Body of frozen Soviet soldier propped up by Finnish fighters to intimidate Soviet troops, 1939

Finnish defenders sometimes, though very rarely, took fallen Russian soldiers and raised them upright in a form of psychological warfare. Although rare, some cases have been documented.

Ordinary Russian soldiers and Finnish soldiers had great respect for the dead and would allow both sides to peacefully retrieve and bury their dead and for such occasions an immediate ceasefire.

Each side also buried the opposing side's dead, leaving a stick on the ground marking the burial site and leaving all tags intact to identify the dead.

The Soviet Union demanded that the Finns move the border between the USSR and Finland 25 kilometers past Leningrad and grant them a 30-year lease on the Hanko Peninsula for the construction of a naval base. The ultimate goal was to create a buffer zone around Leningrad. The Finnish refused and thus the Winter War began.

The Soviet Union began massaging about a million men on the Finnish border. At the time, the overall population of Finland was about three million, while the Soviet Union was closer to 171 million. The Finns knew they were out-mans at around one hundred to one, and so they opted for defensive, guerrilla-style tactics.

The season during the war was the coldest Finnish winter ever recorded. The cold has done a lot of damage. The number of Red Army soldiers who were put to death is unknown. In one case during battle preparations, the number of soldiers evacuated due to frostbite injuries was close to 10,000.

The Finns also suffered a significant number of cases of frostbite. The most common cause of frostbite, on the Finnish side, was shoes.

They were either poor civilian boots or, more often, military boots that were too small. The situation improved as proper footwear was dispatched from the Home Front and soldiers began using captured Russian felt boots.

While the cold affected both sides, the Finns had a significant edge, namely pre-war training. While the Red Army was more trained to operate in the steppes of Russia, the Finnish Army was trained to fight in Finnish territory and the Finnish season, winter included. The skill of skiing was almost universal among the Finns, while on the Soviet side it was a rare skill.

Finnish military equipment was generally good for winter conditions, e.g. Finnish uniform tunic with infantry tent with stove and greatcoat.

The Red Army also had good winter equipment, in fact, some items were valued even more than their Finnish counterparts, namely greatcoats and especially felt boots.

Unfortunately, few units of the Red Army reached the Finnish front without or with very few of them. In addition, skis were surprisingly rare in the units of the Red Army.

As the temperature dropped below -30 Celsius, some lubricants (such as in artillery pieces or vehicles) began to freeze, as did the fluid in the recoil system in some artillery pieces.

In some artillery weapons, the carriage failed to freeze, as the structure could not withstand the extreme cold and stress of firing. Both sides also had problems with artillery shells, as the fuses became unreliable.

The units of the Finnish army were better suited for the Winter War than the Soviet units. Soviet divisions' heavy equipment (lots of trucks, artillery, tanks) tied them to the road, while lighter Finnish units were more maneuverable.

The Finns were mostly dependent on horses. The horses ate a lot of hay and had very little freight carrying capacity, but horses could walk in snow where a truck was stuck.

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