The Winter War November 1939–March 1940


Map Code: Ax00289

Also known as the Russo-Finnish War, the Winter War came about after Finland refused to negotiate with the Soviets over the acquisition of land on the Karelian Isthmus and a naval base at Hanko. The Soviets attacked on several fronts, yet made few gains. The Finns made some failed counterattacks, resulting in relative stalemate by December. The Finnish military was no match for Stalin’s Red Army, but they utilized their local knowledge by attacking the Russian convoys and isolating them on the roads, while preventing them from retreating. The best example of this was the Finnish victory in the Battle of Suomussalmi. In January, however, the Soviets launched a fierce yet measured counterattack, and made a key breakthrough at Summa. By March, the Finns were in retreat; after Finnish stalling and hesitation, the Moscow Peace Treaty was agreed. The Finns surrendered the majority of the Karelian Isthmus and leased the Soviets the peninsula of Hanko for 30 years.

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