Finland is one of several nations in Steel Division II.
Historical background[edit | edit source]
Finnish Independence[edit | edit source]
Breaking away from the Russian Empire in the wake of the October Revolution (7 November 1917), Finland was one of many states that formed in the wake of the first World War, and was not spared the plague of civil wars that tore the fledgling nations apart. White, anti-Communist forces prevailed and tens of thousands of the defeted Reds were interned in camps, as the nation developed into a presidential republic (after a month-long experiment with a monarchy in the terminal months of the world war). Predominantly agrarian and at odds with the neighboring Soviet Union, Finland lived in the shadow of the Communist great power, ever wary of its intentions.
Despite its best efforts to secure alliances that would defend it, Finland had to face the Soviet might alone in 1939. After unsuccessful attempts to extract concessions from the Finnish government, the Soviet Union invaded Finland on false pretenses, seeking to reaffirm its influence and secure its northern flank against a potential future invasion. The Winter War lasted for three months, between November 1939 and March 1940. Although Soviet forces were badly mauled trying to break through the defensive lines, the initial failures and casualties in the hundreds of thousands served only as a lesson in warfare. Finland smartly opted to quit while it was still (relatively) ahead, just as Soviet troops broke through the defensive lines. The peace treaty ceded a tenth of Finland's territory to the USSR, along with a third of its economy.
When Germany and its allies started the invasion of the Soviet Union on Sunday, 22 June 1941, Finland joined the war three days later after months of secret negotiations and joint planning, seeking to retake territorial concessions lost a year earlier. Although it never formally joined the Axis, it was bolstered by German supplies, know-how, and military technology. The Finns reversed the territorial concessions with a vengeance: They conquered additional territories in East Karelia, established siege positions on the northern flank of Leningrad, but fell short of the strategic objective to cut the Lend-Lease artery running from Murmansk down south, however. For the next three years, the front remained mostly static, blocking attempts to relieve Leningrad from the north. When the tides of war turned and the Soviet Union launched a massive strategic offensive to drive the Finns out of their conquered territories, the Continuation War was at an end.
Once again, rather than suffer an ignoble defeat, Finland opted to negotiate. Carl Gustaf Mannerheim, the same man that led the White forces, the defense of Finland in 1941, and managed to grind the Karelian Offensive to a halt, now negotiated with the Soviet Union regarding the fate of the nation. They had a choice: Turn on their former allies, pay reparations, and return to 1940 borders, or risk subjugation. Mannerheim chose humiliation over honor. Although the impoverished, agrarian Finland took on a heavy burden, it maintained its sovereignty, while the pressure exerted by the Soviets forced it to modernize, industrialize, and develop an enduring welfare state that would eventually become the envy of Europe.
Divisions[edit | edit source]
- Panssaridivisioona: The sole armored division of the Finnish Army, with a broad array of different vehicles and tanks, primarily captured or imported weapons like the T-38 and T-50 to the BT-42 assault gun.
- Ryhmä Raappana: Meaning “Group Raappana” is an infantry force made up of regular riflemen, cavalry troops, assault Jääkäri and more. Excellent on the defense and in close-combat situations.