Rapid Fire! Finnish Artillery Battalion Organisational Chart
Well, my organisational tinkering continues and I am still a little confused but at least I am starting to formulate a plan that I am reasonably happy with. Here's the latest plan for my Finnish artillery (many thanks to Bob Peyton for his help with this)...
Now, again, I have used some artistic licence - partly because my research into the Finnish Army of this period does not seem to agree with that of the original designer of the Rapid Fire! charts, but also because this first army is experimental and I don't want to get too bogged down in technicalities. What I want is cool looking models!
You'll probably think 'that's a lot of artillery', but to maximise a Finnish Army's viability on a war game table (against a very well equipped Soviet force) the artillery element is absolutely crucial and does go some way to redress the imbalance in effective armour.
Some of the figures still don't exactly make sense to me AND I have replaced the reliance on horses with an influx of trucks for towing. Like the German Army the Finns were always short of trucks but I fear a large number of horses will be a painting project too far for me at the moment!
Notes on accuracy of the RapidFire! chart options:
The Rapid Fire! chart designer seems to have completely overlooked the amount of Soviet equipment that was captured by the Finns, in particular the 76mm K/02 field guns and T20 light artillery tractors (they quote a '75mm field gun' as the standard light gun). And while they also quote the 105mm gun option as being the WW1 vintage Schneider the Finns had a range of 105s at their disposal, including the German LeFH18 (which I have chosen).
Source: photo from book Suomi Tahtoi Elää ja Ankarat Vuodet
By way of trucks, the Finnish field artilley units apparently had the following at their disposal:
32 Ford 95/40
23 International K-7 (6 wheeled)
31 International K-7 (10 wheeled)
33 mixed models
388 light trucks (mostly captured Soviet and civilian trucks)
Interestingly, I haven't come across any photo reference of the Opel Blitz - which many war gamers seem to use as the standard Finnish truck - being used. I don't find this surprising as the German Army was always short of this truck itself, so selling them in any quantity to others seems unlikely.
It's all very complicated isn't it?
I came across this post on the Axis History Forum which seems to contradict my opinion about the Opel Blitz in Finnish service:
"Q. >Did the Finns also use Opel Blitz or GAZ and ZIS trucks for transportation?
A. Yes, all three. Germany sold Finland 790 Opel Blitz 3,6 trucks - 700 of them in year 1941, 50 in year 1942 and 40 in year 1943. During WW2 Finnish Army captured 5,247 trucks from the Soviets and took about 2,500 of these to its own use - this included some 900 ZIS-5 and much larger number of GAZ, which was the most common captured truck. The number of captured GAZ-AA trucks pressed to Finnish service was 1,428. Source for information: Book "Puolustusvoimien moottoriajoneuvot 1919 - 1959" (Motor Vehicles of Defence Forces 1919 - 1959) by Markku Mäkipirtti."