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Finland and Ireland

Finland, a province of the cruel repressive Russian Empire, removed the Russians in 1918 led by General Mannerheim with Whites defeating Reds in a terrible civil war. Ireland, under General Collins, excised 35,000 British forces from Ireland after the 1916 insurrection with 3,000 IRA personnel effective in flying columns during the War of Independence, 1917-21, followed by a civil war 1922-23. Three wars. India and Israel visited Ireland to experience guerrilla warfare so effective against a cruel coloniser.

Hitler, Mannerheim and Finnish President Ryti 1940

Finland, aware of nefarious activities by Russia, after the Russo/German division of Poland, and the Russian cruel treatment of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia (stealing, extrajudicial killing, deportations) knew that Finland was next, Finland asked for aid from Germany. Germany obliged. Marshal Baron Mannerheim was recalled for Finnish national survival. in 1940. However in 1939 when Russia attacked Finland, during the Winter War in a three pronged attack, Finland was able to defend itself inflicting severe damage on Russian infantry in cold snowy conditions. Finns, tough individuals with skiing a national sport, immobilised Russian armour and decimated attacking Russian forces. A pattern of Russian dead in a circle with puncture marks to the throat may have been explained by the Lotta Svard - female soldiers, then a possible mythology ensued. The Karelian War/ Continuation War June 1941 - September 1944, was a low level war due to the Finnish Army blockade of the city of Leningrad.

June 9 - July 1944, the battle of national survival at Tali-Ihantala, Karelia, a monumental battle of attrition fought in an area of 60 square kilometres, proved the most decisive of the Continuation War, saving Finland from the fate of every other country in Eastern and Central Europe. Finland made good use of their Panzerschreck anti-tank launchers, destroying 600 tanks and killing 22,000 Russians, for 8,500 Finnish fatalities. Stalin wanted to gain Berlin and decided a separate armistice with Finland September 5 1944. Finland was saved. Three wars.

Modern Ireland, population 5,200,000, an independent country since January 14, 1922 gained statehood and the status of a Republic in 1949. A defence force of 9,500 personnel, propeller driven training planes, Westland Lynx helicopters and 6 naval vessels with insufficient naval personnel rendering Ireland incapable of patrolling the air, sea and land area of Ireland. It is vital Ireland restructures its defence forces.

Modern Finland, population 5,800,000, has a well trained national army of 280,000 men, modern fighter jets, and is building 4 high powered naval patrol vessels. Finland and Sweden recent joining of NATO emphasises the requirement to defend against Russia. Both countries are highly militarised.

This writer, an officer in the Irish Army Reserve, witnessed Finnish NBC training, Finnish Viggen fighter jets landing on narrow roads within the Arctic Circle with Finland always vigilant against an attack from external forces.

Source: Finland at War, Osprey, Phillip Jowett and Brent Snodgrass, 2006


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