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May 3, 2013

Finnish Armor 1917-1945 part 1

Finland is one of the countries not much is known about. Most people have heard of the Finnish struggle to defeat the Soviets in the early 20's and throughout the Winter War right to the end of World War 2, but armor doesn't play major role in Finnish warfare. Still, there were some very interesting designs in Finnish arsenal. Let's have a look at them.

Probably the first armored vehicle to serve in Finnish army was the American Peerless armored car, captured from the Soviets in 1919 by the Finnish. This 7-ton armored car was one of the 16 vehicles first bought in 1916. I haven't found any real details about this vehicle, but it probably looked something like this (this is a later model though):

This vehicle was captured by Estonian volunteers however and after the civil war ended, it remained in Estonia. It was called "Pohjan Poika" by the Finnish ("Son of the north"). Another armored car from this era, captured (some sources say bought) from the Russians was the Fiat A armored car. Four were obtained during the turmoil preceding the Finnish civil war in 1915 and they continued to serve in Finland until early 20's.

The third armored car to make it to Finland was the Soviet Austin-Putilov armored car. Basically, these armored cars consisted of the Austin chassis (during the war, that was all the British factories could provide) with Russian modifications. This armored car was the most important Russian armored car of WW1.It was equipped with two machineguns and armored with 8mm thick plates. Apart from the Russian army, it also served in the Japanese and Polish forces. The Finnish captured a few in 1918 and used them until the 20's.

But those were just the armored cars. The first real tanks were purchased by the Finnish in 1919. Those were the ubiquitous Renault FT-17 tanks. 14 were purchased with the 37mm Puteaux gun and 18 with the 8mm Hotchkiss MG. Two of them actually saw combat: they served with the "white" troops of general Yudenich against the bolsheviks. After their defeat (Yudenich himself escaped capture and fled to France, where he lived until his death in 1933), they were returned to Finland, but they were in such a poor shape that France supplied to additional vehicles.

Finnish FT-17's continued to server deep into the 30's. By that time they were totally obsolete, but high costs of modern armor prevented Finnish to buy anything better and the FT-17's formed the backbone of Finnish armored corps until 1938. Even in 1942 a few were still used for training, others were turned into pillboxes in Winter War.

Of course, the Finnish army experimented with other types of vehicles too. St.Chamond M21 Chenilette wheel-cum-track design was purchased (allegedly in several exemplars), but the design was found unsatisfactory and was rejected. Another such vehicle was the Vickers Mk.IVB tankette, Vickers Mod.1931 amphibious tank, Vickers Mod.1933 or the famous Vickers 6ton. Here, sources differ about their use. The St.Chamond disappeared from the scene really quick, but the 1931 and 1933 light tanks were used for training until 1939 or even 1942.

The only tank from that period, purchased in larger numbers was the Vickers 6ton, model E, type B. The Finnish called it "Viku". The first prototype, ordered from Britain was shipped without machineguns with only a 47mm Barrow gun. 16 more (this time with no armament at all!) were shipped in 1938 and another 16 in 1939. Since these tanks lacked their own guns, they were refitted with the FT-17 37mm Puteaux guns and Hotchkiss machineguns from the same source. This too was deemed unsatisfactory in 1939 and it was decided to re-arm the tanks with 37mm Bofors AT guns (or rather local copies under the designation 37 psvk 36) and with turret-mounted L-33/36 machuneguns. The hull machineguns were removed and instead 9mm Suomi submachineguns were installed. These vehicles fought in 1940 against Russians near Honkaniemi in February 1940. The Finnish crews - unexperienced at the time - suffered losses with 8 tanks being lost due to breakdowns and combat.

Since the Finnish captured a large number of T-26 tanks in the war with the Soviets, it was decided to rearm the Vickers tanks with the Russian 45mm guns and DT machineguns. Further modifications were made (including the modifications to drivetrain and suspension) and such modified tanks with Soviet guns were redesigned to T-26E. These vehicles could be recognized from other captured T-26 tanks only by careful detail observation and they were so well regarded they stayed in service until 1959.

Another vehicle worth noting that was purchased in this period would be the Swedish Landsverk L182 armored car. It wasn't really a success and it was later transferred to Finnish police. The Finnish however did capture a number of BA-20 and BA-20M Soviet armored cars (as many as 20), they were kept around as scouting and liaison vehicles until 1951. Their official designation in the Finnish army was BAB, but they were nicknamed "Beibi".

Heavier armored cars (such as the BA-6 and BA-10) were also captured. They underwent a refit, where their original Ford IV 50hp engine was replaced with the stronger Ford V8. These stayed in service until 1959, just like the T-26E tanks.

Finská obrněná technika 1917-1945


Disclaimer: I kinda caught flu and Im not feeling well (that's why I was so irritated yesterday). Considering I am feeling like shit and am in bed atm, I can't guarantee the quality of the translations today. Should be okay, but don't crucify me if I forgot a word somewhere.

First: Alienware invite code giveaway (for new players only) can be found here - if any of you are starting a new account, it contains 1000g, 5 days premium and 100k credits. 8000 of them are left.

- the physics bugs (SS: flying tanks when clipping into certain objects, the infamous "turning on the spot") are considered very rare, fixing them has low priority
- if the client gets disconnected (shut down), extended results of the fight become inaccessible. This is intentional to save up on data transfer: "there is no point to transfer data when the client is shut down"
- IS-4 with D-25T is the historical tank setup, its historicity being about the only advantage this setup offers
- one of the big things the developers are working on right now are the esports functions
- when a tank is coming directly at you, it's possible to detrack it by shooting anywhere in the frontal track part, not just into the wheels
- the new prepared sound engine will bring improved sound overall
- WoT on consoles? "If there is ever such a thing, it'll be kept separate from PC WoT server-wise"
- according to SerB, the new tier 9 tanks (those with high penetration) are balanced fine and are historical
- the only Japanese tank already modelled is the Chinese Chi-Ha
- Japanese hightier tanks will be unique (not similiar to any other nations) (SS: from what I could tell, the heavies will be very large, heavy, less armored than Maus, but possibly better armed)
- in first Japanese patch, cca 19 tanks will be introduced
- SerB states that even on the same tank, when using removed speed governor, one vehicle can get its engine yellow in different times, because the removed speed governor damages the engine only when the engine works outside its nominal horsepower boundaries. It cannot be detected by player whether it's really working or not, this is intentional.
- Storm on armor: "Everything is almost okay with armor now. But in order to make it totally okay, we will be taking measures in 0.8.6. What measures - will tell later." (SS: bold font used by Storm himself)".
- Storm sees the problem with heavily armored tanks in their low popularity and limited playability.
- this year there will be new camos for Germans implemented

Storm on WOT issues


SS: Well, today's EU Q&A answer session brought a lot of useless crap, but also one interesting answer: 0.8.6 will bring a city map. Combined with the info from RU server that it might in fact be a winter city map, I think we all are thinking: "Stalingrad". In fact, there was such a map supertested before the 0.8.5 patch.

Either way, Storm (who is currently on vacation) wrote a post, where he asks players about WoT issues. According to his post, it's not an "official" feedback thread, more likely something to give him stuff to think about when he's resting.

He stated in the post that within 2 weeks he will start unvealing 0.8.6 details and that they will cause a lot of controversy ("prepare asbestos chairs"). Here's what was in the post comments:

- Storm is aware of the cheat mod issue, WG is investigating it. Measures will be taken - it's not however yet decided what kind of measures, they are still discussing it. According to Storm, the cheats in the modpack are "not really that terrible".
- one of the cheat solutions considered is a portal with "certified" mods - only certified mods would then work with the game
- 2-3 reworked maps have (arty cover) problems, one of the problematic maps is Highway
- according to Storm, most players like the new map, it won't be taken down
- devs considered the possibility to transfer free XP to crew XP, but refused because they feel it's "pay to win"
- it's not known for now whether the amount of XP needed to train skills/perks will be reduced
- Storm does see the lack of high-end content as a problem, WG is working on it
- 8.6 will bring a solution for ride over bumpy terrain affecting the aim circle spread too much ("gun jumping")
- no "leagues" will be implemented
- the rate of tanks being implemented has been reduced roughly two times
- WG is pretty pissed about the Nvidia-caused bugs
- 0.8.6 will introduce a "hot feature" regarding game optimalisation
- deathmatch won't be introduced
- 25 percent random factor won't be reduced
- sort of "battle miniquests" for players are planned  (SS: no details, but what I understand from the context, it's something like "kill X tanks of type Y")
- in 8.6, heavily armored tanks in general will be changed (SS: as in buffed)
- in 8.6, "there will be changes in armor mechanics"
- Storm agrees that the social aspect of the game is underdeveloped
- there will be more attempts to introduce "fair environment" and "fair play"
- 7 vs 7 battles will be implemented (SS: 7/42)
- looks like Storm isn't too hot into the (WarThunder) garage battle mode (SS: as in when you die in one vehicle, you enter the same battle in another) - "what if you enter a garage battle and in first minutes you realize your teammates are retards and you will have to lose several of your vehicles?"

That's it for now. Storm disconnected and will continue the session tomorrow (today, it's past midnight already?o.O) Will make part 2 if something interesting comes up.