Death by skis

The Nordic countries have always had an affinity for ski-bound troops, with the winter biathlon sport (which was originally called “military patrol” in the 1924 Winter Olympics) starting from regimental competitions in the Norwegian army in the 18th Century. Perhaps the two best-known uses in military history of ski-equipped light infantry were by the Norwegians in the short 1940 Campaign defending against the German invasion and by Finnish troops in the 1939-40 Winter War against the Soviet juggernaut.

However, I give you this:

“Ski raid in Karelia, 1921, by Soviet artist Alexei Katsblin” source:

The episode depicted is from the of the Soviet-Finnish war in Karelia, in 1921.

(Auto translated) “A detachment of Finnish Red Army soldiers, under the command of Toivo Antikainen, during the repulse of the White Finn attack on Karelia, made a successful campaign along the enemy’s rear, the thunder of his communications, which made a great contribution to the victory over the enemy.”

Sure, it’s propaganda from the Soviet info machine, but it should be noted that Antikainen wrote “Vse na lyzhi!” (Everyone to Skis!) which argued for a greater use of skis by the military.

For what it’s worth, Stalin didn’t put much faith into giving the Red Army skis until after the Finns schooled them hardcore in their use in the Winter War, then after that, the Reds went all in, as the below 1942 film shows.

The Russians still have some ski-mounted troops today, as do most NATO mountain and arctic warfare units– oh yeah, and Finland.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

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