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Finland at War 1939 - 45 (Elite) Paperback – July 25, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Philip Jowett was born in Leeds in 1961, and has been interested in military history for as long as he can remember. His first Osprey book was the ground-breaking Men-at-Arms 306: ‘Chinese Civil War Armies 1911–49’. He has since published a three-part sequence on the Italian Army 1940–45 (Men-at-Arms 340, 349 & 353). A rugby league enthusiast and amateur genealogist, he is married and lives in Lincolnshire.

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Product Details

  • Series: Elite (Book 141)
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (July 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184176969X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841769691
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.1 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on November 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Finland at War 1939-45, # 141 in Osprey's Elite series, is an excellent introduction to the role of the Finnish Army in the Second World War. Authors Philip Jowett and Brent Snodgrass demonstrate a firm grip of this subject and provide a wealth of useful and hard-to-find information on the Finns. This volume belongs on the bookshelves of anyone seriously interested in the Eastern Front.

The opening section spends about 12 pages outlining the chronology of the three wars that Finland fought in the period 1939-45; the 1939-40 Winter War and 1941-44 Continuation War against the Soviet Union and the 1944-45 Lapland War against the Germans. However the chronology section actually has a fair amount of detail and provides a good introduction to the subject. The heart of the volume lies in the 25-page section which discusses the organization of the Finnish army, covering all the major branches as well as paramilitary formations such as the Civil Guard and Foreign Volunteers. A brief section discusses tactics, including the use of "motti" encirclement attacks and snipers. A final section discusses weapons, including small arms, machineguns, anti-tank weapons and artillery (unfortunately, mortars were omitted). Overall, there is a wealth of information in this thin volume and it is one of the better of Osprey's Elite titles.

Eight pages of color plates by artist Raffaele Ruggeri depict the Finnish military and para-military forces from 1939-45. The photographs in the volume are also very good and most have not been printed in English-language books before. Perhaps the only area that gets a bit skimped on is in the areas of training and higher staff functions at corps-level, but this is understandable given the size restraints. Overall, a superb volume.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By John M. Lane on December 11, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has the best illustrations I've ever seen. It includes black and white photographs, colored illustrations, clearly defined timelines and some very taut, straightforward writing.

I'm not Finnish and my interest in it and its role in World War II was slow developing. I'd read bits and pieces about Finland's stand against impossible odds in military histories.

One thing led to another and I finally ended up buying some books and trying to figure out how this tiny Nordic nation managed to fight off the Red Army and survive the vicissitudes of World War II. Jowett and Snodgrass bring a clear, well-organized summary of this very complicated period of history.

When did the "Winter War" end? What was the "Continuation War" and the "Lapland War?" How did Finland manage to avoid being occupied by the Red Army like Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were?

This brief (64 page) book provides very clear answers to these questions. It's easy to read and organized so that it makes a great quick reference.

If you're interested in military history, Finland, World War II, Germany, Russia, 20th century European History, collecting militaria, or if you like a good David and Goliath story, this book's for you. I like it and gave it five stars.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. Scott on February 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is very well written and easy to read. It gives a very good overview of the Finnish military during WWII. If you don't know about heroic little Finland, and their fight for survival against Russia, then you are missing some great inspirational history. I consider this book a must-have for the Finnish military history buff.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Captain Sternn on January 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
Yet another excellent submission from Osprey!

20th century warfare featured a number of of "David vs. Goliath" encounters, ...the Winter War of 1939/1940 was one of the most dramatic of these.

Finland, a nation of about 4 million people, mobilized approximately 100,000 troops to face a massive Soviet invasion force that was at least four to five times larger. After bravely holding their ground in 1939, Finland was forced to yield (somewhat) to the inevitable weight of Soviet numbers. However, in 1941, the Finns quickly found new hope by assisting Germany in their efforts against the U.S.S.R. This book summarizes Finland's combat experience in the Winter War (1939/1940), the Continuation War (1941-44) and the Lappland War (1945).

The Finns fielded an army that was mostly composed of infantry, with not enough artillery. Finnish armor assets were so small, that most Finnish soldiers had never seen a tank before, ...until they saw Soviet armor bearing down on their defenses!
In support of the army, Finland deployed a small but very proficient air-force and navy. The deeds of Finnish aviators is truly worthy of its own book! Finland was not a wealthy nation, but they were a stable country, whose economy was largely based in agriculture, lumber, and mining.

The Soviet Union unleashed its massive armed-forces, lacking very little in terms of arms. They lacked very little in bulk man-power, artillery, and armor. Air support was provided by one of the largest and best equipped air-forces of the time. All of this was supplemented by a rapidly growing Soviet industrial base geared for the mass production of armaments.

Considering the factors involved, one would generally assume that the U.S.S.R. would easily and inevitably gain the victory.
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