January 20th, 1940 - On this day in World War Two history, Britain and France agree to send troops and supplies to aid Finland, but they do not arrive in time.
The Winter War between Finland and the USSR had begun in late 1939 and would end in March of 1940.
The Finns had been able to check multiple Soviet offensives into their nation, but by the time the allies finally agreed to send troops to aid them, the Soviets began to break through.
In the beginning of the conflict, the Soviets had been completely devastated by a combination of poor command, high Finnish morale, terrible strategy, and Finnish defensive genius.
The Finns knew they were heavily outnumbered, but they didn’t stop them from inflicting hundreds of thousands of casualties on their enemy before falling.
The Soviets had undergone a massive purge of their army in the 1930’s, executing tens of thousands of Middle to high ranking officers. This left a vacuum in command that needed to be filled by lower ranking officers, many of whom were not experienced enough to have those commands.
Because of this, mistakes were made, and they allowed the Finnish to remain standing for much longer. Guerrilla tactics played a huge role in the Finnish defense, and the Soviets seemed to have no solution in dealing with them. Tanks were halted with pieces of wood, isolated, and destroyed, ski troops moved swiftly and silently, participating in savage but effective ambush attacks against the Red Army, and defensive lines held because of the sheer ignorance of the Soviet military.
Finally, after reorganizing and going over strategic options, the Red Army came back into the fight and finally broke through the main Finnish defensive position known as the Mannerheim Line.
With defeat in sight, the Finnish government settled to a peace that gave immense amounts of border lands to the Soviets (more than was originally asked for). Finland gained an international reputation in terms of their military while the Soviets saw theirs decrease. This picture shows a young Finnish sniper during the Winter War. He most likely looked up to Simo Hayha. #finland#sniper#winter#war#tree#gorilla#warfare#history#ww2#wwii#worldwar2