- May 8, 2017
- Reaction score
- New York City area
- Political Leaning
- Very Liberal
Did the Soviet Union win the "Winter War" between the USSR and Finland? On paper they did but as some general said "any more victories like that and we're done for." See With Triumphs Like These, Who Needs Defeats? In November 1939 the USSR attacked Finland. Finland did not just role over to the vastly superior Soviet forces. Finland mounted what one historian called a "Fabian defense." See Lessons from the Winter War: Frozen Grit and Finland’s Fabian Defense (link, excerpt below)
In A Short History Of The 'Winter War' (link in title, authored by Imperial War Museums) the Winter War was aptly summarized, "(t)he ‘Winter War’ of 1939-1940, also known as the Russo-Finnish War, saw the tiny Finnish Army take on the might of the Soviet Union’s gigantic Red Army….A faked border incident gave the Soviet Union the excuse to invade on 30 November 1939. The Red Army was ill-equipped, poorly led, and unable to deal with the Finnish terrain and winter weather. Though small and under-resourced, the Finnish Army was resilient, well-led and was able to use knowledge of the terrain to good effect.” The outcome of the war may have been a victory, but a limited one and hardly worth the price for the Soviets. Link, excerpts below:All too often, however, it is certain climactic battles-or flashes in the pan of martial history that capture our interest, rather than the more protracted and less cinematic struggles between two unevenly matched armies. An exception might be the campaigns of Quintus Fabius Maximus during the Second Punic War. The redoubtable Roman’s efforts have bequeathed to us something of an awkward nomenclature — the adjective Fabian — now used to designate nationally driven scorched-earth tactics or strategies of delay and progressive attrition.
There are countless other fascinating examples of Fabian warfare that could and should be drawn upon by contemporary strategists.
Yet one of history’s most dramatic tales of Fabian defense is found much further north, in the dark pine forests stretching beyond the Arctic Circle and in the mass graveyards that still dot the banks of the Karelian Isthmus. Karelia, renowned for its natural beauty, is one of those many bucolic but benighted stretches of territory that by the tyranny of geography have found themselves repeatedly ravaged by great power conflicts.
Finland’s Winter War with the Soviet Union, waged over the course of 105 days from November 1939 to March 1940, should be an object of study for all students of military strategy.
This mini-war, the British "victory" at Bunker Hill and other "triumphs" by powerful countries, then, often are not worth much when against determined defenders. I welcome other accounts of similar efforts, which is why I posted this on "History." Is this war and treaty resolving war a template for the current Ukraine strife.The treaty ending the Winter War forced Finland to cede 11 percent of its territory to the Soviet Union, yet the country maintained its independence and later squared off against Russia a second time during World War II. For the Soviets, meanwhile, victory came at a heavy cost. During just three months of fighting, their forces suffered over 300,000 casualties compared to around 65,000 for the Finns.