|The whole platoon at paper strength plus optional SMG's|
Going into war in 1939, a Finnish infantry platoon at paper strength was composed of the following elements:
A Platoon HQ with a lieutenant, his second in command and two riflemen used as messengers:
|A rifleman carrying the M27 infantry rifle, a variant of the 1891 Mosin Nagant|
Two infantry squads of ten men each. One sergeant and nine riflemen:
The ideal rifle squad also had one submachinegunner with a model Suomi submachinegun, but these were scarce and an average platoon would be lucky to have even one.
|I opted for a dirty look on the uniforms so that the models look like they've seen some action. You wouldn't be able to keep that snow camo pristine white in an artillery barrage!|
|For some contrast, I made the snow on the bases pure while, like it was freshly fallen.|
|I have enough models at this point to have the platoon without a single SMG, but here they are.|
Two light machine gun squads with a sergeant, a machine gunner carrying the Lahti-Saloranta Pikakivääri and five riflemen doubling as gunner's assistants and ammo carriers:
|This LMG was in my previous Winter War post, but I've happily mixed up which ones I've shown you already and which not.|
|The set included some prone models which was nice. I mounted the prone ones on plasticard.|
|Another shot of the prone guys. I tried to give the snow some depth to make it look like they're not just hovering over it.|
There you have them. The Kickstarter included all those wonderful extras and by the looks of it, I should receive the second shipment sometime soon. I'm quite happy I finished these before getting them, as the pile of unpainted lead will look less daunting now!
To get me in the mood for painting, I bought some period reading from an online bookshop:
The book is called "The rifle and LMG squad in combat - a battle guide for the squal leader" and it was printed in 1935. The book is a bit dirty but interestingly it has been in the possession of an army Major prior to the Winter War:
Anyway, the book sheds some light on platoon level infantry tactics prior to the second world war. The book emphasises aggressive movement by rifle squads supported by machine guns. No proper information on tanks, as you might suspect of a 1935 book. The goal of the rifleman is to get close fast and to drive the enemy away from his position in close combat. Not exactly cutting edge stuff, but who knows how many commanders learned their craft from books like these? A small piece of my country's history, it is.
|The book contains some nice maps and illustrations on formations, overlapping fire lanes and such. Heavily influenced by German Jäger tactics, which the Finns learned from the Germans.|