Tactics are not decided by state leaders.
The fact of the matter is that if you took any European conscript army into the forests of Finland armed with bolt action rifles to fight against local ski troops armed with SMGs who know the area and are expert in ambushes then it is always going to be a massacre and very one sided.
The bloody mindedness of the Soviet Generals is no different to the bloody mindedness of the western european generals on both sides during WWI...
First - the Red Army was just a year after the Great Purge, moreover it was starting the process of expansion - lots of officers were freshly promoted and inexperienced.
They didn't know what they were doing except from a text book that was likely written just after WWI, and of course there was that fear that the last boss was taken away... don't follow orders and you will be next...
Second - the Red Army was trained to conduct large scale offensives on open plains, not forest operations in heavy snow, Finns were trained to conduct just that. It would end up the same if the French and British were fighting the FInns and if the Germans were, they would still end up with heavy casualties (Panzer divisions are useless in forest)
The Germans were not fully mechanised but were very well trained and experienced and had SMG in some numbers... but the Finns knew what they were doing and would have been the worst possible enemy in that sort of scenario.
Thied - the USSR expected a proletarian revolution to erupt right after the war starts... for reasons only known to them.
Most big powers overestimated their own forces... there is the Hitler quote that all they have to do is kick in the door and the whole house will collapse regarding the Soviets... the only problem was they seemed to have an endless supply of doors needing to be kicked down...
All that mess was vaguely simialr to the First Chechen War - the Russians sent mostly green, poorly commanded troops to fight a determined enemy and lost. However, lessions were learned and later Russia sent a task force composed of well paid, well trained and motivated soldiers with adequate equipment and better planning - and won the war easily.
Exactly... a mix of the right tactics and experience makes all the difference... they used bad tactics which meant few troops survived to gain experience... so it was not the fault of the front line soldier... it was commands tactics...
Think about it - what would have happened if the Soviets had not gone into the Ribbentrop-Molotov agreement and taken control of eastern Poland, the Baltic states and expanded their buffer zone around Leningrad and on the Arctic Sea? Hitler would have had that much shorter distance to reach Moscow.
The thing that annoys me is that most in the west think that the RM agreement meant the Soviets and Germans were allies... in actual fact it was a non aggression pact... if they were allies they wouldn't need a non aggression pact.
Even if Hitler had occupied Moscow I really don't think it would have changed much... Napoleon occupied Moscow too.... didn't help.
The Soviets weren't going to suddenly think... oh well... they got Moscow... might as well give up and collaborate while the murder us into extinction...
It was no accident that 20 odd million Soviets were killed during WWII... the eastern front was basically an open air concentration camp as far as Germany was concerned...
Before the war Stalin/Molotov tried to get an agreement with the Western states - Britain, France, Poland and Chechoslovakia - a defense association against Hitler. The French and Chechs were willing, the British preferred Hitler to the Russians and the Poles were shit-scared to have the Russians to eventually come their aid - if so, would they ever get their country back? The essence is that the Soviets tried, but were rejected by the West. Stalin, and everybody else, knew what was Hitler's ultimate goal, so what should he do?
Stalin did have talks with poland and the uk and they basically rejected his ideas... so at the end of the day he had two options... an agreement with germany that gave him half of poland, or nothing and germany half of poland closer to Moscow... the choice was pretty obvious.
Everyone knew war was coming... Stalin was hoping Hitler would turn west after poland and fight it out with the British and he expected the British to fake intelligence that would make it seem like the Soviet Union was the target for Germany... which is why he was in denial for the first few days... he knew the UK wanted him to make a mistake to provoke the Germans so they would go east and save the west from attack...
OK, if the Winter War hadn't happened the Finns may not have gone along with the Germans but Stalin could not be sure about that, with the experiences from the recent Finnish Civil War in mind. This should also be coupled with the Baltic states' animosity towards the Soviet communist regime.
Before the Soviets attacked the Finns Stalin demanded land... mostly around Leningrad to make it easier to defend, which the Finns refused. Stalin invaded and at great cost the Finns capitulated but Stalin demanded rather more territory than he had asked for before the conflict... that was because of the losses incurred.
But anyway after the germans invaded the soviet union and the finns joined the nazis they only took back the territory Stalin had taken and took not one step into the Soviet Union despite germany telling them to. Because of this Stalin didn't really punish the Fins by demanding land or occupation.... certainly by the end of WWII the Soviet forces were nothing like what they had been and taking Finland would have not been too hard, though their would have been losses, it would have been terrible for both sides.
History repeats itself. Today, the Finns, Poles and Balts behave just as idiotic as they did before WW2. Instead of developing healthy, peaceful conditions with their powerful neighbour they are running the errands of a declared enemy of Russia - NATO. They live in a dream-world where they believe they shall get any real assistance from the West when the war breaks - as did the Poles.
They talk about terrible occupation and oppression by the Soviets after WWII, yet ignore that the UK and US signed off on occupation areas when drawing up plans for post WWII areas of influence...
The Russians have their own ports... they don't need to use the ports in the Baltic countries... it is all their loss.
They have been edging in on Russia ever since the end of the Cold War. Actually, they have never ended the Cold War. The final nail in the coffin of peace is the US/NATO taking control of Ukraine and Georgia. What are the Ukrainians thinking? Shall Putin just sit there as they are pissing on him every day? How could he not see to that Crimea, an original Russian territory, was brought back under Russian control - apart from the fact that there was a referendum about it? Should he let Russia's declared enemy Ukraine control his naval bases in the Black Sea? Sebastopol is one thing but Crimea also controls the approaches to the Azov Sea.
But don't you love the irony... there is no way Russia could have legitimately gotten back control of the Crimea because their referendums were being ignored... if NATO plans had gone to plan I suspect they would have had Sevastopol as a NATO Naval base controlling all of the Black Sea with US ships based there on a rotational basis.
Instead the Crimea is back as part of Russia and the Ukraine is torn to pieces and in economic ruin.
It is pretty much a case of waiting to see what Ukrainian elections manage to achieve... change or more of the same... change might improve things, but I still think partition of the country is the most likely result... those parts of the Ukraine that are being shelled by Kiev are being oppressed like Kosovo wasn't and need independence from the Ukraine.... it is OK because this case is Unique too.
Did they use that opportunity? To recover the Finnish province?
Really only the Baltic countries that were released from the Russian empire, were taken back by the Soviet government after WWII too.
Except US now also has China to deal with. US share of the world's GDP is now at the lowest point since late XIXth century or so. Soon they will run out of resources to fight a cold war on two fronts - either they abandon Asia for China and concentrate on propping up Europe against Russia or they leave Europe on her own and concentrate on China. There will be no alternatives to that.
The American solution seems to be spend more money on defence and print more money... when the dollar is the international trade currency that can work, but their actions are making that change pretty fast... there is no way they will cut defence spending so the money has to come from somewhere else and that is going to hurt.
Ironic that if the US was a real democracy and there was no election cheating... Sanders would have beaten Trump and they might have been much more reasonable and sensible and not about to jump off the edge...
Europe probably wont be able to stand the Russian influence. it is too internally divided to form a monolithic bloc and aside from Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics virtually nobody is willing to fight Russia if their survival does not depend on it.
Now that the US is scrapping the INF treaty I hope the Russians develop nuclear armed IRBMs and just threaten to aim thousands of them at any European country with US troops or missiles stationed there... make it clear that the US bases will be targeted but also the civilian population of that country will also be obliterated. Make it clear this is not about invasion or occupation... it is about destroying an enemy force and those that support it. No foreign military bases and you will not be targeted.
As for Finland - relations with Russia have improved significantly in recent years, economic ties are on the rise (9 mln border crossings in 2017, Finnish companies have 12 bln Euro worth of investments in Russia)
Well that sounds positive...
USA is getting desperate. Syria is slipping, Iraq is slipping, Afghanistan is slipping, Turkey is slipping - they're getting nowhere with Iran, Saudi Arabia looks very fragile. Desperate persons and animals (and nations) are dangerous.
Their most lethal weapon has not been nukes... it has been isolation and poverty... look at Cuba or North Korea... there is actually no reason why they need to be in the state they are except the concerted efforts of the US to isolate them and make them poor. China is also a communist country but the west needed someone to make cheap shit for their consumer societies and so their manufacturing companies moved production to China and they made some sensible choices and now look at them... who said communism doesn't work... and without the waterboarding and illegal detentions in Guantanimo Bay...
The US fears being poor, and has done all in its power to stop anyone else that it does not control from becoming wealthy and independent, yet its desperate actions to prevent Russia and China from doing their own thing have actually made them stronger and more independent of the international organisations the US controls and uses to control.
The Democrats won the "House". No Russian "meddling" this time…?...
I see US media showing black women complaining that white women voted for republicans and that they should have voted for black women apparently.
It is funny you can call someone sexist or racist for not voting the way you want them to vote... how dumb are these people?