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Finland

Posted: Wed 09 Sep 2020, 10:30
by Vader
I'd be interested to have a bit of a discussion going on what might be going on in Finland, in the period leading up to and during the Twilight War.

So: calling all Finns and people with insight in Finnish conditions immediately preceding the end of the Cold War, and thoughts on how these conditions might extrapolate to 1997, through a 90's not of détente, not of a drunk taking over the Kremlin, not of a dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, not of extensive cuts in Western military procurement, dismantled national security systems, and radically reduced armies, navies, and air forces; but rather of increased political tension, extensive investments, and radical military build-up.

What does this development look like in Finland?

My ulterior motive in raising this question is twofold: first, it is highly interesting in itself, of course.
But second, it directly interfaces with the Swedish setting. Not that the Soviet Union would need to pass through Finland to attack Sweden in the immediate war scenario — they don't; nor do I think they'd necessarily be all that keen to try — but rather, Finland together with Sweden being the only neutrals in Northern Europe, will these two countries join hands somehow in the prelude to war, and if so, how?

Re: Finland

Posted: Wed 09 Sep 2020, 16:32
by Nicolas Michon
For starters, one should add Austria, Liechtenstein & Switzerland to the list of Neutrals with whom Sweden may have made contact (both Austria & Switzerland having their own weapons manufacturers - the Austrians manufactured APCs and tanks - the SK-105 Kürassier - in addition to small arms & cannons).

As for Sweden, my understanding, based on the avid reading of modern Swedish crime novels :-D- and of the very interesting design notes in Thin Red Line Game's monster wargame Deadly Northern Lights (which are accessible for free on their website), is that Swedish neutrality was more theoretical than real, and that there were very, very close confidential contacts with NATO - to the extent that the Soviets considered them a de facto NATO member (Deadly Northern Lights treats Finnish & Swedish neutrality differently, and even as a rule about the planned assassination of dozens of Swedish Air Force pilots by the KGB and GRU....).

I will of course defer to the natives from Fria Ligan on that score!

It would have made sense for the Swedish government to approach the Finns, but I am not sure how much the Finns would have been able to do, in terms of coordination, without tipping off the Soviets.

Re: Finland

Posted: Wed 09 Sep 2020, 16:49
by Arrigo74
Worth to note that in the 40s and 50s and the Royal Swedish Air Force flown ferret missions across the Soviet border on behalf of the USAF. Later they switched to peripheral flights, bt were still working in concert with USAF and RAF.

They were definitely close to NATO.

Re: Finland

Posted: Wed 09 Sep 2020, 17:37
by Vader
Oh, there is no denying that Sweden was very closely non-allied with NATO; however, if at all possible, I'd like to try to keep the discussions about Sweden's allegiances and potential other allies a bit separate ... this thread was supposed to be about Finland... :mrgreen: [ <= there is no "sweatdrop" emoji]


Yes, by 1990, Finland was still bound by the YYA Treaty — i.e. the "Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance" of 1948 — with the Soviet Union. Do bear in mind however that Finland was by no means allied to, or even on truly friendly terms with the Russians — they'd already fought three separate wars against the Soviet Union during the 20th century; two of them they'd won, and they'd still avoided conclusive defeat in the third. Their attitude towards the USSR might perhaps best be described as "pragmatic".

So, while the Finns were forced to turn to the Russians for much of their military hardware, the other major supplier and partner was specifically Sweden — for instance, by 1990, fighter aircraft in Finnish service were about 40 SAAB J 35 Drakens and just over half as many MiG-21's.
The Army's MBT's and APC's were T-72's and BMP's, but once free from having to buy Russian, they've gone over to Leopard 2A4 and A6's, and CV90's.

In 1990, Finland unilaterally cancelled the restrictions that the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty imposed upon Finnish armament and military procurement.
The continued relevance or lack thereof of the YYA treaty had been subject to much discussion in Finland already during the 70's and 80's; IRL, it was cancelled in 1992 and superseded by a new treaty with Yeltsin's Russia.

In the Twilight scenario, this should open up the field for Finland taking on a much more ... interesting role, I'd feel.

Re: Finland

Posted: Thu 10 Sep 2020, 12:25
by Arrigo74
They had ties with Sweden, and a clear dislike for Moscow. OF course sharing a land border with the Bear had issues...

I do not see Finland doing anything provocative at first. But certainly not helping the Soviets too. Big friction point would be the Finmark. The Soviet would like extend their flanks there for their Norwegian campaign. Then Sweden. You do not need Finland to invade Sweden, but once you are in probably you may want to make sure Finland is not intervening. Of course every horizontal escalation you made... means additional resources you requires. My two cents...

at start Moscow respects Finland neutrality and Finland just mobilizes as deterrent. When/if the soviet drive in Norway starts to sputter, Sweden does not fall, and NATO is pushing bain in EAST Germany... well either Moscow arm-twists Helsinki for passage or Helsinki starts to send troops to support Stockolm.

Re: Finland

Posted: Thu 10 Sep 2020, 20:55
by Vader
I like that scenario on the whole; just some tweaks I'd add to it.

What is the one single objective in any plans that Russian leadership have made against the Scandinavian Peninsula ever since Catherine the Great? To gain direct access to the Atlantic through the shortest route possible, of course — Russia's untenable geopolitical paradox, that of being a land-locked superpower, is also their greatest weakness.

This means that there are several possible targets for any such offensive, the three probably most likely ones being:
.
  1. Access to the Norwegian coast. This would most probably entail a push through Finnish and Swedish Lapland into Nordland.
  2. Access to the Swedish West Coast. This could e.g. entail a landing on Sweden's East Coast and a push through Småland and up to Bohuslän.
  3. Secure Öresund and the Great Belt to safeguard the Baltic Fleet's access to Kattegat, Skagerrak, the North Sea and by extension, the Atlantic.
.
Or a combination of the above — e.g. scenario 2 (in some variation) would not unlikely be implemented as a support operation to scenario 3.
Scenarios 2 and 3 wouldn't involve Finland in any way, and scenario 1 would happen far away from the portion of Sweden the map included in the game shows, so meta-reasoning allows us to disregard it for this discussion. (Scenario 3 would also happen outside this map, but is also irrelevant for Finland).

So, chances are that Finland won't be involved in the actual shooting war, unless they decide to come to Sweden's aid (not impossible, in my reckoning).
A bigger question may be how Fenno-Swedish cooperation would affect the build-up phase of the scenario...


But I'd really like to see some actual Finns pipe up in here!

There were a fairly sizeable bunch of them in the Kickstarter. Haven't any found their way into this forum?

Re: Finland

Posted: Fri 11 Sep 2020, 13:18
by Arrigo74
Vader,

even if Option 1 is away from the map, is probably something that is going to happen (you need to deny these airfields to NATO, and the USN is coming north for its big raid on Kola, so you want them) and this is taking forces and resources.

Option 2 and 3... well even if Finland is neutral you are still having them able to block access to Leningrad. They are certainly not friendly and possibly friendly to Sweden. Finnish mine barrages basically bottled up the Baltic Fleet in WW2. With this in mind it is plausible that the leadership in Moscow is actively seeking (and seeing) sign of a Finnish intervention. Obviously... not a 22 June Again... no no no...

Said that I would not mind to see or even create a small module set in the Finmark, it should be nice for small unit actions.

Re: Finland

Posted: Fri 11 Sep 2020, 14:01
by Vader
Agreed; a northern offensive is going to happen in either case. And that might or might not involve Finland and/or Sweden.

Finnmark would be an interesting area in a scenario where the Russians entirely seek to bypass Finland, or Sweden, or both; certainly. And there is wisdom in such course, to be sure.
But it would also be a roundabout route to reach an access to the Atlantic that is clear around the year, so ... pros and cons.
Should they decide to go a straighter route however, Finnmark probably wouldn't be a very active theatre. They'd probably aim for Nordland.

The tree main alternatives would probably be:
.
  • Straight from Russia into Sør-Varanger, and penetrate into Finnmark bypassing both Finland and Sweden
  • Penetrate deeper into Finnmark through Finnish Inari and Utsjoki, bypassing Sweden
  • Go through Finnish and Swedish Lapland aiming for Nordland
.
Finnmark was quite an active theatre during the final phases of WWII in Europe, but it seems to me that the situation then was very different.

Re: Finland

Posted: Tue 13 Jul 2021, 13:44
by Jogeri
I'm a Finn, and I must say that the picture that the game paints on the Soviet invasion of Sweden trough Northern Finland is quite lacking the background.

If Soviet armor would roll through the Finnish Lapland I could quickly see three alternatives

1) Soviets push trough Finland regardless of diplomatic relations. This would lead to war with Finland. As it happens, Finland would not have close ties with NATO and would be left to defend it's territory alone. Soviet's would probably only push trough northern parts to get to Sweden and probably try to occupy Åland, as it's location plays a large role in naval warfare in Baltic Sea and it could be used to support amphibious assaults to Sweden. In either case Northern Finland would be devastated by air attacks of NATO that target Soviet armor columns and some fighting between the Soviets and Finns. It could be that Finland tries not to escalate the conflict and does not try to stop the Soviets pushing trough the Finnish north, but that would probably depend on the political atmosphere of Finland.

2) Soviets press hard on Finland politically and wrestle a permission to go trough the Northern parts to attack Sweden. I would say that this would lead to Soviets occupying the Åland also and maybe some other islands on the Finnish archipelago. Finland would try to negotiate to keep Soviet military out of Central and Southern Finland in fear of NATO air/missile attacks that would target Soviet troops at those locations.

3) Soviet try to lock Finnish Defense Force in the south by air attacks and some small scale attacks, to pave way for the armor columns to move through the northern Finland to attack Sweden. Finnish ports in Southern Finland (Turku, Hanko, Helsinki) would be bombarded. Åland would be occupied by Soviets.

I am in no ways an expert on the subject. Just my quick two cents.

Re: Finland

Posted: Wed 14 Jul 2021, 09:52
by Ursus Maior
So: calling all Finns and people with insight in Finnish conditions immediately preceding the end of the Cold War, and thoughts on how these conditions might extrapolate to 1997, through a 90's not of détente, not of a drunk taking over the Kremlin, not of a dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, not of extensive cuts in Western military procurement, dismantled national security systems, and radically reduced armies, navies, and air forces; but rather of increased political tension, extensive investments, and radical military build-up.
Quick reply to this, just to make sure what the aim of the discussion is: Are you asking for a 4E campaign or a homebrew campaign idea? For a strict 4E campaign I'd argue that the Warsaw Pact has been dissolved in 1990 as it was in known history. Additionally, budget cuts to Western military procurement would have occured since they were agreed upon in or before 1990. Also, the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the Westernization of former Eastern Bloc nations and the (relatively) peaceful transition of all of this in the 4E timeline would have given this a boost.

It's important to remember: 4E humanity will never know how much it missed out. And the end of the Warsaw Pact, the exit of the Baltic republics (and maybe others too) from the USSR will appear as a "revolution" of international security politics that brings peace in a level unprecedented for decades. It's just that the USSR reemerges as an Imperial power after 4-5 years, instead of a resurgent Russia after 15-20 years.