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As learned to fight tanks. The Winter War

The territorial issue is a sore point in relations between the USSR and Finland. Border was very close to Leningrad, the Soviet side is worried, so the Finns in the October 1939 negotiations, a proposal for the exchange of lands. However, the Finnish Government considered it unacceptable. A month later, the Soviet-Finnish War, also known as winter or, in Finnish, “Talvisota.”

This was not the first armed conflict between Soviet Russia and Finland. But it was in the war of 1939-1940 the tanks were used en masse and all along the fighting.

Karelian trap

The Soviet command planned to quickly defeat the enemy. At the same time prepare for war was very casually fighting plans drawn up in haste using deliberately outdated intelligence, even the roads do not have time to improve. Some commanders at all doubt that the Red Army will meet on the Karelian Isthmus serious strengthening. Mannerheim Line, which rested the Soviet troops, to prove the opposite.

Finland whose government is suspected that the negotiations would fail, managed to mobilize. But to fully prepare for war Finns also have failed. In particular, there was a serious shortage of anti-tank weapons. It got to the point of absurdity: a soldier seriously advised to beat the strong stakes on the tank shells and machine guns to bend the stems. Also instruction prescribed thrust scrap chassis of Soviet tanks or shoot a shotgun cracks on inspection.

At the beginning of the war Finnish soldier Vieno Loymu tried to stop the tank “for instructions.” He put the scrap between the rollers, but apart from a terrible screech, no harm has not made – scrap fell back. Then Loymu tried to push into a caterpillar thick log, but after a few minutes of it left a pile of chips. Tank went on, and it only managed to incite a bunch of grenades.

At the beginning of the conflict in the possession of the Finnish army was less than a hundred anti-tank guns. It happened that a lot of defense tucked in one single anti-tank gun “Boys” . In such circumstances, the Finns had only one hope of success – at any price to keep out the Soviet infantry behind the tanks.

And it really became a serious problem for the Red Army. Finns in the very beginning of the attack fighters pinned to the ground machine-gun and mortar fire. Tankers had to return again and again to lead the Marines behind him.

For a tank left without cover, terrible enemies were not only implements PTO, which are very difficult to notice the car. Finnish soldiers could get close to the distance of the throw grenades or Molotov cocktails. It worked against even the newest T-28, which first went into battle was against Finland. Among other machines somewhere in the Finnish rear left experienced heavy tank QMS, or padded, or stuck in a swamp.

lomyat tanks wide glades & hellip;

The first stage War was for the Soviet Union failed, the Red Army was carrying heavy losses. Pretty soon the illusion of an easy victory vanished, began serious work on the bugs.

Flame tank was forbidden to expose the enemy left side, where the cylinders ognesmesyu.

In March 1940 35 years T-26 went on ice and crushed bay Pitkaranta Finnish garrisons on the islands. Losses amounted to four cars, gone under the ice in the assault

Tankers began to practice interaction with the infantry. In addition to the combat interactions, tanks intended for delivery to the site of the battle of fighters – dragged in tow armored sled. If necessary, the tanks were to shoot dragon’s teeth, burn forest debris from flamethrowers, to break through the barbed wire. If caught in the path of the dot – “blinding” him shooting at the embrasures, and if possible – to block their body to the infantry could come close.

Tank units ceased to be torn in depth defense at breakneck speed. Machine of the first wave from a distance of about one hundred meters were firing at the enemy trenches, destroying a few anti-tank guns and not allowing the infantry to raise their heads. Together with them, worked Flame tank, fill the trenches sea of ​​flame. Finnish infantry in such a situation was helpless: get armored enemy grenade, mine on a pole or a bottle of “goryuchku” was impossible.

The second wave of tanks came up with the infantry on the armor. Troopers dismounted combat engineers removed mines and assorted debris. Suitable third wave tank, infantry are planted in the depth of the defense, and her fourth, which deliver ammunition, machine guns and cannons.

This tactic Finns could not oppose anything. By February 1940 on the Karelian Isthmus, there was only one serviceable Finnish anti-tank gun. Was no longer a wonder that Soviet troops could pass for a day a good dozen blockages. Tanks became the worst enemy of the Finnish troops.

victory, passed on into time trouble

At the end of February 1940 the Finns tried to use his tanks – purchased in England, “Vickers”. Transfer machines are in such a hurry that for technical reasons, seven machines are out of order.


Fighting output made on the Karelian Isthmus latest heavy tanks KV, held here battle-tested

Later, there was a grim curiosity. Finnish soldiers in the rear confused “Vickers” with broken through the Soviet T-26 and raised panic. A little later, in the preparation of the attack, the Finnish artillery had shot accidentally by Allied tanks and infantry. When “Vickers” came to the Soviet position, they also initially adopted for its own, but just woke up. As a result, the company commander T-26 Captain Vasili Arkhipov chalked up four of the five tanks, which the Finns lost in this battle. In total, during February-March Finnish losses amounted to eight cars.

In stubborn fighting Soviet troops broke through the strengthening of the Mannerheim Line and captured Vyborg. Finland sued for peace, which was signed on March 12, 1940.

The experience gained during the Winter War, was heavy, but important. It became clear that it is necessary not only to strengthen and improve the patency of the armor of tanks. The whole army was in need of deep reform. Steps in this direction have been taken, but the time was too short. Before World War II was just over a year.

Also read:

Lyricist – Eugene Belas


  1. RSMA, f. 31811, op. 4, d. 23
  2. RSMA, f. 31811, op. 16, d. 117.
  3. Arkhipov VS Time tank attacks. – M .: Jauza; Eksmo, 2009.
  4. Irincheev Bair. Slandered Stalin’s victory. Storming the Mannerheim Line. M., Jauza, 2009.
  5. Irincheev Bair. Tanks in the Winter War. M., Tactical Press, 2013.

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