Lesson #248: Do NOT F*** With the Finns

Remember how I mentioned that the Finns made use of the practice of decimation? Yeah, that’s just the start of it.

In the winter of 1939-40, the Soviets decided to have a go at Finland, despite being a. inexperienced at the highest level since 30,000 of their high-ranking officials had been shot or exiled and b. in the midst of an invasion of Poland. But it’s Finland, right? Throw a million troops and a few thousand tanks at them and they’ll lie down. Except they didn’t.

The Soviets had: upwards of a million men, 6000+ tanks and nearly 4,000 aircraft.

The Finns had: a little under 350,000 men, 32 tanks and 113 aircraft.

Soviet casualties: 130,000 (ish) dead or missing, 190,000 (ish) wounded, 5,500 (ish) captured, about 2,000 lost tanks and 1000 lost planes — though only about half in combat.

Finnish casualties: about 26,000 dead or missing, about 43,500 wounded, 1000 captured, 25 (ish) lost tanks and 62 lost aircraft.

Peace was declared in March of 1940 by virtue of the Moscow Peace Treaty in which Finland, bafflingly, conceded 11% of its pre-war territory and 30% of its economic assets to the Soviet Union. The peace lasted only until June of the following year when the Continuation War broke out.*

The moral of the story? Do not mess with the Finns; they will f*** you up

*For more information, see here and here.

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