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Hello!
Since the Finns captured many SVT-40 during the continuation war, were these rifles used in first line or were they sent to rear echelon troops?
I have a SA marked finn-captured SVT-40 in sniper configuration (wish it still had the original scope and scope mount).
















Did the Finns put these to use for sniping or did they decommission them for lack of sufficient accuracy?
PP.
 

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Can't tell you much about the Finn questions you have but I can tell you have a factory original sniper. It was made around April. I would think that the Finns made good use of them. No sense in giving a rear echelon soldier a sniper rifle. Do any of the parts match? Thanks for sharing.
 

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Hello!
Since the Finns captured many SVT-40 during the continuation war, were these rifles used in first line or were they sent to rear echelon troops?

Did the Finns put these to use for sniping or did they decommission them for lack of sufficient accuracy?
During World War 2 Finnish Army suffered chronic shortage of sniper rifles, so usually the military unit that succeeded capturing any sniper rifles with their optics still intact immediately took the rifles to their own use. Also due to the same reason and very poor availability of sniper rifles through official channels, very few sniper rifles were handed over to them (*) instead of keeping sniper rifles with-in unit rest of the war.

Officially captured small arms should have been handed over to proper channels. But when it came to captured weapons like sniper rifles, light machineguns, submachine guns and select/semiautomatic-rifles, if they were in working condition, military units that captured them usually just kept them. Not only were the soldiers doing this in such scale that it came an unofficial policy of sort, but officers apparently accepted or even encouraged it, since improved firepower obviously increased efficiency of their unit.

Soviet AVS-36, SVT-38 and SVT-40 were also very popular among Finnish troops, hence soldiers of the unit that captured some, usually kept them to replace some of the bolt-action rifles issued to them. Captured semi-auto rifles provided good chance of boosting firepower of infantry units, which otherwise had bolt-action rifles as their primary weapons. Typically these rifles were only handed over to official channels only when they broke down. However since SVT-38 and SVT-40 were structurally somewhat weak, ammunition used with them often may have often been wrong type and the Finns did not organize any repair capacity for them in their depot & weapons repair shops during the war, by end of World War 2 most of these rifles had already broken down. Finnish military only put the SVT-40 that were still in repairable condition through repair process in 1950's - due to this process most Finnish-captured specimens are true mix-masters - since Finnish industry did not really make spare parts for them, rifles repaired at that time were assembled by taking parts from those rifles that were beyond repair.

More info:
http://www.jaegerplatoon.net/RIFLES7.htm
http://www.jaegerplatoon.net/RIFLES4.htm

Jarkko
 

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First of all, what an astonishing rifle! Just great specimen!



And as Jarkko put it, SVT-38s and SVT-40s were very popular with Finnish soldiers in the front line.

Here are few photos:



Knight of the Mannerheim Cross liutenant Niilo Korhonen with his trusted men and his SVT-40.



Corporal Toivo Potka who destroyed 24 enemy soldiers during three days during the battle of Tuulos with his SVT-40.





Officers test firing an SVT-40.




Tired troops at Rukajärvi, fall 1941.





Patrol leader reporting.




Patrol returning in Petsamo.






MG-team in Poventsa.





A real combat photo, taken in the middle of a firefight. On the right a Finnish soldier can be seen just been hit.







Snow cap for SVT-40





Resting before the attack.





Ready to fire.





Captured SVT-40 sniper back in action.







Cleaning the rifle.



Fallen Soviet soldier.






Heavily armed patrol three days after the Winter War ended. (AVS-36, L-S m/26 and SVT-38)

 

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Great photos Bugelson- thanks very much! My own Finn SVT 40 is one of my favorite rifles made even better by paying only $300.00 for it last year (rare win at a back-water gun show). Shooting both SVT's and Mosins quite a bit I can understand why a front line soldier would value an SVT.

Ruprecht
 

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Lots of great details in the posted pics. Kiitos! Noticed Swedish cartridge belt with SVT-40, Soldier with Suomi KP/31 has cut the handle of his spade so that it is much, much shorter, just the metal tang portion and some wood. Probably to lighten its weight? If one had to lug around all that gear, probably everything "excess" had to go...
 

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Very interesting photos. I thought I read on here somewhere that the Finns liked the SVT-40 a lot but didn't like it because it didn't work in winter. I heard somewhere else, though, that they learned how to fix the problem. Ideas?
 

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Very interesting photos. I thought I read on here somewhere that the Finns liked the SVT-40 a lot but didn't like it because it didn't work in winter. I heard somewhere else, though, that they learned how to fix the problem. Ideas?
The SVT-40 was found to be somewhat unreliable in harsh winter conditions. Also the Finns often used ammo - D166 standard service ammo - that had brass case and un-ideal pressure curve for SVT-40. That caused problems in harsh conditions. Captured Soviet L-ball or the Finnish S-ball suited better for the rifle, but it was not always available.

After the war they tried fixing the problem and drilled the gas regulator 1.1mm hole to 2.0 mm. But this was indeed done after the war.
 

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I just lost my reply. Anyway, did they figure out the ammo problem before or after the war? Was there a lot of Soviet ammo available? Do you know if they tried to give the Soviet ammo to soldiers using Soviet-built weapons? For example, if 20% of the company was using captured weapons, did they tend to give them captured ammo when they had it?

The reason I ask is that my Finnish rebuilt M91/30 is far more accurate with new 148-grain Tulammo, but for second place likes the 1947 Soviet surplus I have - even better than some new stuff like MDS or Prvi Partizan.
 

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I just lost my reply. Anyway, did they figure out the ammo problem before or after the war?
I doubt anybody can answer that question with any real certainty. Finnish military repacked and issued also captured Soviet 7.62 x 54R ammunition, but if the soldiers who had the rifles were aware about what ammo should have been used with them is difficult to say. There is certainly quite distinctive possibility that they were not aware of the fact. It is worth noting that Finnish translation of Soviet user's manual (which contained information about correct ammunition) did not appear until 1950's. The first wartime Finnish Army manual that contains SVT-40 that I am aware of is "Aseopas: Venäläisiä aseita" (Weapons Manual: Russian Weapons) published in 1940 and size-wise it was little more than a leaflet - hence it did not go into detail with weapons it covered. The second wartime manual would be "Tietoja puna-armeijan aseista" (Information about Weapons of Red Army) published by Finnish military intelligence in year 1944, but it did not go into real detail either.

Jarkko
 

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Edit. Jarkko had already answered.


I just lost my reply. Anyway, did they figure out the ammo problem before or after the war? Was there a lot of Soviet ammo available? Do you know if they tried to give the Soviet ammo to soldiers using Soviet-built weapons? For example, if 20% of the company was using captured weapons, did they tend to give them captured ammo when they had it?

The reason I ask is that my Finnish rebuilt M91/30 is far more accurate with new 148-grain Tulammo, but for second place likes the 1947 Soviet surplus I have - even better than some new stuff like MDS or Prvi Partizan.
I should think the ammo-problem was noticed during the war but I do not know if it was addressed in any way.

There was a lot of captured Soviet L-ball and Finnish S-ball available, but not always and in every unit. As all other Soviet weapons sans the SVT-38/40 worked flawlessly with any Finnish ammo, there was no need to purposely issue captured Soviet ammo. On the other hand captured Soviet ammo was often judged as sub-quality ammo compared to Finnish ammo.
 

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Thanks. That was interesting. My understanding is that the Finns only captured stuff in large numbers in 1941 and the Winter War. I watched a lecture about how the Finnish army would make small attacks on mottis with the goal of getting the Soviets to waste their ammo. So how much ammo did they actually actually manage to capture? Rifles, machine guns, etc. would be different, obviously.

To put it another way, was Soviet ammo a major part of Finland's ammo supply, or did they manage to find some, exhaust it, and that was it?

Thanks. I'm just curious.
 

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Thanks. That was interesting. My understanding is that the Finns only captured stuff in large numbers in 1941 and the Winter War. I watched a lecture about how the Finnish army would make small attacks on mottis with the goal of getting the Soviets to waste their ammo. So how much ammo did they actually actually manage to capture? Rifles, machine guns, etc. would be different, obviously.

Thanks. I'm just curious.
Killing mottis by luring the Soviets to waste their ammo sounds like an old western movie with settlers and indians!! :)

I doubt that happened as the Soviets had way more ammo to waste than rations to spare. Starving the sleep deprivated Soviets was much more efficient.


Ammo was captured by enormous amounts in the Winter War and especially during the summer of 1941.
 

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Killing mottis by luring the Soviets to waste their ammo sounds like an old western movie with settlers and indians!! :)

I doubt that happened as the Soviets had way more ammo to waste than rations to spare. Starving the sleep deprivated Soviets was much more efficient.


Ammo was captured by enormous amounts in the Winter War and especially during the summer of 1941.
[/QUOTE]

This was part of an academic lecture, however it was only an hour long. Perhaps it was something tried in the beginning and then abandoned for the reasons you said. Or it could be BS. It wouldn't be the first time an expert was wrong.

So the Red Army was big on ammo and short on food? Why does that not surprise me...
 

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Interesting thread. As I recall this rifle was confirmed as an original sniper here many years ago and before Ratnik had his amazing thread on these. I still love it and still would love to own it. US/Canada import and export laws are silly. We need better governments.

On Finn use of the SVT, who would not use one? The volume of fire principle was soon to be established fact. Common sense in combat would show that the semi-auto was there to stay, yet the use as a sniper was yet to be as productive as use of a more accurate bolt action. The Bolt action still dominates the true sniper role but the DM role is also pretty well established. We have the SR25 and it is the best of the Semi's I am aware of. If you get about half MOA from a Semi, that is serious accuracy and why the US recently spent three times the cost of the closest competition, not to mention the SR25 had already proven itself in combat. Just try to buy one. Get out your serious wallet. As much as I love the SVD, accuracy wise I want an SR25(have some experience with both). To me, the greatest advantage of the SVD is weight, which is huge if you are the grunt that has to carry it, not to mention the simplicity/KISS principle.
 

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I agree good info. Most Finnish vets I've had the pleasure of speaking with spoke highly of the Tokarev. The local vets- a Radio and Signals man who was assigned to a 2.5cm AA gun team replaced his Carcano with one and most of his squad had them. The other a mortar man and later LRP leader prefered the kp31 but had used a SVT-40 in his tenure and said they were highly prized pick ups. His team had been involved in a search and destroy mission on a soviet sniper in an area and after finding him took the rifle but not the optics. What happened to it he didn't know but said that when they had optics recovered they would have the company armourers fit them to guns as JTV states and did not turn them in but out them right back to use.
 
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