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Useful Notes / Finns with Fearsome Forests

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Don't let the Iron Cross fool you — they took on Fritz and Ivan, and survived.

"Scarcely had he moved his eyelids,
Ere the pygmy, full unfolding,
Quick becomes a mighty giant."
The Kalevala, Poem 2

Finland's history as a sovereign state and people is surprisingly short for such an ancient country and people. Although the Finns were too much for the actual Vikings to swallow, it became a target for the expanding Catholic Church, and was subjected to several Christian Swedish attempts at conquest, culminating in the Second Swedish Crusade in 1249, when the Swedes conquered the populous southern areas. Over the next 550 years, the Swedish kings expanded their control eastward, taking control of nearly all the Finnish tribes. During this time, Finland became an integral part of the Kingdom of Sweden, and its most hospitable territory was heavily settled by Swedes, who remain a large minority in Finland today (the reverse also being true in Sweden). As a part of Sweden, it was a critical base of operations and source of manpower for the expansionary Vasa kings of Sweden, who waged many wars in Germany, Poland and Russia and established a considerable empire along the southern Baltic coast. Sweden lost most of these territories during the 17th and 18th centuries, mostly in the last Great Northern War, but Finland was the last to fall, which it finally did, to the Russians, in 1809. Under the Tsars, it was accorded a great deal of autonomy (the Russians having little interest in Finland except as a buffer with Sweden), being only a Grand Duchy in 'personal union,' with Russia, as opposed to actually being a part of it. However, even during this relatively free period, the native Finns had little political or economic power, with the immigrant Swedish elite remaining the ruling class.


Near the end of the Russian Empire, rising Russian nationalism led the Tsars to take direct control of Finland, and enacted a series of highly unpopular Russification attempts. These measures enraged both Finn and Swede, which led to a long civil war that became part of both World War I and the Russian Civil War, with different factions supporting all three sides: the Russian Empire, the German Empire, and later the Russian Socialist Federative Republic. When the Russian Civil War broke out, Finland ceased all pretensions to being part of Russia and declared its independence, which exacerbated the aforementioned bloody civil war, though obviously the Russian Empire loyalists faded into irrelevance. The Whites supported an 'independent' Finnish kingdom under a German king (and therefore unquestionably in the German sphere, if not an outright puppet state) and the Reds supported a left-wing republic to be either an ally, or federated part of, the emerging Soviet Union. Since the Germans had smashed the Russian Empire in World War I, and actually occupied most of Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic States, they were in a position to militarily aid the Whites. The Russian communists, too caught up fighting their own Whites and indeed the Germans themselves (who attempted to end the Red Revolution as well), were unable to aid the Reds. As a result, the Finnish Whites won, but the monarchy they hoped for was stillborn as a result of Germany's defeat by the Western Allies, withdrawal from the east, and its own revolution (which was put down). Finland therefore became a strongly right-wing republic. The new government was accommodating with the Reds, however, and wounds from the civil war largely healed in the face of rising interwar prosperity and generally good government.


As the Soviet Union expanded into the Baltic and Poland in the end of the 1930s, Finland, under the guise of its policy of neutrality and in international cooperation, made overtures to Weimar and, later, Nazi Germany. Lapuan liike ("Lapua Movement"), a radical-right anti-communist organization was formed, and proceeded to harass and intimidate members of left-wing parties. As a result of rising political violence, the Finnish government banned the Communist Party and suffered a coup attempt, the Mäntsälä rebellion, in 1932. But the Lapuans themselves went too far by kidnapping ex-President K.J. Ståhlberg. In turn, popular opinion turned against the radical right after the Mäntsälä rebellion, which was seen as a violent coup attempt against the legitimate democratic regime, and Lapuan liike itself was banned.

The Soviet Union, worried by the rise of fascism in Europe, feared an attack by Germany through Finland. As a result, the Soviets pursued an aggressive foreign policy against the Finns, attempting to force the cession of densely populated, industrialized, and economically prosperous lands close to the former Russian capital of St. Petersburg (then renamed Leningrad), offering relatively paltry territories in exchange. Soviet diplomatic attempts failed, and the Soviet leadership learned of Finland's unofficial alliance with Germany, making the decision to preemptively conquer Finland militarily.

Thus began Finland’s participation in the Second World War with the Soviet invasion of the country in late 1939. This conflict became known as the Winter War, and it lasted only about three months. When a world power attacks a sparsely populated, largely agrarian backwood, the only realistic possibility is a Curb-Stomp Battle. The Finns, however, didn't get that particular memo, and shocked the world by stoutly resisting the invasion, despite being badly outnumbered and hilariously short on armored vehicles and aircraft, and won several major battles, humiliating the Soviets and exposing massive weaknesses in their military, brought on by the Great Purges of the 1930s. Despite early Finnish success, the Soviets rather quickly adapted, and their massive advantages began to tell, making it obvious to the Finnish leadership that further resistance amounted to national suicide. Cannily, they managed to negotiate the cession of only those territories originally demanded by the Soviets, and managed to preserve Finland's independence. One Soviet general is reputed to have quipped that the land obtained was only enough to bury all the Soviet corpses.

Despite this, Finns rightly still consider the Winter War their finest hour, a storm-tossed people playing David to the Soviet Goliath, inflicting massive casualties with their highly motivated (though small, poorly equipped and barely trained) armed forces, ingenuity, and their complete and total mastery of Finland's unforgiving geography. However, due to the sheer size of the Soviet state and its Red Army, 320,000 casualties, while severe, wasn't anything they couldn't absorb (the Soviets suffered roughly the same number of casualties in one week at Kursk in the Ukraine just three years later). The Russians, though, learned well from the mistakes of the Great Purge (which resulted in the death of virtually every experienced senior officer in the Soviet Union), and the experience obtained in the Winter War was critical to Soviet victory on the Eastern Front against the Nazis. This mess remains an eminently teachable lesson in force multipliers and the disconnect between theoretical force and actual combat capability.

However, peace proved to be fleeting, and Finland was drawn back into the war, on the Axis side, when the Nazis invaded Russia in 1941, and attempted to reclaim, with German assistance, those territories lost to the Soviets, and may have also feared a resumed Soviet invasion. They called this phase of the war the Continuation War, in which Finland was not formally part of the Axis, but was a so-called 'co-belligerent.' Upon seeing the hopeless situation of Germany and the Axis by late summer of 1944, the Finns accepted an armistice with the Soviets which forced them to expel the German troops that were basing on its soil. It was initially bloodless, since the Finns still sympathized with the Germans, and gave them notice and time to retreat to Occupied Norway in good order. The friendly-ish situation ended due to Soviet pressure, leading to a few small battles that hastened the German retreat. The Finns called that final phase of the war the Lapland War. Finland acquired the distinction of being the only participant of the Second World War to fight both Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, as well as avoid enemy occupation during the entirety of the war.

Despite the perhaps distastefully-pragmatic backroom politicking, World War II is considered Finland's greatest moment (except by those who, for good and cogent reasons, consider it a tragedy and/or fine example of fascist imperialism). It's widely regarded to have unified the Finnish nation, though in truth the Finnish government never mobilized more than half of their reserves as they feared an uprising of Soviet sympathizers.

Because the Soviets were allied with Great Britain, the British were obliged to declare war on Finland during the Continuation War; with one isolated exception, in all those four years there neither state took military action against the other, and no British troops or warships were deployed.. Interestingly, and further highlighting the confused nature of history in this corner of Europe, the British (and the French) actually considered entering the Winter War on Finland's side (since, at that point, the Soviets were allied with the Nazis and generally in poor odor among the Western democracies because of the whole communism thing). This might be why the Soviet Union was willing to accept a negotiated peace at the end, even though they'd just achieved a dominant position and almost certainly would have been able to conquer all of Finland had they kept fighting.

After the World Wars, Finland has been very active in the United Nations and Finnish soldiers have actively served in UN peacekeeping forces. Many conscripts and reservists continue their tours of duty as contract soldiers in UN service. The Finnish Navy participated in the anti-piracy operation Atalanta alongside EU fighting forces.


  • Ace Pilot: Ilmari Juutilainen was the highest scoring non-German air ace of World War II with 94 kills. Hans Wind had 78 kills with five kills on five separate missions. 102 others, amongst them Jorma Sarvanto, who shot down six DB-3 heavy bombers in four minutes in his Fokker D.XXI.
    • The Finnish Air Force produced more ace pilots than any other nation in relation to the size and number of pilots of the air forces.
    • During the Frisian Flag excercise 2012, the Finnish F-18 Hornet pilots "shot down" NATO opponents on kill ratio 100-6. Four of those Finns who were marked as shot down themselves, would have in real situation ejected safely. The motto Qualitas potentia nostra doesn't come from empty air.
    • The Finnish Air Force aerobatics team, Midnight Hawks, is the only aerobatics team in the world which performs aerobatic displays in the night.
  • Addiction-Powered: Caffeine, alcohol, and amphetamine usage among the conscripts was improbably high to cope with the freezing cold and painfully harsh conditions. See Must Have Caffeine below.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: When Gustav Mannerheim was young, the Czar sent him on a "scientific expedition" into territory in Central Asia that he happened to have political interests in.
    • The expedition did actually produce remarkable scientific results on ethnography.
  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses: Or as one Russian officer said, "We have won enough ground to bury our dead."
  • An Axe to Grind: A considerable number of the Finnish soldiers were lumbermen in peacetime. Also the combat engineer NCOs are issued an axe instead of entrenchment tool. The combat engineer officers are issued a billhook.
  • Badass Army: With hardly any tanks, planes, or artillery pieces, and with almost World War I technology, facing many times their number.
  • Badass Boast: During the Winter War, one Finnish officer said, "The wolves will eat well this year."
    • Qualitas potentia nostra of the Finnish Air Force: "Quality is our might."
  • Badass Bookworm: Finnish reserve officers, who often were college students conscripted to the army.
  • Big Book of War: General A.F. Airo considered The Art of War as the most important work ever written. Also Field Marshall Mannerheim was familiar with it.
  • Blood Knight: At least one well-known member of the Finnish army, Lauri Allan Törninote  fought in several wars during the 1940s-1960s. He holds the distinction for serving in the Finnish Army, Waffen SS and the United States Army.
    • Lauri Törni was voted as the most courageous of all Mannerheim Cross winners.
  • Blue Blood: Gustav Mannerheim, Ruben Lagus, and Adolf Ehnroth.
  • Cannon Fodder: The Red Army
  • Catch-Phrase: Kollaa Kestää (Kollaa Will Hold). According to the legend, this phrase comes from one officer asking another whether the defense line in Kollaa will hold. The response, by legendary captain Aarne "Marokon Kauhu" Juutilainen was, "It will hold unless we are told to run."
  • Category Traitor: After 1948, when Israel opened its borders to all Jews living abroad, quite a few Finnish Jews who wanted to move there were met with some skepticism. After all, they had technically been fighting on the same side as the Nazis.
  • Cold Sniper: Literally and figuratively. Finns in general tend to be straight to the point culturally and linguistically. Ironically, their most famous sniper was a Friendly Sniper.
  • Conscription: The Finnish Armed Forces are even today based on it. Almost every Finnish adult male is a soldier - in theory, at least.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The Red Army vastly outnumbered the Finns and still lost on the battlefieldnote .
  • Cool Gun: The Suomi M31. This ugly submachine-gun had a tremendous rate of fire. It was very useful for creeping up to a Russian encampment, blazing away at point-blank range, and disappearing into the woods. The name "Suomi" is a testament to how important the weapon was: it's the Finnish word for "Finland".
    • Seeing their effectiveness, the Russians first made the PPDnote , then eventually made the PPSh-41note , another Cool Gun, with the explicit goal of matching its capabilities. The PPSh has the same rate of fire and the same magazine capacity, so that goal was met.
    • A common tactic in the almost roadless wastes of northern Finland was to divide the huge Russian columns into small "motti" (a cubic metre of firewood) pockets by such strikes and taking out their field kitchens. In -40°C, no food is a bad thing — a VERY bad thing.
    • Lahti L-39 Norsupyssy ("The Elephant Gun"). A 20 mm anti-tank rifle later employed as super-heavy sniper rifle. A full-auto version was also used as an anti-aircraft weapon.
    • The modern Finnish Army uses the RK-62 rifle, a licensed version of the AK-47. It was used in turn as the basis of the Galil assault rifle by the Israeli Army, including the integrated bottle opener.
    • The Sako TRG42 Lapua Magnum is in widespread use amongst specialist snipers around the world. The Danes use them too in Upper Gheresk Valley, Helmand, to great effect.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: The final years of WWII in the Arctic, known as the Lapland War 1944-1945, against Germany.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The Finnish reserve lieutenants were mostly high school and college students conscripted to service - and they made a legend.
  • David vs. Goliath: This is what it was all about. They failed both times against the Soviet Union, despite putting up quite a fight, and only succeeded against the Nazis because they evacuated most of their troops anyway. They only had a few troops in Finland in the first place, and they were needed to slow the rampaging Soviet Army.
  • Decontamination Chamber: Field saunas were almost a necessity, not just to keep men warm enough to fight, but to kill lice.
    • The Finnish army still uses sauna tents as an extra luxury for the soldiers. It is claimed the first building the Finnish UN troopers erect after the GHQ is always a sauna. Even in the desert, as witnessed at Suez and the Golan Heights.
  • Determined Homesteader: Any homesteader in Finland has got to be determined. These were the basis of Finland's Badass Army.
  • Deus ex Machina: The battle of Tali-Ihantala 1944, where Finnish Air Force and Luftwaffe Detachment Kuhlmey turned the tables and enabled Finns to successfully counterattack.
  • Don't Go in the Woods: A Real Life Trope Maker. Many hostiles which enter in the Finnish forests never come back.
  • Downer Ending: Against the power of a gigantic totalitarian dictatorship, there can be no victor.
  • Eagle Squadron: Swedish volunteers, especially fighter squadron Flygflottilj 19, which flew Gloster Gladiator fighters and Hawker Hart light bombers.
    • Volunteers came from all over Europe. Among those who served was a 17-year old Christopher Lee.
  • Elite Army: Finnish Air Force.
  • Ensign Newbie: The reserve second lieutenants (Army) and sub-lieutenants (Navy). Some 5% of the conscripts are selected to be trained to reserve officers after the basic training period. They serve as platoon leaders and assistant company level officers for the next class of conscripts.
  • Friendly Sniper: Simo Häyhä, AKA the White Death, greatest sniper ever. After having collected 522 confirmed kills with his Mosin-Nagant M28 rifle with no scope (he didn't trust scopes; the lens could frost up in the cold and sunlight reflecting off it could give away his position) and at least 200 confirmed with his Suomi M31 SMG in 96 days (a record 48 over Christmas, no time for celebration)note , having survived Soviet army snipers sent to assassinate him, artillery barrages designed solely to kill him, and air strikes to his position, the Soviets got lucky, and he was shot in the face by an explosive munition. He woke up from the resulting coma nine days later, the same day hostilities stopped. Simo then withdrew to a peaceful life of hunting moose and breeding dogs and living to be above 90 himself. Simo was so much of a badass that it is hard to believe, when asked how he could kill so many, he replied "practice"note . And yet despite that, people generally vouched for him being very friendly and a great guy to be with.
    • Though, it is important to notice that Finns tend to be very factual and to-the-point culturally and linguistically. Mr. Häyhä was a hunter before the war (as were great many Finnish men back then), so he had previous experience in handling a weapon, thus stating matter-of-factly his previous occupation. Not that it diminishes his awesomeness one bit.
    • 522 confirmed kills for Hayha is possibly a misnomer. Regimental diaries only list 219 confirmed kills a week before his facial wound and subsequent removal from the Winter War. At best you could say he had 240 confirmed kills with his rifle, which is still an impressive total.
    • He had dozens of unconfirmed kills, and roughly 150 additional kills with a submachinegun. His total number of kills could in fact be as high as 742.
    • To add to the unconfirmed kills bit, in recent years historians actually discovered a memoir written by the man himself a few months after the end of the Winter War, where he claims that he shot roughly 500 enemies with his rifle. While this is obviously just his own take on the subject, when you consider the man's personality and the fact that this piece was never intended for any sort of publication (it was discovered on total accident), it's probably safe to assume that it wasn't exaggerated.
  • Good Old Ways: Marshal Gustav Mannerheim. He was a very old-fashioned aristocrat. And possibly a homosexual.
  • Had To Be Sharp: Both Finns and Russians, considering the area they lived. However Russians suffered tremendously from The Worf Effect in this war. In part because Stalin feared that Northern Russians would be too sympathetic to their Finnish neighbors, and thus sent mostly units from the southern Soviet republics that had much less experience with harsh winters.
  • Heroic Resolve: The Finns call theirs Sisu. It can be pretty hard to translate, but the closest one would probably be "to have guts" or "idiotic single-mindedness."
    • "It doesn’t take sisu to go to the North Pole; it takes sisu to stand at the door when the bear is on the other side."
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: The RK-62 magazines make excellent bottle openers.
  • Improvised Weapon: Among other tactics, the Finns would jam tank tracks with rocks or pieces of firewood, then torch them with Molotov cocktails.
  • Initiation Ceremony. Many. One of the most remarkable is Kirkkojärvi March, an all-day cross-country force-march/combat competition of Reserve Officer Academy (RUK) students.
  • It's Raining Men: Laskuvarjojääkärikoulu, Parachute Ranger School, is comprised of select volunteers. They are considered the cream of the crop of each year's conscripts. Everyone receives either NCO or officer training.
  • Kill It with Fire: Molotov Cocktails.
  • Kill It with Ice: Mining the river, lake, and seashore ice.
  • Knife Nut: Played oh so very straight, and could well be the Trope Codifier. The Finnish Army does not issue knives to the conscripts because (paraphrased from the Soldier's Handbook) "Finnish people are taught how to handle knives from childhood. It would therefore be pointless to issue knives to people who already have their own knives that they are used to handle." The traditional Finnish knife is the puukko, with Finns often making their own or at least carving their own handle.
    • Conscripts that go through NCO or Reserve Officer School get knives for their graduation. That's right, in some countries you get a class ring, in Finland you get a class knife!
    • The practicality of puukko is clearly seen in the widespread Russian use of the design, who call it the finka or finsky nozh (Finnish knife). It was closely associated with criminals, who favored the knife for its good handling and lethality. The catch? Said popularity was born long before the Winter War, in the late 19th to early 20th century. After WWII, though, the effectiveness of the puukko was considered in the design of the new army bayonet. And criminals still loved it and considered it their trademark weapon – especially since "Finnish knives" were specifically named in the law about illegal edged weapons. To this day, if you can name a knife design that is universally known in Russia (such as Bowie knife is in US), it is the finka.
    • Those conscripts who become combat engineer reserve officers may have three knives: their own civilian knife, the Reserve Officer Academy class knife and Combat Engineer knife. With one's name carved on the blade.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!
  • Little Country Big War
  • The Lost Woods
  • Macho Masochism: One Finnish General showed off how tough he was by walking around the battlefield with his shirt open in the middle of the winter.
  • Molotov Cocktail: While they were first used in the Spanish Civil War, the Finnish turned their use into an art. Since high-proof liquor was an excellent material for the Cocktails, a state brewery that produced 191-proof vodka became the main producer.
    • Indeed, the Finns were the Trope Namer. Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov dismissed other countries' condemnation of Soviet bombing of Finnish towns by saying that they were dropping food. With characteristic Scandinavian Black Humor, the Finns came up with a drink to go with the food.
  • More Dakka: Russian artillery toward the war's end. Some Finns were found dead with no external signs of injury because their brains had been shaken to pieces from the inside by the noise.
    • "Oh, well... at least it'll be difficult to miss...
    • Finnish and Russian weapons generally do employ the same ammunition; often the Finnish soldiers would simply plunder any Soviet dead for their ammunition. Likewise, all captured ammunition was soon put into action against their former owners.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Except they weren't so strong this time. Killing all their own officers did not make for effectiveness. But give them enough vodka and...
  • Must Have Caffeine: Coffee was even more of a "fuel" for the Finnish Army than it was for the US Navy.
    • Coffee is colloquially called petroli ("kerosene") in the Finnish Army, implying it is the fuel on which the army runs.
    • Also amphetamine, though that got less advertisement. Finland's drug policy stayed decades behind its neighbours due to addictions gained during the war.
    • Amphetamine was called vauhti (literally "speed") and höökipulveri ("pep powder") in the Finnish Army. It was commonly used amongst the rangers and Jägers, who managed to stay awake without sleep for a week or so with it. That gave them an edge in the long range operations.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Simo Häyhä, Valkoinen kuolema (The White Death); Aarne Juutilainen, Marokon kauhu (The Terror of Morocco)
  • New Meat: In 1940 and 1944, the youngest of the conscripts were hardly eighteen.
  • Neologism: Desantti for an infiltrator. Russian desantnik means a paratrooper. Russians paradropped spies and infiltrators to Finnish home front. Due to their poor training, they usually were caught very quickly.
  • No Swastikas: Averted. The emblem of the Finnish Air Force was a vertical blue swastika. This of course has politically Unfortunate Implications, but in fact has nothing to do with Those Wacky Nazis, having been adopted in 1918.
    • Some military flags and emblems still have them.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse : At a national level, but averted at a man-to-man level. Finns tended to be taller then Russians since they were much better-fed before the war.note 
    • Simo Häyhä was 5'3''/160, a small fellow you did not want to mess with.
      • During the war there was a (propagandist) saying that one Finn equals ten Russians.
  • Screaming Warrior: Hakkaa päälle! (Translation: "Cut them down!")
  • The Scrounger: Finland had to dig up weapons wherever she could get them, many of them obsolete.
  • Sea Mine: Naval mine warfare is the modus operandi of the Finnish Navy. The Finnish coast is long and shallow, making mine warfare the mode of choice. Combined with the fact the Finnish archipelago is one of the most diabolical in the whole world, the Finnish coastline is a natural sea fortress.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Drug abuse and mental disorders were commonplace during the post-war years, and Finland ignored many anti-narcotics treaties and imposing such laws because of this for decades.
  • Snow Means Death
    • Food for thought: The word "motti" is used a few times on this page. A cubic meter (a cube 3'4" on edge) of firewood was a common unit, even for small households.
      • Firewood in the US and Canada is often measured by the "cord". A full cord of fire wood is four feet high by four feet wide by eight feet long (somewhat bigger than two mottis). It's often recommended that houses heated solely by wood have three to five cords of wood to last the winter (Depending on the climate, and the size of the house) It takes a lot of wood to heat a house all winter long.
  • Take That!: One Jewish major in the Finnish army was offered the Iron Cross for rescuing a number of German soldiers. He promptly refused.
    • Story goes that Hitler demanded that one of the highest ranking German commanders in Finland (who also happened to be a nice guy) delivered the Cross himself (it was and still is one of Germany's highest honours after all). After landing on a frozen lake in the middle of nowhere and walking a couple of miles through deep snow in dress uniform he and his retinue arrived at a small tent. Inside was a group of bearded, ragged soldiers. When asked who their CO (the person about to receive the Iron Cross) was, one of them replied in perfect German, "That would be me." When complimented on his good German, he merely said, "That's because my native language is Yiddish." After a brief, awkward silence, the German officer said, "Personally I have nothing against your people. I salute your courage. Good night, gentlemen," and left.
    • Another time some Finnish Jews deliberately had their synagogue service within earshot of the German camp just to remind Those Wacky Nazis that they couldn't do anything about it. The Finnish-Soviet frontier would be the only place a field synagogue would be found on the Eastern Front.
      • Many Finns volunteered in the Israel War of Freedom 1948. Both as to honour the Jews who served in Finnish wars, and also because Stalin supported the Arabs.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Some Finnish machine gunners actually killed so many Russians that they got sick with PTSD after a few hours and had to be replaced.
  • To the Pain: Finns would photograph Russian corpses lying in the snow and drop them inside Russian encampments as a means of "moral discouragement".
  • Training from Hell: Special forces, such as Parachute Rangers, or elites such as Reserve Officer Academy.
  • Tranquil Fury: Called valkoinen raivo ("white rage") in Finnish language. One of the nastier aspects of Finns. While, according to military psychologists, only some 2% of soldiers were able to shoot aimed shots against the enemy in WWII, this number was more than 20% amongst Finns: Finnish soldiers aimed and shot to kill, not to intimidate.
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: A motti (a Finnish lumberman's term for one cubic meter of firewood) was a pocket of Russians subjected to this fate.
    • The image of the word motti seems to be of mundane and inglorious danger. Like splintery stuff left around after a chainsaw had done its work. Non-lumberjacks might think a better metaphor might be having to clean up broken glass with one's hands. Of course, the Finns preferred to let winter do that job for them.
    • Subverted by Kaukopartio units (Long Rangers). They intentionally sortied behind the enemy lines (or, later in the war, were paradropped) and committed reconnaissance, sabotage, guerrilla strike or anti-partisan operations. They were expected to fight their way back to own lines. The Parachute Rangers of today are their direct descendants.
  • Undying Loyalty: One German officer told a story when he was attached to a unit of Finns during WWII. The Russians abducted a wounded Finn and subjected him to Cold-Blooded Torture to lure his comrades to come to his aid and walk into an ambush. The Finns instinctively grabbed their weapons and walked into the forest, knowing perfectly well what the Russians were up to. Another time, at the beginning of the Winter War, a party of Finnish soldiers went to the house of an old peasant woman and told her that the Russians were coming and had to be deprived of shelter. She went into her hut, solemnly cleaned and swept it, and then lit the fire herself. She said, "This is my gift to Finland."
  • Zerg Rush: Common Soviet tactic especially early in the Winter War. This lead to mentioned These Hands Have Killed to machine gun operators.

The Puolustusvoimat in fiction:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Jormungand, Major Sofia Velmer aka Valmet had been with the Finnish Rapid Deployment Force stationed in Africa as part of a UN peacekeeping mission before her unit was wiped out in an attack led by Chen Guoming. Valmet is the Sole Survivor, lost her right eye in the battle, and was saddled with a humiliating stain on her military service record. This makes her leave the Finnish Army and join HCLI. Living up to the Finnish Army's reputation, she is very much a Knife Nut late in the series dual wields a karambit and Bowie knife, and also yells "hakkaa päälle", the famous Finnish battle cry ("cut them down!").

    Live-Action TV 

  • Sabaton has written three songs about the Finns in World War II.
    • "Talvisota" (The Art of War) is titled after the Winter War's name in Finnish, while "White Death" (Coat of Arms) is about Simo Häyhä specifically.
    • Heroes contains "Soldier of 3 Armies" about Lauri Törni, who fought in the Finnish Army in the Winter and Continuation Wars and earned the Cross of Mannerheim, joined the SS to fight the Soviets in mainland Europe and earned an Iron Cross, then emigrated to the United States after the war ended and became a Green Beret, finally dying in combat in Vietnam and getting a posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross.

  • There Shall Be No Night is a play about a single Finnish family and the suffering they undergo as they defend their country from the Soviets.

    Video Games 
  • IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles allows you to fly for the Finnish Air Force during the Winter War.


Example of: