A Russian historian discusses the existence of “cuckoo snipers” during the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940.

52
A Russian historian discusses the existence of “cuckoo snipers” during the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940.

Anyone who was interested in the topic of the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940 probably came across the term “cuckoo” sniper. In general terms, these are people who set up their firing positions in trees, armed with a rifle or submachine gun and conduct aimed fire from there.

At the same time, despite numerous evidence, to this day there is no consensus that the Finns had special units with such fighters.



So, according to the Russian historian Oleg Kiselev, in December 1995 a magazine was published in which his Finnish colleague Ohto Manninen published a note. The last one was called: “Were there any cuckoos?”

This material refuted the existence of the above-mentioned snipers. Like, this is all a myth and fiction. At the same time, as the expert put it, Maininen’s main argument was that he did not know a single Finn who would climb a tree to fire from there.

In turn, Kiselev declared the existence of a whole body of evidence that Finnish riflemen actually sometimes fired from trees. In particular, in the 163rd Infantry Division of the Red Army, reports of so-called “cuckoos” appeared already on the second or third day of the offensive.

At the same time, the historian noted that Soviet soldiers received a manual on how the Finns wage war in the winter much later. Thus, when they reported about arrows in the trees, they knew nothing about the so-called “cuckoos”, which means that fiction for propaganda purposes, according to the expert, is excluded.

By the way, about the term “cuckoo”. According to Kiselyov, he came across many references to arrows on trees in surviving documents about the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940, but never saw them called this particular bird. Thus, this concept appeared later, in memoirs and analytical articles.

Finally, the Russian historian concluded that he could not say with certainty that the Finnish army during the war with the USSR had specially trained sniper units setting up tree positions. After all, as the expert put it, despite the fact that there is quite a lot of evidence about people firing from trees, similar tactics were resorted to during the First World War, and then in the Second. Moreover, it was not only the Finns who used it.

  • archive photo
Our news channels

Subscribe and stay up to date with the latest news and the most important events of the day.

52 comments
Information
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. -2
    February 3 2024
    There is even a film from 1978 - “Special Forces”... It shows how ambushes were set up in trees... And there is an episode in “Storm Gates”...
    1. +8
      February 3 2024
      I'm sorry, but in the movies it's a battle aimed at audiences hi
      1. -4
        February 3 2024
        Quote: faiver
        I'm sorry, but in the movies it's Batwa

        Maybe it’s tops...Only the script is written based on reality (if the film is serious)...
        1. +6
          February 3 2024
          they write the script, and then make a movie so that it is watchable, so that the viewer goes to see it and brings money, but the reality here is in 128th place.... hi
          1. -5
            February 3 2024
            Are you talking about American cinema and have decided to cast a shadow on the entire Mosfilm?
            1. +3
              February 3 2024
              any cinema is designed for this, American and Soviet and Russian and Chinese and Indian....
              1. -5
                February 3 2024
                Quote: faiver
                any cinema is designed for this, American and Soviet and Russian and Chinese and Indian....

                A product of a liberal market economy...
                What about the movie "The Tale of a Real Man"? What can you say about the film “The Living and the Dead”?
                * * *
                All clear. You and I are people from different eras and different ways of life.
                1. +2
                  February 3 2024
                  Aren't both of these films watchable? even now I regularly enjoy watching “The Living and the Dead”... hi
                  1. -1
                    February 3 2024
                    You are trying to equate films that are grossing and watchable. There is no equality between them...
                    1. +4
                      February 3 2024
                      do you want to say that “The Tale of a Real Man” and “The Living and the Dead” did not generate box office revenue in the USSR?
                      an unwatchable film will never become a box office success...
                      1. -2
                        February 3 2024
                        Imagine...Then ticket prices did not allow this...And when ticket prices rose (70-80s), viewers were interested in other stories: from Indian melodramas to stories about Indians or some other heroes.
                        Television also worked on retro films (black and white).
                      2. +3
                        February 3 2024
                        Quote: ROSS 42
                        Are you talking about American cinema and have decided to cast a shadow on the entire Mosfilm?

                        Yes, as if the US Marine uniform on Vysotsky does not inspire much confidence.
                      3. +1
                        February 3 2024
                        Yes, as if the US Marine uniform on Vysotsky does not inspire much confidence.


                        Ah, that's where the dog rummaged...
                        There, somewhere in Red Heat, Schwarzenegger dressed up as a policeman... A copy of the guard from the street. Maxim Koikoy:
                      4. +1
                        February 3 2024
                        Quote: ROSS 42
                        There somewhere Schwarzenegger dressed up as a policeman...

                        The fact of the matter is that our similar blunders give away.
  2. +4
    February 3 2024
    We can discuss the real effectiveness of "cuckoos"...
    The war was fought in the northern latitudes in a frosty winter in a forest with limited visibility and daylight hours of 6 hours.

    It was only in the 90s that they talked about snipers who stacked entire companies of stupid Red Army soldiers...
    1. 0
      February 3 2024
      Of course there were cuckoos, there will always be an unbelieving Thomas who wants to use the advantages of the tree, but the effectiveness is extremely low due to the quick destruction of the sniper.
      The war was fought in the northern latitudes in a frosty winter in a forest with limited visibility and daylight hours of 6 hours.

      Of course, it’s too much about the stacks, but in 6 hours you can kill a lot of people, even taking 1 shot every 10 minutes.
      1. +3
        February 3 2024
        How about sitting on a tree for at least half an hour in winter? How are your fingers?

        In fact, this issue is politicized. Society has been hammered into it for decades(!) that high losses of the Red Army invariably led to victories in wars. “cuckoos” are only one of the “arguments” for the high losses of the Red Army.

        The truth is that high losses always, and especially in the 20th century since WWII, only lead to defeat.
        1. 0
          February 3 2024
          How about sitting on a tree for at least half an hour in winter? How are your fingers?

          Firstly, I just deny cuckoos as a mass application.
          Secondly, in winter it is tolerable to lie on a tree, just like lying for hours.
          In fact, this issue is politicized. Society has been hammered into it for decades(!) that high losses of the Red Army invariably led to victories in wars. “cuckoos” are only one of the “arguments” for the high losses of the Red Army.

          I didn’t feel anything about politicization; the Finnish snipers really drank our blood. Training in war is always paid for in blood.
          1. 0
            February 3 2024
            So you are saying that our army “did not drink” Finnish blood? And we won the war? And of course ten for one..... . This is what is called politicization. That's probably why you don't feel it.

            And you are probably the only one who thinks that sitting on a tree in the cold winter is “tolerable” ... the Finns sat on the trees for 6 hours and leisurely shot, and the Red Army soldiers, of course, were “not smart enough” to do this..... Only their mouths revealed... laughing
            1. +1
              February 3 2024
              So you are saying that our army “did not drink” Finnish blood? And we won the war?

              Do you read from right to left? Where did I say this? What does it have to do with who won the war? I don’t remember the loss ratio, you can look it up, but what does this mean, without taking other factors into account?
              . . This is what is called politicization.
              is the loss ratio politicized? Those. if the ratio is in our favor, everything is fine, but if it’s the other way around, is it politics or vice versa? Expand your thought.
              And you are probably the only one who thinks that sitting on a tree in the cold winter is “tolerable” ... the Finns sat on the trees for 6 hours and leisurely shot, and the Red Army soldiers, of course, were “not smart enough” to do this..... Only their mouths revealed.

              I don’t know about the only thing, but if I lay for 10-12 hours on stones in the cold, then I think I could do it on a tree.
              The Red Army soldiers probably also tried to repeat such experiments, but firstly, snipers (namely snipers) began to appear in the Red Army at the end of the Finnish War, and they had already created staff.
              Secondly, such lovers of experimentation were quickly destroyed from both sides.
      2. +1
        February 3 2024
        but in 6 hours you can kill a lot of people, even taking 1 shot every 10 minutes.
        - in a forest with limited visibility? Yes, then the “cuckoo” should shoot almost point-blank. Plus in winter these are unmasking factors - try to climb a tree in winter and not knock the snow off the branches, and at the same time make the snow not fall off when you shoot....
        1. -1
          February 3 2024
          - in a forest with limited visibility? Yes, then the “cuckoo” should shoot almost point-blank.

          The troops are not located in the forest, large units.
          I repeat once again about cuckoos; I don’t believe in the mass use of this technique.
      3. 0
        February 5 2024
        Several notes on this topic appeared in the Czech Republic. It was quite rightly believed that this would be a suicidal position. Just loading a gun in the cold. The automatic selection scarf was not (was) available. Classic snipers of the Finnish army posed a great danger am
  3. -2
    February 3 2024
    My father's cousin lost his leg in Finnish. He remembered about the "cuckoos". For example, there is a tall spruce tree on a hill, and a cuckoo shoots from it. The Finn sits upright on the tree with his skis. When he was discovered, he jumped straight from the tree onto the hillside on his skis and immediately disappeared from view.
    1. +1
      February 3 2024
      Absolutely right. The Finns fired from the trees. But they fired no more than one to five shots in a row (after the magazine had been used up) and then they jumped off the tree deck and disappeared. Why is that? Yes, because when the shot was fired, snow fell from the tree and it was immediately clear where the sniper was shooting from.
    2. +3
      February 3 2024
      as a front-line bike - it’s quite good, but in real life try to climb onto a tree on skis, even with a couple of assistants, then take a stable position for a shot, after shooting, and at the end jump off the tree and roll down the hill (I don’t recommend trying it - it’s dangerous).. ... hi
      1. +3
        February 3 2024
        as a front-line bike - it’s quite good, but in real life try to climb onto a tree on skis, even with a couple of assistants, then take a stable position for a shot, after shooting, and at the end jump off the tree and roll down the hill (I don’t recommend trying it - it’s dangerous).. ...


        Unless the observer could climb the trees.
        1. +2
          February 3 2024
          Unless the observer could climb the trees.
          - agree one hundred percent
          1. -2
            February 3 2024
            Unless the observer could climb the trees.
            - agree one hundred percent

            Yes, there is no problem shooting from trees. The Americans also shot Indians like this. Germans and Finns - of course.
            A sniper needs VISIBILITY. Which means HEIGHT. In the forest there are only trees.

            From the sniper manual, chapter Choosing a defensive position.

            It is advisable to equip a position in the ruins of small settlements, on forest trees, approaching the front edge, under damaged equipment, among monuments and cemetery graves, under stumps in clearing areas, in reeds and behind hummocks in swampy areas, on the edges of thick bushes, in shell craters, etc.

            And not only snipers. laughing
            1. +2
              February 3 2024
              Yes, there is no problem shooting from trees. The Americans also shot Indians like this. Germans and Finns - of course.
              A sniper needs VISIBILITY. Which means HEIGHT. In the forest there are only trees.

              There are no problems, but there is a difference: you shoot from a tree at a target (person, animal) and do not wait for a response, and you shoot at an enemy who can snap (especially with the current development of weapons)
              “Removing” a person from a tree is easier than ever, because he lacks mobility, and the sniper usually has one shot and then either quickly makes his feet or squeezes into the gap.
              I already wrote above that wood gives an advantage and there are always weirdos who decide to introduce this advantage into the absolute.
              1. -2
                February 3 2024
                There are no problems, but there is a difference: you shoot from a tree at a target (person, animal) and do not wait for a response, and you shoot at an enemy who can snap (especially with the current development of weapons)
                “Removing” a person from a tree is easier than ever, because he lacks mobility, and the sniper usually has one shot and then either quickly makes his feet or squeezes into the gap.
                I already wrote above that wood gives an advantage and there are always weirdos who decide to introduce this advantage into the absolute.

                Did you fire from the SVD? I shot, and a lot. At 300 meters she hits herself. And 300 meters is 3 football fields in length. Move this distance and try to spot a camouflaged shooter in a forested area on a tree. Even with binoculars.
                1. +2
                  February 3 2024
                  Shot. And not only when you shoot there, but also when it flies from there.
                  And if in battle a sniper’s shot is difficult to notice, then when he works alone the direction is easily calculated, and after that it is a matter of technology to detect the lying position, but in life they simply work out the places of its probable location. Now judge for yourself where you are more likely to get a bullet, especially when a fragment is pressed into the ground or when you are sitting in a tree? Plus the psychological moment when they shoot in your direction there is always a panic in your head that you have been noticed and there is a desire to change your location, but the ground and the tree are two very different things.
                  1. +1
                    February 3 2024
                    Shot. And not only when you shoot there, but also when it flies from there.
                    And if in battle a sniper’s shot is difficult to notice, then when he works alone the direction is easily calculated, and after that it is a matter of technology to detect the lying position, but in life they simply work out the places of its probable location. Now judge for yourself where you are more likely to get a bullet, especially when a fragment is pressed into the ground or when you are sitting in a tree? Plus the psychological moment when they shoot in your direction there is always a panic in your head that you have been noticed and there is a desire to change your location, but the ground and the tree are two very different things.

                    I agree, but where else in the forest to choose a position? Even at the edge of the forest nothing can be seen from the ground. It’s good if it’s a hill, but what if it’s an ordinary forest road? There visibility is 50 meters, then it’s easier to lie down by the road with a machine gun and the last grenade.... angry

                    I personally have no doubts about cuckoos in trees. I know this from my uncle, who fought in Finland. He saw their positions up close, a high-quality canopy on a tree, removable ladders, a sheltered dugout below with a bench. They had time to prepare.
                    1. 0
                      February 3 2024
                      I agree, but where else in the forest to choose a position?

                      But this is called talent and art. After all, a hunter is not a person with a weapon, but something more.
                      I personally have no doubts about cuckoos in trees. I know this from my uncle, who fought in Finland. He saw their positions up close, a high-quality canopy on a tree, removable ladders, a sheltered dugout below with a bench. They had time to prepare.

                      I admit, especially in the first stages of the war. Firstly, Finnish snipers are mostly hunters and, as you correctly wrote, the review from the tree is better.
                      Secondly, at that time there was no such firepower that appeared later in World War 2, I’m silent about modern weapons.
                      Well, as an option, an observer sits, a soldier with a weapon, sees a single target, the risk is minimal, why not shoot. And he shot.
                      But the “stubborn” cuckoos were gradually multiplied by zero; already during the Second World War I no longer encountered common facts of shooting from a tree.
                      1. 0
                        February 3 2024
                        I admit, especially in the first stages of the war. Firstly, Finnish snipers are mostly hunters and, as you correctly wrote, the review from the tree is better.
                        Secondly, at that time there was no such firepower that appeared later in World War 2, I’m silent about modern weapons.
                        Well, as an option, an observer sits, a soldier with a weapon, sees a single target, the risk is minimal, why not shoot. And he shot.
                        But the “stubborn” cuckoos were gradually multiplied by zero; already during the Second World War I no longer encountered common facts of shooting from a tree.

                        And here I completely agree. This is a feature of the Finnish War, then the topic became hackneyed and worked out. Nowadays it would never occur to anyone to choose a position on a tree, and in WWII too.
                      2. 0
                        February 3 2024
                        Nowadays it would never occur to anyone to choose a position on a tree, and in WWII too

                        But here I disagree. In the very first comment I wrote that there will always be an unbelieving Thomas who believes that he is smarter than everyone else. I have two Thomases like this, the first one fell down on its own, broke the optics, the second one received a gift in the shoulder.
                      3. +1
                        February 3 2024
                        I only have one certificate. A front-line soldier told me about a killed German machine gunner. On a tree, tied with a belt.
                    2. +2
                      February 3 2024
                      Quote: Arzt
                      He saw their positions up close, a high-quality canopy on a tree, removable ladders, a sheltered dugout below with a bench.

                      You described very well the classic observation post of an artillery spotter.
                      1. -1
                        February 3 2024
                        You described very well the classic observation post of an artillery spotter.

                        Do you know where this article, this dispute, and this far-fetched problem in general came from? From the commissars of the Red Army during the Finnish era. When the snipers started working, including from the trees, counter-propaganda was needed, like “this can’t happen at all.” To raise morale.

                        There are no obstacles for a trained sniper to work from a tree and escape. Especially in well-known native forests. The memoirs of those who fought in Finland are full of such evidence.
                      2. +1
                        February 3 2024
                        Quote: Arzt
                        Do you know where this article, this dispute, and this far-fetched problem in general came from?

                        What's the problem? I did not get anything.
          2. -2
            February 3 2024
            Unless the observer could climb the trees.
            - agree one hundred percent

            Yes, there is no problem shooting from trees. The Americans also shot Indians like this. Germans and Finns - of course.
            A sniper needs VISIBILITY. Which means HEIGHT. In the forest there are only trees.

            From the sniper manual, chapter Choosing a defensive position.

            It is advisable to equip a position in the ruins of small settlements, on forest trees, approaching the front edge, under damaged equipment, among monuments and cemetery graves, under stumps in clearing areas, in reeds and behind hummocks in swampy areas, on the edges of thick bushes, in shell craters, etc.

            And not only snipers. laughing

            1. +1
              February 3 2024
              Have you heard about staged photos? in my amateurish opinion, the position of the machine gunners is stupid, if this is not a firing squad
              1. -1
                February 3 2024
                Have you heard about staged photos? in my amateurish opinion, the position of the machine gunners is stupid, if this is not a firing squad

                I've heard about staged photos, but I don't see the point in dragging a machine gun up a tree for the sake of staged photos. But how to organize the dominant heights is complete. There are a couple more “directors” below. As well as the remains of surviving Finnish positions. Although yes. Observers... wink
                1. 0
                  February 3 2024
                  but I don’t see the point in dragging a machine gun up a tree for the sake of setting it up
                  - yah? and paint the grass, whiten the snow, level the snowdrifts, dig trenches from me until lunchtime, and so on and so forth, do you think it was only with us? A soldier must always be busy with something so that bad thoughts do not arise, or there is no strength to implement them..... hi
                  1. +1
                    February 3 2024
                    but I don’t see the point in dragging a machine gun up a tree for the sake of setting it up
                    - yah? and paint the grass, whiten the snow, level the snowdrifts, dig trenches from me until lunchtime, and so on and so forth, do you think it was only with us? A soldier must always be busy with something so that bad thoughts do not arise, or there is no strength to implement them..... hi

                    This is due to idleness in peacetime; in war this is a minimum. Do you think they are doing something similar at SVO now? There you could crawl to the dugout and stretch your legs. Yes
                    1. +1
                      February 3 2024
                      At SVO, of course, are you sure that the three photos of machine gunners were taken on LBS? especially the first one in gas masks, I really have the feeling that this is WW1...
                2. -1
                  February 3 2024
                  When hunting, they shoot from trees. Why weren't you at war?
            2. +1
              February 17 2024
              I don’t know who said what, but my grandfather said that he received a wound in the forearm from a Finnish cuckoo sniper. I remember well he said that they were shooting from the trees. The conversation took place in 65-67. I still remember this star-shaped scar. Grandfather went through two wars. He finished his combat journey in Koenigsberg with a medal for its capture.
              People do things that we can’t imagine in peaceful life in war to destroy their own kind.
      2. 0
        February 17 2024
        You can take your skis with you and put them on on the tree. It is more effective to get away from people wearing felt boots on snow. Especially if the handicap is 300 meters
  4. 0
    February 3 2024
    Oleg Kisilev is a historian? They made me laugh. lol
  5. +2
    February 3 2024
    Now for some reason the “cuckoos” have become snipers. Apparently, because snipers are generally a fashionable topic. But in Soviet times they wrote about “cuckoo” machine gunners. “Cuckoos” sit in the trees with Suomi machine guns, let our chain pass by and then sneakily shoot with bursts in the back.
  6. 0
    February 17 2024
    I don’t know who said what, but my grandfather said that he received a wound in the forearm from a Finnish cuckoo sniper. I remember well he said that they were shooting from the trees. The conversation took place in 65-67. I still remember this star-shaped scar. Grandfather went through two wars. He finished his combat journey in Koenigsberg with a medal for its capture.

"Right Sector" (banned in Russia), "Ukrainian Insurgent Army" (UPA) (banned in Russia), ISIS (banned in Russia), "Jabhat Fatah al-Sham" formerly "Jabhat al-Nusra" (banned in Russia) , Taliban (banned in Russia), Al-Qaeda (banned in Russia), Anti-Corruption Foundation (banned in Russia), Navalny Headquarters (banned in Russia), Facebook (banned in Russia), Instagram (banned in Russia), Meta (banned in Russia), Misanthropic Division (banned in Russia), Azov (banned in Russia), Muslim Brotherhood (banned in Russia), Aum Shinrikyo (banned in Russia), AUE (banned in Russia), UNA-UNSO (banned in Russia), Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (banned in Russia), Legion “Freedom of Russia” (armed formation, recognized as terrorist in the Russian Federation and banned)

“Non-profit organizations, unregistered public associations or individuals performing the functions of a foreign agent,” as well as media outlets performing the functions of a foreign agent: “Medusa”; "Voice of America"; "Realities"; "Present time"; "Radio Freedom"; Ponomarev; Savitskaya; Markelov; Kamalyagin; Apakhonchich; Makarevich; Dud; Gordon; Zhdanov; Medvedev; Fedorov; "Owl"; "Alliance of Doctors"; "RKK" "Levada Center"; "Memorial"; "Voice"; "Person and law"; "Rain"; "Mediazone"; "Deutsche Welle"; QMS "Caucasian Knot"; "Insider"; "New Newspaper"