Snowed in: the military geography of the Russo-Finnish War

Authors: Joel Radunzel*, West Point
Topics: Military Geography
Keywords: Military geography, historical geography, Russo-Finnish War
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Bonaparte, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Red Army's defeat at the hands of Finnish forces in the early months of the Russo-Finnish War stands as one of the great David versus Goliath stories of recent military history. This paper examines how the physical and cultural geography of the three theaters of the war (southern, central, and northern Finland) shaped the course and outcome of this conflict. The Finnish defenders effectively adapted their operations to the climate, topography, and biomes of these areas, as well as the limited infrastructure that existed in the area, allowing them to inflict significant casualties on the invading Soviet formations. However, in the end the greater strategic depth enjoyed by the Soviet Union in terms of space, industrial output, and manpower, allowed them to eventually force the Finnish government to sue for peace.

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