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  #1  
Old 1st March 2005, 21:07
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Some facts on Winter War

There have been some observation on Winter War (30.11.39 - 13.3.40) between Soviet Union and Finland in connection of LW in Normandy. Even if Finland wasn't an Axis power at that time, as it was in war against SU which was a sort of non-combat partner of Germany at that time, I post this in this forum.
At the beginning of the war Finns had 119 a/c vs appr. 800 a/c against them.
1.3.40 Finns had 152 a/c vs appr. 3.800 VVS a/c.
Losses during the war were. Finns 49, SU 650 - 700 a/c. These are from all reasons, in winter climate operational losses on both sides were rather high.
FAF couldn't give much support to hard pressed front-line troops.
FAF succeeded in helping to keep the railwaylines open for supply traffic to the Finnish field army, but only with narrow margin.
Even in last weeks of war FAF was able to mount many bombing and straffing raids against Soviet forces which were crossing the Gulf of Viipuri/Vyborg (Viipurin lahti) over the ice and so possessed a grave danger to Finnish Field Army. In these attacks FAF suffered some losses but those were altogether in single figure.
Sorry, I don't have time to make a more in depht analyze.

Juha
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Old 2nd March 2005, 01:56
Christer Bergström Christer Bergström is offline
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I am reading Carl-Fredrik Geust’s “Red Stars 5”, dealing with VVS KBF in the Winter War. Due to Geust’s research, VVS KBF (which constituted only one part of the Soviet aviation which took part in the Winter War) sustained 117 aircraft losses during the Winter War, but of these, only 13 were lost in air combat (of which all but one were bombers) while 77 were lost due to various accidents (“lost in snow storm”, “lost orientation”, “landing accident”, etc), and most of the remainder were shot down by Finnish AAA.
(“Red Stars 5”, pp. 178 - 182 contains a list of each VVS KBF aircraft loss, down to damaged, 30 Nov 1939 - 13 March 1940.)

I don’t know why Juha avoids a “more in depth analyze”. The Winter War is a clear case of a war where the numerical superiority which one of the two sides held was THE factor which decided the outcome. Everyone accepts that, and as a Finn, Juha is well aware of that. So why waste words on a meaningless sentence like “Sorry, I don't have time to make a more in depth analyze”?

Finland actually was defeated twice by the Soviets - in 1940 and in 1944. Wasn’t numerical superiority THE factor which decided the outcome in 1944 as well? Does it take long studies to arrive at such an “in depth” conclusion?

BTW, read about the Swedish Air Force’s contribution to Finland’s defensive fight during the Winter War here on Håkan Gustavsson’s excellent website:

http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/sweden_f19.htm

A real “in depth analysis” of the air war during the Winter War - by CDR (USN Ret) Robert L. Shaw (author of "Fighter Combat"), can be found at the Fighter Tactics Academy website:

http://www.sci.fi/~fta/winter-w.htm

Enjoy!
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  #3  
Old 2nd March 2005, 07:41
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Hello
Christer wrote: "I don’t know why Juha avoids a “more in depth analyze”". Reason is the given, I'm very busy now, work plus research, so simple. Finnish claims were IIRC FAF 190, AA /ground fire 404. VVS-KBF, which was a minor partner on Soviet side, mostly operated against Finnish south and west coast and against Southern and Western Finland when most of the air fighting was centered naturally over SE Finland, where the main front was and where the future of Finland was decided. So VVS-KBF losses splip up in all probability diffrently than overall Soviet a/c losses.

And now to work
Juha
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Old 2nd March 2005, 11:29
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Even if Finland wasn't an Axis power at that time, as it was in war against SU which was a sort of non-combat partner of Germany at that time, I post this in this forum.
Having in mind Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, joint aggression on Poland, then Treaty of Mutual Assistance signed in Moscow at the end of September and then full cooperation like sabotage performed by Soviet agents - communistic trade unions - during the German aggression on the West (almost blocked production of Spitfires at a crucial moemnt before the BoB), I cannot call Soviet Union anything by an ally of Germany.
We should end at last with Soviet/communistic propaganda and call it by name. And also clearly call the 'Winter War' a Finnish Campaign, integral part of WWII.

Quote:
(“Red Stars 5”, pp. 178 - 182 contains a list of each VVS KBF aircraft loss, down to damaged, 30 Nov 1939 - 13 March 1940.)
The question that still remains valid is how accurate those data are. High losses caused a lot of concern in Soviet command and IIRC there are some stories of how loss stats were falsified by field commanders to avoid responsibility, understandable having in mind fear caused eg. by recent purges. Therefore it cannot be excluded some of the reported non combat losses actually were the ones.

Quote:
The Winter War is a clear case of a war where the numerical superiority which one of the two sides held was THE factor which decided the outcome.
This is a clear example that quantity not supported by any quality means nothing. Look waht Finland was, a small country with a population comparable to a big Soviet city, with no industry, which just regained independence. Despite of huge numerical superiority, Finnish AF did not cease to exist within the first few days of campaign. Well, it even increased.

Quote:
Finland actually was defeated twice by the Soviets - in 1940 and in 1944.
Considering the Soviets did not manage to occupy Finland nor to establish a puppet communistic government (which was already waiting on the Soviet side of the border), I cannot call this defeat. Perhaps a bitter victory but definetelly not a defeat.
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Old 2nd March 2005, 13:23
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Before the non-aggression pact the Soviets were trying to get together an anti-Nazi block, they did not succeed with the Anglo-French. The Soviets were always pragmatic...

As for defeating the Finns.

They did defeat the Finns twice.

Victory is not always about occupation, but attaining your goals and most of these were attained against Finland without the need of an occupation. Occupation of enemy lands is not always the best way to win a war, just look at the daily events in Iraq.

But now I've joined a debate that I wish to avoid on this forum.

So as moderator, if this discussion goes towards the political it will be locked.
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Old 2nd March 2005, 13:25
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Hello
I tried to use a neutral term for Germany and SU relationship after the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, bacause I would like to keep this thread focused on history to airwar.

Yes, there are defeats and defeats. Finns were compelled to give up appr. one tenth of its area but kept its independency and kept out a puppet government. In 40s, when the real defeat meant a place in a cattle wagon on the way to East to tens of thousands Balts (our southern neighbours) and to hundreds of thousands Jews, Gipsies etc in Western Europe, it wasn't a small accomplisment.

Back to air forces. Even if the VVS didn't succeed during Winter War very well it had only a few months early won a battle over JAAF during the Nomonhan (spelling isn't probably absolutely correct) Incident. IIRC correctly VVS had some sort of numerical superiority at the later part of that battle but anyway it had achieved at least some sort of control over the battlefield. Losses were, at least that was the conclusion around year 2000, appr. 200 a/c on both side. So in different circumstances VVS had done well against a good airforce. What this shows IMHO is that one must be careful when trying to apply conclusions from one war to an another. Was the FAF better than JAAF in autumn 1939, I don't know. At least it was much smaller.

Juha
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Old 2nd March 2005, 13:38
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Did the performance of the VVS influence the outcome - was its performance instrumental?

I know too little of the Winter War*, but if IIRC it was mainly the Soviet Army which suffered from bad tactics, difficult terrain and the weather (lessons learned the hard way?) and the Finns which exploited most of the Soviet weaknesses.

Did the Soviets attain their strategic goals (other than complete occupation of Finland)?

*what I know is from the Finnish and Western side.
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Old 2nd March 2005, 14:31
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To Ruy

Hello
it's nice to know that the Dutch are so well informed on the Stalin's designs for Finland in 1939. It's a pity that it was not possible to share Your information to the Finns during the Winter War. Stalin did all kinds of tricks to deceive the Finns to believe that he had more sinister designs (a puppet government, a Finnish Libaration Army to liberate Finns from the joke of white bandits, refusal to negotiate with the lawful government of Finland after SU attack etc..). And poor stupid Finns took the hook.

Juha
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Old 2nd March 2005, 14:37
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Why the cynical answer, instead you could have tried to explain more of the winter war. Did the Soviets - or Russians - attain a great number of their strategic goals both in 1939/40 and in 1945, yes or no?

If a forum is just about spreading opinion and being cynical against those who do not share that opinion, or are simply uninformed enough to have a proper opinion, than why bother at all?
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Old 2nd March 2005, 14:39
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VVS contribution was important but was it essential. SU had so big superiority in tanks, in artillery etc.. that I don't think that the airwar was essential. VVS suffered at least from bad fighter tactics, that's sure but to analyze all facet of the importance of air war during that conflict would take time which I don't have just now. VVS had rather good a/c, used some innovative tactics. So I must leave Your question without proper answer, maybe someone else will answer it.

Juha
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