By William Trotter

At 10:30 A.M. on November 30, 1939, a formation of Russian bombers dropped from a cloud financial institution to sell off a salvo of bombs on Helsinki, the capital urban of Finland. The wintry weather conflict was once underway. Overwhelming superiority in manpower and guns finally prevailed, yet now not prior to Finland had written a saga of heroic resistance. it's this too-seldom-remembered tale that William R. Trotter recounts in fireplace and Ice. sixteen pages of images

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Extra resources for A frozen hell : the Russo-Finnish winter war of 1939-1940

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Mannerheim even toyed briefly with the notion of a counterattack, for that enemy thrust was being vigorously resisted by two battalions of Finnish regulars, and their morale seemed high. “Send us some artillery, and we’ll cut them up”, was the gist of the local 46 Finnish commander’s reports (at present, he was supported only by four obsolete field guns and some light mortars). The Baron would have liked nothing better, but for the moment those battalions would have to hold with what they had. Mannerheim had no spare cannon anywhere closer than a warehouse in Tampere, where his ordnance teams were frantically trying to recondition some rusty old French ‘75s and a dozen or so Tsarist-era antiques that had literally been pressed into active duty from town museums and public parks.

But they were entering some of the most rugged terrain in north-central Finland, and their thin, unwieldy column had been halted numerous times by pin-prick ambushes to the head and flanks, boldly executed by small Border Guard patrols. As the local Finns had feared, however, enemy aerial reconnaissance had spotted a primitive secondary logging track a couple of miles north of the invaders’ route and parallel to it. A regiment, possibly two, had back-tracked to the frontier and re-crossed it on a bearing that would bring them to this parallel track.

When a true Socialist regime was established in Finland, the leaflets promised, the Finnish proletariat would gain new rights and freedoms, such as a guaranteed forty-hour work-week! The leaflets’ text had obviously been cobbled together hurriedly by some of the exiled Finnish Reds who had been biding their time since 1918, and it was clear to the citizens who read them that these almost-forgotten revolutionaries hadn’t done a very good job of keeping up with the times: the 40-hour week had been passed into law more than twenty years earlier!

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