A thorough history of the Winter War, the uneven Russo-Finnish conflict that began shortly after the start of World War II.
On November 30, 1939, Stalin's Red Army attacked Finland, expecting to crush the outnumbered, ill-equipped Finnish forces in a matter of days. But, in one of the most astonishing upsets in modern military history, the Finnish defenders broke the Red Army's advance, inflicting devastating casualties and destroying some of the divisions that had been thrown against them.
Eventually, in March, 1940, the overhauled Red Army prevailed through the deployment of massive force. The Finns were compelled to cede territory and cities to their overbearing neighbor, but the moral victory was theirs. The courage and skill their army displayed in the face of the Soviet onslaughtand the chaotic, reckless performance of their opponentshad an important influence on the massive struggle soon to break out between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
For this highly illustrated and original portrayal of this conflict, Bair Irincheev brings together a compelling selection of eyewitness accounts, war diaries, battle reports, and other records from the Finnish and Russian archives to reconstruct the frontline fighting, and he analyzes the reasons for the Red Army's poor performance. Never before has the harsh reality of the combat in the depths of the northern winter been conveyed in such authentic detail. The arduous daily experience of the troops on both sides, the brutality of combat, and the constant struggle against the elements are recalled in the words of the men who were there.