonel Hjalmar Siilasvuo and his 9th Division cut off the retreat route, split the enemy force into smaller mottis , and then proceeded to destroy the remnants in detail as they retreated. The Soviets suffered 7,—9, casualties; [] the Finnish units, In Finnish Lapland , the forests gradually thin until in the north there are no trees at all. Thus, the area offers more room for tank deployment, but it is sparsely populated and experiences copious snowfall.

The Finns expected nothing more than raiding parties and reconnaissance patrols, but instead, the Soviets sent full divisions. The group was placed under the command of Kurt Wallenius. In Southern Lapland, near the village of Salla, the Soviet 88th and nd Divisions, totalling 35, men, advanced. In the battle of Salla , the Soviets proceeded easily to Salla, where the road forked. The northern branch moved toward Pelkosenniemi while the rest approached Kemijärvi.

On 17 December, the Soviet northern group, comprising an infantry regiment, a battalion, and a company of tanks, was outflanked by a Finnish battalion.

The nd retreated, abandoning much of its heavy equipment and vehicles. Following this success, the Finns shuttled reinforcements to the defensive line in front of Kemijärvi. The Soviets hammered the defensive line without success. The Finns counterattacked, and the Soviets retreated to a new defensive line where they stayed for the rest of the war. To the north was Finland's only ice-free port in the Arctic, Petsamo.

The Finns lacked the manpower to defend it fully, as the main front was distant at the Karelian Isthmus. The Finns abandoned Petsamo and concentrated on delaying actions. The area was treeless, windy, and relatively low, offering little defensible terrain. The almost constant darkness and extreme temperatures of the Lapland winter benefited the Finns, who executed guerrilla attacks against Soviet supply lines and patrols. As a result, the Soviet movements were halted by the efforts of one-fifth as many Finns.

The USSR enjoyed air superiority throughout the war. The Soviet Air Force , supporting the Red Army's invasion with about 2, aircraft the most common type being Tupolev SB , was not as effective as the Soviets might have hoped. The material damage by the bomb raids was slight as Finland offered few valuable targets for strategic bombing. Often, targets were village depots with little value. The country had few modern highways in the interior, therefore making the railways the main targets for bombers.

Rail tracks were cut thousands of times but the Finns hastily repaired them and service resumed within a matter of hours. The largest bombing raid against the capital of Finland, Helsinki , occurred on the first day of the war. The capital was bombed only a few times thereafter. All in all, Soviet bombings cost Finland five percent of its total man-hour production.

Nevertheless, Soviet air attacks affected thousands of civilians, killing The city of Vyborg, a major Soviet objective close to the Karelian Isthmus front, was almost levelled by nearly 12, bombs. In January , the Soviet Pravda newspaper continued to stress that no civilian targets in Finland had been struck, even accidentally. The Soviet Air Force flew approximately 44, sorties during the war.

At the beginning of the war, Finland had a small air force, with only combat planes fit for duty. Missions were limited, and fighter aircraft were mainly used to repel Soviet bombers. Strategic bombings doubled as opportunities for military reconnaissance. Old-fashioned and few in number, aircraft offered little support for Finnish ground troops.

In spite of losses, the number of planes in the Finnish Air Force rose by over 50 percent by the end of the war. Finnish fighter pilots often flew their motley collection of planes into Soviet formations that outnumbered them 10 or even 20 times. Finnish fighters shot down a confirmed Soviet aircraft, while losing 62 of their own.

Air-raid warnings were given by Finnish women organised by the Lotta Svärd. There was little naval activity during the Winter War. The Baltic Sea began to freeze over by the end of December, impeding the movement of warships ; by mid-winter, only ice breakers and submarines could still move.

The other reason for low naval activity was the nature of Soviet Navy forces in the area. The Baltic Fleet was a coastal defence force which did not have the training, logistical structure, or landing craft to undertake large-scale operations. The Baltic Fleet possessed two battleships , one heavy cruiser , almost 20 destroyers , 50 motor torpedo boats , 52 submarines, and other miscellaneous vessels. The Finnish Navy was a coastal defence force with two coastal defence ships , five submarines, four gunboats , seven motor torpedo boats, one minelayer and six minesweepers.

The two coastal defence ships, Ilmarinen and Väinämöinen , were moved to harbour in Turku where they were used to bolster the air defence. Their anti-aircraft guns shot down one or two planes over the city, and the ships remained there for the rest of the war.

Soviet aircraft bombed Finnish vessels and harbours and dropped mines into Finnish seaways. Still, only five merchant ships were lost to Soviet action.

World War II, which had started before the Winter War, proved more costly for the Finnish merchant vessels, with 26 lost due to hostile action in and Finnish coastal artillery batteries defended important harbours and naval bases. That day, the weather was fair and visibility, excellent. The Finns spotted the Soviet cruiser Kirov and two destroyers. After five minutes of firing by the coastal guns, the cruiser had been damaged by near misses and retreated.

The destroyers remained undamaged, but the Kirov suffered 17 dead and 30 wounded. The Soviets already knew the locations of the Finnish coastal batteries, but were surprised by their range. Coastal artillery had a greater effect on land by reinforcing defence in conjunction with army artillery.

Two sets of fortress artillery made significant contributions to the early battles on the Karelian Isthmus and in Ladoga Karelia. The fortress of Koivisto provided similar support from the southwestern coast of the Isthmus. Joseph Stalin was not pleased with the results of December in the Finnish campaign.

The Red Army had been humiliated. By the third week of the war, Soviet propaganda was working hard to explain the failures of the Soviet military to the populace: Chief of Staff Boris Shaposhnikov was given full authority over operations in the Finnish theatre, and he ordered the suspension of frontal assaults in late December.

Kliment Voroshilov was replaced with Semyon Timoshenko as the commander of the Soviet forces in the war on 7 January. The main focus of the Soviet attack was switched to the Karelian Isthmus. Timoshenko and Zhdanov reorganised and tightened control between different branches of service in the Red Army.

They also changed tactical doctrines to meet the realities of the situation. All Soviet forces on the Karelian Isthmus were divided into two armies: Tactics would be basic: The Red Army would prepare by pinpointing the Finnish frontline fortifications. The rd Rifle Division then rehearsed the assault on life-size mock-ups.

The Soviets shipped large numbers of new tanks and artillery pieces to the theatre. Troops were increased from ten divisions to 25—26 divisions with six or seven tank brigades and several independent tank platoons as support, totalling , soldiers. Although the Karelian Isthmus front was less active in January than in December, the Soviets increased bombardments, wearing down the defenders and softening their fortifications.

During daylight hours, the Finns took shelter inside their fortifications from the bombardments and repaired damage during the night. The situation led quickly to war exhaustion among the Finns, who lost over 3, soldiers in trench warfare. The Soviets also made occasional small infantry assaults with one or two companies. On 1 February, the Soviets further escalated their artillery and air bombardments.

Although the Soviets refined their tactics and morale improved, the generals were still willing to accept massive losses in order to reach their objectives. Attacks were screened by smoke, heavy artillery, and armour support, but the infantry charged in the open and in dense formations.

The Finns could not easily eliminate tanks if infantry troops protected them. On 11 February, the Soviets had approximately , soldiers, 3, artillery pieces, 3, tanks and 1, aircraft deployed on the Karelian Isthmus.

The Red Army was constantly receiving new recruits after the breakthrough. One by one, the defenders' strongholds crumbled under the Soviet attacks and the Finns were forced to retreat.

On 15 February, Mannerheim authorised a general retreat of the II Corps to a fallback line of defence. Although the Finns attempted to re-open negotiations with Moscow by every means during the war, the Soviets did not respond.

Wuolijoki departed for Stockholm and met Kollontai secretly at a hotel. Soon Molotov decided to extend recognition to the Ryti—Tanner government as the legal government of Finland and put an end to the puppet Terijoki Government of Kuusinen that the Soviets had set up.

By mid-February, it became clear that the Finnish forces were rapidly approaching exhaustion. For the Soviets, casualties were high, the situation was a source of political embarrassment to the Soviet regime, and there was a risk of Franco-British intervention. With the spring thaw approaching, the Soviet forces risked becoming bogged down in the forests.

German representatives, not aware that the negotiations were underway, suggested on 17 February that Finland negotiate with the Soviet Union. Both Germany and Sweden were keen to see an end to the Winter War. There are several ways to recycle these items.

Ask friends if they are interested in taking any of the pieces. Donate the items to a person in need. Bring the items to a donation center and ask for a tax deduction form.

Sell the items to a consignment shop. Host a garage sale. Place your non-delicate items into plastic bins. Plastic containers are ideal for seasonal storage of your non-delicate clothing. Fold and place the heaviest items, like jeans and sweatshirts, in the bottom of the plastic bin. Place neatly folded shirts, skirts, and tights on top of the bulky bottom layer.

While vacuum bags help you save space, they do not allow your garments to breath. If you need to store clothing for more than a season or two, place the garments in a cotton storage bag or box.

Instead of mothballs, consider using lavender sachets or cedar balls to keep your clothes smelling fresh and pest free.

Wrap your delicate items in tissue paper. Storing your delicates requires a bit more finesse. When your delicates return from the dry cleaner, remove them from the plastic garment bag. Carefully fold each item, wrap it in acid-free tissue paper, and then place it into a cotton storage bin. Plastic garment bags do not allow your natural fiber clothing to breathe properly. Instead of hanging up sweaters, fold them neatly.

Place your heaviest sweaters at the bottom of your plastic storage bin or cotton garment bag. The lightest sweaters should lay on top of your heavier articles. Do not over stuff your storage bins. Instead, loosely pack your sweaters so that they can breathe. Fold and store your winter coats. Once the seasons turn from winter to spring, it is tempting to hang up your bulky winter coats in the back of your closet.

However, allowing your coats to hang throughout the spring and summer may distort their shape. The best method for storing coats is to fold them up and place them inside a plastic bin.

Remove all of the items from your coat pockets. Wash or dry clean your coats. Fold up your coats and place them into a plastic or cotton storage bin. Do not over stuff the bin.

Hang up your furs and dresses. Hang up these items and then place them inside a cotton garment bag. If your dresses are not made out of delicate, natural materials, you can fold these items and place them inside a plastic storage bin.

You may want to have your real furs professionally stored in a temperature controlled building throughout the spring and summer. Store your bins, cotton garment bags, and cotton garment boxes. Once you have packed up all of your winter wardrobe in bins, boxes, and bags, you need to find a place to store these containers. Ideally, you should always store clothing in a cool, clean, dark, and dry environment.

It is especially important to store your furs in a cool place—the skins will crack if they are too hot. Bright environments will cause your clothing to fade. Damp and hot environments may cause your clothing to become mildewy.

Dusty storage spaces will cause your clean clothing to become dirty. Fill your tall winter boots with boot trees and store. When tall boots are shoved in the back of a closet or haphazardly thrown into a box, they tend to lose their shape. To prevent this from occurring, insert a boot form or tree into each boot. Once your boots are thoroughly cleaned, polished, and conditioned, stand them up in a closet side-by-side. Lay a pair of boots on their side in the bin.

Place a cotton t-shirt of muslin shoe bag over the boots. Store the closed bin in a cool, dark, dry, and clean space. Stuff your non-boots with tissue paper and store. If stored improperly, your ankle boots, winter loafers, and pumps will also become misshapen over time.

To help your winter shoes keep their shape, fill each shoe with loosely packed tissue paper. Once filled, carefully stack the shoes in a storage container, such as a plastic bin or basket, your closet, or a designated shoe organizer.

Wrapping It Up

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