Merry Christmas from the Finnish Army

17 12 2013


Story of the US Army 10th Mountain Division

9 12 2013

Gear worn by a member of the 10th Mountain Division Soldier in World War II. Photo taken at the Veterans’ Museum in Branson.

In November 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Finland. In response, Finnish soldiers on skis destroyed two tank divisions and humiliated the Russians.

The president of the National Ski Patrol, Charles Minot (Minnie) Dole, saw this as a perfect example of why the U.S. Army needed mountain troops. Dole spent months lobbying the War Department to train troops in mountain and winter warfare. He was able to convince the Army to create ski units.

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Finnish Karelia Brigade Exercise

5 12 2013

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Finnish Army – Weapons Collaboration 2013

5 12 2013

Finnish Small Unit Tactics

29 11 2013

Finnish ski troops in Northern Finland in January 1940

The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends No. 6, August 27, 1942


The tactical doctrine of the Finnish Army presupposes an overwhelming superiority in numbers and materiel on the part of its potential enemy. To increase the effectiveness of their defense against such an enemy, Finnish tactics take advantage of the available natural factors: the characteristics of the Finnish people, and the nature and possibilities of Finland’s terrain.

Their long struggle with poor soil caused the Finnish people to develop exceptional physical strength, iron nerves, resourcefulness, and a stubborn will. These traits, together with the high level of popular education, general skill in arms, the expert use of skis, and familiarity with life in the woods make the Finnish soldier especially suited for independent action.

The Finns are naturally uncommunicative, like to go their own way, and are of a suspicious nature. Not easily aroused to enthusiasm, they are strong-willed, and once an idea is conceived it is held tenaciously. Finns are hard to lead, but, once having accepted a leader, are extremely loyal.


The country is largely covered with woods, thousands of lakes, and numerous rivers and swamps. The coastline is very irregular. Travel must be confined to roads since crosscountry communication is almost impossible. The roads are many miles apart and hemmed in by the forest. The clearings for agricultural purposes are few and small. It is a rolling country, with very few marked elevations.

Finns realized long ago that if war came to them, it would be a defensive conflict begun by an aggressor and fought from the very first day within their own boundaries. The general plan of defense assumes that the enemy will be unprepared by nature and experience to cope with conditions in Finland. Read the rest of this entry »

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