Pictures from the winter war

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His Divine Shadow
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Pictures from the winter war

Post by His Divine Shadow »

Englishrussia has posted a bunch of (gruesome) pictures fromthe winter war that the FDF had stashed away in a box somewhere:
http://englishrussia.com/index.php/2011 ... more-34210

Figured it might be of interest to the people here. TBH given the place that published this I was looking for some hints of it being fake or some kind of joke, but it doesn't look like it.
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

Post by K. A. Pital »

One of the photos is that of a Finnish deserter being executed. How widespread was the practice?
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

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Stas Bush wrote:One of the photos is that of a Finnish deserter being executed. How widespread was the practice?
Finns deserting?
In the winter war, not very. Usually you had nowhere to run. Plus it was quite obvious what would happen if the rUSSR won given the rhetorics from the civil war.

Finns executing deserters they caught?
Common, again it follows from the civil war. But it was uncommon for them to desert in such a stupid way that you got caught.
Instead not showing up after leave time was the usual way.

Executions?
Not more common compared to other fronts.
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

Post by Thanas »

I didn't know the soviets used marauding bandits that much in the Winter war. I guess Stalin did not exactly care for the rules of war.
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

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Thanas wrote:I didn't know the soviets used marauding bandits that much in the Winter war. I guess Stalin did not exactly care for the rules of war.
IIRC the 'marauding bandits' were used to destabilize the border region for months if not years before the actual military fighting started. Sadly, looking back over history, it was quite a common tactic to encourage such incursions in an effort to make border areas uninhabitable. The Scots tried similar tactics against the English in Henry VIIIs time.

The poor Finns were a much put-upon people in the 1930s; the pity of it was they had to go and screw themselves over by getting involved in the Continuation War
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

Post by CaptHawkeye »

He might have viewed the entire war as an internal affair. Seeing Finland more as a rebellious "state" of the USSR. He approached it with the attitude of a civil war. Hence viewing Fins as "disloyal traitors".
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

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From a Russian point of view, that might have a certain element of justification in it although opinions may differ sharply on how justified it was. Again, turning maurauders loose on the civilian population to enforce obedience is another long-standing ploy. "We'll protect you against them provided you do what we say" - and carefully don't mention that 'we' and 'them' are the same people. These days, the people used are called "freedom fighters" or "jihadists" rather than "marauders" or "reivers" but the rationale is the same. Use fear to enforce control.
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

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Stuart wrote:
Thanas wrote:I didn't know the soviets used marauding bandits that much in the Winter war. I guess Stalin did not exactly care for the rules of war.
IIRC the 'marauding bandits' were used to destabilize the border region for months if not years before the actual military fighting started. Sadly, looking back over history, it was quite a common tactic to encourage such incursions in an effort to make border areas uninhabitable. The Scots tried similar tactics against the English in Henry VIIIs time.

The poor Finns were a much put-upon people in the 1930s; the pity of it was they had to go and screw themselves over by getting involved in the Continuation War
Do you happen to know if these were specially recruited guys or just the usual assortment of "hey, here is a rifle, go kill, pillage and rape" guys?
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

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Thanas wrote: Do you happen to know if these were specially recruited guys or just the usual assortment of "hey, here is a rifle, go kill, pillage and rape" guys?
I believe it was pretty much the latter reinforced by criminals who got a choice; "either do a life sentence in the Gulag or join our brave militia and, by the way, here is a rifle, go kill, pillage and rape. With official approval this time."

One of the depressing things about life is just how easy it is to recruit the scum needed to do this kind of thing. Every country has them and they're always in the wings waiting for somebody to give them a starting push. Somebody I know once compared using people like this to throwing a rabid dog into a person's back yard.
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

Post by K. A. Pital »

I don't think these people were some sort of criminals in the USSR or whatever or faced some sort of dilemma - there's no need to invent stuff. Sometimes ordinary people, soldiers or partisans alike, commit war crimes. The truth is that partisans often killed civilians or wounded. I don't know if that could be trusted or not, but according to the Finns themselves, IIRC, the partisans killed a total of around two hundred civilians during their "deep raids" into enemy territory. That's a small number considering the overall casualties from bombing and the war itself, but it is a big enough number, considering those were civilians far away from the frontline. The Soviet partisans were hardly angels. Neither were the Finnish ones. There's no need to recruit scum. Like I said, it was done by ordinary, but ruthless, people.

What I wonder about is the dates of these photos. Is there a link to the archives or museum website which published them and exit data? Because I think I've already seen some of them, except with dates from 1944, which puts it firmly under "Continuation war" photos.
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

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Why is the dead guy's hand sticking out of a hole in the coffin?
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

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Shroom Man 777 wrote:Why is the dead guy's hand sticking out of a hole in the coffin?
He's frozen solid, and it's easier making a hole in the lid than to break the arm off...
A minute's thought suggests that the very idea of this is stupid. A more detailed examination raises the possibility that it might be an answer to the question "how could the Germans win the war after the US gets involved?" - Captain Seafort, in a thread proposing a 1942 'D-Day' in Quiberon Bay

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Re: Pictures from the winter war

Post by cosmicalstorm »

LaCroix wrote:
Shroom Man 777 wrote:Why is the dead guy's hand sticking out of a hole in the coffin?
He's frozen solid, and it's easier making a hole in the lid than to break the arm off...
:shock:
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

Post by Elheru Aran »

Yeah, Finland can be THAT goddamn cold, and the Winter War was particularly brutal IIRC.

Forgive me if it should be obvious, but I don't think I've ever come across the term 'Continuation War'. I thought the Finns just had the Winter War, which they lost, and then they sided with the Germans against the Russians and got screwed again after that?
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

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Stas Bush wrote:I don't think these people were some sort of criminals in the USSR or whatever or faced some sort of dilemma - there's no need to invent stuff. Sometimes ordinary people, soldiers or partisans alike, commit war crimes. The truth is that partisans often killed civilians or wounded. I don't know if that could be trusted or not, but according to the Finns themselves, IIRC, the partisans killed a total of around two hundred civilians during their "deep raids" into enemy territory. That's a small number considering the overall casualties from bombing and the war itself, but it is a big enough number, considering those were civilians far away from the frontline. The Soviet partisans were hardly angels. Neither were the Finnish ones. There's no need to recruit scum. Like I said, it was done by ordinary, but ruthless, people.

What I wonder about is the dates of these photos. Is there a link to the archives or museum website which published them and exit data? Because I think I've already seen some of them, except with dates from 1944, which puts it firmly under "Continuation war" photos.
You may well be right although my experience with this kind of 'partisan action' is that it usually attracts the worst kind of people around. This was certainly the case in the ACW. Also, it's sometimes very hard to distinguish between banditry and partisan action; that's commonplace in a lot of countries where the rule of law has been corrupted or broken. It's not impossible that the partisans were not involved in these massacres and that they were carried out by bandits who were then lumped in with the partisans by the Finns. Two hundred dead does sound more like banditry than organized partisan action.

You know this area a lot better than I do; I'll defer to you on this,
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

Post by Samuel »

Elheru Aran wrote:Yeah, Finland can be THAT goddamn cold, and the Winter War was particularly brutal IIRC.

Forgive me if it should be obvious, but I don't think I've ever come across the term 'Continuation War'. I thought the Finns just had the Winter War, which they lost, and then they sided with the Germans against the Russians and got screwed again after that?
Continuation war is what the Fins called their part in the war, sort of like how World War 2 is called the Great Patriotic War in Russia. Also the US never declared war on Finland.
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

Post by Marcus Aurelius »

Samuel wrote:
Elheru Aran wrote:Yeah, Finland can be THAT goddamn cold, and the Winter War was particularly brutal IIRC.

Forgive me if it should be obvious, but I don't think I've ever come across the term 'Continuation War'. I thought the Finns just had the Winter War, which they lost, and then they sided with the Germans against the Russians and got screwed again after that?
Continuation war is what the Fins called their part in the war, sort of like how World War 2 is called the Great Patriotic War in Russia. Also the US never declared war on Finland.
Here's summary about the names used in Finland and also in most English sources which write specifically about Finland, dates in ISO format:

Winter War 1939-11-30 - 1940-03-13
Interim Peace 1940-03-13 - 1941-06-24
Continuation War 1941-06-24 - 1944-09-04 or 1944-09-19
Lapland War 1944-09-15 - 1945-04-27

The latter two are usually considered part of WW2, whereas Winter War is often considered a separate albeit closely linked conflict similar to for example the Second Sino-Japanese War (which started in 1937).

The end date of Continuation War varies in different sources. The first date above is the armistice date and the second the date of the Moscow interim peace agreement. Soviet forces actually ceased hostilities on 5th of September 1944 due to disagreement about the proper interpretation of the armistice terms, so that's a third possible date...

Lapland War was fought between Finland and Nazi Germany, but it was not declared on either side. Expulsion of German troops from Finnish soil was demanded by the Moscow peace. The end date marks the time the last German troops left Finnish soil. There was never an official peace agreement, either, although the Finnish government concluded in 1954(!) that the war had ended. The English Wikipedia article on Lapland War has odd dates and other inaccuracies, so I wouldn't trust that to more than general outlines.

About the images: many of them are definitely from Continuation War, and the article actually says so:
The dull-looking cardboard box that contains three envelopes is full of horrific images from the Winter War (1939-40) and the Continuation War (1941-44).
I would say that most if not all the non-wintertime pictures are from Continuation War. The Soviet Partisan operations also took place during that war.
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

Post by K. A. Pital »

Marcus Aurelius wrote:I would say that most if not all the non-wintertime pictures are from Continuation War. The Soviet Partisan operations also took place during that war.
That was my impression as well, I think the header placed over them in some news sources is misleading ("Shocking Winter War photos", etc.). Also, didn't Mannerheim mention that some Soviet partisans actually conducted efficient operations? Because from what I gather, there were several partisan groups operating in the Continuation War, and their usual tasks included attacks on German military emplacements and bases, not going around killing locals. And yeah, I wouldn't trust Wikipedia on stuff related to Soviet-Finnish wars, neither on most wars for that matter.
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

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It`s so sad looking at these pictures, and thinking about what humans are capable of doing to each other...

Can you even imagine what this would have done to the soldiers who had to move the bodies?
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

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Stas Bush wrote:What I wonder about is the dates of these photos. Is there a link to the archives or museum website which published them and exit data? Because I think I've already seen some of them, except with dates from 1944, which puts it firmly under "Continuation war" photos.
This article was linked from the site showing the photos. No link to any museum website, but that should give some detail.
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

Post by K. A. Pital »

Okay... still no details which photo relates to which period of war. Although the article gives more detail on the photos than all prior media notes I've read.
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Re: Pictures from the winter war

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Stas Bush wrote:Okay... still no details which photo relates to which period of war. Although the article gives more detail on the photos than all prior media notes I've read.
If you open the photos from the HS article sidebar into their own tabs or windows, the picture texts for those give fairly accurate dates. When you view the rest of the photos from the English Russia site, you can probably extrapolate he dates of a lot of the other pictures as well based on those descriptions. They seem to span from 1941 to 1944, so from the Continuation War.

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Re: Pictures from the winter war

Post by K. A. Pital »

Oh, true! I should've clicked on the photos.
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