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What if the UK did send troops to aid Finland?

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by Falcon Jun, Mar 10, 2008.

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  1. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    They must've really tough and resourceful men to endure the rigors of such an escape. Of course, when it's a matter of survival, one does what one can and these men did what they could with what they have and know.
     
  2. Jaeger

    Jaeger Ace

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    That trip of theirs was 700km long, and crossed the spine of western Norway. With the Luftwaffe eager to lighten their load on anything moving along their axis of attack, (and it only was one way to get to Ã…ndalsnes) it must have been 'interesting' to say the least. Language would also have been a problem, since most of their journey was on the inland of Norway. Us on the coast have a much longer tradition of speaking many languages since we have sailed the seas since the dawn of time. (a bit of advertisement there in the end, nobody noticed anyways)

    As I said, it should have been a movie. I wonder if any of those blokes have written about it, or are still alive?
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The cocard for those volunteers in Finland :
     
  4. Owen

    Owen O

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    Article: Foreign Volunteers in Finland

     
  5. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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  6. Stratforce

    Stratforce recruit

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    Good afternoon all.

    I have been researching British involvement in Finland 1939-45 for several years, both here in the UK and in Helsinki. Without going into too much detail I can say:

    An Anglo/French plan was in place and was being put into effect when the Winter War ended. I have full details of the forces and the plan. The force included the only British Ski Battalion ever raised.

    The plan was highly secret at the time, with only the senior commanders aware of the destination. When the Winter War ended before it could be put into effect, the whole thing was buried. Later research revealed that one of the reasons that Stalin was willing to end the war was that he was aware of the plan and did not want to confront Britain and France.

    Had the plan proceeded it is hard to imagine what would have happened.

    How close did we come? British troops were boarding ships when the news came that the war had ended. The planners believed that we were about a month away from war with the Soviet Union.

    Another interesting aspect was that the British commanders requested clarification on what they should do if either Norway or Sweden opposed their arrival?

    The British Volunteer Company of the Finnish Army, which again I have researched, was not part of the plan. But they were a fascinating collection of men and I have a lot of interesting research about them. I have the medals and documents of two of the volunteers and a sidecap with badge.
     
  7. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Welcome Stratforce!

    That is interesting info you got!

    Any idea if it was negotiated with the Finnish government where the troops would be situated in Finland?

    Also if possible would love to see those medals etc.

    Greetings,

    Kai-Petri
     
  8. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    Now that is a fascinating piece of info. A British involvement with Finland against the Soviet Union opens up a lot of possibilities and could potentially alter the political dynamics that prompted Hitler to go to war with Russia in the manner that he did.
     
  9. Stratforce

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    Draft Instructions (7 Feb. 1940) "..... an indication of our intentions to be conveyed to Field Marshall Mannerheim by Brigadier Ling who was shortly leaving for Finland..... The forces which the Allies would be in a position to move into Finland arriving early in April would be prepared to operate on the SALLA front. They would not be prepared to operate on any front south of an east and west line drawn through KEMI."

    The hope was that the Soviets would not engage the Anglo-French troops. The Finnish units in the area would then move south. The plan included RAF bombers operating from airfields in Finland.
     
  10. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    I see. Let me get this straight: The British military presence is more of a show of force that will act as a deterrent to further Soviet incursion into Finland? Would that really work? This looks more like a modern day UN peacekeeping operation.
     
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Thanx for the info! Unfortunately this would not work ( i.e. not engaged in battle ) as the Red Army was also fighting through the Petsamo area, and also had more than some aircraft to keep the Swedish volunteer pilots busy in Lapland.
     
  12. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    F19 in the Winter War

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Stratforce

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    The planners expressed the "hope" that the Soviets would not want to engage them, but it was accepted that the more likely outcome was war with the Soviet Union. The RAF bombers were to commence offensive operations on arriving in Finland. The RAF volunteer aircrews were to wear Finnish Air Force uniforms and have FAF markings on their aircraft. If shot down and captured they were to claim to be volunteers and not members of the RAF. A total of 50 aircraft were assigned to the operation. One fighter squadron was planned to operate from northern Sweden to protect the lines of communication.

    The French were far more aggressive in their plans. They even put forward a plan to land at Murmansk.

    Maybe I should write a book ;)
     
  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Any decent plan and negotiations with the Finnish government would be worth a book. So far at least I have not found much else than promises and more promises in the books, really. I do understand the difficulty of getting the troops to Finland but going to war is never easy.
     
  15. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Aquila non capit muscas

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    Yes, that would do the trick!
     
  16. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    Since I've been looking for more information on this matter, I decided to check on the history of Sweden during World War II in my encyclopedia.
    What I found is confirmation that there was indeed a British plan to send troops to Finland. However, what was implied was that sending the troops to Finland was also a cover to get at Sweden's ore production.
    The plan was apparently about to be implemented but had to be aborted because Finland had surrendered.
    Had this operation been launched, would Sweden end up in the Axis side? From what I've read, the government at that time had adopted a policy of strict neutrality but declared a policy of non-beligerency when Russia invaded Finland. The Swedes also had leased several merchant ships to the British.
    Despite reading Sweden's history, I am not really familiar with Swedish military equipment during World War II. But I do know that the Swedish military is considered first rate.
    Another question, if the Swedish military did end up on the Axis side because of this UK operation, how much of an effect could this be on the German military's efforts in this area?
     
  17. Vil0443

    Vil0443 recruit

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    Hi All,

    Let me add some more details.

    There were British soldiers in Osasto Sisu, however, simply put: their reputation was dubious.

    We have a project about recording memories on the Hungarian volunteering troops stationed in Lapua, Finland in 1940. Some of the old locals remembers the British soldiers as well ("they were typically tall and had long nose").

    One person noted that the British group was formed by those men that were not necessary in their homeland. Therefore practically untrained and undisciplined men traveled to Lapua.

    I'd be grateful if somebody could affirm, or confute this statement!

    (On the contrary, the bulk of the Hungarian troop was selected as an experienced (and anti-communist!), good soldier receiving experience in battles in Spain, North-Hungary/Czechoslovakia and Transilvania/Romania.)
     
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