Talk:Lapland War

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Was it a "real" war with an official declaration of war? Or was it only a series of armed clashes called a war? The second option seems more sensible since the finnish army was supposed to be during a process of severe reduction. Mieciu K 19:14, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Finnish government declared on 1 March 1945 that state of war had existed since 15 September 1944. - Mikko H. 19:48, 16 October 2006 (UTC)


Is the trivia section really necessary? It doesn't really add anything important to the article. - FireForEffect - 23:46, 13 May 2007 (UTC)


The result of Lapland war was a full German retreat, which complied with the stated Finnish objective. However, the war is not considered a victory in Finnish history, because the war ended in a indeterminate way. The German troops left Finland and Germany collapsed as a state. This was, however, more due to the general development of WWII than to the Finnish war effort. Calling this result a Finnish victory may be formally correct, but gives an incorrect picture of the overall situation. Politically, Finland did not reap any positive results from the war. Not all wars have clear-cut victors and losers. In my view, Lapland war is one. --MPorciusCato 15:42, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Still, Finland won all armed conflicts that can be classified as battles. Starting the war was not beneficial for Finland, but since the conditions were what the conditions were it was needed. What if Finland could win German troops at those battles? USSR would move even more troops to Finland? Looking from 1944 starting the war was not beneficial, but what about future relations with USSR? --Pudeo (Talk) 22:09, 21 December 2006 (UTC)
There were no real battles of any kind. The German objective was to withdraw to Norway with all their heavy equipment, and that was what to most part also happened. The "battles" were arranged exactly for the reason of not granting the Soviets any right to interfere. - (talk) 01:49, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Err.. what? What would you call the invasion of Tornio and the ensuing fighting? Staged??? (talk) 11:05, 3 December 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, it's hard to be objective when it comes to politics or other opinionated matters. This is constantly bugging me in the whole Wikipedia, and only when I feel particularly masochistic I try to follow some of the "livelier" discussions. (talk) 11:07, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
For the first two-three weeks the withdrawal of Germans and advancing of Finnish troops was organised as agreed by headquarters of both armies. In Tornio battle fighting was intensive and casualties heavy. Tornio sure was a victory for the Finns, but they didn't manage to cut off routes to Norway and encircle the German main force. This neither happened later on. After Tornio Germans withdraw as planned in plan Birke, scheduled and organised. Some battles occured, but they were local delay actions in nature, althogh sometimes heavy. Motorized German troops were left behind to secure the main forces, Finns were following slowly due to the minings and blown-off bridges and roads (and lacking motorized troops - most common transportation vehicle was a bicycle). Germans defended their positions with heavy firepower, and quickly pulled out as scheduled, blowing the bridges and driving to the next defensive point planned (they were planned, built and equipped ready). There were heavy fighting at least in Ylimaa, Taipale, Rovaniemi, Tankavaara and Muonio. For the German point of view everything happened quite smoothly and without heavy losses, especially considering the season and coarse road system. For the Finns getting rid of Germans can be seen as a partial victory, never minding it happened according to German timetable. The main loss for the Finns was burned-down villages (40-47% of buildings in Lapland destroyed), destroyed road and telephone network, and dense minings, which caused lot of civilian casulties for decades.--Riisipuuro (talk) 00:16, 20 December 2008 (UTC)--
If we consider this as a war between Finland and Germany, then there is no clear-cut winner. The main objective of the Germans was to withdraw in an organized manner to Norway, while the Finnis objective was to remove German troops from Finland while showing to the USSR that Finland is complying with the peace terms. Thus, both sides fulfilled their objectives. If we consider the Lapland War as a campaign of the WWII Eastern front, then the Germans probably won, as the allied forces were unable to destroy the German army in Finland. Yet, little did it help them. The Germans lost anyway. --MPorciusCato (talk) 15:42, 20 December 2008 (UTC)

Petsamo-Kirkenes operation[edit]

I wonder if this operation warrants at least a passing mention here? --Illythr 22:23, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

Definitely - better late than never, missed the date on the post - Wanderer602 (talk) 18:52, 10 November 2011 (UTC)


That war was a real disgrace for Finland and hence can not be seen as a "victory".-- (talk) 17:17, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

I disagree. The war was an unfortunate necessity which allowed Finland to avoid the fate of Estonia or Latvia, being occupied for decades by foreign forces. However, I agree, with the view that it was not a victory. The German retreat was not endangered nor hastened, and the destruction of Lapland was not prevented. The few small clashes that actually occured resultet in limited Finnish 'victories' while the oucome of these clashes were not important for the German army, which was trying to save strength for the ongoing fight against the soviet union. Xiaozhouzhou (talk) 20:06, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Finnish people belong to the same finno-ugric language group as the hungarians, so a comparison could be interesting. Hungary did not change side in the WWII, hungarian fighter pilots fought alongside the Luftwaffe until 1945 May 5th and then burned their last Me-109 planes. Hungarian monitor flottila on the Danube River last fired its cannons on soviet troops on 1945 May 8th, the Victory Day morning. They continued fighting the evil communism even on austrian and german territory, more than a month after the last village in Hungary fell to the red invasion on 1945 April 4th, more than 3 months after Budapest was totally ruined by Red Army's siege.
After WWII ended, the new Moscow-installed communist regime tried to brainwash hungarian people that Hungary was the "utolso csatlos" (literally the last vassal) of nazi Germany and that was extremely shameful. Nowadays, however many hungarian people are proud that we are always faithful allies, who never changed sides in war during history, unlike finns, romanians and italians. Of course this means Hungary almost always fought on the side of the eventually losing coalition, right to the end, while many of those treacherous nations benefited from stabbing the germans in the back... Shame on the finns, I say! (talk) 18:32, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
What a bizarre attitude. Doesn't right and wrong enter into it? Or do you have to keep backing the wrong side cos you chose it at the beginning? BillMasen (talk) 11:10, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

What has 'right and wrong' to do with anything? They chose Germans rather than Russians until 1945. Then they went against the Russians again in 1956 or had we forgotten about that? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Khananel (talkcontribs) 10:50, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Well Hungary wasn't in the same position as Finland, which had already been screwed by other nations. In Molotov-Ribbentrop pact Soviet Union and Germany set Finland in the Soviet sphere of influence, which meant that Soviet Union could do whatever it wished to Finland. That lead to winter war, which lead to moscow peace treaty. Later came continuation war (operation barbarossa), so the situations of Finland and Hungary aren't really comparable. Also, as a citation from wiki article "Hungary in World War II". "While waging war against the Soviet Union, Hungary engaged in secret peace negotiations with the United States and the United Kingdom. Hitler discovered this betrayal and, in 1944, German forces occupied Hungary.". ViiKumi (talk) 08:11, 1 October 2010 (UTC) Germany chose the Soviet side over Finland in 1941, and Finland was within the Soviet sphere of influence per the Molotov von Ribbentrop agreement. Finland fought, and was able to only lose 1/11th of their territory in the Winter War, when fighting alone and abandoned by Western Allies (because of fear that any aid would fall into the hands of German-Soviet allies). Soviets ratcheted up their demands, and would have engulfed Finland but for the later German invasion. When Germany saw the initial difficulty of Soviets against Finland, they violated their non-aggression pact with Soviet Union (as Germany had violated previous non-aggression pact with Poland), and cooperated with Finland against USSR (as the Germans cooperated with USSR against Poland). German withdrawal and retirements in Lapland War can be considered a tactical victory for Germany, but a strategic defeat, as the Petsumo region was abandoned by German. For Finland it was a strategic victory as they were able to simultaneously remove the Germans, demobilize their forces, satisfy Soviet demands and retain their independence. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:10, 18 September 2011 (UTC)

More maps[edit]

Hi, here are links to two web sites with extensive maps (partly overlapping) of the fighting in N Karelia and the Lappland War. Maybe we could use some of them. Any thoughts?Bobbythemazarin (talk) 20:20, 6 February 2011 (UTC)


POV Wording-Tornio section[edit]

The use of the phrase "threatened war crimes" sounds a bit POV to me, especially since the same wording isn't applied to the German commander's previous decision to take hostages, which is what prompted the Finns to take hostages as well. This is a pretty gross incident on both sides, but the wording is currently unacceptable. Dpenn89 (talk) 05:46, 19 March 2011 (UTC)

Agree. Very good point (talk) 22:36, 5 September 2011 (UTC)SEP

The normal approach is for nations to extend Geneva Convention rights to POWs to other countries which follow the Geneva Convention. By German threats to violate the Geneva Convention by murdering Finnish hostages (as they had done in other countries) the Finns were correct to prepare to withdraw reciprocal Geneva Convention rights that had been extended to German POWs. It must also be considered that Berlin really liked that kind of "commitment to the cause" by German commanders. Since the German commander was going to be retreating, he may have tried to impress Berlin by such threats, and thus be freed from the usual Hitler "hold fast" orders that hamstrung other German commanders. As the German commander was able to withdraw or retire without interference from German Headquarters, something that many German generals had been unable to accomplish. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:22, 18 September 2011 (UTC)


Could some one verify the casualty numbers? That is from Sampo Ahto's book the numbers which are identical to ones reported in the Finnish page fi:Lapin sota are as follows - though as i understand his numbers are only for the fighting in Lapland (so Tanne Ost and Finnish minelayer Louhi are not included):
Finns: 774 dead, 262 missing, 2,904 wounded.
Germans: less than 1,000 dead, 1,305 taken as POW, somewhat over 2,000 wounded
Uncertainty regarding the numbers comes from the fact that some of the German losses were against the Soviets in their related Petsamo-Kirkenes Operation. More detailed rundown states that Germans suffered during October 1944 (which coincides with both Soviet operation as well as the main Finnish operations) total of 12,537 casualties of which against Finns 4,274 men. When going throught the units that operated against Finns over the whole duration of the Lapland War Ahto comes up with number of 4,787 (KIA, MIA, WIA, POW, sum of all) but notes that it might be slightly inaccurate as it could contain small amount of losses suffered against Soviet units and determines that total losses against Finns were from 4,300-4,500. Now where does the 4,300-4,500 dead come into the article? - Wanderer602 (talk) 19:21, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

File:LapinSota.jpeg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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September or October[edit]

The start date of the war. 15 September 1944 would make sense since that is the date of the deadline agreed in Moscow Armistice. It also marks the date when the military action began, notable the German landing operation at Hogland, Operation Tanne Ost. It also marked the date when German war material was started being confiscated/interned by the Finns. It was also remarked by Finnish government in 1945 to have been the date from which the state of war existed between Finland and Germany (ironically it officially ended only in 1954). On the other hand the real action in Lapland started 1 October 1944 with Battle of Tornio. In my opinion the start date should be 15 September 1944 instead of 1 October. - Wanderer602 (talk) 09:28, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Result again[edit]

I really dont want to engage in an edit war about a meaningless result, but i dont think "Finnish victory" is really the appropriate result for this war. This has been discussed earlier (look above). The only reason this war was fought, was because the Soviets wanted the Finns so in the armistice conditions. The German goal for this war from the first minute on was to retreat and they accomplished their goal completly. The Finnish goal was, well, was to please the Soviets, and not to fight the Germans, as the Germans wanted to retreat anyway from Finland (and both sides knew this, hence the coordinated withdraw actions in the beginning until the Soviets found it out). All the fighting in this war was therefore meaningless. The only "victory" or results the Finns achieved through their fighting were burned down towns and German atrocities as result of German retaliatory actions. In fact, the only "victor" in this war were the Soviets, as they managed to play out the former allies against each other. StoneProphet (talk) 17:45, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Oh yeah, go ahead and dont even try to cope with my arguments, just ignore me completly and cold revert, pfff... StoneProphet (talk) 23:48, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

Order of Battle[edit]

It would be great to have an order of battle for German and Finnish forces in the Lapland War. I checked a half dozen sites trying to find one before I came here and whined about it, but I couldn't find one. I hope someone more knowledgeable will step up and do one. Thanks. (talk) 14:22, 3 September 2014 (UTC)

It is rather difficult to have meaningful orders of battle created for this conflict since the respective orders of battle for the both sides were constantly changing. Finns were mandated to demobilize so both the strength and the number of units participating kept getting lower and lower. As to Germans, they had to handle the Soviet offensive further to the north all the while conducting an orderly withdrawal which caused quite a bit of shuffling of the units. - Wanderer602 (talk) 07:35, 19 March 2016 (UTC)


Can a more accurate figure for strength be given? It's obvious by the number of casualties and shortness of the war that most troops weren't deployed. --Droyselich (talk) 17:48, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

What does "deployed" mean? The actual numbers for troops are from reliable sources and reflect the axtual strengths of the parties in the combat zone. (The main strength of the Finnish Army remained in Southern Finland being demobilised.) The low casualty figures are the result of the nature of the war. In practice, there were only two roads through Lapland from South to North. All fighting was concentrated on these, with vast wilderness between.
The Finns did not try to take the German positions by massed frontal attacks. Instead, the Finns tried flanking the Germans by marching ten to thirty kilometers through the wilderness to capture a position behind their lines. Of course, this was normally detected by Germans and because they were retreating anyhow, the unit being flanked usually retreated before losing their supply line. Because all roads were mined, bridges destroyed and villages burned, the Finnish advance was slow. Even if the infantry could conduct flanking operations through the wilderness, the logistics and the artillery needs roads, and the Finnish infantry could not advance too far away from support. Thus, while the troop concentrations were quite appreciable, battles were brigade-level encounters, with only the Battle of Tornio being a division-level battle. Most of the Finnish troops that were deployed were demining the roads, securing the area and taking care of the logistics. --MPorciusCato (talk) 12:04, 5 June 2016 (UTC)
The image gets even more clearer when keep in mind that Finland didn't really have any mechanized or motorized units while Germans did. Additionally the road and bridge destruction meant that heavier (often horse drawn) equipment could not even reach the front line. Which meant that Finnish foot mobile infantry without any artillery or armor support had a task of breaking through Germans holding fortified positions prepared before the war. So they went for flanking maneuvers since there really weren't any real alternatives. While the Finnish infantry was made their way slowly forward through the vast swamps or the trackless forests Germans simply loaded up their lorries and drove off to the next chokepoint 5 to 10 kilometers down the road. And whole process had to be started anew. More often than the exhausted Finnish flankers were actually met by their own field kitchens instead of Germans when they completed their 'flanking' maneuver. Bad road condition also meant that armor, instead of being used by attacking troops had to be used either as towing tractors or sort of ATVs for transporting wounded simply because other vehicles couldn't use the roads. You also need to keep in mind that for German side the delay was often sufficient accomplishment, they only wanted to buy time to complete their evacuation, while for the Finns the motivation to fight the war was rather low as the Germans were withdrawing already. - Wanderer602 (talk) 14:11, 5 June 2016 (UTC)