The “red” socialists supported by the RSFSR were opposed by the “whites” - the separatists relying on Germany and Sweden. The plans of the latter included Russian territories in Eastern Karelia and the Arctic, where, having defeated their socialists, the Finnish army rushed. That was the prologue of future battles or, if you like, the first Soviet-Finnish war that we lost. The agreement between Russia and Finland signed in October 1920 in Tartu, in addition to absolute “independence”, even provided for territorial concessions in favor of “Whites” - the Pechenga Oblast (Petsamo), the western part of the Rybachiy Peninsula and most of the Middle Peninsula. Nevertheless, the "white", together with Mannerheim were unhappy: I wanted more.
For the Bolsheviks, the loss was, among other things, a painful blow to the ideology. Stalin did not forgive humiliation. In announcing a campaign against BELOFINS in 1939, he thereby wanted to emphasize that the long-time enemy would not score. He must have had something personal. At least, they say how the leader ordered not to punish anyone for a typo in the title of the “Red Star”, although such a “blooper” in wartime conditions could have been done by the guilty very expensive. But the error turned out to be significant. “The Red Army knocked out the White Finns,” the newspaper was going to announce about the breakthrough of the Mannerheim Line. When printing the circulation, "and" with "b" changed places, the result was a savory, but absolutely obscene verb.
"Victory over the enemy must be achieved with little blood," read the appeal of the political directorate of the Leningrad Military District on November 23 of 1939 of the year. And the “Maynilsky incident”, which became the formal pretext for the latter in stories battles between the “white” and “red”, happened on November 26. On the other side, a cannon suddenly hit, destroying three Soviet soldiers, and 9 soldiers were injured. Many years later, the former head of the Leningrad bureau of TASS, Ancelovich, said: he received a package with the text of the “Maynil incident” and the inscription “Open by special order” two weeks before the incident.
Well, we needed a reason - we provided it. And yet, despite all the above, the war was not obvious. Being a pragmatist for the bone marrow, Stalin would never give the order to cross the border only because of old offenses. Let's try to understand together with the historian Nikolai Starodymov.
The official date for the start of the Second World War is 1 September 1939. And it was possible to coincide this event with the Spanish “civilian”, or with the Munich Agreement, or with the occupation of Czechoslovakia ... It’s not the point, but the fact that humanity turned out to be doomed to world war.
Any country intending to fight is primarily concerned with solving three main tasks: preparing the army and mobilizing military potential, searching for allies and identifying opponents, and ensuring border security. This is where the country of Suomi emerges. Where will it swing when it smells gunpowder?
Militarily, considering Finland a strong state was, at first glance, ridiculous. Even after a general mobilization in November of the 1939 of the year, she was able to deploy all 15 infantry divisions and 7 special brigades. What can I say: the entire population of Finland corresponded to the number of residents of Leningrad. "Yes, we throw their hats!"
But there was another side to the problem. If Finland were in the camp of the enemies of the Soviet Union, its territory could well be used as a convenient springboard. In fact, the border was held in some 30 km from Leningrad - get a gun! And then there's Vyborg, a powerful fortress city that threatened not only Leningrad, but also the main Soviet naval base in the Baltic - Kronstadt. And in the North, Murmansk was located in dangerous proximity ... Clearly, such a neighbor must either be included as an ally, or “turned off” in advance.
At first they tried to agree in a good way. Back in April 1938, Stalin invited the NKVD resident Rybkin to the Kremlin and gave him an unexpected assignment. The scout was instructed unofficially to transfer to the Finnish government a proposal to sign the Friendship, Economic and Military Cooperation Pact. In addition, Rybkin was handed $ 100 000 to create in Finland so-called. "Party of small owners", which would support the idea of neutrality. The hand extended by Moscow in Helsinki refused to shake. But the mission could not be completely failed: the initiative of the USSR provoked a split in the ruling circles of Finland into “pigeons” and “hawks”, which played its role when it was necessary to put up.
The second attempt, Stalin made on October 5 1939, offering to push the border to a safe distance from Leningrad and Kronstadt, for which "pull" 2761 square. km of Finnish territory on the 5000 of the Soviet "squares". To no avail.
Patience ran out, deadlines were running out. It was necessary to begin, paraphrasing Tvardovsky, the most "not known" 104 of the day and 4 of the hour. True, the Soviet command was supposed to cope much faster: no more than 12 days were allotted for the entire campaign. Alas, it took two weeks only to reach and rest on the Mannerheim Line.
The superiority of the Red Army was overwhelming - in manpower, in artillery, in tanks... On the side of the Finns were excellent knowledge of the area, a harsh winter with abundant snows, the best logistical support and - most importantly! - famous defensive fortifications. At the first stage, everything seemed to go well: our units wedged themselves into the enemy's defenses in several directions, in particular, in the Far North, where they averted the threat from Murmansk. And then a nightmare ensued.
The 9 Army I, commanded first by Komkor Mikhail Dukhanov, then Komkor Vasily Chuikov, intended to cut the country in half, along the line Ukhta - Gulf of Bothnia. The Soviet forces were opposed by the group of Major General Viljo Tuompo. The first to attack went 163-I Rifle Division. Drowning in the snow, in severe frost, the compound could advance 60 – 70 km. In the Suomussalmi area, the division stopped. She simply ... lost orientation in the edge of lakes and snow. This took advantage of the enemy and the environment. The 44-I motorized division sent to the rescue failed to complete the task.
The Finnish army used the same tactics, thanks to which Russia defeated Napoleon: while the main forces were in a "constrained" state, the soldiers of the fighter (fighter units from specially trained reservists) destroyed separate groups and columns, cut off communications, dismembered units and subunits. The advantage in tanks under such conditions cannot be used. The rout was complete: the remnants of the divisions were able to escape only thanks to the heroism of the soldiers of the 81 Mountain Regiment covering the withdrawal. In this case, the enemy got almost all the equipment and heavy weapons.
A similar catastrophe befell the 18 th rifle division and the 34 th tank brigade of the 8 th army (commander - division commander Ivan Khabarov, then - commander of 2 rank Gregory Stern). Being surrounded, they cried out: “People are starving, we eat the last horse without bread and salt. The scurvy began, the sick are dying. No ammo and shells ... ". The Soviet garrison of Lemetti was almost completely destroyed, where only 800 survived from 30.
I had to make bitter conclusions and stop fruitless "frontal" attacks. First of all, the army was dressed: instead of budennovki, overcoats and boots, the soldiers received hats, coats and valenki. The rearmament began: the leadership of the army and Comrade Stalin appreciated the advantages of machine guns. 2500 trailers for heating personnel arrived at the front. In the near rear, the Red Army men learned the art of fighting in forest conditions and the methods of assault on defenses. Shapkozakidatelnye sentiments (by the way, this expression in relation to the Finnish war was first used by the chief marshal of artillery Nikolai Voronov) were replaced by the commanders for thorough preparation for the upcoming battles.
After the "intermission", 11 February 1940, the second theater of military operations opened. The main hope and support of the Finns, the Mannerheim Line, was broken. The units of the Red Army escaped to the operational space and rushed to the last fortress - Vyborg considered impregnable. In order to delay the offensive, the Finnish command blew up the dam of the Seymensky channel, forming a multi-kilometer flood zone. Did not help. 1 March, our units, taking into account the sad experience, refused to direct strike and went around the enemy defensive positions. The days and nights of Vyborg were numbered, the country of Suomi urgently requested negotiations. By the way, the day before the Finnish representative met with Goering, who literally stated the following: “Now you should make peace on any conditions. I guarantee: when we go to Russia in a short time, you will get everything back with interest. ”
History, of course, does not know the subjunctive mood, but everything could have been different if it were not for the relatively quick victory of the Red Army. The slogan "The West will help us" for Helsinki seemed quite real. From the very beginning of the conflict, Finland felt friendly support. For example, a combined Swedish-Norwegian-Danish unit, consisting of 10 500 people, fought in its army. In addition, the 150-thousandth Anglo-French expeditionary corps hastily formed, and its appearance on the front did not take place just because the war was over.
But money and weapons were flowing in Helsinki. During the war, Finland received 350 airplanes, 1500 artillery shells, 6000 machine guns, 100 000 rifles, mainly due to the United States. An interesting point: neither of which Lend-Lease, then we were not talking at all. It was from the Soviet Union that the Yankees then demanded the return of debts on supplies in the years of the Great Patriotic War.
In addition to passive support (moral and material), England and France were preparing for active intervention. London would not have been itself if it had not tried to use the outbreak of the war for another attempt to invade the Caucasus. So, plans were developed by RIP (France) and MA-6 (England), which provided for the bombardment of oil fields. 15 days were assigned to the destruction of Baku, Grozny was assigned 12, and Batumi was altogether a day and a half.
However, that would be a completely different story.