Thursday, November 22, 2012

Comparison of Typical Finnish Infantry Division to Typical Soviet Rifle Division

Below is a simple comparison between a standard Finnish Infantry division and a typical Soviet Rifle Division. They are not exact figures but only paper strength at the time of the outset of the Winter War. Both division use the same basic 'triangular' structure, meaning they both have three Infantry regiments which had three infantry battalions.  

It is very hard to exact the exact composition of a Soviet Division during the Winter war because changes to the organisation had been made in 1938 but not all changes had taken place. Also many sources differ greatly on the subject. As such I have tried to make my list as average as possible given the available information.

These are only 'official' paper strengths and do not represent actual numbers. An example is the Finnish army rarely ever had 4 AT guns let alone the full paper strength of 18. 

We can see that a Soviet Division had about twice as many automatic weapons than its Finnish counterpart. A Soviet Division also had three times the amount of artillery with, what seemed like, an unceasing supply of shells. Another advantage the Soviet Division had was it could call upon numerous support units like tank brigades, artillery batteries and air power. However all this strength was the Achilles heal for the Soviet units, they were designed to fight in the open fields of Europe and with such a high degree of motorisation were restricted to the poorly constructed roads of the Finnish countryside. 

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