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Forest battle tactics: the experience of war with Finland
Material posted: Publication date: 10-01-2017
In the period from 2012 to 2015 Finland reformed doctrine, conduct of land warfare. A significant difference between innovations from the previously accepted concept was the rejection of a linear defence with a hard hold boundaries.The new Finnish approach resembles the doctrine of reference zonal defence (Raumverteidigung), developed by the Austrian General Emil Spanoche (EmilSpannocchi), which provided that the defending side will avoid a lot of defensive battles and that the regular army will move to conduct a small war, with constant raids on the supply lines of the advancing enemy.

New Finnish doctrine similar to the American concept rassredotochit operations (DistributedOperations). This approach means the transition to combat operations of relatively small but well-trained units. One of osnovnykh elements is coordinated action пространственнорассосредоточенных parts of one object (the target).

Meeting the high requirements of the Finnish Defence Forces' tactical communications with Bittium Tactical Wireless IP Network™

The Finnish military was assumed that traditions, level of preparation and support for the Russian army as the main potential enemy will not allow it to operate off the roads in the marshy area, which will create comfortable conditions for the constant attacks on the forest roads stretched along the columns of the advancing troops.ТелевидениеМинистерстваобороныФинляндиивыпустилонаглядныйфильмподназваниемреформа land doctrine of the Finnish army (Maavoimienuudistettutaistelutapa – Taistelu), which is available on the Internet.

In fact the Finnish army in 2012 officially became the go to style of warfare like guerrilla warfare.

Stop. Stop. Stop. Such a statement may seem very strange. Popular mythology around the Soviet-Finnish (Finnish/Winter) war of 1939-1940 calls conduct guerrilla warfare in one of the main features of Finnish tactics. So, for example, associate Professor of military history and lecturer, faculty of history, University of Eastern Finland Pasi Tuunanen (PasiTuunanen) in his book "Efficiency of Finnish armed forces in Winter war, 1939-1940" (FinnishMilitaryEffectivenessin theWinterWar, 1939-1940) indicates that attacks small Finnish units surrounded by Soviet troops (the so-called "Motty")and to maintain finami guerrilla warfare was one of the significant factors that determined the overall high efficiency of the Finnish army during the war.

Niko Ranta, Tutkijakertoo, mistätalvisodanihmerakentui: ”Suomalaistensuurivahvuusoli, että...”

Butin fact, it turns out that "guerrilla" tactics was implemented in the Finnish doctrine the conduct of war on land only after more than seventy years after the end of the Soviet-Finnish war. And its implementation by the same Finnish military experts attributed, in particular, with the advent of modern communication systems and positioning, without which coordinated strikes rassredotochit units extremely difficult.

The experience of the Finnish war

Giving excessive and unjustified the significance of guerrilla warfare during the Soviet-Finnish war directly connected with attempts to find the cause of the success of the Finnish units against the formations of the Soviet army during the battle in the woods. It should be noted that in itself the conduct of hostilities in the area, with lots of forests, does not automatically mean that every battle tactics will differ from the standard tactics used to combat in open spaces. For example, the tactical situation, which could arise if the need to shoot down the Finnish defences on the road, hindering the progress of the column advancing Soviet troops, well within the standard tactical task of organizing a frontal attack by pressing the firing shaft and/or other methods of interaction inherent in the tactics of battle in an open area. However,the unsuccessful outcome of clashes directly in the forests also played a significant role in the failure of the Soviet offensives in the forest area. Attempts to crawl off the road blocking positions of the Finns from the Soviet troops, as a rule, success is not given.

The story of the fighting gives many such examples:

- in an attempt to bypass defensive positions the Finnish battalion of the Puras river-joki 9 kilometers from granesina wagenwerks road (the road rate) on the morning of 3 December 1939 were defeated by the 9th and the 3rd machine gun company 759-th regiment 163 of the division;

- 14 - December 15, 1939 155 division to outflank the positions of the Finns a wide flanking maneuver through the woods to get to Hustopece to Ilomantsi. To the rear of the Finns were sent a battalion under the command of captain Kozlov, but the battalion itself was surrounded and was abandoned after the battle of Tavallaei and Mookerjee;

- 10 – December 11, 1939, during the fighting in the area of lake tolvajärvi 139 division is attempting to bypass the Finnish defensive positions through the forest units of the battalion level. The success of these crawls do not bring;

- in the period from 12 to 17 December 1939, 184 regiment and the 2nd battalion of the 37th infantry regiment 56 division, several attempts were made bypass through the forest Finnish defensive positions on the river, Kollaa in the direction of the station Loimola, forces to two battalions. However,these attempts were stopped by Finnish troops. Failed attempt also bypass power ski battalion of the same division taken on 25 January 1940

- during efforts to release the Finns surrounded 54th division fighting in the forest was broken ski brigade Colonel Valley.

Thus, attempts to conduct mobile combat operations in the forests on the part of our troops took place, but they often ended with failures.

A comparison of the contribution abstactions failures of Soviet forces and failures in specific forest fighting in the failures of the Soviet offensives very difficult, if not impossible. Nevertheless, it is obvious that errors in the tactics of forest fighting to exert its influence on the overall result of the fighting.


Try to see a General scheme of action units in a forest battle with regard to the conditions of the Soviet-Finnish war. To the obvious feature of the forest battle are relatively short range enemy detection and fire. The wall of trees and bushes hiding the enemy. To achieve the suppression of fire weapons as a precondition for performing their own maneuvers in the forest ranged combat difficult. The location of the enemy's firepower it is hard to see, and if they discovered the enemy enough to draw a couple of dozen meters back and again they find themselves skrytymi. Besides, hard to see not only the enemy, but the soldiers from our own units. Do not forget that the forest is actually bitoriented or maleoriented area. Everywhere, everything looks about the same. Maneuvering your own units is faced with certain challenges. In order not to lose each other in the woods have most of the time to maintain a relatively dense build with the reduced distances between the individual units and soldiers within those units. Zeroing artillery is difficult, and the action of tanks and other armored vehicles off the roads is almost impossible. Units caulimoviruses are actually blind and forced to move along the few roads, getting, often in the tube, and as a result have limited effectiveness.

Forest conditions make the tactics more primitive. Battle in the woods is mostly a fight of infantry against infantry with firing at relatively short distances.Note that infantry combat can often become messy and not controlled by the officers of the firefight, because the instinct of self-preservation pushes soldiers to shoot at the enemy as often as possible, even in cases where this is not appropriate.

Alexander Zhmodikov, "Science to win" tactics of the Russian army in the Napoleonic wars; St. Petersburg, Moscow, "Eurasia", 2016, pp. 33-35, 61.

A fight the winner is the party which can organize the simultaneous fire of a larger number of small arms at the enemy than the enemy can use for retaliatory firing,especially at the beginning of the clashes. All the tactics of forest fighting is aimed at achieving the maximum density of the infantry fire, and thus achieve fire superiority over the enemy. If you simplify, the forest battle is usually, "who will shoot", if not in the physical (causing losses), at least in psychological (depression from the enemy's superiority). Maneuvering in the woods is complicated by the fact that the allocation to maneuver part that usually gets lost in it from view, making its interaction with the main group a daunting task.

For the most effective use of fire opportunities, infantry soldiers must be placed in a deployed line (a chain). So shoot the soldiers did not interfere with each other to fire, they are relatively rassredotochit, do not form a group for the enemy target. When driving in the enemy's chain at about the same time out of the field of invisibility that does not allow the enemy to concentrate fire on the emerging order in turn. He is forced immediately to rassredotochit your fire.

However, the build chain has the known disadvantages. When moving keep the system circuit is extremely difficult. Soldiers are constantly huddling together,especially in bad podgotovlennosti. The reason for this is that people in the movement look forward, and to keep themselves in line with the other soldiers need to constantly look sideways in both directions, in the lack of habit not done, or done often enough. Distinguishable landmarks, the direction of which coincides with the desired direction of movement for each soldier in the chain, usually not enough. Different level of physical preparation of soldiers contributes to the fact that somebody from soldiers in the chain runs forward, and someone behind. Only in the case of continuous monitoring of their position in the General line,poluchaetsya.ranshe its position in the chain relative to the others unchanged.

Bill Rawling; Surviving trench warfare: technology and the Canadian Corps, 1914-1918, Toronto, University of Toronto press, 2014, p.118

In addition, for a soldier the need to maintain the system circuit for the effective control of the movements and fire units may not be quite obvious or, at least, is clearly secondary compared to the task of saving their lives.

Therefore, for quick navigation use the build in the column – this soldier can be much less to look around, to maintain its place in the construction it is enough to see where the soldiers walking ahead of him. As positioning of soldiers in a deployed line will strive each side, the winners are those who can maneuver faster, namely to unfold the chain from the field building (columns), quickly to bring your unit to the place of deployment and to perform other rebuild (the turning chain right and left). Thus, the ability to quickly maneuver and rebuilding of combat units from the column to the circuit and back is one of the main tools (in addition to numerical superiority over the enemy) to achieve fire superiority in the forest battle. Superiority over the enemy in speed of rebuilds allows you to create temporary local advantage in the firing means and to strike the enemy fire more guns than the enemy at this time and in this place to conduct return fire.Consideration of the features of forest boy actually brings us to...principles of linear tactics of the eighteenth century. Of course, we are not talking about a full identity (density of constructions and their depth differ significantly, there is no requirement of continuity of the line of shooters, etc.), but the basic tactical ideas are very similar. Battle in the forest can be called a kind of "reserve of linear tactics". The maintenance of linear constructions is one of the main means of control units, and speed maneuvering them – a crucial factor to obtain a firing advantage over the enemy. Trailing to the scene of a shooting enemy soldiers, located some 100 metres away, can be completely excluded from the battle. This creates a parcel of the destruction of parts of the unit is late with the deployment.


Build units to fight forest – the key to victory in the forest fight


We now turn to the Finns used to build when moving in the forest. Basic maneuvering units, which are used in the conduct of the fighting in the forests, units of company and battalion level.The basis for these builds was the use of a plurality of parallel columns by divisions, the allocation of special group of transactions to which these columns are oriented.

The battalion laid three parallel guide paths, one for each of two companies going in the first wave and center - in the battalion. If the moving unit is a regiment, will be laid another regimental rail trail in the middle between the two advanced battalions (a total of 7 trails guides). Each guide path paves a separate group transaction size in one compartment (the group posting regiment one platoon).

Group posting marked trails guides. Here is, perhaps, to note that the standard recommendation for reconnaissance units – not to make notches or other markings as you move in the forest, changing ramonafrompomona. In any case, a large group after passage through the forest leaves a well-marked trail, to hide which is not possible. Marking of trails (paper, rags, broken in a uniform manner with the branches, put on the branches with balls of moss, etc.) helps for orientation and displacement to the rear and back.


The harness group moves in 50-100 metres from the main building company, and on removing the visual connection going from her 4 advanced sentinel. Advanced sentinel must be approximately 150 metres from the main build company. Closing transactions the group carries the flag to clearly indicate its position. Column wiring group is constructed in the following sequence: two forward lookouts, responsible for routing (cutting through) the path, orientirovat with compass responsible for reconciliation with the map and builds the relocation table, the commander of the first marker of the trail, 2 steps counter (the first believes in pairs of steps, the second in metres is based 60-63 couple of steps equal to 100 meters), the second trail marker with flag. Before you start driving is a table of future moves, as you move the table is complemented by records of actual movements (recorded coordinates of the original and turning points, the estimated and the actual time of movement, time of arrival and departure from intermediate reference points, the distance in meters and in pairs of steps, azimuths). Note that when moving on the slopes, counting steps is not practically possible because of slippage and sliding of the skis – the distance can fathom rope long 50 meters.

Group transactions that are possible, not involved in combat, and with the beginning of the fight hiding. After the battle, it becomes a nucleus around which the collection unit.

Moving the whole company or battalion are made build from one landmark to another. The entire route is divided into sections, the length of which shall not be more than two kilometers, and when the threat of collision with the enemy – and to one kilometer. After passage of each cut is arranged a short pause prodoljitelnost five to ten minutes, during which the restored organization and arrangement of units and activities for additional guidance. High-speed movement inevitably leads to the collapse of the building, and, as a consequence, to the loss recovery time of the organization.

To maintain the relative position of units allocated to individual observers, which constantly maintain visual communications with other departments.

At the time of stop of the entire structure of the company are sent to patrol in all directions. If possible, use specially trained dogs for the early detection of the enemy. All movements are carried out, if possible, silently.



However, the main difference of the Finnish construction is not a group posting (it can be when you build the main part of the unit just to the column), and construction of the main group.

The platoons that make up the core group are moved in parallel columns of compartments (for example, the first echelon battalion may consist of 12 parallel columns, sections), which if necessary are deployed in a chain. The reversal in the chain in this case is greatly simplified, deploy in the chain from the column separation a relatively simple task that does not require a lot of time.

Possible next build platoon: cityregion offices "in line"; "square" - two parallel columns of compartments in front and two behind (in the second tier, look at the back of the head offices of the first echelon); the "triangle" - three parallel columns of compartments in front, one behind, in the second tier. The choice of building one of these builds depend on two factors: the density of the forest, and location relative to the wing. In a dense forest offices are being built "in line", woodlands – "square". Platoons, which were on the flank of the battalion are either"square" or "triangle".

Offices prescribed predetermined space in the building. The default leading is the leftmost branch of the first echelon. Closure (when switching to Hiking building) the platoon is made to him, and this separation remains in place. If you need the closure right or left (e.g., the attack of the enemy in the flank or when you want to change your direction at a right angle) the two departments moved into the space located between the two corner platoons on the direction in which you want to shift. The platoon commander with his assistants follows one advanced by the Department, the Deputy commander of the platoon after the other.


MerkblattdesOKH: ErfahrungenausderfinnischenWaldkampftaktikund -ausbildung.

Merkblatt OKH: Erfahrungenaus den Waldkampflehrgängen und der Spähtruppenausbildung in Finnland.




The Finnish Department of 9 people in the front circuit and the column is 25 meters (3 meters between soldiers). A platoon of 4 branches in parallel columns in the two echelon square of size 100 by 100 meters.


One compartment may extend along the rail trail on the depth of building a company (platoons are "square").



Dedicated observers of the movements of the group's transactions are within 15 metres from the rail trail.



The building company "the square".Option. The second tier is in marching order. The right platoon of the first echelon on-line, the left platoon of the first echelon – the "square".



Building a company with an open flank on the left. Option. The harness group is stretched to the depth of the first echelon. One branch of the left platoon of the first echelon are deployed in a chain.

The case of the construction battalion. There are three trails inside the guide of the battalion. The left shows the guide path of the regiment. The second tier is in field of construction in the vicinity of the guide paths.





The case of the construction battalion. Group transactions of the battalion stretched to the second tier. All branches are parallel columns.




A comparison of the effectiveness of the constructions; the "instinctive" choice a bad build.

Thus, the Finnish units of the company and battalion level actually always carry out a rapprochement with the opponent in pre-combat formations.

It should be borne in mind that movement through the forest relatively large units was carried out by the Finns not at very large distances. For example, the maximum length of the "bypass" for winter conditions in forest areas of Northern Ladoga the Finns was estimated at approximately five kilometers. The porters carrying weapons and ammunition across large distances lead to the wearing down of soldiers to such an extent that they lose their combat capability.

Y. A. Jarvinen, SuomalainenjaVenalainenTaktikkaTalvisodassa, Helsinki, Porvoo, 1948, page 212, 225

Of course, in the summer maneuvers of the forest can be over long distances. In the summer of 1944 during the fighting at Ilomantsi forest rounds were carried out by the Finns about 7-12 kilometers.

In the summer the soldiers when moving in the forest less tired, but in this case the need for a tray of ammunition and food from the rear, the need for removal of the wounded limit the range of forest maneuvers of large infantry units.

Therefore, moving in pre-battle formations is not so large distances. While in pre-battle orders at the beginning of lesnogorodskaya, which very often begins suddenly at close range,is to produce only one rebuild. Columns ahead, perestraivaya through standard admission is dispersed in the chain.This action is simple and quite fast. Thus, a compromise is reached between the need to follow in the columns when moving in the forest area and the need to reduce deployment time at the beginning of the clashes.

For comparison, the division located in the company, or the more batallones column deployed for battle much more slowly, thereby giving the enemy a significant tactical advantage.




Deployment from marching column into a chain. Visible the need for an interim rebuilding, during which the ability to fire is limited.


If we turn to the experience of the use of linear tactics, testing rebuilds of battalion columns in line, occupied a large place in the General training units, and was quite difficult even in an open area (there were different methods of transposition, but their coverage is beyond the scope of this article), despite the fact that the soldiers were very close to each other. The difficulty lies in the fact that when rebuilding the battalion is required to maintain the unity of constituent units (platoons, divisions), the battalion could not turn around like a bunch of just single soldiers. Disturbance prevents to maneuver and control the fire units in combat. It requires a certain, pre-agreed algorithm of actions.

Troops with no experience of exercise in the woods, they are bound to use the build in General, a large column, as the most simple and self-evident. Send in different directions patrols, obviously, do not give the column sufficient time to deploy. Preemption in the deployment at the tactical level leads to the fact that organized battle line fighting with the crowd.

Here you can refer to the experience of the use of linear tactics of the XVIII-XIX centuries. He showed that deploy from column into line under fire is actually not possible or at least difficult.

Alexander Zhmodikov, "Science to win" tactics of the Russian army in the Napoleonic wars; St. Petersburg, Moscow, "Eurasia", 2016, page 188, 199, 554

The fire of the crowd is always less efficient than a controlled fire is deployed in the circuit unit. Thus, the division, ahead of the enemy to rebuild at the beginning of the clashes, ceteris paribus wins the firefight.

Noteworthy is the fact that the Finns did not rely solely on units of care ,and flanking outposts in motion is absent (the patrols will be sent only when stopping). Dense forest prevents the expulsion of health on any significant distance from the main unit. Often, patrols are unable to move away from the main unit in line of sight range – otherwise they will quickly be lost. As a consequence, the outposts in the forest battle is often unable to give timely warning of the enemy. If more or less big unit goes through the woods in the column, even in the case of receiving a warning from their lookouts on the enemy simply does not have time to turn around before the clash. The only solution is to move in pre-combat formations.

The ability to Wade through the forest in pre-combat formations, which allowed to perform quick deploy in a circuit – this is the "sword-kladenets" forest battle, which allowed the Finns to win fights in the woods.


Some evidence


This assumption may seem overly simplistic, but there are several factors that show that this is the reason. Forest complex maneuvers, despite their apparent simplicity and even simple – always a great risk that the unit will fall apart in poorly managed crowd just because of the difficulties of committing forest marsh on the road or at the time of deployment.

The ability to line up and hold when moving linear construction, as well as the speed of transposition, gave significant tactical superiority of the infantry in the wars of the XVIII-XIX centuries. You can try to bring this analogy: in the context of the Soviet-Finnish conflict during forest fighting the Soviet infantry was in position the existing crowd of Turkish troops against a well-trained corps of Suvorov, of the current in the exhaust builds.


The analysis of specific combat skills in the forest

If you try to make a list of skills forest winter battle that ordinary soldiers are not specifically preparing for forest fighting, most likely does not own, it will be quite small. Many of these skills are fairly obvious, even in the absence of the original podgotovitelno quickly invented anew. It is unlikely that these skills could have a significant impact on the outcome of forest fighting.

Here their approximate list:

The withdrawal of the warmest things before driving (work), to avoid excessive sweating and putting on after a stop. Option – the unbuttoning and buttoning of clothes.
Otrajenie clothes from the snow before it has time to melt and wet clothes from the heat of the human body, especially in regard to mittens (gloves), clothing around the knees, elbows, that is, those places where clothing is pressed and possibly soaking through to the tissues of the skin.
Chewing snow or the use of hoods with masks (scarves) in order to prevent a visible vapor out of your mouth.
Pressing the trunks of trees for camouflage.
Minimize the amount of grease on the weapon, that it did not deny the shooting.
Transfer freezing compasses, pistols inside the top layers of clothing. Drying footcloths, socks, gloves, mittens garments heat inside the human body.
Consideration of condensation on the metal elements of the weapon when carrying in to a warm room (heated tent or a hut): the weapon is left either outside or immediately after carrying in the room is wiped dry.
The use of twigs as bedding during overnight or prolonged standing in the snow as an insulating material.
Quick removal and putting on skis (including lying down). It should be noted that the Finnish replayable easier than Soviet, but at certain skill of treatment with fasteners difference in the speed of dressing could be reduced so as not to have a significant practical impact on the actions of combat units.
Leaving marks, broken twigs, rags in the forest to designate routes, staking of the route to accommodate the direction of movement by reverse tick marks, traces of sweeping spruce branches or even hands.
Use of portable stoves for winter camping. Here reclide about not only the artisanal production of stoves from cans and other scrap materials, but also about fires Salalah and in houses made of snow. In fairness it should be noted that this is due to a number of complications. For example, when using open fire for heating the internal volume of the makeshift shelters, the snow that forms part of the roof of these shelters, begins to melt, and, accordingly, there is a risk wet clothes. There are a number of tricks to breed for in a tent a fire was a normal pull and the tent did not zadymilas. But in General, these obstacles can be overcome.
Early reversal of cut ski socks ago to save time in case you need a quick exit.
Shelter "Finnish snow" when chelyabiskaya shelter for observation and shooting is cut down a pine tree, and a small section of the trunk with spreading branches most use as a "roof," which poured on top of the snow.
Throwing grenades on skis over his head, and the side cast.
Richard N. Armstrong, Joseph G. Welsh; Winter Warfare: Red Army Orders and Experiences, p.5.

15. Use a second compass rear of the column to adjust the direction of the columns (going behind the columns of soldiers knows very well its deviation from the set azimuth).

16. The use of staff with "slingshot" on the end for pushing to the ground the branches which need to be crossed to reduce the noise from the traffic.

17. The use of "lobaton" (to sweep away water and rock materials) when constructing defensive positions.

18. Exclusively chopping off the lower branches of trees and shrubs to the level of human growth to clear sectors of fire.

19. Undermining grenades (thawing by the campfire)frozen layer of soil before digging the trenches.

20. Building a snow wall to the accumulation of wind-blown snow for further use in the equipment items.

21. Different types of crawling with the help of shot skis.

22. Frequent change advanced soldiers, paving the track or trail in the virgin snow.

Publications about the Finnish war often are full of descriptions of this kind of "little tricks" as dokazatelstvom the ability of the Finns to fight in the woods. Moreover, it is often overlooked that these skills, even in the absence of their prior work, produced quickly by trial and error.Obviously, these tricks cannot serve obyasneniyami Finns in the forest fighting.


However, there are some not so obvious skills that can be used in the conduct of hostilities in the woods, without prior training, their use is unlikely:

Maintaining a straight direction of movement in the woods without a compass, guided by the trunks of trees (for example, when mentally before driving the trunks of two spatially-separated trees are connected by one line, and at the approach to the first of them, when moving along this line, select another tree, both a continuation of the same straight for the second tree).
The use of boats-scrapers (set on low sleds), in which the front and (which is important for stabilization) rear "harness" soldiers for the movement of goods through the woods. The laying of the triple ski to drag such boats-scrapers.
Paving roads-boats in the virgin snow.The Finns during the Second world war did on the virgin snow first was a skier; behind him, breaking through the snow, a few soldiers breaking their legs present; paved trail horses dragged the sleigh, at first empty, then loaded, then Protessilaos sled with a log, which made a furrow in the center of the road; then went the site (snow plow), which was drawn by horses; behind them several sledges were lined the road; and, finally, the road watered with water for the formation of the ice cover from the sledge on which was mounted the tank. Every action increased the permeability equipped the road while under my feet was not firm enough coverage.
Finnish military newsreel "JatkosodanKatsauksetHyökkäävätKameratpuolustusvoimatestittääkatsaus 40"

It should be noted that the construction of roads-boats – quite a slow process. Even in a truncated form (without the site and spillage of water) the speed of the strip was about a mile per hour.

MerkblattdesOKH: ErfahrungenausderfinnischenWaldkampftaktikund -ausbildung.

In the absence of horses is just to tread and drive on virgin snow infantry division.

G. Wesierski, "Winter on the front" Red Star No. 286 of December 5, 1941, op.CIT.according to the book "Infantry in offensive combat. 1st edition. A collection of articles on the tactics of the infantry," Military publishing house NKO, Moscow, 1942, p. 119

The use of pre-measured telephone wire to determine the distance from the position of portable mortars to a forward observer. Phone wire known long in advance (with printed markers tens of meters) pulling in the expanded state. A few soldiers constantly walking back and forth along the wire, to resolve the problems in his pulling. In a moment of sudden contact with the enemy forward observer accurately know the distance from itself to the mortar positions, allowing you to quickly open fire on the enemy.
Not using skis at the time of the clashes, and their removal at the boundary of transition to the attack or elsewhere before the fight.The selection of individual fighters for the formation of bundles of skis with the beginning of the battle and their removal to the rear.
Richard N. Armstrong, Joseph G. Welsh; Winter Warfare: Red Army Orders and Experiences, p.5.

FM 31-70 BASIC COLD WEATHER MANUAL 6-14. a) Handling of Ski and Snowshoe Equipment and Individual Weapons

6. The use of pre-punched and marked (including regulators) routes for stealthy deployment of withdrawal of units at the position close to the enemy for the implementation of a surprise attack.

Even these "invisible" skills are obviously not sufficient to explain the Finnish success in forest fighting. They are notable because they share something in common. All of them promote speed maneuvering combat units.


Tactical pre-war Finnish views

In favor of the thesis that the tactics of the Finnish army largely followed the traditions of linear tactics in the actions of the infantry, it is possible to result one more argument. In the pre-war period, the Finns are very critical of the possibilities of borrowing the tactical innovations that appeared during the 1st world war in Europe. They believed that the marshy terrain of Finland will not allow you to use the experience of fighting in open spaces, which took place in the European theater of hostilities of the first world war. For example, considering the role of tanks, many Finns believed that they will not be significant place in the wars in Finland. Positional battles were considered not possible in Finland because forest with a lot of restricted visibility spaces contributes to the offensive, not the defensive. The tactics of assault groups, which developed during the 1st world war, were not considered as suitable for Finland due to the fact that positional defense that gave birth to this tactic, according to the views of the Finns were not supposed to occur on their territories as a result of the predominance of the marshy area. The Finns believed that the forest is largely neutralizes the possibility for effective artillery fire. It also made the experience of the first world war in Europe limited suitability as a base for the preparation of the Finnish army. All this was intensified by идеологизированнымсамовосприятием and identity of Finns as "forest people" who live by different rules than the "open spaces" in the rest of Europe. As a consequence, in the pre-war period Finnish military considered a non-stop strike infantry (attaqueaoutrance) as snowtastic actions of the Finnish army. Finnish doctrine was offered to fight by methods similar to the approaches of the European armies, which were before the first world war. In fact, the rules are relatively far removed from linear tactics.

"Onkohyökkäysvaunuillamitääntulevaisuuttameillä?" Suomalainenpanssariajattelu ja puolustusvoimienmaastokäsitys 1919-1939" op. CIT. поMichael Halila"My thesis: Forests, nationalism and Finnish armored doctrine";


The lack of tactical features as the feature of the Finnish tactics

An indirect confirmation of the conclusion is the absence in the Finnish pre-war governing documents of any special tactics of conducting fight in the woods. Deployment from marching column into several parallel colon pre-battle order, and then to the circuit (more parallel circuits) anything special at that time was not. From the point of view of a Finnish officer, company commander and battalion level, past forest fighting during the Winter war, anything non-standard from a tactical point of view, in the actions of his unit was not. He acted on the well-known tactical patterns that had to know infantry officer any European country at that time.


The parallel columns is known and domestic tactical instructions.


The caveat was that the European armies, including the Soviet, I could not think about canons, which are more typical linear tactics. Speed of deployment of columns of infantry in order of battle largely lost its meaning to them. They have thought in terms of the interaction of artillery fire, hitting tanks and infantry attacks. But in terms of forest area, a few "old-fashioned" tactics, with emphasis on the quick deployment of infantry proved to be more relevant and applicable.

Presumably, it is the absence of something special in the actions of the Finnish infantry in forest fighting gave rise to attempts to explain the successes of the Finnish army in the set is important, but, in General, secondary skills, techniques and activities. In particular, active search is actually irrelevant partisan elements in the actions of the Finnish armed forces.

It should be emphasized that the simplicity of the idea of conquest a tactical advantage in the forest fighting through particular forms of constructions and, as a consequence, the speed of rebuilds, it doesn't mean the ease of its implementation. Even in open terrain maneuvering infantry - not just difficult, but very difficult to do. It should be repeated that even a seemingly very simple task of holding the line circuit when moving across an open field, in fact requires considerable effort. Peremeshalas chain always strive to bunch up and shooting in a bunch of components of the circuit unit are shuffled and handling them drops sharply. If soldiers do not have the practice exercises, the speed of rebuilds on the ground would be extremely low. It requires manual control by the officers with constant adjustments and stops. A particular barrier is the fact that in peacetime testing rebuilds psychologically can be seen as a kind of not very desired game. As a consequence of this, neglected and not very much invested in what to get.



In concluding this article it should be emphasized that despite the introduction of the most modern means of communication and navigation, and, as a consequence, significant simplification of guidance artillery and aviation, as well as maneuvering during operations in the forest area, in its main features the features of the battle in the forest persist to this day. Troops not able to quickly maneuver the infantry company commander and battalion level when moving through the woods off the road can be deemed prepared for combat in wooded and swampy area. The experience of past wars, remains largely relevant to this day.




Note that there are different ways to deploy from column into a chain. The most well-known and familiar to the Russian reader is the deployment of a "Christmas tree", that is a technique where one soldier out of the column goes in one direction, then the opposite, and the third to the side, where moving the first soldier, but further from the center of the future circuit and so on. The first soldier in the column stays in place.


Deployment of the column in the circuit "tree" of domestic instruction.


As you know, there are other embodiments of this maneuver: a) going down when everyone is in the column, rotates around the advanced soldiers, becoming the rotation center of the column, clockwise or counterclockwise


Deployment of columns in the chain "going down"


b) by the letter "G" or number "7" - when the unit goes into the column until a turning point, after which it changes its direction of movement so that the movement continues parallel to the front line and perpendicular or almost perpendicular to the previous direction of movement

C) spreading the letter "T" - division, when as in the method of the institution until a turning point, begins to diverge simultaneously in the two sides in the directions perpendicular to the previous direction of movement, while one soldier goes in one direction, next in the opposite, the one who comes after him – in the same direction, which went to the first soldier, and so on.

The Finns used the option: column to share roughly in half – transmitting part of the column "going down" takes place in one direction, and the rear part of the column is "going down" to the other side, while adjusting its position so as to stretch edge to edge on the first part of the column. The benefits of such a deployment include the ability to save the established "twos" or "threes" that are lost when you deploy a "Christmas tree" as neighboring soldiers move when they are deployed in opposite directions. At the same time, the Finnish deployment as fast as the deployment of a "Christmas tree".

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