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Winter War Strategy
258 pages; 14 chapters and 8 appendixes
The battles along the Murmansk front in Northern Finland lasted from 1939
through 1945. Murmansk Front tells the grim story of frigid cold and relentless
close combat in a winter war. The reader will learn how the ski troops
spearheaded offensives in weather so cold no motorized vehicle could move.
The secrets of the Finnish Army’s unique approach to war are revealed with
the clarity of the arctic sunlight. Murmansk Front is an e-book about sabotage
by small special forces units, as well as huge offensives carried out by hundreds
of thousands of troops in a winter war. The variety of wars fought in the
Murmansk zone including the Winter War, and the Continuation War are
analyzed in stark detail. Murmansk Front is cold; it’s white, and filled with lethal
dangers that can only be experienced in fighting in a sub-arctic region.
“Claiming that the Finnish economy had been strained to the limits during the victorious battles of 1941, the Finns
decided to disband two Finnish infantry divisions. However, some new brigades were formed in 1943, and a Finnish
panzer division, composed of captured Soviet tanks (T-34, T-26, KV-1) and German assault guns (Stug-IIIG's) was
also formed. More ominous was the fact that all Finnish forces, except Detachment P, were withdrawn from the
German commanded Lapland Front.
The Finns were not to be trusted. The Finnish government covertly tried twice to initiate peace talks with the Soviets,
after the Stalingrad catastrophe in early 1943, and after the siege of Leningrad had been broken in the spring of 1944.
Soviets began to bomb Helsinki, so that Finland would be more willing to surrender. It was a repeat of the Winter War.
Three large-scale air attacks with hundreds of bombers were launched against the Finnish capital. Some Soviet attack
aircraft made two sorties a night from the airfields located near Leningrad. However, the attacking Soviet aircraft were
successfully repelled and most of the bombs were dropped into Gulf of Finland. The key to success was a new
Finnish AA-tactic of concentrated fire, which made communist bomber crews nervous, and they tended to drop
bombs too early.
Nevertheless, the Finnish government started negotiations through Sweden. However, Soviet demands were too
much, including withdrawal from all occupied territories, expelling of Germans and large reparations.
Ironically, the combined German and Finnish forces in 1943 could easily have massed their forces and seized
Murmansk. It is a surprising fact that Axis forces along the Murmansk Front outnumbered their communist adversaries
in 1943. "On 15 September 1943, there were in Finland 350,000 Finnish soldiers against only 180,000 Soviets,
200,000 Germans against only 90,000 Soviets." By practicing economy of force along non-offensive fronts, Axis forces
in the far north could have pitted 350-450,000 troops against the puny Soviet forces defending Murmansk and its rail
line to Leningrad. If the Finns had participated in the seizure of Murmansk in 1942 or 1943, when the odds were
stacked so well in their favor, the war might have been won. At the least, Finland would have become more powerful,
both economically and militarily.”
Excerpt from Murmansk Front
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