• The photo shows an Finnish Army unit in Eastern Karelia during summer of 1941. The age differense among the soldiers is typical of
      1941 – 1944 war, almost every man under 48 years old was inlisted. Shortage of infantry rifles was great so all rifles firing 7,62 x 54R were issued to front line troops. Also the appearance of the soldiers show fatigue after long marches, so I my opinion is that this unit is marching to the battle.

  2. Looking at this picture makes me think how challenging was to assure continuous supply of ammunition and spares for various arms (I suppose those chambered in 7.62x54R were bit more convenient since they could collect trophy materiel).

    In any case and without unduly venturing into history, it always amazed me how Finns managed (and with notable success) to face such formidable opponent. I hope this will never be repeated in future.

    • Russian officer standing on a crate, addressing his unit in the dead of winter: “Listen up, men! We are going to crush those puny Fascist sycophants in 2 days! First, we shall chop down their trees with our tanks and our planes! Then we will shoot them in the face when they surrender! And then we will-!”
      SPLAT! [The officer is shot in the back of his head.]
      Russian soldiers, running around in panic: “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
      [The Russians are mostly gunned down, and only a few make it out of the area alive.]
      Random Finn: “Oh goody, we got all their stuff for the price of an ammunition crate!”

      Did I mess up the scene?

      • Not really, but you left out the 47 quotations from Marx and Lenin that would have been laced through the pep talk.

        One of the fundamental flaws of the Red Army at that time was that zampoliti (political officers) and line officers were largely indistinguishable from each other. Both were prone to making speeches like this; neither had much idea of tactics, etc.

        The zampolits were generally NKVD and knew little beyond “I order you to charge, if you don’t I will shoot you”.

        The line officers knew that if they weren’t “awoke” enough politically, they would be the first ones the zampolits shot. After which other NKVD types elsewhere would shoot their families, as well.

        This was as true before Stalin’s purges as it was after them.

        Like the Revolutionary French army pre-Bonaparte, the Red Army of that time sought to use mass to make up for its lack of actual tactical expertise.

        This was also shown in bloody detail at Stalingrad; Chuikov’s 62nd Army eventually won by relearning the techniques of urban combat the hard way. The cost was high, but the survivors were some of the deadliest infantry ever to march. It’s not a coincidence that Zhukov detailed those veteran street-fighters to spearhead the final drive into Berlin two years later.

        “Political” armies tend to have to relearn the same lessons over and over again. The price in lives is never cheap.



        • ““Political” armies tend to have to relearn the same lessons over and over again. The price in lives is never cheap.”
          Red Army has its flaws, but at least it was able learn itself.
          As effect of result of Talvisota commanders which know what they are doing were returned to service (see for example K.K.Rokossovsky)

      • I read couple of thing in distant past about this war and what came across to me was that:
        – yes, Finns were called fascists (because did not accept communist rule)
        – they were extremely cunning in preparation of variety of ambushes; Soviets had real tough going with them

        Advantages Finns had was among other things that they had no other enemies and were not encircled (such as Czechs were in 1938). Also they received international support namely by Germany. These were probably good reasons their morale was high.

        • At the time of the Nov. 1939 to March 1940 “Talvisota/Winter War” Germany and the USSR were allied via the sophistry of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
          Finland was supported rhetorically by the UK–which sought to use “aid” to Finland as a rationale to interdict Swedish iron-ore trade to Germany–and by France. Finland received aid from several nations, but not, at that time, from Germany.

          In 1941, Finland decided to go into the war against the USSR as a “co-belligerent” of Germany to regain the territory lost to the USSR. First Romania, and then Finland sued for peace with Russia in 1944.

          • Hitler’s visit to Finland and discussion with Carl Mannerheim was in 1942, during the so-called “Continuation War” and the German effort to destroy the USSR and colonize the territory…

            At the time of the Winter War, the secret annex of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact divided up the Baltic States and Eastern Europe. The USSR and Germany divvied up Poland. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and Bessarabia…aka. Moldova.

          • This is the only known non-public speech record of A.H. Some commenters noted his ‘calm’ conduct, very uncharacteristic when compared with public appearances. Recording was obtained by Finnish sound technician secretly.

            The friendship between Germany and Finland of the period was extended all they way among regular citizenry. I know a man of German origin who’s first name is Finnish – in response to close friends of his parents who were of that nationality.

            On military side is speaks of enormous soviet resources amassed before the war outbreak. This may be well in support of lately discussed hypothesis of intended Soviet invasion into Europe ahead of German own action took place.

          • “A.H. Some commenters noted his ‘calm’ conduct, very uncharacteristic when compared with public appearances.”
            Adolf Hitler imitate (consciously or not) Benito Mussolini, because he removed Partito Comunista d’Italia from Italy, see comparison between Mussolini’s and Hitler’s speeches:

          • They were both socialists and those are people of big dreams, big format and big promises. No wonder they fail routinely.

          • I don’t know if Hitler was ever a socialist in the strict sense. Certainly he wanted the state and the Führer (i.e. himself) as its superior leader to have a very far reaching control of the German society, but that only means that he was a totalitarian leader. He did pay lip service to the socialist ideals of the Nazi party left wing, especially before he gained de facto dictatorial powers with the Enabling Act, but the state-sanctioned murder of Ernst Röhm and his leftist SA faction leaders pretty much put an end to any kind of practical demands towards sosialism within the Nazi Party.

            In practice Hitler of course relied heavily on the big German companies for rearmamanet, and he was quite happy to make those big capitalists even richer as long as they provided what he thought was needed. For Hitler the enemies were the fictious “international Jewish conspiracy” and the very real communist Soviet Union, which he believed to be part of a greater conspiracy against “Arayans” in general and Germany in particular. The domestic capitalists were not a problem as long they towed the party line.

          • “I don’t know if Hitler was ever a socialist in the strict sense.”
            But anyway socialist was used in name of Nazi party – NSDAP which stands for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei

    • Small arms were in fact fairly well rationalized. Major rifle and machine gun used by regular infantry cartridges were 7.62×54R and 7.62×53R Finnish, which for most purposed were interchabeable. SMG cartridge was 9mm Parabellum. Major pistol cartridges were 9mm and 7.65mm Parabellum, and .32 ACP. Consumption of pistol ammo was pretty marginal in any case, so other cartridges were used as well, especially captured Nagant revolvers and Tokarev pistols, but ammunition for them was not manufactured in Finland or available through the official supply channel.

      M38 Carcanos in 7.35×51mm were also used by infantry especially in 1941, but later they were replaced by captured Mosin-Nagants. Mostly they were used by artillery and air defence units.
      Coastal infantry had rifles and LMGs chambered in 6.5×55mm Swedish and MG-08 heavy machine guns in 7.92×57 IS.

      Other calibers available were used primarily by home front units, which had minimal ammo consumption.

      The situation in artillery was much worse than in small arms, but I won’t go into that in this post.

  3. Interesting picture. Not only weapons are a mix. Check out the boots. Most have normal (for the time) military boots. Two have Sami-style ski boots with the pointy toe.

    • The helmets in Finnish army at that time were about as varied as the weapons. Here’s something about the helmets that I managed to dig up from the net:

      Austrian – German – M16 M17 M18: 80,000 bought by Finland in 1920’s
      Italian M33: 30,000 sent to Finland – Continuation War
      Hungarian M38: 75,000 sent to Finland – Continuation War
      Swedish Helmets (various models): 26,000 sent to Finland – Late Winter War – Early Continuation War
      Finnish M40: 67,000 Finnish copy of Swedish model
      German M35 – M40 – M42: 49,000 sent to Finland – Continuation War
      Czech M34: 50,000 sent to Finland – Continuation War
      German M35-M40 SS issue helmet: Approximately 2,000 Finns served in the SS.
      Finnish-Russian M16 and M17 Also Known By Some As The “Sohlberg”: numbers unknown

      And that list doesn’t have the Soviet helmets that were looted in combat… (Yeah, we used helmets from our enemies. We were already using their guns, ammo, vehicles, food and everything else we managed to steal from them. Uniforms were the only thing we didn’t take from Soviets and put in use.)

  4. @ Cherndog:
    More likely, a political commissar addressing Soviet conscripts: “You will attack the fascists while the proletariat riots in their cities and victory will be swift! Do not think of turning back, or we will machine gun you down as counter-revolutionaries! Of to the snow banks with you now, hurry up! Don’t let those fascists catch you napping! Move along, I’ve got a nice bottle of vodka and a hot bowl of borscht waiting for me back at the HQ while you’re out there in the forests with those pesky Finns picking you off as you try not to freeze to death…”

    @ Daweo: not a Fritz helmet, looks more Ivan; could be a trophy pick-up?

    @ Denny: The Finns showed excellent perspicacity when they standardized on their erstwhile Russian overlords’ battle rifle upon gaining their independence, instead of going with something chambered in their Scandinavian neighbors’ choice of ammo: they clearly knew where the future threat lay, and clearly anticipated utilizing captured supplies, just as you said. They did a lot of horse-trading w/ the Nazis too, since they had lots of captured Soviet small arms early on, and the Finns needed to equip their soldiers w/ the same. Worked well for both of them, altho’ I stumble on the occasional mis-labeling of Finland as an “Axis nation” as a result. I blame it on the long-term subversion of our U.S. academia by the Soviets. Oh well…

    • If you can find a copy of the 1974 Petersen publishing book Guns of the World edited by Hans Tanner (reprinted in 1992 by Broadway Press);


      It has a long and detailed article titled “The Mosin-Nagant In Finnish Service” detailing the history of the 1891 in the Finnish Army, the modifications made, markings, and etc.

      In fact, the Finnish army and police used a modified and accurized 1891, still in 7.62 x 53R, as their standard military sniper/police sharpshooter’s rifle until quite recently.



      • The 7.62 Tkiv 85 is still the primary sniper rifle of the Finnish Army. There is a small number of Sako TRG-42s in .338 Lapua Magnum for longe range sniping, and also some Dragunovs for more DMR like use, but the M85 is still numerically the most important sniper rifle. As far as I know there are no current plans to replace it with anything more modern in the near future. The rifle is very accurate, but also quite heavy (up to 18 lb with scope), and the Schmidt & Bender 4×36 scope most of them have is a very old-fashioned fixed low power scope.

    • A Finn shoots the commissar in the [unmentionables] and another ambush begins.
      Soviet conscripts running around in terror: “NOT AGAIN!! THERE ARE MORE FINNS HIDING IN THE WOODS!!!!”

    • If one checks into it, the Finns didn’t want to adapt the Mosin or the 7.62x54R. They wanted to adapt the Mauser as the standard and if memory serves in 8mm.

      They only reason they didn’t was because of cost. They didn’t have the money to buy Mausers. But they were able to trade the 8mm ammo and Mausers they had left over from the Finish Civil War for a lot of Mosins. Price difference between a used Mauser and a used Mosin was something like 3-1 in the 1920-1930s.

      FWIW. Many of the officers in the Finish army had served in the German army during WW1 until the Finish Civil War started. They liked German stuff.

  5. My idea of coming to this site was to learn something about my Eiber 32 automatic … last week while looking to be sure the breech was empty, after removing the clip/magazine … something fell to the floor. It was picked up and put into a plastic baggie … at the Gunsmith’s counter, he looked at the thing in the baggie and said it was the firing pin, then in less than ten seconds had the Eiber 32 all apart … told me about $45.00 for him to repair it – that he would need to make a firing pin. The receipt for the gun says “Park -1903” … he called the pistol by “Park” … if so, is 1903 the date of manufacture?
    anyone know it’s value?
    Oh, the eiber 32 was put into service because of a “misfire” of my “new” Ruger LCP, and since the eiber is in for repair and the LCP has been returned to Ruger for a refund [because of striking “off center”] the Bersa Firestorm has been discovered, and put into service. Anyone know anything about the Bersa Firestorm I should know? Oh, also looking for additional magazines for each. Thanks.

  6. Couldn’t produce a darn thing to verify this rumor, but…
    Anybody know the definition of the word ‘Frag?’
    Supposedly the only MOS with a shorter lifespan than a 2nd Lt in combat was the esteemed (not) Polit-Commissar of any number of actual combat organizations?
    Issue the great unwashed actual weapons and the ultimate results are…predictable…and often deserved.

    • The unpopular officer was usually pranked with a training grenade to show that his soldiers did not like him. If he didn’t wise up, a buck private would kill him with a fragmentation grenade for real.

  7. It’s funny how an old war photograph tends to generate more discussion than a ‘normal’ video post. Maybe Forgotten Weapon’s traditional “Vintage Saturday” needs to return permanently, even if alongside a regular daily auction/action gun video.

    This reminds me of the vast quantities of military service rifles that were made prior to the advent of the (full-auto) assault rifle that made them all basically obsolete. While we know the exact quantity and disposition of US-supplied M1 Garands and Carbines collecting dust in South Korean warehouses due to BHO’s intervention in the CMP’s re-importation plans, that’s barely the tip of the iceberg when considering all the many millions of the world’s now-obsolete military guns that must be still out there — somewhere.

    Considering the demand and value of many of these guns on the American collector’s markets, it’s a wonder that only a relatively tiny quantity have been hunted down, bought up, and imported (or in the case of the Russian-contract Winchesters, returned home).

    And it’s interesting to note that the current rash of so-called “Free Trade” agreements like TPP specifically excludes trade in firearms, just one more reason why these unconstitutional “Fast Track” treaties should be flatly rejected.

    • AFAIK, the CMP does not, and cannot by law, import firearms. I’m guessing that the only way the CMP would end up with these firearms is if the DOD decided to buy them back from South Korea and then surplus them out to the CMP.

      The South Korean Garands were going to be imported and sold by Century International Arms.

      I have not seen any information about the current disposition of those firearms. I’d imagine that they’d have quite the stockpile of .30-06 surplus ammunition as well. (Along with a ton of M1/M2 Carbines, M1919A4 machine guns, and lots of other cool vintage U.S. made surplus.) ^__^

    • Having spoken to people in the surplus importing business, there is a lot of stuff still out there. The problem is that it’s not always easy to buy them and bring them in. Sometimes you have to bribe or otherwise work with the local politicians in shady ways. Sometimes they want an exorbitant amount for them because they know how much collectors will pay for them on the other end. Sometimes they actually are trashed and the importer doesn’t feel it’s worth it.

      Yep, the CMP doesn’t import anything. They simply take possession of unneeded US DoD property once other countries that borrowed it return it, sometimes having to pay for the ride home first.

    • ” only a relatively tiny quantity have been hunted down, bought up, and imported (or in the case of the Russian-contract Winchesters, returned home).”
      For Russian: because Russian Army is very likely to stock-pile any resources its have.
      Finland so far I know similarly – http://milpas.cc/rifles/ZFiles/Single%20Shot%20Cartridge%20Rifles/M1870%20Russian%20Berdan%20II/M1870%20Russian%20Berdan%20II.htm states that Berdan II rifles were still in inventory as late as 1955.

      • All kinds of marginal stuff was cleared from the warehouses in the 1950s when the Finnish Army started to get a bit more budget funds to modernize old and buy new weapons. By the start of 1960s only small arms chambered for 7.62×54R, 7.62×54R and 9mm Parabellum remained from old WW2 and earlier stocks. The rest were sold mostly to Interarmco with smaller numbers sold to domestic collectors and Army personnel.

        Currently no Mosin-Nagant rifles, except the M85 Sniper Rifle I mentioned in a previous post, or WW2 vintage SMGs remain in warehouses. The last WW2 weapons scrapped were a few thousand DP M27 LMGs. Those were gone by 2005. The Lahti-Saloranta LMGs were scrapped 10 years earlier.

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