Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Winning Ugly

Here is a good example of the advantage dictatorships have in war from this account of the Finns offset the Soviet's three-to-one advantage in numbers in their Winter 1939 invasion of Finland in WWII.
How a Small Force of Finnish Ski Troops Fought Off a Massive Soviet Army: "But the Finnish ski troopers, again utilizing their knowledge of the white and wooded landscape, expertly positioned automatic weapons that mowed down wave upon wave of advancing Soviet soldiers. 
After days of slaughter, enough dead riflemen had piled up in the snowbanks that the oncoming lines of Soviets were able to take cover behind the frozen bodies. The sub-zero temperatures hardened the corpses enough to stop the Finnish machine gun rounds."
Not exactly the way you would want to win but apparently effective. The Soviets eventually forced territorial concessions out of Finland in exchange for an armistice. But imagine a democracy having to fight on as their soldiers were forced to hid behind the frozen bodies of their fallen comrades? Also, how useful is it to have frozen bodies to hide behind for an invading army? To invade you have to go forward. Having to wait for enough guys to get killed in front of you to advance would be a very slow process to say the least.

The Soviet advantage in tanks was offset by the Finns' use of gasoline filled bottles dropped into the exhausts of the Russian tanks by swift moving ski mounted soldiers, devices which were popularly called, "Molotov cocktails," after Stalin's duplicitous foreign minister who negotiated the notorious Hitler-Stalin pact that, among other things, apportioned Finland to the Soviet Union. Of course, the Soviets were never able to close the 'reindeer gap.'

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